In March 1932, Henry Ford introduced the first low-cost V8 engine ever produced. Bringing out a pioneering eight-cylinder low-priced car was a bold move in the midst of the most severe economic depression the nation had ever endured. But Henry Ford was determined to build a mass-produced V8, and the world was ready for it. There would be 212,000 Model 18 Ford engines produced in 1932 and that was only the beginning. Ford passenger cars would be powered by refined versions of what would become known as the Ford 'flathead' V8 through 1953 (and in Canada, through 1954).
Edsel Ford, Henry's son, styled the 1932 Ford car. This one-year-only model bore a marked resemblance to the Lincoln of the same year, which had also been designed under the direction of Edsel Ford. Generations of car enthusiasts have admired the handsome, clean lines of the 1932 Ford, which is popularly known as the 'Deuce.' The Model B, with a 4-cylinder engine, was also available in 1932. Combined production of the Fours and V8s totaled just a bit more than 250,000 cars. Ironically, what would become one of the most desired Fords ever was originally one of the lowest production models ever.
This example of the popular Deluxe Roadster model has been in the care of the present owner for the past 30 years. It came from Ohio and was in excellent original condition. The present owner restored it in 1984-1988 using many original factory Ford parts. It has also received awards and recognition at various antique car events; Early Ford V-8 Club; Meadowbrook Concours d'Elegance; AACA and was the Ford Model Company 1932 Model Year 1 of 100 Icons at the 2003 Ford 100 Years Anniversary in Dearborn. Featured in the Robert Genat book 'Duece - 75 Years Of The 1932 Ford.'
A mere four years after the introduction of the Model A, Henry Ford introduced the first mass-produced V-8 in the low-priced field - the Model 18. The V8 engine was available for just $50 over the price of the four-cylinder model, known as the Model B. The flathead V8 engine could be found in Ford and Mercury cars until 1953.
Some of the styling cues from the Lincolns were incorporated into the Model 18s. They were available in a wide range of 14 bodystyles, along with a choice of a trunk or rumble seat in the roadsters and coupes.
Ford introduced the B-400 two-door convertible sedan bodystyle in 1931. It featured all-weather protection for open-car enthusiasts and was one of lower production Fords for 1932. Only 41 customers purchased the car with the four-cylinder engine, while 842 customers selected the V-8 engine.
This 1932 Ford V-8 B-400 Convertible Sedan is one of the few of this bodystyle produced. It is a left-hand-drive example that was exported to Europe in 1932. Its last inspection for public roads was performed in Denmark in 1957. In June of 2007, the car was brought back to the United States and is currently in original, unrestored condition.
In early 2008, the current owner purchased the V8 from Gary Matranga of Lake Havasu, Arizona. The V-8 flathead engine appears to be a correct factory replacement Ford engine from the early 1930s. The body has minor rust and has never been taken off the frame.
In 2008, this B-400 Convertible Sedan V-8 Ford was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California and was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $210,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot had been left unsold, as bidding had failed to satisfy the car's reserve. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Sold for $165,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. This 1932 Ford Model 18 Deluxe Three-Window Coupe is painted in factory-correct Medium Maroon offset by black fenders, gold pin striping, a black beltline rib, and red painted steel wire wheels. The exterior features include dual cowl-mounted lights, a single windshield wiper, rumble seat, rear mounted spare tire with a metal cover, and dual cowl-mounted lights. Interior features include brown leather upholstery and wood-grain trim, light brown carpeting, and wood-grain dash panel including a glove box.
This Three-Window Coupe has been scored 1,000 points in judging by the Early Ford V8 Club of America. It has been awarded a Senior National, Senior Grand National, and President's Award in AACA judging. It has even earned the prestigious Dearborn Award.
In 2009, this Model 18 was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Amelia Island Auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $60,000 - $90,000. It was sold for an impressive high bid of $165,000, including buyer's premium.
Sold for $110,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. This 1932 Ford Model 18 Phaeton has earned 995 out of 1,000 points in judging by the Early Ford V8 Club. It has earned Senior National and Senior Grand national First Prize awards by the AACA as well as a President's Award silver tray. It is painted in Brewster Green with black fenders, a black beltline rib, silver pin striping, tan folding top, and apple green wheels. It has dual cowl-mounted lights, driver's side rearview mirror, dual side-mounted spare tires, and a rear-mounted luggage rack. There is tan interior carpeting and brown leather upholstery. The V8 engine displaces 221 cubic-inches and produces 65 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission, four-wheel mechanically actuated internal-expanding brakes, and a wheelbase that measures 106-inches.
