For the third time in five years, the oldest known surviving Ford is for sale. The red, meticulously restored, 1903 Ford Model A is one of Ford Motor Company's first three cars ever produced and over the past 109 years, has had only five owners.
You could be the sixth owner at the RM auction in Hershey, Pennsylvania next month, but be warned: the last time this car changed hands in 2007, it sold for $693,000. For a car that originally sold new for $850, and without adjusting for inflation, that's a more than 81,000% appreciation.
The car's original owner was Herbert L. McNary, a butter maker from Britt, Iowa. Another Iowan, Harry E. Burd, acquired the Ford from the McNary family for $400 for it in the 1950s. Burd had the car restored and sold it to a Swiss Ford dealer in 1961. It remained there until 2001, when it was bought anonymously and shipped back to the States. John O'Quinn was the well-heeled buyer at the aforementioned 2007 auction. His estate offered it up again in 2010, but it was a no-sale when bidding topped out at $325,000.
So, what will bidders in Hershey be going after? Model A Chassis No. 30 is a 72-inch wheelbase four-seater, powered by a horizontally opposed, 100-cu.-in. two cylinder with a whopping 8 hp. That's eight horses, probably less than your lawnmower. But that probably doesn't matter since it's not likely the next buyer will do much cruising in this one-of-a-kind machine.