I am absolutely fascinated by the 1908 Ford Model S Touring that we have discussed a few times. (Or the “Model ST” as Rob Heyen refers to it). Here are some questions off the top of my head and I really don’t expect answers to all of them. If Rob or Hap or anyone else can answer any of these I would be thrilled to know what you are thinking.
1) What color was it? I know that Cecil Church painted his red like an early 1909 Model T Touring. Did he have info on that or was he just guessing? Could they have been Forest Green with a cream undercarriage?
2) Somewhere it said that the wheelbase was 97”, but someone said they thought that was a mistaken and it was really 100” like the Model T. Does anyone know?
3) What rear axle was used? Was it a Model S rear axle? How did it work with the extra length? Did they simply lengthen the drive shaft and tube?
4) Were they all assembled late in 1907? If so, would an early 1908 (about December 1907) Model S engine be correct for it?
5) Did any of them have a top? The one in the illustration looks like it might have some top brackets.
6) What kind of sidelights did it have? The ones in the newspaper illustration don’t look like E&J. Could they have been Castle?
7) The front seat looks like it has two seat cushions with a low divider between them. What is up with that?
8) What about the fenders? The front fenders look a lot like Model S, but the rear fenders look more like a Model T.
9) What is the box-like thing on the running board? Is that a tool box or a square carbide generator?
10) Do the Ford archives have any drawings for this car? Does the Early Ford Registry have any info on it?
Getting the K ready for the trip to OCF next week,,but I'll take a stab...
1. I'd guess any of the colors Ford was using on NS and K would be "correct". The red used with the S Roadster seemed to be Cecil's choice, but not sure why. Do you have the print from the article on his car (about 1976)?
2. The wheelbase listed in the ads for the model said 97 inches. My guess is when the magneto/T type transmission was added, the car "grew" three more inches. But, just a guess.
3. NRS axles are superior to the early T clamshell. Again I'd guess the T style rearend was a late change. The NRS rearend will work. Both had non tapered axles. Interestingly, Model Ks had a tapered axle, like the later T.
4. Again, I think these were prototypes, so my bet is they were constantly changing. Ford ads kept pushing the sales date back, from February to March, to summer till finally October.
5. I'd guess that, just as with the NRS and K (and early T) the top body irons were on the car, with tops available for extra.
6. Sidelamps look like the same as N and S. Again, probably subject to change depending on suppliers.
7. Yes it does. Some cars had "bucket" style front seats. The NRS seats have two cushions, but no middle divider as this appears to.
8. Again, I'm sure all this was subject to change. Supposedly some of these cars made it to the winter London Auto Show. It would be good to see actual photographs. I believe we do have a front photo of a laundelet, possibly taken in England.
9. Like the model K, I suspect it is the battery/tool box.
10. We've had a few posts on the EFR (Early Ford Registry) about them. I'm sure Benson library has materials, possibly some that are "undiscovered".
Another thought. I recently found another article about Henry Ford racing around Detroit with a six cylinder Model N/S. The last article was dated August 1908 (Model Ts were already being assembled). I suspect this small six was another prototype of the future Model T engine.
What if the famous Model T had begun with a six cylinder engine?
One of these six cylinder prototypes (possibly this very one) exists in Australia, and was on tour last year.
How many Ford Model S Touring exist? Are they drivers or museum pieces?
The only one I'm aware of was the "recreation" done by the late Cecil Church (who also owned our Model K at one time). He had this detailed write up in the Dec 1976 "Model T Times".
It appears the trade was well aware that Henry Ford intended to build a "light, inexpensive touring car" for some time. This August 1906 account refers to Ford's intention (the Model N had only been in circulation for one month when this story appears) to build such a car:
Other Ford "ST's":
This newspaper shows the new Ford, saying it is for sale, dated December 29, 1907.
This November 1907 Ford ad says there will be sixes (Model K), N and S Runabouts and the new light touring and roadster all for sale in 1908.
And, from the London show, dated December 1907. This article says the light touring is on display:
All these (and many more) reports suggest there were several Pre Ts shown at different auto shows in late 1907 and early 1908. Non mention the magneto, nor do drawings show the T transmission bottom until well into 1908. Specs from the New York show:
This account says the Model T is being constructed at the Ford plant by June 1908: