1. Without looking them up, how much does each model cost (one, the Model K Ford, and second, either or both, the Stevens Duryea light and big six?
.2. Which car sold more models the Stevens, (between the years 1905 and 1906) , or the Ford a model K?
For this contest we're including both Steven sixes in the production total.
Hint: The Ford Model K only sold 953 known models over it's two plus year run.
Please play responsibly
Actual pics from a competition where the Stevens beat the K for 1st place.
1907 Ford Model K
1907 light six and big six
Correction, above should say: between the years 1905 and 1908, not 1905-1906.
I'll guess about $3,500 & 4,500 for big cars like those. Production probably wasn't very much, maybe 150 per year for both.
Stevens-Duryea Production 1905-600, 1905-600, 1907-1000, 1908-1500
Good info guys. Any other guesses about the number of Stevens Duryea "sixes" produced, 1905-1907?
BTW, I'd like to know any other "high end" production numbers, by model and year, 1906 - 1908 if anyone has them.
Where did you get those numbers for Stevens Duryea? They seem very high. I think total Stevens production from 1901 - 1915 is about 1200 cars according to "Stevens Duryea, a very limited company". The production reportedly never exceeded 100 cars per year.
This is a 1906 Stevens six cylinder Model U. It was 36 - 42 horsepower, cylinders cast individually. A magnificent car, but never profitable.
Just like the Ford six! Eh, Royce?
Well there is a lot of similarity in design. Maybe Ford and Frank Duyea thought a lot alike?
Stevens Duryea made several models in 1906, including four cylinder and a bigger 9 litre six powered car. The 100 unit total is for all models combined. The Model 1906 Stevens Duryea U may have only been made in a quantity of fifty cars. Hardly worth the trouble for a huge concern like Stevens.
Between 1905 and April 1908 Stevens Duryea sold 853 light and big six cars. By comparison, Ford sold 953 Model Ks between July 1906 and August 1906.
(Not sure where "100 cars per year" is coming from. There were 255 auto makers selling 43,000 cars in the US in 1907, or about 170 cars per company on average. Stevens is estimated to have built about 14,000 six cylinder cars through 1915)
The 35 hp light six sold for $3500, the 50 hp six for $6000 in 1907. Also, in the MoToR magazine contest, Stevens was the 8th most selected auto (Thomas was 1st, Ford 5th).
Mike, you were right on the price (for the light six). Gary, I'm guessing your numbers were for total production (Stevens made a popular 4 cylinder car selling for $2750 in 1907 too).
It's interesting that one of the most successful six cylinder U.S. automakers, Stevens Duryea, made less six cylinder cars than Ford over the same time period.
This 1907 Stevens Light Six touring toured on the New London to New Brighton and is a beautiful automobile.
Correction to the post above, should say "Ford produced 953 Model Ks between July 1906 and August 1908".
I said where my numbers came from - the book "Stevens Duryea, a very limited company". What source for your claim that Stevens outproduced Ford? I find the difference hard to fathom? One of the sources is wildly inaccurate.
I did not write "Stevens out produced Ford"! Go back and reread my post.
I said, Ford produced more sixes than Stevens, 1905 (late for Stevens entry with the light and big sixes) through 1908 (Ford, 953,Stevens, 858). Of course you've already dismissed Stevens as "unprofitable" so any value from the comparison must be lost with you.
From "Automobile", April, 1908:
Stevens also is credited with producing 14,000 sixes between 1905 and 1915:
Royce, Numbers I got were from the Standard Catalog of American Cars. May have read it wrong though. Was quite tired from long trip to visit wife in hospital. She comes home tomorrow.
Best wishes for you and your wife. Thank you for contributing the information reference your resource.
As a matter of curiosity, what is the basis for your assertions that neither the Ford Model K nor the Stevens Duryea Model U were profitable?
Good question. I'll put this toward the top, in case Royce missed it
I know your out there......
How about it, I'd genuinely like to learn how you know Ford (and Stevens Duryea) were not profitable with their six cylinder cars.
