The Man Who Saved the V-8 by Chase Morsey Jr.
Kirkus Star

The Man Who Saved the V-8

The Untold Stories of Some of the Most Important Product Decisions in the History of Ford Motor Company
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The story of the creation and marketing of some of Ford’s most popular, iconic cars, as told by one of the company’s early “Whiz Kids.”

“I have always loved to drive,” Morsey says in this debut memoir. “Ever since I was a small boy, I have been fascinated with automobiles and felt the tug of the open road.” His passion took him from driving his first Ford Coupe in 1936 to convincing a boardroom of Ford executives in 1949 that V-8 models would be necessary to put the company back on top. After college, with World War II ongoing, Morsey’s father shot down his idea of going to law school, saying, “You’re going to get drafted, and you’re going to have absolutely nothing to offer the army—no skills at all.” So, with his father’s recommendation, Morsey instead started working for IBM, where he learned the essentials of good business and how customer satisfaction could sell products better than market research. The author deftly weaves the lessons he learned into his narrative, but he’s always careful to bring his readers back into the action of the story. As a lead market analyst for Ford, he learned of a new initiative to stop production of the V-8 engine. Morsey’s passion comes through in this section, since he understood that the V-8 didn’t sell Ford cars because it was cheaper or more efficient but because it gave people pride to drive one. It’s intriguing to watch the concepts develop, such as the author’s idea of the Thunderbird as “the apple in the window”: The legendary car didn’t make money on its own, he says, but customers desired it so much that it led them to buy other, more practical Ford cars. Children who saw their parents idolizing the sleek Thunderbird grew into adults, and Morsey and future Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca sold them the sporty yet sensible Ford Mustang in the late 1960s.Morsey’s detailed prose, passionate recollections and careful documentation help bring this era of automotive history to life.

A compelling narrative of the design and development of Ford cars in the 1950s and ’60s.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4923-5733-9
Page count: 156pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2014


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