1932 Ford Models B and 18

Revolutionary Elements of the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18

Now we'll consider the many revolutionary elements of the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18. For a Ford, the new V-8's interior was almost as revolutionary as its exterior. While the headlight switch remained at the horn button, as on the Model A, the key and ignition switch were sensibly combined into a single anti-theft unit at the steering column bracket. With the ignition toggle "off" and the key removed, the steering gear locked the front wheels for parking. It was a wonderful idea (still in use today), though it took some getting used to. The uninitiated were forever removing the key before stopping, thus running into all sorts of locked-up trouble.

1932 Ford Model 18 phaeton V-8 interior
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
In the 1932 Ford Model 18 phaeton V-8, a leather interior, sidemount spare, and luggage rack were quality touches.

Instruments, including an 80-mph speedometer, were grouped in a handsome, engine-turned oval housing trimmed with a stainless bead strip and mounted in a mahogany-color panel, a design theme borrowed from the Lincoln. Sun visors were arranged to swing out of the way, while the usual top-hinged windshield now opened on a pair of adjustable arms.

Following now-customary Ford practice, fine wool, mohair, and leather upholstery were offered. Also per tradition, fenders on all models were dipped in black enamel, while bodies came in a fair choice of colors with contrasting reveals and pinstriping.

Models numbered no fewer than 17 (34 counting fours and V-8s), arrayed in Standard and DeLuxe series. Base-trim body styles comprised the Tudor and Fordor sedans, three-window coupe with trunk or rumble seat, roadster (also with trunk or rumble seat), and four-door phaeton. To these, the DeLuxe series added the Victoria, a five-passenger "coupe"; two-door convertible sedan, still with fixed side-window frames; a rumble-seat convertible cabriolet; plus a Sport Coupe with a rumble seat and dummy landau top irons.

Though officially listed within the commercial vehicle line, an eight-passenger woody station wagon was also available with a four or V-8. Early 1932 ads listed "fourteen body types," completely ignoring the wagon and counting both the two-passenger and four-passenger (rumble-seat) roadsters and coupes as one model rather than two.

1932 Ford Model 18 coupe
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1932 Ford Model 18 coupe was the first Ford to have a grille to hide the radiator. Because of the handsome, clean design, hot rodders still seek it out.

Introductory ads touted many benefits of the new Model 18 Fords: "Eight-cylinder, 90-degree V-type, 65-horse-power Engine o Vibrationless o Roomy, Beautiful Bodies o Low Center of Gravity o Silent Second Gear o Synchronized Silent Gear Shift o Seventy-five Miles per Hour o New Self-adjusting Houdaille Double-acting Hydraulic Shock Absorbers with Thermo-static Control o Comfortable Riding Springs o Rapid Acceleration o Low Gasoline Consumption o Reliability Automatic Spark Control o Down-draft Carburetor o 90-degree Counterbalanced Crankshaft."

If anything, the ads understated the capabilities of the new 221-cubic-inch flathead V-8, for while it was advertised at 65 horsepower, it actually developed about 70 bhp on a compression ratio of 5.5:1; many claimed that top speed was more like 80 mph.

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

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