Many of you are aware of the 1909 Ocean to Ocean Race. Model T Number 2 won the endurance contest (but was disqualified later) while a Shawmut was second and the other Ford T participating came in 3rd.
A few more of you are aware a Ford Model K was the Pilot car, chosen to run ahead of the entrants as the "control car" from New York to St. Louis, when all "controls" were lifted.
I stumbled upon this news article showing the procession as they left The New York start point (as the President signaled the Mayor by telephone, who then fired a pistol to begin the race).
First, a bit of history. Ford Motor Company had refrained from racing since October 1907, when Frank Kulick (one of the Ford T drivers) was seriously injured while attempting a record run with, ironically, a Model K racer.
Henry Ford and FMCO decided to enter the Ocean to Ocean race, to showcase the new Model T. Ford was the only entry with two cars, and Ford Motor Company orchestrated dealers and support all along the way to hopefully allow one of the new Model Ts to win.
A Ford Model K leading the way from New York was no accident. And it certainly was approved by Henry Ford. The driver and owner of the Model K was a Ford dealer no less.
This newspaper article includes an overhead shot of the racers leaving, led by the Ford Model K.
i firmly believe the public (and Henry Ford at the time) approved of this Ford Model.
Nobody said "rewriting" history was going to be easy.....
Model K's are kinda like a social disease,fun to acquire but a bitch to get rid of.
I doubt it would be to tough to get rid of. It sure was fun to catch.
Do you have a social disease?
Probably. I let anyone ride with me, I don't even ask their name.
Do I have a problem?
Trouble is, that rubber thing you carried with you back then only considered to be a spare inner tube.
Anyway, I thought it was quite a photo, the Model K leading the two Ford Ts and other cars out of New York on the New York to Seattle race.
If the K was so popular, Ford would have built them for 20+ years. Wonder what a 1927 K would have looked like?
Ford didn't build any models for 20+ years. Usually 2 years was it. Until the Model T, that was manufactured for 18 years.
What we have learned is, Ford made very good money on the Model K, probably over $500 per car (and dealers also made about the same per car, according to Ford commission schedules). Ford originally contracted (with Dodge Bros. on the K, with Ford Manufacturing for the Model N) for 1,000 Model Ks and 10,000 Model Ns. Both came in near their original contract numbers.
The Model K was originally delivered in April 1906, the N in July 1906. By the end of fiscal year 1906 (Oct 1, 1906) the Model K performed quite well, providing a major portion of Ford revenue through the summer.
Two things to consider:
1. No major automaker in the US had only one model. Most "majors" had three or more (as did Ford, that still offered the Model F along with K and N in early 1906).
2. Selling on average about 440 Model Ks per year would have placed any automaker in the top 20 for cars produced in 1906 - 1908. While we are used to hearing of a million or more Ts produced per year in the late teens and twenties, in the fledgling years of the car industry, an automaker producing more than 400 cars per year was one of the top tier producers.
And of course, the success of the N and K allowed Ford to "ramp up" and build the Model T. And we know how that turned out.
Right. Ford quit building big expensive cars because there were more profits to be made by concentrating on one model of inexpensive car. It's not a question. It doesn't matter if the Model K was as successful as Packard (it wasn't) or Buick.
In any case the Model K is a very prestigious, interesting, and desirable car. Ford didn't make any more of them because he didn't want to. Is that a bad thing? I don't believe it is.
I didn't intend to sound "snarky", maybe to much fermented grape fruit juice last evening. To answer the question of what would the Model K (or a "high end" Ford model) have looked like by 1925 we just need to look at this.....
Sorry, should have been a 1927, but you get the drift.....
So, are you going to buy one of those, too?
Rob -- You REALLY NEED one of those!!!! Holly and the girls would look great in it!!!
1906 to 1927 = 20+ years used as a comparison had it continued in place of the T but I get the drift. Ford dropped the K after just two years. Ford didn't buy Lincoln until 1922 when it was about go under after just five years under Leland. Ford had nothing to do with the design of the Lincoln.
Here's a 1922 Lincoln (Pre-Ford). Not much change in the '27 so you can't say the K would have looked like that simply because it was "high end".
The point is, Ford saw a need/use for a luxury car by 1921. I've wondered, what did Henry Ford use/drive when attending an upscale event as the wealthiest man in the world?
While the black T is what made him wealthy beyond imagination, a major automaker selling only one model was not going to last.
The bottom line is, history does not accurately reflect the quality or value of the Model K in my opinion. The car sold well (in terms of numbers, in the high end market). It performed well (the only stock Ford to record a world record prior to WWII), and it was not a product of investors Henry Ford disagreed with. It was a product of Henry Ford's racing venture (the Ford six engine was a world class racer long before it was produced for the Model K).
As with all Ford models prior to the Model T, it had it's run. The Model K was produced for just over two years, and had a very good reputation during it's tenure. Unfortunately, that is not how history presents the car. Of course, we know what Henry Ford said about history.
Rob, how about a technical comparison 1907 K to 1927 Lincoln?
Appearance wise, the Linc doesn't look much advanced over a 1915 T.
Didn't Lincoln make a Model K?
The Lincoln was a Leland design from 1917 so you're not too far off Ralph.