Ford Pilot is First Produced

The Ford Pilot was a large car from Ford introduced in August 1947.

It was effectively replaced in 1951 with the launch of Ford UK's Zephyr Six and Consul models, though V8 Pilots were still offered for sale, being gradually withdrawn during that year. During the period of manufacture 22,155 cars were produced.

The Pilot was the first large post-war Ford. It was based on a pre-war 22 hp chassis, and was initially offered with the 2227 cc side-valve engine from the 1939 model. The engine was soon replaced: most Pilots were fitted with a more generously powered 3622 cc, 90 hp (67 kW) sidevalve V8 engine, having a stroke of 92.25 mm and bore of 79 mm with single Solex carburettor. It had 6-volt electrics. The gears were changed by means of a gear lever on the steering column; the gearbox itself had three forward ratios and one reverse. Steering used a form of worm and roller system known as a Marles steering box with an "hour-glass cam and a double roller".The car was evidently seen as rather old-fashioned even at the time, but its front brakes were hydraulically-controlled. The rear brakes were rod-operated.
Most Pilots were four-door saloons, but Estate and pick-up versions were produced, the latter for the export market only. The front windscreen could be opened for ventilation pivoting about a top hinge. Production ended in 1951 when the Pilot was replaced by the Ford Zephyr.
Like other Fords of the era, the Pilot used vacuum-driven wipers taking their power from the engine manifold; as a result they tended to slow drastically or even stop when full throttle was used under load. The car was reputed to be capable of 80 mph (130 km/h) and have a 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) time of 21 seconds and return 18 miles per imperial gallon (16 L/100 km; 15 mpg-US).

Australian assembly

Importation and local semi-assembly of the Pilot (along with the 1949 US Ford V8) by the Ford Motor Company in Australia in 1949 was essential in countering the retail sales of the new government-financed General Motors-Holden's 'Holden' which began in February of that year. In fact the Pilot was sold new in Australia until well into the 1950s.
Such importation (along with that of the Ford Prefect and Anglia) was essential in maintaining a presence in that country after a refusal by the then-Federal Government to provide any direct financial assistance to produce a local car (this despite Ford providing a more detailed and comprehensive proposal than GMH, and despite the fact that many millions of pounds had been invested by Ford US in Australian vehicle assembly plants since 1925).


The Pilot achieved some sporting success and Ken Wharton drove one to victory in the 1950 Tulip Rally and Lisbon Rally.

Ford Pilot is a car from Ford built between 1947 and 1951 for the UK. During that period 22,155 cars were produced. The Pilot was the first large post-war Ford. It was based on a pre-war 22 hp chassis but fitted with a 3622 cc, 30 hp sidevalve V8 engine. Most Pilots were four door saloons, but pick-up and Estate car versions were produced. Production ended in 1951 and it was replaced by the Ford Zephyr. The Pilot used vacuum driven wipers and cable rear brakes in a car that was reputed to be capable of 80mph!

The V8 Pilot was the British Ford flagship immediately postwar. In essence it was an amalgam of the pre-war V8-62 model body with a new 2.5-litre engine. This proved not quite up to the task of propelling such a large lump of metal around, so the old and lazy 3622cc V8 that Ford used in so many wartime military vehicles came out of retirement. Despite the size of its engine, its power was just 85bhp, giving this lumbering but bulletproof beast a top speed of 83mph. Despite this, it proved popular as a police car.