It seems like when I find new info and pics about Ford, I come away with more questions than answers.
I found this photo of the wreck of the Ford six cylinder racer while in Detroit. It appears to have the same front shield under the radiator as the photo/drawing of a Ford racer that looks like the same one that is at The Henry Ford museum.
Front view of racer:
newspaper photo of wrecked racer, October 1907:
At the time of the wreck, Ford was preparing to have an official time attempt at the one mile oval track record. I believe the record was 51 seconds, and news reports said Frank Kulick had driven the racer at 49 seconds.
Only two weeks before this wreck, Henry Ford drove the racer at 59 seconds, and Frank Kulick at 55 seconds in a demonstration for Ford branch managers.
My questions are, would this chassis be capable of speeds like this with no spring suspension? I assume there is no way a person would try to duplicate this for a racer/speedster?
Thanks for your thoughts,
I have to agree....it sure as heck looks like the one currently at THF, most of the tell tail details are there.
I think it certainly would be capable of speeds like that with no spring suspension, it would just be one heck of an uncomfortable ride.
The real question is...why would Ford build a racer like that without a spring suspension of any kind in that day and age? All of the land speed and race cars of the period all had spring suspensions.
Didn't the first incarnation of the car have a spring suspension? if so....why remove it?
I would totally drive that
Many race cars of the past have had no real suspension movement and in fact still do. Go Karts have no suspension whatsoever and travel much faster than 60MPH. Formula one cars of the late seventies early eighties were virtual go karts as the ground force aerodynamics made the springs useless. Re Claytons question of why remove the spring if it had one simple answer weight. Just imagine the weight difference to a Model T if you removed the F&R springs motor racing is always a compromise. Sand & salt surfaces were very smooth and race drivers were a hardy bunch.
Doug in Allora
I wonder how much spring suspension is necessary to have a driver you can control well? Also, it looks as if the front end is only supported by the one large center pin and a wishbone?
Clayton, yes, the early version had front semi elliptical springs, same as the Model K. It looks as if it didn't have a rear spring suspension. This is a year two of the racer:
Rob, I think you may find that the centre front axle pin is more likely a ball that would allow the axle to move up and down from side to side with the radius rods attempting to keep the wheelbase each side equell not always possible? Today we would use a Panhard rod as the early Europeans did.Great stuff,keep it coming.
I found this photo of the K racer at THF. Would this be a safe way to set up this racer?
And not much holding the wishbone either. Also a good look at the steering box.
If you want to drive anywhere except a carefully inspected smooth track, some springs front and rear would be called for.
I bet somebody could come with a quick change front axle with 1/4 elliptic springs like Chevy used. You won't likely find a vintage steering gear like that, but it could be made. Ford did that basic style steering gear in 1928-35.
Rob,I think if you do a search you might find where some of Frank Kulick's relation talked with us on the forum?? Bud.
Thanks for the tip. I'll try to find the link......
Bud (or anyone else),
I recall the thread, however have been unable to find it. Does anyone recall when it ran (year) or better yet, have a link (reference the auk lick family thread mentioned above)?
I did some Kart racing while living in Ohio. Even took it to the Mid Ohio track and was clocked at 83mph in the super stock class. That's basically a stock 5hp Briggs with carb and exhaust mods running on 100% methanol. When you're only one inch off the ground, it feels like you're doing 183. The rigid kart frame and suspension is designed such that you power into to turns. This plants the outside front tire and the inside rear slips. (no differential) If you let up on the throttle going into a turn, you'll end up in the grass.
I can't imagine dirt tracking the setup on that racer. The singe center post would give no support to chassis roll. Probably why many ended up wrecked.