Ford's early V8s

Auto Motor Klassiek » History » Ford's early V8s

The first Ford with a V8 block? That was the 18F from 1932. With its 90 cc 3622-degree V-block, the Ford ran a mere 130 km / h and accelerated like a serious sports car. The smoothness, power and noiselessness of the new engine, along with the already new synchronized gearbox, delighted the press and the public. The relatively low weight contributed to a surprisingly low usage. In addition, the Ford was very cheap for what it offered: a V8. In the early years, such a Ford V8 cost between $ 460-600. The next V8 in the price lists in the States was the Lasalle. And it cost nearly four times as much.

Ford advertised the car in its day as 'the greatest thrill in motoring'.

And in Great Britain only 911 was sold because the import to 'England' went via Canada. Logistics was still a thing at the time. In the rest of the more or less civilized part of Europe, sales were also limited. The then rock-hard dollar contributed to this.
In 1934 a new V8 was introduced. And that was the first Ford to be built in Europe, at the Cork factory in Ireland. The mainland of Europe was not ready for V8 blocks yet. Because a tax on engine power was applied there. Before that, the Ford as B-40 was equipped with a much more economical four-cylinder.

Ford V8s from Europe

In 1935, the 30 hp 48F V8 was the first V8 to be produced at the legendary Ford factory in Dagenham. That car was a significant upgrade from the original 18F type. Chassis and bodywork were thoroughly revised. The chassis had become lower and stiffer. The handling and comfort had increased due to the smoother suspension and the further forward placement of the engine block. The car had become heavier, but the acceleration from 0-80 km / h was smoothly accelerated in more than ten seconds. The consumption was something from 1 to 7. With quiet driving.
The mainly external changes of 1936 made the Ford V8s a bit heavier and a bit slower.

In plain clothes and uniform

In 1935 the line was supplemented with a smaller V8, the Model 60. That also cheaper model with its 2227 cc block remained in production for six years. In 1936, the small, and rather slow, V8 got a solid update that made it smaller but gave it more interior space. By the way, in the mid-8s, the Ford V8 blocks were produced in Europe. And shortly afterwards, the Ford VXNUMX engines were widely used in army vehicles such as the famous brencarriers and motorboats.

Long life

After the war there was the British V8 Pilot Ford with its 30 hp engine and the driving part of the Model 62. It was praised in tests as a spacious luxury British car with a quality that far exceeded that of the pre-war ones. The car was equipped with hydraulic jack stands and hydraulically braked front wheels. The rear brakes were still mechanically operated.
The Pilot was the most successful British Ford V8. More than 22.000 were made up to 1951. And in twenty years of British V8 production, nothing at all had changed on the engine. But that could of course have simply been the British approach.

Still current

The flat head Fords and Chevrolet blocks are now very popular in the custom world. The parts supply is fine. And there is tuning stuff for sale all over the world. Also nice: an (almost) undamped tuned V8 side valve ...

Also read:
- Ford V8 (A69-1946). Family history of Monte Groen.
- Ford Amsterdam. Ford in the Netherlands
- Hotrods. Very original 🙂

A 1935 V8

The 'flathead' V8, the basis of all hot rods


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  1. Until 1961, this small V8 side valve was used in the French Simca Beaulieu, Chambord, Marly and Présidence, actually four models based on the old Simca Vedette. Until 1954 this was the Ford Vedette, built by Matford in Poissy. The Brazilian Simca factory built these big cars until 1962, when the old Ford V8 was gone worldwide.

    A very strong block, yes, but somewhat notorious for its poor thermal properties. because of the extremely long exhaust channels that ran from the inside to the outside through the cylinder heads. The Flathead V8 therefore liked to overheat. Fortunately, replacing head gaskets was a piece of cake!

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