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Period RACE CAR Images to Relieve some of the Stress


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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 :) ).

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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.

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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Hey there Rob H !

You could find quite a few people here that would enjoy much of the history you have uncovered about the early Fords and Ford's racing. Need to get the model K's reputation reset to where it belongs!

FJ posts here often, under the avatar 'Trulyvintage'. He has shared some of the photos of the model B Ford.

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6 hours ago, Rob H. said:

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.

It would be wonderful if you would continue to post the photos. It's especially nice when there is so much information included with them. 

Thank you in advance. 

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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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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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On 3/19/2021 at 10:58 AM, Walt G said:

Please make it right. The photographs were published in a current magazine and that magazine is copy righted , so it includes the article as well as the photographs included in that article. I got the permission to use the photographs from the family of the man that took them . I can understand and appreciate your enthusiasm but do believe you will need to be more diligent in just assuming everything you copy can then be reused without question.

 

As of now I will refrain from posting anything here or anywhere else until I am satisfied that credit is given, not looking for 24 point type in bold face, but think it would be fair that people understand that everything on the internet is not just a take and grab no matter how good the intentions . I am done.

WEG

This is precisely why several months ago I stopped posting images here and on the 'Period Images...' thread.  

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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:

 

 

 

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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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):

 

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Rob, Any chance we could get a picture of the unfinished racer? I'm thinking you've probably posted some on other sites. I'd love to hear the history of that motor. I find it very interesting how some cars or parts survived while others were cast aside as so much rubbish.

 

Is the 410 ci car is in The Henry Ford?

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This picture was posted by Twin Six over on the period photos. I'm guessing this is one of the special racers but which one?

T dog.jpg

I love that hood ornament!

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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.

thanks,

rob

 

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

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, AHa said:

This picture was posted by Twin Six over on the period photos. I'm guessing this is one of the special racers but which one?

T dog.jpg

I love that hood ornament!

 

 

I am really curious myself to see what Rob H has to say about this one! When I first saw this one on the 'Period' thread, I thought it was one of the Ford specials myself, for about two seconds. I have spent a few hours total zooming in and studying details of every Ford special I have been able to find on many threads over the past several years. A few I won't share myself due to known copyright issues. Several that are common enough on the 'web' (do they still call it that? Or am I showing how out-of-date I am again?), I have shared them several times. This one I 'harvested' almost as soon as I saw it (for my own ready study). I do hope that isn't why my computer 'locked up' the next morning?

 

What could lead anyone (including me)to believing it might be one of Ford's specials is the wheels. One of the things confusing all the photos of the Ford specials is that they were designed and built to 'quick-change' things like seats and gasoline tanks so that a given 'special' could be run in one event in one configuration, and then quickly be changed to a different configuration for a different event. Some events required large fuel tanks for long races. Other events only needed a small fuel tank for a short hill climb, and even those few pounds could make the difference. Some races only needed a single seat for the driver. Other events needed or required a mechanician or race official to ride along, therefore two seats were necessary.

The specials also could be run with either wooden spoke wheels, or wire wheels (which also happened to be a slightly larger circumference!). Several famous photos show Ford specials with one or more of both wooden spoke or wire wheels on the car! One theory for this is that sometimes a speedometer was needed or desired. The wooden spoke wheels apparently had the drive gear for the speedometer. A few photos of specials with all wire wheels have no speedometer mounted on the dash (another quick-change item?).

The thing about the wooden spoke wheels on this unknown car? Notice the lockdown bolts between every other spoke. That was a tire mounting system used for a few years, a few years earlier (think 1906 through 1908). By 1910, tire design for clinchers had improved enough that common automobiles no longer needed such lockdown bolts to keep the tire on the rim under normal driving conditions. However, during the timeframe of Ford's specials (1910 through 1912) and even for awhile later, such tire lockdowns were still necessary for keeping the tires in place at the higher speeds and fast cornering of racing. Ford's specials in most of the era photographs show the lockdown bolts on most of the wooden spoke wheel photos. Many other and especially larger racing cars continued to use such lockdown bolts, sometimes even into the later 1910s. Better demountable rim types made them somewhat obsolete by 1915.

The gasoline tank on this subject car is different than any I have seen on one of Ford's specials. I have seen a 'square' tank in a few photos. It was the small tank used for short fast runs. I have seen tanks about this size, and some even quite larger on Ford's specials, and they were all round.

