Ford UK And Europe Reviews and Road Tests

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Ford UK and Europe

The Ford UK operation began in 1903 with the import of Model A’s, then in 1909 the Ford Motor Company (England) was officially established, an office being opened at 55 Shaftsbury Avenue, London under the chairmanship of Percival Perry. The following year Ford’s first dealership was opened in Southampton, and then in 1911 Ford acquired an old tram factory in Trafford, Manchester, which they converted into an assembly plant – making it the first Ford production facility to be established outside the US.

The number of employees would quickly grow to 60, the majority involved in the assembly of the Model T. These first iterations were assembled from imported chassis and mechanical parts with bodies sourced locally, but in 1914 Britain's first moving assembly line for car production started, with 21 cars an hour being built. Six thousand cars were produced in 1913 and the Model T became the UK’s biggest selling car (having some 30 % of the market). Following World War 1 the Trafford Park facility was extended, and by 1919 over 40 % of British registered cars were Fords.

Deciding on the need to have a facility located next to a deep water port, in 1923 Ford purchased land in Dagenham next to the river Thames. Construction of the new facility commenced in 1929, and at its opening in 1931 it was Europe’s largest car plant - at the time producing the Model AA truck and Model A car. The timing was less than perfect, the depression hitting dealerships hard, and the Model A being too expensive to tax and run in Britain; only five were sold in the first three months of production. A smaller car was urgently needed, Ford rushing the 933cc Model Y into production in 1933, in the process it becoming Britain's first £100 car.

Between 1932 and 1937 over 157,000 were made at Dagenham and Cork and at its peak it captured 41 % of its market sector. During World War 2 Ford played a major role, churning out 360,000 vehicles at their Dagenham plant while their new Urmston (Manchester) facility manufactured 34,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. Rapid expansion would follow the war, new facilities being established and Briggs Motor Bodies being acquired in 1953, by that year the company employing some 40,000 Britons. In 1962 the Halewood Liverpool facility would open, initially manufacturing the Anglia, then Escort, until a 2001 switch would see it re-tooled for the manufacture of the Jaguar X-Type.

Unlike most European manufacturers, Ford UK was an example of a company which changed its styling quite regularly, and occasionally radically, in its usually successful efforts to keep abreast, or at times ahead, of fashion. Both the above approaches, continuity and change, have proved successful in the hands of the right stylists. Many UK derived Fords have found their way to Australian shores, and while the Cortina and Escort were undoubtedly good cars, the Capri is arguably the most revered today.
Ford Prefect  

Ford Prefect

1938 - 1959
The Ford Prefect was first introduced in 1938 and at the time was the first Ford to be designated by a model name. Its model number was E93A. More>>
Ford Anglia  

Ford Anglia

1940 - 1967
Developed during the 1930’s as a cheap-and-cheerful mode of transport following the lack of success of the more expensive Model A, the original Anglia featured typically conservative design cue’s with its upright radiator and black paint work, and looked almost identical to the 4 door Prefect. More>>
Ford Consul  

Ford Consul/Zephr/Zodiac Mk. I/II

1950 - 1972
The Consul produced in 1950 boasted a raft of technology which included a unitary constructed chassis which resulted in a lighter structure. More>>
Ford Zephyr Six Mark I  

Ford Zephyr Six Mark I

1951 - 1956
Despite outward appearances, both the FJ Holden and Zephyr had a lot in common. Both were powered by small capacity sixes, the Holden's displacing 2171cm3 and the Zephyr's 2262cm3. In straight line performance there was little difference and both were hotshots in their day with quicker acceleration than most other family sedans and some sports cars. More>>
Ford Zephyr Mark III  

Ford Zephyr Mark III

1962 - 1966
The MKIII Zephyr was introduced in 1962 which saw an end to the 1950's style Consuls, Zephyrs and Zodiacs. Arguably the Mark III Zephyr's biggest claim to fame was that it was the first car assembled in Australia to have curved glass side windows, an innovation aimed to provide passengers with more elbow and hip room. More>>
Ford Corsair  

Ford Corsair

1963 - 1970
The Corsair had unusual and quite bold styling for its day, with a sharp horizontal V-shaped crease at the very front of the car into which round headlights were inset. This gave the car an apparently aerodynamic shape. More>>
Ford Granada  

Ford Cortina Mark 4

1976 - 1979
The transition from the Mark III to the new Mark IV Cortina in 1976 was a good indication of just how alert Ford was to changing fads and fashions in the motor industry. Indeed to a great extent the company led fashion rather than followed it with the Mark IV. More>>
Ford Fiesta Mk 1  

Ford Fiesta Mk 1

1976 - 1983
By 1978 the Fiesta had proven extremely popular, and it seemed a good time for Ford to release a 'hot' version. This came in the form of a 1300, available in 'S' or Ghia versions, powered by a special five-bearing transverse pushrod OHV engine derived from the Escort Sport/Ghia. More>>
Ford Granada  

Ford Granada Mark 2

1977 - 1985
The most striking change on the Mark 2 Granada was the bodyshell which, like the Cortina, was given a lower bonnet line and a greater glass area. The nose section was elongated, helping to eliminate the blunt look of the old Granada, and making the new model far more elegant. More>>
Ford Colani GT80  

Ford Colani GT80

1979 - 1980
During the decade that was the 1970s, Colani built several full scale models and mock-ups of C-Form wing cars. The Colani GT80 prototype unveiled at the Frankfurt show in 1980 was the result of these many years of aerodynamic study and development. In 1973 the first 1:1 mock-up model of this very advanced project was ready at Colani's studio at his Harkotten water-castle near Munster, Germany. More>>
Ford Sierra

Ford Sierra

1982 - 1993
One of the most important events in the automobile industry in 1982 was, without doubt, the announcement of the Sierra, the car that replaced Ford's best-selling Cortina/Taunus model. Released on 21st September 1982, the Sierra was designed by Uwe Bahnsen, Robert Lutz and Patrick le Quément. The code used during development was "Project Toni". More>>
Ford Scorpio

Ford Granada Mark 3 / Scorpio

1985 - 1994
When Ford’s European HQ set about designing their mid 1980s generation of flagship passenger cars, they made a deliberate effort at achieving a more externally compact car than the previous Granada model. It seemed that the maximum practical width for a European car had been reached, or even exceeded, and it was time to start trimming back the body without sacrificing passenger accommodation. More>>
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