OT - Henry Austin Clark's Model K

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: OT - Henry Austin Clark's Model K
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 01:49 pm:

Bob Gruber suggested I start a new thread about Model K's. So I did! Great idea Bob, Thanks.

Henry Austin Clark was one of the earliest true automotive historians. Heir to a sugar fortune, he grew up with plenty of money and was educated in fine fashion.

"Austie" as he liked people to call him chose as his first car a 1915 Model T touring. Not content on just owning a historic Ford, Austie went to Dearborn and met Henry Ford in person. Would we all like to have a tape recording of that meeting! Sure would.

Henry Austin Clark toured Greenwich Village with Henry Ford, and evidently was so inspired that he started his own auto museum. Like Henry Ford, he had a Model K in the collection. Unlike Ford, Austie regularly drove all the cars in his collection, including the Model K, seen here on tour in New Hampshire.



Henry Austin Clark wrote extensively, publishing books about antique cars as early as the 1950's. He had a column in Old Cars Weekly magazine for decades, and was the editor in chief of Automobile Quarterly for many years. He authored the book "Standard Catalog of American Cars" assisted by the late Beverly Rae Kimes. You can find what Henry wrote about the Model K in all of those places.

I was privileged to hear Austie speak at the Pierce Arrow Society national meet one year. A rather unassuming man, the crowd nonetheless was quite happy to hear his words on Pierce history.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:01 pm:

Oops - wrong K picture above. This is Henry Austin Clark's car:




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:06 pm:

Obviously starting threads requires more attention to detail, my spell check changed Greenfield Village to Greenwich Village......Doh!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Timothy Kelly on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:27 pm:

I believe that the 640 K Roadster first pictured above was owned and being driven by Elmer Bemis of Vermont.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Darel J. Leipold on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:28 pm:

It would be interesting to compile a list of known Model Ks with body style, condition, serial number and known history. Known separate engines could also be listed. If other parts were ever listed, my one hub cap could be on the list.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:37 pm:

Yes, hard to begin threads. Much easier to sit back and sabotage them.

So what will you tell us about the Model K, being a self proclaimed expert? Or are you just going to mislabel old photographs?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:45 pm:

Rob,

I am not an expert on Model K's. I've never claimed that.

Anyone know who owns HAC's K touring today? His Long Island Automotive Museum is sadly defunct.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:51 pm:

As A kid in the 50/60's living on Long Island I got to visit Henry Austin Clark's auto museum in Southhampton regularly. "Austie" often gave personal tours of the entire museum and shared with visitors where he found a particular car and what went into restoring it. His collection of early high end brass era cars was really fabulous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo6jh1T6nBo


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 02:51 pm:

"Bob Gruber suggested I start a new thread about Model K's. So I did! Great idea Bob, Thanks. "

That's a reason to start a post? What a "flip" way to flaunt your arrogance. Just what do you intend to demonstrate with this thread? It's just a petty "in your face" opportunity. I don't get it. Many times you offer sound Model T advice. However, many times, you attack others with different opinions than yours. Absolutely pointless.

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 03:47 pm:

Rob,from where I'm setting,you need a new hobby. This Model K is starting to smell like three day old fish..


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 03:50 pm:

Jack & all :

Rob has done bonafide research at his own expense to bring the Model K information to our learning experience.

The other poster has just exhausted his own opinions.

Bob Jablonski


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Daron - Brownsburg IN on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 03:57 pm:

Bob,all of this K stuff belongs somewhere else.I paid my dues to the MTFCA club.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Trent Boggess on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 04:03 pm:

Henry Austin Clark, Jr. Spent many years collecting cars, automotive literature, and photographs. Before his death, HAC, Jr. Donated his entire collection of literature and photographs to the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford.

I am familiar with this collection because I have assisted the staff in the processing of parts of this collection. During my last sabbatical 8 years ago I was assigned to begin building a database of HAC, Jr.'s photographic collection. I scratched the surface during the 6 months I worked on it.

