Many of you have followed the "saga" of the Model K. About a week ago, many of us arrived at a consensus that:
1. The Model K has been referred to by historians as a car that Ford Motor Company did not make money on. We've "debunked" that point with financial records showing the Model K was Ford Motor Company's primary net revenue producer in 1906. In 1907 the Model K sold in large numbers, and again provided a significant amount of net revenue for the company
2. The Model K wasn't a good/quality automobile. Again, we've shown that the Model K was well respected in automotive circles of the day. The "K" is the only alphabet Ford to hold a world record (24 hour endurance race). We also found a contest held by "Motor Magazine" in which the "K" was the fifth most selected automobile (of over one hundred makes receiving votes, from over 6500 readers).
3. However, we had not found concrete evidence of what Henry Ford thought of the car. Did he hate, or dislike the car? Was he forced by other Ford Motor Company investors to design and build the six cylinder, or "K" against his wishes?
One more piece of evidence regarding this last "question" surfaced yesterday. The following June 26th 1906 "Boston Daily Globe" article quotes Henry Ford extensively, discussing his reasons for designing a six cylinder motor and racer. Excerpts follow. If you'd like to see the entire article, click on the Dropbox link below and open.
Portions of the article:
Title - "Henry Ford on Weight of Racing Cars,
Tells What Led Up to His Trials of Six-Cylinder Motors".
Henry Ford of Detroit has some pronounced views on the racing game, having participated in many events in this country. A few days ago in discussing motors in general, he said among other things:
"A fact of vital interest to the automobile is the conversion of designers of high powered racing cars to the six-cylinder type. That weight is the one consideration with the designers of high powered racing cars to the six-cylinder type..............
(last paragraph of the article)
........... "It was in trying to solve this problem of weight for racing that I first built a six-cylinder car. The same advantages that this type of motor has in the speed car are equally desirable in a touring car and the ability of the six to control down to very slow speeds strongly appeals to the many motorists."
Sent from my iPad
Again, interesting even the fifth time around Rob. Thanks for posting that.
Either way you interpret the story Henry Ford quit building six cylinder Fords in 1909. He didn't authorize another six cylinder Ford to be built during his tenure as head of the company. Edsel and Harry Bennett took charge and soon thereafter the company built another six cylinder Ford engine.
I think it speaks volumes when a person does something. Saying one thing and doing another speaks volumes about how Henry viewed the newspapers.
No Royce, this is something new. As a well known early Ford authority told me via email last evening:
"Great find! This is the first time we can quote Mr. Ford as having the influence over the design of the K."
For some reason, you seem to be of the opinion that anything Henry Ford was quoted saying that supports this theory is a "bald faced lie."
Now, I'm off to watch our girls run in a cross country meet. For anyone reading this, my hope is it provides some thought provoking consideration about Henry Ford and the pre T years. I personally find it remarkable that the company he founded hit so many "home runs" right up until he hit the "Grand Slam" of them all, the Model T
Thanks for the new information ! Appreciated.
Rob,and Bob,would you guys support changing the name of forum to the MKFCA? Enough already! Most of us don't care.
I think information provided by Rob, or anyone else for that matter, on the Model K or A, B, C, F, N R S, is important. After all: without those, the car we have this forum for would not exist...
I enjoy the coming-to-light of the history of the development and success of the Model K. Up to now, I'd thought it was a loser and a thorn in Henry's side; it wasn't. I'm looking forward to seeing one someday as I don't believe I have before, unless there's one in the Reno museum that I overlooked.
From the reading I've done by authors who spent several years researching their material (Horowitz and Collier, "The Fords", and Lacy, "Ford, The Men And The Machine") I believe that there were only three people Henry respected. Not necessarily in order chronologically or in significance, but the first was James Couzens. Henry understood that Couzens' business acumen exceeded his own.
The second was Clara; her influence led to the UAW's being recognized by Henry.
The third of course was Eleanor Clay Ford, Edsel's widow. Holding 40.5% of FMC's common stock, Eleanor told Henry that Henry II was going to be president of FMC, and I believe she set a date within three to six weeks of telling her father-in-law so. She made it clear that if this didn't happen, that she would sell her stock and that Henry would have stockholders once again.
