Very nice photo Herb. What a great car. I particularly like those Turtle Decks.
It is a Model N built in 1906. Great photo! Saved to file.
Large houses heated with coal. Looks like the street is brand new and was graded wrong around the trees. Nice photo of the car.
Look at the horse in the background.
The numbers on the radiator, looks like 6242 what is the significance of them?
License plate. Many early ones had only numbers, no state, and were sometimes made of odd materials like wood or leather. Some states even required car owners to provide their own plates.
It looks like the horn bulb is mounted on the floor. Some owners found a foot more available than a hand for honking. Or possibly the delicate bulb mount on the seat had broken.
The side lamps look later. That might help date the photo.
Either it hadn't been sitting there very long or there wasn't any oil in it because it hasn't yet marked those new pavers!
Hi Royce. How did you determine it was a 1906?
Hope you don't mind—thought I'd increase the contrast a bit.
It's a better picture now Bob.
What is on the steering column?
The horn bulb appears on the left side of the steering column. Seems to have a tail lamp as well. It looks like the bail is showing.
Were the oil lamps standard for that model?
Ken in Texas
(Message edited by drkbp on May 25, 2015)
Is that something on the radiator cap? Cant figure it out or is that the storm drain or? There looks to something like it on far left side.
The ''N'' was introduced onto the market in 1906 with the flared fenders -- step plates & 28x3 tyres [as pictured].
In1907 the ''R'' was introduced with the regular style fenders and running boards.
In 1908 the ''R'' was introduced with bigger wheels.
John, that's a storm drain built into the curb. (I think that's what you are referring to.)
Bob, the N was produced in 1907 as well, and probably 1908. I have a 1907 N. I had another 07 years ago, but the distinctions between the years I am aware of are not evident in the photo above. I thought perhaps there was some distinguishing feature I was unaware of.
I believe it's a 1907/08 N. Squared lamps, instead of bale handled seen on many 06 Ns, along with the later style radiator suggest 07/08. If I knew where the back support for the top rail is, we would know for sure. The 06 supports were different from the 07/08 but I can't tell on this photo. Another indicator would be the rear differential supports where they connect to the axle housings, but again, we can't see them.
Frank X. Mudd bought this 1906 Model N, picking it up at Detroit in August, 1906. Henry Ford is seated beside him.
It has bale handled sidelamps, with a straight buggy rail. The 07/08 N buggy rail followed the countour of the seat. The radiator neck is also larger than the later 07/08 style, with a "lightbulb" thread (larger) cap.
Mudd in the same Model N at the Algonquin Hill climb, September, 1906:
Steve; California did not issue plates until 1914; prior to that they only issued a tag with a number and you had to make your own. They had a spec for type and minimum size of lettering and color, that's it. i had a heck of a time going around with DMV to get the YOM plates registered for my '11 because they are 'pre-state' plates. It took working directly with the DMV folks in Sacramento, them faxing me their reg to take to the local office, and me really pushing the issue with the local office to get it through. So many were wood or leather, and some were private porcelain. The majority were 'kit plates;, where you bought a solid backing for the rear, a screen backing for the front, the numbers you needed, then assembled it yourself.
Not sure what Royce sees as being 1906 either. The absence of the "trap door" on the hood side is the sign of an early N however. Royce?
Also appears to have Midgley wheels, using hollow steel spokes. If you look carefully, it appears that the felloes & rims are one piece, suggesting the all steel wheel.
How come the handle bars are on the correct side?
Kevin -- That's because Henry hadn't yet figured out which side was the right one.
What period did Henry make the fatal mistake then?
The Model T was the first Ford car with LHD.
John Page, Australia
That is interesting, I wish all countries were the same, the amount of Tourists that kill people on our roads due being on the wrong side goes up every year. here is a bit of interesting info I just found if you can be bothered reading it -
In the past, almost everybody travelled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent.
In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.
The car has no doors in the hood. It would if it was a 1907 or later N.
It has a bail handle tail lamp. Lamps and horns were supplied by outside vendors of various brands and styles. I don't think the bail / no bail argument can be used to date the car, particularly since it appears to be a few years old.
Here is a similar N:
That is interesting. I knew about the feudal times and keeping the dominate right had ready. But I had not previously read about the French teamsters. Thank you for that.
More good N pictures, Royce, thank you.
The Model N in this thread has a later (07/08) radiator. It's difficult to determine if it has a right side hood door. The Model R came out in late March or early April, 1907, and the reason a right door was added was presumably to adjust the McCord oiler Models R and later S used. Model N used an exhaust pressure oiler, and again, presumably, Ford did not see a need for a right side door on the N. I suspect some "non-right door" hoods were used for Model N after the R was introduced, again, in the spring and possibly summer of 07.
Only 712 1906 Model N were sold (fiscal year), while just over 5200 were sold in 1907, and another 700 plus in 1908. The odds favor it being a 1907/08, along with the fact it has the later 07/08 style radiator. Without the other evidence that would confirm which model it is, I stand by my guess it is an 07/08.
For all -- Great discussion. Good questions. I'm slowly working on a longer answer (Hello - my name is Hap and I'm a long answer person). But it has been a lot of fun looking at the information so far.
I'm looking forward to what else we discover as we continue to research this one.
For Royce -- would you please let us know what you are basing your comment, "The car has no doors in the hood. It would if it was a 1907 or later N." I am always looking for additional references on the N, R, S, & SR cars (as well as any 1903-1927 Ford).
For Rob -- I hope your recovery is going well -- be sure to keep following the doctor's guidance. I had a friend who thought the doctor was wrong about when his cast on his broken leg should come off. So he took it off early. That resulted in cast needing to be put back on and to remain on longer than it originally would have taken. We are praying you will have a speedy recovery.
For Bob -- actually the Model N Runabout was available with 28 x 3 clincher wheels from 1906 to 1908 with some stragglers possibly shipped later. Note 28 x 2 1/2 were available on the $500 1906 Model N with the 28 x 3 clinchers adding $50 to the price. Ref page 45 and 52 of 63 chapter 4 Sales and Models in "Pate's Early Ford Automobile Encyclopedia"
The Model R Runabout had the 30 x 3 clinchers on all four wheels and was shipped from 1907 with some stragglers possibly shipped & sold later in Page 52 of 63.
The Model S Runabout had the 28 x 3 clinchers and was shipped the end of 1907 to 1908 with some stragglers possibly shipped later. pg 52 of 63.
The Model S Roadster had the 30 x 3 clinchers and was shipped 1908 with some stragglers possibly shipped as late a 1909. page 52 of 63.
(I’m still finding type-o's - I hate that!) But that is a good guide.
Hap l9l5 cut off
I'm getting along quite well (shoulder surgery), thank you for asking.
While you are preparing a well researched response (as we have come to expect, and enjoy ), I'll throw up a few things.
Hap has mentioned the Model N at "The Henry Ford" museum before, and it appears to be a good example of a mostly original car. I checked with the staff at THF, and they report this N has engine number 5199. This should place the production period for the car around June, 1907 ( Trent Boggess's ledger research). N #5189 is dated 6/7/1907 and #5202 is dated 6/8/1907. The earliest 5,000 engine number appears on 5/13/1907, #5001. Trent's ledger database includes only a percentage of actual cars produced, however gives us a good representation of cars and timeframe.
This tells me the Model N at THF, if the hood is original, received a hood with no right side door in June 1907. If this is the case, it also tells me Ford continued to use old stock hoods (one door) or chose to continue with no right side door on Model N, well into fiscal year 1907, and as importantly, well through the production period of the Model N (number 5199 of just less than 7,000 Model N sold, 1906-1909).
The Model N at THF is listed as a "1906," although the top irons definitely show it to be a 1907-1908 car:
Courtesy THF, all rights apply:
What does it matter? It probably doesn't. However any information that helps us understand the progression of Ford Motor Company and the cars built up to and through the Model T give us a clearer picture of the past, and help complete the story of the Model T. Thank you Herb for posting the photo, and all for contributing,
Thank you for posting the additional photos. If you happen to know where the photos were taken that can sometimes help us better understand them. For example the USA produced cars would have normally only had a rear deck latch on the right side of the trunk, but the car in the photo appears to have one on both sides of the trunk. Both Ford of Canada as well as Ford of England produced bodies that were not always identical to the USA bodies. In the case of the car you posted with the light colored body paint, it appears to have been modified some with the removal of the fenders and fender irons. And possibly modified so the trunk could be opened from either side? I wish we could read the date on the license tag. Perhaps you can see if it can be seen or not in the original? Clearly if it is a 1906 date on the tag – that would be an indicator that it was a 1906 photo (or an out dated tag). But note that the hood on that car does not match the color of the car. Additionally it has a handle on top of the hood (which would be nice to have) but which I do not think was supplied by Ford. So perhaps the hood had been replaced at some point?
