Well, no videotape, but scandal, lies and sex were at the heart of this story. The story was spread in newspapers across the country. In another twist, a second Model K is involved at the end of the story, in an unexpected way.
In 1904-05, New Yorkers Paul MacCormac, his wife Carrie, and her former husband, Charles Converse were embroiled in a court battle over the terms of the Converse divorce, and custody of their child. Mrs. MacCormac counter sued following the divorce, claiming her former husband "sold" her to Paul MacCormac as part of the divorce settlement.
All the parties were described as multi-millionaires. A year later, while vacationing with his wife in Hawaii, Paul MacCormac was interviewed by a local paper. The interview turned toward automobiles and Paul's interest in then. He describes a 75 hp Pope Toledo he is having custom made, along with his 1906 Winton. He also says "I like to have a road machine that can go just a little faster than the next fellow's."
You can see where this is leading..........
You mean to say he bought a Thomas Flyer???
Dave, as my kids would say, "seriously....."
Apparently the MacCormac's weren't strangers to expensive cars. In addition to the special 75 hp Pope racer and Winton, Mrs. MacCormac was involved in an auto accident in Central Park with her "electric phaeton" in 1905:
By August, 1907, the MacCormac's own a Ford 6-40 runabout. On August 16th, newspaper reports tell of a horrific accident involving the MacCormacs.
The accident, along with a rehash of the scandalous romance, was published in newspapers across the country:
Cool articles Rob! Where on earth do you find them?
Thanks Tim, I started another thread with a few search examples:
This story has a lot of moving parts, so I'll go with two articles about the wrecked Ford before following up on the severely injured Paul MacCormac and the driver of the car he was racing.
The wrecked Ford six forty (K runabout) is reported sold for $400:
In 1910, the owner of the ill-fated MacCormac Model K reports it burst into flames, in the same place where the fatal accident occurred:
Next, the other car driver was no stranger to controversy, and another Model K.
Interesting, a little paranormal twist to the story too.. Great series of articles you've found
It seems you can trace the history of a large part of all the K's produced - those sold in small towns where a lot of the luxury car purchases were noted in the local papers.
Holly Please take care when riding with Rob in his "Red Devil" mammoth K Roadster! He may become a "speed fiend" like Paul MacCormack.
Thanks for the interesting reading Rob.
The smaller towns and cities seemed to track individuals and their cars. The city newspapers seemed to have more in the way of advertising and national Ford news. I've found hundreds of first time Ford owners through newspaper searches in the early years (1903-1909).
Not to worry, seventy will be my max....
Paul MacCormac dies several weeks later as a result of the accident. His estate is valued at $500,000. Over 12 million in today's dollars. He was 28 years old. His wife, the former Carrie Converse, was 40 years old.
Meanwhile, authorities identify the driver of the other car racing MacCormac. It was John Tyson, a 21 year old who has inherited a large estate. Tyson has been implicated in another fatality accident earlier the same summer:
Early in the year, Tyson bought two 50 hp Mathewson automobiles while at the auto show. I suspect the Mathewson touring car was the other car racing MacCormac's Ford:
Authorities threaten to arrest Tyson for his involvement with the accident:
And, as with the Ford that burns near the site of the fatal wreck, Tyson has another accident, near the fatality site, in November of the same year:
Still to come, another Ford 6-40 ....
that stretch of the boston post road must have been known as dead mans curve! thanks for the stories Rob, great stuff
We need no further proof: Two high speed Model K s wrecked ! The guv'ment should outlaw these fast Model K Fords. Then only outlaws will have 'em.
Which reminds me - wheres Royce? Haven't heard from him in a while
John Tyson had a notorious reputation as a wild driver, and was implicated in at least four auto fatality accidents by the end of 1908:
Tyson was the subject of editorials and several calls for his arrest, as seen in this Denver Post commentary:
Meanwhile, at 21 years of age, Tyson owned a well known Isotta-Fraschini racer that he entered in several prestigious races including Briarcliff and the Savannah Cup races of 1908. He hired Louis (Lewis) Strang, a well known driver to race the car. Some may recall Strang held the world circular track record in 1907 that Frank Kulick was attempting to break when he crashed the Ford six cylinder racer:
Tyson's Isotta, with Strang driving, won the 1908 Briarcliff Road Race:
New York newspapers carried descriptions of the race and the Tyson/Strang victory. One of the ingredients to the win, the use of another racer by Strang owned by John Tyson to practice over the course, without risking the Isotta. Tyson's car that was used by Strang to prepare for the race?
For what ever reason, John Tyson, who had raced MacCormac's K 6-40, ending In MacCormac and his wife's death, owned a Ford 6-40 too. And, he felt compelled to have Strang practice with the Ford in preparation for the race.
While history has left us a less than stellar view of the Ford Model K, it appears many of the wealthiest and adventurous automobilists in the country owned Ford "sixes."
To borrow from another thread, "that's the way it was"
Some very interesting stuff. And some of the seamy side of racing history. All important to history.
Again, thanks Rob!
And do drive that 6-40 carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thanks Wayne. I'm often surprised how interwoven the stories of early automobile pioneers were. Fortunately, news accounts have survived that help decode events.