Ford Model B and Ford Model 18 (Ford V8)

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Ford Model B / Model 18 (Ford V8)

1932 - 1934
Country:
USA
Engine:
4 cyl. & Flathead V8
Capacity:
200ci
Power:
65 - 85 hp (V8)
Transmission:
3 forward / 1 reverse
Top Speed:
n/a
Number Built:
4,320,446
Collectability:
4 star
1933 Ford V8
Unlike the Model T that had enjoyed a near 20 year production run, Ford knew that to retain market share, they would have to turn models over regularly as did their competitors.

And so the Model A was replaced in 1932 by the Model B, carrying over the 4L engine layout however offering some minor refinements.

Ford then used the Model B as the basis for another car, and for the first time since the companies inception Ford had two models on offer. The Model 18, which is most commonly referred to as the Ford V8, was fitted with Ford’s new Flathead V8 engine.

The Model 18 (Ford V8) offered 14 different body styles; the roadster, coupe, sport coupe, tudor and fordor sedans, cabriolet and phaeton.

Each of the 14 different body styles followed two major configurations, the “5 Window” which featured two door windows, 2 quarter panel windows and a rear window, and the now very rare “3 Window” Deluxe Coupe, that featured front opening (suicide) doors.

Many quite rightly believe this to be Henry Ford's swan song and an engineering triumph. The compact Flathead V8 power plant, with its down draft carburetor, enabled the 1932 Ford to outperform all other popular competitors and was 20 years ahead of its time.

The improved proportions and styling of this car reflected Edsel Ford's genius for design. The 1932 Ford automobile combines the attractive facelift of the 1931 Model A with the world's first low-priced, cast-in-one-piece V-8 engine.

When the V-8 first made its appearance in the 1932 Ford, it heralded the era of the American dream car: large, powerful, and soft-sprung. Basic mechanical configuration changed little from the late 1930s until the advent of the downsized front-wheel-drive cars of the 1980's.

Ford Flathead V8 Engine
In 1933 Ford revised the design of the Model 18 by using a new cross-member frame which stretched the wheelbase from 106 inches (2692 mm) to 112 inches (2845 mm). The grille and hood lovers were also revised, these now curving down and forward.

The engineers had also been working on the V8 engine, specifically the ignition system. This seemingly minor modification had a big effect on performance, power being increased from 65 to 75 hp (56 kW).

During 1934 the Model 18 was again revised, the grille being flatter with a wider surround and straight hood louvers. The V8’s performance was again improved, it now offering 85 hp (63 kW).

So popular was the V8 engine that the days of the 4 cylinder Model B were numbered, and 1934 would be the last year that a 4 would be manufactured, it being fitted to a Victoria body style.

But despite the Flathead V8's popularity, it was born into the worst ever year encountered by the automotive industry up until that time. It was the bottom of the depression, and you couldn't sell a car for love or money.

Only two US automakers turned a profit that year, and Ford was not amoung them. GM - which was able to absorb most of the problems of the depression by cutting costs (as well as the Oakland brand the year before), managed to stay in the black, as did Nash - which had a great year in 1932, despite declining sales. That said, the Ford V8 put the company in a position to bounce back into the sales charts as the economy slowly emerged from the depression.

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