|Fate||Nationalized and closed|
|Products||Cars, Trucks, Buses|
|Parent||Ford Motor Company (Copenhagen division)|
Ford-Vairogs ("Vairogs" means "Shield") (earlier called "Fenikss") was the name of a car factory in Riga, Latvia, that produced license built Ford cars between September 1937 and 1940 when it was expropriated as the property of the Soviet government. Not including the war department orders, Ford-Vairogs made 200 buses, 1000 trucks and 332 automobiles.
History of Vairogs factory has started already in the 19th century when in 1895 citizen of Austro-Hungary Oscar Freivirt gets permission from Russian emperor to establish train carriage factory in Riga. It was known as joint stock company Fēnikss (Phoenix).
In the 1930s the factory started to experience financial difficulties and the Latvian government decided to intervene and in autumn 1936 bought all 4000 shares of the near-bankrupt factory. In December a new state owned company Vairogs was founded. The new company continues to work in the metal fabricating industry.
In the second half of the 1930s Latvian economy experienced rapid development and there was constant demand after modern trucks. In 1937 Vairogs company saw their business opportunity and created automobile department appointing engineer Pauls Barons, grandson of the latvian folklorist Krišjānis Barons, as director. Considering all costs and technologies it was decided to buy a licence from known western automobile company. In March 1937 Vairogs signed a contract with Copenhagen division of Ford Motor Company. According to contract Ford Motor company granted car assembly concession to Vairogs factory in Riga. In the september first Ford-Vairogs V8, 3-ton trucks left the production line. In 1938 factory started to produce also passenger cars and buses. Ford-Vairogs cars became very popular in Latvia because of their low prices and good quality. Ford-Vairogs was the biggest automobile company in the Baltic states.
After World War II started in September 1939, Ford-Vairogs production numbers declined due to the wartime difficulties with engine and other part supply. After the Latvia incorporation the factory was nationalised and all Ford car production stopped.
The cars made were
- Ford-Vairogs V8 Standard, a copy of 1939 American Ford-V8 92A
- Ford-Vairogs V8 De Luxe, a copy of 1939 American Ford-V8 91A
- Ford-Vairogs Taunus, a copy of 1939 German Ford Taunus
- Ford-Vairogs Junior, a 1937 British Ford 10 Prefect. It was also made in a military version.
Ford-Vairogs V8 De Luxe. In the Riga Motor Museum.
Ford-Vairogs Junior De Luxe. In the Riga Motor Museum.
- Odin, L.C. World in Motion 1939 - The whole of the year's automobile production. Belvedere Publishing, 2015. ASIN: B00ZLN91ZG.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ford-Vairogs.|
- Images and technical specifications of Ford-Vairogs automobiles at Oldtimer Gallery