Also, while I have seen shock absorbers, and rebound limiting straps in some photos of Ford's specials? I have not noticed any shock absorbers that looked like, or were mounted like, these on one of Ford's specials.

 

Several similar racing cars were built by others in those early years. A few of them even have known histories (I did have bookmarks to a couple such histories some years back, but lost them to a computer meltdown in 2018). Several people even built copies of the 1909 O2O racers back around 1910.

This car does appear to be early, whoever did build it. The tire lockdown bolts say so, and the one-piece front spindles indicate so. One-piece spindles were discontinued fairly early in the 1911 model year. The radiator however has the taller neck! Although a radiator could have been replaced for any of many reasons early on. The radiator neck was also changed by Ford early in the 1911 model year.

 

Enough out of me! I want to encourage Rob to share is wealth of information with this audience as well as the few others I know him from. I don't want run him off by stealing his thunder? Early Fords and early racing are subjects near and dear to my heart! I get going and have a difficult time stopping!

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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Hartford made shocks that are similar, but I think they are possibly later . Perhaps these are a very early version.

 

Greg

1 hour ago, Rob H. said:

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.

thanks,

rob

 

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

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Is that a Bronze head ? Or just a iron head polished and stained from use and age. Also note aluminum crankcase and iron block. Much different from production parts.

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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:

 

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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.

 

 

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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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Rob,

Can you identify which racer the above pictures depict. It appears not to be the 401 ci race car depicted in the post immediately above this post.

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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.

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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

 

 

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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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.

 

 

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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Thanks Aha, it is fun.  So far, we've run up to the low 70's, with lots left.  Then I learned a lesson about not enough clearance with aluminum pistons.  It's about back together now.........   😞

 

When you "kick" open the auxiliary exhaust ports, it's like adding a higher gear.

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It looks so deceptively standard Model T based. But I suppose that was part of the overall plan from a marketing point of view. I expect 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 ? Or were would be racers needs only served by the outside specialists ?

70 MPH + on clinchers ! Men of iron indeed.

Greg

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On 4/9/2021 at 7:01 AM, Rob H. said:

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

 

Thank you Rob H! As part of full discloser, I should mention that a lot of what I know and bring to the table I got from reading your many dozens of threads on other forums and a couple articles you have written (or contributed to) in magazines already.

 

I also want to mention to the audience at hand that Rob is an excellent researcher with a professional background in investigative research, and a true passion for the history of early Fords and Ford's early racing. Unlike me, he keeps copious notes and references to where he got his information, and very often gives proper legal and source information as it should be done. He searches through countless era newspapers and other periodical publications for era reports as well as Ford's own records, like pieces of a puzzle to be put together. With a full understanding that 'all that is written is not necessarily true', he finds a preponderance of evidence suggesting the real truth. Regardless of what most history books have said for decades ("the model K was a loser and Henry hated it"), you can pretty much count on what Rob says about it being a great car "in the context of its time!" The same about Ford's early racing history. I doubt that anyone in the world actually knows more about that than Rob does.

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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:

 

 

 

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Edited by Rob H.
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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.

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Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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There is just so much "undiscovered" material in periodicals. This is especially true for magazines issued in Europe that rarely made it across the ocean to the USA to be viewed by American automobile enthusiasts, even 100+ years ago. Many current historians, authors, etc and libraries/collections  of automotive material don't know they exist either. Many of the periodicals fortunately had coated stock paper - that still allows great clarity of the subject and with the greater DPI allowed by the use of finer quality paper has preserved the image much better . I was fortunate to have worked for my great friend Henry Austin Clark Jr. in his library from my late teens until he passed away. It was an education for me to see the many varieties and titles of periodicals as well as factory issued publications, sales literature etc.

That knowledge fostered my own desire to build my library based on what I saw existed ( with out knowing that how do you seek same?) and I focused on my interest of coach builders, etc. from all over the world. I was fortunate to have a friend in England who was a motor book dealer that was my eyes and ears in Europe who then would find issues and items that I desired to build my library. OMNIA magazine from France was a monthly car magazine with excellent and amazing coverage of the scene there and was issued one a month from 1920 to 1936! It took decades but I managed ( with a lot of help) to build a nearly complete collection for all those years to use in my research. There a a number of other periodicals that had certain "auto numbers" once a year that give great information and photographs/image. You just need to know where and what to look for.

