Cars Without Clothes - The History of Ford Bare Chassis Imports into Australia

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2012: Cars Without Clothes - The History of Ford Bare Chassis Imports into Australia
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 12:41 am:

As we know, the Australian Government introduced regulations in 1917 that were designed to assist and protect Australian body builders. That sector of the auto trade that was faced with a serious decline in demand. The regulations may also have been in response to a reduction in available shipping between Britain and Australia, owing to the war.

Those regulations restricted the importation of cars complete with bodies. It is my understanding that Ford of Canada was already offering bare chassis for purchase, and had been since as early as late 1912 or early 1913, after the Delivery Van stopped being a part of the standard Ford product range.

However, aside from figures shown in publications such as "American Business Abroad" and "In the Shadow of Detroit", there has been little evidence of the importation of bare chassis into Australia. What is sought is proof that Ford exported bare chassis prior to the regulations of 1917.

This subject has been discussed on this forum in the past. There has even been speculation that complete Fords were imported into Australia and the standard bodies discarded in favour of a locally-made one (which I personally find incredulous - but that doesn’t make me right!).

And I’m not offering a solution now. However, I have been able to find a number of period newspaper articles that have appeared in the New Zealand press concerning Australian motor vehicle trade. I have not been searching for these specifically; rather I have tripped over them while looking for other items. The inference is, there must be a lot of information available to a researcher who is targeting this subject. I would be happy to point any of you Aussie Ford historians in the right direction if you want to explore this subject more, using the NZ newspapers. Please just send to me a private message.

Without further ado, the following appeared in New Zealand April, 1913.




Clearly the stats given identify three categories of imports – 1) motor cycles; 2) bodies of cars, 3) chassis. I am astonished by how much greater the figure for chassis imports is! The writer speculates that almost £1 million more should be added to those figures to cover the costs of tyres and bodies, etc.

It may be sensible for me to clarify the ‘typo’ that has clearly occurred – you will see that the article states the 1912 total shows an increase of £54,402 over the 1911 total. The difference between the two totals is actually £564,402.

Whilst it does not mention the name Ford, or any other make, already Ford was a prominent motor brand. It seems inconceivable to me that Ford chassis were not amongst those being imported in 1913.

At any rate, I hope this is a step in the right direction for those wanting to solve this mystery.

Best wishes,
John Stokes
Wellington - New Zealand


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 01:30 am:

John, I am sorry that you have been left out of the loop, several of us have been checking on this and other mysteries of the importation of the Fords and have found actual evidence that chassis were available.

Although it rarely is stated that the imports were chassis as well as Canadian bodied cars we have found actual mention of the fact that the chassis were part of the import process. Ads of the day with illustrations normally show a Canadian bodied car and usually list other options such as deluxe or Trolly etc. I don't suppose they thought that there was any need to say more just that you could buy a Ford. Most of the T's were purchased by country people and besides needing cars, work vehicles were hugely popular so as you assumed a chassis for such purposes would be the way to go.

One such reference that clearly states this fact appeared in a Tasmanian newspaper the NW Advocote on the 30th March page 4 in 1916 which mentions the fact that Ford chassis were being delivered. Also interesting is the note that the paper was told that no more Fords were to be imported until June 1917. So yes the distributors were getting chassis before the 1917 embargo.

So thats one thing put to rest just wish we could pin down the many others still unexplained.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 03:49 am:

Peter,
I would be very interested in those references if you are able to post or email to me when you have the time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 04:24 am:

To back Peter Kable up, the chassis and bodies were charged at different import tariffs and separated on all invoices. Numerous companies were taken to court for alleged fiddling of these declarations to minimise custom duties. The Ford suffered less duties as they were "made in Canada" and as part of the Commonwealth charged at a reduced rate. I have no idea how customs duties were calculated or charged in New Zealand.

Duncan & Fraser were taken to court for this offence in 1910 or so as the exporter for Argyll cars in England was doing this without Duncan & Fraser's knowledge or consent. They were found not guilty and cleared of all impropriety. However they did have to pay the adjusted customs duties, about £400 or so if my memory serves me correctly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 06:23 am:

Thank you Peter for the kind apology, but there is no need. Whilst I am very interested in the Ford of Canada history - and therefore Australia as a Ford of Canada market - I am not alone in this and the Aussie market is best studied by those closest to it.

Hopefully you have kept Hap Tucker in the loop, as he is busy assembling as much as he can on the Ford of Canada history and this subject is very relevant to that work.

My motivation in sharing the newspaper article (and there are more) was to encourage some who are closer to the Aussie market to look more, possibly using NZ papers online. It seems that you are already doing that.

I would be very interested in hearing from you when you can establish when the "Fords with no clothes' first came to Australia. It was very early in the piece over here.

David, whilst the body makers over here were also squwarking for protection using tariffs, to the best of my knowledge there was never any import duty differentiation between cars with clothes and cars without clothes. However, cars from Canada were considered British-made, and therefore they came in at a lower tariff than American (USA) or European cars. Of course this was the very reason for Ford of Canada's existence.

The other reason for the Australian ban on bodies that I have seen recorded is lack of shipping space. That never really seemed to be a problem in the New Zealand market, until perhaps 1918 and even then we were still getting the shipments arriving. The difference is puzzling!

John Stokes


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 06:53 am:

Then we each state doing their own thing! Man I love our Canadian Fords!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 07:12 am:

Good night to our Australian friends and good morning to those where the sun is coming up. Yes, please continue to keep Hap in the loop. One of the great things about the internet is how easy it is to share information and how much additional information is being scanned and is now searchable. The newspaper articles have been there for years – but being able to check them on the computer from home using “Search for….” really speeds things up.

And having the multiple sources also helps make the information more accurate. For example, David Robert’s book “In the Shadow of Detroit” has a table of imported cars, chassis, and trucks 1911-1923 on pages 68-72. It comes from some excellent research Kevin (also known as Bill) Mowle did. But I suspect there is a “type-o” on page 68 under imports into Australia. It shows “0” passenger cars imported for 1911-1912 and again “0” passenger cars imported 1912-1913. And it has 1,157 chassis imported 1911-1912 and 1,862 chassis imported 1912-1913. [Note the years are fiscal years 1 Aug – 31 Jul until the 1920 year figures for that chart.] Those numbers are clearly just in the wrong row – as we know there are surviving 1912 cars in Australia that came complete with their bodies. With only a single source it would be difficult to know what was or was not done. But with multiple sources both written and “fossil record” we are able to better understand what likely occurred.

Note the book “In the Shadow of Detroit” is available on line at: http://books.google.com/books?id=THOyZ5JwkEQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=david+rober ts+in+the+shadow+of+detroit&source=bl&ots=8aP3OYrq9i&sig=Dqf-ga3FnFvIs-59Xwpdoee WB6c&hl=en&ei=8PSiTdqjJ4abtwfxuPiJAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi= 2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false and in addition to some good details about Ford of Canada it has some good glimpses of life during that time period. It also has many additional references that are good leads for further research.

And we each have areas that we are interested and want to gain additional information. But if we run across information we know others are interested we can easily send them a link or file etc.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Russell Medhurst - Melbourne, Australia on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 03:25 am:

T's without clothes were also available to individuals. My grandfather (a coachbuilder) bought a rolling chassis in Melbourne Australia, took it home and built his own body (dickey seat roadster) on it for himself as it was a cheaper option for him than buying a complete car (which also challenges the 'that can't be original I haven't seen one like that before' brigade). Wish I knew where it ended up - sigh.
Russell
Melbourne, Oz


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 03:37 am:

Do you know what year that was Russell?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Russell Medhurst - Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 02:48 am:

It was in 1924/5. He only had it for a couple of years then upgraded to a Geelong model tourer as his two sons got older and outgrew the dickey seat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Danial - Veneta OR US Earth Solar System on Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 03:04 am:

This is fascinating. I will never outgrow my fascination with the wonders of the internet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 07:50 am:

March 1925 was the formation of Ford Australia and the marketing of the Ford chassis here in South Australia. The 1925 date seems about right to me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 06:36 am:

This would have to change some of the theories of what happened at Duncan & Fraser of South Australia in regards to chassis imports pre embargo. 18 August 1917 The Mail (Adelaide,SA)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 03:43 pm:

Kerry,

Thank you so much for posting that article from August, 1917. It is a very telling item.

