Frank Kulick was one of the first employees of Ford Motor Company, and raced cars for Ford through 1913. Mr. Kulick was a involved in many aspects of Ford's early history until being fired by Harry Bennett in the 1930's (?).
Several years ago someone posted on the forum saying they were descendants of Mr. Kulick. Unfortunately, I'm able to find the thread (I tried in 2013 with no success). If anyone has any info of relatives, or other information about Frank Kulick during his later life, please post or pm it.
Thank you for any help or ideas. I believe Mr. Kulick passed in 1965. I also suspect he is referenced in this 1962 visit with a Kansas family,
Rob,Check both club's also both the Vintage Ford and The Model T Times.I remember it somewhere! Bud.
"Mr and Mrs John Smith." Well, they should stand out pretty good in a directory with such extraordinary names!
Please let me know if you find Frankís descendants. I would love to see a gathering of the family's of Early Ford employees of Ford at Piquette someday in the future. I meet P.E. Martinís grandson at the Piquette plant, and would like to meet others to learn about their familyís history in person.
Bud, thanks for the ideas.
Mike, I'm calling number 226 of 1,275 "John Smith" names in Kansas phone directories, nothing so far....
Bruce, we may have a lead, I'll keep you posted,
We do know that Frank Kulick was still driving 20 years later.
ELMIRA STAR-GAZETTE, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1924
Q. Who was the first person to drive a Ford across the continent?
W. W. F.
A. In 1903, when the Ford Motor Company was organized, Frank Kulick, famous racing driver of those days drove the first Model T from New York to San Francisco. The ten millionth Model T has just completed a transcontinental run over the Lincoln Highway in the hands of the same driver.
Frank Kulick quite racing, got married and went into real estate,in late 1911 with a $1,000 bill presented by Henry Ford. He married Mary Schebel, also from Detroit, on October 7, 1911 and they drove to Chicago for their honeymoon. They never had any children. Mary had several brothers and apparently only one sister that never married.
There was also another Frank Kulick, only a year or two younger. He had a son, Frank Kulick, Jr. It can not be determined yet which Frank was in the first article, Jr. or Sr.
Oh wait a minute! Did you mean the John Smith who was related to Frank Kulick?
Henry Ford gave Frank Kulick a $1,000 bill following a win against Bob Burhman driving the "Blitzen Benz" in 1911. Some press reports say Ford told Kulick to retire, as he was afraid of him injuring himself, and other reports say he told him to quit for the day and give other drivers a chance:
However, by late winter (early 1912) Kulick was again driving Ford racers. Below Kulick sets a 109 mph record on ice in early 1912:
During summer 1912 racing, the "Ford Special" with Kulick driving was again competing and winning:
I believe Ford and Kulick entered a few races in 1913. I think that is also the year that Henry Ford attempted to enter the 400 cubic inch "Ford Special" in the Indy 500. Ford was told he would have to add 1,000 lbs. to make the car eligible, and famously said he was building racers, not trucks.
I don't believe Kulick ever raced a Ford again.
I wonder how many of you have driven a Ford on the ice. Unless you have ideal conditions the ice can get pretty choppy. Just driving the polo car here in Milwaukee was a task. I cannot imagine driving 100 miles an hour on a lake.
Did they plow a path through the snow on the ice or does the ice freeze and most of the snow just blows across the lake? Lake Michigan looks really rough this time of year.
I think Henry Ford realized the flattest hard surface he could find without going to one of the beaches was to use a frozen lake. There was some discussion by the sanctioning body and race officials about allowing Henry Ford's world speed record to stand following his drive in 1904. Ford had 999 (or Arrow) at the Ford shop in late 1903. he was rebuilding it for Tom Cooper (owned both Arrow and 999) following the death of Frank Day who wrecked the racer while running at the WI State Fair in 1903.
Other reports said the ice was graded and a layer of cinder laid down. In his description of the race, Ford says he could just see the black strip during in the blinding run.
I believe Ford's two racers, 999 and Arrow, were the first to make 60 mph on a track (1902) and first to reach 90 mph (1904):