Not just for Royce, having a bit of fun over our running feud about the Ford "Six" being a "sales flop" and less than quality car.
By the way, I hope everyone who is still reading my threads understands these are just opinions. We will each take away our own conclusions from this thread, as with all the posts we read on the forum (uh oh, I smell a New Years resolution coming on, "play nice on the forum" ).
Found this in "Motor" magazine. Motor conducted a Motor-Car survey, and asked respondents to also name the car they would like to "win". The only limitation was that the car they chose cost $3,000 or less. As you are able to see better in the second attachment, FORD WAS CHOSEN 5TH OF OVER 100 CARS RECEIVING VOTES! Over 6500 respondents chose cars for the contest......
I think judging by the other cars chosen, the respondents were not "choosing" the Model N/S, but the "Six" (if you are given the choice of any car on the market costing $3,000 or less, are you going to choose one costing $600?
Ford comes in just behind Locomobile, and ahead of well known names including Olds, Winton, Pope, Cadillac, Marmon and Buick among others.
Some interesting notes, the Thomas "blows away" the field. Yet Thomas will be out of business in eight years. Aerocar at number 13 is the new auto that Malcolmson helped fund that caused his ouster (among other things) from Ford.
Not only is the contest interesting as to how the cars were ranked but to see all the different manufactures of automobiles from the time period is amazing.
I see Pope-Hartford, Pope-Toledo, and Pope-Waverly. Were these all the same manufacturer with partners?
Do you think that some of the people who entered the contest of "What car you would like to win" didn't have knowledge of all the different types, models, and sizes available and just said Ford because that was a popular brand name?
And Nobody at all wanted a Willys-Overland?
This reminds me of the last election. People just didn't know what they were voting for
Right, Lance; but they did know who they were voting against.
Come on guys, play nice. I'm finding out more about this "contest", hold on........
what year was this.
$3000.00 was a lot of money back then, A person would have to one heck of a job to afford a $3000.00 car back then. I think the wage was something like $1.00 a day in 1907. But then I'm just guessing
Forgive the drift, but it's interesting to me that the Moon is listed. My grandfather purchased a new Moon in 1919 and drove it until 1928. It was long gone before I was born, but I've always been curious about them and haven't found very much information about them.
If you want to information on Moon Automobiles, I suggest the book "Great Cars of the Great Plains" which has a chapter on Moon. It's a fantastic book on cars manufactured in the midwest. You can get a used copy from Amazon at a very low price:
I find it hard to believe Thomas sold anything for less than $3000. I also am puzzled as to what this contest is really telling us.
Henry, glad you clarified "long before you were born" .
On a serious note, there is a Moon that has toured with the New London to New Brighton tour the last two summers. It's a roadster, and a big, magnificent car.
Bob, spring 1907.
Royce (or should I say "Thomas", the doubting kind, not the car ), glad you could join in.....
I'm pulling this down as we type....
Looks like Thomas offered both a runabout and touring for $2,750 each. I'll pull the specs in a bit...
OK, Thomas for 1907 offered two forty horse cars for $50 less than the Ford "six". I can see why this was the "runaway winner" in the contest. Both name recognition and affordability in a high end car.
Reading the MoTor text it would seem to be a popularity contest of what participants think they would like to drive. It doesn't seem to refer to present owners or cars actually owned. So I wonder what the result of a current popularity contest would be, could be Ferrari? Then reality sets in, removing the engine to change spark plugs might cost $3000.
I have seen a Thomas (Flyer) and I think it would be a dream car of 1909, but that doesn't make it better than a Pierce or Ford. It's like saying the Ferrari is "better" than a Toyota, it all depends on the need.
Winning the contest didn't make them a winner. Sales rose only to 816 in 1908, and 1036 in 1909, and then dropped to 913 in 1910. The next two models, the L and M, were poorly designed cars that caused endless grief to owners, dealers, and the factory according to George Schuster the winning driver in the winning American car, the Thomas Flyer.
I've long suspected that history has been more unkind to the Ford Model K than what it deserved. How could such a beautiful machine have been as poorly engineered as we are supposed to believe?
My thanks to Rob for sharing so much about his K with us.
I'm finding all I'm able about this "contest". It's very intriguing to find "snapshots" from history, in this case written articles and advertisements. The good thing is, we see how events were depicted and reported at that time, instead of accepting history as it's fed to us.
It shows that you can't always believe what you read, I had read that the Franklin, although a very well built car, was poorly accepted by the public because of it air cooling, wasn't until later in the teens when it was built with a look alike radiator that sales got better for them.
Well said Rob!
It is always good to have naysayers that force you to look at the facts. I have found I learn a lot and sometimes the accepted history and naysayers (with their own version of history) don't line up with what was presented at the time (likely having it's flaws too). For me the enjoyment is just learning and coming to my own conclusions.
It's amazing that the only automobile to ever beat the Ford Model T in number of cars sold was not on the contest list . The Volkswagen Beatle.
Oh Wait did you say the contest was in 1907?
It's the "beetle" Mark :-) And don't bring it up again. I nearly didn't return to the forum after a VW comparison and scathing response by Ralph Ricks :-)
The Beatle was based out of the UK :-)
The Moon was built here in St. Louis. There is a Moon Car ride at Six Flags to honor that long ago manufacturer. The following link is to the Moon Car Club's web site, hope this helps
If this is indeed from 1907 I am glad to see my Franklin came in second, sure would like a Thomas also.
Royce may offer some challenges. And I know much of what he is saying. But I keep going through these threads over and over again. In part because I have always wondered if the Ford K was nearly as bad as history said. I think this debate will open the eyes of some collectors and hopefully, a few more Ford Ks will start being taken on tours. I know a few people that take other large powerful cars from about 1905 to 1907 (including the Great Arrow) on HCCA and other tours. Lots of people drive the smaller early cars on tours. Some day, I have got to take MY early car on tour.
I have ridden in and helped work on a 1907 Thomas Flyer touring (the big one!). Riding in that back seat is almost a religious experience for a guy like me. One of my longest time best friends tours with a 1906 Locomobile (one of the ultimate neatest Horseless Carriages I have ever ridden in) (I have on several occasions just stood back and stared at it for a considerable time, no mater how many times I have seen it, it just isn't enough.) (I gotta quit reminiscing about cars I know. this is your topic)
I very much agree with what Kerry v E says and what you (Rob) are doing. Reading through the early magazines does give you a better view than only reading the history books. When I was researching my early car, I read all the way trough every copy of Horseless Age from 1895 through 1901 that I could find online (which was most of them) I also read as many of a few other magazines I could find from the same years, but that wasn't very many. From all that reading, my understanding of the development of the automobile changed a lot. My gasoline carriage has several features that are very unusual in anything generally seen being driven today. It is interesting to read the debate by engineers going on for many months of issues whether a certain component should be made this way or that way. Especially when you know how it turned out some years or decades later.
Thank you, Rob, and Royce, for helping to further the research into the early automobiles. That research is also a study of us. How humanity grew, and made that leap from what man had been for many hundreds of years into modern man. Modern man is a different creature than "pre-modern man". He is comforted by his technology and the opportunities it provides him. And if he is not careful, he may lose all that comfort and technology to his lack of understanding of his technology and its history.
Do drive carefully, and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! W2
I always respect your well thought responses. I too hope you get your early car out on tour. I fully expect to have both our N and K out on tour in 2013, and hope to tour with Tim Kelly's K too. I agree, there is something "magical" about the big early cars ( and I really enjoy our N too).
I've started another thread where I lay out more from this contest and would appreciate your thoughts
I also appreciate Royce's insights, although I wish he would "dull" his poison pen a bit on occasion . See you on the next thread,
I love the ~Beetles~. I have all of their albums and play them in the garage while working on my T. I have never been to the UK. Is that an amusement park in Califunny? Thanaks for helping me wich my speaeling.
Ha Ha Ha
P S I vote for the Model K over any other car by a long shot. Where do I pick it up ?
Sent you a PM, Gary. I had no idea... Sorry.