Stevens-Duryea has a very special place in automotive history. However, that history is more than a bit convoluted. The Duryea brothers (J Frank and Charles E) built one of the first gasoline automobiles in the U S (1893). It barely ran, once or twice depending upon the source of information. After which the brothers built an entirely new car(1895). They reasonably addressed the issues the first car had and the second one was quite successful. It went on to win the second automobile race in the U S (1895). Following that race, the brothers formed a small company, and built an additional five (or seven depending upon source) which were mostly sold (1896). These are said to be the first automobiles produced for sale in the U S and therefore the first U S automobile production run. Additional cars may have been also built. A few Duryea automobiles wound up in England and Europe and did surprisingly well in racing against the better developed cars of that part of the world. One of them was first to complete the "Emancipation Run", the first London to Brighton Run in 1896, according to the Kimes and Clark book.
I have read of other of their exploits in original publications while researching my early gasoline carriage much as Rob has been finding about the Ford K racing exploits while researching his car's heritage.
Soon after that racing, the brothers had a bit of a falling out, both claiming "they" were responsible for their success. Charles E continued building automobiles under several companies while J Frank became associated with the Stevens Arms Company which then formed Stevens-Duryea.
The Kimes and Clark "Standard Catalog of American Cars" is a great general resource about American (U S) built automobiles before WWII. However, there are many known errors and at least a few omissions. Parts of the book were written by experts on specific cars and I suspect a few other places. The paragraphs about Stevens-Duryea are a little, shall we say, off? It does give the 100 cars per year figure, however it also gives other figures that disagree with that figure. Go figure.
Like so many early producers, Their decline hit about 1912 after the model T took off, General Motors and others began consolidating and only the strongest of the big cars continued to build cars in large enough numbers to be profitable. Stevens-Duryea stopped production in 1915, however, under a reorganization, they resumed production for a few years during the 1920s.
I don't know how profitable Stevens-Duryea was in their earlier years. Many companies made good profits in spite of low production before 1910. Judging them from our armchairs looking at them through our modern eyes is risky at best if you want to know what really happened way back when. Trying to know what was inside someone's head more than a hundred years ago is nearly impossible. Even what they wrote in their own diaries was spun, at least a bit.
I am enjoying this discussion. I like Timothy K's question.
Royce? What do you think? Only a couple dozen marques were building more than a couple hundred cars per year along about 1907. Did only the top dozen make money?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
As usual, great post.
Yesterday I spoke with a recognized authority on Early Fords and was pleasantly surprised that we shared similar views about the Model K and it's place in Ford history. The reason I contacted him was because one of the three or four "issues" with the Ford Model K is the notion that the K was an economic "failure" for Ford Motor Company.
Unfortunately, it doesn't appear there are any definitive records that provide an easy answer (was the K profitable).
I haven't seen the "Standard Catalog of American Cars" before. Does it provide production numbers of automobiles in the 1905 - 1909 era, by year and/or by model? If any of those are accessible to you, I'd greatly appreciate any of two groups.
The numbers I'd like to find are the two "groups" of autos the Model K competed against. In other words, the lowest priced "six" models, and the well known four cylinder models in the same price range as the Model K.
My "wish list" follows if anyone knows any of the production numbers for these models in 1907.
I just did a quick look on eBad and found one copy in decent condition (some wear, especially on the cover) for about forty dollars. I searched " Kimes Clark " without my usual "and" in "books". Amazon has copies available from about twenty dollars (used) on up (some are new).
The book rarely gives reliable production figures, but does for some cars. Mostly, it is a compilation of basic information for nearly all automobiles known to have been built in the United States before WWII. The information may be barely a paragraph copied from an early magazine to a dozen pages including specific model information compiled by an expert in that make. They almost always tell when, where, and by whom, a car or series of cars were built.
The book was originally compiled by Henry Austin Clark (one of the most famous of early automobile collectors and researchers). It was expanded and updated by Beverly Rae Kimes (who passed away in 2008).
My copy was purchased new, but now is well worn.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
The problem with Ford making money on the Model K was that Dodge Brothers actually built all the mechanical portions of the car. Bodies were outsourced. Tires and wheels were purchased. Ford was only an assembler of the Model K, not the manufacturer.
Ford saw the problem and started the Ford Manufacturing company to build parts for the Model NRS, the first Ford car not built entirely of outsourced parts. The Model K profits were consumed by all the companies that built the parts for Ford. With Ford building 900+ Model K's in two years, and then having some 300 or so completed cars to sell at the beginning of 1908, the thought of there being any profit in a Ford Model K is at best a fantasy.
Contrast that with Pierce, who fabricated nearly every part of their cars except things like the lamps and the tires. Pierce was a huge manufacturing concern producing many household items, from bird cages to bicycles. When Pierce built a car similar in size and power to the Model K, and built more of them, and sold them for a higher price, they made a serious profit. Maurice Hendry wrote the book I have sitting next to my computer "Pierce Arrow" and it is clearly a product of his love for the marque.
