It's been regarded as accepted "history" that Ford Motor Company did not race, or sponsor racing, following the wreck of the six cylinder racer and severe injury to Frank Kulick in October 1907. Henry Ford is quoted saying he is through with racing, and Ford historians report that Ford indeed did not compete in a speed event again, until about 1911.
However, this didn't "add up" because in July 1908 Frank Kulick is quoted saying he has just returned from Savannah GA where was looking over the race route for the American Grand Prix, and preparing the Ford six cylinder (Model K) racer. However, he and the Ford did not make the race.
Tonight I came across the results of a race held in Kalamazoo MI, on August 29, 1908. Frank Kulick raced, winning one event, driving a Ford Model K. This is significant in the scheme of things (for me) because at this time we are only a month and a few days away from the beginning of the Model T era (Oct 1, 1908), and Ford and Kulick are still racing (and winning) a Model K.
Other prominent drivers racing in other events included Barney Oldfield driving " Big Ben" and Charles Soules driving "Red Devil".
Another timeline that isn't exactly "correct". Since then I've found a few other contests Frank Kulick participated in during 1908.
Below, part of the highlighted text says "word was received this Friday morning from the Ford company, Detroit that they will send over Harry Cunningham and Frank Kulick to compete in the races here."
Results show Frank Kulick winning the three mile event for cars costing under $3000:
I'll have more including the full articles on my Dropbox link later if anyone is interested.
Thank you again for all your hard work at researching the information. Thank you also for being willing to "swim against the current" to help establish what is true rather than taking the easier path of supporting what is popular.
For years mankind [and on a much shorter time frame and personal level – I am too often guilty of that also] has tended to latch onto "truth" and then when it is challenged with new or additional information we tend to resist change.
For example Galileo in the 1600’s came up with some good additional evidence that the earth was not the center of the universe. But he was put on trial and given the choice between “be killed” or “say we were right and you were wrong.” He correctly evaluated the situation – it was a matter of control and not a matter of looking for the truth so he publically stated he changed his mind. ( ref: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/galileoaccount.html ).
Joseph Juran an author and quality expert shared the story of Ignaz Semmelweis a Hungarian physician. Ignaz discovered back in 1847 that if doctors and mid-wives would wash there hands before delivering babies, the death rate of the mothers could be significantly reduced. Even though he had the research and data to support his claims, it was not accepted back then. It would be a few more years before “germs” would be discovered and documented. One of the classic rebuttals at the time to washing hands between deliveries went something like, “Even if the claims were correct, it would take too much time to wash our hands between patients.” [ref: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blantisceptics.htm ]
And I love the illustration of the man who built a table top and put a level across it to ensure it was flat. He found that even pushing down hard on the level to try and make it touch all the way across did not change how the table really was.
Hopefully as we review the data already available and that which will be discovered in the future we will be able to discover how things likely occurred or in some cases several likely alternatives of how it may have happened. I look forward to what else is uncovered and to hopefully be able to accept change when it is supported by documentation. But I want to hold the new understanding loosely to allow room for future discoveries. .
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I think it is not unusual to find Henry saying one thing to the media and then doing something else. That's more expected in fact. Henry (or perhaps one of his advisors) knew how to play the press for maximum coverage.
It is free advertising any time Henry got the media to print a story extolling the virtues of one of his cars, particularly when there were lots of unsold Model K's sitting around.
Always a pleasure to hear from you regarding our Fords.
Yes, evidently Buick was also "making hay" (agrarian term for making use of) off all those "unsold Model K's sitting around.'
Immediately after the race, in the Monday paper that reported the race results, the local Buick agent ran this ad:
The highlighted portion reads "The Buick runabout in these races defeated a six cylinder Ford, an Oldsmobile and a Stanley steamer."
Apparently a victory over a tired old Ford six cylinder was still important enough to build advertising around. Never mind that the Buick runabout did not "beat" the Ford six in a head to head event.
I wasn't going to go into this here, but, what the heck......
