89-A Express Overview

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1929 Ford Express Truck - 82-A closed cab and 89-A express truck on 131-1/2" wheel base AA chassis.

1929 AA Express Truck – Closed Cab 82-A and Express 89-A on 131-1/2″ AA Chassis


Express body 89-A production ranged from early 1928 (possibility December 1927) through December 1930. This cargo body was offered on the AA131 chassis with both closed and open cabs (82-A & B, 76-A & B). Initially only the 82-A closed cab was available with the AA. The 76-A open cab was available with the AA starting in June 1928. Dual wheeled units were not offered. Rear fenders and running boards were not designed for a dual wheel application. In January 1931, the 195-A express body replaced the 89-A.

Budd Manufacturing of Philadelphia, PA supplied the 89-A express.  It was similar to the Budd supplied 78-A pickup body but had a larger cargo capacity, three stake pockets per side, and a three-hinged tail gate without a “Ford” script.

The AA express was a modified TT express which had emerged in 1924. The TT express front panel was a direct carry-over for the AA express. There were two major differences between the AA and TT express bodies.  Firstly, the side sills of the 89-A were wider apart at the rear (i.e. tapered front to rear) allowing the body to rest on the AA frame. Secondly, integrated wheel wells were stamped into the side panels. The wheel wells accommodated 32 x 6 rear tires which were larger than the 30 x 5 rear tires used on the TT’s. These two major changes resulted in revisions to the cross sills, cargo floor, center stake pockets and tail gate.

The body had stamped steel side panels, front panel, and tail gate. Wooden side sills, which were clad by the panel sides, and cross sills supported the cargo floor. The cargo floor had six, 7/8” thick floor boards attached by skid strips (corrugated batten strips per Ford advertisements) as well as side and rear floor retainers. Overall body dimensions were 55” wide by 87” long by 18-7/8” high. The cargo loading area was 48” wide, 86” long, and 12-1/8” high.

This body was assembled before painting. The body-in-white assembly included the side/cross sill assembly, side/front panels, floor boards/skid strips/floor retainers, tail gate, body installed wheel carrier (used from the beginning of production through early 1929), and “L” style installation brackets at the side-front (used for design 3 bodies starting August 1928). This assembly was painted cab color (including the bottom side). Installation floor tie straps and rear fender brackets were not installed prior to painting.

The 89-A express was designed to set on the AA chassis which was wider at the rear (i.e. a tapered design). Several versions of installation hardware was used to attach the body to the frame. These hardware versions included floor tie strap pairs, frame spacers and frame body stops or “L” style body sill brackets.

For reference purposed on this site, the 89-A Express is defined as having three designs (d1, d2, and d3) as follows:

d1 – Tall front panel (TT carry-over) with a wooden front cross sill requiring skid strips to be attached with wood screws, center stake pockets extended to the wheel wells requiring notched rear fenders, four pair of installation tie straps per side requiring double notched running board aprons for tie strap clearance, and frame installed body stops.
d2 – Center stake pocket shortened in early 1928. Resulted in new rear fenders without center stake pocket notches (same fenders as used on the 85-A panel delivery and 88-A platform).
d3 – Front panel shortened starting August 1928. Resulting in elimination of the wooden front cross sill, modified skid strip which attached to the front panel flange with carriage bolts, elimination of body stops, and replacement of front installation tie straps with “L” style brackets. With the change in installation hardware, each running board aprons was changed to eliminate the front tie strap notch and a hole were added for an “L” bracket bolt.

The 89-A express truck’s spare wheel carrier was located on the right side of the body. There were several wheel carrier designs used during the 89-A express’ production period.

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