I guess I was hard on Dr. Porsche and the VW, huh? I've owned 1950 and 1951 sedans, a 1951 Devin/VW, a 1953 Kraftwagen, a 1966 Kombi, and 1980 and 81 aircooled Vanagons, and maybe others, as well as a 356 and a few 914.
I still have the German title to the '53 around here somewhere. It's a booklet.
Ralph, I didn't see any of those in the 1907 survey????
Did brands like Maxwell & Reo ever produce high end automobiles? I'm surprised Packard is so far down on the list.
One should remember the voters were placing a vote for popularity of the make. Very few people back then would know that Ford produced anything other than small cars. I bet 95% of the people casting votes had never seen or heard of a Ford Model K.
The Thomas was an expensive, low production car that everyone in the world had heard of. It had just won the New York to Paris race. Unlike the events Ford was entering, this was a race publicised in newspapers worldwide.
I can't explain how a car like Franklin could even make the top 20. It is as baffling as anything else on this odd compilation.
It's pretty amazing, Royce, that Thomas had such a worldwide reputation a full year before the race began. That belongs in Neil Kaminar's story.
Here's a bit of why the Franklin was such a great car:
1902 The first production Franklin is sold (now in the Smithsonian.) It has a 4 cylinder overhead valve engine mounted crosswise in the front, (You thought this was a new idea?), along with the first float carburetor and the first throttle control. It depends on forward motion to provide air flow for cooling, just as airplanes do today.
1902 Wilkinson's principles of "Scientific Light Weight," simplicity, flexible construction, quality, and advanced fundamental concepts such as light unsprung weight and direct air cooling lead to many future wins in reliability and speed contests. Extensive use of wood and aluminum keeps the cars light and strong.
1904 A little Franklin roadster sets a record of 33 days coast to coast, beating the old record of 61 days, proving Franklin superiority.
1905 First six-cylinder car in America. It is turned inline, requiring a cooling fan. It has overhead valves, of course.
1906 Six-cylinder Franklin halves the old coast to coast record, making the trip in 15 days.
1907 Automatic spark advance introduced - another Franklin first.
Ford built "light and strong." Franklin built lighter and stronger.
Put me down for a Franklin!
Erik, Rob, & Steven,
THANKS for the Moon information. I appreciate it! One of the photos is a 1919 Moon with Clara Bow sitting on the hood. I have chosen to believe that car is exactly like the one my grandfather had.
Was Clara Mooning?
Maybe not "Mooning" Ralph, but she is sitting on the hood as one would sit on a horse. Not too ladylike, thankfully!
Over the years I have known several folks with Franklin cars. I remember that they had wood frames. They seemed to be well built and dependable tour cars. Just my .02
Yes, Franklins had wood frames. They were quite beefy wood frames. There is a rolling chassis on display at the Gilmore Car Museum in MI. There is also an entire building dedicated to Franklin automobiles. They produced some awesome looking engines.
1907: H.H. Franklin Co. is world's largest user of aluminum, while producing cars, die-castings and trucks.
They used very little steel. Even my 1934 Franklin Olympic, nearly the last car out of their factory, had aluminum crankcase and rods. By then, however, they had gone to steel frames.
It was delivered in primer, probably after the bankruptcy.
Harry Bennet drove a Franklin even though he was Henry's favorite stooge. Doubt if anyone else in management could have gotten away with it.
I do like my Model T and they are mutliping But I started with a 1933 Franklin and now have 3 of them, also a 1907 and a 1924. Ricks, you still have you Olympic? I drive the heck out of mine.
The Gilmore Museum is a GREAT place to visit.
from the Franklin Web Site,
These remarkable motor cars engendered such a loyal and faithful following that interest in these automobiles never died out. Many individuals continued to operate Franklins as their every day automobiles or preserved them right up to the emergence of the antique and classic hobby, decades after production ceased in 1934. The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was a very large employer in Syracuse, New York area, its home base, and many people across the world had very fond associations with the company and its motor cars either as employees, dealers, service personnel or just loyal customers of that fine make. For others who were younger it may have been an unforgettable recollection of a Franklin in the family or one which was owned by a neighbor. They were very distinctive automobiles and were not easily forgotten.
