Think you know the Ford Maverick? Think again. Image: onlineredlineguide.com The Ford Motor Company has historically been expert at extracting maximum utility from its engineering, often repackaging old (and sometimes outdated) mechanical components into shiny new bodywork and cheekily presenting the result as ‘all-new’. The vehicles engineered in this manner might have been far from […]Unbranded Steers (Part One) — Driven To Write
THE REAL KEN MILES FORD GT40 – @Petersen Automotive Museum
Today, we’re with Steve Volk at the Shelby American Museum talking about the Le Mans Winning Ken Miles @ford GT40! In September 1965, two new Mk. I chassis, P/1015 and its sister car, P/1016, were flown from FAV in Slough, England, to Shelby American to be built up there as team cars for the 1966 Daytona race. The cars arrived in basic form and Shelby’s men added the 485-hp 427 engines and T44 4-speed transmissions especially designed and assembled by Kar Kraft; they also installed the interior and exterior trim, front body work (constantly being modified to reduce front lift), and Halibrand race wheels. Adding a pair of brake cooling inlet ducts atop the rear deck, no doubt they also incorporated other tweaks derived from 1965 experience, including the transmission and head gasket failures at Le Mans, where their best result had come from Daytona Coupe CSX2299, in eighth.
P/1015 would help put all that straight. Although it competed only four times and at just two tracks, the car scored a pair of extraordinarily significant results for Ford in 1966, winning at Daytona (Ken Miles/Lloyd Ruby) and finishing a legendary and contentious second at Le Mans (Ken Miles/Denis Hulme).
Five Mk. IIs were entered for Daytona that year, including P/1015 by @ShelbyAmericanInc for Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby, who had won the previous year in P/103. Painted white with blue stripes and a flat black nose panel, P/1015 seemed the team’s best hope, as it was blessed with number 98. Miles qualified it on the pole, at 1:57.8, ahead of Jo Bonnier in a Chaparral 2D. When that Texas competitor and the fastest Ferraris succumbed during the first 24-hour edition of this race, Miles and Ruby repeated their 1965 win with little drama. Two other 427-powered GT40s came second (Dan Gurney/Jerry Grant/Tom Payne) and third (Walt Hansgen/Mark Donohue). Notably, P/1015 scored the first win for a 427-powered GT40.
Back in California, the car was fitted with a dry-sump 427 engine and tested by Ken Miles at Riverside for possible use at Sebring, but he and Ruby were assigned to the X-1 roadster version instead, and P/1015 was not entered. It also sat out the Le Mans trials in April but was rebuilt—with stronger suspension mounts, better cockpit insulation, and improved fuel pump cooling to cure a tendency to vapor lock—for possible use by Ford’s British entrant, Alan Mann Racing. A final shakedown test of P/1015 took place at Riverside in late May before its flight to Europe.
This post may be of interest – What everyone forgot about the 1966 LeMans
AutoHunter Spotlight: 1934 Ford De Luxe Coupe with Rumble Seat – Diego Rosenberg @ClassicCars.com
Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this five-window 1934 Ford De Luxe Coupe with rumble seat. Though with the current seller for 28 years, it was restored under previous ownership. Of course, this Ford is powered by a flathead V8 backed by a three-speed manual transmission. Features include simulated woodgrain dashboard, tilt-out windshield and four-piece hood. Finished in black over a tan cloth interior, this Ford coupe comes with a clear Texas title.
The Black exterior is highlighted by chrome grille, headlight buckets and horns. Additional features include dual cowl lamps, brown vinyl rumble seat, tan accent stripes, color-matched rear spare tire cover and rubber running board flooring.
The interior is upholstered in tan cloth. Features include simulated woodgrain dashboard panel, window reveal moldings, vintage AM radio and floor-mounted three-speed manual transmission shifter.
The instrument panel includes a 90-mph speedometer, and gauges for the fuel level and amps. The true mileage on this vehicle is unknown.
