In the 1920s, Henry Ford created a utopia in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The plan was to produce enough rubber to feed his auto empire, but the dream soon turned into a nightmare. Disease, riots, mud – and caterpillars – were too much for Ford’s millions.
Really useful Ford Flathead V8 specification reference page from VanPelt Sales
The Flathead V8 engines produced by Ford Motor Company included basically three versions. The most popular being the 85-125hp that was first produced in 1932, and continued until 1953 (except for Canadian and Australian production which ended in 1954). Ford also designed and produced a smaller 60hp flathead V8 engine from 1937 until 1940. Lastly, the big 337 cubic inch flathead V8 engine, which was produced mainly for truck use and for Lincoln cars from 1948 to 1951. Ford’s flathead V8 engines when introduced in 1932 were the first mass-production V8’s where the block and cylinder assembly were poured as one single casting.
Click on the links below for general descriptions, general specifications, and tune-up specifications on each series engine. Horsepower and torque curves are available on some
This week in automotive history, GM tries to acquire Ford. Here’s why it didn’t happen
Imagine General Motors owning Ford. It nearly happened, until it didn’t. TheDetroitBureau.com looks at what nearly happened, and why it didn’t.
William Crapo Durant — Billy to his friends — became President of the Buick Motor Co., after its founder, David Buick, left the company, along with $100,000. All was going well at Buick, and Durant soon left the office to have dinner with his daughter, Margery, when he was called to the phone. It was Benjamin Briscoe Jr., president of the Maxwell-Briscoe Co.
The conversation was recalled by Durant in notes for a never published autobiography and later recounted by Buick historian Lawrence Gustin in his book, “Billy Durant.”
“Hello, Billy, I have a most important matter to discuss with you and want you to take the first train to Chicago.”
Durant answered, “What’s the big idea, Ben?”
“Don’t ask me to explain; it’s the biggest thing in the country. There’s millions in it. Can you come?”
“Impossible, too busy, sorry,” Durant said. “But I can see you here. Why don’t you take the 10 o’clock Grand Trunk arriving at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning? I will meet you at the station and we will have breakfast together.”
Briscoe agreed, and boarded the train later that night.
A meeting begets a big idea
The next day, the two meet, with Briscoe telling Durant that a J.P. Morgan partner and Maxwell-Briscoe financier was toying with the idea of a large merger of automakers, nearly two dozen. Durant had his doubts.
The plan involved too many companies and would take too much to resolve any differences. Durant countered with another proposal, one involving fewer automakers that would sell medium-priced cars in large numbers, such as Ford, Reo, Buick and Maxwell-Briscoe.
Upon further discussion, they contacted Ransom E. Olds, who ran Reo, and Henry Ford, who agreed to meet with Briscoe and Durant at Durant’s suite in the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit.
Briscoe opened the meeting, stating he wanted the group to formulate a consolidation plan the could be presented to J.P. Morgan. But Ford and Olds wanted cash for their companies, at least $3 million each.
This proved to be a big hurdle. With the chances of success fading, the final straw proved to be a short item in the New York Times, stating that the first large consolidation of automakers was coming, and would be named International Motor Co. and capitalized at $25 million.
Morgan withdrew its support. The big idea was dead.
Durant carries on
Morgan may not have liked the idea, but Durant did.
Before long, he contacted the Olds Motor Works in Lansing, Michigan about consolidating Buick and Olds, with both companies owned by a holding company to be named General Motors.
Olds had fallen on hard times after the departure of their founder, Ransom Olds, several years before, and were anxious to consolidate. On Sept. 16 1908, General Motors was incorporated, starting an acquisition spree that led Durant to acquire the Albert Champion Co., the Oakland Motor Car Co., and Cadillac Automobile Co. among dozens of others.But one prize still eluded him: Ford Motor Co
Durant tries again
In 1909, Durant approached Ford’s business manager James Couzens about General Motors’ interest in acquiring Ford Motor Co. Couzens said he would talk it over with Mr. Ford. At the time, Ford was fighting George Selden, a patent lawyer who was granted a patent for the automobile.
Selden formed the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers and began collecting a 0.75% royalty on all cars sold. But automakers had to get a license from the ALAM. Having been refused one by the ALAM, Ford built cars anyway. Selden sued, and the case dragged on for years. Ford was still battling Selden when Durant’s offer arrived. With victory uncertain, and huge costs being incurred with the installation of the automobile industry’s first assembly line, Ford couldn’t help but be swayed by the offer.
“I had reason to believe that if we were successful, General Motors would not require any more motor car companies,” Durant writes.