THF also received a great many documents related to the Long Island Auto Museum and the Carnival of Cars HAC, Jr. opened up in New York City. He kept a good filing in system on the cars that he owned after WW2. It is really remarkable how many cars he recovered from barns, warehouses, and old garages.

I do not know the fate of the K, although I am sure that the records at THF would say when it was sold and to whom it was sold 3 or 4 decades ago. One of HAC's cars that has always fascinated me was his 1907 Model N. This car was purchased new from Ford by two brothers who owned a hardware store. They put it in a barn and never sold it. HAC Jr learned about its existence in 1948 and bought for for the LIAM. Years later when the LlAM was being sold off, it was sold as well. It traded hands several times over the years until the late 80's or early 90's when it was sold to THF. This is the Model N that is currently on display in the Museum. It is still essentially a new Model N.

HAC jr's 1915 touring became a 1915 Model T roadster. He must have found a roadster body somewhere. It was reprinted fire engine red, and it it became the Sandy Hook Fire Chief's car. HAC Jr also had several other fire trucks in his Sandy Hook Fire Department. It was probably one of his favorite cars.

Respectfully Submitted,

Trent Boggess


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 04:17 pm:

Jack,

I agree, retaliating hasn't helped anything, and it's not where I need to be. As for Model K (and the other early Ford information I and others post), my threads always begin with OT (Off Topic) and are Ford related. I begin threads this way so someone such as yourself is not inconvenienced opening a thread that isn't 100 % Model T related. I don't recall reading of your indignation when the OT threads have been the political or other absolutely non Ford non old car hobby variety.

I also pay my dues, and look at pre T Fords in a similar vein to Model Ts. I enjoy the camaraderie with many MTFCA members, and the fact so many Model T enthusiasts share an appreciation and interest in Ford before the Model T too. I apologize if that offends, and hope you accept my apology,

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 04:33 pm:

I also pay my dues, and contribute to the Museum.

If is wasn't for the early Ford models, stepping stones if you will accept, our Model T's may not have turned out to be what they were, and are, in history.

Hearsay from "first hand accounts", artists renditions, fables, yellow journalism are part of the past, accepted today as truth ????

Hopefully most of us accept Henry Ford's self promotion tactics, if he was truthful or not....... the rascal as he was in life, business & personal.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 05:06 pm:

Austie knew Henry Ford and met with him personally so his accounts hold a lot of authority, combined with his decades of research, and ownership of not just a Model K, but many of the Model K's contemporaries. His work in Automobile Quarterly is in general very factual, and authoritative.

Why is it when I post a thread about Model K's there is outright attack from Rob? Come on Rob, anyone can post their opinion here. I welcome your comments - try to remain civil, OK?

Mr Jablonski has zero to add as usual, but again Bob, you are welcome to add your zeros too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 05:27 pm:

When I stopped in Lynchburg VA on my way south for the winter this year my wife and I were walking downtown and found a storefront filled with brass era and later cars including what looked like 2 Model K Fords. There was a sign saying it was a private collection and not open for the public and the cars were difficult to see very clearly. The most interesting part is that the two Model K's appeared to either be originals or very old restorations. I was just passing through but would love to know if anyone knows more about the collection I ran across.
As far as HAC Jr. Is concerned, he was an amazing guy and loads of fun. Even after the museum closed and the cars had been auctioned off Austie would open up the museum on a Saturday for the members of the Long Island Old Car Club to rummage through all of the out buildings for parts. I have been keeping my seven Model T's running with those parts for the past 25 years. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has contributed more to the antique car hobby than Henry Austin Clark, Jr.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 05:38 pm:

When i was a kid my only acess to old car's was a few books from the liebary.Tin Lizzie by Stern was my favorite and it said Henry Ford hated the model K and at 2800 the company lost money on it. 50 plus years later along comes Rob with his facts and spread sheets that shows Ford made alot of it's early earnings from the Model K!! Also much about Ford raceing 6 cyl/K and was Henry Not happy with the K after it helped build The Ford Motor Company?? He seemed ok at the time? I'm very thankfull for Rob's work and glad to learn even if it took me 50 years! The old saying [You can lead a horse to water,but you can't make him drink] should say both end's of the horse! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jay - In Northern California on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 06:10 pm:

Trent, Thanks for the info on HAC jr.