CREW CAB CRUISER – DAVID TUMINO DOUBLED HIS FUN WITH THIS FOUR DOOR ’60 FORD F250 – Todd Ryden @FuelCurve
Crew cab trucks are common these days. In fact, there are more four-door trucks being built today than standard cabs. That was certainly not the case in the early ’60s, when more-door trucks were only built to be worked hard in government, farming, and hauling, and were largely available only to fleet applications. To meet these demands, the rigs were spartan and built with stiff, heavy-duty suspensions with little regard for comfort or amenities.
This ’60 Ford F250, which received the Goodguys Feature Pick at the 1st Meguair’s So-Cal Nationals presented by BASF, started its life at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base just north of San Diego. After serving with the Marines, the truck was bought at auction by a fellow who dabbled with the truck, sprayed it in primer, and stuck it in a barn where it sat dormant for years until David Tumino and his son Rajan brought it home about a decade ago.
David is a lifetime hot rodder and a recently retired body-and-paint pro who can pretty much do it all. With Rajan getting older, David felt that the big ol’ Ford would be a great way to start teaching his son the craft and the DIY ethos of building a unique custom truck.
With a custom chassis built to ride and perform, there was no reason not to put some serious power between the rails. The father and son duo decided on a 5.4-liter Modular engine sourced from a 2010 Mustang GT500, then topped it with a supercharger for a little more kick in the pants. Power estimates put the SOHC engine at about 700 horsepower! Combined with a 6R80E six speed transmission, the truck can seriously haul.
10 Most Reliable Ford Engines Ever Built – Simon Kim @HotCars
Along with a storied history of legendary cars, Ford boasts an incredible range of iconic engines that helped shape the automotive landscape
Since its establishment in the early 1900s, the Ford Motor Company boasts an enormous fleet of trucks, cars, tractors, and vans, estimated at well over 300 million. Under the hood of this beautiful and stylish range of automobiles are some of the most famous engines in American automotive history. An impressive engine catalog includes robust V8s, venerable V6s, and the occasionally successful inline-fours that won the hearts of fans.
But in the upper echelons of performance cars, a handful of engines stand out as significant achievements in engineering prowess and their importance to the brand. Most importantly, many industry experts and everyday enthusiasts have given these trustworthy engines favorable reviews for their dependability.
Read on to find out the most reliable Ford engines ever built.
10 – 289 V8 Small-Block
Ford designed the 289 CID, 4.7-liter V8 engine with a relatively small weight, small dimensions, and decent power to serve as an entry-level V8 for all models. Introduced in the early 1960s, the small-block V8 ultimately became the perfect match for the legendary Ford Mustang when it debuted in 1964.
The 289 V8 small-block later spawned iconic iterations such as the factory-tuned HiPo 289 and the race-ready 289 fitted in the ultimate 1960s Mustang, the Shelby GT350. Despite being in production for five years, Ford still makes parts and aftermarket components for the reliable 289 V8 small-block.
9 – Voodoo V8
The Voodoo engine is a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that Ford produced specially for the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R. Interestingly, Ford’s SVT team barely based the Voodoo on the Coyote V8 architecture.
The Voodoo V8 distinguishes itself with a flat plain crankshaft, new high-flow heads, new forged piston designs, heavy-duty internals, and a heavy-duty exhaust system. With a 526 hp displacement, an 8,250 rpm redline, and more than 100 hp per liter of displacement, the Voodoo V8 is arguably one of the most advanced and reliable Ford engines.
8 – EcoBoost Family
In 2009, Ford introduced the EcoBoost engine family, boasting various cylinder configurations, sizes, applications, and power outputs for modern passenger cars. The economic engine family ranges from small 1.0-liter three-cylinder engines to 2.3-liter four-cylinder units, 3.5-liter V6s, 2.7-liter V8s, and 3.5-liter V8s.
However, the first generation of the three-cylinder EcoBoost and EcoBoost V6 variants proved problematic and should be avoided at all costs. Luckily, the refined second-generation EcoBoost engines addressed all the issues of their predecessors to become some of the most reliable engines on the market
7 – Boss 429
The mythical Boss 429 engine is a true muscle car legend, conceived as a pure racing engine for NASCAR championships. Unlike other Ford big-blocks, the significantly wider Boss 429 featured semi-Hemi combustion chambers and better flow to achieve higher revs and produce more power and torque.
Ford used the bulletproof Boss 429 in limited Mustang models and homologation editions of the Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone. Despite failing to fulfill its street racing potential, the Boss 429 helped Ford to win 30 out of 54 races, making it a highly desirable engine today.
6 – 428 Cobra Jet
With 427 Medium Risers becoming obsolete in the late 1960s, Ford introduced the 7.0-liter Cobra Jet V8 as a durable, powerful, yet affordable muscle engine to take on Chevrolet’s 427 V8, Pontiac’s 428 V8, and Mopar’s 426 Hemi. Rated at 400 to 450 hp (Ford officially claimed 335 hp), the 428 Cobra Jet and even rare Super Cobra Jet engines were enough to claim Stock Car Championships and several illegal street races.
Ford offered the Cobra Jet as the top engine choice in the Ford Mustang and an optional powertrain for models like the Torino. Today, most remember the incredibly reliable Cobra Jet as the ultimate Mustang power plant.
5 – Flathead V8
Revered as the first highly influential Ford power plant, the Flathead V8 was the first mass-produced V8. Booming with new technology and an impressive 65 hp, Ford beat its biggest competitor, Chevrolet, to V8 power by more than two decades. Over twenty years of production, power grew to 125 hp, putting the Flathead-equipped luxury Fords of the day as the most powerful in the class.
The most important aspects of the Flathead V8 were its durability and tuning potential, with a few mechanical tweaks almost doubling the power. The Flathead V8 aftermarket offerings that arrived later became the first engine tuners for the community and hot rod crews.
Ford C-6 transmissions – Jim O’Clair @Hemmings
Strength and heft: Good candidates for racing and hauling
In situations where your Ford, or any other engine has had performance improvements, it makes sense to also upgrade the transmission’s performance. For years, the Ford C-4 automatic was a reliable three-speed automatic transmission for many Ford products, and is fine for most 289, 302 or 351 engines that have received modest modifications. A later-model AOD overdrive unit that has been tweaked is one alternative, and certainly a Toploader manual transmission is another. However, for engine modifications, in which increases of more than 400 or 450 horsepower have been achieved, or for racing purposes, you should consider an automatic and changing from your C-4 or AOD to the stronger Ford C-6.
Ford began using the C-6 as a heavy-duty replacement for the C-4 in 1966. It was originally designed for Ford big-block engines. You will find them in Ford full- and mid-sized cars up until 1980, and in many light duty trucks and Broncos until 1990. Because of the C-6 transmission’s strength, you will find many of these units in four-wheel drive applications, however, because they are attached to a transfer case, they lack the necessary tailshaft for two-wheel drive applications. Still, these are viable conversion candidates, if you can locate a tailshaft assembly to mate to them. The C-6 is also used behind many 429 or 460 engines swaps.
The C-6 has a 17-bolt oil pan shaped similar to the state of New Mexico; mostly square, with a pronounced jog in the pan at the passenger-side rear. Units built after 1975 have a deeper pan than earlier transmissions. A vacuum modulator is mounted just above this jog in the valve body. The oil screen is metal and brass, and can be washed out and re-used when a fluid change or other service is performed.
Four-wheel drive versions use a stepped fluid pan, and the filter has an extension tube on it to lower the filter further into the pan. The bellhousing is integral to the transmission, and the dipstick is located on the passenger side just behind the taper of the bellhousing. The thickness of the bellhousing is different on some engines. You will find a narrow and shorter bellhousing on a 351W or 351C, which will be compatible with all small-block Ford, engine displacements. The 351M and 400 engines, as well as the 429 and 460 have a wider and taller bellhousing, which is compatible with the big block engines. First gear ratio is 2.46:1 and second gear is 1.46:1. Third gear is 1:1 and reverse gear is 2.18:1. These are practically the same ratios that Ford used on the later AOD overdrive transmission (with the exception of the 0.67:1 overdrive gear).
The transmission is 33-1/2 in. long, including tailshaft (on 2WD applications), which makes it 3 in. longer in overall length than the C-4 and 2-3/4 in. longer than an AOD or AOD-E. The transmission mount location is 22-1/2 in. from the front of the bellhousing, which makes it a good candidate for replacing a Chrysler 904 or a big block 727 automatic as well as the Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R-4 GM or Ford AOD overdrive transmission with minimal adaptation of the crossmember. When swapping into Turbo Hydra-Matic 350, Powerglide or some Ford C-4 applications it will be necessary to move the crossmember back about 2 inches, in addition to using a bellhousing adapter plate, shortening the driveshaft and changing the slip yoke. The C-6 is a bulky unit, measuring over 16 inches tall and 20 inches wide, so it may be necessary to modify the shifter tunnel on the driver’s side to accommodate the shifter linkage and complete this conversion. All of the pertinent transmission comparison dimensions are listed in the parts locator section of our online website, http://www.hemmings.com/parts-locator.
The C-6 can handle more than 500 hp without major modifications. It is also very heavy–204 pounds, so have a transmission jack or plenty of help handy. The C-6 holds 24 pints, including the fluid in the torque converter. C-6 transmissions used type FA hydraulic fluid, which was designed specifically for Ford transmissions, until mid-1977, and then converted to Dexron/Mercon late in the 1977 model year. The easiest way to tell what fluid you should be using is to check the dipstick. The stick will reference either the FA specified fluid or an M2C138-CJ specification, which is Ford’s designation for Dexron/Mercon.
You can locate a C-6 transmission by looking for one of these production vehicles:
Donor cars you are looking for will have an engine size between 351 and 460 cubic inches; however, you will have to find units from a 351W to bolt directly to small-block applications. These are most commonly found in trucks. Larger engines sizes will have the bigger bellhousing and will not bolt up to small-block applications without an adapter plate.
When looking for one of these transmissions at your local junkyard, we recommend you also buy the flexplate, shifter and torque converter. You’ll want to grab the kickdown rod or cable as well, if it is not still attached to the transmission. Using the proper flexplate is important. As with the AOD transmission we featured a few months ago, Ford V-8 engines used two 164-tooth flexplates. An engine balance design change was made by Ford in the 1980s and will determine if the flywheel on your donor transmission is the correct one for your application or not. Ford engines built from 1969-’81 with the C-6 transmission used a 28.2-ounce, externally balanced flexplate which is 117/16 inches in diameter. The Ford part number is E0AZ-6375A. Ford engines built after 1981 used a flexplate that was a 50-ounce, externally balanced flexplate with the same 117/16 inch diameter. The Ford part number is E2AZ-6375A. When making this conversion, you can use the original 1969-’81 C-6 flexplate found on 302s and 351s built before 1981, but a 164-tooth, 50-ounce flexplate would be required for any small-block Fords that are newer than 1982.
When installing a C-6 into an early FE engine (352, 390 and 427), which was internally balanced, you need to find an aftermarket 164-tooth flexplate with no weights to replace the original 184-tooth unit. For engine conversions where you are mating a C-6 to a 460, you will need a different externally balanced flexplate, Ford number D9TZ-6375A. This fits all of the 460 engines newer than 1979. All three of the above-listed Ford part numbers are available from any of a number of suppliers for around $50. The 31-spline output slip yoke required to hook your driveshaft to the C-6 is also available new. The Ford part number is C7SZ-4841A. This yoke accommodates either a Spicer 1330 series U-joint or a Cleveland S55-series joint. Replacement adapter joints are made by many manufacturers to mate your existing driveshaft to the C-6 slip yoke. The starter from a C-4 vehicle will work fine, however, the AOD starters have threaded holes and you will have to drill out the threads or get yourself a C-4/C-6 starter. These are available from most part stores for less than $50.
For Sale: A Rare Ford 427 SOHC Cammer V8 Crate Engine @Silodrome
EXTRAORDINARY ENGINES FOR SALE
The Ford 427 SOHC Cammer V8 is one of the rarest and most desirable big block V8 engines ever made. Unusually for an American V8 it has overhead cams rather than pushrods as it was built specifically for racing.
