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Car History: How Has Ford’s V8 Engine Stood The Test Of Time From 1932 Until Today?

Car History: How Has Ford’s V8 Engine Stood The Test Of Time From 1932 Until Today?

What inspired Ford to build the V8 engine?

In 1930, Henry Ford set out to refashion the automobile industry by revitalizing an older invention: the V8 engine. This was at the beginning of the Great Depression, when the economy of the United States was very poor and even the elites did not often endow themselves with new wheels.  Not only were the times hard, but the mechanics of the engine Ford demanded from his engineers seemed downright impossible.

With all these odds stacked against him, only one thing fueled Mr. Ford’s resolve. He simply couldn’t stand losing to Chevrolet, the company that had cornered the market with their V6 model. The reasonable option would have been to follow suit and build a similar model, but Henry had proved time and time again that he was a leader, not a follower. It had to be a V8 or nothing. And not the normal fused V8s already in play; his had to have more character!

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What edge did the Ford V8 have over older V8 models?

Those close to Ford understood his Edisonian methods of trial and error, as opposed to designing his products using logic and reason backed by the laws of physics. His engineers kept at it, and on March 31, 1931, they ushered in a new era in the automobile industry. The engineers had thumped life into Ford’s blueprint by crafting a V8 engine which was cast entirely in one piece, and at a price the general public could afford. This feat had earlier been deemed impossible by the very same engineers.

The Ford V8 engine was hardly the first 8 cylinder V configuration engine, but it beat the rest on cost and efficiency. Viking and Oakland had tried to create a similar monoblock V8 design, but it was no good. Cadillac had been selling V8 engines since 1915, but at a costly price. Leon Levavasseur had paved the way for this kind of technology in 1902 with his Antoinette series. At the time, they were only used in aircraft.

All the older V8 engines had one thing in common: they were made by assembling two or three blocks, then bolting them together. Essentially, this multiplied the resultant shaking rather than lessening it. The shaking produced vibrations that could result in engine breakdown and displacement. Another major drawback was the time the manufacturing ate up when all the parts had to be welded to become one. Critically speaking, the high cost was mainly attributed to the logistical nightmare of assembly rather than the cost incurred in sourcing materials.

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Ford remedied this by not only improving on the design but also doubling down on mass production of the engines. They were faster, smoother, and more durable, and all this was at bargain prices! It was for these reasons that the Ford V8 was seen as pushing the borders of contemporary technology.

The birth of a new automobile era!

In the wake of this new innovation, the economy had started healing from the Great Depression. People were now open to buying a new car, and not sticking with the run-of-the-mill clunkers they’d been driving. They had to have the Ford Flathead V8 engine. Henry Ford had achieved the unattainable by putting Americans on a fast roadster at a bargain-basement price.

The fascination launched by these cars was incredible. These cars had an equalizing effect: everyone from a bank robber to an aristocrat had the same kind of wheels. John Dillinger, a bank robber, personally wrote a letter to Henry Ford thanking him for providing his fastest getaway car, while at the same time Ford received acclaim from the elites John stole from.

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Cars were no longer seen as mere tools for transportation, though that was enchanting in its own right. The Ford V8 engine set in motion the first American motorsport races with original hot rods. One man with one idea had revolutionized the automobile industry.

What impact does the Ford V8 have in the motor industry today?

It would be far-fetched to claim that the modern motor industry was built on the back of Ford’s V8 engine, but there’s some truth to the idea. More than 80 years have gone by, and here we are, still marveling at his creation. Many parts makers, such as Edelbrock and Offenhauser, still make the original V8 parts. John Deere also uses them in trucks.

More recently, the Ford Flathead V8 has been part of a resurgence in high-end cars. It’s been incorporated into the Porsche 928, the E39 BMW M5, and the Jaguar XKR. These cars are high-powered, offering an exhilarating drive. The horsepower provided by the Ford V8 engine has allowed it to make its way into the most expensive sport utility motors. These are the kind of cars that have been known to make headlines on Top Gear and Formula One.

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Unlike during the 1930s, where a V8 was readily available to the masses, not so many people can afford to purchase and run a V8-powered car today. The cheapest models retail for about $39,000. This is way above what most folks can afford. The cost of maintenance is also high, and the cars require a lot of fuel to run seamlessly.

The motor industry has about 150 V8 powered car models. Of these, most are exotic. They include the likes of Ferrari, Ford, Chrysler, Bentley, and an array of four-wheel drives. Despite the heavy price tags, the demand for these V8-powered cars seems to be increasing every year. They have set the standard for performance coupled with luxury in large cars.

With the world becoming more environmentally friendly, V8 cars are facing a challenge in this regard. The green credibility of electric cars gives a boost to that class of vehicles, while many bash V8-powered cars for being more polluting. Manufacturers are hoping to invest in more efficient V8 models that will reduce global pollution. It’s because of environmental concerns that most V10 and V12 models were discontinued.

Final thoughts

Excessive gas usage has caused the demise of many vehicle models, and I predict a similar fate for V8 engines. This will not happen, however, for many years to come. The utterly primal feeling of owning an echoing, boisterous V8 is unlikely to fade away soon. Most love it for its high performance, but a few, like me, adore its rich history. Either way, the Ford V8 engine has dug deep roots into the automobile industry, and it will take more than a new, cutting-edge technology to undo this.

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Erick Clifford

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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