I've had this Sandy Hook Fire Dept. car badge for a while now. It's a memento of all the great times I had visiting the museum and speaking with Henry Austin Clarke Jr.



http://www.vanderbiltcupraces.com/index.php/blog/article/thursday_july_22_2010_austin_clark_jrs_sandy_hollow_fire_department


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Trent Boggess on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 07:26 pm:

Jay,

Thanks for the correction. It was Sandy Hollow, not Sandy Hook as I mistakenly wrote.

HAC Jr was fascinated by the Vanerbilt Cup Races. He had managed to acquire professionally created photo albums of the early races. The photos were great.

HAC Jr. Also did his best to acquire Old 16, but Peter Helleck wasn't selling. He also was a fan of Joe Tracy, and had some of his things, including a photo of Joe's headstone, which had Old 16 engraved on it. HAC Jr. Also had a number of Peter Helleck paintings reproduced. Many of the left over reprints went to The Benson Ford along with the books, magazines, and photo graphs. On the Saturday of Old Car Festival there is a surplus literature sale in the Benson Ford conference room. The Research Center has been selling off the surplus reprints for several years now. The proceeds go into the Collections Fund, and the funds are used to acquire additional holdings for the Benson Ford.

Of course Old 16 ended up at THF as well.

Respectfully Submitted,

Trent


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 08:17 pm:

I sure miss Old 16 running in the Village!!!! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Hjortnaes, Men Falls, WI on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 09:02 pm:

Why does Royce have to be such a Royal A$$?

Rob has spent hours researching the Model K and providing all of us with a lot of factual information from the time. All Royce can do is post his negative opinions about anything and everything that Rob has researched.

Then to top it off he has to post about the Model K himself. Since he doesn't own one, it would be better if he just posts about Model T's. I understand that is where his knowledge is better than most.

I guess he wants to be known as the biggest redneck in Texas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry Fowler - Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 09:14 pm:

Dave: I truly hope you are not suggesting baring someone from being able to post unless they own the car about which they are posting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Hjortnaes, Men Falls, WI on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 10:53 pm:

Not in the least Barry.

I know what a gentleman Rob is, and Royce is no gentleman.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 11:49 pm:

Dave, explain how you have contributed here. So far as I can tell you are just a troll.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Saturday, December 07, 2013 - 11:58 pm:

Quite a shame I never got to shake Mr. Clark's hand. My Dad took our family to his museum several times and it was there I first got bit and shook hard by the antique car bug. I was in 2nd grade at that time and the whole world was a wondrous smorgasbord of discovery, so it was very unusual for any single experience to stand out. But the towering brass automobiles, with their hip-high running-boards, hula-hoop-tall wagon wheels, bucket-sized gas headlamps and diamond-tufted seats were ever so much larger than life.

My blind-date/girlfriend/fiancée/wife (all the same lady) and I visited the museum as an annual celebration of spring until it closed its doors for the last time in the mid-1980s. Such a pity. Up to that point, The Long Island Automotive Museum had been one of the indestructible constants in my life, like gravity and sunshine. The loss was personal.

