1954 Ford SAF Vendome
Ford Vendôme Tyres
Ford Vendome Recommended Tyres
History of the Ford Vendome
The Vendôme would have surely been the highlight of the Ford display at the 1953 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris had it not been for the manufacturer's choice to fly in an eye-catching prototype from Detroit dubbed the X-100, which stole the show. Despite sharing the Vedette's contemporary – if heavy-looking – body, the Vendôme sported a more sophisticated front design with more chrome. The bench seats were upholstered in two contrasting colours on the inside, and the rear bench seat had a thick central folding armrest. The Vendôme was distinguished by these features, as well as subtle variations on the instrument panel. The installation of reversing lights that turned on automatically when reverse gear was selected was a differentiating and, at the time, new feature.
The Vendôme followed the tried-and-true approach of merging an existing vehicle - in this case, the Ford Vedette - with a bigger engine to boost performance. Fitting a larger engine into the existing engine bay was no problem, and Ford needed little investment because the engine utilised was the Flathead V8 side-valve engine, of which millions had been produced worldwide and which was already powering Detroit's 1953 Ford Crestline in this "Mistral" version. The maximum power in this configuration was advertised as 93 bhp, which was 37% greater than the Vedette's 68 bhp. This resulted in a reported top speed of 92 mph, which was nothing short of jaw-dropping for a massive heavy six-seater sedan in 1950s France. Even at low engine rpm, acceleration was outstanding, indicating significant low-range torque. However, fuel consumption was also eye-watering, and while drivers driving below 50mph burned somewhat more petrol than the less powerful Vedette, there were instances of high-speed cruising yielding a consumption number of 11.3 mpg in European Gallons.