Then you have the tiny Stevens Duryea concern. I doubt there was much profit there, ever. The figure of no more than 100 cars per year comes from the marque specialist on Stevens Duryea, David B. Wise. If you read the book you will find it is a well researched and insightful look at what actually happened at Stevens Duryea. Even the title of the book tells us that S-D was merely a boutique manufacturer of cars. This is a trustworthy source of Stevens Duryea information.
I find the opposite to be true of Standard Catalog of American Cars. This is the case of an author who is given an assignment to write a book by a certain date and in return they receive a certain stipend. The series of books has some fairly serious writing talent from Beverly Kimes to John Gunnell (a real Ford nut by the way) but the enthusiasm for the subject matter is clearly lacking. There are some excellent books out there written by Kimes and Gunnell. Standard Catalog of American Cars is not one that either author or publisher should be particularly proud of.
Did you read the excerpt above by a Stevens Duryea official that states Stevens has produced 858 SIX CYLINDER CARS BETWEEN 1905 AND APRIL 1908? The article is published in 1908!
The "expert" you are quoting is wrong.
Do I know how many cars Stevens, or Pierce built. Of course not. What I do know is, not many. However, enough to fit the market the two makers were marketing to. Remember, this is before "venture capitalism". Millions and millions of dollars weren't poured down the drain before a business ceased to operate. If either Pierce or Stevens Duryea (tiny concern, give me a break) lost money over many years, they were gone. No structured bankruptcy, gone.
"From 1906 through 1909, the Model U was produced. It was a lighter version of the Model S, sitting on a shortened 114 wheelbase. The 35 horsepower engine was quick and responsive, and ultimately aided in the sale of over 2000 Model U models."
Also from Conceptcarz:
"Total Pierce-Arrow Production for 1906 - 1,000"
"Total Pierce-Arrow Production for 1908 - 1,438"
"Total Pierce-Arrow Production for 1909 - 1,566
Tourings - 362"
One point about Pierce, by 1910 they dropped all 4 cylinder cars, producing only 6 cylinder autos. Guess Ford had it right with the Ford six (K).
To bad we don't have a way to question a large group of people who lived then. We could ask them the car, or automaker they preferred. We then would have an idea of public perception of different automobiles.
Wait a minute, we do. The 1907 contest conducted by MoToR Magazine! Over 6500 people responded. We'll just look at the results.
Thank you, Royce.
Granted. The Standard Catalog of American Cars is not the most comprehensive book on any well known car. There are many books in which you can learn much more about Ford, Cadillac, Dodge, Oldsmobile, even Packard and Pierce Arrow. A handful of books can tell you all you might want to know about Duesenberg, Dupont, and even Stevens-Duryea.
But if you want a quick, ready reference for a few thousand American built makes of cars from 1800 to 1942, the Kimes and Clark book is pretty much it. I have a couple books like encyclopedia of world cars, However, they are not nearly as complete on any level as the Kimes and Clark book is for American Cars.
I have previously made a few snide remarks about the "Catalog"s errors and omissions, and the Stevens-Duryea's section not being well written. But there just isn't any other source that I can find that much basic information that fast. Okay, I am getting better at the internet and Wikipedia has a lot more early automobile history now than it did a couple years ago.
The Kimes and Clark "Standard Catalog of American Cars" is a niche reference. It should not be taken as the last word on anything. However, in the world of the early automobile, it is one of the best "first references" for a lot.
One other quick note about the book. Many known makes of cars have a "value guide" that is pathetically out of date on top of being a little hard to figure out. If the book is ever republished, I would hope they would edit that out in its entirety. But then again, I have always hated antique car value guides.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
This probly should go in another thread, sorry:
Just watched Chasing Classic Cars, with a 1908 Simplex Speedcar. It brought $1.9 Million at Mecum auction in Monterey last summer. Supposedly the only other one known is in Smithsonian.
Were you the second high bidder ?
I was just looking at 1907 Rolls Silver Ghost information (I was going to make a "ridiculous" comparison to what has become a "ridiculous" thread). The last one(Limousine) I'm aware of sold for 7.1 million!
Link to the limo sold in 2012, not the touring pictured below.
Let's discuss Model T's, if this goes on much longer someone might bring up Chevrolets.
