The Ford Motor Company publicly unveiled its one piece “V-8” flathead engine

Thursday 31st March 1932

The Ford Motor Company publicly unveiled its one piece “V-8” flathead engine. Bringing out a pioneering eight-cylinder low-priced car was a bold move in the midst of the most severe economic depression the United States had ever endured. But Henry Ford was determined to build a mass-produced V8, and the world was ready for it. There would be 212,000 Model 18 Ford engines produced in 1932 and that was only the beginning. Ford passenger cars would be powered by refined versions of what would become known as the Ford ‘flathead’ V8 through 1953 (and in Canada, through 1954). Edsel Ford, Henry’s son, styled the 1932 Ford car. This one-year-only model bore a marked resemblance to the Lincoln of the same year, which had also been designed under the direction of Edsel Ford. Generations of car enthusiasts have admired the handsome, clean lines of the 1932 Ford, which is popularly known as the ‘Deuce.’ The Model B, with a 4-cylinder engine, was also available in 1932. Combined production of the Fours and V8s totaled just a bit more than 250,000 cars. Ironically, what would become one of the most desired Fords ever was originally one of the lowest production models ever. A mere four years after the introduction of the Model A, Henry Ford introduced the first mass-produced V-8 in the low-priced field – the Model 18. The V8 engine was available for just $50 over the price of the four-cylinder model, known as the Model B. The flathead V8 engine could be found in Ford and Mercury cars until 1953. Some of the styling cues from the Lincolns were incorporated into the Model 18s. They were available in a wide range of 14 bodystyles, along with a choice of a trunk or rumble seat in the roadsters and coupes. Ford introduced the B-400 two-door convertible sedan bodystyle in 1931. It featured all-weather protection for open-car enthusiasts and was one of lower production Fords for 1932. Only 41 customers purchased the car with the four-cylinder engine, while 842 customers selected the V-8 engine.

This 1932 Ford V-8 B-400 Convertible Sedan is one of the few of this bodystyle produced. It is a left-hand-drive example that was exported to Europe in 1932. Its last inspection for public roads was performed in Denmark in 1957. In June of 2007, the car was brought back to the United States and is currently in original, unrestored condition.

In early 2008, the current owner purchased the V8 from Gary Matranga of Lake Havasu, Arizona. The V-8 flathead engine appears to be a correct factory replacement Ford engine from the early 1930s. The body has minor rust and has never been taken off the frame.

In 2008, this B-400 Convertible Sedan V-8 Ford was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California and was estimated to sell for $150,000 – $210,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot had been left unsold, as bidding had failed to satisfy the car’s reserve.

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