"Some months ago the Ford Company informed all of their agents in the Commonwealth (of Australia - John) that in future all Fords would come into this country without bodies, which would now be made in Australia. Therefore, even if the embargo had not been declared Ford bodies would have been made in Australia henceforward." (transcribed from above.)

This raises a bunch more questions. Did Ford know the direction the Australian Government was going to move in? Did Ford of Canada make the decision for a pragmatic reason, that it was possible to ship more units without bodies than with (remembering that shipping space was becoming a problem)?

John Stokes
New Zealand


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Monday, July 16, 2012 - 08:15 pm:

By August 1917 the embargo was done and dusted, everyone involved knew months before that bodies were to be excluded from importation. Ford some months before (as mentioned in this newspaper cutting) had made new arrangements for the shipping of the chassis which could be knocked down now that the bodies didn't need to be shipped as well.

This allowed Ford to negotiate a better deal on the shipping as more cars could be packed per cubic yard. They even announced that this would mean they could offer a reduction in the cost of cars of 27 pounds.

As to whether the the bodies would have been made in Australia anyway appears to be supposition by the author of the article. What the distributors always did was to offer as the author described (streamlined bodies) which a lot of the English background population leant towards instead of the Canadian (American) body.

Sales had been tremendous in 1915-16 initially and Duncan and Fraser were on the ball. They had the ability and were able to sell at a considerable profit their bodies. Keeping ahead or up with demand was a sensible decision.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Friday, December 21, 2012 - 05:09 am:

Just a few bits I've found in shipping.
March 1916, freight rates, US to Australia, 42/6, (I think that would be 42 pounds and 6 shillings) per ton to 200.00 pounds per ton.
I can see by that why no body imports was in plan well before the embargo.

Wakatana, due in Melbourne Aug 1 1915, 600 Fords, a record for Australia, has been 'FORCED' upon the company owing to the cargo steamers being pressed into military service. The Matatua leaving Canada on june 30 with 528 cars on board will be the last steamer for some time, cars will be brought per medium sailing ships.

2 of the clippers/steamers out of the 6 that had history of delivering Fords to Australia, were sunk in ww1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dane Hawley Near Melbourne Australia on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 05:39 am:

Kerry, 42/6 would be 42 shillings and sixpence, that is £2-2-6. Two pounds two shillings and sixpence. The increased rate from the same article is 200/- per ton, which is £5-0-0 per ton, an increase of £2-17-6.

A 'ton', if I am not mistaken was reckoned as 40 cubic feet.

Now if you measure an assembled chassis, less wheels and steering column, but allow for a case to hold it all, then it will work out to somewhere around 2 1/4 'tons'- around 90cuft. (I don't have a T on hand to measure and it might be a little more or a little less).
But with the body fitted, even with wheels removed and steering column lowered, windscreen flat etc, the box dimensions will be somewhere around 160 cuft or 4 'tons'.

Can someone do a measure for me and calculate a box size for a 'clothed' and 'unclothed' car please?

With around a £10-0-0 difference in the shipping costs, and of course a lower wholesale price of chassis only, it would make good sense to build bodies locally. I would like to find out what the cost of a body-less car would have been, and then what the cost of a local body works out to. That would tell us how the whole equation works out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 06:15 am:

Dane,
I think you are right, some time back we looked into the costs and I think It was $40 US a car.
I tried to scan the article but reducing the pixels makes it unreadable, but after the new freight rate is this,
'A motor car cased and packed ready for shipment measures approximately 10 cubic tons, which works out at approximately 200.00 pounds per car'
I have to word pounds as I don't the pound sign but it is in the text.
It would make more sense if it was 20 pounds, would it not?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 04:07 pm:

Something else I found interesting, I always wondered how the importers and dealerships, avoided bankruptcy when having cars enforced upon them, storage, freight and we know Ford gave no credit, as far back as mid 1915 and some 5000 cars unsold by 17/18
The Federal Council of Motor Traders (mar 1917)? which opposed the suggested embargo, among other things they were trying to compile, was figures to show the new cars 'Bonded and unsold'
So the word Bonded, would suggest Government Bonds, like war bonds to finance, would it not.
Now I still have questions on this surplus amount of cars in the war period, how only a small fleet of clippers could supply so many and seeing that most shipping belonged to a New Zealand shipping company, why they ended up with very little number of cars for 16/17/18 time frame while we had them collecting dust.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Green on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 06:39 pm:

Hi Kerry, When I started out in the motor trade in Sydney we had to pick up cars from a Customs compound at Lidcombe as they were covered by the word "In Bond", as far a I could under stand was that the Import duty and tax's had not been paid so they were held in this big compound which run by Lanock, Neave and Carter group or the dealership I worked was in the process of paying via VW Australia and a second company that we had for imports that was not our main product and the fiance company which held the floor plan for our car sales had to pay. With the other vehicles before we could get the cars off the customs yard and bring them back to the workshop the company paided and we went to the yard with reams of paper work and it had released from "bond" stamped on them . Our main vehicle was VW but we also imported cars like Merc's, and sports cars from Europe and we even had some mustangs come in which won me over straight away to the Ford Brand and the cars were all RHD which made me think that they could be purchased in either (RHD or LHD) from the exporter. We also shipped cars to New Guinea and back and they were held in the same compound which I managed to acquire the license plates off them and still have them on my wall.... Ray


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dane Hawley Near Melbourne Australia on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 06:59 pm:

I have just hunted back through my lists and found the article from the 'Barrier Miner' 16th Feb 1916, which explains the packing case for a complete car. The case, the article says, measures 12' x 6' x 4' = 288 cuft = 7.27 measured tons, so my guess of 4 tons was way off.

Can someone please give me the measurements that would be representative of an assembled but non-bodied chassis. That is from the bottom of the flywheel housing to the highest point on the engine- probably the water manifold on the head. Then the width- axle tip to axle tip, and the actual chassis length. (I would imagine that radiator, firewall, hood (bonnet), wheels etc. would be accommodated lying along the chassis itself.) From that we can calculate what the volume of the box would have to be.

Kerry- The comment in the article that you quote-"A motor car cased and packed ready for shipment measures approximately 10 cubic tons, which works out at approximately 200.00 pounds per car" would not necessarily apply to a bodied Ford which, assuming the dimensions given are accurate, works out at 7.27 tons.

Here is the clipping to which you refer.



In reference to the term "in Bond" or "Under Bond", that means that the goods are being held pending the payment of any customs duty. The goods might be held by Customs or be held in a secure area of a private warehouse, hence you will come across businesses with a "Bond Store".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 07:09 pm:

Thanks Ray, So it looks like I'm back to asking, who bank rolled such a big capital out lay for about a 3 year period?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 07:19 pm:

Thanks Dan, I believe that Peter Kable had found some banking details of that period involving this surplus of cars.
Are you able to contribute on this Peter?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dane Hawley Near Melbourne Australia on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 07:46 pm:

In my research- limited though it might be, I cannot find any positive reference to a stockpile of 1915 cars. In fact through 1915 and onwards, Ford sales were steadily increasing in Australia in spite of the shipping problems, and in fact sales were well ahead of the actual deliveries through that period.

The only reference to a stockpile that I am aware of is the comment by Mr. Davies, made long after the period in question.

Below is a clipping from the Brisbane Courier, 14th April 1916 Page 3, and beside it from the same paper but for the 18th December 1915 P 17.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 09:39 pm:

I have never looked for or found any banking details.

As to the packing of Ford chassis, from memory they were packed disassembled several to a crate, possibly one the same size or close to that of the complete cars.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 01:06 am:

Sorry Peter,then I was mis-informed as to that,so back to what is known then is,
A, What Mr Davies had said in the 1920's?
B, The Wakatana's load of 600 was a forced sale.
Anything else, anybody?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 01:43 am:

Dane and Kerry,
The time line of the above paper articles is too early. Having sold 413 in 1914 and then 875 in 1915 the Distributors had placed orders double the previous figures as they thought as they had lots of orders they would be able to sell them.

