Wayne Cook
April 1, 2008

Throughout the 20th century, Ford power has been at the center of progress in all aspects of the mechanical age. On land, at sea, and in the air, advancements with the Ford name on them were the norm. Henry Ford gave us the modern automobile, as we know it, in the form of the model T. The "Tin Lizzie" was the first car available to everyone at a price that many could afford. Before the Model T, the automobile was a novelty exclusive to the wealthy. The model T cars and pickups soon became a central transportation tool, essential to farm and family.

Henry Ford was a gigantic figure in early aviation, delivering the first viable passenger airliner. The Ford Tri Motor aircraft, also known as the "Tin Goose," was in regular passenger service by 1927. It was a rugged and reliable airplane, and some are still flying today.

Weighing in at 35 tons, here's the M4A3 Medium battle tank we visited. Hull number 117-42, it's one of 1,690 units built by Ford from the autumn of 1942 into late 1943. While Sherman tanks were made by several manufacturers and powered by different types of engines, the Ford Sherman tanks all had the Ford built GA-8 engine. That's a 75mm gun in the main turret, while up front a separate gunner would operate a 50-caliber machine gun mounted in a ball-type turret.

At sea, Ford power has taken many forms. In 1966, Chris-Craft selected the Ford FE 427 engine for conversion to marine service. It was used to power high-performance versions of many of the company's classics, including the '68 Chris-Craft Grand Prix. Big-block Ford engines were also used to power many of their heavier vessels.

In the Second World War years, Ford shared responsibility with Willys for production of the venerable Jeep military vehicle. Ford assembly lines were converted to the production of military aircraft. Also during World War II, Ford manufactured the famous Sherman battle tank, with the Ford-produced versions equipped with a four-valve-per-cylinder, all-aluminum V-8 engine. We recently had a chance to see a running example of a Ford-produced and -powered Sherman M4A3 Medium tank at Guiette Manufacturing in Santee, California. Owner Bill Guiette was a gracious host as we toured and rode in the battlewagon. Join us as we look firsthand at this fine example of Ford-powered history.

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