Lot 298 - 1951 Ford V8 Pilot ‘Woody’
|Odometer reading||25,935 miles|
|Estimate||£15,000 - £18,000|
|Result||Sold - £16,800|
The world's first mass-produced V-8, the legendary 'Flathead', was introduced by Henry Ford in March 1932. With two banks of four cylinders set at 60° apart and a capacity of 3,622cc, it developed 65bhp in its initial single carburettor form. The 'Flathead' was highly amenable to tuning and rapidly became the engine of choice within America's speed community and post war the standard bearer for the world of hot rodding.
Ford also produced a smaller version of 2,228cc (the 22hp, Model 62) aimed at the French and British markets using the same block with smaller bores which due to its long stroke and lower gearbox ratios was of considerably inferior performance.
Post-war, the British Ford arm launched the new Pilot saloon featuring hydro mechanical brakes, a built-in jacking system and a column gear change. Initially equipped with the tax efficient 22hp motor, Dagenham soon reverted to the 3,622cc version. Power was up to 85bhp at 3,800rpm and the V-8's famous flexibility more than compensated for a three-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the upper two ratios; indeed it was marketed as "a truly top-gear car...un-baffled by the steepest hills, unruffled by slow traffic speeds" Costing £585 it was outstanding value for a car that could cruise at 60mph carrying six people in comfort on the bench seats and return 20mpg. The Pilot's performance credentials were underlined by their use as Police high-speed pursuit vehicles and Ken Wharton's victories in the 1950 Lisbon and Tulip Rallies.
Increasingly rare is the semi-coach built estate or 'Woody' variant, one of which was presented to King George VI in 1951 and fitted with a floor-mounted gear change which His Majesty preferred and survives in the museum at the Sandringham Estate.
This example has been in a private collection of classic Fords for the last four years and kept in a heated garage. It has covered only a nominal mileage in the vendor's hands and is presented in sound and largely original condition. The engine starts readily and settles to a quiet and smooth idle. We are informed that the car drives well but would benefit from light re-commissioning prior to being enjoyed on the road again. This Pilot 'Woody' represents a rare opportunity to acquire an exceptionally spacious and powerful early post war motor car which would be equally at home carrying a shooting party or in the paddock at Goodwood.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.