But by 1916 things had changed, The war war still not over and the Govt put in place lots of measures to get extra revenue to help fight the war and motor vehicles were one of the Luxury items they targeted. Result was lots of cars coming but now people canceling their orders tightening their shoe strings and not purchasing cars. If you look at the period 1916 -1917 you can see how bad things had become,


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 02:38 am:

That may be right Peter, but the forced T's started in 1915 now to get 5000 into the country in 1916/17 was relying on clipper transport,
ie, Like Dane had said, what was going to QLD in 1916 by clipper was meeting the demands for sales, SA sales not a problem, couldn't get enough cars for that time frame.
Now the number of T's you have posted for 1915 is not a lot'
Mr Whatmore, the Ford Company's representative in Melbourne said May 1915,
'No fewer than 4700 Fords cars will have been delivered in Australia and New Zealand during the present year'
Just 2 loads,The Wakatana had 600 for Melbourne Aug 1915,
the Matatua had 528 cars on board for Australia as well, others? I will have to look up for the numbers.
Now the clippers doing the runs don't hold many, as the article Dan posted shows, Now don't get me wrong, I know they were still getting here, I have 4x16's myself, so the time frame of 16/17, 30 to 150 odd cars at a time by clipper to Australia, little to no delivery's to NZ and 2 states stock pile to a tune of 5000?
So with your quote of 817 sold in 1915 and the number still coming in as well as Fords rep's numbers for 1915, we have a lot of cars left over already in 1915, am I seeing it all wrong?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 03:54 am:

yes!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dane Hawley Near Melbourne Australia on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 04:34 am:

Peter, you said- "As to the packing of Ford chassis, from memory they were packed disassembled several to a crate, possibly one the same size or close to that of the complete cars."

I believe that you are correct, but that was later, probably around February or March 1917. There is a reference to 'Knocked Down' cars allowing for a freight reduction in a Parsons and Gilmore advert on the 17th March 1917. That would lend credence to the complete chassis in one box prior to that date.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/64758071?

I also refer to the fact that in June 1916, out of shipments totaling 192 cars, 130 had already been pre-sold. It was late in 1916 before Queensland Motor Agency was able to advertise that they could supply cars 'from stock'.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/20117647?

The report of the sinking of the John Murray, certainly suggests CKD cars on board as it states- "In add-ition to oil the John Murray was carry-ing the parts of 200 Ford motor-cars, which
were to be assembled in Melbourne by Tar-rant and Co. The value of these parts was stated by an official of the company last night to be about £90 per car."

Full story here-
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/1421150?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 04:54 am:

Just something to note,
new car (all brands) registrations in NSW for year 1915 (2758) was 535 cars less than year 1914. (3293)

Dane, I have found another reference to the hike in freight at the US end,
'At the time of writing, freights are $40 a ton, and this, together with other charges, brings the importation cost of the average motor car up to nearly $1,000.00. These figures include ocean freights, inland freights ranging from $35 to $85, depreciation of the English money, exchange assurance and other factors. Thus you will see that the $1,000.00 car has to be sold in Australia at a price something like $2,000.00.'
March 1916.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 04:43 pm:

Great postings Kerry.

South Australian Ford sales tallied from original published registration records show the opposite to NSW. (Source, all monthly issues of the "SA Motor" from June 1913 to December 1919 & courtesy of the RAA).

1914 - 1191 vehicles registered, 335 Fords.
1915 - 1087 vehicles registered, 419 Fords.
1916 - 1445 vehicles registered, 498 Fords.
By the end of 1916 7 out of every 10 vehicles in South Australia were Fords.
1917 - 2019 vehicles registered, 938 Fords.
1918 - 2063 vehicles registered, 808 Fords.
1919 - 2949 vehicles registered, 1081 Fords.

