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Rob H.

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Posts posted by Rob H.

  1. In FY 1907, the Model K was greatly improved upon, including increasing  the wheelbase from 114 to 120 inches, stronger frame with support (truss) rods, flex added between the flywheel and output shaft, higher horsepower, more modern styling, and in February of 1907 addition of the 6-40 roadster.  Individual oil lines were added to the thrust side of each cylinder, and the unique magneto improved upon.  The magneto was designed by Ed Huff, and was the first and only production CDI (capacitive discharge ignition) used on cars until well into the 1950's.  After selling over 300 Model K in 1906, almost 500 were produced in 1907, again leading the world in sales of six cylinder cars.  Although Ford raised the cost of the Model K $300 to $2800, the car provided more profit per car, seen below on the 1907 audit.  457 Model K were reported sold on the audit, but we know that 489 were reported "delivered."  My suspicion is that Canadian cars (sent as components to Canada, and assembled there) were not included in the cars sold portion of the audit, since they were sent to Canada as components.  Model K also were sent to England, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, that I am aware of.  By 1908, FMC was transitioning to the Model T, as well with exceedingly good production and sales of Ford's Model S roadster, both Model K and N sales fell off, as the models were phased out.  However, both still produced significant profit for FMC per car, with the Model K generating $540 per car profit with the sale of 119 cars.  Ford sold 42 more K in FY 1909 and finally, 4 for FY 1910.




  2. Walt, Wayne has seen a lot of this before on the Early Ford and MTFCA forums.  However, I've found a new audience here.  About ten to twelve years ago, my good friend, the late Tim Kelly, introduced me to the Ford Model K.  He gave me a ride in his beautifully restored 07 K touring car.  In a matter of moments we were zipping along at 55 mph.  I was amazed at the power and quality of the car.  That started it.  Now, after owning an 07 touring, roadster and for a short time co-owning an 06, I've learned much about the "Ford six."


    One of the things that stand out, and beg for history to be changed about the car, was it's economic benefit to Ford Motor Company.  In 1906, partly due to production delays of the new Model N (both the K and N were introduced in 1906), the Model K produced 85% of Ford Motor Company's new car profit for 1906 (fiscal year Oct 1, 1905 - Sep 30, 1906).  The spreadsheet below compares an independent FMC audit of 1906 sales by model.  The Model K kept Ford in the black for FY 06, with a profit per car of $340.



  3. Walt, I'm going to "get down in the weeds."  A short time ago on a cold wintry afternoon, I decided to do a none-too-scientific survey.  I was curious how many mentions of the Ford Six (Model K) there were in a newspaper service I use during each year of production (1906, 07 & 08), compared with other domestic six cylinder makers of the time.  Ford advertised, and was referred to, in both 1906 and 1907, as the largest six cylinder car maker in the world.  I searched "six cylinder Ford," "six cylinder Franklin" etc. etc., as well as "Ford six cylinder," National six cylinder" on and on.  Below is what I learned.  Ford did indeed have the most "hits" of all the carmakers producing sixes domestically.  I also made a sub category of "actual cars."  In other words, not just manufacturer or dealer/agent references to "Ford six cylinder," but actual cars were placed in this category.  Again, Ford was the clear leader in actual cars mentioned (such as owner stories about their car).


    To be fair, some cars were mid-season models, introduced during the summer of 1907, so did not have a complete sales season.  Others, such as Colt, may not have actually produced or sold any sixes, just announced or displayed one or two at the auto shows.  The cars are placed in order of cost, with the cost listed in today's value next.  Ford's six was the most economical, and was one of only a few to offer dual ignition and a magneto as standard equipment.


    good thing winters don't last all year in Nebraska...............


  4. Walt, thank you for the post.  I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of information that is "out there."  We are fortunate to live in the digital age, and to have had many libraries and institutions save, then catalog and digitalize so much information.  And, if the materials/papers/photos survive, so much more to eventually be discovered and made available.


    I first began searching early Ford generally, and Ford Model K specifically, for period information.  One thing I had to learn before finding information, was to search in the vernacular of the day.  When I search period newspapers and books for "Ford Model K" I had little luck, except for Ford Motor Company advertising.  However, when I realized the Model K was almost never referred to by the public as a "Model K," but as a "Ford Six," or "Six cylinder Ford," or 40 hp Ford, etc. etc., a wealth of information began to appear on the screen.


