Ford Pilot

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For other uses, see pilot (disambiguation).
Ford Pilot E71A
Ford V8 Pilot.jpg
Ford V8 Pilot saloon
Manufacturer Ford UK
Also called Ford V8 Pilot [1]
Production 1947–1951
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [2]
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size / Large family car (D)
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door estate car
2-door pick-up
2-door coupe utility [3]
Engine 2.2 L V-8
3.6 L V-8
Wheelbase 108.25 in (2,750 mm)[4]
Length 175 in (4,445 mm)
Width 69.5 in (1,765 mm)
Curb weight 3,200 lb (1,500 kg)
Predecessor Ford Model 62 [5]
Successor Ford Zephyr

The Ford Pilot Model E71A is a medium-sized car that was built by Ford UK from August 1947 to 1951.[6] 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the launch of Ford UK's Zephyr Six and Consul models, though V8 Pilots were still offered for sale, being gradually withdrawn during that year.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.

Engine and running gear[edit]

The Pilot was the first large post-war British Ford. It was based on the pre-war 22 hp Model 62 chassis, and was initially offered with the 2227 cc side-valve engine from the 1939 model.[6] These initial engines were Canadian-made surplus stock from wartime production of Bren gun carriers. The engine was soon replaced: most Pilots were fitted with a more generously powered 3622 cc, 90 hp (67 kW) sidevalve (flathead) V8 engine, having a stroke of 92.25 mm (3.6 in) and bore of 79 mm (3.1 in) with single Solex carburettor. This is essentially the same 'low water pump, 21 stud' engine as fitted to the North American 1937 / 38 models, but with an additional frost plug hole cast into the rear of each cylinder bank. This engine was also used in Thames trucks. Sadly, the car retained 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".[7] The car was evidently seen as rather old-fashioned even at the time, but its front brakes were hydraulically controlled.[6] The rear brakes were cable-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[edit]

Ford V8 Pilot coupe utility. This body style differs from the pick-up in terms of roofline, side windows and integration of the rear bodywork

Ford Australia introduced the Pilot onto the Australian market in 1949, importing the model in both fully assembled and semi-knocked down form.[2] Initially dearer than the Canada-sourced Ford Custom V8, its price was gradually reduced in relative terms until it was cheaper than the Custom.[2] A coupe utility variant was also produced.[3]

Motor sport[edit]

The Pilot achieved some sporting success and Ken Wharton drove one to victory in the 1950 Tulip Rally [8] and in the 1950 Lisbon International Rally.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ford V8 Pilot advertisement, Australian Monthly Motor Manual, March 1950
  2. ^ a b c Norm Darwin, The History of Ford in Australia, 1985, page 122
  3. ^ a b 1949 Ford Pilot Sedan, Restored Cars #37, Jul-Aug 2016, pages 45-47
  4. ^ Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  5. ^ Ford V8 Pilot, Retrieved 2 April 2015
  6. ^ a b c Gloor, Roger (2007). Alle Autos der 50er Jahre 1945 - 1960 (1. ed.). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-02808-1. 
  7. ^ "When the worm turns...or the pinion rotates...". Practical Motorist. 7. (nbr 84): 2378–1279. August 1961. 
  8. ^ Ford triumph in the Tulip Rally, The Autocar, April 28, 1950, page 490
  9. ^ Lisbon International Rally, June 1950, Retrieved on 1 April 2015