As I keep pointing out, South Australia & Duncan & Fraser were by themselves and not part of the Eastern Seaboard debacle. We have a long way to go in this research and our SA take on this may be not as clear cut as we may think, but what evidence we have so far supports the statement above. At the time of the embargo Duncan & Fraser had 200 bodies waiting for the announcement.

We should not confuse the combining of car shipments. It is clear that Ford Canada were combining shipments to various destinations such as Australia, NZ, RSA and probably even India. Similar to NZ & RSA, the Duncan's arranged all of their own orders, spare parts, finance, payment, customs, demurrage charges & fees etc.

One day we might explore on another thread the "no love lost" between the Davies Brothers that had sticky fingers in the pies of Victoria, NSW, QLD, and even WA, the Duncan Brothers here in SA and how the Davies shafted the South Australian distributors on numerous occasions. Boy, I love our hobby!!!

Kerry - as we spoke about this a couple of months ago, (great to see you and chat by the way, I enjoyed it very much) I even think Duncan & Fraser were supplying bodies, the 711 mentioned in one article in this thread, to the east so they could finish off cars and sell the overzealous ordered chassis. The evidence for this such as your beautiful car is proof the Duncan's copying & building standard Ford look-a-like bodies. For what reason? 5000 chassis in Sydney? We don't know for sure yet...

Dane - keep researching buddy. Your knowledge on how to drive Trove never ceases to amaze me!

Guys, keep posting, keep researching, keep adding! It is all of us together that is gradually unravelling a very complicated situation and gaining a better understanding of the Australian Ford history prior to Ford Australia.

Oh, and by the way, Merry Christmas to all!!! Stay safe everybody!!!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 10:55 pm:

David and everyone else.

the 5000 Fords were the total for the whole of Australia not Sydney.

"by March 1915, the price of the car as it was then equipped was £195 but on account of increased landing charges caused by higher freights and other increased landing charges caused by higher freights and other incidental charges by May 1916 the price had risen to £245, and soon after this the big slump came and naturally Ford distributors, together with distributors of other makes had their troubles which were caused by the dislocation of business and the climax was reached towards the end of the war, when there was stock in Australia a total of about 9500 unsold cars of this number nearly 5000 being Fords"
Arthur Davies August 1925

Dane's posting of the Brisbane Courier April 16th 1916 shows sales were doing well at that time Thats why they doubled their previous years orders. and cars were now arriving BUT Davies states:
"naturally this heavy stock caused the distributors very considerable anxiety. Previous to the slump our sales had been averaging about 180 to 200 per month in New South Wales but during the month of December 1916 the sales had dropped to 24. It was estimated at this rate it would take nearly three years to sell the heavy stocks then being carried, Unless something could be done to increase the selling."



Davies also quotes the cost of freight tonnage at 7 tons per car as worked out by Dane from the Barrier Miner. Along with his story (1925) are the times and dates from his early days in 1906 through to the formation of the company the dealings with Ford New York and Canada which are all spot on with different sources for that information and being only 8 years after the actual event ( the 5000 car surplus) I can see no reason to reject his description of the events.

Finding alternative mention of the problem would be hard as I'm sure the distributors would not be broardcasting the fact that they were overloaded with stock. You will notice the tone of notices changes from sales are brisk and new shipments are arriving to " we have stock" If you look at the sales after 1916 the figures are way down.

Trace the events of the day and the second half of the war says people are on really hard times, no one had been getting a rise in their wages since 1914, taxes and costs for everything increased dramatically especially food and other items. No wonder people backed off purchasing a car especially when the govt added all sorts of extra duties and taxes even to those with Fords who wanted to re register their cars.

If Davies figures are taken as being wrong, then I assume anything someone says 8 years after the event is to be viewed as not reliable enough to take as correct. Davies was not an old aged senior suffering from a mental problem he was a healthy hard nosed business man and I'm sure he would have been taken to task for writing such miss information - he was not.

Merry Christmas to everyone.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Monday, December 24, 2012 - 12:34 am:

Interesting how Davies could comment for South Australia. I am assuming his comments pertain to his businesses only.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, December 24, 2012 - 01:04 am:

'He was not'! but he is now.

