Photos courtesy The Henry Ford.
One of Henry Ford’s odder inventions—and one that certainly challenges the notion he only ever wanted to build Model Ts into perpetuity—will get its moment in the spotlight next year as the subject of a talk in the Gilmore Museum lecture series, which for 2018 will include more automotive topics than in years past.
Ford’s interests in the X-shape engine, which essentially uses two 90-degree V-4s turned on their side and mated on a common crankshaft, dated to about 1920, when he filed for his first patent on the design, noting its compactness, relatively high power-to-weight ratio, and suitability for air-cooling as its advantages. Indeed, according to The Henry Ford’s page on the X-8 in its collections, pictured above, it measures just 17-inches wide, 17-inches tall, and 14-inches deep.
The L-head example above, however, is far from the only X-8 engine configuration Ford experimented with. As pointed out in a 1973 Special Interest Autos article, it was one of seven experimental X-8 engines—and 58 experimental engines total—once left to sit in a sugar beet mill building on the Greenfield Village campus. While records for the experimental engines were incomplete, the seven X-8 engines include both air-cooled and water-cooled L-heads as well as at least one aluminum air-cooled overhead-camshaft version.
Ford might have conceived the X-8 concept, but he trusted development of the engine to Eugene Farkas, who worked on it for the next six or seven years, until it became evident to those surrounding Ford—and eventually to Ford himself—that the X-8 would never replace the Model T’s four-cylinder engine (due in no small part to reports that the lower spark plugs fouled often). Ford instead turned his attention to developing an inexpensive V-8 and abandoned the X-8 altogether.
Auto historian Don LaCombe will expand on the X-8’s history late next month as part of the 2018 Gilmore lecture series. Other lectures in the series will focus on the Can-Am racing series; art, architecture, and the automobile; Jaguar, slot cars, dune buggies, and abandoned gas stations.
The 2018 Gilmore lecture series will run from January 7 to April 29. For more information, visit GilmoreCarMuseum.org.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.
For 1957, the Chrysler Corporation shook the Motor City to its roots with the lowest, sleekest styling and the boldest tailfins in the industry. See the automaker proudly strutting its stuff here.
This six-minute factory presentation from 1957 is actually three shorter promotional spots strung together to form a montage and as such, it’s a pretty fair representation of the marketing efforts for the combined Chrysler lines for that year. Note that in this period, Chrysler operated as five separate car brands: Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, and Imperial, with Imperial spun off as a separate division in much the same way as the Continental division at Ford.
Originally introduced in 1955 and also known as the “Hundred Million Dollar Look,” the Forward Look styling theme conceived by Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner (pictured above) got its first major update in 1957. Called the “Flite Sweep” theme, this second-generation Forward Look was a sensation. Dramatically lower and sleeker and sporting bolder fins than anything else on the market, the ’57 Chryslers briefly threw the rest of the Motor City, including the GM styling studios, into a minor panic.
Our film also touts several Chrysler technical innovations, including the pushbutton-operated Torque-Flite automatic transmission and a brand new feature for ’57, Torsion-Aire Ride, Chrysler’s trademark torsion-bar front suspension. On the strength of the new styling and features, the Plymouth division regained the number three spot in the sales rankings, and the other brands enjoyed a healthy boost, too. (We have another great 1957 Chrysler promo here.) By the way, the distinctive double-boomerang logo used by Chrysler in these days and prominently featured here has a name: it’s called a flookerang.
The 1957 model year wasn’t without issues, however. Serious problems with corrosion and quality control arose as Chrysler moved its body manufacturing in-house from its former supplier, Briggs. But all that is water under the bridge now, as the 1957 cars are regarded today as among the most memorable in Chrysler history. Video below.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage macsmotorcitygarage.com