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The History of the early Ford V8

The History of the early Ford V8

By BZR 0 Comment February 4, 2019

The first Ford automobile to be powered by a V8 engine was introduced in 1932. This new engine, commonly known as the flathead V8 was viewed as a major engineering achievement as it was a single-casting V8 engine. At that time the V8 engines of Ford’s competitors were cast in two or three pieces that were bolted together. By casting the engine in one piece Ford demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to produce a V8 engine at a price the general public could afford.

The V8 car was introduced during a period of terrible economic conditions in the USA (during the great depression) but established an important advantage for Ford over its Gangster with early Ford flathead V8 getaway carmain competitors that provided an excellent base for the future growth of the company. After initial teething problems the new Ford V8 car proved to be enormously successful with the general public. For it’s time the Ford V8 was both affordable and powerful. It quickly developed a strong following including among the notorious gangsters of the period. Some of the gangsters such as John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow reportedly wrote letters of appreciation to Henry Ford to thank him for producing a good getaway car. Bonnie and Clyde were famously caught and killed when trying to escape in a stolen 1934 Ford V8.

The Ford V8 automobile that was introduced in 1932 (known as the Model 18) was offered in 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.The Ford automobiles powered by the flathead V8 continued to be developed and refined over the years until the introduction of the new Ford models that were powered by the Y-block V8 in 1954. During this time a number of variants of flathead V8 powered cars and trucks were produced throughout the world. These early Ford V8s have long been popular among automobile restorers and enthusiasts.


The Flathead V8 engine

The Ford flathead V8 engine was the first mass produced V8 engine that was both reliable and affordable. It was a simple compact design with a down draft carburetor. The original flathead engine that was introduced in 1932 had a 221 cubic inch displacement (CID) and produced 65 horsepower. With some refinements including improvements to the ignition system this initial version remained in production until it was replaced in 1939 by a more powerful 239 engine that had been developed for the new Ford Mercury. The final flathead Models were launched in 1948 and 1949 . These included the 239/255 models and the larger 337 variant that was designed to be used in large trucks and was also adapted for the 1949 Lincoln. Ford flathead V8 engines for sale.

The flathead V8 was renowned for its durability and toughness. Very early on it was found that the performance of the engine could be improved by relatively simple modifications and the flathead quickly became the engine of choice of early hot rodders in the 1930s and 1940s. A number of manufacturers began to produce speed equipment for these engines. The simplicity of the engine and its ability to withstand punishment ensures that it has continued to remain popular among hot rodders to this day.

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