A German made Ford - Weltkugeltaunus

Ford Taunus 12M -61































The   company   produced   a   succession   of   Ford   Taunus   12M   models   until   1970,   because   the   name was   applied   to   a   succession   of   similarly   sized   cars,   but   the   first   Ford   Taunus   12M   models,   based on   the   company’s   Taunus   Project   1   (P1),   remained   in   production   only   until   1962:   in   1962   the Taunus P1 series was replaced by the Taunus P4 series. At   its   launch,   the   car   placed   Ford   ahead   of   the   pack,   being   unusually   modern   in   terms   of   the bits   that   showed.   It   was   one   of   the   first   new   cars   to   appear   in   Germany   since   before   the   war, and   featured   a   radical   ponton   format   “three   box”   body   as   pioneered   (at   least   in   Germany)   by the   1949   Borgward.   The   three-box   car   body   format   would   soon   become   mainstream,   but   when the   Ford   Taunus   12M   appeared   in   1952   competitor   manufacturers   including   Opel,   Volkswagen and   Auto   Union   were   still   competing   with   models   based   closely   on   designs   originating   in   the 1930s

Globe Taunus / „Weltkugeltaunus“ (1952–1959)


Planning   for   Ford   Germany’s   new   ponton   bodied   passenger   car   began   in   1949.   Several   aspects   of the   car’s   development   reflected   the   advantages   and   the   disadvantages   of   running   a   business with   management   decisions   necessarily   split   between   two   continents   at   a   time   when   even international telephone calls needed to be pre-booked. The   original   plan   for   the   strikingly   modern   design   came   from   Ford   in   the   USA   who   drew   up   a proposal   based   on   the   ponton   format   Champion   model   introduced   to   the   US   auto-market   a   few years   earlier   by   Studebaker.   The   Studebaker   design   had   already   proved   highly   influential   on   the domestic   programs   of   mainstream   US   auto-makers.   Cologne   based   production   engineers   adapted the   US   proposal   for   the   German   market.   The   Studebaker   featured   a   large   roundel   directly   above the   front   grill   on   which   was   displayed   the   propeller   of   an   airplane.   The   Ford   Project   1   also featured   a   prominent   roundel   at   the   front   of   the   car,   but   in   place   of   the   Studebaker’s   propeller design,   the   Ford   roundel   featured   a   hemispherical   depiction   of   half   a   globe.   This   bold   and unusual    decoration    led    to    the    new    car    becoming    known    as    the    „Weltkugeltaunus“    (Globe Taunus). The   proposal   from   Ford   in   America   called   for   a   monocoque   construction,   following   the   lead   (in Germany)   of   the   1937   Opel   Olympia.   Ford   of   Germany   had   no   experience   of   this   construction method,   having   spent   most   of   the   1940s   concentrating   on   building   light   trucks.   Project   1’s predecessor,   the   Ford   Taunus   designed   in   the   1930s,   had   had   its   body   built   by   an   independent specialist   pressed   steel   body   builder   in   Berlin   until   1948,   and   after   the   Berlin   firm   had   its surviving   plant   crated   up   and   shipped   to   the   Soviet   Union,   Ford   had   in   1948   been   driven   to having   Ford   Taunus   bodies   produced   by   competitors   and   specialists   from   northern   Germany, Volkswagen   and   Karmann.   Ford’s   Cologne   management   sought   cooperation   from   other   German auto-makers   with   developing   the   processes   necessary   for   producing   the   monocoque   Project   1 model,   but   the   other   German   auto-makers   had   priorities   of   their   own,   and   in   the   end   it   was   with support   from   Ford   of   France   that   the   production   lines   for   German   Ford’s   project   1   were   set   up at   the   company’s   Cologne   plant.   In   due   course,   and   not   before   a   certain   amount   of   confusion concerning   the   naming   of   the   car,   Ford’s   Project   1   was   released   to   the   market   as   the   Ford Taunus   12M.   It   proved   a   success.   By   the   time   the   half   globe   was   removed   from   the   car’s   nose, 247,174   of   the   12M   version   had   been   sold   along   with   127,942   of   the   subsequently   introduced Ford Taunus 15Ms.