Edsel, for all his contributions to FMC and to Detroit, simply never stood up to his father and told him to either let him (Edsel) do his job as FMC's president, or to STFU. I do believe that Edsel loved his father, and vice-versa, but old Henry appeared to be some sort of control freak; however, he did pay for it at Edsel's death. Put best by Lacy,
"Edsel had been born to the cough of one of his father's engines. As a child, he'd ridden in cars with his father. As an adult, he kept a steadying hand on FMC while his father lurched from one scheme to another. After his (Edsel's) death, Henry experienced pure guilt, realizing that the only thing he had ever loved as much as his son was his company, and now that was all he had."
Bennett deserves little space as a leader of anything or anyone. His methods of motivation have been tried for six thousand years with no lasting results. No one ever took charge of FMC itself or anything in it without Henry's approval and encouragement. FMC while Henry was there was a cotton plantation which means there was one boss, and zero committees.
I know little about the development of Ford's six cylinder engines; I saw one once in a '49 F2 pickup truck.
The Model K was obviously a pillar and building block in the company. Without researching specific dates, I believe that the progress of the Selden patent suit would've somewhat influenced what cars to build and what direction to take the company.
The Model K was apparently good for FMC and I am glad to learn about it.
I wish Rob would buy a 1905 Model F,then we would hear all about them.
Speak for yourself jack! Bud.
I'm not against the K car or the history. It just seems like we are constantly bombarded with his posts and his trying to justify the significance of the K car. Most of the posts turn into a P&M session,and I don't want to hear any more .
The Model K, according to this newly released (discovered?) information is significant because it helped provide the money for developing the Model T.
The solution is really quite simple..... Don't read the post that don't interest you.
As owner of two early Model T Fords (1909 and 1912 tourings), I sincerely appreciate the historical research that Rob undertakes. It is not easy to sift through reams of old documents to glean perspectives on events of over 100 years ago. The Model K is an incredible car and our Model Ts benefited from its legacy and contribution to Ford. Good job, Rob. Keep the posts coming...
I for one find Robs posts interesting. I am fascinated by the Ford Motor Company's beginnings, and extend thanks to Rob for his research and interest.
If you don't like these threads, don't read them. I, for one, enjoy them very much. I personally consider them to be very much on topic as all the pre-Ts contributed heavily to the development of the model T. I would like to hear more about the other cars also. The occasional other threads about non-Fords of the era also relate to the history and times that made the model T. They really should be identified as OT along with steam locomotives, music, movies, and Victrolas. I suppose Rob and others should note OT for the pre-Ts also. Just so as not to stir the pot.
We will probably never know what Henry really though about the model K during the years it was being developed and manufactured. It may be as Royce says, pure salesmanship at the time. I don't know. I know Henry was working toward another goal. I am sure Henry knew that. I suspect that once that goal was reached, about six to eight years later, Henry was ready to move on away from the K forever. However I can only suspect, that he may have liked the K well enough during its time. I guess I will have to ask him if I get a chance to.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Why don't you ask Royce to butt out of all the Model K posts and then there won't be any more pissing and moaning.
I enjoy all the information that Rob is providing. Makes you wonder if he ever works or sees his family except for their sporting events.
Keep up the good work Rob. It makes for enjoyable reading. p.s. What more can you tell us about the Model N?
Dave,I have no association with Royce,except we are friendly when we see each other. I don't speak for him nor does he speak for me. He is a big boy and can take care of himself.
your up late. I'm just back and turning in from girls event. More tomorrow (I'm sure )
Dave, late for you too. Let's just sleep on it,
I, for one, care about this subject and find it very interesting. I am sure that many folks here care also, probably most do. I also don't consider the K to be off topic. I also think people should ignore rather than discourage posts they are not interested in.
OK, we're getting a little "far adrift" here (and I can't sleep)
Thank you to those who enjoy the information I'm posting. To those who don't, please observe the "OT" sign I place before every non purely Model T post.
Now, the whole point of this thread was to show "new" evidence where Henry Ford is explaining to a reporter "why a six cylinder engine". I have genuinely wondered, when did Henry Ford decide upon a six cylinder engine? We know the six cylinder racer is ready by late winter 1904 and scheduled for the January 1905 Ormond (Daytona) Beach races.
Prior to this, Henry Ford captured the World's Fastest Mile record with his Arrow/999 racer in January 1904. Then, Frank Kulick drives Ford's 20 hp racer "Baby" to a world record in the fall of 1904. This is all pretty significant. Two world records, with two different racers, in the same year!
This is a man who understands speed. So, when, why, and how did he create a world class six cylinder racer during this time, and have it ready to race by early 1905?
This article goes a ways toward explaining his thought process (if anyone read the entire thing, and I'm posting it, in case you did not, yet are inclined to comment about this thread).
Other things to be aware of while "digesting" this. Ford Motor Company, for Fiscal Year 1905 reported spending over $14,000 on "racing". This is more than they spent on Officer Salaries, or Employee Salaries for FY 1905. These aren't production automobile expenses, but Henry Ford's passion for racing expenses. I have to believe these expenses were directly responsible for the development of the Ford six cylinder engine. And only Henry Ford runs the racing program.
From FY 1905 Audit:
Now, the entire interview, as reported on June 24th, 1906 by the Boston Globe. Take a few minutes and read this. Henry Ford is explaining why a six cylinder engine is the best choice for high power racing, and therefore large touring cars. This isn't "press speak", this is a young engineer and speed enthusiast, explaining his decision to go down the path to a six cylinder engine. Where else are we able to read an interview with Henry Ford conducted at the time he built and raced the now controversial six cylinder engine and car?
Henry Ford on Weight of Racing Cars,
Tells What Led Up to His Trials of Six-Cylinder Motors.
Henry Ford of Detroit has some pronounced views on the racing game, having participated in many events in this country. A few days ago in discussing motors in general, he said among other things:
"A fact of vital interest to the automobile is the conversion of designers of high powered racing cars to the six-cylinder type. That weight is the one consideration with the designer of the speed monsters is shown by the fact that a very large percentage of cars specially made for competition in the two world-events, the Gordon Bennett races of former years-displaced by the French Grand Prix-and the Vanderbilt cup contests, have been barred from competition at the last moment because of overweight.
"In the early days of automobile contests, when 40-horse power was considered the limit of possibility in a racing car, an arbitrary rule was formulated and agreed upon by the various national automobile associations, which sets the heavy car limit at 2204 pounds. Despite changes in conditions, this rule, for some reason, still holds, and is the one point on which the designer's mind is fixed in designing his racer.
"Every part, other than the motor, has been reduced to the last degree of safety - sometimes beyond that point. Motor powers have been increased until the limit of the four-cylinder has been reached. There remained but one detail that could safely be reduced in weight-the flywheel. This mass of cast iron is not a power producer, its only mission is to maintain the crank shaft momentum between impulses. It's great weight exerts the most severe strains on the shaft and , suspended as it is, midway between the wheels, it makes heavier frames necessary than would otherwise be the case.
"The terrific gyroscopic forces set up by the mass revolving speeds of 160 to 2000 revolutions per minute become serous problems in these high-speed machines, affecting as they do the steering and traction qualities of the car to a degree little appreciated by the average motorist. Many skidding and "loss of control" accidents are directly due to this gyroscopic element.
"One solution of the problem lay in the adoption of the six-cylinder motor. In this motor, with cranks set at thirds of a circle - 120" - the impulses actually overlap; there is no dead center; no loss of momentum between explosions; and it needs therefore less than half the fly-wheel weight that four cylinders of the same dimensions would require. By reducing the weight of the revolving metal member, the frame might be lightened-but this is not a serous item.
"The main point is that two more cylinders of the same dimensions as the original four may now be added without increasing the total weight of the car-reduction in the fly wheel exactly compensating for it. We then have a more even distribution of weight between the front and rear axles, better steering qualities, have eliminated a large percentage of the gyroscopic trouble and added 50 percent to the power. a concrete example of this is the latest Mercedes racer. The six cylinders of this machine are rated at 145 h.p. as against the 90 h.p. rating of former four-cylinder cars of the same cylinder dimensions, and the same weight-220 pounds.
"It was in trying to solve this problem of weight for racing that I first built a six-cylinder car. The same advantages that this type of motor has in the speed car are equally desirable in a touring car and the ability of the six to control down to very slow speeds strongly appeals to the many motorists."
