Been following Rob's OT on early Ford and racing cars, and ran across this tidbit in FordOwner Oct 1917.
Seems a speedster event to include Ford racing cars and parts, was forming to be part of the 'Nat'l Exhibition for Ford Accessories' in the summer of 1917 in Chicago. And the organizers were seeking the mother of all Ford racers, ole '999'
Seems that famous racer was MIA in 1917!
Wonder were it was, who had it, and how it survived all those years away from Henry? We know where this one-of-a-kind Ford lives now
seems i have read here that ford did not own those racers, when did he buy them?
Think you just may find that the '999' that showed up for the event was actually 'Arrow' with a paint job...the same livery it carries today as '999'.
Yes, there seem to be many sightings and theories about 999 and Arrow. I believe the car now at THF is Arrow, and I think it was owned by a CA Ford dealer who finally gave it to HF. These are tidbits from a less than sterling memory, so I'll wait to be corrected.
I also have an article showing a derelict and much changed racer that is supposed to be 999. I've seen a racer with an aerodynamic body that was also supposed to be 999 too (in about 1914). It seems 999 may have been the first bigfoot or Elvis, as there appear to have been many sightings. I'll try to find a few of the articles (I copied them, but my filing system is about like my memory ).
GEE Rob...I wonder who would correct your postings....
Seems funny to read in 1917 about a car being called an "antique". My own antique wasn't even a new car yet.
I don't know. Not a problem, this isn't a subject I"ve spent time on like some others......
This article was in a magazine I was reading online recently (the six cylinder Ford racer was covered in the article too). It appeared in a May 7, 1914 Motor Age magazine. It says the how it appeared later in it's career (the racer is13 years old by this time). I have another photo showing reportedly showing 999 without this body. This article also says 999/Arrow had 7 X 7 inch bore/stroke, making it about a 1,078 cubic inches:
I have no idea of the accuracy of the article. It does show us that 999 was already an icon in 1914, warranting space in an automotive publication. The mention "the original 999" says "999 ended an eventful career at Milwaukee when it went through the fence and killed its driver, Frank Day." What the writer apparently doesn't know is, after the wreck (not sure if it was 999 or Arrow) was shipped back to Ford, it was refurbished and updated, and then Henry Ford set the world record with the racer, in January 1904. The car was still owned by Tom Cooper at that time.
I think it's remarkable these two racers had such a long life. 999/Arrow not only were the first to clock under a 60 second mile (Oldfield's first record) but also the first to clock a mile in under 40 seconds (Henry Ford, 1904).
A couple of other "999" sightings:
I have a new identity. From now on you may refer to me as "The Mechanician"!!!!!
I bet you would be one heck of a mechanician.....
I had this saved, Barney Oldfield setting the world mile record. He is driving Arrow and Tom Cooper is driving 999 when Oldfield broke his previous record going under 60 seconds in the mile (circular track).
Someone mentioned that Henry Ford didn't own the racers at this time. While that's true, every time the racers ran they are referred to as Fords, and I suspect the advertising was invaluable in making "Ford" a well known name:
This image you posted doesn't look anything like the original 999. The frame is smaller, the steering is different and the radiator is smaller to mention a few. The hood looks like it was made from a cardboard box. I wonder how many "copies" of the 999 car were made to entice visitors to dealers or shows?
Seems like there was an article in the Vintage Ford a few years ago about what really happened to the original 999. Maybe.
In that article there still was some argument about the 2 cars that came to be the closest remains of the original car.
It is easy to tell Arrow from 999 in early pictures. The Arrow has V - shaped intake manifolds improved from the original 999 design, to improve flow. The intake on 999 appears to be cast iron plumbing pipes.
Both cars were sold by Tom Cooper in 1904 to Bill Pickens of Alabama. Pickens called Arrow "New 999" and called 999 "Old 99". Eventually there were only enough parts to keep one car going as Pickens ran out of money and luck. The resulting car was crashed in Salt Lake City some time in 1904. Oldfield purchased the wrecked car and then prepaid shipping to send the car to a friend in Los Angeles, CA for repairs.
Unfortunately the railroad somehow decided that Oldfield owed another $140 in unpaid freight, and with no one to pay the bill, the car was auctioned as unclaimed freight. Dana Burke of Ocean City, CA. was the high bidder. He promptly offered to sell it back to Oldfield, who didn't want to spend any more money.
Burke eventually sold the car to William Hughson of San Francisco, a Ford dealer. Hughson eventually sold the car back to Ford Motor Company after restoring the car.
The current car has the gas tank mounted above the engine and the angled intake manifold as we see in period photos of Arrow. Is it Arrow or 999? Is it a mixture of the two? Who cares. It is a great car either way.
The Arrow was nearly totaled at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tom Cooper's driver of the Arrow, Frank Day, was killed.
Arrow being taken away on a wagon for shipment back to Detroit:
This is Arrow in 1904 after setting the record on Lake St. Clair in January, masquerading as "999".