The name

The   naming   of   the   car   is   another   area   which   may   have   been   complicated   by   the   way   that responsibilities   were   shared   between   different   management   teams   in   two   continents   divided   by an   eight-hour   time   difference   and   the Atlantic   Ocean.   The   immediate   postwar   era   was   seen   as   a new   beginning   for   a   newly   divided   Germany   with,   in   the   west,   new   borders,   a   new   constitution and   a   new   political   class.   The   monocoque   bodied   new   model   for   1952   also   represented   a   new beginning    for    Ford,    so    identifying    it    as    Ford    of    Germany’s    Project    1    (P1)    was    evidently uncontentious. In   the   1930s   Ford   of   Germany   had,   along   with   Opel,   pioneered   the   use   of   model   names   that would   have   positive   associations   for   customers.   While Auto   Union   customers   were   enticed   to   buy cars   with   names   such   as   DKW   F8   and   BMW   were   inviting   customers   to   be   seduced   by   names   such as   BMW   326,   Ford   were   selling   the   Ford   Köln,   named   after   a   major   cathedral   city   as   well   as   the Ford   Eifel   and   the   Ford   Taunus   named   after   hilly   areas   of   great   natural   beauty.   For   Project   1, Ford   Germany   evidently   intended   to   invoke   another   hilly   region   of   natural   beauty,   and   the   name “Ford   Hunsrück”   was   thought   uncontroversial   for   a   successor   to   the   Ford   Taunus.   However,   the “Hunsrück”   name   was   blocked   shortly   before   launch,   possibly   because   of   problems   encountered explaining   the   pronunciation   of   “Hunsrück”   to   management   colleagues   in   Dearborn. This   left   the name   Taunus,   and   it   was   proposed   to   name   the   new   car   “Taunus   12   Meisterstück"   in   order   to differentiate   it   from   the   existing   Ford   Taunus   which   was   by   now   an   aging   model   that   would nevertheless   continue   to   be   listed   in   parallel   with   the   new   model   throughout   most   of   1952. However,   it   transpired   that   the   name   “Meisterstück”   ("Masterpiece")   was   unavailable   for   any Ford   vehicle,   having   been   patent-protected   by   a   German   bicycle   manufacturer. Therefore   by   the time   Ford’s   radical   new   car   came   to   market   it   arrived   under   the   name   “Ford   Taunus   12M”.   The “12”   in   the   name   referred   to   the   engine   size   of   1.2   litres   and   the   “M”   was   the   only   part   of   the “Meisterstück” name available to Ford.

The engines

During   development   it   was   intended   that   the   car   would   be   powered   by   a   1,498   cc   engine.   This was   in   many   respects   the   engine   that   had   originally   been   intended   for   the   previous   Ford   Taunus first   produced   in   1939,   but   now   it   was   to   be   developed   into   an   ohv   unit.   However,   cost constraints   intervened,   and   when   the   new   Taunus   12M   appeared   in   1952   it   was   powered   by   the 1,172   cc   side-valve   unit   that   had   powered   not   merely   its   predecessor,   but   also   its   predecessor’s predecessor, the Ford Eifel of 1935. By   1952   sidevalve   engines   were   already   seen   as   old   fashioned.   In   an   analysis   undertaken   of   the models   shown   at   the   1952   Paris   Motor   Show   it   was   noted   that   48   of   the   cars   exhibited   were fitted   with   engines   employing   overhead   valves   while   only   6   featured   sidevalve   engines.   That Ford   were   still   powering   their   entry   level   Taunus   P1   with   a   sidevalve   engine   ten   years   later,   in 1962, would leave the model looking badly outclassed under the bonnet/hood.

