February 11, 1906:
I thought this a good time to put this article on the forum. By mid 1906 the automobile media "rumor mill" writes that Ford is considering building a "light touring car". In this article, following the New York auto show, Henry Ford is quoted saying "I will stake my reputation that it will fill the bill." (Model N)
In addition to saying what we all suspected, that Henry Ford's goal is building affordable and reliable automobile for the "common" man, I also like the fact this is during the time both Models K and N are appearing (Ns won't reach the market place until mid July, K sales begin in mid April). At this point in time, Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company are content to offer two different models for two different groups.
And, it does give us an idea of the direction Ford Motor Company is moving (in my opinion),
This is one of your best posts. Glad you found this article. Now you need to start a OT section on the Model N.
Well, this sheds some light on the question I mentioned on another thread about when Henry first made up his mind to build a car for the common man. Now we know it was at least by 1906, and it sounds like he had that as a goal for some time before that.
Mike, it's interesting to attempt to "get inside" Henry Ford's mind, and one of the burning questions I would have were he alive today would be, "when did the idea of a "car for the common man" first come to you?
Since that's not going to happen (and if I ever speak with Henry Ford, I obviously won't be speaking with anyone on earth ), the next best way to determine the "evolution" to the Model T is to examine the info available.
We know Ford Motor Company showed a four cylinder light touring car at two or more auto shows in early 1904. This was a four cylinder, air cooled, side entrance touring with a side shift lever (like Models B, K, N, R and S would have).
This car, a 16 hp touring was shown at the Detroit Auto Show and in Boston (below):
From "The Automobile", covering the Detroit Auto Show:
Ford audit records show "experimental expense" for Model G and H in FY 1905. Then, this car called Model H, was advertised by Ford dealer John Wanamaker in early 1905:
I've suspected (with no evidence) the car in the Wanamaker ad and the air cooled car shown in 1904 may be the same, or similar. I also suspect the "Model H" shown in the ad would have the 15-16 hp motor instead of a 10 hp, since the Model F is now on the market too, and I don't believe Ford would go "backwards" in horsepower with a Model H that has a front mounted engine. This Model H also has a similar shift lever to the B,K,NRS cars, another reason I suspect it is a front engine car.
If these suspicions are correct, this would have been a lightweight touring, at a low price (same as the future Model T at $850) that we know Ford was destined to build.
Anyway, lot's of loose ends out there in the evolution of Ford Motor Company,
I personnally believe that he had this idea from the very start. I also believe that it's the root of the problem he had with backers of the first 2 companies he was involved with. I figure HE figured the third shot would be his last. Keep your mouth shut, get control and do what you want.
By the time I was in middle school, I was very interested in antique automobiles and was reading everything at the school library on the subject (along with other things I could find). One of the books I read said that Henry told his friend Thomas A Edison that he wanted to develop a car for the common man. Edison then fired Henry from his job at Edison's company and encouraged Henry to follow his dream.
It was around that same time that I learned that one should not believe everything they read. But in essence, I do believe that story. Other stories of his farming developments among many more others would seem to corroborate that story. He did want to develop modern machine aids to help all mankind, not just entertain the wealthy.
That is my opinion based upon much research and I am sticking with it until good evidence is found to the contrary.
Thank you Rob and many others that have contributed to this quest!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Charlie, I think so too. I don't think he (HF) was so concerned about "cheap" as "great value for the money." The Model T at $850 in 1909 wasn't the cheapest car, but by far (in my opinion) the best car for the money, with many innovations (separate head, vanadium steel, reduction steering at the steering wheel, etc).
More of what may have been Ford's first four cylinder lightweight "everyman's car, had it made it to production.