It is why I started the Period Photographs and Images and Memorabilia a guide threads - it is providing the information that a lot of us thrive on but also educates us by actually seeing and not just reading about something we have great interest in. Knowing about something and not sharing it with others to me is just not right.

End of rant # 643

Walt

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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.     :)

 

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Rob, you have just let a lot of the readers here get a clue on how to do research. Many manufacturers DID NOT refer to their assorted models by the series letter or number.  As collectors that is what most people know or only what they know because that is the way it has been for decades when the vehicles became collectible. If you don't put your thoughts in the mode of the era, then you will miss out on a lot. Many journalists and issued factory or company press releases did not mention the series number or letter but as you state would indeed mention how many cylinders the car had or the horsepower. One not only has to look at that era but think like they did then to find all the information you seek.

Walt

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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...............

D186BB01-2066-4BEF-AA64-AF811EFAA40E.jpeg

Edited by Rob H. (see edit history)
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Rob, so glad that you like to get down in the weeds ! also to "share the pollen" of those weeds with all of us. Most interesting chart of who were producing the 6 cylinder cars in that era as well as the number produced , cost etc. The huge investment for a car company to make to produce a 6 cylinder car in that era was substantial - castings, larger wheels, lamp equipment etc with the potential sales of same , - sort of. Many people still did not trust the "horseless carriage".  It is why so many demonstrations of "strength" of the cars and their reliability were being made. They had to prove that a product was worth the investment . Today we take reliability, factory backed parts, etc as a standard of the industry, back then there really wasn't to much of an industry that was around for a long period of time.

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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.

 

BD6959CE-3BA0-45CA-BD9B-0E137B5A6705.jpeg

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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.

 

 

2E087864-B63D-4078-81FF-5296D89568D1.jpeg

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Rob, Austin Clark had a model K Ford touring that I got a brief ride in once , he rarely used it as he had so many other cars to choose from and really had about 6 or so of the brass era that saw regular use - Buick model 10, two chain drive Simplex , Mercer type 35, and a red Locomobile touring ( one of the smaller series cars) , Packard town car model 18? . He had some others he used as well but they were newer - 1920 Autocar hotel bus, and 1929 Lincoln model L phaeton. All ran and drove well . A friend had a model N roadster that he used locally . The Long Island Old Car Club was a chapter of the VMCCA and had primarily brass era cars in use among its membership.

Since we are on the race car thread I will mention that the Mercer and two Simplex were of the "race car" class. I got my one and only near 100mph ride in a pre 1914 car with Austin in the Mercer , on the North Sea Rd. that runs from Southampton to Sag Harbor. I know for a fact it was the correct speed  because we got caught in a speed trap with a radar gun by the local law heading south from Sag Harbor . They waved us over - not to give us a ticket but to look under the hood of the Mercer to really believe it didn't have a modern engine in it.  I later got the color back into my knuckles that drained out from that ride at John Duck' s restaurant which was the favorite watering hole and place for food at that time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK everyone let's get this thread that Steve M. started back into gear ( that was not said as a pun) and get some more race car images going here. This one is of a certain car built in Connecticut while on Jericho Turnpike on Long Island and is passing the grandstand for spectators near the start/finish line.

Hope everyone is healthy and staying well and hopefully enjoying looking at old cars in old photos.

Walt

OLD16grandstand.jpg

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A little over half a century ago a young 17 year old (ME) in his first car a 1961 Falcon followed this famous 1906 Locomobile down Rt.22 in New York and watched as Peter Helk pulled away from me at 75 mph on our way to the antique car show in Ridgefield, CT.  What a shame young car nuts won't be able to have the same experience in the future. 

 

Howard Dennis

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On 4/12/2021 at 5:54 AM, Walt G said:

Rob, Austin Clark had a model K Ford touring that I got a brief ride in once , he rarely used it as he had so many other cars to choose from and really had about 6 or so of the brass era that saw regular use - Buick model 10, two chain drive Simplex , Mercer type 35, and a red Locomobile touring ( one of the smaller series cars) , Packard town car model 18? . He had some others he used as well but they were newer - 1920 Autocar hotel bus, and 1929 Lincoln model L phaeton. All ran and drove well . A friend had a model N roadster that he used locally . The Long Island Old Car Club was a chapter of the VMCCA and had primarily brass era cars in use among its membership.