The "race card":
And the results:
In event number 3, the "free for all" (two miles, for touring cars costing less than $3000), Kulick and the Ford Six beat a Buick, along with the other entrants. This was a "head to head", non handicap race.
In event Number 6, a Novelty Race, the Ford six was entered, however did not finish in the top two, if it ran.
In event Number 7, a handicap race, the cars were handicapped according to their finish in the main events. This is probably where (in my opinion) Buick is able to claim a "win" over the Model K. Kipplinger drives his Buick (listed in event Number 1 as a runabout costing less than $1200) to a "handicapped" win. Never mind that it wasn't "head to head" competition.
So there we have it, one more win for the "unsold" Model K
And after Ford Motor Company is officially "out of racing".
Rob, you are just proving what Henry said, "History is bunk."
Thanks, I have to agree in some regards. It seems there are no "definite s" when it comes to early Ford history.
I also hope I'm proving, "don't believe everything history tells us," just because it's repeated often.
Once you've exhausted all resources, you'll have to write a book, "The Sixy Ford," or, "Henry Ford History is Bunk."
This last finding is a clincher that the historians and first person memories were wrong.
By '08 wasn't Louis Chevrolet racing Buick's for William Durant? I read where Durant hired L.C. as his chauffeur, probably to provide him with a salary, but his job was racing. (spell check kicked out both Buick & Chev.)!
Any idea who the "Olds" was driving the Buick?
Can it be?
RF Olds was unlikey to be closely related to Ransom Eli Olds, who by then had lost Oldsmobile and was building REOs.
My great grandmother, Sarah Ann Olds Johnson was by family legend related to Ransom, and some of the family visited Ransom in Detroit, but I have not been able to make the genealogical connection.
It is R. E. Olds:
Not sure that it is/was really accepted that Ford did not race after 1907. The New York to Seattle race in 1909, with 2 Fords entered, might be the more obvious example.
Harlow, the owner of the Buick (and owner of the Buick dealership that placed the ad above) may be a REO dealer too, or a friend of Olds?
Geneva, Ohio was the birthplace for Ransom Olds. Maybe they have some family history in there archives. If I get a chance someday I'll take a picture of the large historical marker in Geneva that announces the city as his birth place. I only live 15 miles from there.
I think the following (from MyAutoWorld) morphed into the theme that Ford no longer participated in racing of any kind. While the Ocean to Ocean race was an endurance contest, I think it was also Ford's entry back to full time racing, culminating in the Ford special successes of 1911 and 1912.
"Kulick crashed the Model K race car at the Detroit Fairgrounds in Oct., 1907, and broke his leg in several places. Ford scrapped the Model K racer and declared a moratorium on building race cars that lasted until 1910. His decision to resume probably was influenced by the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909."
From "Ford Racing Century: A Photographic History of Ford Motorsports"
However, we now know Ford Motor Company and Kulick were preparing the six cylinder racer for the Savannah races scheduled for November, 1908:
The same day, another D.C. paper identifies the racer as the six cylinder:
Personally, I wish Frank Kulick and the six cylinder racer had made the race. It would have gone a long way toward dispelling any notion that HF "disliked" the six cylinder Model K, as the Model T was in full production by the time this race occurs.
But, it was not to be........
Thanks, Dennis. I recently looked him up on a genealogy site. Sarah Ann was born just across the lake in Ontario.
It's hard to believe Ransom Olds would be racing a Buick, whatever the connection. He had been building REOs ever since being squeezed out of Oldsmobile in about 1905. Oldsmobile directors abandoned the highly successful Curved Dash Olds in favor of really big, expensive cars like this 1911:
I don't see the problem, Ford had more than one Model K racer it seems. Although in fact it says the car owner is "Kulick."
Regarding Buick advertising it is no more false than much of Ford's advertising. They (Ford and Buick) were not worried about the facts, they were worried about selling cars! Remember in those days you could say anything and it wouldn't be caught on video.
Royce, are you secretly a Buick guy?