Near car looks like a Ford Model R or Model S.
Let's try that again!
Near car looks like a Ford Model R or Model S.
The Chicago Coliseum was the site of the annual auto show.
Here's a picture from the 1907 Chicago show:
Interesting pictures. The first one appears to show a marquee above the main door (by the round topped arch) and the second does not. Wonder which picture is older?
These photos have been posted and extensively discussed before. If I recall correctly, the Ford was an extensively modified N or R. I do not recall which, and I am not an expert enough to speculate myself. As I do recall, look at the running board brackets, or lack thereof.
Maybe Hap or Rob H or Tim or Royce (or any of a dozen others) will chime in here with better speculations.
I love these photos! Thank you.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Yes the photo was discussed at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/160485.html?1284816635 and feel free to go there for an even more extensive discussion of the photo. Or go to the end of this posting for the summary of the answer. Or if you are not in as big a rush – I’d invite you once again to go for a walk around the car with me. We did that last time and I enjoyed it and as more and more of you become more familiar with the Model N, R, S, and SR Fords the more likely you will do us the favor of posting that photo you run across or noticing that manifold that looks like a mirror image of the Model T but is really a Model N, R, S, or SR manifold.
I know several photos have been posted in the past and then reappear again. That is similar to many of the questions that are asked again (how do I get this thing started etc.…), for some it will be their first time to see the question or photo, for others they may see something new that they had not seen before, they may decide to skip the thread (nice photo – but I want to see the next nice photo), and some of us may miss it again this time (busy, computers dead this week etc.). I would much rather have the question, photo, or information posted two or three times than to not have it posted. And of course it gives folks a chance to just think and talk.
Adrian posted the Shorpy link to the original photo which is located at: http://www.shorpy.com/node/8964?size=_original and a cropped version of the car is shown below:
How would we know it was a four cylinder 1906-1908 Model Ford? We could look in some references. In this case the literature gives a close enough illustration that we can say the car is a 1906-1908 Ford four cylinder:
Below is a copy of page three from the 1908 Model N, R, S, and S Roadster Price List of Parts.
Notice that the Model R Runabout and Model S Runabout are so similar from the side that Ford used the same side illustration for both cars. It is the rear deck that makes it easy to distinguish the Model R Runabout from the Model S Runabout. The Rounded rear deck is used on the Model R Runabout [R for ROUNDED deck] and the Pointed rear deck is used on both the Model S Runabout and the Model N Runabout [S for SAME pointed deck on N and S].
Notice that there are actually four models displayed on page 3 of the 1908 Price List of Parts. Three are runabouts with seating for only two, and they are the Model N Runabout, the Model R Runabout, and the Model S Runabout. The early Ts also used the Runabout name in the sales catalog for the two seat and the Roadster name for the three seat cars see the 1911 sales brochure at: http://mtfca.com/books/11Cat.htm . And one of the models on page three of the 1908 Price List of Parts is a roadster with seating for three, the Model S Roadster. In many articles or books you will often see only three models displayed – one for each year. They will often show the Model N Runabout for 1906, but it was actually produced all three years, 1906, 1907 and 1908. You will see the Model R Runabout listed for 1907 and that was the year it was introduced and with only a few stragglers assembled and sold later it was also the year its production ended. Then they will show the 1908 Model S Roadster that was produced in 1908 (a few were apparently assembled later in 1909 from parts see page 482 of Bruce McCalley’s Book “Model T Ford” the Jul 20, 1909 shipping dates.) For example the article in “Automobile Quarterly” Vol 10 no 2 published the second quarter of 1972 has a good article “Young Henry Ford” on pages 196 to 221. But it did not include a photo of the Model S Runabout which was produced in the fall of 1907 to the end of production in 1908. Out of the 26 pages of text and great photos, they only have two sentences addressing the Model S Runabout and they don’t tell you it is a runabout – you have to know that from other sources. It and the previous sentence say, “The 2500 R’s built were virtually sold out by September of 1907 – and the company said it was ‘too late to build more.’ Ergo the Model S: a composite, the company insisted, of the N and the R, and priced at $700, a roadster version following at $750. Some 6398 Models N and S would be sold the following season.” That is the same case for Philip Van Doren Stern’s book “Tin Lizzie” [highly recommended as a great read – and for Seth – the last time I checked 6 years ago the Bossier City Public Library still had the same copy I read when I was in Jr. High. It is located in the normal auto books at the Bossier City, LA Public Library – the one near the Bossier Historical Society, and not too far from the Bossier Mall.] It is just very convenient to describe three models one for each year rather than four models that run over various years. As a result, the majority of old car folks seem to remember 1906 Model N; 1907 Model R; 1908 Model S and Oct 1908 the 1909 Model T was introduced if they remember much about the 1906-1908 four cylinder cars at all.
And what about the car in the photo? Why would I think it is something other than a Model R Runabout or Model S Runabout since it clearly has running boards? (It does not have the round metal cowl so the Model S Roadster is not considered.) Good question. It wasn’t until I started trying to lighten up the photo so I could see if there is a door on the right hand side of the hood that it clicked for me. First there does not appear to be a door on the right hand side of the hood. The Model N usually does not have a door on that side while the Model R Runabout, Model S Runabout, and Model S Roadster always had a door there – so the owner could check the mechanical oiler. [Note if anyone has some information to document or correct my memory that the N hood usually only had one door on the carburetor side of the engine (passenger side of the RHD car) please let me know. That’s one way I can update my notes.] While it is not very clear – by changing the contrast I can easily see the rivets that hold the hood handle on and if there was a door on the driver’s side of the hood (right side for this RHD car) I should be able to see the butterfly handles of the latches and most likely the outline of the door.
