Ford at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
11th April, 2008
Ford Motor Company, a major sponsor of England's Goodwood Festival of Speed since its inception in 1993, will again be supporting this prestigious event 11th-13th July, 2008. The Festival of Speed is Europe's premier historic motor sporting event – a combination of hillclimb, rally stage, garden party and motor show, all in the grounds of Goodwood House, the Earl of March's ancestral home in West Sussex.
A stunning array of Ford vehicles
There were successful Model Ts in motor racing in the 1920s, Ford V8s won the Monte Carlo rally in the 1930s, and since the 1950s Ford has always been prominent in racing and rallying, often with specially developed cars such as the Escort RS1600 and RS1800, the RS200, the Sierra RS500 Cosworth, and racing Mondeos.
Ford-powered cars from all around the world will be present, ranging from Indy 500 winners, to successful British Touring Car Championship machines, an ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford F1 car and Escort Mk IIs which dominated world rallying for so long.
Current WRC Champions
Joining the Focus WRC cars on the Forest Rally Stage will be a Ford Escort RS1800 rally car driven by 1979 rally world champion, Björn Waldegård.
Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed will see an astonishing variety of other famous Fords, ranging from the Le Mans-winning GT40, NASCAR Taurus, the 7-litre Galaxie which changed the face of British saloon car racing in 1963, and an ex-Jim Clark racing Lotus-Cortina.
Escort and Model T celebrations
Although the Model T was not designed as a competition car, it became successful in everything from long distance trials, to specialised formula racing in the US. As the world’s best selling cars of the 1910s and 1920s, Model Ts found fame in many ways. A selection of special types will be on show in the Style et Luxe Concours. Model Ts, it seems, not only provided trouble-free motoring and bargain prices for millions, but could also be used in show business, as commercial vehicles, and in the most inhospitable terrain.
40 years of Ford Escort
The original Escort coupled a simple but attractive style with innovations, including new all-synchromesh transmission, rack-and-pinion steering for the first time on any Ford, front-wheel disc brakes on some models, and a novel body shell construction which incorporated massive one-piece body side pressings.
By the standards of the day, the first Escort offered remarkable performance from a 50 bhp/1,098 cc engine, with a top speed of 80 mph, typical fuel consumption of 35 mpg and all for no more than £605 (GBP).
UK market leadership
Ford became UK market leaders during the Escort’s career, and has kept that lead ever since. Initial Escort production was concentrated at the Halewood plant, on Merseyside, production at Saarlouis (in Germany) followed within a year, and many other Escorts were later assembled at other Ford plants around the world.
Larger and more powerful engines, optional automatic transmission, four-door, estate car and light commercial vehicle types were added to the original two-door saloon, along with many different trim packs and options. The famous Twin-Cam and the equally legendary RS1600 helped to make the Escort the world’s most successful competition saloon car.
A newly-styled Escort appeared in 1975 to keep the range at the head of the sales charts for five years. In 1980 an entirely new Escort took over. Not only did this, the Mk III, have a smart hatchback style, but it also featured a transversely-mounted overhead-camshaft engine and front-wheel-drive.
The first Orion – a four-door saloon which had been developed from the Mk III Escort hatchback – appeared in 1983, a much up-dated range of cars (the Mk IV) followed in 1986, and the Escort then reached maturity with the launch of a totally re-styled range in 1990. It was not until 1998 that Ford was ready to introduce a complete replacement to its fastest-selling family car, and elected to call that new car the Focus, which has since been a chart-topping success.
Motor sport triumphs
When the Escort finally came to the end of its glittering career, an outstanding car was needed to take over. The Focus was a worthy successor to the Escort, and has itself always been an overwhelming success. Then, as now, Ford family cars regularly outsell all of their rivals in the UK, for the Focus took over from the Escort in one key place – at the head of the sale charts.
Ford’s best-selling model, the Model T, is 100 years old
The original design, simple and robust, was based around a 2.9-litre four-cylinder engine developing 22 bhp, which was matched to a two-speed epicyclic transmission. The 100 inch wheelbase frame ran on front and rear transverse leaf spring suspension. Like many other cars of the period, there was a drum brake on the transmission shaft and lever-operated drum brakes on the rear wheels only.
The first cars were assembled at Piquette Park in Detroit but Ford opened a new factory at Highland Park in 1911, where there was space for expansion. Early production Model Ts were open top Touring Cars, but optional body styles, including Roadsters, Coupes and Town Cars were added to the range and even commercial versions followed. Originally ticketed at $850 (USD), the price of a Model T was driven down as Henry Ford proved that simplicity and volume would make them less and less expensive to build.
The world’s first moving assembly line for building cars was installed at Highland Park in 1913. Before this, it had taken 12.5 man-hours to assemble a Model T - this was reduced to not more than 1.5 man-hours. For several years the car was only available with black paintwork because the available black paint dried faster than any other known shade. In this period, Ford also increased its wages – the new rate, of $5 (USD) a day, was much higher than that offered by rival concerns. This meant that workers could soon afford to buy their own Model Ts.
Prices reduced dramatically
Sales and production rose sharply. Nearly 250,000 cars were produced in 1914, more than one million followed in 1920, and in 1925, when demand was at its peak, almost two million Model Ts of all types left the assembly lines. Prices reached an all-time record low in 1925, when a buyer could purchase a Model T Runabout for just $260 (USD) (which was less than a third of the original price in 1909).
The first British-built Ford
British-built Model Ts built up a fine reputation, in peace and in war. During the First World War, Ts provided the chassis for scout cars, machine gun carriers, and particularly for ambulances, this type eventually being built at more than 100 vehicles a day. Until the newly imposed "horsepower tax" hit the Model T hard, it often commanded more than 40 per cent of the UK market. Many Model Ts survive to this day, specialised clubs cater for the brand all around the world, and some of the mechanical parts are still available for rebuilds and restoration.
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