The automobile featured in this article is not the 1934 Fordor Deluxe Sedan that Bonnie and Clyde met their end in but it is a beautiful Ford Sedan from the same year. The vintage car featured in this article is the 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan with Suicide Doors.
This was Ford's Model 40 that was a high performance version of the Model B which replaced the Model A in 1932. Interestingly enough, because of the power under the hood, both law enforcement and criminals preferred the 1934 Ford.
The Ford Tudor Sedan as you can see in this model has no trunk which made traveling distances a bit complicated at times.
The 1934 Fords
The ever popular 1934 Fords first came out of production in January of 1934. Calendar year production totaled 563,921 cars. This was of course in the middle of the Great Depression and these numbers represented a nice increase over the 1932 and ’33 model years as Ford continued to come out with more innovations following the Model A era.
The 1934 Ford V-8 had several new features. These included a new front grille that was tapered and slanted as you can see in our photos. This was a big change from the flat looking grilles seen during the Model T era that were also present on the Model A's and Model 18's. You will also notice how the bodies and fenders are quite sleek than those of the 1933 model year. The car had an aerodynamic design not to mention the stylish Greyhound hood ornament. Also the Flathead V8 engine was improved on and was more powerful. There were just north of 100,000 of the Flathead V-8's built.
While there was a total of ten models to choose from during the 1934 model year, Ford built all cars on one chassis and one drive train.
The Ford V-8 Flathead Engine
V-8 automobile engines were around for some time before 1934. The trick was to make them affordable to the general public. The goal was to make them affordable the same way in which Henry Ford made the Model T an affordable car for the masses. Henry Ford did indeed find a way to mass produce this engine bringing the cost down considerably. Ford pushed their V-8's at a time when the added power received huge market acceptance.
Before the cast iron V-8 was made a mass market engine the engines of choice for the mass market were the straight fours and the straight sixes.
The Flathead V-8's had the same displacement (221 cid) from 1932 to 1938. There were no Ford factory-built oil filter systems on these engines. Early models used the Detroit Lubricator carburetor. Stromberg "97" carbs were used from 1934 to 1938 at which point a change was made to the Ford designed "94" carburetor. The engine cooling fan was mounted to the generator shaft from 1932 through 1938. Heads were attached to the cylinder block with hex nuts on studs, which were threaded into the block.
Ward’s AutoWorld Magazine ranked the Flathead V-8 as one of the best engines of the 20th century. During the 1950's the Ford Flathead V-8 was the engine of choice for many hot rodders.
As mentioned above, the 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan featured in this article came with a 221 cubic inch Flathead V-8 engine delivering 85 horsepower. This is up from the 1933 V-8 with 75 horsepower.
The Ford V-8 engine came with a three-speed manual sliding gear transmission in all models and two-wheel, rear-wheel drive.
All four wheels had 12-inch mechanical internal expanding brakes.
Wheelbase was 112.0 inches.
New car price in 1934 was about $550 depending on options.
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The 1934 Ford Collector Cars
Average prices asked today for a 1934 Ford Tudor Sedan is in the $12,000 to $15,000 range. Mint condition models will likely have asking prices of $20,000 to $25,000. Some versions and restorations of 1934 models might have asking prices as high as $50,000. As mentioned above, Ford produced ten different models for 1934 and prices obviously differ between models. The highest price model at auction has been the Ford Deluxe Roadster. The Roadster is a rare car and a mint condition model could fetch six figures at auction.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)