Skip to main content

Citizen Ford’s V-8

May 2024
1min read

I enjoyed the article “Citizen Ford.” It was enlightening in many respects. However, his fascination with Edsel’s efforts to produce a six-cylinder engine appears to have blinded him to a Ford Motor Company success of major impact—the V-8 engine that first appeared in 1932. That engine was improved in 1933, and it was almost perfect by 1934.

The 1934 V-8, particularly the sport roadster and convertible coupe, became a symbol for my pre-war peers. It was memorialized in song; who of that era can forget “I’m going to Heaven in my Ford V-8,/I’m going to ride right through the Pearly Gate”? That V-8 engine was fast on acceleration, it was economical and durable.

In the fifties and sixties the 1932 was the preferred vehicle to “cut down” for a street dragster. I had the pleasant satisfaction of owning a ’34, ’36, and ’46—a war intervened there.

Most important, the Ford V-8 was Henry’s response to the excellent Chevrolet six-cylinder engine, and it was successful. But in 1938 I shaved the head off a 1931 Chevy, added an oversize carburetor from an Ingersoll-Rand air compressor, and proceeded to beat every Ford V-8 in my area in acceleration. Yet I still loved my Ford V-8.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.