The first model automobile manufactured by Chevrolet (the company) was designed by I think it was Louis Chevrolet, one of the racing brothers who later built Frontenac for Fords. William Durant used this start to leverage his buyout of General Motors.
The first Chevrolet automobile was a six cylinder in 1911.
it's a shame no one really posts stuff like this on the Horseless Carriage Club Forum. one days posts here equal about a month or so worths of posts there.
Ted, you asked for it.......
Jay, we (MTFCA) have such an active site and it's no "fun" to post and not see any reaction (although sometimes the reactions are more than I expected).
I felt like posting the direct lineage to Model T (Pre T Fords) has been "within bounds".
Also, I've run across the Chevrolets driving cars that ran against the Model K. Also, didn't one of the Chevrolet brothers win an Indy in a Fronty Ford?
The Chevrolet brothers got nothing for giving their name to Durant, and died poor.
Please keep the threads coming, Rob. I dunno why the grumping.
I agree with Ralph Please keep the threads coming. I enjoy learning more every day. Between you, Hap, Wayne, Gary, Jay, Royce, and Dan I'm getting quite the education. I can't retain any of it but I'm getting educated.
Welllllll, I did have one more place I was going with the Model K................,
Originally I was going to cover profitability, then speed and reliability contests, then individual photos, stories and every day drivers (maybe the most interesting aspect).
On the road now (darn work),
No one is grumping that I can see. Every historical reference to the Model K talks about how it was Ford's first big failure, and how Henry Ford always said that he hated the car, and that Henry Ford did not want to build it. I have seen nothing in any of Rob's posts that disputes this in any way. We obviously agree one hundred percent.
Henry and all of his closest friend's biographers all have the same story. Henry was not shy about telling everyone in later days how much he hated the Model K. Read the excellent book by Charles Sorensen, who designed many of the Model K castings under Henry's direct supervision. Even Beverly Rae Kimes tells the exact same story - the Model K was a beautiful failure.
Thank you for sharing your views, again, regarding Model K Fords.
I am, however, perplexed and can not understand why you repeatedly attempt to make assertions, again and again, sound like fact. Simply repeating something several times doesn't make it so.
For example, in the post immediately above you state "every historical reference to the Model K...." Do you really mean EVERY historical reference, or just the ones that you have seen? Or perhaps, are you suggesting that you have seen every historical reference regarding the Model K?
You also previously made an assertion that neither the Model K nor the Stevens Duryea Model U were profitable. You asserted that Ford's subcontractors for Model K parts absorbed all the profits. What is your basis for these assertions? Have you reviewed the financial records maintained by Ford with respect to the Model K? Have you reviewed the subcontractors financial records? Do such records even exist?
To be clear, I haven't a clue as to whether or not the Model K Ford was profitable for Ford. As such, I am not asserting that it was or was not profitable. More importantly, the fact is not important to me.
From my perspective alone, I can't speak for others, credibility comes into question when matters of opinion are stated as fact. Facts are one thing, opinions another. I try not to confuse them.
At least Rob's posts, whether you like them or not, or agree with them or not, frequently bring new information to the discussion. Yours on the other hand, repeat the exact same message over, and over and over.
What exactly is your point?
ps - I agree 100% with your opinions regarding Model T water pumps and non factory ignition systems. And, for me, being a purest doesn't stop there....I hand crank my Model K. In fact it's got no self commencer so I haven't a choice, unless it offers free starts as it does when the conditions are right, if I want to take it for a spin.
pss - Also, if you find yourself in the Northeast, sometime other than during the winter, you are most welcome to join me and my wife in our K for a tour. The HCCA National Brass and Gas Tour is coming up in June in beautiful Vermont. Shall we expect you to join us for the tour?
Somewhere I saw a letter to Henry describing the costs of all the purchased assemblies of a Model A, and how it left about $150 for profit.
Royce, please explain how Ford grew during the years 1903-6 with just assembled cars, like you say the K was.
Couldn't have said it better (although I've tried).
Ralph, as a person who made a living (barely) farming for years, "no one ever went broke making a profit".
Take a look at these youtube videos, I've owned some wonderful early automobiles, including Buick, Overland, Oakland, Dort, and Model N and T. Without a doubt, even though the Model K s the oldest (after our 1906 Model N), the "K" is the best "driver" of the bunch. How many other 1907 (or 1910, or 1920) cars are you able to drive on the interstate?
As an owner and driver of the car, what an advanced car to drive!
I do in fact mean every reference, and have posted a half dozen of them in response to this question.
Ford Motor Company website
Charles Sorensen's book.
Beverly Rae Kimes book.
Please, if either you or Rob have seen any historical document, book, magazine, or direct quote from Henry Ford that says anything other than what I have said let's see it.
I don't have a dog in the fight, but have read through the years just about any book on the early auto history out there that i get my hands on. I have never read anything other than what Royce has added to the discussion.
I just finished reading a pretty early book by C.B. Glasscock, printed in 1937. MOTOR HISTORY OF AMERICA or THE GASOLINE AGE. This is not about Ford but about the auto industry in general. Recommended reading, IMHO , if you like old cars. This book is one of the earlier out there, not even a generation removed from when this early history was being made. A couple of passages relate to this topic. Page 23 talks about the Henry Ford myth, and that he always had a vision of a light, strong, simple auto for the masses. The myth is false. The facts are he failed at nearly everything he tried for the first 10 years of manufacturing. Now Edison once said he himself didn't fail 999 times, he just found 999 things that didn't work ( i'm paraphrasing ) The book further states he was 40 years old before he began to build cars profitably, and even then he offered a line of $2800 cars that were a commercial failure.
Further on the book talks about another car maker, and compares him to Henry Ford. The book states "henry built and marketed the model K ford priced at $2800 and had found it to be an economic error."
Yet further, 1907, "the company netted $1,000,00. the little model N was the best seller. Big, pretentious Model K brought him comparatively little except a valuable lesson on what not to do."
"he had built the 6 cylinder Model K to be retailed at $2800 only because he had been groping around for all profits available. It had not paid and no false pride moved him to continue it's production."
" Ford had his lesson with the model K. One lesson was enough."
Now keep in mind, this is book about the auto industry. It's not about Henry Ford, although he was a big player, made 1/2 of all cars extant, and still alive then. Why would these things be mentioned so many times if they weren't accepted as the truth back then.
I'm not a model K hater,far from it, and i know Royce isn't either. It is an uphill battle to rewrite history, though.
I think we all agree Model K was not the "future" for Ford. Neither was the Model N. I think the "stigma" associated with the Model K evolved through the 1920's as Henry Ford became interested in his legacy, and meanwhile was also the wealthiest man in the world (just a suspicion).
I have yet to see a "quote" as Royce claims to have seen, where Henry Ford says the Model K was a failure. I've also not found any indication that the Model K was not well thought of during it's production run.
What I've shown is that Model K won and placed highly in many many speed and reliability contests (both domestically and in Europe). We've also seen that the Model K was selected in the top ten of desired cars in a 1907 contest costing $3000 or less.
Other than "someone said", I've not seen any direct quote or news account defining the supposed "problems" with the Model K.
Below are to accounts from the July 1906 Auto Topics magazine. One says Wilson Company was contracted to build 5,000 bodies for the Model N (there goes the profit). The other mentions Ford upping production to turn out eight of "these big cars" per day. Must have been an increased need for "6-cylinder cars". Would Ford add work force and a night shift to produce Model Ks if demand or profit weren't there?
you have been unable to produce a quote by Henry Ford saying anything derogatory about the Model K, and only second or third hand reminisces saying that the K was not profitable or not well liked. Following are unbiased actual accounts made in automotive journals about the model K, all within a few years of the K being on the market.
The first account, from "The Automobile Journal", 1912, discusses how the K "still gives good service" and "was dropped in 1908, not because there was no demand,...
In 1915 a question is posed to "The Automobile" magazine editor. The editor says the K was discontinued to dedicate to the manufacture of the T. He also says that was the only reason to discontinue the K, and that many are still in service.
Actually Rob the quote from Charles Sorensen is a first person account. There is an excellent first person account by Joe Galamb in the Benson ford Archive, including recorded audio.
In both of these first person accounts the guys who ate lunch every day with Henry Ford all agree that Henry told everyone and anyone who cared to listen that he hated the entire concept of the Model K, and that he lost a lot of money building it. Perhaps that is why every historical account of the situation says exactly the same thing.
Again, if you have got any first person account or other historical account that says otherwise, please, let's see it.
You have posted some obscure advice column from people who didn't have any contact with Henry Ford, but surely didn't want to piss off a potential advertiser.
I'll address a few of your comments. Understand I have no intention of trying to influence you. However, I am trying to speak to a broader audience who may be interested in other opinions.
