I'm putting together information about the Ford Model B, and had some sales/production things left over. Following are a comparison of several leading mid to expensive cars, and how their sales numbers compared with Ford Models B and K. I thought the numbers were surprising.
The point being, while we, as Model T enthusiasts, consider anything less than a million cars produced per year to be a low number, the reality was that many automakers were "aggressive" if they sold 100 to 400 machines. In this light, the success of Ford's two "big" cars is much more significant.
I hope you enjoy my opinions and research. If you would like me to post the Model B piece I'm working on, please let me know on this thread. If not, that's OK too.
Of course we are interested. The Model B was the first Ford with four cylinders and a driveshaft. I heard someone might be making a new Model B. Any word on that project?
Tom, thanks. I know of a gentleman who put another Model B together, while restoring an original one. I believe he completed it a couple of years ago (unless he has a few "odds and ends" to complete). I believe there are now eight Model B s out there.
Also, some minor corrections to the pages above:
I'm probably like many others on here - watching to see what you discover. At present I am too busy to comment, and it's mostly out of my league anyway, but I'm certainly reading the posts. It is wonderful that you are sharing your findings.
I even enjoy Royce trying to roll you (Royce rolls - ha!) because, if nothing else, there's some vigorous testing of the theories and findings resulting. So it's all very positive and I, like most, look forward to the next instalment.
Good stuff! I sure enjoy following your quest.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I think it shows what we already know - if Ford had continued to build the same number of cars per year as Thomas, Stearns, Aerocar, or Pope Toledo then Ford would have been a company with no internet following today, just like those defunct organizations.
Ford's success was built on building a car no one else did. If Ford had concentrated his efforts on only the high priced market he would have had fifty or one hundred competitors.
The vision Henry had - to build one car that could be afforded by tens of thousands and ultimately millions of consumers - didn't have any need for a Model K or anything similar.
The Model K is of course an interesting, powerful and attractive car that fell in something like 10th place of its price range. Just as we find the Neanderthal an interesting part of human history, the Model K will always be interesting as a sort of dead end for Ford.
As an assembler of cars in 1903, the models were pretty much outdated as soon as they were built. The closest thing to a good car was the N series, but it still had plenty of issues. They went on to make an entirely new car, the model T, and hit it outa the park. Not just with the design, but also the methods of manufacturing them. There is very little in common with the A,B,C,F,K and the model T, but they learned from their products and also learned what didn't work. They so vastly improved the N series ( N,R,S ), in my mind it is the big brother to the T. It doesn't surprise me they tried different things with the N platform, but they are no model T. Just another pre-T. It's almost like they locked themselves in a secret room, paid no attention to what everyone else was building, and started from scratch with what they had learned already......wait, i think i heard something about that already !! IMHO.
Ford immediately "hit home runs". Their cars were light, had good power for their weight, and immediately picked up sales and market share. I do agree that cars were quickly outdated. It appears some car makers would rather build limited numbers that they were confident they would sell in a given marketing year, because I think left over inventory was the "kiss of death" for a manufacturer (due to advances coming so rapidly).
I'm impressed with the fact Ford quickly became one of the top five producers of motorcars almost immediately. And this is at a time when there were over 200 automakers selling cars in the U.S..
As for the Model T, Ford obviously "hit it out of the park". It seems to have been the right car at the right time. I think it's also important to note that Ford already had success, name, and an agent/distribution network (branch houses in several cities). Without all of the pieces of this puzzle, the Model T may have been just another great car for the money that fell by the wayside.
Model T was light and inexpensive. However, many of the principles appeared on early models. The rear end was essentially the same as that used on the Model B and then refined on the Model K. The two speed planetary transmission was used from day one (although enclosing it with the magneto and engine was a new and improved feature). The chassis was similar to the Model N, except now both the front and rear had the half elliptical spring suspension.
I guess I think of the T as an evolution of the Ford models before it, with the most important feature being the one cast block and removable head.
Of course, this is all relatively new to me, so I'm learning as I go.....
All great stuff,
100 plus years ago in a different world i think it was the mag!Bud.
The K had a mag, Bud.
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907. 425 examples were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, with over 19,000 built in all.
It appears that Ransom Olds was too busy building cars to bring out newer, improved models, as Ford did.
The NRS begat a large dealer network, just to sell so many cars at a small profit. The dealers were vital in helping Ford "win" the 1909 race.