The body and running gear

The    two-door    modern    slab    sided    Ford   Taunus    that    appeared    in    January    1952    with    an    old fashioned   engine   married   to   a   stylish   new   body   was   connected   with   the   road   using   fashionably small    13“    wheels    which    will    have    saved    on    cost    and    maximised    the    space    available    for passengers   and   their   luggage.   Individually   suspended   front   wheels   marked   a   contrast   with   the approach   taken   with   the   original   Taunus,   but   in   1952   the   rigid   rear   axle   was   all   too   familiar   to Ford’s   existing   German   customers.   The   old   Taunus   had   acquired   the   option   of   a   four-speed   gear box   in   1950,   but   the   new   model   at   its   1952   launch   came   only   with   the   older   three-speed   box, controlled   using   a   column-mounted   lever.   (Until   the   1960s   European   cars   in   this   class   never offered   the   option   of   an   automatic   gear   change.)   In   the   early   years   all   the   cars,   regardless   of equipment   level,   and   whether   saloon/sedan,   or   cabriolet   bodied,   came   with   a   single   bench   seat across   the   full   width   of   the   car   in   place   of   the   individual   front   seats   fitted   by   most   European manufacturers:   this   was   a   matter   in   respect   of   which   the   Taunus   12M   was   seen   to   reflect   it’s manufacturer’s   North   American   parentage   and   thereby   conferred   a   certain   glamour   at   a   time when   the   USA   was   a   widely   accepted   role   model   across   much   of   Europe   and   especially   in   West Germany. A   maximum   38   PS/hp   (28   kW)   of   power   was   delivered   to   the   rear   wheels.   This   was   a   useful increase   on   the   34   PS   (25   kW;   34   hp)   claimed   for   the   previous   model,   and   may   have   reflected   a higher   compression   ratio   and   increases   starting   to   come   through   across   Europe   in   respect   of available fuel octane levels. In   May   1953   the   Taunus   P1   finally   became   available   with   a   four-speed   gear   box,   though   only   as an   optional   extra.   It   was   also   at   this   point   that   a   3-door   kombi/estate   version   joined   the   range. A   cabriolet   version   had   been   offered   since   December   1952,   being   the   result   of   a   conversion   by   a coach building specialist based, like Ford, in the Cologne area and called Karl Deutsch

Broadening the range

Poor   workmanship   on   the   early   cars   was   a   source   of   some   disappointment.   Nevertheless,   fairly soon   (and   in   the   absence   of   much   direct   competition   during   its   early   years   on   the   German market)   the   Ford   Taunus   12M,   with   its   roomy   modern   body   came   to   be   seen   as   a   high   quality product,   but   on   launch   it   was   37%   more   expensive   than   the   1952   price   of   the   predecessor model.   By   this   time   another   1200   cc   small   car,   the   Volkswagen   Beetle,   was   also   gaining   a foothold   in   the   market   place,   and   while   the   Volkswagen   could   not   compete   with   the   new   Taunus 12M    on    cabin    space,    its    lower    price    offered    a    compelling    argument    in    a    country    still impoverished   after   the   traumas   of   war   and   national   defeat.   By   the   end   of   1952   the   old   Taunus had   disappeared   from   the   Ford   showrooms,   and   in   December   1952   management   decided   to   offer a   stripped   down   version   of   the   new Taunus   12M,   with   all   the   chrome   trimmings   and   various   other "unnecessary"   elements   removed.   In   place   of   the   US-style   front   bench   seat   the   basic   version   had two   individual   front   seats   which   comprised   simple   non-adjustable   steel   frames   with   a   thin coating   of   plastic   fabric.   In   place   of   the   US-style   column-mounted   gear   change   the   stripped down   version   featured   a   gear   lever   in   the   middle   of   the   floor   between   the   two   front   seats:   this was   considered   very   old   fashioned   at   the   time.   The   basic   Ford   Taunus   12   was   offered   only   as   a two-door   saloon/sedan.   The   stripped   down   Taunus   12   nevertheless   retailed   at   more   than   10% less   than   the   price   of   a   Ford   Taunus   12M. And   for   only   forty   marks   extra,   the   buyer   of   the   basic car could upgrade his gear-change mechanism to the coveted column-mounted device.

Facelifts and upgrades

In   1955   the Taunus   12M   received   its   first   facelift. The   formerly   split   chrome   grill   was   replaced   by a   simplified   single   piece   grill.   The   prominent   hemi-spherical   globe   design   above   the   grill   at   this time   remained   in   position,   however.   By   now   the   base   price   for   the   Ford   Taunus   12M   had   been reduced   to   below   6,000   Marks,   and   with   incomes   on   the   rise   nationally   the   stripped   down   Ford Taunus 12 was quietly dropped from the range. From    1957    the    Taunus    12M    joined    other    German    automakers    in    offering    the    automatic “Saxomat” clutch as an option In   1958   the   wide   chrome   bars   of   the   radiator   grill   were   replaced   by   a   less   flamboyant   grill.   But the globe design directly above the grill lasted another year.


Engine 1172 cc 4 cylinders Power 38 HP Top speed 125 km/ Lenght/width 4,06 m/1,57 m
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.