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Ford Britain 100 Year Anniversary

2011 is the 100th anniversary of Ford in Britain. On March 8th 1911, Ford Motor Company Limited opened its first office in London on Shaftesbury Avenue. Since then integrating itself into the British motoring culture. Becoming more than a "Branch Plant" company it delved into engineering, and motorsport.

I don't know what they are doing in the way of celebration, fireworks, or a garden party. Up on the web they have been releasing pictures once a week from their archives. Problem is, I can't find a central place to link to for these pictures.

So, in typical Wood fashion, I'll do it the hard way. I shall try my best to bring them down here, to our website, so you can have a chance to see them without going through the time I took looking for them.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 28th December, 2011

Rallying is a tough, and sometimes cruel, sport. Designed as a Group B rally car, the RS200 was turbocharged, mid-engined, light, 4-wheel driven, and fast on any surface. As regulations demanded, 200 examples were built in the UK with production starting in 1986.

Ford of Britain 100: Image of the Week - 52/52 - The Fiesta RS World Rally Car in its 2012 livery. (UK).

Its rallying career was cut short when the FIA reacted to a number of serious accidents by banning aerodynamic devices on Group B cars and then calling a halt to the entire class from 1987. As a result the RS200 was transformed from stark rally car to a more luxurious road car specification, albeit one that was still cramped, noisy, high-revving and physically demanding to drive.

Despite such setbacks Ford has maintained its commitment to rallying and it recently announced its continued participation in the FIA World Rally Championship for 2012 and 2013. Long-term partner M-Sport, which has successfully operated Ford’s WRC activities since 1997, operates the programme from its state-of-the-art facilities at Dovenby Hall in north-west England.

Ford of Britain 100: Image of the Week - 52/52 - RS200, transformed from tough, fast rally car to road going supercar. (UK).

The Fiesta RS World Rally Car will continue as Ford’s WRC flagship in 2012 and 2013. The climax of the World Rally Championship in the UK saw the Ford Fiesta RS World Rally Car claim eight of the top 10 positions. This is the only time a single manufacturer has achieved this feat since the championship was created in 1973.

Ford’s long and successful heritage in rallying places it second in the all-time wins list with 79 world rally victories and its run of 145 consecutive points finishes, dating back to the opening round of the 2002 championship, is the longest in the sport’s history.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 21st December, 2011

The winter of 1993-1994 saw a combination of Ford Mondeos - a model with aspirations as a global car - and Ford Mavericks set off from London to support an attempt to drive overland between London and New York via the Bering Strait. This overland (and ice) route did not prove successful but the team did find alternative means to reach Alaska and, eventually, New York.

In 2010, The Ford Fiesta used conventional routes to embark on a 15,000-mile round-the-world trip that saw Ford’s stylish small car visit a total of 21 countries.

The drive was a demonstration of the "One Ford" global strategy, which is putting the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and future Ford Kuga and Ford Mondeo models on sale globally. The round-the-world programme for the Ford Fiesta took over 50 days to complete, covering North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

UK-built engines are a key part of the "One Ford" strategy and during the Ford Fiesta's 500-mile leg across the UK, the car stopped off at Ford's Bridgend engine-plant – where the car's 1.6-litre petrol engine is built.

Should have been: BRENTWOOD, Essex, about 14th December, 2011

Somehow Ford missed this week. It will go here whenever they get around to releasing it!

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 7th December, 2011

This week tells the story of one of Ford’s most legendary vehicles, and one of the most exciting of all time. In 1962 after failing to buy Ferrari, Henry Ford II challenged Ford engineers to build a prototype racer that would win the Le Mans 24 Hours race, defeating the Italian arch-rival in the process.

After an unimpressive first attempt in 1964, the Ford GT40 Mk II emerged in 1966, claiming the first three places at the Daytona 24 Hours. At Le Mans, it set new speed and lap records, before finishing first, second and third.

The GT40 was powered by a 7.0-litre V8 engine, producing 485bhp with a recorded top speed of 187mph. The two-door, two-seat car had a body made from glass reinforced plastic, weighed just over 1100kg, and was nicknamed GT40 after its 40in height.

A Tribute to this iconic race car arrived in the form of the Ford GT supercar in 2002, this time featuring a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 engine with 550bhp, a top speed of 205mph and an aluminium space frame chassis.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 30th November, 2011

This week the archives help to illustrate progress in design techniques and new technologies, which have enabled Ford’s design language to evolve so successfully.

In the 1950s, Ford became recognised as a design leader with the introduction of the Ford Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac models. These iconic Ford cars were dreamed-up by teams of designers using traditional drawing tools and their own ‘trained eye’.

The Ford Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac underwent significant design changes in the 1950s and 1960s until the Mk IV Zephyr and Zodiac gave way to the Consul Granada in 1972.

The Ford Evos concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Show, delivers the latest expression of Ford’s design and technology vision and previews the design language for the next generation of global Ford products. The company’s global design team created Evos using a combination of traditional design techniques, advanced clay modelling, computer-aided-design (CAD) and computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM).

The making of the Ford Evos concept can be seen here:

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 23rd November, 2011

This week the archives reveal the significant evolution in the design of sporty but practical vehicles.

The launch of the Ford Capri in 1969 introduced a sleek and sporty car into the UK market. It was claimed that the Capri had a spacious rear seat ensuring enough room for two adults as well as offering Custom Plans allowing customers to personalise their Ford.

