Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1940 Ford DeLuxe Fordor Sedan

"The design of the De Luxe Ford V-8 for 1940 establishes this car more firmly than ever as the style leader in its price class. It is big, substantial and powerful in appearance. The graceful modern front end is entirely individual in character. And creating a new style, the rich, colourful interiors have a distinctive two-tone treatment, carried through in the instrument panel, fittings and upholstery. There are twenty-two important new features for 1940 — including Finger-Tip Gearshift on the steering post, Controlled Ventilation, Sealed-Beam Headlamps for safer night driving and extra roominess inside. Softer springs both front and rear, improved spring suspension and a new torsion bar ride-stabilizer contribute something entirely new in easy riding comfort. The thoroughly proved hydraulic brakes are big and powerful, and ingenious new ways have been found to make the car exceptionally quiet in operation. The De Luxe Ford is powered by the 85 hp Ford V-Type 8-cylinder engine — long famous for it's smoothness, economy, flashing acceleration and performance. For many years, the Ford Motor Company made only one car — the Ford. Then, in turn, companion cars were developed — the Lincoln, Lincoln-Zephyr and Mercury. Each, a fine-quality car in its class, has made notable contribution to the quality of the Ford. This constant constant progress — under a unified management — reaches a new peak in the new models for 1940."

While you can find older Fords in Cuba, namely the ubiquitous Model A, it remains one of the mysteries of Cuba's automotive landscape, that any Ford model built between the mid-30s and World War II, is a rare sight on the island. Our pictured 1940 Ford DeLuxe Fordor Sedan is one of the few rolling evidences of a inspiring and creative time at Ford.

This period began with the appointment of Henry Ford's son Edsel as president of the Ford Motor Company in 1919, a title that initially carried no real authority or duties. The imaginative Edsel soon turned his attention to styling and marketing activities, areas where he wouldn't interfere with his father's dominant mastery. Things got rolling with the acquisition of Lincoln in 1922, that should become Edsel's first full responsibility, and his plaything. It was Edsel Ford, who urged his father to follow GMs strategy of offering "a car for every purse and purpose". In 1938, Edsel conceived and launched the Mercury brand, which should expand Ford's one-model car range and bridge the price gap between the expensive Lincoln and the low-priced Ford.

Although Henry Ford himself was reluctant to styling-driven changes on his models during his lifetime, he soon realized that good styling was moving his cars, and he gave Edsel increasingly free hand in the development not only of Lincoln cars, but of the whole Ford range. Edsel Ford found his executive counterpart in Bob Gregorie, who became head of Ford's new established design department in 1935. Considering that the design department never was a powerful player within Ford's hierarchy (Ford's styling staff counted just a little more than 10 percent of GM's Art & Color Section staff during the 30s and 40s), Ford's designers made surprisingly good looking cars with clean and quite minimalist looks. Although Ford never contributed a breakthrough new design direction, the company produced quite a few attractive cars, and sometimes inspiring designs .

Yet, one significant trend-setting design element that originated in Ford's styling studios is the horizontal front grille, which first appeared on the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr and next year spread to Ford and Mercury front-ends.  American cars had steadily become lower in their evolution, but until this moment, the front grille opening had always been vertical, except for some handcrafted exotic designs. Now, Lincoln and Ford sported a low, curved "cat-whisker" front grille and headlights which were integrated into the front fenders. This made the cars look aerodynamic and much more road-hugging, and thus, the horizontal layout was soon adopted industry-wide and ultimately led to the front proportions of postwar cars.

However, the 1940 Ford was the last of these elegant and clean models that were so much inspired by Edsel Ford's aesthetic sense. New-for-1941, all Ford models should become much bigger and somewhat heavy-looking. These "Fat fendered Fords" should be built until the new postwar lineup would hit the road in 1949. By then, Edsel Ford already had passed away: he died of cancer in 1943.

1 Kommentare:

Matheus Marques said...

Excelente blog, really brilliant pictures of incredibly beautiful cars.