Leatherback Vicky: 1931 Ford Model A Victoria

Sometimes I am convinced there’s a secret competition for “most cursory car advertisement”, even on craigslist, where, gee, it’s free to be wordy. It’s helpful to read history or condition details about very early cars since more than likely their first owners are either aged or have passed. That’s particularly pertinent with this 1931 Ford Model A Victoria Leatherback, here on craigslist, for sale at $8,200 in Escondido, California – because this ad states “family owned”. We don’t know if that’s one family over several generations, or if it’s had several owners and the current is a “family”. Other than that, we’re told that the car is all original. And that’s it! That’s all we know! Thanks to T.J. for this mysterious tip!

While the ad is brief, we know a lot about the “Vicky”, as this body style was called. This body style was among the most expensive that Ford offered, and production was consequently on the low side. In 1931, only about 31,000 were made; compare the figure with the 4.8 million Model A’s of all types over their production run. The car’s original engine is the 201 cu. in. flathead four-cylinder producing about 40 hp. Are you going to get to see the motor in this car, under the butterfly hood pictured above? That would be a big fat NO! But we know it looks like this. The electrical system was six volts, and the transmission was a sliding-gear three-speed without synchros. The brakes were four-wheel mechanical drums. We also don’t know if any of these parts work, together or separately!

What’s with that word “leatherback”? Referring to the entire cabin roof, the leatherback’s top was covered in padded pebble-grained material (not actually leather). A “steelback” was not actually all steel but had a similar fabric inserted in the topmost horizontal portion of the roof. Arguments online do not clarify whether there was a specific time period when one type was produced then the other, or if they were produced simultaneously such that customers were given a choice. Does anyone know?

The car’s interior is mildly worn. Rust on the gear shift and brake handles aren’t a great sign. I would bet this car hasn’t run in a while. Weirdly, the seller does have one more sentence in his ad – offering up a 5.0 liter Ford fuel-injected motor, the implication being that perhaps that should be installed in this car? We don’t know. But if you want to venture off with this Vicky, there’s considerable help out there: here’s the International Model A Ford Victoria Association. This price seems a bit stiff to me; what do you think?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Stiff price is right. Get the price down, grab the 5.0 engine and build a unique street rod.

    Like 4
    • Jimmy Novak


      Like 6
  2. Howard A Member

    Michelle,,may I?
    “Have you heard the story of the Hot Rod race, where Fords and Lincolns were settin’ the pace, that story is true, I’m here to say, I was drivin’ that Model A”,,,
    A Lincoln V12 for me,, :)

    Like 12
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      You’re going to need a longer car for that V12 aren’t you?

      Like 3
    • gaspumpchas

      ” got a lincoln motor and its really souped up, and that model A body make it look like a puff. Got 12 cylinders and uses ’em all, got overdrive and it just wont stall”
      Any hot rodder could see him self in this scenario. Laught my @$$ off everytime I hear it!!

      Like 8
  3. Lincoln B Member

    Son your gonna drive me to drinkin if you don’t stop drivin that Hot Rod Lincoln.

    Like 9
  4. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    Oh I was a wee little lad in the early 50’s but I remember it well. My dad drove the family to visit some friends or relatives I don’t remember for sure but I do remember certain things about the visit. First thing when we pulled up to their house was they were on a paved street with curbs and sidewalk, something I had only seen in town not outside the city, then the car parked on the street in front of their house. I probably wouldn’t have paid any attention except my oldest brother made the statement about it being a Vicky. He thought it was really cool and talked about it in detail which left a big impression on me. Now this brother was born in 1931 lived through the great depression and wwii so cars from the 30’s were still very much in use during the 50’s. I walked around the car with him as he pointed out all the cool things about the vicky. Well those memories have stuck with me all these years, of course by todays standards this car was nothing to speak of, but at the time it was a great marvel as my older brother described it in detail. Have a great day.

    God Bless America

    Like 28
    • Rodney - GSM

      And that is one of the great things about cars. You can have a brief encounter with a car and it creates a memory that lasts a lifetime.

      Like 21
  5. Kenneth Carney

    Charlie Ryan was the first one to sing
    that tune in the late ’50s (I think) and then Commander Cody And His Lost
    Flight Of Airmen redid it in ’72. We
    opened for them not long after the song came out and boy were they great! They followed that up with a
    song called Mama Hated Diesels
    after that. They were 2 hit wonders
    that dropped out of sight by 1973.
    Nice car though. If it were mine, I’d
    add a nice Ford flathead for go, a ’39
    gearbox filled with 24 tooth Lincoln
    gears to feed the power to the rear
    wheels. And to make it whoa, a set of ’39 juice brakes. Drop the front a
    tad, and you’ll have a winner.

    Like 2
  6. dogwater

    I don’t dislike these old cars but it come down to is it worth throwing 50k +at them with todays paint price etc when you could buy one restored for half

    Like 2
  7. Tom Lange


    “…look like a pup” – not a puff!

    Like 5
  8. George Birth

    To get the price he is asking he needs to provide more detail about the car. Like does it run or how long has it been stored.

    Like 3
  9. Lance

    Weel I do believe he’s mistaken when the claim for all original is applied here. No 32 Ford that those wheels as stock.

    Like 3
  10. Ron

    I’m thinking the price isn’t too far off for a real Henry Ford steel bodied Vickie in pretty solid condition…

    Like 5
    • Gray Wolf

      I sold a totally original Vicky for a little more about 10 years ago. I put it up for sale and was bombarded with calls! Thought I sold it too cheap! Sold it to a couple from Utah who drove down, sight unseen, to buy it! For a year I had phone calls about the car! Nice car that my dad and I bought in 1964! Hurt to sell, but ____

      Like 2
  11. V12MECH

    Deleted ,. On the way to Hot Rod Town.

    Like 2
  12. Terry

    It was a steal at that price. Here in NW Pa we would give our left, you know, for one in that shape. At least it’s not a rotted out 69 Cramaro for 20k

    Like 4
  13. Steve RM

    That price could be anywhere from very good to very bad. It all depends on
    all the many things that apparently aren’t in the ad. The ad is already gone so I haven’t seen it.

  14. Bill Hall

    Eons ago in the 60s my dad had a customer at his service station in SE Portland who was a junk man, in his garage was a Model A like this. I only saw it twice. No clue what happened to it. It ran and ddrove but needed a good restoration.

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