"The car you always promised yourself" - the Ford Capri - was re-launched in 1968 after the original Capri 109E, 116E and GT models sold well in the early 60s. The new Capri featured a long bonnet and Ford Mustang-like styling with a range of extras to choose from. These included chrome wheel trims, reclining seats and a map reading light. The Ford Capri impressed customers and sold nearly two million units in Europe in only five years.

Today, the Ford S-MAX is a true example of a vehicle which balances sporty aesthetics with a practical design. This seven-seater offers high-performance from Ford’s new 240PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine, while providing ample storage space, offering multiple seating arrangements and plenty of options for customer personalisation.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 16th November, 2011

This week the archives have been under investigation to reveal Ford’s long standing relationship with Britain’s police force.

For several decades Ford vehicles have been a favourite of the UK’s emergency services. ‘Bobbies’ could regularly be seen patrolling local villages in sky-blue Ford Anglias, with iconic white doors, as commonly seen in the popular 1960s television programme, Heartbeat.

The Ford Anglia 105E was notably famous for its overhead valve engine and long gearing, which anticipated the opening of Britain’s major new motorways the M1 and M6 in the early 1960s. This Ford sold more than one million units since its debut at the Earls Court motorshow in 1959. Available as a saloon or an estate car, the Anglia was on sale for eight years until 1967.

Today, Ford vehicles still play a leading role in Britain’s emergency services with cars ranging from the Ford Fiesta to the Ford Mondeo and Ford Transit van

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 9th November, 2011

This week we have waded through the archives for an example of Ford vehicle versatility, as the 67th Rally of Great Britain approaches this weekend.

In the 1969 San Remo Rally in Italy, British drivers Roger Clark and Jim Porter navigate some awkward terrain in their Ford Escort Mk1 Twin Cam. The pair went on to win the Circuit of Ireland Rally the following year.

Launched in 1968, the Ford Escort Twin Cam was one of the most exciting cars of its time and proved an important rally-weapon in Ford’s competition department. The Escort was 136kg lighter than a Lotus Cortina, with taut handling, stiff structure and good balance. It enjoyed a remarkable run of sporting successes, winning its class several times over three years including the Danish Rally three times and the Austrian Alpine Rally.

More than 50 years later the UK's best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta, continues to show that small cars can deliver. In its ECOnetic form, it returns 78.5mpg*, but for this weekend’s Rally GB the Fiesta RS WRC will be powered by a special 300bhp 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine.

* All fuel consumption figures are from officially approved tests in accordance with EC Directive 93/116/EC. Fuel economy figures quoted are based on the European Fuel Economy Directive EU 80/1268/EEC and will differ from fuel economy drive cycle results in other regions of the world.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 2nd November, 2011

Long before Simon Cowell, Ford vehicles were enjoying their own X-Factor.

As the vehicle of choice for many aspiring rock stars, the Ford Transit was often the workhorse for bands. This week’s image shows ‘60s chart-toppers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, alongside their 1966 Ford Transit Custom. Formed in 1958, the Dagenham-based group, which enjoyed success with hits such as "Twist and Shout" and "Do You Love Me", knew the importance of reliable transport and the Ford Transit easily carried the group and their equipment between gigs.

Over 40 years later Ford is still helping to move British performers. "Britain’s Got Talent" winner, Diversity, use a Ford Galaxy as transport and newcomers to the music scene have been enjoying Britain’s best-selling commercial vehicle via the "Bands In Transit" ( programme.

And even established stars opt for Ford. For Spandau Ballet’s recent comeback tour, Ford supplied various vehicles, with lead singer Tony Hadley opting for the Ford S-MAX, albeit in Ink Blue, rather than Gold

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 26th October, 2011

This week’s image shows the Ford Popular living up to its name at the 1954 Earls Court Motor Show.

In an era before online shopping and TV advertising, the motor show was an ideal opportunity for the British public to get close to a new vehicle. And for Ford customers that meant testing the interior comforts and, at a time when many drivers carried out their own servicing, having a good look at the engine. At just £275 the Ford Popular allowed many people to own their first new car.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 19th October, 2011

This week’s image, from 1968, shows that it’s not just Harry Potter who can make the Ford Anglia fly. At the British Saloon Car Championship at Thruxton the little Ford goes up on two wheels as it takes a sharp left hander. The combination of size and speed made the Ford Anglia 105E a formidable competitor in the world of motorsport.

The performance tuning industry adored the ease at which the Ford Anglia 105E could be modified and its high-revving engine was almost unbreakable. It wasn’t long before Ford’s smallest car was punching well above its weight.

Memorable rally drives saw top female driver, Anne Hall, complete the gruelling East African Safari in 1961 and one-time Ford Competitions manager, Henry Taylor, take a respectable eighth position in the 1962 RAC Rally. On the track the Ford Anglia was a regular class winner in saloon car racing and in 1966 helped John Fitzpatrick become BTCC champion.

Production of the Ford Anglia ceased in 1967 but its place in history was assured and today privateers still race the little classic with the big heart.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 12th October, 2011

The end of summer is a good reminder for all drivers to carry out winter maintenance. A change of tyres and topping-up vehicle fluids can make all the difference between a smooth journey and a fraught one. Over the years Ford engineers have worked diligently to ensure that all Ford vehicles can operate efficiently whatever the weather.

This week’s image is from 1968 when the soon-to-be launched Ford Capri was still Project Colt, a programme for a European Mustang. In an age before sub-zero environmental laboratories, Ford specialists took to the wilds of Finland to ensure "the car you always promised yourself" could operate in the harshest climate.