"Actually Rob the quote from Charles Sorensen is a first person account."
No Royce, that is not first person. Mr. Sorensen is reciting something he heard, or believes he heard years ago. Doesn't make it factual or not.
" There is an excellent first person account by Joe Galamb in the Benson ford Archive, including recorded audio. "
OK, produce the transcript. Again, not first person, but still interesting.
"In both of these first person accounts the guys who ate lunch every day with Henry Ford all agree that Henry told everyone and anyone who cared to listen that he hated the entire concept of the Model K, and that he lost a lot of money building it. Perhaps that is why every historical account of the situation says exactly the same thing. "
OK, your "doubling down" now. Now you have Henry Ford telling "everyone and anyone who cared to listen he hated the entire concept of the Model K". Don't you think this is a bit of a stretch. I'll come back to this in a moment.
"Again, if you have got any first person account or other historical account that says otherwise, please, let's see it."
I've posted thread after thread, copying accounts from the period, written by people who were there. These aren't recollections and recall written forty, fifty or more years after the event (and after Henry Ford had passed). I've shown the Model K was well known by the public, respected by the industry, and produced in numbers comparable to other high end automobiles of the time. I've also posted over forty "contests" where the Model K Ford performed admirably. These are fact.
"You have posted some obscure advice column from people who didn't have any contact with Henry Ford, but surely didn't want to piss off a potential advertiser."
If Henry Ford "told everyone and anyone who would listen" what a failure the Model K was, and the "obscure advice column" publishers were afraid of "pissing off" Henry Ford, WHY DIDN'T THEY WRITE THAT HENRY FORD HATED THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF THE MODEL K"?
NOTE: there are two "obscure columns" (your quote), one from "The Automobile Journal" an the other from "The Automobile", and from two entirely different years, and certainly not "obscure".
I'll follow up in a minute with quotes by Henry Ford (I'll see your recollections, and raise you actual quotes )
The following excerpts are from two different articles concerning four vs. six cylinder cars. In each case, Henry Ford extols the virtues of the six cylinder car. I know they are lengthy, and don't expect the statements to be read in entirety. However, I'm including the text to point out Henry Ford's technical explanation why Ford Motor Company stood strongly behind the six cylinder concept.
My challenge, Royce, is show me something where Henry Ford writes, or is quoted directly, contradicting his support of the Model K and six cylinder automobile. .
Quotes by Henry Ford and/or attributed to him:
Henry Ford on Six Cylinder Construction. (The Horseless Age, 1906)
Another reply to Mr. Waldons recent remarks comes from Henry Ford, who says that Mr. Waldon is a salesman and not an engineer. He says that the idea that complications and troubles increase with the increase of cylinders is a conclusion that can only be arrived at by ignoring all experience. Experience, he says, proves that the troubles of the driver are in inverse ratio to the number of cylinders in his motor. As in every other mechanical device there is a maximum efficiency limit—a point at which we obtain the best results—beyond which we gain little—before which we have imperfection.
In a four cycle gas engine we reach this in six cylinders with cranks set at 120 degrees. I do not give this as my opinion—it is a mechanical fact known to all engineers and admitted, I think, by all save those whose bread and butter lays on the side of fours for the present. For the above reasons it is idle to talk of eight or more cylinders—six give most nearly perfect results in balance, lack of vibration, constant power, flexibility, and longevity. In every test between sixes and fours, sixes have won."
From "The Horseless Age"
Four versus Six Cylinder Cars.
We have recently received two communications on the advantages and disadvantages of six cylinder cars from prominent manufacturers. The one on the advantages of the six cylinder car, from the Ford Motor Company, may be regarded as an answer to the other, from the E. R.
............ It may be pointed out that the views expressed in these two letters are represented to be those personally held by E. R. Thomas and Henry Ford, respectively. The E. R. Thomas Motor Company, it may be remembered, built a six cylinder racer for last year s Vanderbilt Cup race, and Henry Ford also built a six cylinder racing machine in the first place. ........... Henry Ford has the following to say:
"The six cylinder motor not only is not heavier than the four cylinder one of the same power, but, on the contrary, is even somewhat lighter. Without authentic power tests at hand, the only way to com pare the powers is to compare the piston
displacement of each. Compression and speed being equal, the difference between the two will be so slight it may be considered a negligible quantity. "The six cylinder Ford motor is rated at 40 horse power. The cylinder dimensions are 4^x4^ inches bore and stroke respectively. The total piston displacement in the six cylinders is therefore 360.5 cubic inches. Four cylinders having the same piston displacement would need to have a bore and stroke of 5^x5^4 inches respeclively. (Motors of these dimensions are ordinarily rated at 50 horse power.) A four cylinder motor of the above dimensions would ordinarily have a flywheel of 20 inches diameter and weighing not less than 140 pounds. The Ford six cylinder has a 16 inch flywheel, weighing 65 pounds.