In 2009, this Model 18 Phaeton was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Amelia Island Auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $90,000 - $130,000. It was sold for a high bid of $110,000, including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Deluxe Fordor Sedan
Henry Ford loved to see his name in print and he received plenty of press when the Ford V-8 was introduced to the public in March of 1932. By 1932 the V-8 motor was not unique. What was unique was that Ford was manufacturing a low-priced car with a V-8. The motor remained in production for another 21 years.
In addition to its mechanics, the 1932 Ford was a beautifully-designed car, becoming a true American automotive icon.
This sedan was produced in Ford's Walkerville, Ontario, factory and delivered by railroad flatcar to Nakina, in upper Ontario. It remained there until 1961 when it was brought to the United States. The current owner performed an off-frame restoration in 1988.
Sold for $51,700 at 2013 Gooding & Company. The DeLuxe versions of the Ford Model 18 were giving luxurious trim, including the desirable cowl lights from the factory. It was one of America's most beloved automobile, affectionately nicknamed the 'Deuce' for its 1932 debut. This roadster sold for $495 new, just $10 more than the four-cylinder Model B. It was the first ever low-priced V-8 engine automobile created for the mass market. Ford struggled to meet demand with 12,597 Model 18s manufactured in the three-year period they were produced.
This Deluxe Roadster is known to have resided in Nebraska before it was purchased around 2007 by Charles Walker. Prior to Mr. Walker's ownership, the automobile was restored and preserved - complete with the factory options of a pivoting windshield and rumble seat - just as it was in 1932. The transmission is not the factory original to the chassis, it is correct for an early V-8 Ford.
The car is currently finished in forest green with pale green wire wheels with matching body pinstripes, black fenders, beige top, and brown leather upholstery. The odometer current shows 80,700 miles.
In 2013, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $65,000 - $85,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $51,700 inclusive of buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2013
In May of 1930, engineer Arnoth Soth began work on a V8 under the direction of Laurence Sheldrick. With a displacement of 299 cubic inches, is 60-degree V8 had a square design. Henry Ford's directives however gave the engineers additional problems, as he wanted this engine built without an oil pump. The flywheel instead would throw oil into on a tank in valve chambers where it would then run down to the bearings. The engine quickly burned out on the dynamometer.
Both the Ford Model 18 and the Ford Model B were seen as Dearborn's response to the Depression. Following a 19-year production run of the Model T, the vehicle upon which Ford's empire was founded which had had a production run of over 15 million units, it was time to focus elsewhere. In 1932, the Model B was introduced as a new Ford vehicle, which was quite simply an updated version of the Model A, and was eventually replaced by the '35 Model 48. As Ford was unveiling the Model B, they were also producing a very similar vehicle with Ford's new Flathead V8 engine, and it was marketed as the Model 18, though it was more commonly called the Ford V-8 today. It was basically indistinguishable from the Model B, and up until this time, Ford had always produced just on basic vehicle at a time. The design behind the Ford Model 18, beginning with the V8 engine, involved the planning and input of many people.
The two versions of the 1932 Ford, the V8 flathead and a four-cylinder came in a variety of body styles, the 2 door cabriolet, the 2 door roadster, 4 door phaeton, two and four door sedans, four door 'Woodie' station wagon, two door Convertible Sedan, two door Victoria, Panel and Sedan Deliveries, 5-window coupe, and the 3-window Deluxe Coupe. The less popular model was the four-cylinder model, a refined version of the four-cylinder Model A. The Model 18 was broken down as the deuce, the '1' standing for 'first' and the '8' for the V-8. The nomenclature Deuce coupe was a slang term that was used to refer to the 1932 Ford coupe, which was derived from the year of the manufacture.
Billed as a five-passenger coupe, the 1932 Ford Model 18 Victoria could as easily been dubbed a close-coupled two-door sedan. The U.S. only received 8,586 units of the 1932 Ford Victoria's. In secret, Henry Ford organized his engineers Ray Laird and Carl Shultz to begin working on his own ideas in Thomas Edison's old Fort Myers lab. This laboratory had been moved from Florida to Henry's newly established Greenfield Village lab in Dearborn, Michigan.
Next, Henry Ford asked Ed Huff, head of the electrical laboratory, to develop the ignition system. Huff didn't think that the ignition system could be done the way Ford envisioned, and told Ford this. Henry Ford wasn't happy with this response and instead when to Emil Zoerlein to develop the ignition system, and to keep his work on the down low. The design that he came up with was very similar to those found today, mounted on the front of the engine and driven directly from the camshaft.
Since business at the Ford industry was going quite well in 1930, Laird and Shultz saw little reasoning behind turning Ford's ideas into reality. After all, Ford was selling nearly double Chevy's total, more than one-million vehicles. In November of 1930, Shultz and Laird finally reached success, when two different 90-degree V8 designs were completed. One of the designs had the same square dimensions as the doomed 299-inch Soth engine, while the other engine had a bore of 3.375 inches and a stroke of 3.25 inches, which gave a displacement of 232.5 cubic inches.
Herman Reinhold aided in secretly casting blocks at the Rouge and by February of 1931 the first engine was up and running. Four engines that were dubbed Model 24 were installed in updated Model A models by June. Thinking that this wasn't the time to follow through with this experiment, Ford decided that the Depression was looming and that business was bad, so he instead decided to release an improved Model A. Work on that model began in late summer of 1931.
By 1931, the new engines were being tested, and the Ford Rouge plant was humming with busy activity. The new inline four had to prove a significant improvement over the Model A engine. A variety of modifications were made to increase to power output of the basic 200.5-cubic-inch block. Exploited, but with careful balancing, a high-lift cam, new larger mains, new rods with larger bearings and new crank were added.
In November, the engine was put into production, and engineers truly believed that they had the perfect four. The original successful V8 engine in a low-priced vehicle, the 1932 Model 18 was the signature achievement for Ford. The Roadster was priced at $460, the coupe at $490 and the convertible sedan for $650. The total production for the Roadster peaked at 12,597 and 124,101 for the two-door sedan. Today, the roadster and the coupe body styles are utilized more often in making the models into street-rods. Much like all 1932 Ford Victoria Model 18 V8's, this vehicle ran on a 106.5-inch wheelbase, and from a distance, the 1932 model didn't look much different from the Model A. When one looks closer though you could see that this was an all-new model from radiator cap to taillight. According to Edsel, this was by far ‘the best-looking Ford yet'.
The Ford Model 18 phaeton V8 featured a sidemount spare, a leather interior and a luggage rack. Inside, the instruments included an 80-mph speedometer that was placed in a very handsome, engine turned oval housing that was trimmed with a stainless bead strip and placed in a mahogany color panel. This was a design them that was borrowed from the Lincoln. The standard top-hinged windshield opened on a pair of adjustable arms, and the sun visor was arranged to swing out of the way. Available options were fine wool, mohair and leather upholstery. The bodies were available in a variety of colors with contrasting reveals and pinstriping and in Ford tradition, fenders on all models were dipped in black enamel.
The first Ford to feature a grille which hid the radiator, the 1932 Ford Model 18 coupe was quite revolutionary.
The Roadster is most likely the most popular model, though only 15,115 were constructed worldwide, and 9,268 of them came with the V8. The Roadster had a much more ‘jaunty' look, in comparison to the cabriolet, which was a true convertible. For 1933 the power from the V8 was increased to 75 hp with a revised ignition system. The four-cylinder engine remained unchanged, and total sales for the model year were up to 311,113. Only 568 units of the adorable V8 roadster version of the 1932 Ford Model 18 station wagon were sold, while the DeLuxe Ford coupe attracted 21,175 buyers.
The Ford Model 18 and the Ford Model B weren't able to drag the country out of the depression. If customers couldn't find work to earn the money to pay for them, Henry Ford could hardly expect his cars for the masses to be purchased. Sales were low until June 1932 because of the slow production start-up, but they reached 55,000 units. It wasn't until July that Ford realized he just couldn't keep up with the demand. Sales fell, production was halved, and wages were cut.
From July until September of 1932, production stayed close to 20,000 units a month, but it eventually tapered off along with sales. In October sales peaked, but one month later, layoffs were rampant, and more than three-quarters of a million Michigan workers were unemployed. Four of Ford's 33 United States plants had been closed down, and another by January. A little over 300,000 cars were produced for North America for 1932, much lower than Ford's predicted million and a half.By Jessica Donaldson
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