If anyone has any ideas, I'm thinking of reproducing a Model K racer. I have an extra "K" engine, carb and magneto. I think I have someone who will make the intake manifold. The exhaust manifold won't require much (see photo). We have a frame.
We also have an extra magneto, and radiator. I think instead of the V radiator (like the one on the racer at THF, below) I would use the Model K radiator. I also have an extra hood, so the racer could have "skin" sometimes, and look more like a speedster.
What we need"
Front axle. Ideally, I'd like to find a large, pre 30's axle that appears somewhat similar.
Large wire wheels. The Model K used 34 X 4 tires. The 6-40 (K Roadster 36 X 4 tires.
A heavy rearend. I'm not sure if I'd try to go with the original open look, or just leave it closed.
Any other suggestions or leads appreciated. As many of you know, I'm not a machinist, and not much of a mechanic, so this may only be a "pipe dream". However, it's always fun to dream.
Thanks in advance for any help,
You should be able to get or make a windsplitter radiator with hood dimensions to match the K rad. Maybe there's something at Pioneer Village you could trade for?
Rob, how about a super heavy duty K rear transmission happen to know where there is one, also know who could build the ultimate racer for you and you have met him.A master machinest,fabricator and race car builder but you have to talk Orstralian
I was wondering when this was going to come up. Talk to people you know and trust. Set ground rules outside the open forum. Post lots of good photos with yard-sticks (meter-sticks?) showing the size, shape and mounts for the axle and other parts you need. Remember, Hershey is only about seven weeks away! And Bakersfield only about six months past then.
An open rear axle may not be difficult to make using internal parts from some slightly later car.
Get a front axle with hubs, and making a set of wire wheels using authentic methods is not that difficult. Especially the earlier kind. There is a lot of good early stuff with a lot of great potential out there.
It could be incredible!
But please drive carefully! And enjoy, W2
Doug, I meant to talk to him reference "spare" K parts. I believe he andni have an agreement on that transmission. Or as you would say, "riiite, maite".
Hope your winter went well. Also, I intend to send info reference the speedster nominee we spoke of,
Wayne, good ideas. Mi hope to be at Hershey, so I may begin to collect parts there.
I also hope to find more original photos of the K six cylinder racers. They existed between late 1904 and through 1908 (I have a few news accounts saying Frank Kulick went to Savannah for the upcoming Thanksgiving 1908 race, planning to run the six cylinder racer).
However, the racer did not make the race for some reason, and was never heard from on the track again. This is also the last racer I've found evidence of where Henry Ford is racing it for time (1907).
If you look at the two photos above, you'll see there is quite a lot of difference between the black and white racer and the one still existing at THF.
I bought a set of new 84 spoke Rudge Whitworth 37x5 (27" rim) lock ring wire wheels for my '13 Russell out of the UK. Really nice wheels. They are a fine spline wheel and I made the hubs. Other sizes are available (as well as some sizes of H and Z speed rated tires.
Wind splitter radiator is not that tough to make.
Ok I accept that currently you probably don't have the skills. However I have a strong feeling that you are smart enough and can learn!!!
The learning is the only reason I take on the goofy projects I do.
I can help you but we should talk off list!
The real question here is if you're man enough to take the finished product to the salt flat or a runway and see how fast it'll go. No point in a speedster without testing the speed. =)
I have a Buick front axle with springs. Age unknown, but prior to front wheel brakes. Spindles have been changed to take Model T wheels. Is this something you could use? Ed
Rob is man enough. Holly may have other ideas.
Oh, she drives a Corvette. Sky's the limit for Rob.
YOU have to decide how "authentic" you wish to make it. It appears you have decided that quite a bit of "license" is OK. And certainly that will reduce the cost.
Don't forget the cone clutch and flywheel that goes with the ''kovert'' transmission.
Ralph -- Not only does Holly drive a 'Vette, her small block one wasn't exciting enough for her, so Rob got her a big block one. As you said, "The sky's the limit...."
Hey Rob, do you have your heart set on a racer? You could build a nice 6-40 roadster. Easy enough to get a body built, and you could still use makeshift mechanicals under it, until (hopefully) real ones turn up. Authentic cars have been rebuilt from less than you have already, and you're in a good position with your K to reference and copy parts from.
I do like what Andrew B says. I know of a lot of beautiful horseless carriages have been built beginning with much less than what you are looking at now. But then again, era type race cars should also be seen and experienced by hobbyists and public alike. Then again again, a nice 6-40 roadster would be a great experience too.
