Flagship of the post-WW2 Dagenham range, the Ford V8 Pilot was introduced in 1947. Based on a sturdy ladder-frame chassis equipped with transverse leaf-sprung suspension, rugged beam axles and hydro-mechanical drum brakes, the newcomer could be had in saloon, estate or pick-up guises. Effortlessly fast yet surprisingly comfortable, it was powered by a wonderfully torquey 3622cc 85bhp sidevalve V8 engine allied to three-speed manual transmission. Generously proportioned with a 9ft 0.25in wheelbase and 4ft 10in track, the model's transatlantic styling (waterfall grille, voluptuous wings, moulded spare wheel cover etc) saw it cut quite a dash in austere late 1940s Britain. Although better known as a police pursuit vehicle, the V8 Pilot also achieved competition fame when Ken Wharton drove one to victory on the 1950 Tulip and Lisbon rallies. Despite patronage from the royal family (who took delivery of a bespoke estate version), the Big Ford only stayed in production for four years during which time some 22,155 were made (though, today survivors are comparatively few and far between).
Finished in blue with blue leather upholstery, this particular example is described by the vendor as being in "good" condition with regard to its engine, manual gearbox, electrical equipment, interior trim, chassis, bodywork, paintwork and wheels / tyres. Apparently taken in part exchange by a Ford dealer some while earlier, 'LVO 749' entered the current ownership via a July 1989 Walton & Hipkiss sale on the understanding that it had had just two previous keepers and covered a mere 23,930 miles from new. Some nineteen years and 8,000 odd miles later, the Ford is reportedly still "a very sound original car". Said to be kept "regularly maintained for occasional use", the Pilot shows signs of minor remedial paintwork but has a lovely feel to it. Offered for sale at rather less than the £10,750 it fetched in 1989, this very low mileage V8 is accompanied by an original handbook and MOT certificate valid until June 2008.