Thank you for posting the update. I'm still sorting through some information. But the "N" on display at the Henry Ford Museum was and still is a very well preserved original. A few things have been polished (brass, the aluminum water connector on top of the cylinders, steering wheel redone etc.) but basically not restored, never taken apart etc. If I remember the story correctly a Ford dealer in Texas (ok – that is why I should write things down I might have the wrong state etc.) had the car. The Henry Ford Museum thought it was such a good example of an original car that they pestered the Ford Dealer to let the car go to them. So there is a high probability the hood is original to the car. For anyone wanting better photos of that Ford Model N Runabout please see the Henry Ford web page at: http://collections.thehenryford.org/Collection.aspx?objectKey=50201 and yes as Rob pointed out they have it mislabeled as a 1906 rather than a 1907. Truth in posting – there is a slight disagreement on the engine serial number between what the museum has listed and what one of our Early Ford Registry members recalls it being. But both numbers are within 200 or so of each other so either way it would have been shipped around mid-May to early-Jun 1907. So that is a strong indication that at least through May/early Jun 1907 that some of the Model N Fords were shipped without a door on the right side of the hood.
Disclaimer for all the hoods -- they can easily be replaced so if someone damaged one -- it could have been replaced. Note you cannot necessarily take the hood off of one N,R,S, & SR and fit it onto another N,R,S, & SR as the width of the radiators were different. That caused the hoods to be a little shorter or a little longer. So the hood length needed to match the radiator width for the car it was assembled with. Note the dash stayed in the same location as far as I know.
And your question "What does it matter?" For most folks it doesn't. If someone isn’t interested in the early Fords they probably don’t know and don’t care that there were four models the Model N,R,S and SR all with their own serial number range starting with #1 up to the end of their production. And they certainly wouldn’t care about when a door was or was not used on the right hand side of the car. But for those of us that would like to document as closely as possible what happened, we really appreciate any clues and documentation folks can supply that will help us better document what likely occurred back then. And questions that will help us look in areas that will lead to clues are also appreciated.
For anyone interested in the 1906-08 N,R,S, & SR Fords,
I do not recall seeing many light colored N,R,S,or SR cars. I know there was one in the photo from the Olympia show (Benson Ford Archives # TFH23030 but that number didn’t help in the search. If you go to: https://www.thehenryford.org/imagesource.aspx and search on England it should come up). If you know of other examples of light colored N, R, S, or SR cars would you please point us to them? You can e-mail the information if you prefer not to post it on the forum. You can click on my name at the beginning of this or any posting and it brings up my forum profile. My e-mail address is the 3rd line down. Or you can send me a private message via the forum. Note, if you do not receive some sort of answer such as “Thank you” etc. within 5 days – please let me know. Sometimes things get “lost in space.” We have been trying to better document the paint schemes used on the N, R, S, and SR for over 10 years now. If they had only used the mid-teens to mid-twenties USA Model T Ford production method of “black” it would have been so much easier to document. And yes photos of other darker colors would also be welcomed. I am especially looking for early photos that show the color of the body and the color of the frame.
I look forward to learning more and probably having more questions, but that is part of the discovery process. Thank you to everyone for your help and your patience.
Hap l9l5 cut off
The car in the Henry Ford Museum is listed as having a wheel diameter of 18 inches. Wouldn't it have to have a wheel diameter of at least 21 or 22 inches if the tire size is 28 X 3?
How do the top irons from 1906 differ from 1907? Also, I thought the 1906 N models came standard without a top. If so, then I wouldn't think the top on the car would be a good indicator of year of make, since it could have been added at any time.
Good catch. I missed that one. I’m not sure where they got their wheel size measurement. But a 28 by 3 wheel without the clincher tire would be very close to 22 inches in diameter. That would be tire size minus 2 times the width of the tire. I.e. 28 minus (2 x 3=6) so 22 inch wheel. That same formula works for the 30 x 3 front wheels on the non-demountable Ts (and yes there could have been non-demountable 30 x 3 ½ front wheels on the very early USA produced open cars) but for the 30 x 3 we have 30 minus 6 for 24 inch diameter wheel. And for the 30 x 3 1/2 clincher we have 30 minus (3.5 x 2 = 7) for 23 inch diameter wheel.
There are several errors spread out over many different items at the Henry Ford. They are doing a great job of adding thousands of photos etc. to their site for educational use etc. But there are currently not enough knowledgeable people either volunteers or paid in all the different areas to catch all of the mistakes, type-o’s etc.. But I would prefer they go ahead and load them on the web and allow the different folks to help correct items than wait until they know for sure what each item should read.
Maybe some of us could offer to help them “QC” the early Ford items?
And great photo of the family and your T on your profile!