Either way, some license to finagle may be needed. Usually, front axles and transmissions can be adapted from other era vehicles and be close enough that only a few true specific experts could ever notice.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Build the racer, and after you're done showin' your stuff at OCF in 2014, and at Lincoln in 2015, put a Roadster body on.
Besides that, it would be a snake charmer in the Greatrace. Replica bodies are allowed there, as long as you have original engine, stock intake manifold, and original size tires.
I've gone 55 with our K. I've taken our 13 T on the interstate over 50. When I was a "kid", I would go as fast as I could go. So......now that I'm "mature", yes, I would take it through it's paces.......
Les, I think the challenge is to make it as close to the Ford racer(s) as possible. The problem is, I only have a few of the six cylinder racer pics. It appears the racer evolved between 1905 and 1908, but few pics seem to have survived.
Bob, yes, I think your tranny will fit in nicely. We need to find a way to get it "up here".
Mike, Holly actually said if we find a "6-40" roadster, she would give up her 427 vette for it. Actually, she is only losing 22 cubic inches in the trade.
Andrew, it appears much easier to fabricate a racer than a roadster. The roadster has castings, brass steering column, etc that would be difficult and expensive to fabricate.
Ralph, I like the way you think.......
The allure of the six cylinder racer for me is, it's the last racer Henry raced. He raced it many many times between 1905 and 1907. He even planned on racing it in late 1908, after the T was on the market. After having a car with this power plant, I can only imagine how fast the "go cart" version would be .
It appears to me as if the rear has NO suspension (the axle looks bolted solid to the frame). The front axle also appears to not have much for springs and quite probably none. It only appears to pivot in the middle. Essentially all the suspension of a farm tractor!!!
I guess it worked OK on a smooth track, but it would be pretty brutal on the road.
I am probably the wrong person to advise. I would get too fancy.
I think there were probably many variations of the six cylinder racer. One was being readied for the Thanksgiving Day 1908 Savannah GA Races, however never made the race. The two shown above are very different, the black and white racer has front semi eliptical springs (they look identical to the Model K suspension) while the racer at THF has no spring suspension.
I think the original black and white photo racer (Jan 1905) also has a longer wheelbase than the Henry Ford Museum racer. Another signature feature (of Ford racers) is the under trussing to add support to the frame. Similar support is seen on Ford's 999, Arrow, the 20 hp world record holder lightweight racer, and even on the Model T racer with the 410 cubic inch racer (1911/1913).
Rob,I don't think i have ever seen that racer at the Henry Ford. It sure would be great if it was a driver?? Bud.
It's not on display. Glenn Miller was kind enough to send me pics of it in storage. Also, the 410 cu. in. Model T based racer Frank Kulick drove to many victories (1911-1913) is in storage at THF too.
Hopefully they will be shown at some point.
Can offer 52 mm Rudge Whitworth hub shells. These are the early 148 mm long (5.83") jobs that really support large diameter rims. Currently 50 spoke, could be revised by weld up and redrill of spoke holes to 70 or whatever was desired.
They are 88 spline as all 52mm are
Similar to these when assembled to new dimpled and punched rims and new Buchanan spokes. (Ignore '23 Lancia brake drum )
How many inch rim is that (I'm out, using my iPhone to respond).
They look great.
Hi Rob - that is the usual 23" for the 30 X 3 1/2. A 27" or 28" will look more "airy" yet
Would a 30x3 1/2 tire be enough for a car the size of a K?? Bud.
I would like to find something similar to 36x4. That is what the roadster used.
So that would be a 28" rim (same as my '12 Russell).
Oh,Oh, sounds like you are building a hot rod! ( Don't take this too seriously!)
Speedy Bill has an extra K engine in his museum. Saw it today!
Are you going to build the long WB car or the short WB car? The one that survives at THF is a short WB car...and the proportions just don't look right.
The K racer seen in most of the old pics with either Henry Ford at the wheel or Frank Kulick is a much longer, lower chassis that has really nice lines and stance. Just my $.02
I agree that the 28" wire wheels would fit the car better.
Yes, I agree, the longer wheelbase racer is what I'm leaning toward.
I have my suspicions about the racer at THF. Glenn Miller said it looks as if it has never been drivable. I wish I knew for sure, but suspect it was assembled from K and racer parts sometime over the last century, and never was a running car.
The engine at The "Museum of American Speed" (founded by Bill Smith and his late wife Joyce) is our "other" Model K engine.
