Alternative history: Henry Ford produces Merlins in US

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    US production is carried out in parallel with that of Ford of Britain Trafford Park plant.
    Perhaps to hedge bets, Packard builds the Merlin as well.

    What do we do will all these extra Merlins???
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Allison in (1941) is a Division of General Motors Corporation of America - there ain't going to be any extra Merlins. :)

    MM
     
  3. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    :rolleyes:They'll all need valve seals , a problem Ford took years to solve
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Who pays for this factory?

    The US Government gave Ford over 14 million dollars in Sept of 1940 just build a Factory to make P&W R-2800s. That sum of money didn't include a single engine.

    Work started on the Trafford Park plant in 1938, when did it deliver engines in large quantities?

    Few aircraft engine makers ( maybe none) built the ENTIRE engine themselves, little fiddly bits like spark plugs, magnetos, carburetors and such came from outside suppliers.
     
  5. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    From Wikipedia:
    Early in 1940 Ford of Britain was approached by Herbert Austin, who was in charge of the shadow factory plan, about the possibility of converting an abandoned factory in Trafford Park into an aircraft engine production unit. Construction of the new factory was started in May 1940 on a 118-acre (48 ha) site.
     
  6. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    That was after the Ford/Merlin deal was nixed.

    Again from Wikipedia:
    In June 1940, Henry Ford had offered to manufacture 1,000 aircraft a day if the Government would let him do it his way, and during a discussion with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. regarding what the Ford company might produce, Ford's son Edsel tentatively agreed to make 6,000 Rolls-Royce liquid-cooled engines for Great Britain and 3,000 for the U.S.[2] However, at the beginning of July, Henry Ford stated that he would manufacture only for defense, not for Britain, and the entire deal was declared off.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    For each Merlin we produced, we paid Rolls Royce $6,000. There were NEVER going to be any excess Merlins. We didn't want to pay for any not needed.

    What I still wonder is why the government didn't ask Allison to make the V-1710 in an altitude-rated engine until so late in the war. If they had done so, maybe the G-6 engines would have been running in 1942, and would have given the Merlins a run for their money at 30,000 feet.

    Ah well, the Packard-Merlin engines were very good engines and ran well. Pacakrd had a history of making quality engines, and they didn't disappoint.
     
  8. Hop

    Hop Member

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    Rolls Royce waived all fees for the Merlin during the war. They did say they wanted a licencing fee after the war, but Packard stopped production before any were paid.
     
  9. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    When did Ford begin producing engines in Windsor, Ontario?
    An interesting twist would be for Ford to produce Merlins in Canada.
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Stick them on the Whirlwind or the Manchester?
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Ford promised a lot of things he actually could not deliver. While the Ford company went on to make major contributions to the war effort the entire US industrial complex never made 1000 planes a day or even came close. Willow run's best month was 650 planes and that was in 1944.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The tooling has to come from somewhere. Factories are not created out of thin air and machine tools are always in short supply in war time. Pratt Whitney's plant in Kansas city was set back weeks when 6 Sidestrand centerless grinders were re-directed from their plant (under construction) to the Queen Mary and rushed across the Atlantic to Napair to help solve their sleeve valve crisis. Packard got aluminium castings from the Matag washing machine company.

    You can't make aircraft engine parts (at least not many of them) on machinery designed to make car parts. While car makers (companies) did make aircraft engines it was in new factories specially equipped to make aircraft engines.

    Basically, for these "what if schemes", for every factory or "new" airplane that is proposed another factory would have to either be not built or it's production changed from what it was making to the "what if" production with the loss of what ever it was originally making.
     
  13. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    If Ford had accepted the request to build Merlins, Packard wouldn't have been asked; by the end of the war, we had so many Merlin 266s, to go into the Spitfire XVI, we were giving away the Spitfire IX to the Russians, and anyone else who'd have them. By the middle of 1944, the RAF were only interested in 4-cannon Griffon-powered Spitfires, for high-level work, with the Tempest lower down, and the Spitfire XVI for ground-attack.
     
  14. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #14 michaelmaltby, Nov 30, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
    "... Stick them on the Whirlwind or the Manchester?" :)

    After the war Canadair used them on license-built DC-4s (more-or-less) -- the Northstar.

    MM
     

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  15. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    However, if Packard had not built Merlins - and Merlins were never produced in the US, we could be here right now reading how Merlins couldn't be built in the US due to this or that.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The same number of Merlin engines get built but they are built by someone else.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    If the time line for US-built Merlins can be shifted 3 months earlier than a historical time line, that would mean P-51B (or what-ever would be called) would enter the fray in Sept 1943, rather than Dec 1943. Of course, if the USAAC bras introduces them into as an offensive tool together with B-17s that early. By that time the P-47 is also fitted with drop tanks.
    Prospects for the LW don't seem bright in this scenario.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    What makes you so sure? Those same Merlin engines could end up in some other aircraft type.
     
  19. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    They did, four of them; it was called the Lancaster III.
     
  20. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    #20 RCAFson, Nov 30, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
    Earlier production of North American Merlins could have important ramifications for CCF built Hurricanes, and it might mean the CCF Hurricane/ Sea Hurricane receives higher production priority and more widespread use of the Hurricane by the Commonwealth/FAA, especially in the Far East and possibly by USAAC/USMC/USN forces as well. The USAAC/USMC could have benefited from the use of Merlin 28 powered Hurricanes/Sea Hurricanes at Guadalcanal, especially for high altitude interceptions and the USMC at Midway, for example, to replace their F2A-2/3 fighters.

    We could also see Hurricanes in Australia and for example, imagine the effect of having ~100 Hurricanes on Ceylon in April 1942, instead of ~50.
     
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