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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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