Maybe the topic, "changing history" is an oxymoron? After all, history should be a collection of facts explaining events as they occurred, and not require "changing."
Unfortunately, that isn't always how it works. We've recently had a few threads about Edsel Ford's speedster (1912 version) and about the "prototype" car Henry Ford destroyed when he returned from his trip abroad in 1912. While they've been interesting and informative threads, there seems to be a "theme" developing, where the two are merging (Edsel's speedster and the prototype car). It seems the prototype car is "morphing" into a six cylinder, and one poster said the engine in the speedster is the same as the engine that was in the prototype.
The problem is, I don't believe there's evidence to support it. The Stern book, "Tin Lizzie" is often referenced during these threads, however I don't have a copy so am unable to read the author's comments about the two (speedster and prototype, 1912) cars.
I have read George Brown's account and he makes no mention of a six cylinder motor in the "prototype car" incident (purchasing agent, FMC) contained in the online collection of THF's "Reminiscences." (I highly recommend reading a few of the reminiscences of Ford associates, friends and employees) Link: http://cdm15889.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p15889coll2/order/subjec/page/10
I suspect the "rush to judgement" of placing a six cylinder engine in the prototype car (created by Wills, Sorensen and other Ford employees) is to demonstrate Henry Ford's dislike (hatred, loathing, distaste, or choose an adjective). It does provide a good narrative if one is predisposed to believe and/or wishes to perpetuate the idea. However, history should be a collection of facts.
Below is a copied article from one of the recent threads, along with the poster's description of what the article is indicating:
"A cover story was released to newspapers, an attempt to convince reporters that the only reason the engine was developed was for 19 year old Edsel's speedster, which is not a credible premise given the sophistication and the amount of work necessary to bring something like this to reality from design."
Of course, I recognized the article, I had posted it some time ago on another thread. The only problem, when I saved it in my files (a year or two ago) I didn't include the date because I didn't suspect anyone would use it, so no publication, page or date was listed. When I found the article in my files, it was definitely the same one, down to the cropping. Only problem, no date.
On the same thread, the the poster pasted a photo of the speedster (Edsel's), saying:
"Here's the 1912 prototype 6 cylinder Ford from the car that was destroyed by Henry as recounted in the book Tin Lizzie by Stern:"
I don't know what the Stern book says (although I'm ordering it from Amazon now). If the book does indeed say the engine used in Edsel Ford's speedster was the same as the one in the prototype car destroyed Henry Ford, I believe it is wrong. Following is my reasoning:
First, the engine is never referred to by Geo. Brown in his transcript. In fact, Mr. Brown later says he had to cancel the contracts for the car (I can understand why HF was livid, his directors not only built a car without his knowledge, they went so far as to order everything to begin production, without any authorization or approval from Henry Ford, I'd be mad too). Mr. Brown further says he began the task by canceling the most expensive components first, beginning with the body. If there was a six cylinder engine involved, it would have cost much more than the body (my opinion).
Second, and this is where fiction becomes fact, and eventually is repeated enough to be accepted as history, the dates don't work. If the article above, saying "No Ford Sixes Contemplated" has any relation to the prototype car, someone in Ford's advertising department was clairvoyant. I finally found the article, along with the source and date:
This article was published in "Automobile Topics" June 29th, 1912. Henry Ford doesn't sail for Europe until late July, 1912:
Ford Motor Company was already announcing, one month prior to Henry Ford's departure, and two and a half to three months before his return (and the destruction of the prototype), that FMC would not produce a six cylinder car for 1913.
By August 30th, FMC is conducting a national advertising campaign, in part to assure dealers they will not begin direct sales to the public. The advertising campaign also says "We are not going to build any six cylinder cars." A letter dated August 27, 1912 from N. A. Hawkins, FMC national sales manager, is quoted:
Henry Ford has not returned from his family trip abroad. The prototype incident has not yet occurred.
If C. H. Wills, Charles Sorensen and others at FMC were working on a six cylinder prototype car scheduled for production, while FMC was actively assuring dealers and the public that Ford would not offer a six cylinder car for 1913, I suspect there would have been more collateral damage when Henry Ford returned (no one was fired over the incident) than just destroying the car and canceling production.
At least, these are my conclusions.
No one said making sense of history would be easy
I don't see how the timeline has to have the announcement that Ford is not planning a six cylinder car before or after the episode of Henry smashing the prototype. Edsel's six cylinder speedster might have existed earlier than the prototype that Henry smashed. I don't see how it proves or disproves anything regarding the car Henry smashed.
I didn't expect you would.
Now it's making more sense.......
Earlier, I saw this in Richard Kroll's "Reminiscence:"
The only trouble is, I didn't know what he meant by "tall six cylinder"? Now, the light bulb finally came on, he isn't talking about a "tall six cylinder" engine (I was thinking of a long stroke engine), he was talking about a "TALL six cylinder CAR." This is the same car Henry Ford's personal secretary, E. Liebold was referring to in this excerpt of his transcript, "long before we built the closed cars, he had a six-cylinder car that was sort of what you call a four-door sedan body:"
I think these two men are talking about two six cylinder cars built by the experimental department at Ford, a sedan and Edsel Ford's speedster.
OK, things we know:
News of Edsel Ford's six cylinder racer/speedster made a national automobile journal over a month before Henry Ford sailed for England.
Before HF could have returned to the U.S., on August 27th, 1912, N. A. Hawkins sent a letter to dealers informing them there would be no six cylinder cars.