Today, Ford’s technicians can recreate the worst driving conditions imaginable within the safety and convenience of a laboratory. Ford test chambers reproduce temperatures from -40 to +55 degrees Centigrade and replicate an altitude of 4,000 metres above sea level, ensuring that Ford drivers can cope with anything the British winter has to offer.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 5th October, 2011

Since its launch in 1965 the Ford Transit has proved exceptionally versatile. The extensive combination of wheelbase and body styles has helped the Ford Transit remain at the top of the sales charts for 45 years. A key benefit of any Ford Transit is its excellent load carrying capability, as seen in this week’s image as handlers at Regents Park Zoo transport two baby elephants in 1965. Over the decades Ford Transits have been used as giant drink cans, space-age vehicles and monster trucks.

Later this year all Ford Transits will have Stage V emission level engines, offering improved fuel economy and a diesel particulate filter, with vaporiser technology that collects over 95 per cent of all engine soot emissions. Additionally, all Stage V engines will now have a variable nozzle turbo that boosts low-end torque and improves driveability as well as reducing emissions.

One thing that won’t be changing is the adaptability of the Ford Transit, ensuring that even if you don’t want to move elephants, Ford Transit owners still enjoy plenty of trunk space.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 28th September, 2011

Next month the Ford plant at Dagenham will celebrate 80 years of production. Commissioned at the height of a recession, Dagenham was celebrated by the press as a "magnificent gesture of faith in Britain's commercial future ... a lighthouse of hope in a storm-tossed sea of industry." Since the first vehicle, a Model AA truck, rolled off the Dagenham production line on 1 October 1931, nearly 11 million vehicles and over 37 million engines have been built on the reclaimed marshland in East London.

Appropriately, the new plant, dubbed "a Detroit in Europe" was soon shipping vehicles across the Atlantic. During 1948 over 12,000 Ford 10HP models were shipped to America and by 1962 half of the UK’s car exports were Ford vehicles, shipping to 168 different territories.

In this week's image Canadian confectionery company, Scott-Bathgate Limited, takes delivery of Dagenham-built Anglia models. In a market renowned for large powerful cars, the compact British Ford Anglia offered the perfect novelty value for the company's 'Nutty Club' brand and its sales force. Coincidentally, Scott-Bathgate Limited was formed in 1903, the same year Ford cars first arrived in the UK.

Today, the proud tradition of exporting continues with Dagenham-built diesel engines powering vehicles manufactured across the globe low-CO2, enough to power one-in-three of all Ford vehicles produced globally.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 10th August, 2011

In post war Britain Ford tradesmen learnt their skills in modern surroundings.

The strength of any company lies in its people. Henry Ford understood this and from the day Ford Motor Company was formed, its workforce was recognised as its greatest asset. Even the UK’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta, still relies upon on the skills of the designer, the engineer and the assembly worker. This week’s image focuses on a group of trainee draughtsmen in 1950. A thorough training programme ensured each recruit reached full potential and helped contribute to Ford’s leadership in the UK market.

Ford’s long tradition of welfare has progressed from the $5-a-day wage in the USA in 1914 to sponsoring educational and charitable programmes throughout the 20th century. To help celebrate the Ford of Britain Centenary the company has launched the Ford Blue Oval Scholarship Programme, which will sponsor 100 university students in the fields of engineering, science and innovation.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 14th September, 2011

Ford has enjoyed many successes in motorsport but one of its rarest creations came about thanks to a failure. In 1970, on the way back from an unsuccessful Monte Carlo Rally, Ford’s then competitions director Stuart Turner, and Ford rally driver, Roger Clark, discussed the need for a light and simple mid-engined car capable of taking various engines.

The result was the GT70. Ford drivers, including Hannu Mikkola and Timo Makinen, contributed ideas for the interior and Len Bailey, one of the Ford GT40 design team, was tasked with designing a car "strong enough to win rallies and light enough to win races". Just six chassis were completed and the GT70 featured in this week's image has remained in Ford ownership since it was built.

A combination of WRC rule changes and the versatility of the up-and-coming Ford Escort saw development of the GT70 curtailed. This rare GT70 last saw competitive action in the French tarmac championships in 1973 before going into storage. In 2002 it was fully restored, including fitting a 2.0-litre BDA engine and Hewland gearbox, and saw its first competitive action for nearly 30 years at the 2002 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 7th September, 2011

Millions of drivers have learnt to drive in Ford vehicles and the UK's best selling cars, the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus, are the vehicles of choice for the AA Driving School. For novice drivers there is nothing more comforting than knowing the experienced instructor has the capability to stop the vehicle if things go wrong and the phrase "dual-control" is learned early on. Whilst this would normally consist of clutch and brake pedals on the passenger side, this week's image shows that wasn't always the case.

Back in 1948 this Ford Prefect was equipped with all relevant pedals and a spare steering wheel. An instructor could not only stop the car in an emergency but also take over the steering if necessary. Although an ingenuous teaching aid during driving lessons, the secondary steering wheel was not practical when the vehicle was being used outside of lessons and the idea never caught on.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 31st August, 2011

As the first Ford company outside of North America, Ford of Britain also made a global impact on motoring. British-built Fords were soon being shipped around the world.

This week's images feature the British designed and engineered Ford Anglia, a model that existed for nearly 30 years. In the first image, taken in 1947, a Ford Anglia E04A drives through the Bridge of Remembrance, in New Zealand. The second photo, also from 1947, shows Ford Anglias in Brazil. Having arrived at the port of Santos the cars were driven 200 miles, over a 2600ft pass in the Serra de Santos mountains, to the town of Curitaba. For the final image, taken in 1957, a group of young Africans admire a Ford Anglia E494A, as it drives through their village. From 1939 – 1967 over 1.5 million vehicles carried the Ford Anglia name.

