Response to the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18

The response to the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18 was powerful. As soon as the cars finally started to reach the public, letters of complaint began to flood into Dearborn. In their wake came an equal and opposite flow of service and change letters from Ford Motor Company. Some dealt with minor alterations such as a new oil filler assembly; others instructed dealers to totally dismantle engines for a bearing modification.

1932 Ford Model 18 roadster V-8
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Auto racers were impressed with the V-8 engine in the 1932 Ford Model 18 roadster.

Every major facet of the engine's workings caused some sort of problem -- in the induction and fuel supply, the bearings and lubrication, and the electrical system -- but by 1934 most of the wrinkles had been sorted out. It was just unfortunate that Mr. Ford, in his eagerness to stimulate the economy, became one of the first automakers to ask the public to do its development engineering.

One group easily convinced of the V-8's performance attributes was the auto racers. However, it wouldn't be until 1933 that the engine's full potential would be realized, when Ford V-8s took the first seven places in the Elgin Road Race in Illinois. Perhaps an indication of what was to come was Fred Frame's 1932 victory lap at the Indianapolis Speedway in a Ford V-8 roadster (a Lincoln driven by Edsel was the Official Pace Car).

Also impressed with the performance of the new Ford was Britain's The Motor magazine. It marveled in its June 14, 1932, issue over the V-8's "Exceptional Acceleration and Hill-climbing, Quiet Running and a High Maximum Speed." Specifically, a test Victoria spurted from 0-60 mph in 16.8 seconds, topped out at 76 mph, and could lug down to four miles per hour in top gear.

In addition, The Autocar, a competing British publication, stated that "The driver is conscious of the unusual ratio of power to weight...Furthermore, acceleration is devoid of hesitation, the car veritably shooting forward the instant the throttle is depressed."

Pennzoil, meanwhile, had racing driver Eddie Pullen and his crew drive a total of 33,301 miles in 33 days around the Mojave Desert. In temperatures averaging between 110-114 degrees, their Victoria averaged 41.8 mph and 19.64 miles per gallon, using 11/2 pints of oil every 1,000 miles.

To learn more about the Depression's effect on the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18, continue on to the next page.

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