It’s been called the “90 Day Wonder” thanks to its compressed development schedule, some have gone so far as to call it “Ford’s Greatest Engine” however there’ll be plenty of people who argue that statement, and point to the highly influential Flathead V8 released in 1932 and engines like the more recent Coyote V8.
A Hemi Dilemma
In the mid-1960s Ford was faced with a dilemma, a dilemma in the shape of Chrysler’s 426 Hemi V8 which was an exceptionally capable engine no matter your brand loyalties. In order to effectively race against the 426 Hemi and win Ford needed a new engine, and it needed to be a doozy.
Rather than stick with the tried and tested pushrod V8 architecture so beloved of American automakers Ford decided to develop an engine with single overhead cams per bank allowing higher RPM operation, and hopefully more power
The Development Of The Ford Cammer 427 V8
Ford engineers had developed the Cammer on the 427 FE V8 platform. The FE is a pushrod engine of course so it needed new heads, a timing chain set up, and they designed an idler gear shaft in the traditional cam location in the block that operated the distributor and oil pump.
The FE block was modified with cross-bolted main bearing caps and a revised oiling system to better suit overhead cam and roller rocker operation. Originally the Cammer had an iron block and iron heads, though later engines were fitted with alloy heads to help reduce the engine’s prodigious weight.
Though the engine had its issues it likely would have proven competitive in NASCAR thanks to its high-RPM capability that was well-suited to the high speed banked circuits typically used in the racing series.
On its release the Ford 427 SOHC Cammer V8 was rated at 616 bhp at 7,000 rpm and 515 lb ft of torque at 3,800 rpm – excellent figures by the standards of the mid-1960s.
The Cammer’s Achilles’ Heel
They say every engine has an Achilles’ heel, some element of the design that wasn’t particularly well engineered. Some engines seem to be made up almost entirely of them as a matter of fact.
The Achilles’ heel of the Ford Cammer engine was its timing chain – at almost 7 feet long it’s one of the longest timing chains ever used in an automotive application, and as any mechanic will tell you, timing chains take on the characteristics of bungee cords given enough time and use.
The timing chain issues were a result of the compressed development timeline, they necessitated different valve timing for the left and right banks to account for chain stretching, and the camshafts themselves needed to a be a mirror image of one another in order to function.
Sadly the Cammer would never get to turn a wheel in NASCAR as the rules were changed to ban special racing engines, the series was supposed to be for stock cars not prototype specials.
The Cammer Goes Drag Racing
Rather than dump the Cammer project Ford continued to develop the engine in the hopes of changing the minds of those making decisions at NASCAR, in the meantime they sent the engine off into the world of drag racing – where it proved wildly successful.
Many of the big names in 1960s drag racing were putting the Cammer to good use, including Bill Lawton who won the AHRA and NHRA Winternationals in 1966. Other Cammer pilots included Mickey Thompson, Gerry Schwartz, Tommy Grove, Tom Hoover, Pete Robinson, Connie Kallita, and many others.
1967 would see Connie Kalitta’s Cammer-powered “Bounty Hunter” slingshot dragster win the Top Fuel events at the AHRA, NHRA, and NASCAR winter meets – becoming the only “triple crown” winner in the history of American drag racing.
Ford-O-Matic Transmission – Jim O’Clair @Hemmings
Introduced in the early 1950s, parts of this transmission’s basic design are still used in today’s models
Ford’s first automatic transmission, which appeared in its 1951 models, was referred to as the Ford-O-Matic. This basic unit was designed by Borg-Warner and would become the platform from which many later model automatic transmissions would evolve.
Developed as a three-speed automatic, the Ford-O-Matic used a cast-iron case and would normally be started in second gear. For this reason, you often see the Ford-O-Matic referred to as a two-speed, although the only actual two-speed units were produced from 1959-’64, and they had aluminum cases.
A sprag was added to the planetary assembly in 1958 so that you could select whether to start out in first gear or second, and the Ford-O-Matic name was changed to Cruise-O-Matic. They were later upgraded to the FX and MX series Cruise-O-Matics, then the single FMX transmission, and eventually, they evolved into the overdrive AOD transmissions used in the 1980s and 1990s Ford cars and trucks.