Today, Ford of Britain continues its worldwide appeal, producing enough engines annually to power one-in-three of the Ford vehicles manufactured globally.

1947 Anglia in New Zealand

1947 Anglia in Brazil

1957 Anglia in Africa

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 24th August, 2011

The Ford Centenary Tour is continuing its journey this week, so now is a good time to remember where it all started.

Travelling the length and breadth of Britain showcasing both the history and latest technology of the UK's favourite motor manufacturer, it will show how bygone motorists coped with vacuum-operated windscreen wipers and brakes without servo assistance and how today's drivers enjoy Ford's Park-Assist and Auto-Start-Stop technology.

It is a long way from this week's 1911 image of the factory floor at Ford's Trafford Park plant, in Manchester to the 2011 image of the Centenary Tour start point in London as the latest Ford Focus and Ford Model T lead a historic cavalcade across Westminster Bridge.

Within months of Ford Motor Company (England) Limited being incorporated on 8 March 1911, Trafford Park was busy building Ford's 'Universal car'; the Model T. As seen, this is before the introduction, in 1914, of the moving assembly line for which Henry Ford was so revered and which allowed Ford cars to be produced efficiently and economically.

From 1911 - 1927 over 300,000 'Tin Lizzies' drove out of Trafford Park.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 10th August, 2011

As mixed summer weather continues, this week's images remind us of warmer times. In 2006 temperatures in excess of 30C/86F were common as a heatwave engulfed Europe. In the UK, manufacturers were preparing for the British International Motor Show in London's ExCeL Exhibition Centre.

Although several new models were on display it was this Ford exhibit that proved particularly popular. Carved from ice, this life-size Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet provided a welcome distraction as UK temperatures reached a record 36.5C/97.7F. Chilled air kept the model from melting and provided a refreshing breeze for visitors. Even supermodel and TV presenter, Jodie Kidd, stopped by to chill out.

When the Ford Focus was crowned 1999 Car of the Year it was praised for its "courageous and fresh looks" and "wide range of versions". In 2006, as our images shows, the Ford Focus was still cool.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 10th August, 2011

This week's image shows the legendary Jim Clark, fresh from his victory at the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. The race proved something of a record breaker for the popular Scotsman. Leading the race for 190 of the 200 laps, Clark was the first non-American for 49 years and the first ever Briton to win the famous race. His Ford V8 powered Lotus 38 was the first rear-engined car to take chequered flag. And having won the Formula One championship earlier in the year Clark was the only driver to ever take both titles in the same year.

Alongside Clark is Lotus supremo Colin Chapman aboard the Ford 999, a 1902 race car, used by Henry Ford to break speed records and generate publicity when motor racing was just a fledgling sport. At the back is the iconic GT40, an automobile legend that gave Ford its famous 1-2-3 Le Mans victory the following year.

Today, Jim Clark is recognised as one of motor racing's greatest drivers and in Scotland he is remembered by a statue in his home town and an annual award sponsored by Ford Motor Company Limited.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 3rd August, 2011

From the early Model T's production system that made motoring affordable, to the latest "Park Assist" technology helping Ford Focus drivers, Ford has a long tradition of breaking new ground and entering new markets.

Not content with dominating land-based transport, Ford ventured into aviation with the 1925 Ford Trimotor, a three-engined transport plane. The Ford Trimotor proved as robust as the Model T and today several are still used for film and promotional work.

After road and air, Ford turned its attention to water with Ford engines 'marinised' to provide boats with the same level of reliability enjoyed by Ford vehicles. To illustrate the potential of its engines Ford teamed up with Sabre Engines to build Miss Britain IV, a 550hp powerboat, featured in this week's image.

Powered by a modified Ford Cargo truck engine, Miss Britain IV took to Coniston Water, in the Lake District, on 15 November 1982. Achieving a speed of 124.24mph (199.94kph) Miss Britain IV broke the previous world diesel water speed record of 119.05mph. Following the record breaking performance Miss Britain IV was retired and earlier this year was donated to the Classic Boat Museum, on the Isle of Wight.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 27th July, 2011

Style is timeless and when you are responsible for dressing royalty you have to know about style. In this week's image, designer for HRH Queen Elizabeth, Hardy Amies used a backdrop of Ford cars to launch his 1973 collection. Mass produced cars may seem a world away from couture clothing but both rely on a high level of style and elegance to make an impact at first sight.

The 1970s marked a key period in design for Ford cars, with the box-type Zephyr Mk lV and Cortina Mkll, giving way to the curves of the Cortina Mklll and Consul Granada, a fact appreciated by Amies when looking for the perfect complement to his chic outfits.

Forty years later, acclaimed fashion designer, Bruce Oldfield, took the Ford fashion connection a step further. In support of Barnardo's, the charity that helped raise him, Oldfield worked with Ford to create a dress made from Ford Streetka parts.

The dress featured 85 Ford Streetka components, including a corset made of fibreglass and skirt made from grille mesh. Valued at £15,000, the dress was auctioned for the UK's leading children's charity during the 2004 London Fashion Week.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 20th July, 2011

As "The Car You Always Promised Yourself", the Capri offered refinement and a high level of comfort, a feature the creators of this week's image seem keen to promote. Or perhaps they just wanted to suggest more literally that the Capri was a dream car.

When Henry Ford made motoring affordable for the masses, could he have imagined how much time 21st century motorists would spend behind the wheel? An old saying advises "invest in good shoes and a good bed because if you are not in one you'll be in the other", but we also spend considerable time in our cars.

