One of the greatest achievements in the history of the automobile industry is not self-driving cars, nor is it advance collision systems, or even the airbag. The greatest achievement in the automobile industry is one the catapulted Ford Motor Company 20 years ahead of its time according to HFMGV.org – The 1932 Ford V-8!
What made the vehicle so great?
Before the advent of the V-8 engine by Ford, there were 4 major automobile manufacturers competing against them:
While each of the automobile manufactures were in competition offering four cylinder engines Ford Motor Company was losing ground against their competitors starting in 1929. At that time Henry Ford decided to reverse engineer a V-8 with Fred Thoms. Thoms was instructed to get as many V-8 engines as possible from other automobile manufactures such as LaSalle and Cadillac.
The Solution Wasn’t Easy
During this period Chevrolet had a 6-cylinder engine, however Henry Ford and Fred Thoms had a solution which was to develop a V-8 engine which could be mass-produced. On the other hand, since V-8 engines were expensive, the engineers at Ford had design teams to develop a Ford V-8 available for common people at a low price. After two years of trial and error both the engineers and the designs teams weren’t able to come up with a cost-effective solution for Ford.
Arrival of 1931
By 1931, Ford Motor was continuing to see a decline in sales of the 4-cylinder Model A’s and B’s and engineers continued to work by enhancing the 4-cylinder to increase the horsepower therefore increase sales. During the same period Ford had 4 prototype V-8 engines installed in Model A’s for research and development. By year end, the 4-cylinder Model B’s were coming off the assembly line, and the V-8 was still in development.
In November 1931, Henry Ford was stilled concerned with the development of the V-8 and charging his son, Edsel with a new design to accommodate a V-8 while working on further enhancing the 4-cylinder. Finally, Henry Ford put his foot down, put a hold on production of Model B 4-cylinders to produce the V-8 by 1932.
March 1932 – Unveiling the Ford V-8
The new V-8 Ford with 65 horsepower was designed with hydraulic shock absorbers for a comfortable ride. Many customers believed it to be a regular Model A, however, once customers began to warm to the vehicle they realized it was a new model from bumper to bumper with a tasteful design and the best looking Ford to come out of production while the cost of the V-8 was only $10 more than the 4-cylinder making it a hit!
Problems with the V-8
During the production of the first 2,000 V-8 engines there were extensive problems such as cracking blocks, consuming oil, and valve components were replaced and sold a whopping 298,000 Ford V-8’s in 1932 according to Wikipedia.
Since many of the “new” Ford V-8’s had the company swamped with complaints, the Model B “enhanced” 4 cylinder was produced in lieu of the V-8. Since production of the Model B continued customers were not happy with a 4-cylinder engine and sales for the year reached 133,000 for the Model B.
The V-8 Engine was eventually a long term winner
While there were many problems with V-8 in the initial stages Ford Motor eventually introduced the greatest engineering automobile challenge with the 1932 Ford V-8 which eventually was able to outperform all other automobile manufacturers vehicles with a low price. It was claimed to be the “American Dream” car. Going into the future the engineering design of the Ford V-8 engine had little change until the 1980’s, thus making it an automobile marvel for over fifty years and changed the landscape of the American automobile industry.