Ford Model B / Model 18 (Ford V8)
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
Unlike the Model T that had enjoyed a near
20 year production run, Ford knew that to
retain market share, they would have to turn
models over regularly as did their competitors.
And so the Model A was replaced in 1932 by the
Model B, carrying over the 4L engine layout however
offering some minor refinements.
Ford then used the Model B as the basis for
another car, and for the first time since the
companies inception Ford had two models on offer.
The Model 18, which is most commonly referred
to as the Ford V8, was fitted with Ford’s
new Flathead V8 engine.
The Model 18 (Ford V8) offered 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.
Many quite rightly believe this to be Henry
Ford's swan song and an engineering triumph.
The compact Flathead V8 power plant, with its down
draft carburettor, enabled the 1932 Ford to outperform
all other popular competitors and was 20 years ahead of its time.
The improved proportions and styling of this car
reflected Edsel Ford's genius for design.
The 1932 Ford automobile
combines the attractive
facelift of the 1931 Model A with the world's
first low-priced, cast-in-one-piece V-8 engine.
When the V-8 first made its appearance in the 1932
Ford, it heralded the era of the American dream car:
large, powerful, and soft-sprung. Basic mechanical
configuration changed little from the late 1930s
until the advent of the downsized front wheel drive
cars of the 1980's.
In 1933 Ford revised the design of the Model 18 by
using a new cross-member frame which stretched
the wheelbase from 106 inches (2692 mm) to 112 inches (2845 mm).
The grille and hood lovers were also revised,
these now curving down and forward.
The engineers had also been working on the
V8 engine, specifically the ignition system. This
seemingly minor modification had a big effect on
performance, power being increased from 65 to 75 hp (56 kW).
During 1934 the Model 18 was again revised, the
grille being flatter with a wider surround and straight
hood louvers. The V8’s performance was again
improved, it now offering 85 hp (63 kW).
So popular was the V8 engine that the days of
the 4 cylinder Model B were numbered, and 1934
would be the last year that a 4 would be manufactured,
it being fitted to a Victoria body style.
But despite the Flathead V8's popularity, it was
born into the worst ever year encountered by the
automotive industry up until that time. It was the
bottom of the depression, and you couldn't sell a
car for love or money.
Only two US automakers turned a profit that year, and
Ford was not amoung them. GM - which was able to absorb
most of the problems of the depression by cutting
costs (as well as the Oakland brand the year before),
managed to stay in the black, as did Nash - which had a
great year in 1932, despite declining sales. That said, the
Ford V8 put the company in a position to bounce back into
the sales charts as the economy slowly emerged from