Initially I was going to 'tag" this onto the thread showing a Model S Runabout, but thought I'd better not "high jack" the thread. For Hap and anyone else interested:
I've heard that the first Model N wasn't running by the early 1906 autoshows, and that the N shown by Ford didn't even have an engine in it, just the car with hood on were shown. Below is an article from "Automobile" magazine, with pictures, reporting on the Ford display. The second page also shows a second Modell N, giving demonstrations outside the Armory where the show was held.
Courtesy of the AACA library (things to do at Hershey when it's raining )
I had to chop up the article to fit everything. The first photo was on page 294, "Automobile", Jan 25 1906, along with the top half of the story that follows. The second photo and bottom half of the story are on page 295.
Some interesting features of this N (the "prototype") include the four wires all passing through the firewall then bundled going down to the timer. "Eye shade" Gray and Davis headlamps (same as were on our N #3 car). Narrow non tapered manifold. The wheels are non clinchers rims (our N has the same style wheels, with the holes filled and clincher rims added). There is no radiator hose connecting the engine to the radiator. Maybe this led to the theory that the Model N wasn't running by the show. However, the photo below this shows the "demonstrator" N outside the show.
The pages should be listed as #194 and 195 (not 294 and 295). Another photo of the N inside the show:
Thanks, Rob. Looks like the Northern was ahead of the T in a single casting block. Was it the one piece head that made the T unique?
It says the N had a regular Splitdorf coil on the dash. They must have meant box for 4 coils, right? Could you explain more about its ignition?
We, in Model T circles, refer to the "coil" as one of the four units inside the "coil box". I've heard collectors of other early cars refer to the whole assembly as a coil.
In the version that I have seen of your first photo, it does not appear that the spark plugs have any wires going to them. Your photo seems to show plug wires.
The engine looks exactly like the N prototype engine, now on display at the Piquette Plant in Detroit. Notice there is also no breather tube at the right side rear of the engine, just as with the prototype engine. The other version of this photo, which is taken at a different angle, also shows the unique transmission frame and mounting ears of the prototype. Since the engine shown in the 1906 display clearly did not, or could not, run, due to the missing radiator hose and, at least in one photo, missing plug wires, it has made me wonder if the mocked-up, non-running prototype engine at Piquette was the one installed in the car at that Jan. 1906 show.
Obviously, the argument against that thinking is that plug wires & a radiator hose could easily have been added and the car later demonstrated, as the your second photo suggests. Although, the "demonstration" photo is of an apparently parked, i.e. not in motion, car. So, did it really run at any point during the 1906 show?
Let's call the car inside the show car#1 and the outdoor car #2. #1 and #2 appear to have the horn positioned differently.
Also, car #1 seems to have a problem with the crank holder (crank won't stay upright). One pic shows the crank held up with two strings/ropes, the other pic shows the same display car with the crank down.
Car #2 doesn't seem to have that problem. Maybe #1 is just a mockup, and the crank pin isn't in.
The outdoor car (#2):
I do have a letter from a prospective buyer at the Boston Auto Show who took a ride in both the Model N and Model K demonstrator (he was writing Henry Ford complaining about the Model N ride). However, that was in March, so not an indicator that a demonstrator was running at the New York show (although that's my guess).
I just noticed this, the tires may be different styles too. You can se the retaining bolts on the outdoor car, and it doesn't look like the indoor car has the same style tire/rim?
According to Joe Galamb’s interview with Owen Bombard on 30 January 1952, page 12, they were still making changes, and detailing drawings in early 1906. This makes me think that production had not started yet, and the “N” in the show was a prototype. ( Joe did not start at Ford until 11 December 1905. )
I agree, these were probably unique hand built prototypes. However, I doubt the car pictured outside is the same as the one in the show (I'm certain of that). We also know as of the Boston show in a march Ford was giving demonstrations with both a Model N and K, in addition to the Ford cars on display in the show.
Correspondence between Henry Ford, a prospective buyer who rode in both the N and K at the show, along with a letter from Frank Kulick to Henry Ford commenting on the Model K following his demonstrating the car, March, 1906.
As it turns out, the driver of the Model N demonstrator at the show later is driving a Model K and is involved in an accident, killing two passengers. That driver, Louis Block, later becomes a Ford Branch Manager. Quite a lengthy read:
Interesting pictures. One shows the unusual way of using the top noted on earlier period photos, not down and yet not fully up.
Here are three pictures of the Model N engine at Piquette:
Inlet Side, note lack of a serial number boss and serial number. Also, no part number for N-402.
Flywheel end, notice there is no gear to power the water pump.
Transmission side view. Notice the transmission frame is different than production and that the underside is almost completely enclosed.
Thanks Tom, great pics. Lots of differences compared with the later "production" engines. What a great piece of history!
I just noticed, was the timer originally in the front of the engine?
The timer is in the back.
Thanks. I didn't think that transmission frame had room for a timer. It looks tighter than the production N frame.
Here is a view looking from rear to front. The timer is under the cover on the upper left front of the transmission frame.
For reference, here is the production Model N transmission frame showing the timer. This is on the removable head, cylinders cast in one piece, engine at Piquette.
Those were some fat Spark plugs on the 1906 engine pictures. Great article and pictures.
Am I looking at it wrong, or does that mean you have to pull the engine to get at the timer?
Either move the engine forward, or (more often done) disconnect the dif from the chassis and slide it rearward. You need to disconnect the springs, brake rods and tailhead, and slide all this rearward about two inches.
The absolute worst design part of the NRS that I can think of. I was put out of the New London to New Brighton Run four years ago when the roller in the timer came apart (the pin worked loose).
Several aftermarket varieties of front mounted timers were offered for the NRS. These mounted to the front of the camshaft (as they should have in the first place).
Ford fixed that with the Model T. They turned the engine (cylinder block) around so that the timer is on the front right instead of the rear left. Other things changed position because of that.
Yes, a good improvement. Interestingly, the Model K had the timer in front, and it's vertical and easy to service.
Rob & Tom,
On the Piquette prototype engine, I'm thinking that there is no timer in the usual spot as the housing does not appear to allow enough room for one. I'm thinking that a timer must have been mounted directly over the front cam bearing with the rotor held in place by the bolt that shows in Tom's photo. Not a bad design if that's the case!
I must admit, I have never thought about where the timer would go until now! Next time I'm at Piquette I'll take a closer look.
Wow, I just noticed something else I find intriguing. Notice that in the 1906 display car, the center cam bearing retaining bolt is missing. Notice also, the same bolt is missing from the Piquette engine. Makes one wonder....
Hmmmmmmmmm. Wouldn't that be something if it were the same one?
Two pics of our engine before restoration, N #3:
That would be consistent with an un-runnable engine. Where there is a pipe in place of the crankshaft. Ford engineers who've visited say they still get in the position where they have to show something before it is really ready. Then the key is that it look like it could run.
Back in the 1950's when Colin Chapman introduced the prototype Lotus Elite at the 1957 Earls Court Auto Show it had no engine, no gearbox and no drive shaft. Things always take longer than planned as any development engineer can attest, but such minor problems never influence the marketing boys... I am sure the same was true in 1906.