With only 1,000 Model K built, how many remained in service, for what uses, and for how long. Answering these questions may give an idea of how well built the car was (or not).
Ford Motor Company quit advertising the K touring car by the summer of 1908. They continued to advertise, build and sell K roadsters (6-40) through mid 1909. Below are advertisements and news accounts of the Model K after 1911. As the car fell into obscurity, it's easy to see where some of what I believe are misconceptions of the model begin to appear.
Electric lights and fore-doors have been added to this "K" for sale:
Wanted, "Six cylinder Ford racing type:"
"The Automobile Journal" reports that the Model K was dropped by Ford, "not because there was no demand for this particular chassis, but because the designer decided to devote all of his time and attention to the production of but one model...."
Will trade for real estate:
A County Board member buys a K:
For Sale, $250
Trade for chassis:
For Sale, $200
Some Model K became speedsters:
Will trade for diamond:
Some "K" became trucks:
For Sale, $350, could be used for Jitney Service:
This article concerning a Rotarian gathering, says to "get into your 6-cyl. Ford or Packard." Maybe in Harrisburg PA a Rotarian still drives a Ford six?
This 1915 "Automobile" magazine letter to editor asks "why the manufacture of Ford six-cylinder car was discontinued?"
I like the answer:
More to go, as the trail grows colder..........
And when will we get a comment from Texas?
Rob, you are getting obsessive, but I enjoy reading all the information you are finding. Glad you found those two comments regarding the discontinuing of the Ford 6.
It is interesting that the Rotarians picked the Ford 6 and Packard to write about in 1915. The Fords would be 8-9 years old by then - ready for the used car lot.
Any idea how hard it would be to get parts from Ford Motor Co. by 1915? 1920?
Would some dealers still had some spares on hand?
The K would have been really outdated style wise by then but could still get down the road with contemporary vehicles.
This is neat. I often wondered if its high survival rate was due to its obsolescence. Meaning other manufacturers like Packard, Pierce and Cadillac made larger vehicles that were used as truck chassis. If I had a lumber yard at that point I would likely snap up running units that were for sale as parts vehicles. Ford discontinued the K and had no replacement. Just my musings....
Dave, I resemble that remark..... If I don't do it, who will?
I'm surprised/confused the Rotarians would single out a Model K too. Maybe an inside joke? It still lends credence to the suggestion the "Ford six" was a well known model, even seven or eight years after it was produced.
Larry, I've seen a 1911 article saying Ford branches carried all the parts for all models built since the first Model A. I don't know how long that policy went on. I know our local Ford dealer still had left over Model T inventory the 1960s, so I would guess it depended on how quickly parts were used.
Rob, I've been surprised at the survival rate of the K. I suspect a large dealer and parts network were part of the reason. I also think the simple design and durable drive train and motor were important (compared with other large cars of the period). Ford was one of the early users of babbitt, and maybe that helped keep crankshafts from being ground down and breaking prematurely too?
On with the years.......
A "Ford six" chassis for sale in Indianapolis, $100.
Another one bites the dust. Two rocket scientist brothers are heating the motor of a K before starting it. No more car, no more garage. Dave H., these guys were from Wisconsin. Just sayin......
A Model K is the second oldest car registered in Iowa through May, 1916:
K motor for sale to use on machine or boat:
Huntington, IN, K for sale with other used cars, "suitable for tractor:"
Watertown, NY. A garage owner adds a Model K. He says there are very few "now in use:"
The writer describes being picked up in a six-cylinder Ford while traveling in southern Indiana:
One of my all time favorites. Ernest G. Gibson is stopped on the Baltimore Pike by police, for....speeding of course. Ten years after the last production year, and the old K still has it.......
Next, a fairly well known gentleman sells his Model K.
Those guys in Eau Claire probably filled up with Leinie's before they went to work on the car. Common occurrence in Wisconsin. Helps you to relax while working on automobiles.
You should try it some time.
This automotive handbook used the "6-cylinder Ford" to explain how a planetary transmission could be effective when used with a six cylinder engine.
"Six cylinder Ford speedster" for sale:
"Ford six cylinder cheap..."
The Model K is slipping into recollection status. This former owner recalls the car:
The "father" of the Model K, Henry Ford, tells a biographer "it was a six-cylinder. I owned one of them until a year or so ago and then I had one of the boys sell it for me. It was still running."
Regarding Henry Ford reporting he sold his Model K around 1920. He would not be without a K for long. By late 1922 his personal secretary was corresponding with former Denver Ford Branch Manager Charles Hendy, trying to purchase a Model K for his new museum:
Used cars for sale at a Chebby dealership in Illinois, including a 6 cyl Ford Roadster
In the November 1, 1925 "Ford News," a story about Model K number 489, still in operation in North Bend, Nebraska (about 70 miles northeast of me). This car was sold new in Omaha NE and today resides in a personal collection on the west coast:
As knowledge of the "Ford six" diminishes, mis-information about the model appears. In this LIncoln Nebraska newspaper, a question asking if Ford ever produced a six cylinder model, a "local authority" reports "between 1909 and 1911, however, Mr. Ford produced some cars which contained six cylinders:
In this 1927 Iowa news article, Ford biographer Allen L. Benson is quoted from a "Cosmopolitan" article. Benson reports "Ford had to yield to Malcomson and his friends and build a six cylinder car."
Benson goes on to say "The sales promptly slumped and the business was headed for the rocks when Ford persuaded Malcomson to sell. Ford then brought out the Model T, and it was the Model T that made him a billionaire."
A few inaccuracies in this article, by a well known Ford biographer (at the time). Sales did not slump during the tenure of the Model K. In fact, in 1906, the Model K was far and away the sales and profit leader for Ford. For 1907, the Model K was again hugely profitable, as were Models N and R, helping Ford become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. During this time Ford also built cash reserves that would allow the purchase of land to begin construction of the Highland Park property, future home of the Model T.
Finally, Malcomson was no longer involved with Ford by the summer of 1906. The Model K would be redesigned for 1907 and become a leading seller in the high end car market. Meanwhile, Malcomson would build his own automobile for 1906, a car that in no way resembled the Model K, having a modest 24 hp air-cooled engine.
Forgot the attachment reference above:
Really cool stuff!
I wonder if the M. Van Buren in the first clipping was related to the former president?
Thanks for sharing!
Very interesting reading.
Since the Model K's are selling for $250 I'll make the sacrifice and offer you double that of $500 and may even throw in an additional $25 for delivery
Regarding M. Van Buren, the former president died in 1862.
Yes, Mark Strange. I googled it before I asked, hence the 'related'. ;)
Pennsylvania is close to NY, so it's theoretical they are kin.
Oops, my mistake, I missed the "related" part, if anyone can do the detective work to find out if they are related, it's Rob!
Rob,I believe that was right about having enough power to clime up the side of a house!! I think i know how things are now,but i really enjoy learning about how things were then!! I wish we would hear more about then instead of now!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.