If you have not visited the museum, it is a "must see" stop for anyone in the Lincoln Nebraska area.
Not a really large axle but period 30-35 horsepower car.
Thanks for the pics. That might work well, however, I'm considering another route on the front axle. I'll start a thread (OT) about aluminum strength for an axle.
Thank you again,
What an interesting idea! And what a struggle rationalizing what might or might be not correct enough. I have considered building a speedster out of some Yellowstone bus parts much as some have from American La France parts. Thanks for sharing your ideas and keep us posted on progress. We certainly enjoyed the Model K Touring story. I don't mind it straying a little from Model T ing. Most fastening. I love the rusty axle above.
Layden's axle looks perfect. I can't imagine any other solution would be cheaper or better.
What are you asking for it? Do you know what it was from originally? I will be passing through your area next week.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
This is what we have so far:
1907 K engine, flywheel, no transmission.
Model K radiator and hood.
Frame, magneto and carburetor.
We need a differential, front end and steering system, fuel tank, and some type of transmission/clutch.
My thought is to use the hood sometimes, or go without, similar to the Fiat shown below, just above the Ford racer. I suspect the Ford racer had a "skin" too, as it was being prepared for road races such as the 1908 Vanderbilt race, although the car did not make the race.
You know, Rob. While there may be some "materials" concerns as discussed in your aluminum vs steel thread, that axle that Layden B shows could maybe be straightened and modified to look a lot like the K axle. Maybe? If he said a price I liked, I would not keep it from you if you wanted it. I like your car idea too much. I did weld a T axle once. It took a lot of heat but welded really nice. I don't know how well that axle would weld or bend, but probably alright. It would probably take the weight okay.
I was going to holler "NO!" when I saw your other thread, but saw that enough others (most smarter than I) had beat me to it.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Perhaps the SWB car in storage at THF is engine and V-radiator from the LWB car....shoe-horned into a much smaller, incorrect chassis that was never completed. To bad the original car does not survive intact.
The car shown in the last image you posted...I have never seen that cool long tube radiator before. That isn't the K racer is it? ...in August 1905?
Yes, it's what we now call the "K racer". The fact of the matter is, the Model K did not exist when the six cylinder racer made it's debut at Daytona (Ormond) Beach in January 1905. This six cylinder racer is first mentioned (in materials I've found so far) as early as December 1904.
It's important to remember that only one year before, Henry Ford set the world one mile speed record (January 1904) with his racer Arrow (or 999, some arguments over which car actually made the run). Ford had also just set the lightweight car one and five mile record with his 20 hp (two Model AC motors together) racer in the fall of 1904.
It appears there were several variations of the six cylinder racer between late 1904 and 1908. Originally, the car is called a 40 hp racer, then 60, then 80, and eventually 105 hp and some accounts say the 1907-1908 racer was 120 hp. It appears to me the racer at THF has a standard Model K engine, with additional waterjackets (or something) on the outside of the jugs.
Following are a few pics of the six cylinder racer(s):
Unfortunately I am unable to find photos of the Ford Six racer after 1906. I have a story about Henry Ford running a timed mile in the racer in October 1907 for his branch managers (below). Frank Kulick then runs the same track mile a little faster. This is the last event I've found where Henry Ford drives a racer for time.
About two weeks later, Frank Kulick is running at the same track for time (and reports say he ran a .49 sec mile, that would have set a new one mile closed track record) and suffers a serious accident. The Model K racer (or six cylinder racer) does not run a race again.
In the summer of 1908, Frank Kulick goes to Savannah GA to survey the route for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day race (the articles says Ford is going to enter the six cylinder racer).
However the racer doesn't make the race, and Ford stays out of competitive racing events until the 1909 Ocean to Ocean race, using the new Model T.
Great history and research! I just can't imagine getting 80 or 105 Hp out of that motor...let alone 120. I bet that was a scary ride!
I doubt there was more then one 6-cylinder racer built. They just didn't seem to do that much back then. One car was built for this sort of thing and it was improved upon to make it better....a test bed. Factory race cars (like Old #16) were built in sets so they had backups and spares. I believe Locomobile built 5 or 6 of the big Vanderbilt cars like Old #16....
Funny that mentions of the car just stop....as does Ford racing all together for a period.
I know Ford had a dislike for the K and 6-cylinders in general.....I wonder if that had something to do with it as well as the original cars disappearance?
OT....does the Arrow survive, or just the 999?