    The end of, but certainly not my last rant.     :)


  5. Greg, one other thing.  You mentioned the tall gearing that must be required.  The largest (at the time) 389 c.i. racer was listed with 1 1/2 : 1 diff ratio at the 1911 Algonquin hill climb races.  The Ford lost by a fraction of a second (overall place) to a 120 hp Benz.  At the time, Ford officials said the racer was geared too high, and would lose traction on the hairpin turns.  The following year, with a larger 410 c.i. motor, the diff was lowered to 2 : 1.  We currently have 3 : 1 gearing, but I think 2.5 or 2:1 would be better an allow good speed at low rpm.  There is certainly no lack of power starting or after shifting to high.  Below is a photo taken at the 1911 hill climb.  The back of the large Ford racer can be seen on the left.  Next is a blowup of the photo, showing the large "pumpkin" the Ford racer possesses, presumably to house the "tall" 1 1/2 : 1 gears.  Photo courtesy of THF, all rights apply.



  6. Thank you Wayne.  

    From Greg:  "relatively few people at the time would have known how special the engine was compared to a production Model T engine. For speeds like that the final drive ratio must have been a lot taller than stock as well. Were parts like this ever offered for sale to the public by Ford?"


    It's been interesting to research the Ford Specials.  What little I know about them includes the Reminiscence of Ford engineer Joe Galamb.  He said (Reminiscences were typed transcripts from audio recordings of early Ford Motor Company employees, agents and people who knew the Ford family) that one day Henry Ford appeared in his office and told him he wanted to build a racer that looked like a Model T, but that could beat the Blitzen Benz.  I believe this was probably shortly after the Ocean to Ocean race.  The BB was already the fastest car in the world, having set the one mile record in 1909 in England (if memory serves), then again with Barney Oldfield driving in 1910, and finally, the record set by Bob Burman in 1911.


    Unlike most of the parts drawings at THF, the Ford Special parts aren't dated, except for a few.  Those that are dated have 1914 dates.  The last Ford special official race came in the summer of 1912.   The parts that are dated?  Wire wheel drawings.  Why?  I think the photo below is why.  My "guess" is the wire wheel components were updated in 1914 for Edsel's speedster.  I'd also guess his speedsters (there were a few different variations, one with V-shaped radiator) had the faster Special motors, but that's purely conjecture.  The photo below is courtesy of THF, all rights apply:





  7. Thanks Layden, great pics of shocks.  I had not seen that brand before.


    The 300 cu. in. racer with Frank Kulick driving.  This photo appeared in newspapers in early June, 1911.  The racer drawings remaining at THF (photo and drawings property of THF, all rights apply) include a "dashtank" fitting for racer M-III.  I believe this is the opening for cylinder number 4's exhaust pipe in the false tank on the dash.  This allows the large motor to fit under the Model T hood.  The third photo is our racer today.






  8. Aha, the photos above, except for the 1905 six cylinder racer on the mag cover, are all the French Ford Special racer.  It was just under 3 liters, to allow it to compete in the 3 L and smaller Balougne races.  The wreck photos allow us to see the different (from standard Model T) lower crankcase.  There were at least 5 Ford Special racers that I'm aware of.  First, in 1910, a 201 cu. in. racer ran several late summer events.  By 1911, racers of 228, 300 and 389 (later expanded to 410) cu. in. competed, plus the racer sent to France.  The 389 c.i. racer and the 410 were quite different in appearance, so I think they could be classified as different racers, making at least 6 racers.  Fortunately, some parts drawings are available at Benson LIbrary at the Henry Ford.  Below are a few copies of the drawings.  I took the photos of drawings, courtesy THF, all rights apply.


    The first two photos are tank supports for racers M-1 and M-II.  M-II fits the racer that is lowered, therefore requiring the raised rear portion, or the 410 c.i. racer.  The M-I is for a straight Model T style frame.



    More drawings (courtesy THF, all rights apply).  Inlet cam lobes and valve drawings for racers M, M-I and M-III:452FF221-6849-411B-930E-64CFBCAF814E.jpeg.d1a7ae8113dae870a113c186b3b131d8.jpeg






  9. More Ford Special pics. The photos below show the racer sent to France in the spring of 1911.  The first, second and fourth are from a collection at The Henry Ford (rights apply).  The third is a post card I own, and the fifth is from a French 110 year old magazine.


    The first photo shows the racer with it's "clothes" on.  It was entered in the 3 liter and less race at Balougne France.  On race day, the racer was denied entry because it was determined not to be a stock motor, and so was required to take on several hundred pounds, and the French driver (and Ford agent) Henri Depasse refueled.


    Meanwhile, the racer was entered in the French Grand Prix.  During preliminary trials the racer came in 2nd among all Grand Prix entrants in the 1 km race, making 69 mph in 1 K.  It also placed second among all contestants in a 1/2 K hill climb.


    Photos 2 and 3 show the racer after it wrecked while practicing on the Grand Prix course the week of the race.  It was reported the racer was traveling between 75 and 80 mph when a tire came apart.  Depasse was bruised, and his mechanician was killed instantly.


    The racer was quickly rebuilt, and the last two photos show it rebuilt, and in the last photo, the racer is nearing the summit of the Mont Ventoux hill climb, one of Europe's most prestigious events.  The Ford Special came in 1st in it's class, and 2nd overall in the hill climb, losing only to a 120 hp French racer.  The climb is almost identical in distance and grade to the Pikes Peak run that came into existence a few years later.  The Ford averaged about 35 mph on the 13 mile climb.


    The racer was entered in the 1912 French Grand Prix, but Depasse became ill just before the race, and the car did not make the race.  After that, the racer was lost to history.








    Two more Ford racers.  The 1905-06 Ford Six racer, with Henry Ford at the wheel, made the cover of the French magazine "The Great Outdoors," and again when Depasse placed 2nd overall in the Mont Ventoux hill climb in 1911.  I own both magazines.



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  10. Wayne,  as always, you bring a wealth of information to the table.  Thank you.


    Staver, yes, the head is iron.  The entire car has been stripped of paint and looks almost like aluminum, but is just polished tin.   The lower crankcase and hogshead (top and bottom) are all aluminum.   This is what the racer looked like after the Blitzen Benz race.  It was parked in the Ford Detroit Branch display window, still wearing it's #5:



  11. Aha,

    my guess is not.  I've found two "specials" that may have escaped Ford Motor Company, as well was the big racer that is still at The Henry Ford, unfortunately off site.  We are fortunate to still have several of the parts drawings for the special racers, as well as designations (M, M-I, M-II thru M-V).  The special racers looked very much like stripped down Model T, with a few differences, such as dual ignition.  I'll post more tomorrow, as well as a few pics of our racer.




    below, a pic of the 410 ci racer motor at THF:


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  12. Finally, it was time for the match race between the Blitzen Benz, a 200 hp Benz driven by Bob Burman, a 200 hp Hotchkiss and the largest of the Ford Specials, a new 410 cubic inch Ford.  The frame had been lowered, with a V nose radiator, allowing the engine to be pushed forward, still concealing it beneath the Model T hood. These special racers used Bosch dual ignition magnetos, with two spark plugs per cylinder.  Henry Ford was about to get his wish, taking on the fastest car on the planet with one of his Joe Galamb designed special racers.  Additional breathing was allowed with four "ports" in the left side of each cylinder, allowing more exhaust gasses to escape when the piston reached the bottom of it's stroke.  Another identifying feature of this latest and greatest special were external rear brakes.  Each car started from a standing start (the one mile circular track record was in the low 48 second range, but from a flying start).  The Hotchkiss went first, and was timed at 56 seconds.  Kulick went next with his Ford, making the mile in 50 seconds flat.  Finally, Burman took his Blitzen Benz around the track.  He held the one mile, 20 mile and other records at the time.  He also held the world record fastest straightaway mile, having travelled a mile at 141 mph earlier in 1911 at Daytona.  No other human had ever traveled this fast, in plane, train or automobile, and the record would stand until 1919.


