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Old 03-29-2019, 04:24 PM   #1
Mulletwagon
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Default Rest of the Story

In 1931 Henry made a trip to his summer home in Fort Meyers, FL. Rather than take the train, he elected to drive down in a somewhat spirited Model A. It was later revealed that the Model A was configured with a prototype V-8, and Henry was performing a development test. Can anyone provide any additional information on this little known but important test ? Just curious how the engine performed since the initial development of the V-8 was plagued with problems and disappointments. Once the bugs were worked the Ford V-8 earned a major milestone in automotive history. Just hoping some of our Ford history buffs can tell us the rest of the story.
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:02 PM   #2
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I bet Paul Harvey would know.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:17 PM   #3
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In 1931 Henry made a trip to his summer home in Fort Meyers, FL. Rather than take the train, he elected to drive down in a somewhat spirited Model A. It was later revealed that the Model A was configured with a prototype V-8, and Henry was performing a development test. Can anyone provide any additional information on this little known but important test ? Just curious how the engine performed since the initial development of the V-8 was plagued with problems and disappointments. Once the bugs were worked the Ford V-8 earned a major milestone in automotive history. Just hoping some of our Ford history buffs can tell us the rest of the story.
Is there any substantial evidence for this story, or could it be another 'urban legend'?
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:49 AM   #4
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Is there any substantial evidence for this story, or could it be another 'urban legend'?
The story is documented by author Douglas Brinkley in his book, "Wheels for the World".
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Old 03-30-2019, 06:28 PM   #5
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It may not mean much but there was nothing in Charlie Sorensens book about it. Ford, or more accurately Jeno Farkas' unsuccesful experimentation with the X block 8 cylinder engine prior to the introduction of the model A was chronicled. The Henry Ford has a little bit of info on this site. https://www.thehenryford.org/collect...tifact/279399/

They have a photo of an experimental block cast in 1930 or 31. They also have a photo of the 1st V8 (complete) and it does have the side pads similar to the ones on the model A clutch housing. It mentions that they did some of the work down at the Ford/Edison Winter Estate in Edisons shop. I figure they put it together there and worked with it trying to get it operational. I don't know if they actually drove the car down to Ft Meyers though. That's a long way to be driving an experimental car that started out with a lot of bugs. I'd want to have a tow car following me. There would have been no capability to make parts down there. Parts would have come from the Rouge.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:18 PM   #6
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Just going by memory (it has been several years) but I believe this is supposed to be the 1st V8 built. It is at the Henry Ford estate in Ft Myers.


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Old 03-31-2019, 12:17 AM   #7
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Just going by memory (it has been several years) but I believe this is supposed to be the 1st V8 built. It is at the Henry Ford estate in Ft Myers.


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1st V8 built in 1940 maybe? ?Certainly not the 1st V8! It has a '40-'48 transmission, water outlets in the center of the heads, a two barrel carb, an oil filter, and later generator without a cutout mounted on it. So at least a 1940 engine.
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:21 AM   #8
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1st V8 built in 1940 maybe? ?Certainly not the 1st V8! It has a '40-'48 transmission, water outlets in the center of the heads, a two barrel carb, an oil filter, and later generator without a cutout mounted on it. So at least a 1940 engine.
I was going to say the bronze color is a nice 1950s Oldsmobile sort of color.

Maybe they hadn't developed "Ford Engine Blue" yet.

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Old 03-31-2019, 08:06 AM   #9
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Just going by memory (it has been several years) but I believe this is supposed to be the 1st V8 built. It is at the Henry Ford estate in Ft Myers.


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The head bolt pattern also tells us it's a 24 stud 239cu version of the flathead used in mercury's starting 1939 and Ford's starting 1946 vs the earlier 21 stud 221 v8.
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Old 03-31-2019, 08:25 AM   #10
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The head bolt pattern also tells us it's a 24 stud 239cu version of the flathead used in mercury's starting 1939 and Ford's starting 1946 vs the earlier 21 stud 221 v8.
Well, not quite. The 24 stud came out in 1938 and was still 221 cu. in. The 221 24 stud engine was produced through 1942.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:00 AM   #11
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There’s a bit more about in the book called “Uncommon Friends”. The author was a friend of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, among others. He sold the Fort Meyers properties to Edison and Ford as I recall. It’s a really interesting book.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:56 AM   #12
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Back in '56 or '57 I went to the Henry Ford Museum with my father. Ford V-8 #1 was on display there. We went out a side door of the museum and wandered over to another old building that wasn't open to the public, it looked like a powerhouse as it had a big smokestack. We peeked inside a side door of that building and there was a bunch of various engines scattered on the floor, one of which was an air cooled X-8. We shouldn't have been there so we went back to the museum the way we came.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:56 AM   #13
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Bronze engine color was used in the shoebox Fords with 8BA engines for a time. That engine could be a 99A or an 81A. It would be hard to tell without seeing the part numbers on the heads. It could also be a 59A from post war but most of them have the big 59 on the back.

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Old 03-31-2019, 08:15 PM   #14
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I know very little about the early V8 engines and like I said, it has been several years since I took the pic. I like to also take a pic of the placard to help my aging memory but I failed on this one.


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Old 03-31-2019, 09:09 PM   #15
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The motor in that picture (V-8) is listed at the museum as ca. 1937. I was there somewhat recently and my photo has the descriptive plaque in it, thus my information.
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:22 PM   #16
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I was at the Henry Ford 3 or 4 years ago and I might be confusing the 2.





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Old 03-31-2019, 10:41 PM   #17
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The motor in that picture (V-8) is listed at the museum as ca. 1937. I was there somewhat recently and my photo has the descriptive plaque in it, thus my information.
Trans is column shift-first year 1940. Do not see a fan on the generator-first year of crank mounted fan was 1939 Deluxe, if I remember. Holley/
Chandler Grove carb. '37 was Stromberg 97, as I recall. Also I don't think '37's had an oil filter.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:48 AM   #18
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The engines were still 21-stud in 1937. 1938 was when the 24-stud 81A engine came out but they were mixed with 21-stud engines for a while that year.

Henry would hold out on changes until he had exhausted all of the new ideas that they hadn't perfected yet. He wanted a new 8-cylinder engine and a new 3-speed version of the model T transmission but finally gave up on both ideas before shutting the plant down on model T production and tooling up for model A production in 1927. They settle for what was viable for the time. It turned out pretty well but the multi plate clutch and a few other problematic items went by the way side pretty quickly after production started.

Ford was onto something with his bands, clutches, and planetary ideas for a transmission but it would be after his death before the automatic transmissions finally became reality. They just didn't have the technology figured out to make it work yet.

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Old 04-01-2019, 09:26 PM   #19
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In 1931 Henry made a trip to his summer home in Fort Meyers, FL. Rather than take the train, he elected to drive down in a somewhat spirited Model A. It was later revealed that the Model A was configured with a prototype V-8, and Henry was performing a development test. Can anyone provide any additional information on this little known but important test ? Just curious how the engine performed since the initial development of the V-8 was plagued with problems and disappointments. Once the bugs were worked the Ford V-8 earned a major milestone in automotive history. Just hoping some of our Ford history buffs can tell us the rest of the story.
Shouldn't that be WINTER home in Florida? This was before air conditioning so Florida was a hot humid place full of bugs. I have often read of Henry and family going South during the winter, but not summer, as best I recall. I'm still thinking this story is more legend than fact.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:49 PM   #20
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Many manufacturers used a planetary transmission in the early 1900's
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