Hap l9l5 cut off
Early Model N that had top irons had "tabs" protruding from the back seat that were positioned for a straight buggy rail the top attached to. 1907-08 N (and R and S) had irons that contour the seat back, and result in a bent or contoured buggy rail. Below is a photo of our early 1906 N, the top iron tabs can be seen coming out of the side of the seat. On the N at THF, the buggy rail is supported from irons that contour with the seat, telling us it is in all likelihood a 1907/08 seat:
Early 06 seat
THF N (courtesy THF)
Thank you, Rob. My N is a December 1906 manufacture. I will double check when I get home, but I don't believe it has the straight 'tab' style buggy rail.
I don't know when the top iron brackets changed. It will be interesting to learn which your December 06 car has.
From an English journal, a photo of an English custom bodied Model N. I have a few more when I'm able to find them. They also have the white/cream custom body. The fore doors are not often seen on pre 1910 cars:
Hi Rob. The buggy rail on my car follows the contour of the seat. However, I do not have the drop down bracket shown in the picture.
If you would like I can e-mail or text you some pictures.
No, you wouldn't have the drop down bracket. The lower mounted buggy rail negates the need for one. The photo above that shows one, also has the later contoured buggy rail.
The drop down bracket allows the top to fold down to a manageable height. Otherwise there is no stop or carrier. On the early version the carrier protrudes directly out from the seat.
Jerry, what does your S have for a top carrier?
My car is an 1907 N, #6000. It has the later contoured buggy rail with the "drop down" brackets and early Model T style saddles.
Rob, there is a carrier, it is just mounted directly on the buggy rail.
You know, the more I look at the original photo, the more it appears to show the 1906 style buggy rail. Judging by the rest, or saddle, the bows are laying on.
I've looked closely at the photo to try and determine which rail it has, but unfortunately the photo is damaged where the carrier is, and the driver is so large he covers most of the top and rail.
Jerry, do you have measurements of your seat width and the distance between the firewall and seat? Our N seat and distance from the firewall to seat pedestal are a little less than Bruce Van Slone's 1908 S runabout. It would be interesting to compare the measurements between a known 06 and 07/08 N.
Jerry, the top saddle on my N is about the same location as the straight 06 buggy rail saddle, but it is mounted on a buggy rail that follows the seat contour.
Massachusetts was the first state to issue license plates - in late 1903. The first plate - logically enough #1, was issued to Mr. Frederick Tudor. Massachusetts 1 is still held by a member of the Tudor family. The plate was white on blue porcelain coated steel.
When you have time would you please send me and/or post a photo of your top and buggy rail? And any other photos or information about your car would be appreciated. (If you click on my name at the beginning of the posting it brings up my profile and my e-mail address is the third line down.)
When you say the top is mounted on a buggy rail that follows the seat contour that could mean it remains level and goes around the back of the seat - following the seat contour. But it could also be read as it follows the seat contour going up to the top of the seat back -- which was the way Rob used it in one of the posting above. A photo would help answer that question and avoid folks reading something later and thinking two different things.
This has been a much harder nut to crack than I initially thought it would be. I believe we are making progress.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Good morning Hap: The rail follows the edge of the seat. I have some pictures my wife sent me (I am out of town) that I will forward to you that you certainly may post here. Please let me know what else you would like to see or know about.
I wasn't looking at the location of the saddle. I was thinking more of the style of saddle.
From the original posting:
From Rob's "Mudd" photo:
It's the same style saddle.
Well, o.k. Now I see the 1907 car at The Henry Ford also has this style saddle. My 1907 however does not. It has the stirrup style saddle. Like this...
Jerry, I don't know that the saddle is an indicator, but a straight buggy rail tells us it's an early body, and the "up and over" contour rail a later N. I don't know when this change occurred. Aside from this, other early (06 vs. 07/08) changes I am aware of include the angle of the support rods where they attach to the axle housing. Some other very early features include no engine boss (where later engine numbers were stamped), brake rod lever pointed down instead of up (on the brake backing plate), and the style of radiator.
I know our N deck is about one and a half inches shorter than on Bruce's S, and there is about 1 1/2 inch less foot room (firewall to seat), but I don't know if this was increased on the N too. A later N body measurement would be interesting for a comparison.
I'll post a few pics of some of these things on our 06 N later.
From my iPhone
Jerry: The saddle on my N is like the ones in the photo, not like your car.
Thank you for sending me the photos of the top and buggy rail from your car. I have posted them below to help make it clear how your car is configured.
Barry Fowler's Ford Model N Runabout from approximately a Dec 1906 Model N Runabout.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Why are we discussing this on the Model T Ford Club forum? Good question. For those that may not be aware, on the Chapter Listing located at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm “The 1903-1909 Early Ford Registry” is listed as one of the MTFCA chapters. It is listed under the Wordwide chapters along with the Model T Snowmobile Club.
Additionally the Model N, R, S, & SR field tested many of the ideas (such as the Planetary steering gears (also tested on the Model Ks), design of the intake and exhaust manifolds (the 1907-08 style are a mirror image) etc.) as well as some of the parts (front spring is the same, front wheel bearings are the same, rear brake drum is the same, etc.) that went into the Model T Fords unchanged.
And it is an exciting topic to see how it will unfold in the coming days. Wait, how we will learn how it unfolded over a 100 years ago….
Thank you to everyone for their help and patience as we try to better document this part of the early Ford history.
Hap l9l5 cut off
It appears that once again Ford did not change over production on a single date with the introduction of a new model and ceasing production of the previous models. Rather like most of the time during the early years (yes, including the Model Ts) he made running changes that appear to have quite a bit of overlap.
Note we have photos of what we believe are existing original cars. But as with anything old – we do not have anyone that can say they know for sure that none of the parts were or were not changed out. But we offer the following as a first installment. “IF” both of the cars still have the original engine number, body irons for the top, and lamps that they came from the Ford factory with, then they clearly show that both styles were available well into 1907.
First, in case I run out of time, I will post the photos of Ford Model N Runabout car # 5361. It is listed in Trent’s Database were we learn it was originally shipped Jul 2, 1907 to the Standard Motor Car Co, in San Francisco CA. It was sold at a Bonhams’ auction on May 10, 2014 see their web site at: http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22174/lot/304/ I have used the photos for educational purposes and hopefully I am well within the “fair use” rules. If someone knows I’m wrong on that understanding please let me know and I can ask Chris to remove them.
From the Jul 1907 Model N above has the early style top and “irons for the top” but has the door on the right side of the hood and the square lamps.
And of course the mid-May to early Jun Model N at the Henry Ford is shown again below:
Our data source is very small -- two photos of apparently original cars. Both with a month or so of each other between mid-May and early Jul 1907.
So much more still to discover.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Hap: As can be seen, the buggy rail on my N does follow the seat edge, but the saddle for the top is different from the other pictured N with the buggy rail that follows the seat edge. The lamps on the car are rounded and have the bail handle. There is no door on the right side of the hood. It has an early 2000 number, which I understand was made in December of 06. Also there is no sign of a horn ever having been mounted on the steering column.
I really enjoy this thread, the photos and discussions are all wonderful!
I wish there were some good chance I could yet get a NRS/SR project pile. I keep liking the little cars more and more.
Thank you to all who contribute here!!
Wayne -- I'm glad you are enjoying the journey. Once I get my S runnabout running and driving safely (it is after the 1970 VW, after the 1922 speedster, after the 1931 Model A,... and then there is that "honey do list...") I'll gladly let you give it a test drive.
Barry -- Yes, your buggy rail does follow the curve of the seat up around the back. Unlike a few of the other buggy rails that follow the curve of the seat up to the top, your buggy rail is actually not a continuous iron all the way across the top of the seat back. Instead they are split in the back and are two rails.
I am not sure if that was a buggy rail supplied from the factory or by the dealer or some other source. From what I can tell so far, Ford Motor Company USA did not produce their own tops, but sold tops that were produced for their car as an accessory to the car. Again with a sample size of one -- your car -- it is hard to make any type of trend. Have you seen other buggy rails that are split at the back?
One theory (guess) that I have, is that perhaps when Ford switched to the later style "irons for top" used mid-1907 to 1908 some of those "irons for top" may have been fitted to the earlier style Model N Runabouts that had seats that were not as wide as the R and later N & S bodies. Having the split would allow them to work on the narrow seat of the earlier style N body or wider seats of the later Ns as well as the R, S, and SR bodies. But that is only a GUESS.
Does anyone else have any photos of the "buggy rail" that is split in the middle like the one on Barry's car?
Hap l9l5 cut off
(Message edited by Hap_tucker on June 02, 2015)
A good theory. Personally, I suspect the standard wide seat came about at the same time as the "contour" buggy rail. The Model R was announced in late February, and I suspect N seats were also widened to the same dimension at that time. The R was advertised as having a slightly larger body, but I would guess Wilson (body maker) and Ford would have both preferred a standard seat to place on either body (N or R). It would be good to have a list of known seat widths and firewall to seat length to get an idea when this change occurred, as well as when the contour rail appeared.
Thank you for your research,
Hap & Rob: You have both talked about different seat measurements. What are the different measurements? I would like to compare those to my car.
I'll begin another thread with NRS specific measurements. Thank you Herb for posting the original N photo, and all for your many good posts,