The V-8 Album
by Charles Seims et al
“Founded in San Leandro, California in 1963, our club recognizes all Ford Motor Company vehicles made between 1932 and 1953, including Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, commercial vehicles, tractors and other Ford powered vehicles built around the world utilizing the 4, 6, 8, and 12 cylinder engines produced by Ford Motor Company.”
—From the Early Ford V-8 Club of America website
When we first considered reviewing this book, we used as a reference the original 1985, privately printed edition of The V-8 Album. We were going to comment on the fact that this original edition, published by the Early Ford V-8 Club, looked like a high school yearbook, and that The Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, was still in business; and, yes, they do publish high school yearbooks. This explains the first edition’s rather odd but familiar appearance. The original book can be found on the secondary market; at the time of writing, copies were going for around $25.
Digging a bit deeper, we found that our book was reprinted in 2017, with additions and a more attractive cover, and is available online. As this latest edition (left) was offered by MACs Auto Parts, a vendor of parts and accessories for vintage Fords, Mercurys and Edsels, the book has a part number: 47-66960-1. Fancy that.
It certainly is a book that any Ford enthusiast would want to own. Inside we find articles written by club members, tons of vintage photographs (many are courtesy of Ford Motor Company), and, year-by-year, “Frame Identification Numbers” pages for the various models of Fords and Mercurys produced in a given year. The pages for the years 1932 through 1942 include line drawings of each model that show all the relevant dimensions including interior legroom and headroom. From 1946 to 1953, where the book stops, we find ink-and-wash renderings, but no statistics. Both styles of presentation hold their own, individual aesthetic.
Two rarities show up: The one-year-only 1940 Mercury 8 convertible sedan and a 1937 prototype of a utility coupe that is, in essence, a forerunner of the Ford Ranchero. None were produced. In the middle of all of this is a color photo gallery. No credits are given; we believe the photos are a mix of factory shots and club members’ contributions. We sure liked seeing the classic woodies—and how about that lovely, sporty, off-white 1939 Mercury Convertible Coupe?
A chapter on the War Years (WWII) describes the jeeps and other military vehicles Ford produced during this time. Ford also produced aircraft engines and gliders.
Advertisements and brochures for accessories are found throughout, from a $6 luggage carrier for 1935 models to the De Luxe hood ornament, exhaust deflectors, and a Ford Coronado Deck Conversion available for 1953 Fords. This last item is something we haven’t seen before; whether that is due to its rarity or our inexperience is open to question. In concept, it sits halfway between a full Continental kit for the spare tire and the faux trunk lid hump of a Lincoln Continental Mk VI; it resembles most, in design and function, the classic spare carrier on the original Lincoln Continental. Also: spotlights, rear fender shields, sun visors, electric air horns—and a recirculating heater and defroster. There is something almost wistful in this last item; today it is unthinkable that a heater would not be standard equipment.
The V-8 Album is a valuable compendium for present and future Ford fans. It is also an example, a tribute, to the dedication and expertise of the many enthusiasts, enthusiasts of all stripes, who take the time to research and write articles for club publications, usually for no monetary gain, but rather for the love of doing it. Automotive historians, professionals and dilettantes alike, realize that such efforts add immeasurably to the corpus of automotive history. We doff our hats to them all.
Copyright 2023, Bill Wolf (speedreaders.info).