Ford In Britain
By: Eric Dymock
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
304 Pages, Illustrated
Ford of America was only months old when the first Fords came to the Shippeys' American Manufacturers Direct Supply Agency showroom on Long Acre, London. Arthur Shippey thought he could sell a franchise for Ford cars so in March 1904 he displayed three at the Agricultural Hall, Islington. They were on the stand of the American Motor Car Agency, whose proprietor Aubrey Blakiston quickly ordered a dozen more. The car market looked promising and Blakiston exchanged shares in his syndicate against a 16-year lease of Shippey's Central Emporium showroom, a prospect that appealed to an employee, Percival Lea Dewhurst Perry.
Perry became a shareholder in the American Motor Car Agency and was on hand when the first consignment of Fords were delivered in wooden crates. On 29 March 1911 Perry set up Ford Motor Company (England) Ltd, from a showroom at 55-59 Shaftesbury Avenue, setting out to make Model Ts at Trafford Park, Manchester, the hub of Britain's rail network. By 1914 he was distributing vehicles in covered wagons to 1000 dealers. The workforce welcomed Ford; it paid the best rates, 10d to 1s 3d (4p to 6.2 5p) an hour, although under their terms of employment everyone had to be able to shift from trade to trade. Pre-First World War Britain became Ford's second biggest market after the US, and Ford turned out, in the long run, more stable and consistent in the United Kingdom than the indigenous motor industry. It became integrated so completely into domestic industrial and manufacturing that it was often regarded (sometimes even by Detroit) as quintessentially British.
The nation's hundred year love affair with Ford is celebrated in this book that rekindles the affection generations had with the big V8s, the practical nimble Anglias and Prefects, milestone cars like the Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac of the 1950s and the Escorts, Cortinas and Granadas later. For 40 years the Transit set a benchmark for middle weight commercial traffic. Ford's place in the history of motor racing was secured at Le Mans, the world championship grand prix circuits of Formula 1 and was even successfully exported to Indianapolis, to the astonishment of the only slightly senior Ford of America. "The Ford in Britain Centenary File" celebrates 100 years of the Ford Motor Company in Britain. It includes a complete history of the company plus a car by car review and technical spec of every model over the last century.
Return to main page of Trans-Atlantic Publications