Monday, July 16, 2012

Hot Rod Of The Day: July 16, 2012

Today's car of the day comes from Firehawk73's collection and is Matchbox's 1933 Ford Model B hot rod.

The Model B was a Ford automobile produced between 1932 and 1934. It was a much updated version of the Model A and was replaced by the Model 48. Strictly speaking, the Model B was a four-cylinder car with an improved Model A engine with a displacement of 201 cu in (3.3 l) and 50hp, but Ford also began producing a very similar car with Ford's new flathead V‑8 engine. The V‑8 car was marketed as the Model 18, though it is commonly called the Ford V‑8, and, other than the engine, is virtually indistinguishable from the Model B.

Up to this time, Ford had produced only one "model" at each time with range of body options and retained the idea of a single basic platform, despite the engine choice and two associated model designations. (This explains why the colloquial name "Ford V‑8" by itself was sufficiently descriptive in the early 1930s; it was the Ford with a V‑8, unlike in later decades, when the paradigm of various models to a make became universal.) Model B and Model 18 Fords came in a large variety of body styles: two-door roadster, two-door cabriolet, four-door phaeton, two-door and four-door sedans, four-door 'woodie" station wagon, two-door Victoria, two-door convertible sedan, Panel and sedan deliveries, five-window coupe, a sport coupe (stationary softtop), the three-window Deluxe Coupe and pickup. Prices ranged from US$495 for the roadster and the coupe's $490 to the $650 convertible sedan. Production totals numbered from 12,597 for the roadster to 124,101 for the two-door sedan. Ford sold 298,647 V8-powered 18s in 1932, and except for the fact Ford could not keep up with demand, the essentially identical four-cylinder B would have been a disaster: dealers switched customers to them from the V8, and even then sold only 133,539, in part because the V8 cost only US$10 more. Nowadays, the roadster and coupe are most sought after, as these body styles are popular for street rods and intact examples have become rare.

The Model 18 was the first low-priced, mass-marketed car to include a V‑8 engine, an important milestone in American automotive history. The V‑8 was rated at 65 hp (48 kW) when introduced, but power increased significantly with improvements to the carburetor and ignition in later years. This engine choice was more popular than the four-cylinder, which was essentially a variant of the Model A engine with improvements to balancing and lubrication. In both models the fuel tank was located in the lower rear of the car, as is typical in modern cars, rather than in the cowl as in the Model A and late Model T, requiring Ford to include an engine-driven fuel pump rather than rely on gravity feed.

The Ford V8 was also made by Ford in Britain in the 1930s. It was mildly re-styled and relaunched as the post-war Ford Pilot.

Today, the 1932 Model B is a highly collectible car that people will pay thousands of dollars to restore to exact original style. During the period after WWII the Model Bs and V‑8s were frequently altered into hot rods. This continued into the 1960s on a large scale, being noted in popular media of that time via a hit song. Since the 1970s, 1932 bodies and frames have been reproduced either in fiberglass or lately in steel, which has helped resolve bodywork shortages, and increased the number of "rods" being created or restored. Those that are made are often very expensive. A typical auto-show hot rod may be $60,000 or more.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Ford Model B

The 1933 revision of the car was substantial, especially considering how important the 1932 change had been. For its second year, the Ford's wheelbase was stretched from 106 in (2692 mm) to 112 in (2845 mm) on a new crossmember frame. The grille was revised, gaining a pointed forward slope at the bottom which resembled either a shovel or the 1932 Packard. Both the grille and hood louvers curved down and forward. The overall design and grille were inspired by the English Ford Model Y.

Power from the V8 was also increased to 75 hp (56 kW) with a revised ignition system. The four-cylinder engine continued unchanged, but was referred to (by some) as the Model C. Ford Motor Company never referred to its "Improved Four-Cylinder engine" as a "Model C" engine. This is a common misconception due the introduction of a larger counterbalanced crankshaft during the Model B engine production, and the letter "C" casting mark on most, but not all, of the Model B heads. (Model A part number suffix was ‑A, Police Special High Compression head part number suffix was ‑b, and there was a fairly large letter "B" casting mark about the center of the head.) Total sales for the model year were up to 311,113.

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