Since the earliest days of the Model T, Ford Motor Company has had a global presence. Over 15 million Model Ts were built at factories around the world from Canada to Argentina, across Europe, and as far away as Australia and Japan. The T was not only the first mass-produced automobile, it was the first “world car”. By the time the Model A had replaced the T, many overseas Ford operations began to take on their own identities. Customer needs varied depending on the market, and Ford’s branches in Dagenham, England and Cologne, Germany were among the most progressive, demanding cars that suited the needs of their particular market, rather than simply offering locally made versions of American cars. Model A sales in Europe were lagging behind so a new, smaller car was designed to better suit smaller European roads. The Model Y was unveiled in 1932 and proved a huge success in England. From 1933 through 1936, it was sold in Germany as the Ford Koln. As the Model Y became less popular in England, the Koln was replaced by the stylish little Eifel in 1935. The Eifel was initially built alongside the Koln, but soon replaced it altogether thanks to its superior performance. Ford continued to refine the car, separating it from its British cousins and offering body styles that better suited German buyers. The Eifel was facelifted in 1937, with a new laid-back radiator shell that echoed that of the American Ford V8, and new stamped steel wheels replacing wires. No fewer than fifteen different coachbuilders were contracted to supply a variety of bodies that ranged from a commercial van to stylish roadster. All told, over 61,000 Eifel’s were built, putting Ford back in serious competition with Opel for the entry level market.
This rare Ford Eifel roadster is one of the finest examples of its kind, believed to be one of just 10 like it and likely the only one in the US. The story of this little Ford begins in 1937 when it was purchased by a Jewish doctor in Germany. As the Nazis tore through Europe, the doctor hid the car on his father’s farm under a haystack. Fearful of being caught with the car and imprisoned, he gave the car to a US serviceman, who subsequently sold it to fellow soldier Sgt. John Trimble. Sgt. Trimble then sold the car to a Sgt. DeVente who shipped the car to the USA in 1958. Trimble’s brother Bob owned the car for some time who then sold it to Mr. Feijoo, who performed the careful and well-researched restoration in the 1990s.