"I'm sure the distributors would not be broadcasting the fact that they were overloaded with stock"
And what, go broke out of principle. I don't think so.
Things would only be getting worse with no sales of 5000 stock piled Brass T's of 16/17,and a new model released late 17,. I would love to find the storage shed with all those T's now.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Chantrell - Adelaide, Australia on Monday, December 24, 2012 - 01:53 am:

Keep at it boys, what a great discussion. Thank you to Peter for his input. If we keep challenging the status quo and our knowledge we will eventually crack this nut wide open.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Monday, December 24, 2012 - 03:52 am:

Kerry, looking back on your post Dec 22 = 4:07 pm you state that the dealers had "forced" upon them Ford cars.

That is totally wrong. You must be thinking of the Ford factory delivery of cars to the USA dealers when Ford decided to buy up the company stock in the 1920's.

The distributors in Australia placed orders each year with Ford Headquarters in Melbourne through R.J. Durance who's job it was to cable Ford Canada with the following years totals and the moneys required. The distributors would pay the required fees to Durance for the amount of stock probably via their banks which at that stage would not have bucked at the proposal as orders always had outstripped demand.

Bankruptcy was probably not likely as I'm sure the credit providers could see the situation was part of the problem the whole country was suffering from because of the war. The stock was here and Ford Canada through Ford USA had promised to help clear up the backlog with relief so it was just a matter of seeing out the slump.

In late 1914 they ordered 7000 Fords up from 3000 which they sold the previous 12 months. They were probably encouraged by Durance to do so as that was his job. By July 1915 4700 had arrived the 2300 others were due by July 1916. Between the time the orders were placed the cars built and shipped lots of changes had taken place. (Those figures are not Arthur Davies, they are R.J. Durance's)

Any discussion about the unsold Fords has nothing to do with a "Forcing" of product onto the distributors/dealers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, December 24, 2012 - 05:23 am:

Sorry Peter, I would have to disagree with you,
the word "forced" was used in the 600 ship load to Melbourne. May 1915.
As the flow on for that term, may be not the word describing it in text, is references like,

April 1916, 752 cars in transit to QLD Motor Agency, 285 are orders to fill, 467, (well some one will have to pay for, right?)

Well into the mystery 5000.

June 1917
Mr H W Hale, The Australian rep of the Ford Motor Company,(after doing a tour of QLD and north NSW)
Quote
'He pointed out that Ford factory is now working at full pressure and not withstanding the war conditions, is able to maintain it's output, also completed arrangements for the necessary steamers to carry Ford cars to 'Australia'
and the QLD Motor Agency' end Quote.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dane Hawley Near Melbourne Australia on Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 04:56 am:

I have just read through this thread again as I am trying to hunt for more information and clues. I have noticed a glaring error that I made.

In my comment on the 22nd December, I said "The increased rate from the same article is 200/- per ton, which is £5-0-0 per ton, an increase of £2-17-6. "

In fact 200 shillings is £10-0-0. (20 shillings in one pound).

Now that we know the crate size of a complete car (7 measured tons) an increase from £2-17-6 per ton ( £20-2-6 in total) to £70-0-0 is virtually £50.

It will be interesting to see how that alters the retail price of cars in Australia.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 05:28 pm:

Some interesting reading for that time frame, yes it did alter prices as Peter had listed, working through the papers for several hours, Tarrant Motors was advertising on a regular basis for new Fords at the 195pounds until the freight rise of 41pounds may 1916 then seemed to stop classifieds (not just Ford but other makers as well) an interesting trend with Tarrants second hand Fords for late 1916 to mid 1917, they would list the numbers of cars on hand. eg, Dec1916, 30 Fords, Jan1917x30 Feb x50 T's, by April x10, Aug just x1 and sept,x3. by 10/nov1917 (New model) the price had dropped to 205pounds for a tourer.
Other articles in the motor columns in mid 1917 are quoting, a shortage of motor vehicles, forcing up the price of secondhand cars and restrict motoring to necessities.

Still no evidence of brass T's being in surplus as yet,other than a 1915 load, but will work my way through 1918/19 and see if a glut of the new model T's show up to make up Mr Davies #'s


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