But a hood could easily be changed out – something dropped on it or front end accident and a used hood could be taken from any NRS&SR car (actually it wasn’t that simple as the hoods were different lengths depending on the thickness of the radiator which depended on the supplier – but you could easily trim a longer hood to fit).
But while I was looking for the hood door I noticed the right front fender has both a front and a rear fender iron. The Model R, S, and SR were like the Model T and only had a front fender iron and they used the running board to support the back of the front fender. But the Model N has both a front and rear fender iron because it did NOT have a running board. One of those “ah – ha” moments. And like so many other things in life – when you see the first real clue it makes it easy to find other clues. If we look at the center of the car you see the step plate bracket, truss rod and step plate which was only used on the N. And looking where the Model R Runabout or Model S Runabout would have the front running board bracket and truss rod – we see there is NOT one.
So after walking around the car a few times what have we discovered? That it most likely was a Model N that the owner had running boards installed on. Why would they do that? Well – the most noticeable difference at least from the side and front between the “low cost Model N” and “the high priced Model R” was the running boards. So for a very minimal out lay the owner could change his car from a 1906 or 1907 Model N to look more like a more expensive 1907 Model R. I’ve known several friends that did that with cars they had – not antiques but back in college they added a later year grill or added the “SS”or “big engine” emblems etc. to make their own car look newer or more powerful than it was. And one friend swapped out the standard 1973 Mustang hood for the “Mach 1” hood. It looked nice but the car didn’t run any faster.
Note if the photo was taken in 1907 as the Shorpy site says then the 1906 or 1907 Model N Ford owner may have just been a tinkerer. A Model N Runabout would have come from the factory with a Splitdorf coil box that had a diamond shaped name tag on the lid. But if you zoom in on the photo you can see that the name tag on the coil box appears to be a rectangle. If it was a coil box sold by Ford, that would make it a Heinze coil box rather than the Splitdorf. You can also see an unusual item just aft of the firewall. I have NOT seen that on any other Model N, R, S, SR or T. But I suspect it is an outside oil filler so the owner can add oil to the total loss Model N, R, S, & SR system without having to remove the hood. That is just a guess – it might be something else. It could eaily be fitted by adding a “T” pipe fitting to the original oil pipe or replacing the original an elbow.
You can also zoom in on the photo and read the block FORD on the floor mat. The photo is a little blurred. Perhaps the car was running? Or perhaps the camera was just a little too close to the car? But if we were able to walk around the car you would notice the steering wheel is the same as used on the early Ts. The front hubs while only having a 5 inch rather than the early T 5 1/2 inch flange looks like the early Ts. In fact the front wheel will fit all the way up to a 1927 – but those narrow spokes would not be appropriate. And the Model N Runabout and Model S Runabout had 28 x 3 clinchers (usually but another style was also offered) while the Model R Runabout and Model S Roadster had 30 x 3 clinchers all around – the same size rim as the front wheels on the USA Model T,
And from the previous posting John Berch supplied the answer to what the object was sticking up from the floor on the right side of the dash:
Thanks for walking around the car with me. If you enjoyed the tour please let me know. And if you have spotted some additional items we should note – please let us know that also. And of course keep those early photos posting.
Bottom line: I’m 99.99% sure the car was originally a Ford Model N Runabout that has had running boards added and that the owner either purchased the top, horn and side lamps new when he purchased the car or added them later. Model N Runabout was produced 1906-1908 – photo labeled as taken in 1907 but side lamps look more like 1906 or very early 1907 to me.
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Thank you Hap! I always enjoy reading your postings and learn something from them.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thank you and thank you to so many others for sharing the different photos, questions, answers, leads, etc. We all learn more as we share the information. And of course some folks are preparing books etc. and it is understandable that they do not want to post their book on line before it is published. But for many of us, we are not planning to publish a book, so sharing it here is a good option to keep the information from becoming lost. It also helps us “connect the dots” of what occurred or likely occurred back in the day.
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I do not have ready documentation but I have seen enough original photos and original cars to come to the conclusion that Model N hoods came at least 3 ways, (with regard to the doors).
1. No doors
2. One narrow door, on carb side.**
3. Two wide, ("standard" size), doors.
My N hood is the #3 type, 1907, s/n 6000.
My suspicion is that #1 existed for only a short while, #2 may have been around until R & S made the scene, #3 was used when N, R, & S/SR were made concurrently.
Really, even on an N, two doors are needed. Feeding the exhaust pressure oiler, or at least checking its drip rate, is much easier with a door.
**I believe a variation on #2 may have had a standard size door.
Thank you for the additional observations / inputs about the variations on the hoods you have seen. That would make sense as Ford built fewer and fewer Model Ns and more and more of the other cars that used the two door style hood. It would have been easier to just use the two door hood that worked on the other cars. One of us should look up the photo of the Model S Roadsters in the run up yard of Piquette and see if the one or two Model N Fords are positioned so we could see the hoods.
If anyone has some early photos of the Model Ns showing the hood -- with and without the doors they would be appreciated.
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I have since looked at all my period N photos. None show a door on the oiler side! Also of interest, some Model R hoods don't show a door on the oiler side either. I would post those photos here but, honestly, I don't have the time to resize them.