Today, sleep is still on the minds of Ford engineers as they develop technologies to help reduce the thousands of accidents caused annually by drowsy drivers.

Ford's Driver Alert system provides a visual and audible warning if it detects the driver is losing concentration.

Lane Departure vibrates the steering wheel to alert the driver if the vehicle inadvertently drifts across lanes. And for slow moving traffic, Ford's Active City Stop, ensures that a momentary lack of concentration doesn't result in a costly collision, by automatically applying the brakes if the system calculates a collision is likely.

This reassurance should be one reason Ford drivers don't suffer from sleepless nights.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 13th July, 2011

This week we've ploughed the archives to bring you the perfect illustration of Ford horsepower. On a typical British farm the farmer tends his cattle while the horses wonder whether the Ford Anglia's 36bhp is any match for them.

Launched in 1953 the Ford Anglia 100E offered the innovations of integral construction and MacPherson strut suspension. An existing side-valve engine remained unchanged in size but it enjoyed significant improvements to power and smooth running. Although styling replicated large Ford cars the Ford Anglia proved an agile rally car, winning its class in the 1956 Safari Rally.

Nearly 60 years later the UK's best selling car, the Ford Fiesta, continues to show that small cars can deliver big power. Packed into the Fiesta RS WRC is the 300bhp, turbo-charged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that powered Britain's favourite car to a 1-2-3 victory at Rally Sweden.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 6th July, 2011

As this week's image shows, the Ford Transit is not just the UK's best and most popular load carrier, it is also great for advertising. Most companies are content with the excellent space offered by the Ford Transit for sign writing but drinks company Pepsi took their design a little further.

The 'Pepsi Transit' was both a great advertisement for Pepsi and an excellent example of the flexibility of the Ford Transit when it comes to personal customisation.

After 45 years at the top, the Ford Transit name is now shared with other Ford commercial vehicles with the Transit Connect proving as versatile as the original 1965 Ford Transit. Thanks to the imagination of Ford owners there are Transit Connect models with Ford Focus RS engine and brakes, displaying lowered bodies and custom paint jobs and even conversions to fully operational recreational vehicles.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 29th June, 2011

Halfway through the Ford of Britain Centenary is a good point to show the cars that have dominated the UK car market for nearly 40 years. Since 1972 only four cars have topped the UK sales chart: Ford Cortina, Ford Escort, Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. Between them these four Ford icons account for over 23 million vehicle sales.

And that's not the only impressive number...

Ford Cortina
67,050 number of Cortinas built in the first six months of production
£573 cost of the basic 1200 saloon in October 1962 with optional heater available for £15.10
7,333 number of Lotus Cortina models built
32 different versions of the Cortina Mklll, when launched in 1970
4.2 million total Cortina production between 1962 - 1982
Ford Fiesta
500,000 sold in first year, becoming Europe's fastest-selling car
700 kg target that designers had to meet to ensure economy and performance
1981 launch year for the first 100mph Fiesta, the XR2
98 g/km of CO2 emitted by the 2011 Fiesta ECOnetic
76.3 mpg possible thanks to the 2011 Fiesta's TDCi Duratorq diesel engine
Ford Escort
31 times Ford Escort won World Championship rallies
16,000 miles the Ford Escort driven by Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm covered in the gruelling 1970 London - Mexico rally
£635 cost of the 1100cc De Luxe five-door Escort in 1968
1969 the year 12 Ford Escorts took part in the ice race sequence for the James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service
217 the BHP output of the iconic Escort Cosworth when introduced in 1992. Works rally cars were tuned to 400bhp
Ford Focus
40 kg lighter than its predecessor the Escort, which together with aerodynamic gains made the Focus 25 per cent more fuel efficient
1999 the award year in which journalists voted Focus Car of the Year
1 millimetre: the tolerance for the 2005 Focus panel gaps
100 number of times per second that Torque Vectoring Control assesses the road to balance power to the wheels of the all-new Focus
80 per cent of commonality between parts in the all-new global Ford Focus

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 22nd June, 2011

With a variety of trim levels, powertrains and customer options, the modern Ford vehicle may appear to have an endless number of permutations. But no matter how many combinations are possible the diversity of vehicle occupants is considerably higher and each one demands the highest level of safety.

Even before the first petrol-powered car was invented, scientist Mary Ward gained the unenviable honour of becoming the first motor vehicle accident victim after being hit by an experimental steam-driven car in 1869.

Since then vehicle safety engineering has become increasingly sophisticated and by the mid-20th century the modern crash test dummy was taking shape to provide a wealth of safety data.

As this week's image shows, you need a 'family' of test dummies to match the diversity of vehicle occupants. The sensor-laden dummies replicate male and female, young and old, short and tall without ever asking, "Are we there yet?". Head to toe data is recorded and analysed to allow Ford engineers to develop innovative safety features. Together with virtual crash testing, the dummies have helped the 2012 Ford Focus deliver a suite of new safety innovations. In the new Ford Focus the driver's airbag offers enhanced chest protection through a redesigned shape, and adaptive venting technology directs pressure to ensure airbag inflation is optimised for the size of the occupant.

Today, the research continues with Ford developing digital human models that will allow more extensive testing and faster development of safety technology.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 8th June, 2011

There was a time when car advertisements consisted of an image of the product, a price and, if you had room, a few details. This week's image illustrates the simplicity of 1930s marketing. Ford advertising emphasised affordability. And never was that more true than in 1935 when Ford became the only manufacturer to offer a full-size four-seater saloon for just £100.

Overnight a new Ford car came within the reach of many people and the £100 Model Y is credited with helping to turn the fortunes of Ford Dagenham, which had opened in 1931.

As vehicle design has advanced so has the marketing. Imagination and creativity ensure Ford's products are at the forefront of consideration by prospective customers. For the launch of the 2008 Ford Focus, the UK's best-selling car at the time, traditional advertising was complemented by an orchestra playing instruments created from genuine Ford Focus components.

The advance of the internet and social media invites greater ingenuity and has seen the Ford Explorer being launched via FaceBook and Doug, the Ford spokespuppe, taking to the airwaves via YouTube (

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 15th June, 2011

Some vehicles are classics from day one and some become classic with time. This week's image shows one of each.

During the early 1980s space exploration changed dramatically with the introduction of NASA's Space Shuttle programme, a series of 'reusable' space craft. With design based on functionality rather than style, the Shuttles soon became classics and were instantly recognisable.

Around the same time the first operational Shuttle missions were taking place, Ford unveiled the Sierra. With its flowing lines and what was sometimes referred to as 'jelly-mould' styling, the Sierra was a world away from its predecessor, the iconic Cortina, and it was not an instant hit. But, like the Shuttles, the form of the Sierra followed its function with the aerodynamic curved bodywork and improved chassis providing greater stability. Inside the Sierra new additions, such as delayed action interior lights, lockable compartments and illuminated vanity mirrors, introduced a level of refinement uncommon at the time.

Today, as both vehicles approach 30, the last Shuttle prepares for retirement and the Ford Sierra has joined the ranks of the classic car. The styling that made the Ford Sierra so radical is now recognised as ground breaking and its legacy continues to be seen in Ford's highly successful kinetic design philosopy.

 Space ShuttleFord Sierra
IntroducedApril 1982 (Maiden flight)September 1982
Weight2,030 tons2,182 lbs
Power2,800,000 lb f thrust1.3-litre 2.3 V6

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 1st June, 2011

The world of motorsport offers a unique combination of excitement and real danger. In 1901, two years before the creation of the company that still bears his name, Henry Ford won his first race. The developments pioneered by Ford in motor racing have often translated into better production cars. Today's race cars benefit from a level of engineering and technology only achievable through the advance of computers but that wasn't always the case.

This week's image features the British-built Ford V8 Pilot participating in the Monte Carlo Rally. With the standard car weighing in at nearly one and a half tons (3,248lb/1,473kg), the Pilot was hardly the ideal race vehicle. But in an era before space-age alloys and super-strong plastics it was the weight of the Pilot that made it robust enough to take victories in 1950 at the Tulip and Lisbon rallies.

Today, the strength needed to withstand the rigours of modern rallies can be achieved through careful design and lightweight materials. Advanced engineering means that the power-to-weight ratio of the 2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC far exceeds the Fords of 50 years ago, as illustrated by Jari-Matti Latvala taking to the air in the 2011 Rally Italia Sardegna.

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BRENTWOOD, Essex, 25th May, 2011

Eighty years ago the finishing touches were being applied to the newly-built Ford plant at Dagenham. From the outset Ford Dagenham was designed to operate largely as a self-contained facility: raw materials in, complete vehicles out. But Dagenham offered much more, including shops, surgeries and, as seen in this week's image, its own power station. Before the term 'carbon-footprint' had been invented Henry Ford knew that generating power on-site reduced costs, lowered environmental impact and safeguarded production. With a Ford sign measuring 140ft by 60ft, the power house could be seen from 20 miles away and generated enough electricity for a town of 180,000 inhabitants, with surplus electricity sold to customers outside Ford.

This doctrine still holds true today with Ford Dagenham being home to London's biggest wind farm. Two 120-metre high wind turbines generate 3.6MW of electricity, enough to power 3,000 homes, and ensuring Dagenham Diesel Centre is powered by clean, renewable energy. With Dagenham's Econetic engines proving so popular a third turbine will be erected later this year to ensure the power to build Ford's most efficient diesel engines continues to come from a clean, sustainable source.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 18th May, 2011

The saying "the more things change the more they stay the same" may have been written before Henry Ford was born but it could easily apply to the moving assembly lines he pioneered. Modern technology has improved safety, increased efficiency and reduced costs but the principles of the line workers' jobs remain largely unchanged.

This week's image shows Ford Prefect production during the mid-1950s. Although labour intensive, each operator had an allocated space and time in which to complete each task. Great care was taken to ensure no damage occurred to the moving vehicle with every operator wearing appropriate clothing.

Half a century later the product has become more complex but the principle remains the same. Engine production at Ford Bridgend may be on a moving assembly line but operators are working to tolerances higher than ever before. Air filtration systems and environmental monitoring ensures that even the smallest dust particles do not interfere with the smooth running of Ford's latest powertrains, such as the fuel-efficient, low emission EcoBoost range.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 11th May, 2011

Since its launch in 1965 the Ford Transit has 'flown' off the forecourt but as this week's image shows some people took the flying part more literally. The versatile load carrier has proved an icon of motoring and the name Transit has become synonymous with medium vans.

Back in 1985 stunt man Steve Matthews took his Ford Transit a bit further by leaping over 15 cars to raise money for charity. Rumour has it the only modifications were the removal of glass and an ample supply of gaffer tape to the bonnet.

Today, the Ford Transit may prefer to keep all wheels on the ground but that doesn't mean it can't fly. Last month saw the unveiling of the one-off Transit Supersportvan. Ford’s biggest Transit engine, the 3.2-litre, 200PS Duratorq TDCi engine, has been transplanted into a short wheelbase Transit.

