1933 Ford Model 40 Deluxe Fordor sedan
On loan from: Bruce and Nancy Schanbacher, Kearney, NE
Original cost: $645.00 (In 1933: Average household income, $1,550.00; average home cost, $5,750.00; gallon of gas, 10 cents)
Number made: 50,685
Engine, etc.: V-8; L-head; 75 hp; 221 cu. in.; 112 in. wheelbase
The Ford model lineup was dramatically redesigned for 1933.
Edsel Ford wanted a more graceful design than the 1932 model. The 1933 model was a scaled up version of Ford’s Model Y with a longer wheelbase.
Ford enlisted Eugene Turenne Gregorie to help in the design. He had designed yachts for a New York naval architecture firm and had also worked for coachbuilder Brewster and Company.
Gregorie used his nautical background to create a slanted flat windshield and used a sloped grille with a heart shaped silhouette. The design featured curves, a streamlined appearance, and a one-piece bumper. All bodies, regardless of body color, were delivered with black fenders. Doors on the Model 40 were hinged at the rear, “suicide” fashion. Headlights were mounted directly to the fenders. Fenders were “skirted” and dipped low in front and corners were rounded off.
The Model 40 had 17 in. wire spoke wheels, a 3-speed sliding gear transmission with floor shift control, X-member double-drop frame and mechanical internal expanding brakes on all four wheels.
Ford’s first V-8 engine was well received when first introduced in 1932. With a relatively sensational top speed of 78 mph, the engine caused huge public interest and resulted in over 50,000 advance orders. Over 200,000 sold in 1932 and it outsold the four-cylinder Model B cars.
Henry Ford kept a close watch over the V-8’s development but his desire to get the engine to market as soon as possible did not allow sufficient time for thorough durability testing. Trouble with the engine surfaced soon with cylinder-head cracks, excessive oil burning, engine mounts working loose, and ignition problems. Ford replaced pistons by the thousands to ease owner worries but the engine difficulties hurt sales. But the problems were fixed and the engine became known as a reliable power plant and easy for hot rodders to “heat up”.
The public showed strong approval of the new model with sales increasing 40% in 1933 over the same figure from 1932. Over 100,000 cars were sold in 1933 and they attracted a legion of fans. Among them was John Dillinger who wrote Henry Ford to praise the car – an unsolicited testimonial from “Public Enemy Number One”.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford/1933_Ford/1933_Ford_V-8_Foldout/dirindex.html (Original 1933 Ford V-8 foldout brochure)