Next month the Ford plant at Dagenham will celebrate 80 years of production. Commissioned at the height of a recession, Dagenham was celebrated by the press as a "magnificent gesture of faith in Britain's commercial future … a lighthouse of hope in a storm-tossed sea of industry". Since the first vehicle, a Model AA truck, rolled off the Dagenham production line on 1 October 1931, nearly 11 million vehicles and over 37 million engines have been built on the reclaimed marshland in East London.
Appropriately, the new plant, dubbed "a Detroit in Europe" was soon shipping vehicles across the Atlantic. During 1948 over 12,000 Ford 10HP models were shipped to America and by 1962 half of the UK’s car exports were Ford vehicles, shipping to 168 different territories.