No, Dean, I sold it after getting into the Greatrace in '97 with the T speedster. It was more or less a barn find. I fixed the 4-wheel hyd brakes, and did a lot of structural wood work to it, replacing the termites with Kwik Poly. It was 10 serial numbers from the very last one, and the newest one known to the club.
What got me interested in Franklin cars was the Franklin engine in my 1946 Bellanca. All my pix of it are pre-digital, so this will have to do.
Please post pix of your '07. If you can't shrink to size, email them to me and I will post. They belong in this thread.
Ricks, Here is the 1907 Franklin.
They are a addiction but a little harder to find parts for.
Don't get me wrong guys a do love my Model T and am working on building a speedster.
Speaking of Franklin and Speedster: I looked at a 1922 Franklin with a goner body several years ago. With that aluminum housing for the downdraft cooling, it would have made a one-of-a-kind cool open Speedster, a la Mercer Raceabout.
I believe Charles Lindburg either had a Franklin or a National..
Saturday morning at 830 and the top three posts are Rob's posts about the Model K. Doesn't that tell you something.
Dean - nice looking car you have there.
This is how the Franklins were described in 1907 ("Cycle and Automobile"). Two early (1907-08) Franklins have been on the New London to New Brighton the last few years. A gray Touring and black runabout. Both are good running fast cars.
Franklin also had a truck in 07,
Which is that, Dean, a D, G or H?
Ricks, Mine is the Model G.I worked on getting this car from a club member for over two years, he decided to let it go this last summer.
Rob, I have always gone to the Kingston stop on the New London to New Brighton Tour with the local T club.I drive my 1920 Roadster. This summer the N.L.N.B is the same week as the Franklin Club meet in New York so I am torn between the two. It's not every day someone decides to sell one of these old Franklins so one must act when the chance comes up. I did look you Model K over at the run it is is truly a piece of art.
A wonderful fellow I have known for about twenty plus years has quite a few Franklins. I have never asked how many. I have seen his 1907/8 big touring on an HCCA tour. I have also seen his '10, '15 tourings, '22 roadster and pictures of '04 and '13.
Several of his cars have been pictured prominently in the HCCA Gazette including covers and centerfolds. We have been on quite a few tours together. His big '15 Franklin and my big late '15 Studebaker were good tour mates.
I have known several other people with Franklins, both early and late cars.
As I drift OT to reminisce, I will just add that one of my earliest collector car connections was when my dad bought a Franklin to restore. It was the first of many cars he planned to restore and never did. I was about four at the time. He sold the car a few years later when we moved to a new home. He told me years later that it was a 1933 or '32 Airman sedan. I have looked at photos, and if I remember the car correctly, I think it may have been a '31, the radiator fill neck was in a different location (Franklin joke). I wish I knew what ever became of that Franklin, I really liked it.
Back to On Topic;
One of the most grueling races of all time was the annual "Desert Classic" run from Los Angeles to Phoenix from 1908 until World War I. A Franklin dealer from Los Angeles was a major competitor in that race and won it at least once. (E L Cord also won the race once driving a Paige automobile) Franklins were also driven in many other major races around the country and have an admirable racing history. If I recall correctly, theoldmotor.com had a few photos of Franklin race cars. Anyone that thinks Franklin was not a substantial car, does not know Franklin.
Also, it should be remembered that before 1910, the automobile world was trying to decide upon what automobiles were to become. Was gasoline, steam or electricity going to be the primary motive power? The early gasoline proponents were also split into two camps. The water-cooled and air-cooled camps. A sizable percentage of cars before 1905 were air-cooled. However Franklin had many patents and bought more that others had. Other companies, including Chevrolet being a major one, did try to build air-cooled models. Franklin usually shut them down.
In retrospect, It may have been a marketing mistake? Instead of becoming the "best of the air-cooled cars, by the late 1920s, they were looked upon as more of an oddity by many people. When the crash hit in 1929, that was a disadvantage they did not need. The company did not disappear completely. They continued manufacturing other products up until WWII. From there, I don't offhand know what became of them.
