Over the last few years we've found evidence that disputes many "myths" surrounding one of Ford's least known cars, the Model K. The perception that the car was not profitable, poorly designed and/or built, and that it wasn't a good selling car have been called into question.
A remaining mystery, how many were produced? One of the reasons historians claim the Model K was a failure is the commonly held belief that the original 1,000 ordered (Ford Directors meeting, 1906) were not produced. Some sources suggest 800, 900 and up to 950 Ks were made. I'm trying to get an accurate number, and so far, this is what I've found, with the help of many, including several forum contributors:
Ford Motor Company internal Audits show 919 Model K sold between April 1906 and September 1909. Additionally, 10 Model K (and 20 Model N) were reported destroyed at a Ford Motor Company Chicago Branch Store fire, February 4th, 1907. My suspicion is those cars would not be included in the Ford 1907 audit, as they were not "sold." Also, they were owned by Ford Motor Company, so I would expect they were "rolled" into expenses, or carried under an insurance line or other category (my guess).
I've still puzzled over where the rest of the cars were (if they were produced, and several historians concluded that the 1,000 Model K chassis contracted through Dodge Brothers were never produced, that the number lay somewhere between 800 and 950).
Then, the other day, it hit me, what about the Ford Canada cars? We've known for some time that several Model K were shipped to Walkerville Canada, and sold through Ford Canada. Steven Miller, Hap Tucker, John Biggs and Carlton Pate have contributed information (through this forum, the Early Ford Registry site, or in the case of Carl Pate, through his book) documenting early Fords sold through Canada (Ford Canada Ledger pages 4 and 126).
I had "rolled" these cars into the Ford audit information. In other words, I assumed (we know what that makes me ) these cars were included in the Ford U.S.A. audit numbers.
However, these cars were sold as parts, or chassis, to Canada. They were assembled and bodied in Canada, and sold as complete cars throughout the world as Ford Canada products. In fact, for customs purposes, as well as what I assume (here we go again) are good accounting practices, these cars should not have be included as "sold cars" in the Ford U.S. A. audits.
If this assumption is correct, another 32 Model K were produced and sold through Ford Canada, leaving us with an estimated 962 Model K produced.
Meanwhile, the "newest" Model K still existing is K Roadster #953. Also, K #952 has survived.
So, did Ford produce the original 1,000 Model K? I don't know the answer, but we are getting closer. There are more Canadian records to check. Other questions I have are, how were Ford Branch demonstrator cars counted? Were Ford branch cars sold later as "new" and recorded in the audit as such? Or were they later sold as "used" and therefore show up somewhere else on the audit? We know Henry Ford had his own "personal" Model K (Ford Oral History Collection) and he told a biographer in 1923 that he sold that K a few years earlier (about 1920?). How was that car carried on the "books?"
How were cars shipped directly from New York to England, Europe, Australia/New Zealand reported? I believe some of these cars were considered Ford Canada cars, yet I doubt they were written in the Ford Canada ledger, since they didn't physically pass through Walkerville?
Ending what is becoming a lengthy post (really unusual for me ), this article and advertisement appeared in "The Winnipeg Tribune," June 22, 1907. It implies the best selling cars at the time, according the "The Dominion Automobile Company" agency, were:
Ford Model N, Ford Six Cylinder (Model K), Winton and Pachard (Packard):
And this dealership should have known a bit about what is selling well for them, as they carried several makes of cars in addition to Ford, Winton and Packard including Stevens-Duryea, Thomas, Peerless, Napier, Clement-Bayard, and Russell:
"The Winnipeg Tribune," June 22, 1907:
Still much to learn......
Did Russia, France, South Africa, or India have Ford distributors in the early sale days? Did the British colonies offer cars thru their own or thru London distributors and shipped them to the colonies?
Maybe Trent B., Hap T., or other early Ford researcher will give us additional info on Ford outside the US.
I know at least two Model K were shipped to Germany in 1906. One to England (1907 Scottish and Irish Trials) and one K is seen at the 1907 Brussels Auto show. A Model K was also reported to be one of two six cylinder cars at the 1907 Berlin auto show. I don't know if these were Ford US, Ford Canada or otherwise classified?
One incomplete engine remains in Sweden from the only Model K imported here (as far as known): http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/451182.html?1402401034
Thanks Roger, I forgot your post about #170. Looking at the Canadian ledger, and Trent Bogess' Ford U.S. ledger research, that car might fall into a time period of mid May to mid June 1906.
Excerpt from Canadian ledger:
Excerpt from Trent B. Ford U.S.A. research:
This U. S. Consular report (January 1907) reports a Ford six cylinder along with several European sixes were displayed for the first time:
Two model K were reported shipped to Germany in late June or early July 1906. Is it possible one of those made it to Sweden? This article is interesting for another reason. It says "thirty of these machines (Model K?) have met the German-made car on it's own ground so far."
It would be good to find any European records if they still exist....
I have, mostly through you threads on the Ford Model K, have learned from and enjoyed enjoyed the postings. I would caution you, however, Presume is a better word than the one you use. Your word is not in my vocabulary.
Thanks John (I think ),
Maybe assume is a fit for me......
A few more "K"s in Europe:
At the 1907 Irish and Scottish Trials
1908 Brussels Auto Show:
I don't know that this a Model K at the booth, but it's not an NRS, and looks too large to be an early T
(Message edited by Rob on October 23, 2014)