The third in a series of three posts featuring some of the Archive's Ford images
With Trimotor production in full swing, the Ford Motor Company understood that the way to stay ahead of the competition was to be continually innovating, so a small group of producition aircraft were held back from sale and used as testbeds to try out new engine combinations. One of these was the sole model 11-AT.
Our photo is an official Ford shot, and the 8x10 glossy period print is so crisp that an enormous amount of detail can be seen by enlarging the scans.
When this engine was installed on a Bellanca CH-300, it set a world unrefueled endurance record of 84 hours, 33 minutes on May 28, 1931, a record which stood for 55 years until being broken by the Rutan Voyager.
However, there were some drawbacks. The engine was a monovalve design, and consequently was very rough running - in some applications, a flexible coupling needed to be installed between the crackshaft and the propeller. For an airliner, this was a show-stopper. Passengers demanded smoothness in their ride. In addition, many people found the smell of Diesel exhaust particularly annoying.