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To the Ford Motor Company
September 22, 1934 [Chicago, Illinois]
In October 1933 I purchased a Tudor Sedan V-8, Motor No. 18-456524, from your agent in Charleston, S.C. For 500 miles the car was driven 25 or less miles per hour and carefully lubricated. Up to 1,000 miles it was driven at 35 or less miles per hour. Every reasonable care was taken.
At 3,200 miles, while enroute from Chicago to Georgia, a valve spring broke and a bearing burned out. This occurred near Rockville, Indiana on a Sunday. The Buick agency towed in my car and repaired the damage. I tried to reach the Ford agency by telephone, without success, and was compelled to seek aid elsewhere. I was delayed overnight eighteen hours and put to that extra expense and a bill for $12.00 for the work.
On the same trip, in the mountains of West Virginia in a blizzard, the gasoline pump failed, and left me stalled for three hours before I could get assistance. A friendly car pushed me until the motor, of itself, picked up. The same thing occurred again the next day near a small Ford agency on the Lincoln highway in eastern Indiana. After two hours work on the gasoline pump, it was gotten to work. It failed again in Fort Wayne and your agency there worked for two hours on it, at my expense. It failed again, after dark, during a heavy snow storm, as I approached Chicago—on the same trip. A motorist pushed my car for half a mile and it started up. All this trouble on one trip.
In Chicago I noticed a low knock. Your agency on Lake Street, Chicago, examined the car twice and reported nothing the matter. Finally, in Rockford, Illinois, your agent found the right front wheel hub defective and replaced the hub, curing the noise. On my next trip—just completed—a connecting rod bearing or part broke. Your agent at Butler, Pennsylvania, repaired this for $8.10. It occurred in the evening. The mechanic told me the oil was thin and badly burned—it had been changed 450 miles back; that evidently the piston fittings were defectively adjusted. He endorsed his finding on the back of the bill (inclosed herewith).
The car uses one quart of oil (the best grade) each hundred miles. The oil must be changed every 500 miles or less as it is burned out by that time. This car has given continuous trouble. It quite evidently is a defective car. It has been a continuous expense and has failed me invariably at critical times. I have owned Fords off and on since 1913. I understand the care of motors and the importance of lubrication. I have never been in trouble on the road but once before buying this car.
I feel that your company owes me some adjustment in this matter, and I, accordingly, am submitting this statement of the case for your consideration.1
Very truly yours,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. The Ford Motor Company’s reply was not found in the Ford archives. Marshall sold the troublesome automobile in November. He purchased another Ford the following spring.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 436-437.