Ford agreed to sell his company to General Motors for $8 million. His terms: $2 million in cash, $2 million in stock, and the remaining $4 million paid during the next three years at 5% interest. But Durant’s acquisition fee left GM short on cash. Durant turned to the National City Bank of New York to ask for a $2 million loan, even as GM’s board of directors gives Durant the authority to buy Ford on Oct. 26, 1909. But the bank was unwilling to take a risk on the fledgling industry, let alone Durant’s new company.
The answer was no.
Ultimately, Ford would prove victorious over Selden upon appeal, and the assembly line proved a wise innovation. By the 1920s, Ford would control half the U.S. automobile market with a single vehicle, the Model T. Ultimately, through a combination of factors, GM would surpass Ford, become the top seller of automobiles in the U.S. for decades.
However, one wonders what might have been had things turned out differently in 1909.
While those same bankers later admitted they made a mistake, Durant harbored no regrets. “I never would have built up that business the way Ford did,” he recalled. “The Ford business would never have been what it is without Henry Ford, who has done more for America than any other man — more for the world.”
Buried deep into the Brazilian jungle sit the remains of what was once Henry Ford’s utopian city. A place where one of the richest and most influential men on the planet wanted not to make money, but to – quote – help develop that wonderful and fertile land. And I can tell you right now that Henry Ford definitely didn’t make any money out of his dream city. In fact, it turned out to be one of his biggest failures – but we’ll get to that later. So stick around until the end of this video to find out the story of Fordlandia, an American attempt at making an American rubber factory and an American-style community in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.
The Henry Ford Digitization Project Hits a Milestone
The Henry Ford has announced a milestone in the massive effort to digitize its enormous collection of artifacts. Last week, the museum staff scanned its 100,000th artifact, a photograph of the 100,000th Fordson Tractor. To celebrate, The Henry Ford has been giving guests behind-the-scenes looks at the digitization process.“If you’ve visited our website, read a blog post, shared a social media story from our channels, or simply walked through the museum, you’ve encountered the work of our digitization team.” said Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO, The Henry Ford.
“Digitization has opened our doors to guests far beyond what we could have ever imagined. People can now view the Rosa Parks bus, the Wright Cycle Shop or Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory from anywhere in the world at any time they choose.”The process is very detailed, requiring many steps such as cleaning, special handling, or the application of other extensive treatments before digitization. Artifacts are either photographed or scanned, while the curatorial team drafts a summary giving an overview of the item’s significance.
When completed, each is catalogued in the Digital Collections for viewing. With more than 26 million artifacts in the collection, expect many more milestones over the coming year
Don’t try to wipe your screen to clear up that blurry image above: It’s a screen-capture from a 50-plus-year-old promotional video uploaded to YouTube at a low resolution setting, so that’s about as sharp as it gets. It’s also about the only photographic evidence we’ve been able to find of a gas-turbine engine that Ford designed and experimented with in the mid-Twenties, long before other American carmakers started their own gas turbine programs.
As noted in Ford’s own 1966 promotional video on Big Red, the turbine-powered concept truck that was the predecessor to Ford’s gas-turbine engine program of the late Sixties and early Seventies, this little gas turbine engine predated Big Red by 40 years. “Since that time, Ford’s engineers have been interested in the potential of gas turbine power,” the narrator boasted, implying an unbroken thread of research and development into the engines. However, it appears Ford’s scriptwriters included the mention of the engine only to boost the company’s credentials; after a quick mention that Henry Ford and two associates built the gas turbine engine in 1925, the video switched back to the development of the 700-series gas turbines without elaborating on the earlier engine.
The gas turbine engine in the image appears to be a patent demonstration model, but we’ve yet to come across any such patent in our searches. A clearer image of the patent model would help, but we’ve yet to make any headway with Ford itself or The Henry Ford. Without much else to support the existence of the Henry Ford-developed gas turbine, we could’ve easily dismissed it as another wild Henry Ford idea or part of the accretion myth around the industrialist.
The legacy that Henry Ford left behind for not only his namesake company but the automotive industry, in general, can’t be denied. A new movie has received the green light after landing a grant from a Detroit nonprofit that supports the region’s automotive and labor industry. The film is called “Ten Questions for Henry Ford.”
The film was among the more than a dozen projects that received a share of $66,000 from the Motorcities National Heritage Area. Its creator hails the movie as being a blend of historical fact and “poetic imagining.” The film’s share of the money totaled $9,000 and was given through the University of Michigan Department of Performing Arts Technology.