The final year of the Ford Model B was 1934, but cars of this era became known simply as Fords V8s. A relatively light body powered by a strong engine made this car faster than most cars on the road at the time. The engine was introduced in 1932, when Ford found a way to mass-produce them effectively. It was a flathead V8 with 85 horsepower, good for a top speed of 65mph (around 105km/h), with power going to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission.
The 1934 Ford V8 was very similar to the 1933 models but had been given a few updates for the new model year. The main changes included an additional 10 horsepower and a different type of carburettor; in the previous year, the engine utilised a traditional Ford Lubricator carburettor but 1934 introduced a dual-downdraft Stromberg with a new over/under manifold. This new combination was responsible for the extra grunt, and Ford V8s fast became popular with many of the gangsters of the Public Enemy Era.
Options included a coupé, the Tudor and Fordor (the more common sedans), the Victoria (the luxury model) and the sporty models (Roadster and Phaeton). Each model had standard and deluxe versions. The standard package included just the basics: adjustable driver’s seat and sun visors, dome light, cubby hole and a choice of interior trim. If you, like the Warrens, had splashed out on the deluxe, you got everything the standard model had as well as cowl lights, dual horns, dual taillights, arm rests, cigar lighter and ashtray. A greyhound hood ornament was also an option for that bit of extra class.
Another fan of the Ford V8 was former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. In February 1934, desperate Texan authorities hired Hamer to track down the deadly duo. Hamer spent weeks driving around Texas, Louisiana and other nearby states trying to find the couple. Plotting their crimes on a map, he realised that they were actually moving in a large circle. Hamer’s theory was that in order to catch them, he would need to think exactly as they would. So he immersed himself completely in everything Bonnie and Clyde and became obsessed with minute details – what clothing they might wear or what cigarettes they smoked. He even lived out of his Ford V8 the same way they did. Hamer knew that when the time came, they would not surrender.