I'm not suggesting this, just speculating. As we near completion of our 6-40 Roadster, a look into the history of the "6-40" reveal some interesting aspects of the high powered runabout.
A possible Ford "first," some publications claimed the Ford Gentleman's Roadster was the first commercially produced six cylinder runabout on the market:
As this February 1907 article states, the Ford "will be the only six cylinder runabout on the market:"
This March "The Motor Way" article described the runabout:
The other six cylinder runabout that appeared on the market about the same time, and also laid claim to being America'a "first," was a monstrous 75 hp roadster built by National:
National, made in Indianapolis, like Ford, was one of the first six cylinder car makers in the U.S.. However, where Ford would lay claim to building more six cylinder cars than any other car maker in the world for both 1906 and 1907, National was a much smaller car maker in terms of production.
In contrast with Ford, National planned on building only 400 cars in 1907, including 100 six cylinder cars (this would include both touring and runabouts). Ford, meanwhile, would maintain it's superiority building sixes, producing almost 500 Model K for 1907:
Originally, Ford announced plans to build only 50 six cylinder runabouts:
However, as this March 1907 article covering high powered runabouts reports, Gaston Plaintiff, N.Y. Ford Branch Manager, claimed to have placed orders for 20 Ford 6-40's already:
And Manager Thomas Fay, Chicago Ford branch manager reported, the "6-40" was well received upon it's arrival in Chicago:
More to follow, of course....
Rob,I think i saw a National at the OCF years ago and i think it was a two stroke engine?? Glad to hear of the progres on the 6-40!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
There's a very famous ghost town/mining site in Nevada called National........named by the two prospectors that discovered the mine since they were driving a National car. They also dubbed the highest point Radiator Hill.
The names are still on the USGS maps of the area.
The National six cylinder runabout was an imposing car. At 75 hp, it listed an 80 mph top speed:
While Ford initially said they would build 50 runabouts, by the middle of 1907 the number was raised to 100. It appears there were two versions of the roadster. The first, like the factory drawings, had a 90 degree angle where the rear fender met the running board:
I haven't found many photos of this first roadster, although a few remain:
The only possible remaining example may be this tourabout now at Seal Cove in Maine. The car has a later motor, but the rear fender meets the running board in the same manner as the early roadster:
By May, 1907, Ford is advertising the more common swept fender roadster:
The Ford roadster soon wins accolades for the company. In June, a Ford roadster wins the Stucky Hill Climb outside Cleveland. Henry Ford is there to celebrate the victory. Edsel is seated in the rumble seat:
So, does the Ford 6-40 Roadster deserve to be classified as a separate Ford model? In 1908, Ford Motor Company seemed to think so. This page was in the October 1908 Ford Times:
Models S and K have both roadster and runabout/touring listed. surprisingly, the Model R is not shown.
Tomorrow, the Model K roadster is the last of two models built prior to the Model T.
The first article, talking about the Model K roadster, "The car has made such a decided hit that it has now become one of the regular models:"
This article, dated June 7, 1908, says Ford is only producing two models, "in quantities only the four cylinder Rumble Seat Runabout, Model "S," and the six-cylinder Runabout, Model K." This means models N, K touring and S Runabout are no longer being produced, so that "their factory can put its best energy toward bringing out the Model "T:"
Could the K Roadster be classified as it's own "Model?" What is the criteria? Like Models N, R and S, the K Roadster has the same chassis as the K touring. The Roadster did have different suspension (springs), steering column, wheel size along with different styling (cowling). One Early Ford enthusiast suggested a "model" needed it's own engine numbering, however, models A, C and F share the same number sequence.