Meanwhile, two different FMC employees are well aware of both the six cylinder speedster and a "mystery" six cylinder sedan.
The car built and ordered to production by Wills, Sorensen, and others, was built in less than six weeks (while Henry Ford and family were away). This car is described was a longer chassis, lower more attractive bodied car.
When Henry Ford returns, six weeks later, he faces a mutiny. Two of his most trusted aides, Wills and Sorensen, have not only designed a "new" Ford, they have ordered it into production. As HF's purchasing agent later says, he can't imagine how much it cost to cancel production (this could be a story in itself).
Would Wills, Sorensen, or anyone else have dared order production of a six cylinder car, after Ford Motor Company (presumably under authority of HF) has announced no six cylinders cars, even though Edsel Ford is known to have one?
If they had dared to re-engine the prototype, could they have ramped up production of a new six cylinder engine that quickly? It's one thing to order a longer, frame, drive-train and body. I assume it's an entirely different matter to tool up for a new power-plant too.
Would, and could, the experimental department build six engines, (and we now know of two cars, Edsel's and the six cylinder sedan) without Henry Ford's approval? Edsel Ford is about 19 years old at this time, so I doubt he is able to have the experimental shop design six cylinder engines on his own. In fact, one excerpt says he is away from school, returning on occasion during this time. Besides, Henry Ford's personal secretary recalls Henry Ford driving (I suspect chauffeured) in the six cylinder sedan.
I don't think Henry Ford "hates" six cylinder engines, yet,
but I'm sure he will.......
It's easy and cheap to get a copy of "Tin Lizzie" by Stern: http://www.amazon.com/Tin-Lizzie-Story-Fabulous-Model/dp/B0017QFGQE
But it's not much there about what experimental car was used where except what has already been written here in various threads. The story about how Henry Ford smashed up a potential rival to the "T" comes from the interview by George Brown in the archives discussed here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/456610.html?1404016631
George Brown's transcript seems to be the basis for the information (historical) I've found on the "experimental" car (I'm not sure it should be labeled experimental when it had been ordered to production?). I also relied on Mr. Brown's statement that the most expensive contract (part) was the body, and that he had to cancel that with Beaudette.
This link is the portion of the Reminiscence by Brown of this incident. The five pages make for good reading, and give quite an interesting recollection of the event:
Property of THF, all rights apply
George Brown talking about canceling contracts for the "new" car. He mentions this "cost the Company a bunch of money." I can certainly understand why Henry Ford was irate (and I'm surprised he didn't fire Wills on the spot....):
I understand that the Soviets were very good at changing history.
FWIW, don't confuse the story with facts.
Several years ago Greenfield Village had an auction of cars and parts deemed not of interest and in the sale items were a couple of 6 cly. motors. These were of the items Henry had sent over from Ford and were similar to a T motor.
In Talking to the collection manager on site and looking at the motors they were of Ford manufacture and they had paperwork to prove it.
The manager said they these were expermintal when built to see if they could make a 6 Henry would approve of.
Do know one ended up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma after the auction for a while but what happened to the other one is unknown to me.
Warren,That make's sense to me! Henry looked and saw he could retool everything,and why when he could sell more than he could build without change?? Bud.
Weird. Now Rob is agreeing with me!
Tin Lizzie is a very good source but it fails to tell how ALL: THE EARLY CAR'S HELPED BUILD FORD!! Picking and choosing what is to be believed might be the mark of beligerant?? Bud.
"Bartlesville, Oklahoma" isn't that where they first test marketed cable TV?
This is a scanned page from an auction that the Henry Ford Museum held in the 1980's I think. I had to reduce the image to fit the less than 200 KB that the Forum requires.( Not to clear once reduced. ) I can count nine 6 cylinder motors. It is unclear what era these engines are from. The ones pictured could be from the post Model T period.
Regards, John Page, Australia
Thank you for the info. Also, thank you for the info on the Renault.
It seems Henry Ford "allowed" experimentation of six cylinder engines into the 1920's. I ask myself, would he have allowed his experimental department to conduct these experiments if he "hated" the six cylinder? Maybe, but not what I would expect.
It seems he (HF) was not opposed to buying large cars during the Model T years for personal use, including six cylinder automobiles:
Interestingly, this is the same year (1912) and European trip Henry Ford returned from and destroyed the car Wills attempted to bring to production:
Also in 1912 (thank you John Page) Henry Ford was photographed in his Renault:
While I'm no expert, it looks like this may have been the six cylinder Renault shown here:
It seems to me, based on six cylinder cars Ford Motor Company built in 1912, and six cylinder cars Henry Ford bought and owned, he (Ford) did not "hate" six cylinder cars, yet.....
But that's just my opinion,
I don't think Henry "hated" six cylinder cars in particular, any more than he hated stubbing his toes. He simply didn't want to be in the business of selling them to anyone. For the grand majority of the car buying public four cylinders are adequate, and perfectly suited to Henry Ford's goals of building a single model of car that any man could afford to buy.
I wonder if this is Henry's aunt Nancy Flaherty in the front seat of this brand new late 1912 touring?
I think this picture has been discussed before. They may have got the year wrong but the rest should be correct.
Regards,John Page, Australia
Thread link to previous discussion.
John Paige the piece you posted is what I talked about in my early entry. I saw the engines and several were from the model t era.
Very few of the engines appeared to be post model T or A.....Would like to see them again.
Thank you Warren. Yes, it would be good to go back in time, knowing what we know now.
Best regards, John