1932 Ford Models B and 18

The Depression and the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18

What was the Depression's effect on the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18? Unfortunately, the 1932 Ford Model B and Model 18 were not able to pull the country out of the Depression. Henry Ford could hardly expect his cars for the masses to be bought by the masses if they couldn't find work to earn the money to pay for them.

Instead of hiring one man for a week, the company (and others as well) might employ one man for two days and another for three. With heads of families desperately seeking jobs, jealousy and suspicion ran wild. Accusations of favoritism were numerous.

1932 Ford Model 18 phaeton V-8
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
By 1932, most buyers preferred closed cars, but today this 1932 Ford Model 18 phaeton is far more desirable.

Sadly, Mr. Ford's V-8 would not be the engine to drive the country out of the Depression. Because of the slow production start-up, sales were low until June 1932, when they reached some 55,000 units, nearly as many as Chevrolet and Plymouth combined. But by July it could be seen that the demand just wasn't there. Sales fell back, production was halved, and wages were cut to $4 a day. Interestingly, when his workers were earning $6 a day in 1929, Henry Ford's earnings had been $14 million, Edsel's $8 million.

For July through September 1932, production hovered around 20,000 units per month, but gradually trailed off along with sales. A massive sales drive in October helped, but November saw layoffs and more than three-quarters of a million Michigan workers unemployed, 70 percent of them in Detroit. The figure had been only half a million in January.

By December, four of Ford's 33 U.S. plants had closed down, another 19 by January -- many never to reopen. February saw the start of 1933 Model 40 production in eight plants. Total North American output for 1932 had been a little over 300,000 cars, a far cry from Henry's predicted million and a half.
The average loss to Ford on every car sold in 1932 was $250, but Mr. Ford didn't see it that way, saying to Charlie Sorensen, "We did not lose it. We spent it. Most of it went in wage envelopes, the rest for taxes; but we did not lose it -- we used it. If we had dropped it on the stock market, that would have been losing it."

Despite the difficult beginning, the V-8 would continue to receive many refinements and endure for another 21 years. The four, on the other hand, saw relatively few installations in 1933 and fewer still for 1934, so it was dropped. Fortunately for Ford and most of the auto industry, 1932 was the low point of the Depression, after which sales began a gradual improvement.

Though it was born in tough times and arrived needing further development, the "Deuce" Ford nevertheless has had many loyal and enthusiastic fans for a very long time, and still does. Among them are not only hot rodders, but old car enthusiasts in general-all of whom appreciate the 1932 ford Model B and Model 18's timeless styling and snappy V-8 performance.

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

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