Since we are on the race car thread I will mention that the Mercer and two Simplex were of the "race car" class. I got my one and only near 100mph ride in a pre 1914 car with Austin in the Mercer , on the North Sea Rd. that runs from Southampton to Sag Harbor. I know for a fact it was the correct speed  because we got caught in a speed trap with a radar gun by the local law heading south from Sag Harbor . They waved us over - not to give us a ticket but to look under the hood of the Mercer to really believe it didn't have a modern engine in it.  I later got the color back into my knuckles that drained out from that ride at John Duck' s restaurant which was the favorite watering hole and place for food at that time.

 

Mention of the Ford K reminds me of what is known of the single example that came to New Zealand. Most has been researched by John Stokes who has recently completed a comprehensive tow volume history of Ford in New Zealand.

 

Re the K - " Almost certainly just one Model K came to New Zealand. There are no known photographs of the car (serial number 211) in its original form. In May 1909 a Model K, described as ‘practically new’ was advertised for auction, without reserve, by the liquidators of The Automobile Company of New Zealand who evidently had been unable to sell it. The car did not sell and a second auction was held in December that year. It is presumed that, this time, the car did sell as no further advertising for it was found"

 

By 1921 it was on a farm near the North Island town of Marton.

 

John posted the following on a local facebook page in July 2020 - "In a nutshell, the story is that the Model K body was rusted out, removed and disposed of approx. 1921-22 (on a farm in Marton). What was left was given a racer body, as in the photo (taken on that farm!). The car broke a crankshaft at Muriwai and the hulk was sold to a new used motor parts business in Auckland, called AutoParts. Because the owner of the business (whose name I forget) appreciated what it was, it was stored in a shed down the back of the yard for many years. I gather it was the 1950s that they decided to dismantle the car and that is when this huge and unusual engine was plonked into the window, where it remained for many years, as I understand it.

Then they decided the motor was in the way. So they "offered it back to Ford", who weren't interested.

"Offered it back to Ford" is a phrase I questioned - who was "Ford"? Was it Ford-NZ? Was it a Ford dealer? If so, probably that would've JW Andrew. No-one knows - but their answer was "thanks, but no thanks".

So the motor was taken to the Auckland tip.

I first got on to this story when I found a letter in a very early edition of Beaded Wheels (the magazine of the Vintage Car Club of new Zealand). It was from Dick Messenger, telling the story. I became a little excited because I had been hunting for proof of the existence of a Model K in New Zealand. So, I asked Leith Newell, who I knew reasonably well. "Leith!" I asked, "Dick Messenger reckons this car is a Model K! Would that be right?"

If you know Leith she is a stickler for accuracy. As, I understand, was Dick Messenger. Her response: "If Dick says it is a Model K, it is a Model K".

From there I was able to work backwards and found the evidence I was looking for, as presented in the book "Ford in New Zealand - Putting the Car Before the Horse". That even included a photo of Dick with the Model K at Muriwai, which I found at Auckland Library."

 

The first photo is the car at Marton after conversion to a speedster, and the second is the 'Dick Messenger' photo taken on the road to Muriwai Beach in 1925.

 

Edit - I guess there are those today would have liked to get their hands on those self-generating lamps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

K speedster.jpg

Muriwai 1925.jpg

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Howard, I agree. I used to attend the Ridgefield , CT. pre WWII car show as well. You could hear Old 16 coming when it was half a mile away! everyone would stop what they were doing in mind sentence even and look up to see that grand car arrive and be parked among the rest. It was never trailered to the show. I was fortunate to get an up close view at a local car show I was co chairperson of  in 1988 when it appeared there here on long island courtesy of Jerry Helck. Look at the report on Vanderbiltcupraces.com

Walt

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Rob Heyen did considerable research on this model K racing car, and found as many questions as answers. He posted a good thread about it on the MTFCA forum a few months ago. A bit later, hopefully tonight, I will try to find it and post a link if someone else doesn't beat me to it. Right now, I need to go out and get some work done on my 1915 T runabout (currently trying to rebuild a half century old reproduction radiator!). The MTFCA forum isn't usually easy to search for specific threads, at least I haven't found an easy way.

As I recall, there was a 'drive-line' failure recorded, that has been thought to been the crankshaft breaking. However, the car was again raced about a year later (photographic evidence with the K near another racing car that was run a year later). While the two photos shown above by nzcarnerd are well known, Rob found and shared a couple photos that show part of the car, that are not often seen.

Later.

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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