Actually, Ford never had a car with a”V8” as part of its official nametag. The name was a simple way of referring to the 1932 Ford V8 model 18 which was the first mass-produced car powered by the new V8 engine which was built from scratch.
During this time, the V-8 engine was only available in expensive luxury cars and sport cars which were beyond the reach of the many people in the working class. The introduction of this engine also served as Ford’s response to Chevrolet’s straight-6 engine which was superior to Ford’s 4-cylinder mill.
This was Henry Ford’s last great contribution to the automotive industry.
The V8 itself
Some years earlier, Henry Ford had revolutionized the automotive industry by his innovative production line that was more efficient, effective and fast in churning out many cars for the masses. This time also, Ford wanted to be unique and unlike other V8s of the time which used multiple blocks, Ford developed a single cylinder block in order to reduce production costs.
The engine had a displacement of 3.6 liters and also had a 90-degree side-valve. The design helped Ford produce around 1 million units from 1932 to 1934. The engine used to produce 65 hp but was later tuned to 75 hp in 1933 and 85 hp in 1934.
Though Ford wanted to use the V8 on all the cars, the automaker offered an option for the 4-cylinder cylinders as a backup in case the V-8 became a failure. These models were dubbed the Model B. On the other hand, the models with the V8 engines were called Model 18 which meant the 1st V8. In terms of looks and interior styling, the two cars were identical.
The bank robbers and hot rodders choice
At the time, the V8 set a new standard for mass market cars. Though Ford V8 produces less horsepower than the Chevrolet and Plymouth (two other low-priced models of the time) the Ford model 18 was quickest of the three.
This particular specs enticed many performance-minded customers including the infamous bank robber John Dillinger. Bank robbers liked the Ford as it offered fast getaways. Hot rodders were not left out either. A few enhancements would make the V8 pump out even more power. Shortly after its debut, the cottage industry was churning the V8’s performance parts.
1932 Ford V8 Body styles
All the models including the model B featured wire wheels, black fenders and a rear-mounted spare wheel. Cars with a tailgate had their spare wheels mounted on the sides. Twin side-mounts, a luggage rack, white wall tires and color keyed wheels on the outside and leather or Broadcloth, on the inside were offered as options. The models came in a number of body styles and were offered in two trims i.e. either standard or deluxe.
The body styles included; 2-door roadsters, 4-door phaeton, 2-doorcabriolet, 2 and 4-door sedans, 4-door station wagon commonly known as the “woodie”, 2-door Victoria, 5-window coupe, a sport coupe with a stationary soft-top, a 3-window Deluxe Coupe, a 2-door convertible sedan and a pickup.
Price of 1932 Ford V8
The 1932 Ford V8 had a starting price of $ 495 for the roadster while the coupes sold for $ 490. The sedans were the most expensive at $ 650. In that year alone, the automaker sold 298,647 units of the V8-powered 18s. Actually, Ford could not keep up with the huge demand.
The V-8 was so much a hit that it made its 4-cylinder twin obsolete. In fact, dealers had to persuade buyers to turn to the 4-cylinder model B. One of the reasons for its poor showing was that it was just $ 10 cheaper than the V-8. The model was discontinued shortly later.
The Ford model 18 and model B are today very valuable collectibles with collectors willing to pay thousands of dollars for well restored models.