In 1927, when 15 million model-Ts had been produced and Henry Ford had finally decided to bring out a replacement, mention of new Fords sent the news-hawks scudding and motoring journalists acted like Fleet Street reporters, grasping any and every clue, using every opportunity and much strategy to discover the smallest scrap of information about the new car. Eventually the story broke on December 2nd, 1927, amidst scenes of wild enthusiasm and intense interest.
It was very different last month, when we drove to Regent Street, London, at the invitation of the Ford Motor Company of Dagenham, to see the new Fords of 1959. Any hope of revolutionary new cars such as the rumoured four-speed high-revving 1,000-c.c. family car, or the disc brakes of the rally cars as an optional extra, or even that a four-speed gearbox had been introduced for the Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac, or up-to-date overhead-valve engines for the existing small Fords, was quickly dispelled when the assembled journalists were told that the mechanical specification of these well-established cars continues without change.
What Ford has done to justify calling these “Three Graces” New-Look Mark ll’s is to introduce revised furnishing, instrumentation, a lower roof line and new body embellishments.
The changes common to all three cars embrace the lower roof line, a new drip rail embellishment, stainless screen and rear window cappings, chrome headlamp bezels, and, in the interiors, a restyled facia, twist-release hand-brake, new steering-column shroud, soft-padded sun vizors, a new rear-view mirror, restyled seats with new upholstery, safety front-door locks, restyled door trim and thief-proof locks for the quarter-light catches. The new upholstery in one form is a Ford exclusive, known as Cougar Crain P.V.C., which is P.V.C. in its own texture, instead of developed to imitate cow-hide.
In addition, the de luxe models have other innovations, such as restyled side-panels, tail-lamps. and new wheel discs, grille badge, a back-panel chrome embellishment and restyled rear reflectors. Arm-rests, half-horn-ring, map pocket, etc., are also provided on certain cars.
Four million vehicles have been produced at Dagenham in 28 years and since the “Three Graces” were introduced three years ago, 340,000 Consuls, Zephyrs, and Zodiacs have been sold. The minor improvements now introduced do not increase the price of these cars, and Ford are ennlident that they will enjoy a successful future. — W.B.