In March 31,1932 Henry Ford announced that his new V8 automobile was ready. At once, months of public speculation, building since Model A production had halted the previous August, ended, and people thronged to see the new car. In the beginning, Ford had not wanted a V8. His dream was an eight in an “X” configuration, but experiments were discouraging – the lower cylinders fouled easily and power output was disappointing. Chevrolet had moved from a four to a six in 1929, then surpassed Ford in production during 1931. The principle of one-upmanship demanded that Henry go them one better – or two in this case. The X-8 laid to rest, a low-cost V8 was the next project.
Design and development had actually begun in 1930, working directly from sketches to casting patterns. It took a while to get the lubrication right, and cooling was problematic because the exhaust ports crossed through block casting between the cylinder bores. Henry Ford dictated many of its design points, like location of the fuel pump and the front-mounted distributor. He would have preferred a simple thermosyphon cooling system, but the heat buildup simply wouldn’t allow it. In the end, two water pumps were used, one on each bank.
Rumors about the V8 had been rampant since Model A assembly had been interrupted, the result of overstocks of unsold cars. On-again, off-again Model A production only fuelled the rumors, and announcement of a new four-cylinder car, the Model B, did nothing to quell them. All the while the V8 development was going on, an updated body was prepared, overseen by Edsel Ford and “Sheet Metal Joe” Galamb. The actual stylist for the “Deuce” is not known, but most feel the design originated at body supplier Briggs Manufacturing Company, whose staff included a number of “name” designers like Ralph Roberts and John Tjaarda. A smoother, more sophisticated Model A, the Deuce quickly won hearts and minds. Its subtly rounded grille shell has become an icon for 1932, an influential but difficult year for the motor industry as a whole.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
65 bhp, 221 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106".