Exterior features such as twin exhausts, side skirts and low profile tyres combine with power deadlocks, rain-sensing wipers and LED daytime running lights to showcase how easy it is to apply existing high-performance Ford technology in the UK's best-selling van.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 4th May, 2011

Ford customers have seen, and benefited from, many changes over 100 years but one thing that hasn't changed is Ford's commitment to vehicle testing. From cobblestones to laser alignment, only the method of testing has changed.

This week's image illustrates how technological advances in the second half of the 20th century encouraged greater electronic testing of Ford vehicles. In the 1970s with wireless data transfer still a generation away, engineers had to rely on imagination and careful driving to record the data they needed. The use of 'tethering' permitted bulky recording equipment to follow in the vehicle behind without affecting the test vehicle.

Today, such technology can be conveniently packaged in a portable device providing instant feedback. In our second image, the Noise Source Identification Tool helps a Ford engineer improve cabin quality by pinpointing exactly where there are unwanted sounds in the vehicle.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 27th April, 2011

There was a time when concept cars were seen as an opportunity to be outrageous in design without any real prospect of the vehicle entering full-scale production.

The Futura Concept Car featured in this week's image was built in 1954 and designed to "garner valuable engineering data and test public reaction to styling." A decade after its debut the Futura became the inspiration for the Batmobile in the popular 1966 television series. Although radical in appearance the Futura featured many ideas seen as mainstream today such as power-steering, power brakes, dual exhausts etc.

Nowadays manufacturers aim for the opposite effect, displaying concept vehicles that introduce innovation while closely resembling the finished model.

Ford's 2009 concept car, Iosis MAX, illustrated the kinetic body design and high technology interior that was offered in the 2010 Ford C-MAX, for example.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 20th April, 2011

The town of Dagenham is synonymous with Ford and it is easy to forget that the town existed before the UK's favourite car company came to Britain.

With Ford Dagenham celebrating 80 years of production in 2011, this week's image is a timely reminder of how the site looked 100 years ago. Situated east of London the quiet village consisted of a few farms and a considerable area of low quality marshland that became home to the capital's waste. Recognising the potential of Dagenham, and against the advice of engineers, Henry Ford embarked on an ambitious project to reclaim the land and create the most advanced production facility ever seen.

On a 'raft' of 22,000 concrete piles, Ford Dagenham emerged to bring people and prosperity to the area. Today, it still stands tall as London's largest industrial employer and is home to Ford's leading facility on diesel engineering and production, metal stamping operations and a thriving transport hub.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 13th April, 2011

This week's image goes back to 1976, a year of innovation and launches. Concorde began transatlantic flights, the VHS video cassette recorder was unveiled and, in Europe, a new small Ford, codenamed Project Bobcat, was launched as the Ford Fiesta.

Born out of the energy crisis of the 1970s the Fiesta was personally approved by Henry Ford ll. To create a small yet practical car Ford invested over one billion dollars, its highest investment for a single car. The contemporary design and fuel efficient 1.0- and 1.1-litre engines proved popular and just 32 months after launch the one-millionth Ford Fiesta drove off the production line.

Today, Concorde sits in a museum and VHS videos are consigned to the archive but the Fiesta name continues. A combination of dynamic styling, pioneering technology and advanced engineering ensures the Ford Fiesta of 2011 provides as much fun and frugal driving today as it did 35 years ago.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 6th April, 2011

The radical 1950s designs of the Ford Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac demanded equally radical presentation methods, as this week's image shows.

Ford executives were invited to abandon the office for fresh air and a chance to see the Mark ll versions of Ford's popular family cars. Launched in 1956 and marketed as the 'Three Graces', the Mark ll Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac marked a further step in British motoring away from post-war austerity towards glamour and modernity.

In the 21st century Ford continues to break new ground in vehicle design. The Ford B-Max concept vehicle combines kinetic styling with innovative engineering to offer style and practicality. Twin sliding doors and the removal of traditional B-pillars allow unprecedented levels of convenience and flexibility, whilst a state-of-the-art three-cylinder, 1.0-litre, Ford EcoBoost engine ensures ultra-low emissions and reduced fuel consumption.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 30th March, 2011

Today the modern Ford driver has more computing power at his fingertips than Neil Armstrong had in his spacecraft to make the first moon landing. The latest Ford Sync technology allows the Ford driver to access music, internet, traffic directions and communications without leaving the comfort of the driver's seat.

But just two decades ago things were very different, as seen in this week's image.

The year is 1991 and outside of Athens there are no landline telephone systems in Greece, a major problem for the Ford Rally Team, which needed to relay details of the Acropolis rally to the world's media. In an age before mobile phones, the solution involved a heavy satellite dish, some careful aiming into space and a lot of hauling in the sweltering heat.

Today, the same task can be achieved by a single smart phone or your Ford Sync enabled dashboard.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 23rd March, 2011

After a century of manufacturing Ford know a thing or two about sustainable production. While Ford customers enjoy low emissions from the cars and vans they drive, the plants building Ford products are also doing their bit for the environment.

This week's image shows Ford Bridgend in Wales, home of the high-technology, low CO2 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine. Across the roof of Ford Bridgend 25,000m2 of solar panels generate around 110,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to light an area 10,000m2.

Bridgend's installation was the first of its kind at any car plant in the world and today Ford plants globally utilise solar panels, wind turbines, water recycling and a host of energy saving measures to reduce global emissions and ensure a sustainable future.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 16th March, 2011

With the royal wedding just a few weeks away HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton show no signs of easing up on public duties. But the British royal family has a long tradition of meeting Ford's UK employees, as this week's images show.

