Body type 242-A Heavy Duty Express was introduced in February 1931 for the AA131. The photo to the left is an example of one of the first Heavy Duty Express truck. Note that this truck has a tail gate with a long chain fed through rings and loops (chain length was 128-21/31”). In March 1931 a new design started production using short side chains which hooked to eye brackets attached to the tail gate (basically the same design as the 89-A express and 78-A pickup bodies).
The supplier was the Murray Corporation of America, 1926-1965; Detroit, Michigan. Murray also supplied the 199-A Ice body (another AA cargo body introduced in 1931). Both of these body types were carried over to the 1932 production line.
The light duty 1931 express bodies (195-A and 197-A) were production body types for the AA131 and AA157. Ford entertained producing an AA157 heavy duty express and a prototype was produced and photographed by Ford. However, this body type was not added to the production line.
According to the book “Ford Trucks Since 1905”, the Ford factory issued a letter in 1932 to branches urging that the 242-A be aggressively merchandised to coal dealers to boost sales of this slow moving body.
By the end of 1932, Ford discontinued production of this cargo body plus others and removed them from advertising literature. However, disposition of inventory took several years (into 1934). Discontinued body types were modified by changing the sill locations as needed to allow the bodies to fit on 1932 and later frames. The discontinued body types were:
- 199-A Ice (Murray supplied)
- 229-A Service (Briggs supplied)
- 239-A Meat Packers’ Express (Briggs supplied)
- 242-A Heavy Duty Express (Murray supplied)
- 330-A Bus (Union City supplied)
The first heavy duty express truck body was installed on the AA131 with frame assembly AA-5005-B. This 171-5/16” long frame was used from January 1930 thru March 1931. Starting in April of 1931 a new, 181-5/16” long frame (AA-5005-D) was put into production. This longer frame was used on all AA body types except the 229-A service body and dump bodies. The additional 10” longer frame with a heavier duty rear section provided better support for the longer bodies released in 1931.
The 242-A heavy duty express had a 102” long by 60” wide by 18” high cargo loading space. The physical dimensions were:
- 73” wide (outside edges of flare boards)
- 103” long (length at flare boards)
- 36” high (sill bottom to top of front panel center)
This body had a floor design similar to the platform bodies with wood sills and metal cross sill supporting 1-1/4” thick floor boards. Skid strips covered the space between floor boards.
The side panels, front panel, and tail gate were all stamped steel exteriors with 1” thick wood lined interior. Each body side had four stamped steel braces giving strength to the sides and support for the flare assembly (also with a stamped steel exterior and wood interior).
The tail gate had four strap hinges with skid strips on the inside to allow loading of cargo with the tail gate lowered. Angle iron framed the top and side edges for strength and to conceal the panel flanges which were nailed to the interior wood edges.
An article containing the 242-A heavy duty express body details is provided in the link below. This article is a PDF file (fairly large and therefore take some time to open).