FORD V8 ” SPECIALS “
WHEN in 1932 the Ford V8 was first introduced to the general public those among it who were motor sportsmen realised that here, indeed, was “a car that was different,” one which gave town carriage comfort with super sports performance, a combination which had never been realised before at a competitive price.
Early in 1933 Several slightly-modified Model 18s appeared in the Swedish Winter Grand Prix with promising results, and British drivers were not slow in following snit. Then began to appear, at regular intervals, in the competition world, modified versions of this product of Detroit and Dagenham, with varying degrees of success up to the outbreak of war. Such cars as the Batten, Jensen and Allard I do not elaSs as modified Fords but rather as individual cars built of, basically, Ford components ; they are rather outside the scope of this article, in which I propose to refer to ears actually built up by Modifying standard Ford V8 models. The first of these which comes to mind is the white V8 with which K. N. Hutchison registered so many successes before he became a confirmed ” Allard addict,” Originally this was a standard Model 40 2-seater, driven in trials with verve by C. G. Fitt, Of B.M.W. and blown Hudson fame, and was used by Hutchison in standard form, the only deviation being that Fitt had some 15-in. wheels built, which were fitted with 8,50in. tyres. Later, Hutchison stripped off the body and ran for a time with a bathlike body of extremely light-gauge aluminium, the back of the chassis consisting of a kind of plywood platform on which as many as four wheels could be piled, thus concentrating weight in the right place. In this form it ran in a Southport 100 Mile race, but retired after about 75 miles with a cracked cylinder head. The decision to completely rebuild came after a hectic week-end consisting of the ” Colmore ” on the Saturday and a Southsea event on the Sunday. During the .” Colmore “the car hit a tree and did the front end no good whatever, whilst in the Sunday’s event another tree was collected by a rear wheel, thus tearing
Harold Biggs describes some interesting examples, and suggests a line which should appeal to enthusiasts planning post-war cars of high performance.
the axle away from the propeller shaft; Hutchison collected a cup in the Colmore ” and a first-class award in the Southsea affair despite these handicaps. The Ford was brought home on a lorry and it was decided to rebuild it in the light of the experience gained in its initial form. Before continuing I should point out to those readers who are not conversant with the various Ford types, I hat tile Model 1.0 is the most suitable type for Modification. It was produee( I in late 1933 and, whilst having a longer vIieelbase than the lodel I 8, or original N’S (which was, ill effect, the 4-cylinder chassis fitted with the V8 power unit) it had a more robust rear axle with the bevel pinion supported in straddle bearings, an engine with aluminimn heads having a compression ratio of ti.82 to I against …Ti to 1 of the east-iron-headed Model 18, and a double-choke downdraiight carburetter. It developed 90 b.h.p. at 3,500 r.p.m., against 65 of the Model 113 at 3,418)
‘,MIT were, of course, other minor detail alterations. To revert, after this digression, to Hutchison’s car ; the remains, after being sorted out, received expert. attention. the chassis being cut to 8-ft. wheelbase by liainshaws, of Wimbledon, and tla! engine moved as far to the rear as iiracticable, the propeller shaft, and torque tube being shortened accordingly. Whilst the standard Ford axles were retained, both front and rear, the crown and bevel were changed from the standard 4.1 to I to 3.5 to 1. Apart from the fitting of a Scintilla Vertex magneto the engine alterations were negligible, thin gaskets and a few Pounds off the flywheel being the only departures from standard, even the heatretaining stock exhaust manifolds being used. The radiator remained the same and the bonnet line was unaltered, but a quite respectable body was fitted ; this had no internal strengthening, the wired-edging of the panels tieing the only reinforcement. A ileitly-rolinded tail was later cut off flat, vertivally, to carry two comp.-shod spares (a third could be carried on the near side of the body in a triple Strap Thigatti-pattern sling). Steering was Ford, with a longer drop arm, and a fold-fiat windscreen with twin aero additions and a ” pocket handkerchief ” hood looked after the comfort (?) of the crew. The whole car tipped the scale at 16 cwt., of which more than half came in the right place, over the rear axle. Despite additional and more robust shock-absorbing devices the job was a definite handful at speed (some 85 in se(‘ond) but, as the aim was trials of the tough variety, this was not of major importance, it being extremely difficult to combine the weight distribution of a trials job, with its load over the rear axle, of fuel and spare wheels; with that
required on a racing car.
When the white vs was sold to ix. S.
Millar, of the Scottish Sports Car Club, it was advertised as `• having secured, in 15 events, 21 a w a rds, including 10 trophies “—a very fine record. It. also Matto second fastest time at Bo’ness to I tarry Souter on a blown Bugatti, less than a second slower. Yet another trials ‘S of which I have constructional details is the Terryford Special. This is the property of N. V. Terry, and iny first opportunity to examine it closely was at the start of the 1938 London Gloucester. It WAS, origimilly, a Model 40, and the chassis alteratii ws are most interesting. The tapered portions of the side members were cut out Completely and the rear cross member cut and shortened ; thus when the side nicrolters were joined, the chassis was shortened by some 2 ft. and was parallel throughout its length. The central cruciform cross-brace had its members shortelied anti rewel(led in its new position. The new chassis was far too short and Terry, realisin!r that he must retain the front cross member in its position in order to keep the engine mounting towards the rear of the chassis, decided to extend forwards. After some weeks’ fruitless search of car-breakers’ yards,