The Ford-O-Matic was manufactured in three different case sizes. It was initially offered in both small-case from 1951-’60 and medium-case from 1951-’68 (often referred to as the Merc-O-Matic); large-case versions were also used in 1958-’65 Lincolns.
The 1951-’60 three-speed models can be identified by an oval aluminum tag mounted on the left side of the transmission case just above the oil pan; 1961 and newer units have a tag on one of the oil pan bolts.
Transmission ID numbers were three digits long from 1951-’54 and started with “1P”; 1955 and newer Ford-O-Matic ID numbers were four letters and started with “P.” The ID number will tell you if you have the small, 97⁄8-inch case or the medium, 107⁄32-inch Merc-O-Matic case.
Large-case units were 107⁄8 inches from 1958-’60 and 115⁄8 inches long from 1961 to 1965. They can be found in 1958 Edsels; 1958-’60 Mercurys and Lincolns; 430 V-8 equipped Thunderbirds, and 1961-’65 Lincolns.
Junkyard Gem: 1938 Ford De Luxe Tudor Sedan – Murilee Martin @Autoblog
Since most of the historical gems I document in the junkyard (that’s right, historical, so those of you who are fixing to blow a brain gasket because you don’t consider a certain Junkyard Gem to be as good as your beloved Chevelle SSs or Porsche 911s can calm down now) are found in the big self-service yards with high inventory turnover, I don’t write about many vehicles from the 1930s. Oh, sure, I do find such cars now and then — a 1937 Hudson and a 1938 Oldsmobile just this year, for example — but for prewar iron, it’s best to head for an old-time family-owned yard that’s been in the same spot forever.
Now that the former Martin Supply in Windsor, Colorado, has become a very professional but somewhat sterile seller of mostly late-model inventory, my go-to establishment when I want to give my old film cameras a workout is now Speedway Auto Wrecking, just off I-25 in Dacono. Speedway is only open on Saturday mornings now, but it’s worth scheduling your weekend around a visit. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of American cars and trucks from the 1930s through 1970s in this sprawling family-owned yard a half-hour north of Denver.
I found this Ford not too far from the section with all the Chevrolet Vegas and Chevettes (at least a couple of dozen of each) and an easy walk to the 30 or so Corvairs. I was there with my artist friend, Paul Heaston, who sketched a portrait of the Dodge truck you see in the background while I shot photos
I brought a foursome of American film cameras from the 1910s-1950s period with me, but I haven’t developed the film yet. Check in at my photography page later to see the shots
Judging by the apparent vintage and decayed condition of the tires plus the completely sun-nuked interior, I’m going to guess that this car last moved under its own power when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.
Ford was notable during the 1930s for selling low-cost cars with eight-cylinder engines. Chevrolets and Plymouths had to get by with straight-sixes in 1938.
And Ford’s eight-bangers weren’t old-timey straight-eights. This is the 221-cubic-inch (3.6-liter) flathead V8, rated at an impressive 85 horsepower. Chevrolet’s six also made 85 horses that year, thanks to its modern overhead-valve design; the Plymouth flathead sixes made either 70 or 82 horsepower in 1938.
You could get the ’38 Ford with a smaller-displacement version of the flathead V8, known as the V8-60, but most American Ford buyers went for the 221.
Two trim levels were available for the 1938 Tudor two-door sedan: the upscale De Luxe and the penny-pinching Standard. This being the De Luxe, it has the snazzier grille.
The Rearview Mirror: The Birth of a Ford Icon – Larry Printz @TheDetroitBureau
Seventy-five years ago, the very first F-Series pickup rolled off the assembly line.
It may seem that Ford has always built pickups since it builds the bestselling pickup in the world.
But it didn’t always.