    The Benz made the mile in 51 2/5 seconds.  Kulick and his Ford had beaten the fastest car in the world.  Kulick and the Ford Special would not race on a track again, and only made one more hill climb and an exhibition on ice in 1912.  Below, two photos from articles in the Ford Times following the win (courtesy THF, all rights apply):




  13. Soldiering on............


    The second Ford Special to race this day in 1911 was the 300 cu. in. racer (we own the motor, currently finishing our racer project).  This has been the most difficult one to find a photo of.  All I have for certain is a poor quality Detroit newspaper article (courtesy of The Henry Ford, rights apply).  The reason we know it's the 2nd largest Ford racer is because it was matched against this Case racer, also entered in the 230 - 300 cu. in. race.  Below the news clipping is a photo of one of the Case racers from 1911 (courtesy of Detroit Public Libraries, all rights apply).  The Case Kulick beat (in the newspaper photo) finished 2nd, and was driven by Joe Jagersberger.  He would later design the RAJO head for Model T Fords and other motors.


    In both races, the first of the day, the Fords won out over the field, coming in first in both 5 mile races:






  14. I've been researching/working on the following.  Henry Ford and Frank Kulick returned to track racing in 1910, following a several year hiatus (except one race in 1908) after Frank Kulick suffered serious injuries attempting a one mile world record with the Ford six cylinder racer in October, 1907.  For two years Ford competed in track, road and hill climb events in the east and south, as well as sending one of their special racers to France to compete in the French Grand Prix, Mont Ventoux hill climb, and other events in 1911.


    1911 was Ford's "banner" year, finishing 5th among all makers in racing victories, with Frank Kulick finishing in the top ten of driving victories.  Henry Ford had tasked his lead designer, Hungarian born Joseph Galamb to build a racer that looked like a model T, that could beat the worlds fastest car at the time, the 200 hp Blitzen Benz.  Galamb designed, and Kulick raced several special racers, culminating with a match race against the Blitzen Benz in the fall of 1911 at the Michigan State Fair.


    I've been attempting to find photos of the three Ford Special racers that competed that day.  The first is seen in the photo below, at the start line beside an Abbott-Detroit (that's how we are able to I.D. the Ford racer, because both were entered in the smaller non-stock 161-230 cu. in. class).  The photo shows Frank Kulick seated with the racer, in front of the Abbott-Detroit racer.  Below that, a 1911 photo showing two Abbott-Detroit racers (courtesy Detroit Public Librairies, all rights apply).  I'll followup with the two other Ford racers that appeared that fall day, leading up to the match race with the Blitzen Benz:





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  15. Thanks guys.  As Wayne knows, it doesn't take much encouragement......     :)


    The Model K below is 1906 vintage.  The first 300-350 model K were distinctly different from the 1907-08 version.  Shorter 114 inch wheelbase (expanded to 120 inch with reinforced frame and truss rods for 07), more rigid connection between the power and flywheel/output shaft, individual lubrication lines to the thrust side of each cylinder (similar but less sophisticated than the system RR incorporated on their Silver Ghost, in about 1908), and increased horsepower.  As we see in the photos below, the Ford suffered a broken front spring during the race.  The story as it appeared in "The Automobile" follows:




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  16. May I participate?  Haven't visited in a while.  We've been converting some B&W to color, so I may post some of those too.


    Ford driver and longtime employee Frank Kulick, seated on the Ford six cylinder racer.  I believe this photo may have been taken just prior to his world record attempt with the racer in October, 1907.  A rear wheel came apart sending the racer through the Michigan State Fairground track fence.  Kulick was severely injured and was laid up for several months.  Henry Ford declared he was finished with track racing.  However, the next fall, Kulick raced a Model K one more time at Kalamazoo, winning the last track race a Ford Six entered (as it should be :) ).


    Frank Kulick again.  At the 1912 Algonquin Hill Climb near Chicago he drove the largest of the Ford Special racers to a record victory, defeating several marquees.  The other photo shows him with a mechanician preparing for a timed mile on ice in 1912.  His fastest attempt made 109 mph.  This Ford Special had a special 410 cubic inch 4 cylinder motor with auxiliary exhaust ports.  The differential for the hill climb had 2 to 1 gearing.  These were the only two events he and Ford made in 1912.  Henry Ford and Frank Kulick wouldn't race again.



