Our 1931 SW Town Sedan
Dave and Susie Russell
Why a Model A?
I was the second owner of a 1931 Tudor in the early 1960’s. That car started when nothing else on the Michigan dairy farm would. It navigated through deep snow and always got me to work when other cars bogged down and could not even make it out of the driveway. In the winter, with no heat or defrost, I had my head out the window the entire five miles to town. Even so, there is something particularly endearing about a Model A Ford and I had always hoped to own another one of “America’s Favorite Car”.
SW Town Sedan History
In July, 1931, all Ford four-door sedan bodies were updated to the slant windshield design, body style 160-B. The SW Town Sedan was Ford’s top of the line Model A. It listed for $630. With spare tire, tube, bumper and freight to Grand Rapids Michigan, the total would have been $728. Ford built 55,546 Town Sedans in 1931. The 160-B featured all steel body framing and was was available in five body color combinations. The interior was available with either in brown mohair, like ours, or brown Bedford cord fabric. The famous 20 millionth Ford produced was a 1931 SW Town Sedan.
Betty Sue’s History
Betty Sue is named after my Mother and Susie. In 2011, Susie and I began a nationwide search for a fully restored 1931 SW Town Sedan in the Chicle Drab and Copra Drab color combination. We wanted a car that had been restored to original condition and we wanted a driver, not a show car. We finally found our car in Northport, Michigan, about 250 miles north of the Ford Rouge plant where she was created. Luckily for us, Bob Campbell decided he had to sell what he still calls “his car”. He had bought her in Michigan in the 1990‘s. Bob was raised a few blocks from Greenfield, Michigan where he and his father would spend many days at Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Bob and a friend restore Model A’s at Bob’s Model A Ford Garage in Northport. They restored Betty Sue’s 40HP engine, driveline, brakes, 6V electrical system, steering and mechanical brakes. Bob used her for church on Sunday and for pizza runs during the week from May to October. She was “put to sleep” for the winter each year.
Susie and I flew back to Michigan, picked up Betty Sue and took her on a small driving trip around the Traverse City area. Bob then trailered her down to Lapeer, Michigan, to the Russell Family Centennial Farm where my five brothers and sisters gathered for a reunion. We all took rides through the fields and gravel roads. She then took the trip to Laguna Beach in an enclosed truck, arriving in October, 2011. After a lesson from Meguiar’s Tom MacDonald, I had the courage to revive the 10 year old paint job. Luckily, the clear coat had been applied heavily and allowed me to sand, polish and wax the entire surface without going through to paint.
We joined the Model A Club of America, the OCMAFC and the Capistrano Valley A’s. We have participated in many fun and educational activities, some pictured below.
Betty Sue has introduced us to a whole group of new friends. We soon discovered Model A owners are fun, practical, friendly, hands-on, helpful, down-to-earth people.