By increasing this diameter to 20 inches the flywheel need weigh only 50 pounds, or 37 pounds if the diameter was 24 inches, the usual size in single cylinder motors.
In short, the weight may be decreased to any desired amount by increasing the diameter. "Road clearance being an object a small flywheel is used. If the four cylinder maker wanted the same road clearance and so reduced his flywheel to the Ford
diameter—16 inches—he would have to put 175 pounds of dead metal into it to get the same results as he gets with his 140 poiitid 20 inch wheel.
That the six cylinder motor of same total piston displacement is lighter than the four of same power is shown by the following: The two extra cylinders in the Ford weigh, with valves and all attachments, exactly 56 pounds. Two extra piston.i and connecting rods complete, 17 pounds. The additional length of crank shaft and aluminiiin base is exactly compensated for by the necessarily larger diameter of parts in
the four with its large bore and longer stroke. We then have 70 pounds of extra weight due to the addition of the two cylinders, which is, however, offset by 75 pounds reduction in the flywheel weight necessary for this type of motor. This leaves an advantage of 2 pounds for the six cylindc r. "But the larger cylinders necessary to produce the same power in four that we get from six would weigh fully 25 per cent more each than the smaller ones—they must not only be larger but the walls, water jacket spaces, pistons and other parts also must be larger. Consequently, the six cylindcr motor is 25 to 30 pounds lighter than the four cylinder of same power.
An even more convincing demonstration would be to weigh a six; cylinder motor on the same scale as a four cylinder of the
I pride myself on being honest. When I discuss something I don't intentionally decide to ignore facts that I know are pertinent to the discussion simply to win an argument.
If we were to ignore everything that automotive historians have written about the Model K and place our hands over our ears and not listen to the people who were Henry Ford's closest friends and associates then your argument would seem somewhat plausible.
You would then have to believe that this auto enthusiast newspaper popularity poll somehow translates into proof that the Model K was profitable. Again there is scant evidence that ANY of the cars the Model K was compared to were profitable. That Henry Ford was trying to convince people to buy the Model K's is not exactly a surprising revelation. Duh!
Rob I love the Model K Fords, but to think you can change the history of Ford through the use of an obscure newspaper contest from 1907 is ludicrous.
Ford Motor Company says the Model K was unprofitable and a failure. Perhaps you should contact the company and show them proof that it made a profit and was successful.
I'm with Dennis Seth---enjoy reading the banter between "the gang" and learning as much as I can, but having hard time retaining! Must be something in our air or water in Ohio!!
"Rob I love the Model K Fords, but to think you can change the history of Ford through the use of an obscure newspaper contest from 1907 is ludicrous. "
No, I doubt you "love" the Model K Ford. in fact, until I began posting these threads, I doubt you thought much about the Model K. That's conjecture or supposition on my part. Not fact, however an opinion I've arrived at based upon your actions and reactions.
The information I've provided is an entire body of work that provides a basis for the "theory" that all may not be as it seems, historically with the Model K. That's all, no more or less.
However, you provide nothing. No facts, just a rehash of the same opinions and recollections we've based our opinions on for fifty years.
Where is your "proof"? I've provided hours after hours of examples, records and documents that "allow" for another theory or explanation.
When did you develop this intense interest in the Model K? Having had quite an interest in the car, seems I've not noticed examples of your knowledge of the Model K, even though I've noticed your "opinions" about many other issues on this forum for years.
You take one part of a whole body of evidence and refute it, then say that confirms what you believe.
Produce some quotes, or document from a Ford board meeting, or something. Otherwise, keep your "opinions" off my threads.
I would like to see something "factual". A direct quote, a quote directly attributed to Henry Ford that he "hated" the car, something.....
I have indeed produced a dozen or more direct quotes from significant historians and Ford executives who knew Henry and interacted with him daily.
When we talk about Charles Sorensen we are talking about the guy who did much of the design work of the castings for the Model K. He was there with Henry Ford every day. Yet you seem to think Charles Sorensen is a liar and me too?