  17. Bob, I just reread your post, and have a question too.  What possessed you to use the photo of Frank Kulick seated in the largest of the Ford Special racers as your profile photo?  I just finished the second of two articles about the Ford Special racers (1910-1912) for the Model T Times.  


    The other Bemis K, a 1907 Roadster, was originally sold in Omaha, to the Storz Brewing family sons, Arnold and Adolph.  It remained in Nebraska until about 1940, when it was sold to a collector back east.  Originally it was red, and now resides at Sacramento Auto Museum (?).  It was formerly in the Towe collection.  The motor number was 808 (still has original #808 transmission frame), but the crankcase #808 was swapped our with Bemis’ (and Harrah’s) touring car, so now it possesses #816 crankcase while #816 K touring crankcase is a replacement without a number.  (Getting down in the weeds......   :) ).


    another photo of the 1911-12 Ford Special racer.  This racer beat the Blitzen Benz in a match one mile race in September, 1911, wearing this number “5:”




  18. Just happened across this thread.  A few articles, one from AACA and a similar one with “Model T Times:”


    https://www.dropbox.com/s/92f1cuz799z63un/AACA “K” Article.pages?dl=0


    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t7wl7u9o97ms43c/MTT_Jul-Aug_2018_Model K_FINAL_HighRes with crop marks.pdf?dl=0


    My interest in Model K began when I rode with Tim Kelly (RIP) in his beautifully restored K touring many years ago.  He owned a 1907 touring formerly owned by Elmer Bemis and Harrah’s, among others.  I had heard the stories that the Ford Model K wasn’t a good car, and that Henry Ford had been “forced” to build the higher end model by investors, primarily A.Y. Malcomson.  Upon hopping in Tim’s K, we were soon traveling comfortable on a Minnesota highway at 55 mph.  I said to Tim, “I thought these weren’t good cars?”  He smiled and said “yeah, right.”  That began my love affair with the model.


    I’ve had the good fortune to own three Model K, two outright, and one with another enthusiast as we brought it into roadworthy condition.  Like Tim, I’ve logged thousands of miles on the two Model K I drove, first a 1907 touring, and now our 1907 roadster (noted in the above articles).


    interesting tidbits about the often maligned model:

     In 1907, Ford entered two Model K in a 24 hour contest in Detroit, and the K responded by winning the competition, defeating well known and respected marquee including two 60 hp Thomas Flyers (same model that won the 1908 New York to Paris race),  two Pope - Toledo and several other makes .   To put the significance of this feat in context, 24 hour contests were listed as the most popular racing contests of 1907, with ten national competitions.  At the end of 1907, only one make, two Locomobiles, beat the Ford K’s record, by only 11 miles over the 24 hour period.  The Model K averaged 47.3 mph over twenty four hours, on a flat one mile dirt track (Michigan State Fairground).


    Furthermore, the Model K was the worlds best selling six cylinder car in both 1906 and 1907, outselling well known six cylinder makes including the new for 1907 RR Silver Ghost, National, Stevens-Duryea, Franklin and all other six cylinder makers.


    in early 1907, Motor Magazine conducted a reader competition.  The winner would receive any automobile of their choice, up to $3,000.  Readers entering the contest (over 6,000), chose the Ford Model K fifth among their choices, with over thirty cars to choose from.  As it turned out, four readers tied for first place, and Motor Magazine chose to give each a lesser priced car, delivering two Maxwell and two Ford Model R to the four winners.


    Today, 23 model K are known to exist.  At this point, only three routinely tour in the United States, our roadster, my former touring car (now in Canada), and Tim Kelly’s touring.  Two Model K in Australia are roadworthy, while another in Alaska has been running.  


    Our Roadster was owned by the same family from the time it was purchased in 1907 until it was donated to the Larz Anderson museum in 1964.  The owners were the Knight family, at the time the largest owner of textile mills in the United States.  They were the originators of the “Fruit of the Loom” logo.


    thank you Wayne, and all who have shown interest in this interesting and storied model.



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