When Ford took over the UKs Rolls-Proton engines from Rolls-Royalty in the late 1950s, it created a new name for its new business model.
In the US, it called them “Eddie” engines and in Britain, they were referred to as “Diesel” engines.
And while that is technically correct, it has led to a lot of confusion in the UK, with the country’s automotive press calling the engines “Ford engines”.
In Britain, the engines were renamed the Rolls-Rugby engines, although the names were officially reversed in England and Wales, with Ford engines referred to by their American-style name.
Ford’s name in the US was still Ford, not “Ford” (although in some parts of the UK it was).
The name change did not go unnoticed in Britain.
The BBC’s Mark Latham reported that one of the most famous quotes in British politics at the time was that “Britain is a nation of Ford engines”.
But it seems that British newspapers were far more concerned about the American name change than the British one.
The name change led to some confusion among UK newspapers, with some saying that the “Ford engine” referred to “the Ford Model T” and that the British name for the engines was “E.E. Ford”.
And in many cases, it seems the media were right.
The BBC’s James Reynolds reported that British politicians and others were quick to point out that the name change had nothing to do with “Eugene” (the name of the engine in the “E” and the first letter of the “N” in the word “Ford”).
“The British government was quick to make a point about the name being the same as the Ford engine that they use in their cars,” Reynolds wrote.
In a BBC interview in 2018, the former chief executive of Rolls-Aves, Tom Taylor, said that “the British government has been wrong about the ‘Ford name’ for a long time”.”
But we are no longer as happy about it, in my opinion, because we were told it was going to be a Ford name for a very long time.”
In a BBC interview in 2018, the former chief executive of Rolls-Aves, Tom Taylor, said that “the British government has been wrong about the ‘Ford name’ for a long time”.
He added: “There are plenty of other companies that use the name Ford in Britain that use it in the USA.
But the name of a British-made engine, the Ford name, is no longer Ford.”
Taylor said that Ford had not been given any official explanation for the name “Ford”.
The BBC added that in some cases, the name was even used by the BBC itself.
One example was in a 2017 BBC Radio 4 interview with former chief engineer James Tynan, who said that the engines had been named Ford because they were “Ford-built”.
But he later said he was referring to the British engines that were used in the Ford Model-T and Ford Ranger.
“When I started in the company, I didn’t know anything about the Ford engines, and they didn’t use the Ford logo,” Tynans said.
There is no evidence that Tynens was referring exclusively to the UK engines.
The British public was also quick to use the term “Ford”, despite being aware of its American origins.
An example was a 2013 article on the BBC website, where a reporter asked a member of staff why the engines used in Ford cars were called Ford engines.
“There is nothing in the engine that looks like the Ford-built Ford engines,” the journalist replied.
Later in the same article, a spokesman for Ford UK said that there was no difference between the UK and US names for the engine.
“The name Ford is the official British name used by all of the world’s major automobile manufacturers,” he said.
“It is a name that has been used for more than a century and has been applied to all Ford vehicles since the 1950s.”
The UK press was quick with its criticism of the US name change.
In a 2012 article, The Telegraph newspaper wrote that “Ford has been forced to change its name for decades because of pressure from the United States and its allies in the oil industry.”
“The US oil industry has demanded that the US and Britain change their names for their engines, but has been unable to do so,” it said.
The newspaper went on to say that, while the British government had been “unable to change the name, it is now the US which is changing its name.”
And then there was the British news magazine The Sunday Times, which described the US-based company as “incompetent”.
“The company is in disarray,” the magazine wrote.
A spokeswoman for the UK Department for Transport (DfT