At the end of last year there was a posting about Canadian engine blocks on the forum. Some questions arose as to what exactly was the story of the producing of these blocks and led to some baseless speculation. See posting Forum Dec 21 4:49am
Initially all the blocks Canada received from Ford were cast in their factory in Detroit machined and sent to Ford Canada via a Canadian Customs bond store where the duty due was calculated before they went on to the factory. Ford Canada was only an assembly plant for Detroit produced parts which in their case involved RHD and LHD versions.
All the engine blocks if marked Made in USA had that removed either by grinding or chiselling off or as purchases increased casting moulds were produced which eliminating the wording and only the Ford script was left along with the casting date and mould details.
Although Ford Detroit gave Canada blocks without the Made in USA on the left side increasing demand for the cars especially from Australia meant blocks with the USA mark still needed to be provided and the words removed after the casting process. In two years Australian orders increase from 2000 per year to 7000and similar increases percentage came from most of the other countries receiving Canadian Fords.
When Ford Canada expanded their buildings, purchased and set up the machinery to allow them to machine the blocks in 1913 they were able to introduce their own numbering system with a “C” prefix on the blocks sent to them from Detroit. “In the book In the Shadow of Detroit it says-
Ford Detroit were also at the time making complete RHD motors which they were sending to England without USA engine numbers but with a list allocated to them as they did to their USA branch factories. Numerous blocks with the “B” prefix produced at this time went to Ford Canada also.
The “Made in USA” mark roughly or nicely removed on the blocks of Model T’s from Canada continued right up to the time that Canada was in a position to cast their own blocks which began to occur in 1918. Numerous examples of these blocks still exist covering all years up until Ford Canada began casting their own blocks (as well as the hogsheads)
There was no sending of moulds to Canada before 1918, buildings being constructed before and during the war years were built to accommodate simpler and more pressing functions. Initially an assembly plant only in 1904 the factory gradually increased factory space and employees and Canadian content to build cars and crate them for shipping overseas. That had to be done immediately, casting in house came after.
What would be good to know now is exactly when the first Canadian cast blocks were cast.
An interesting side note to this is that England the head of the British Empire that Canada was sending their Model T’s to gain lower duties on did not make any attempt to hide the fact the Fords were “Made in USA” they even placed a plate on the cars Stating “Chassis Made in The USA”
Thank you Peter K for some interesting comments to be added to the ongoing research into Canadian production.
I am indeed curious to watch this thread unfold and develop. I cannot say that I know, but I would imagine that there were a lot of differences, variations, and crossover, with all the changes during the '10s. Probably even more so for Canadian production than with the USA production.
I hope owners can come forward with photos of lots of good examples of pre 1920 blocks and engines for data points.
And thank you again for starting this thread.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
No doubt we have talked about this several times over the years and
"The Story of the Ford in Canada"
Booklet clearly states upgrades and dates, that the machine shop and photo's doing blocks well before May 1913.
"The Story of the Ford in Canada" was certainly written in 1913 and shows that Ford of Canada was machining engine blocks by that time. A few facts from the booklet:
1) It says that "6,500 cars were shipped in 1912."
2) It says that "In the first six months of the fiscal year" the sales were "more than the entire number sold during the year 1912."
3) It predicts that "production for 1913 will be 16,000" which "almost triples the output of last year."
4) It predicts that "60,000 tires will be required for this year's output."
3) It predicts that the output next year will be 20,000.
I don't think that there is disagreement regarding that Ford of Canada started assigning the "C" engine numbers in May 1913 (hopefully?). So either:
1) Ford of Canada started machining blocks in May 1913 coincident with "C1" and this booklet was written in, after, or in preparation for May 1913.
2) Ford of Canada started machining blocks before May 1913 (before "C1") and this booklet was written before May 1913.
The booklet couldn't have been written before February 1913 if the Canadian fiscal year started August 1 as other evidence suggests. But this is still three (3) months before the May 20, 1913 start of the "C" numbers. So it could be that Ford of Canada was machining blocks before the start of the "C" numbers or it could be that the numbers quoted for the first half of fiscal 1913 were the best numbers available to use when the booklet was written. The booklet is making a really big deal about how much was now being done in Canada and it may be that they were preparing the booklet to coincide with the official start of the "C" production, who knows.
I can see how either possibility could be valid but I don't think that the booklet conclusively proves that the blocks were fully machined in Canada before May 1913. The booklet is a marketing book primarily and not a scholarly historical record. For example it predicts that 60,000 tires will be needed for the production of 16,000 cars.
Below are some excerpts from the booklet so you can form your own opinion:
The first picture Peter posted above is of our 1913 Canadian - this block, C26xx, was cast on 3/25/13 and the car was assembled on 8/11/13. Because this block was cast 7-1/2 months before the car was assembled and the motor number was assigned, one could make the argument that the blocks were machined well before the cars were assembled, but the "Story of Ford in Canada" also says that the blocks went directly from machining to motor assembly and car assembly as shown in the excerpts posted above.
So maybe Ford USA sent unmachined castings for machining in Canada to lower the customs fee - first with allocated numbers from the US/english series, later the Canadian plant used their own numbers. The start of Canadian separate numbrering may be an administrative issue unrelated to any change in the production?
It also says that the new 4 story building was finished in Feb 1912, and the second floor machine shop, in the year 1912 the capacity of the machine shop was increased about 3 times.
Any thing to do with 1913 as in print was only a prediction.
The fact that Ford were machining blocks before the commencement of the "C" blocks is not disputed. Makes sense that before you can claim the motors are Canadian made you need to have all aspects of their construction in place. I'm sure plans had been drawn up years before 1912 to do so.
John, Thanks for posting "The Story of Ford in Canada" book pages.
Obviously for the company to machine blocks it had to establish a factory with machinery to do so.
As Rodger has suggested all these progressions were to reduce costs and make the Ford more "Canadian". If parts could be sourced in Canada it made the car cheaper. Every part possible was made in house or bought by Canada from Canadian industry.(eg Robertson screws) including the machinery for the engine blocks.
If they were to work towards making the Ford completely Canadian planning, building and purchasing machinery to handle the engine block was part of that plan.
Before the "C" engines happened blocks would have been sent to setup and get ready for the day the numbering was changed. They would show the USA numbers as they had up to this stage.
Now when was the first engine casting poured that says "Made in Canada"