Perhaps someday, when the wild weeds and brush are cleared away in preparation for some new shopping center project, someone will organize and hold an antique car show on that exact piece of land as a tribute to Henry Austin Clark Jr. And wouldn't it be nice if the new tenants would continue that tradition and, once a year, clear a space in the parking lot for a gathering of the old, brass cars?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Hjortnaes, Men Falls, WI on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 12:27 am:

Yup,

That's me.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode Chehalis Washington on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 12:57 am:

Val,
The two Model K Fords in Lynchburg VA are owned by Mark Smith of Midland Motors. More details and some photos of the K's at:
http://www.whhnhh.com/WebStructure/ModelTTrips/MajorTrips/2010BlueRidgeParkway/0 5-23%20-%20Waynesboro,%20VA%20-%20Natural%20Bridges%20and%20Lynchburg,%20VA/05-2 3NaturalBridgesandLynchburg-Waynesboro,VA.htm

Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Timothy Kelly on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:26 am:

I believe that the last time I spoke with Mark Smith he mentioned that the K touring in his collection is the one Austin Clark had in his collection, and depicted above.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By david greenlees on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 08:38 am:

Tim Kelly "I believe that the 640 K Roadster first pictured above was owned and being driven by Elmer Bemis of Vermont".

Tim is correct, the roadster in the the first photo was owned by Elmer Bemis of Brattleboro, Vt and he was a Ford dealer at the time. He ran this roadster in the Anglo-American rallies here and in the UK in the 1950s.

At one point he had two K's and if memory serves me right the other was a touring. In case you are wondering they were all sold decades ago. The only thing that is left is the old dealership building, used for other purposes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 08:43 am:

Thanks for that information. He certainly looks to have a great collection. I knew someone would have some information about his collection.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 08:57 am:

Wow, thanks for posting the link to the Mark Smith collection! Makes me (almost) wish I still lived in Virginia.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures, including pics of the former HAC Model K:

1915 Locomobile (left) and 1919 Pierce Arrow Model 51 Vestibule Coupe. The Model 51 Pierce was new that year, and replaced the 48 HP six. The White House ordered a limousine version for President Wilson. A very significant car as is the Locomobile. I hope no one ever restores these.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 09:18 am:

Street view of Midland Motors - you can see the 40 HP Gentleman's Roadster in the window!


Inside the 1907 Gentleman's Roadster and the former HAC Touring repose in state. What a great building! I hope the cars get to go out and play sometimes.





A very nice 1909 Packard town car sits next to the Model K's. Packard was soundly whipping the Model K in the marketplace of course.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 10:33 am:

Packard sold about 1100 cars in 1907 according the "The Standard Catalog of American Cars" referenced earlier (high water mark of the Ford Model K).

The car was a 30 hp, Model 30 (or Model U). The car had a 122 inch wb, and cost between $4200 and $5600 depending on body style.

Meanwhile, Ford sold three models, K, N and R. The Model K sold 457 car, Model N over 5200, and Model R over 2400. Packard was in the top ten for number of cars made in 1907. One can draw their own conclusions regarding "soundly whipping Model K of course".

Ford total sales - over 8,000
Packard sales - just over 1100

Reference the post above, Packard for 1909 built two models, and is reported (reference listed) to have built about 1500 cars, total (about 700 of the 30 hp "big car" Model 30s). They (Packard) built a "downsized" car, Model 18 (18 hp) and sold for between $2900 and $4300 depending on body style.

Ford built only Model T for 1909, selling many thousand (number varies depending on model year, fiscal year, or calendar year). Ford did not offer the Model K for 1909, however, as with Models N, R and S, had remaining Model Ks that sold in FY 1909 (42).

Packard did not "whip" Ford in any of the above listed years in my opinion. Of course, I'm a Ford enthusiast through and through, and as such biased toward that marquee. Also, having ridden in a beautifully restored 1909 Packard Model 30 two years (New London to New Brighton tour), I would never suggest the Model 30 could stand up to the Model K for speed, comfort and ease of driving, or any other performance measure. Where the this Packard Model 30 (again 1909 model) did "whip" the Model K, was in refinement and appointments. The coachwork was more refined (and heavier) than the Model K and metal work (brass) much more significant. This is in no way meant to downgrade the Model 30, just to contrast the two cars.

