Ford V8 (1932)

Ford never had a car officially called "V8", but for simplicity many people referred the V8-powered Model 18 and Model 40 from 1932-34 as "Ford V8". It was the world's first mass production V8 car.

V8 engines had been available in expensive luxury cars or sports cars long ago, but until the 1932 Ford V8 no one else had put them on mass production affordable cars. In 1929, Chevrolet introduced a straight-6 engine into its mass production cars, which was clearly superior to the contemporary 4-cylinder Ford Model A no matter in power or smoothness. In response, Henry Ford commissioned the development of a V8 engine to put into his next generation mainstream car. It would be his last great achievement in his career.

To reduce production cost, Ford developed a single cylinder block for the V8, unlike other contemporary V8s which used multiple blocks joined together in human intensive ways. The theory was similar to its mono-block 4-cylinder engine, just in a larger scale and had to overcome more technical difficulties in the casting. This 3.6-liter (221 cubic inches) side-valve 90-degree V8 became the world's earliest mass production V8, with approximately 1 million units built from 1932 to '34. It produced 65 horsepower initially, then increased to 75hp in 1933 and 85hp in 1934.

Originally, Henry Ford wanted to equip all its next generation car with the V8. However, as a safe measure he made two cars side by side – a conventional 4-cylinder model called Model B and a V8 model called Model 18 (i.e. meaning 1st V8). Except the engines, the cars were basically the same. Edsel Ford gave them a very stylish look including a graceful radiator grille.

The V8 was renowned for looks, performance and tunability. After WWII, many used chassis and engines were cheaply available. People modified them with lowered suspensions, aggressive tires, larger engine, upgraded transmission and brakes, sportier bodywork and painted them in fancy colors and graphics. These cars were called "hot rods". Without the 1932 Ford V8, there would have no hot rods.

Henry Ford introduced his first V8


Ford V8
Year of production
No. produced
approx. 1 million units
Layout, Gearbox
Front-engined, Rwd, 3M
V8, side valves, 2v/cyl
3621 cc
65 hp
130 lbft
1090 kg (Roadster)
Top speed
76 mph* (65hp)
0-60 mph
16.8 sec*
* Tested by Motor

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