Thank you again, Rob. You are not only furthering the study of the Ford model K, but other cars as well.
Do drive carefully, and have a wonderful NEW YEAR! W2
As long as we're on Franklins:
That's interesting, Wayne. I never heard that about the patents.
1913: A 1911 Franklin Speed Car sets a world's economy record of 83.5 mpg. That record held for 80-90 years. That car is on display at the Natl Auto Museum in Reno.
1929: Horsepower and efficiency gains enable a Franklin at the hands of Cannon Ball Baker to set a new coast to coast record of 69 hours.
1930 New engine design produces the highest horsepower per cubic inch in America, after Deusenberg. New engine also flown in Waco biplane.
1932 The big V-12 (150hp, 398cid) is introduced - again direct air cooled.
1932 Franklin Olympic introduced, mating the 100hp six to a Reo Flying Cloud. At 3500 pounds, it's the muscle car of its day.
1933 Carl Doman and Ed Marks, ex-Franklin engineers, start Doman-Marks Engine Co. They produce another leap forward - the "Domark" heavy duty aircooled industrial engines.
1934 Car production ends as H.H. Franklin Co. is bankrupted in the Great Depression.
1937 Doman-Marks Engine Co. buys rights to Franklin. Domark engines now called Franklin, and name changed to Aircooled Motors Corp.
1938 Franklin flies again. 4-cylinder opposed air cooled automotive and aircraft engines developed. Most parts are common to both types of engines. These are among the first successful opposed engines - standard on all future light aircraft. They pioneer the use of some equipment which the industry finally adopts decades later.
1940 First modern opposed 6-cylinder engine is part of the second generation of Franklin aircraft engines. Today they would be called modular engines.
1940 4-cylinder engine powers Sikorsky VS-300A, the first practical helicopter, and a pair of sixes propel the first Nothrop Flying Wing, the N-1M.
1942 Franklin engines power many light airplanes and drones for the war effort.
1945 Two 8-cylinder supercharged, opposed Franklins propel Northrop N-9MB Flying Wing into history. This is the predecessor of the YB-49 and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. It is flying again, out of Chino, Calif.
1946 Thousands of engines are built in this and following years to power helicopters and light airplanes, including the first certified civil helicopter. Franklins power 3 out of 4 helicopters built over the next decade.
1947 Franklin engine is used as Auxiliary Power Unit in the Northrop YB-49 jet powered flying wing.
1948 178hp helicopter engine is fitted with water(!) jackets to drive the amazing Tucker car into history. Tucker buys Franklin (Aircooled Motors, Inc.)
1951 The H.H. Franklin Club is formed to foster all pre-war air cooled cars and "the Franklin Spirit."
1960 All 1925 series 11 and later Franklins but the Olympics are designated Classics by the prestigious Classic Car Club of America.
1961 Tucker debt paid and Franklin sold at auction to Aero Industries, never to really recover from the drain of capital.
1974 220hp Franklin is widely rated the best light airplane engine ever built.
1975 Bankruptcy again. Rights and drawings are bought by the Polish government, which begins manufacture of PZL-F engines for twin Pipers and other airplanes built in Poland.
1990 A 1946 Bellanca and a 1947 Stinson fly from London to Australia in the grueling World Vintage Air Rally for airplanes built prior to 1950. Only these two of the 25 in the rally have Franklin engines, and are two of only 8 to finish.
1992 Aircraft engines and parts once again become available - from Poland.
Just found this of the original 1908 Great Race winner at the museum in Reno:
Speaking of Franklins
This is the race car used in one of Los Angels to Phoenix races. Today it is still in the unrestored and driving condition from back in 1907-08. Anyone that thinks Franklin was not a substantial car, does not know Franklin.
I learned today that the Petersen Auto Museum in LA is having vault tours until the 6th, where you get to see all their collection. At one time they had one of every year early Franklin, probably from the collection of Ralph Hamlin, dealer in LA and involved in LA-Phoenix races.
I'll provide a link later.