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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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