In July 1934 HRH the Prince of Wales, later King Edward Vlll, visited the sprawling Ford Dagenham estate (pictured) passing through the trade school as trainee engineers continue their work unfazed by the presence of royalty.

The association between Ford and the British royal family has continued through the years and in 2010 HRH Prince Charles visited Ford Bridgend (pictured) home of the new, fuel-efficient and low-CO2, 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost petrol engines which power the new Ford Focus, among other Ford models.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 9 March, 2011

With memories of Geneva Motor Show still fresh you could be forgiven for thinking green motoring is an invention of the 21st century. But, as this week's image shows, Ford's interest in alternative fuel has lasted decades.

In 1967 the Ford Comuta concept vehicle was used to demonstrate the potential of the electric vehicle. With a top speed of 40mph and a total range of around 40 miles on a full charge the Ford Comuta was never going to oust the best-selling Cortina as the drivers' favourite. Even Ford's assistant managing director at the time, Leonard Crossland recognised electric motors would not replace combustion engines for long journeys, saying: "...their uses will be primarily as city centre delivery vans and suburban shopping cars."

The hunt for a viable electric motor has not gone away and after extensive trials 2012 will see the UK's best-selling car, the Ford Focus, available as an electric vehicle with double the capacity of the Comuta and a lot more style.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 2nd March, 2011

This week's image shows the two extremes of Ford Dagenham. Steeped in history Ford Dagenham celebrates 80 years of production in 2011. The vehicle shown is the seminal Ford Model Y. In 1935 the Dagenham-built Ford Model Y became the £100 car. It was the first and only time a mass-produced four-seater saloon would be available at such an affordable price and enabled many families to purchase their first new car.

In the background is the state-of-the-art Dagenham Diesel Centre (DDC). Opened in 2003 by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the DDC is a centre of excellence for diesel engineering and, together with the original Ford Dagenham Engine Plant, is capable of producing one million engines annually.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 23rd February, 2011

This week's image comes from a time before computer generated imagery and an era when, if you wanted a car to fly, you strapped it to a helicopter.

The year is 1970, and to celebrate the one millionth Ford Cortina produced for export, this model took to the skies over Ford's Dagenham site. Just two hours later this rare two-door 1600E Ford Cortina Mkll was with its new owner in Ostend, Belgium.

In two decades the Cortina range sold 4.3 million models and was Britain's best-selling car for 10 of the 20 years it was on sale: 1967, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981. It was in second place for eight years and in third for the remaining two.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 7th February,2011

The name Ford has been tied to motorsport ever since Henry Ford first raced in 1901. Ford's win at Rally New Zealand in 2010 made Ford Motor Company the most successful manufacturer in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship and the opening round of 2011 last weekend saw Ford power to a 1-2-3 finish in Rally Sweden, led by Mikko Hirvonen.

So what does Mikko drive when his Fiesta RS WRC is being cleaned? This week's image shows Mikko enjoying a slower pace at the wheel of a 1915 Ford Model T during a recent visit to Ford Dagenham. With a top speed of 45mph the Model T may not challenge the 300bhp Fiesta RS WRC but there's no mistaking Mikko's pleasure at keeping all four wheels on the tarmac.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 9 February,2011

In the post-war years British Fords moved from the practical to the avant-garde. The sit-up-and-beg styling of Prefect and Pilot gave way to the glamour of Consul and Zephyr.

This week's image shows the Dagenham-built Ford Anglia 100E in a quintessential English village setting. A significant update of the previous Anglia, the 100E featured major design changes to the exterior and interior improving accommodation and handling in an elegant package.

Introduced in 1953 the Ford Anglia 100E sold for £360, saw over 335,000 produced and even proved itself in motorsport, winning its class in the 1956 Safari Rally.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 2 February,2011

UK life expectancy has nearly doubled in the last 100 years, and the motor industry has had to stay ahead of the game.

This week's image shows Ford's Third Age Suit, used by engineers to replicate physical constraints associated with growing older. The suit can simulate mobility issues, such as those caused by arthritis; eyesight conditions, thanks to specially designed glasses; and reduced tactile sensitivity, sometimes experienced due to age and/or skin conditions. By experiencing these limitations themselves, Ford's engineers can help ensure Ford vehicles are accessible and easily useable.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 26 January, 2011

Seventy years ago Ford's attention was not on style, cost and driveability but the potential invasion by wartime enemies at the height of their power.

At the request of the government Ford opened a factory at Urmston, Manchester to produce Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engines. Ford's exacting standards meant that over 30,000 engines, like those featured in this week's image of the week, were built with every one passing the RAF's stringent acceptance tests.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 19 January,2011

This week's image marks the retirement of the iconic Ford Cortina in 1982. Star of cinema (Carry on Cabby) and television (The Sweeney, The Avengers), the Cortina was launched in 1962.

A marvel incorporating aerospace engineering, the Cortina was cheaper, faster and more economical than anything in its class and with saloon, estate and sports models in the range, every taste was accommodated. A firm favourite with the British public, over four million Cortina models were sold over 20 years.

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 12 January, 2011

This week's image is from 1963 and features Formula One racing legend Graham Hill driving a replica of Henry Ford's first vehicle, the Quadricycle.

The original Quadricyle was built by 32-year-old Henry Ford in 1896. Constructed of wood and metal it weighed only 500lbs, had a top speed of 20mph and no brakes!

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 05 January,2011

This week's image features the epic 1911 trek up Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak, in a Ford Model T.

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