Packard, a top fifteen auto manufacturer in each of the above years, sold less than 2000 cars, total (by year). Again, one should draw their own conclusions whether Packard "whipped" Ford and/or Model K.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 11:06 am:

Rob,

I am only comparing the Packard to the product that Packard competed with. The Ford Model K did not produce any credible competition for the Packard 30 in any year. Packard did not produce or compete against the sub $1000 car market.

In 1907 alone Packard produced more of the Model 30 (over 1100 sold) than Ford produced Model K for all years combined. The Packard Model 30 was priced from about $4000 - $5500, with the substantially higher price being justified by the prestige associated with the Packard brand.

The reason Ford dropped production of the Model K or any thing resembling it after 1907 was because there was so much competition in the over $1000 car market, dominated by the big names such as Packard and Pierce. Ford simply couldn't compete with so many manufacturers selling to a limited number of affluent customers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 03:10 pm:

I'm not biting on the bait.

Your right, have a good day,

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 06:18 pm:

They still build Packards right? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:02 pm:

Bud,

Exactly right.

If Ford had continued to build only upmarket cars like the Model K as Malcomson and his group wanted there would be no Ford Motor Company today. Ford would have suffered the same fate as Packard, Pierce, and a thousand other car companies who did not know what Henry Ford knew.

Malcomson and his pals did what they thought was right, building the Aerocar - look how that ended. Henry Ford started the Ford Manufacturing Company to build Model N chassis, cutting Malcomson out of the profits and forcing him to cede his shares.

I have to give credit to the Dodge Brothers for investing in Ford Manufacturing. They knew Henry was right, yet they stood to profit from Malcomson if he had won the battle to control Ford Motor Comapny.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:10 pm:

One point that is very clear (if maybe only to me) is of everything Ford built, the K didn't match the business plan of lesser cars. Once the K was dropped Ford stayed on point building for market segment that rewarded him. The N, R, S, and T all fit within Fords vision of building a car that was within reach of the common man. He was rewarded for sticking with this business model. Had Ford put more effort into the K there may not be a model T forum.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:20 pm:

A few historical points.

Henry Ford built his first six cylinder engine in late 1904, to be used on his racer, choosing it over his world record breaking four cylinder racer, 999 (Arrow).

Malcomson started Aerocar in December 1909. The first Aerocar was a 24 horsepower touring. It was on the market by April 1906. Alexander Malcomson was no longer involved with Ford Motor Company in any meaningful manner once he became a competitor in December 1905. In fact, the Ford Motor Company Board of Directors sent a letter to A. Y. Malcomson and placed that letter in the minutes demanding his resignation as an officer from the board. I can produce that dated letter if anyone would like to see it.

The first Model Ks were not ready for sale until April 1906, the same time Alexander Malcomson's four cylinder air cooled car came on the market. Very different cars, with very different engineering. The only similarity was, both were mid priced cars (the median automobile price was $2700).

These are facts, not subject to opinion or revision, just events as they occurred.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:28 pm:

Gary,

I believe Henry Ford also believed Ford Mo. Co. had to have a touring car, not just a two person runabout. The difficult thing for us to put in perspective was, while the $500 Ford runabout was tremendously inexpensive (the only four cylinder on the market near that price in 1906), the Model K was also relatively inexpensive (the average price for a car in 1907 was $2750). Listed at $2500 in 1906 and $2800 in 1907/08 the Model K, like it's counterpart in the runabout class, was a great value in it's class, a Ford trademark.

My opinions,

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:28 pm:

All very true!! But the spread sheets don't lie and all the money did not come from the NRS Models.They did what they did and if we keep a open mind we may or may not learn?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:37 pm:

All very true!! But the spread sheets don't lie and all the money did not come from the NRS Models.They did what they did and if we keep a open mind we may or may not learn?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen - Nebraska on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 07:41 pm:

Bud,
Looks like we hit the button at the same time, although you hit it twice. :-)
Rob


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