In fact, it took 12 years before the company introduced its first pickup. But this week in 1948, Ford unknowingly gave birth to a dynasty with the introduction of the F-1 pickup truck, the first F-Series truck
For nearly a decade after the introduction of the Ford Model T, customers requested a vehicle that had more utility and the ability to haul heavier cargo. Ford responded with the Model TT in 1917, basically a Model T cab and engine with a heavier-gauge steel frame capable of carrying 1 ton of payload at a price of $600 and made to accommodate third-party body configurations. But it was a rough rider as only front shocks were offered and they were optional. Nevertheless, by the time production ended in 1928, Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TTs.
t was replaced by the 1.5-ton Model AA, offered only as a chassis cab in two lengths. Following it was the Model BB in 1933. The all-new Model 50 in 1935, powered by a Ford Flathead V-8 and looking much like Ford’s car line. By the time production ends in 1941, Ford has sold more than four million pickups.
As Ford switches to wartime production, one of its primary assignments was to help supply the war effort with Jeeps, a military vehicle designed by Willys-Overland based on a design originated by American Bantam. Ford’s experience in building the Jeep would help them once development work began on their new pickup truck.
But the company struggled during World War II, particularly after the death of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, in 1943. Now in his 70s, Henry Ford attempted to run the privately held company. But its increasingly perilous financial condition led to Henry Ford II to assume control by 1945.
When he did, his one goal was to beat Chevrolet in sales, including in the truck market, where Chevrolet had enjoyed a huge lead since the 1930s.
A new Ford at the helm
With Henry Ford II in charge, the company went about redesigning its vehicles even as it built marginally facelifted versions of its prewar models to satisfy a booming postwar sellers’ market as consumers snapped the first new cars available since 1942. As it turns out, the all-new Ford F-1 was the automaker’s first new postwar product. It came out first merely because pickups took less time to develop than cars
“After the war, a lot of rural Americans moved to urban and suburban centers looking for work, and many took their Ford pickups with them,” said Henry Ford marketed his early trucks heavily in rural areas, according to Ford Historian Bob Kreipke. “Ford saw this as an opportunity, and began work on the next generation of trucks for 1948, what came to be known as F-Series Bonus Built trucks.”
Introduced Jan. 19, 1948 starting at $900, the F-1 was available in every size from the rom the half-ton F-1 to the three-ton F-8, it was a huge improvement from previous Ford work trucks. Notably, it was the first Ford pickup truck engineered with a specific truck frame and chassis; previous Ford light trucks were based on passenger car platforms and used front and rear transverse springs, which Henry Ford favored. Instead, the new F-1 had parallel leaf springs, double-acting tubular shock absorbers, an open driveshaft and Hotchkiss drive.
Styling saw a longer, wider and taller truck, one that featured a one-piece windshield. Chrome trim could be added to the hood and grille for $10. Ford designers paid particular attention to the interior, which it marketed as the “Million Dollar Cab.” Seven inches wider than before, it included a full set of gauges and the luxury of fresh air heat, sun visors, armrests, an ashtray, door-mounted vent windows and a column-mounted 3-speed manual shifter, allowing for more passenger space
New choices under the hood
Engines were new as well, as the F-1’s power came from a standard Rouge Six, a 3.7-liter L-head inline-6 introduced in 1941 and rated at 95 horsepower. A 3.9-liter Flathead V-8 was available, and rated at 100 hp. Larger F-series trucks could be fitted with a new 5.5-liter flathead V-8 that would later be used in the redesigned 1949 Lincoln. Through 1954, Ford was the only company to offer V-8s in its pickups.
And it could haul, thanks to a 6.5-foot-long pickup box with an all-steel floor with pressed-in skid strips and a hardwood subfloor. A reinforced tailgate, stake pockets, and 45 cubic feet of load space. If you wanted an 8-foot bed and 160.3 cubic feet of cargo space, you had to opt for the F-2 or F-3 pickup.
The Ford F-1 was also offered in Canada as the Mercury M-1, as many towns in Canada didn’t have both a Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer.
The F-1 was restyled for 1951 and soldiered on another year before the arrival of its replacement, the 1953 F-100.
Fourteen generations later, the F-1’s descendants reign as America’s most popular vehicle for more than four decades. And it all started on this week, 75 years ago.
Source The Detroit Bureau