Over the last year several comparisons have been drawn on this forum between Ford Models B and K, and high end makes such as Pierce Arrow. At first, the comparisons seemed ludicrous (as many posters suggested). However, after comparing features, the comparison doesn't seem as far fetched as I initially thought.
First I'll compare the 1905 Ford Model B with the Pierce Great Arrow. While these models may not have been in direct competition (the Model B Ford was called a low to mid price touring car), I think the comparison is fascinating.
Primarily I chose mechanical features to compare. Obviously Pierce Arrow models have finer appointments and refinements compared with the Model B. Also, this is a work in progress and I may not have all the data correct (1905 info is not as easy to track down as you may think ).
Understand this is by no means disrespect of the Pierce Great Arrow brand. Conversely, it is an opportunity to size up Henry Ford's upscale Model B alongside America's most prestigious car maker.
I think the number of cars sold by each car maker, and the number of cars known to remain will surprise many of us (it did me):
It is interesting to see the number that survive, also to note the number of surviving model k fords as compared to say any other large six cylinder cars of the period. These cars were clearly better than the history tells us! They survived over a hundred years!
Though it is much later era, I have always been amazed that the later Ford Model A was outsold by Chevrolet yet today surviving Ford Model A's are plentiful while Chevrolet from the same era are somewhat rare.
Good work Rob - keep it up.
Since I have acquired a 1901 CDO I am more interested in the early automotive time period than I was before.
I do believe the seal cove museum has a 40p from 1905, There many be at least one other 28hp, but that would be it, and even then, are they actual 1905 cars?
Thanks. While seven Model B (surviving) seems like a small number, the old rule of thumb I've heard is one percent survival rate (for early cars). I need to revisit this number, I believe there may be one or two more Model B. Of those, three that I'm aware of are running, but I've never heard of one on a tour.
The Pierce numbers are from the Pierce Arrow Society, so there may be cars (Pierce) out there that are not included in their membership or count. Another problem I had with Pierce Arrow is that their model years seem to overlap and I'm not as familiar with their model years and model changes.
When I post the Model K Ford comparison, there will be more Pierces of the same models (but later year) listed.
Either way, the number for these early cars that survive has always amazed me, thank god someone along the way decided to save them. Even the piles on broken rusty stuff that got saved! It seems that there may be a you tube vid of a model b at the ocf, and then the same person also has a vid of a model k owned by some some one here:-) and we get to see the back of his head! Thank you Rob, and keep up the great history!
There are at least 3 of the 05 28/32 HP Great Arrows in the USA. They are the Seal Cove Limousine, the former Henry Austin Clark car, and the unrestored car that has been shown at some recent concours. 200 of them were built in 1905 as the 10th model. Another 400 were built with some styling and mechanical improvements in 1906 as the 12th model.
Pierce cars were series built, so they often don't conform to our perception of a specific model year. As David says, they are today called the earliest possible model year they can be, much like the Model K Ford of 1907 - 1909.
These are the three 1905 28/32 10th models known to me. There may be more:
There is no "1909 Model K." It appears Pierce Arrow, like Ford, introduced models for the upcoming year. Unlike Ford,,it seems the 1907 and 1908 years are grouped together, so my comparison will show 1906, then 1907 and 08 together.
Some of the Pierce cars pictured above may be included in the 1906 count, or not. Regardless, contrary to perception, it appears Ford built more Model B automobiles than Pierce Great Arrow for all models in 1905.
Again, its a question of when cars were built vs sold. Ford apparently quit building the Model K in 1907, but advertised and sold leftover Model K's at least into 1909 calendar year. No doubt the purchaser thought his new car was the current model year.
Car collectors however all seem fixated on having an older car. So you never see a 1908 Model K Ford or a 1906 Model B Ford today. They apparently don't exist.
I don't think a 2013 Ford pickup that is sold during the 2014 model year becomes a "2014" model. The same applied then, in my opinion.
Of course, we don't know how many Pierce Arrows were carried over into the next model or calendar year. Fortunately, we have excellent records (considering the period) available about Ford.
Its actually a good thing for historians to disagree, this way it drives them to find more and more information. Hopefully this drive for more uncovers things and maybe more cars! There must be more forgotten about, restored in the forties and fifties and stashed away since, a dream for all of us to find! btw I love the polished copper hoods on the pierces!
The following comment posted on this forum motivated me to begin this comparison:
"Regardless of our modern opinions of which car was better, the buying public bought more Pierce products in that time period, and at significantly higher prices."
In order to have some idea of what I was talking about (not always a requirement for me), I bought the book ""Pierce-Arrow" by Marc Ralston, copy write 1980 by A.S. Barnes and Co. and bought a membership to the Pierce Arrow club. Both the book and especially the club website along with a couple of members have been very helpful.
This is an excerpt from the book "Pierce-Arrow" by Marc Ralston, page 32, pertaining to 1905 models:
It is a really old book. The information contained was pretty good when Marc wrote it. Not so much any more.
I've never seen or heard of one of the 1904 - 1905 2 cylinder 9th model 24-28 HP cars existing, so that part is still correct.
The former Henry Austin Clark owned 1905 landaulet is the car that is in the Seal Cove collection today. Austie also owned the restored 1905 Touring pictured above.
The 24-28 was a four cylinder, and looked similar to the slightly larger 28-32.
A 1905 Pierce ad, showing all three models. The 26 hp car is at the bottom:
Nice! Still haven't seen one of the "baby" 24 - 28 HP models ( 4 cylinder). Hard to believe none exist. Maybe one is hiding in a barn some place.
Only 75 were made. As with the 40 hp (25 made) the odds of one remaining are slim.
A Ford ad in the same 1905 magazine: