MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian/Researcher
Images: Courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection
Published 12.2.2014

For many, the 1930s is often associated with the Great Depression. But in the automotive world, even in these times, Ford Motor Company was manufacturing stylish and appealing products. During 1935, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, and his son Edsel were responsible for the production of many great Ford products in the automotive and truck industry. For more than 40 years, Henry Ford had been considered an impactful figure not only in Detroit but also in the world.

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As Ford was approaching his 72nd birthday, he continued to show remarkable leadership as he continued to introduce new products for Ford in 1935. Throughout American history, auto consumers supported the evolution of the Ford car beginning with Henry Ford's first automobile, which started with the one cylinder 1896 model, through the V8 1935 Ford models.

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In 1935, an American consumer could purchase a new 1935 Ford DeLuxe Ford Touring Sedan for $655 or perhaps a three-window DeLuxe Coupe which accommodated three passengers comfortably and had beautiful upholstery interior design and a rumble seat for $595. One of the best looking but least popular styles of the year was the Ford Station Wagon model which cost $670. For the first time, roll-up windows were provided in the front doors. The remaining windows, however, still required canvass curtains.  Some advertising themes called the new Ford models “Distinctive new styles and beauty”. Many consumers enjoyed its modern styling, graceful new lines, in addition to its V-8 performance. 

 RESIZED 1935 Ford Designers1935 Ford Designers

During 1935, many fleet business owners took advantage of Ford’s sales and fleet service. As an example, the Morton Salt Company used many Ford commercial vehicles in their line of service. The 1935 Ford products offered unique features such as providing more luggage space behind the rear seats for that added space when traveling. The passenger and drivers seats also could easily adjust for driving comfort. The 1935 Ford models were wide and roomy in their interior space.

 RESIZED 1935 Ford Morton Salt Co1935 Ford Morton Salt Co

In 1935, Ford introduced a remarkable new development that aided in both riding comfort and safety. This innovation identified the correct spring suspension and correct distribution of weight for all four wheels. Another popular feature that Ford offered was the new Ford radio which was built by Philco, the largest radio manufacturer. This radio was built exclusively by Philco for the Ford V8 model line. It was also the newest development in the automobile radio field. When installed, it cost the consumer $44.50.

 RESIZED 1935 Ford Sedan1935 Ford Sedan

In late 1934, Henry Ford and his son Edsel introduced the 1935 V-8 Ford models to nearly 100 different media outlets and newspapers who came from every part of the country to view it in advance of its public showing. The event was a major success for these two leaders. Some automotive historians have said that besides the Model T Ford, the 1935 Ford V-8 models was one of the best looking vehicles ever produced by the Ford Motor Company in the early days of automotive manufacturing. It cost less to run than a four-cylinder car and it delivered more power per gallon of fuel than many earlier Ford models. It was also strong enough to operate over a long time without expensive repairs or servicing. From the raw irons to the finished Ford V-8 products, the 1935 Ford model will always have a special place in automotive history.    

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs are courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection. (Bibliography: Dammann H. George. “Illustrated History of Ford”. Crestline Publishing Company 1971. “Detroit Saturday Night” The Ford Industries Number. June 15, 1935.)

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