I've spent my entire life surrounded by books about Ford history. When I was learning to read, the first books I read were books by Floyd Clymer, Henry Austin Clark, and other noted Ford historians. I come to this discussion armed with the knowledge obtained not from one newspaper, but from a hundred or more books. Most of them I have owned twenty or more years. Many more I have read in the library, and on my wife's Kindle. I've been to the Benson Ford archives multiple times on vacation to research Ford history.
When you say I didn't think about the Model K until now, you are completely off base.
The greatest competition for a new Ford is last year's Ford. Why would Henry have anything good to say about the K and its six cylinders after stopping its production to make room for building more Model Ts? He was now selling the new technology en bloc fours as fast as he could build them. Was he quoted praising the NRS after their production was terminated?
Henry Ford the salesman was not to be believed any more than any other car salesman of the era, most of whom were experienced horse traders. I bet car salesmen of the era were no more trusted than CONgressmen.
Speaking of CONgress, what did James Couzens, the highly respected and integral Ford man, have to say about the K? He went on to become a great Senator.
I have not seen "a dozen" quotes. I've seen nothing where anyone was quoted with your statement that Henry Ford "hated the idea of the Model K". Let's see it. As long as we're at it, let's see the "facts" showing the Model K was a financial failure.
Let's start with those two things. Not your interpretation, type or copy the above two pieces of "Ford History" you've claimed,,along with the source.
I am defending Ford history as stated by every authority who has any opinion about it. I have the high ground here. I have nothing to prove - every written historical account agrees with me.
You are attacking history and want to tear it down to suit your own tastes. You need to show how Ford made a profit, and disprove the countless statements that are in utter dispute with your position.
Where is "every historical account" you claim. Anyone can say anything they wish, that doesn't make it so. You take no "high ground", and saying you do doesn't make it so...
You even ignored what Tim wrote. I will refresh your memory here:
C.B. Glasscock, in 1937, when Henry Ford was alive and well, had his book "MOTOR HISTORY OF AMERICA or THE GASOLINE AGE" published.
Quotes from the book:
"he had built the 6 cylinder Model K to be retailed at $2800 only because he had been groping around for all profits available. It had not paid and no false pride moved him to continue it's production."
" Ford had his lesson with the model K. One lesson was enough."
Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Was Mr. Glasscock a former employee of Henry Ford's? Did he have intimate knowledge about Ford and Ford finances?
Or was his book about many different aspects of the automobile? Why should we give his work complete credibility and disregard other information?
Do us all a favor and find a quote written between 1900-1910.
Then lets hear nothing but positive information about the Model K. I enjoy reading all the posts Rob has provided. I agree that the information about all the races does not prove that the car was popular or financially profitable.
It would be great if someone could delve into the financial record of Ford and see if there is anything to be found.
Good points. I have tried to find information about the Model K and the financial aspects of production. So far, nothing.
However, what I have found, Ford said their goal was to sell 1,000 Model Ks. And we know they sold at least 953 (due to that car surviving). I also know Ford ordered 1,000 chassis from the Dodge brothers for the Model K.
We know Ford initially set the price of the Model K at $2500 in 1906. This tells me (assumption) Ford felt this price would be profitable. We know about 350 cars were sold before the "improved" 1907 K appeared. Then the price was raised to $2800. Again, the "assumption" is, if the car is selling properly, you may raise the price. If sales are subpar, how would you dare raise the price?
Next, we know Ford sold somewhere near the 1,000 Ks originally forecast, and contracted for (Dodge Brothers).
So, why would we believe the K did not meet sales goals? If anything (see sales goals below), sales managers usually set goals higher than an interest really expects to reach.
First, two news releases quoting Ford saying they would build 1,000 six cylinder cars. Both items appeared in fall editions of "The Automobile".
A review of the Model K by "The Automobile", August, 1906. The author says Ford intends to build 500 sixes (the account also says Ford is building eight "sixes" a day). This matches other accounts as to the number of Model Ks the Ford factory is producing.
While this seems like a small number today, there are only about five automakers building six cylinder cars in the US in 1906. For comparison, Stevens Duryea, one of the other leading six cylinder manufacturers, will build less six cylinder cars than Ford over the same time span. Another way to put this production number in perspective, Rolls Royce built just 7,874 six cylinder Silver Ghosts. Over a 19 year period, 1907 - 1926, an average of only 415 cars per year!