You've hit a "sore spot". I don't believe Henry Ford disliked the six cylinder. In fact, he builds and races this six before it is ever intended for a Ford car. I also find it interesting that Ford (according to the last article) intends to enter the six cylinder racer in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, 1908. Had the car ran, it would have been difficult to claim Ford 'disliked" the six, due to racing it after the Model K six was out of production.
Ford originally contracted for 1,000 Model K chassis from Dodge Brothers. By early 1908, almost 1,000 Model Ks were built, and by the summer of 1908, at least 942 of the cars were sold (number 942 survives, so know at least that many were produced/sold).
Lastly (off my soapbox now), the Model K is the only "alphabet Ford" to hold a world record. In June, 1907, the Model K won a 24 hour endurance race. Cars competing included a Thomas 60 hp (same model Thomas that would win the New York to Paris race the next year), a 50 hp Pope Toledo, 50 hp American Tourist and a few others.
I'm not aware of any other pre WW2 stock Ford holding a world racing or endurance record. I believe that history has shortchanged the Model K, due in part to unequalled success of Models NRS and of course, the T.
Since owning our K, what I have found is the car is about "bullet proof". The engine is strong, the frame is almost identical to a TT (it was beefed up following problems with the 1906 K that had a lighter frame). In essence, it's a Model T on steroids (as I've heard other owners describe them).
For anyone interested, a link to the pamphlet Ford Motor Company published following the Model K 24 hour endurance record:
That is just what I have heard...not sure were. I had heard that he was rather displeased with the K....too expensive, to complex for the common man..something to that effect. I guess that was not the case.
In regards to his dislike of of 6-cylinders, I had heard a story that after the Model A, Ford was urged to build a OHV 6 to compete with Chevy. Henry refused to build a 6 (because Chevy had it and he hated them) and instead came out with the V8 in '32.
I don't know if that is true either...because Ford did build a 6 for regular production in 1946.
Either way, I love the K's...they really look well built and well thought out, not to mention classy....having never driven or owned one, I can't attest first hand. There is a fellow out here by the name of Ken Austin (I'm sure you know of him) who has a really nice, unrestored 1907 K roadster.
I would have been curious to see the Ford "K" racer go up against Old #16 for the win.....wonder how it would have fared against the 16.5 liter monster Locomobile
Clayton, As a business man it made more sense to make the "T" and sell 15 million of them. The big six cars sold very small numbers. It looks to me that Henry turned all his efforts to the "T" and left the big car world to the others and they all sold out to gm as they had nice big cars but no money to show for it. In the end Henry made the right choice as a business man.
I didn't mean to "pounce". Many of us have hashed this out over the last year. Your right, most sources say exactly that, that HF didn't like, or care for the Model K.
However, there is much more information out there now, and I take exception to "history" about the car.
Regardless, what a great hobby. And I think it would be great to see some of the vintage racers of the period put through their paces today.
I agree. I think the model ran it's course (just as the N did). Both cars helped Ford become the largest auto manufacturer in the US, and pave the way for the Model T. As it turned out, the Model T became the "everything" car. Powerful enough to carry several body styles. Simple enough for new owners to maintain. And importantly, a quality automobile at an affordable price.
"...a really nice, unrestored 1907 K roadster."
Are you paying attention, Rob?
Oh yes. I'd have to come live with you after the settlement
Rob, I am much like you....I like to do my own research and come to my own conclusions.
I would LOVE to see some of the surviving vintage race cars go at it again. I would love to get behind the wheel of Old #16 and really open her up in top gear.....see what she would really do
I agree with Scott as well....the K's day was done at that time.
Here are a few pics of the K "Gentleman's Roadster" I know of out here. Sorry they aren't the best. took these in March, 2007.
LOL is the driver standing up in the Ford Six pictures? I thought for a second I was looking at a chariot-race reenactment.
On the roadster, are those 3 brass-looking pips on the right the horn/whistle? That looks crazy.
Those pipes are an exhaust whistle...and a pretty cool one too.
I think the driver is sitting up awfully high in the car and his riding mechanic is crouching on the running board in the corners..
The car racing in the photos is a stripped down touring car. You sit much lower in the roadster. Clayton, thank you for the pics of the K roadster. It is a "one off". The standard roadster is longer, and the driver sits lower. This roadster is made from the 1906 chassis that was six inches shorter than the 1907/08 K chassis, which is when the "standard" roadster was built. I've heard on person explain that this (the one pictured) was the roadster prototype.