Obviously this explains why Ford never built another six cylinder touring car or any later six cylinder racing cars.
Rob, Henry Ford didn't tend to speak in the way this article is written. This appears to be a well written press release. Or perhaps the writer condensed several of Henry's statements into what he considered to be a better "read". Henry didn't use compound sentence structures. If Henry was being quoted directly it would not be anything like this article.
Royce,, now your going to tell us how Henry Ford spoke in the first person!
I thought this a remarkable find. Upon finding it, I sent a copy to several early Ford friends and enthusiasts. While I wasn't going to necessarily going to offer it, I asked Trent Boggess, a well known and respected early Ford researcher, if I might post his response to the same article you suggest is "unauthentic". He told me to use his response and identify him as the author:
Seems he didn't have the same concerns over "compound sentences" that you do.
Other than the obvious flow of cash from model k sales, what else from the model k filtered down into the model t design and build.
The differential of the T is more like the K (pinion carrier). the Model K is the first Ford to have a magneto, of course the touring body is a similar, smaller version.
Interestingly, things the Model K had that neither the NRS or T (initially) had, a larger brake drum than low and reverse, and lined service brake shoes.
The Model K has more similarities to the Models NRS than to the T. The major differences mentioned above, and semi elliptical front springs are about the only differences with NRS cars.
I suspect others will have some additional thoughts,
All this makes me wonder if there is any info in the Dodge Brothers archives if such exist?? After all the Dodge Brothers built the running chassis and often there are changes between the builder,the assemblyer,the sales force! Joe Galamb might have drawn a print that said + .005 - .005 and the production mgr might have said (Did they get all their shots when they were little)??Bud.
I agree, Dodge Bros. documents would be really helpful. The Ford Mo Co board meeting minutes address some of this information, but Dodge records might go a long way toward "filling in the blanks." Do you, or anyone, know if early Dodge records are available somewhere?
Also, I found a record that John Dodge's "special" Model K, valued at $5000 was stolen in Detroit. Maybe there are photos in Dodge archives that would show this vehicle (if archives for DB still exist)
The first straight eight was developed in 1919 and successfully used in 1920. Only 13-14 years after the Model K. I wonder if Henry ever looked at a straight eight or if he was already set on the Model T and did not want to discuss anything else. I am sure Edsel looked into production of an eight.
Did anyone try to put together two Model T engines back in the day?
I know there are Model T speedsters today with combined four cylinder engines. I believe they were also put together "in the day" for speedster/racers.
I know there were already straight eight racers at the time of the Model K, however I don't know if any made it into a production automobile. The European's were using six cylinder engines a few years prior to U.S. makers, and had a few eight cylinder racers. I'll try to find a few examples.
And this Straight eight racer appeared with the Ford six cylinder racer in 1906 (i believe, at Ormond Beach). I don't recall the make.
Rob has a Model N (4 cyl)
Rob has a Model T (4 cyl)
Rob has a Model K (6 cyl)
Rob does not have a Speedster. Rob does not have an 8 cyl racer. Hmmmmmmm
Dave,What have you started?? Bud.
I like the way you think.
Of course my wife, different story.
Rob -- Just buy Holly a new '14 Vette. That should keep her happy through a couple more early Ford acquisitions.
They made Vette's in 1914?
You mention that John Dodge's Model K was stolen in Detroit. Do you think that the competition may have "found" it to do reverse engineering?
I'd really like to see a photo or read about this car. The Dodge Brothers had a reputation, and if this "special six cylinder Ford" is really worth $5000 I'd like to see what John has done to it.
Also, this is less than a month before the switch to Model T sales.
Does anyone have any information about Henry Ford and his relationship with car vases? Did he every sell them as accessories?
To your question on the 14 vettes, yes they will make them in 14-2014 that is. and Holly would be proud to get one from you. GRIN.
Keep up the good work.
I don't know if Holly likes blue or red.
The red one would look better at a husker's game!
I'm thinking more like an 07 Ford sports job for her:
The "original" Thunderbird:
I can just see her cruising Main Street Milford in that, goggles on, and long white scarf trailing in the breeze. You should get a pic of her seated, and have somebody photoshop her into this one.
Something like this?
I could be in soooooo much trouble