I'm trying to find the "last running Model K" and it seems until about 1921 some were still listed for sale.
Unrelated (except that I stumbled upon it) the Ford advertisement below ran on Sunday, February 21, 1926 in papers across the country. One of the cars mentioned (for contribution to the Model T planetary transmission) is the "Ford six cylinder." Evidently Ford Motor Company's advertising department had not yet received the memo that Henry Ford didn't like the Ford six.
"The Sunday Oregonian" Portland, February 21, 1926:
Close up of the "Planetary Transmission" paragraph. I thought it interesting that the "Ford six-cylinder" received credit for development of the transmission used in fifteen million Model T cars:
Other papers the ad appeared in:
I forgot to mention, these were full page ads in Sunday papers.
A couple more newspapers the Sunday full page ad ran in:
I do find this interesting. I wonder who wrote it? Or approved it?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I was surprised to find a reference to the Model K as late as 1926 in Ford advertising. This was also a point in time when rumors were rampant that Ford was preparing to roll out a six cylinder replacement to the Model T, so I'm also surprised they (Ford) would go anywhere near mentioning a six cylinder in their advertising.
While the planetary transmission is perfectly adequate and very reliable in Model T it is unreasonable to believe that a Model T transmission is more expensive to manufacture than a three speed manual sliding gear transmission. That's a good example of "creative" advertising.
Why is that? Part for part, gear for gear, and with multiple clutch discs in a planetary transmission how do you know a sliding gear was more expensive? Chevrolet used a three speed transmission. Maybe we should compare the cost of a T transmission with a Chebby of the period and make an informed decision? Of course that would take a little time and effort.
While we're on it, you referred to the Ford Model K rawhide/bronze laminate cam gear as an "animal by-product" and defective part (although we later learned several high end automakers used a similar cam gear). Would the same apply to a leather "animal by product" cone clutch, as used by most sliding gear automakers during the time of the Model K (ie. Pierce, Thomas, Peerless)?
I've certainly had plenty of grief due to leather cone clutches. I can't disagree that they are far from an ideal clutch material. Let's remember that what we know now is far more than what was known in 1907. Check all the makes that outsold the Model K - let me know how many had a planetary transmission. The Model K was never in the top ten cars sold in the above $2000 price range. So it is safe to say that it was not successful in the marketplace, regardless of transmission type or bearing material.
The planetary transmission in a Model T or Model K is certainly cheaper to manufacture than for example a Pierce sliding gear transmission due to having fewer parts and less material to buy. Less is never more.
No, The Model K was not a top ten selling car, 1906-1908. However, it was probably a top ten selling MODEL priced over $2000. As with most major car makers, Ford offered more than one model and should be evaluated as such.
I've owned four cone clutch cars, and as a result consider the planetary transmission superior IF the horsepower is adequate not to need a middle gear. In this regard the Model K with high torque six cylinder engine matches up well.
Again, I think the high survival rate of the Model K compared with other high end models speaks volumes about the design and popularity of the car.
And, what do you think of Ford "evoking" the memory of the Model K in this 1926 national advertising? That's the point of this thread.
By 1926 the Model T planetary transmission was the only one on the market. Ford was grasping at straws to convince people that they should continue buying the Model T. Meanwhile, virtually everyone except Henry Ford wanted to start immediately building cars with sliding gear transmissions and more horsepower.
The advertisement is a weird one. Not many people outside Ford would have remembered a Model K. With less than a thousand built, and fewer sold, a Model K was rare even when new. The planetary transmission choice for the Model K no doubt hurt sales when it was new.
"a Model K was rare even when new."
No, remember, of 6500 participants in a MoToR magazine contest, the Model K came in 5th among all cars listing for $3000 or less that contestants would choose if they won. That was 5th, with over 100 cars chosen. The Ford was far from "rare even when new."
Even this article (running on another thread) in 1915 tells Rotarians to quit work early and "get into your 6-cyl. Ford or Packard." Evidently the Ford sic cylinder car was well enough known that in some parts of the country it was still referred to, and in this case, mentioned along with a (gasp) Packard.
I think a reasonable person has to, at some point, recognize that the Model K was well known, made a larger impact than we realize or accept today, and go from there.
I didn't deny that a lot of people read about Model K's. Heck, there are millions of people who have seen the one at the Henry Ford over the years.
That doesn't alter the fact that very few were made or sold.