Rare photo, circa 1903, of Henry Ford's famous 999 racer -- the one that Barney Oldfield drove, and Ford himself, in the opening scene of my book Car Crazy, about the early days of the car industry. I will be presenting a seminar on Oldfield, Ford and the early days of racing at the annual meeting of the Antique Automobile Club of America Feb. 13 in Philadelphia -- looking forward to it! Hope T lovers can make it.
With the steering wheel instead of tiller, this photo was taken in late 1903 or early 1904, after Henry Ford rebuilt and upgraded the wrecked 999 (or Arrow). This is the car HF "borrowed" (Tom Cooper owned both racers) to make his famous world mile record in early 1904.
Frank Day was killed driving this racer at the Wisconsin State Fair in September (?), 1903. The wrecked racer was sent back to Henry Ford for rebuilding by Cooper. After reconditioning and upgrading the racer, Henry Ford drove it to a world record on ice, becoming the first man to exceed 90 mph in a gas powered racer. To the best of my knowledge, this the only early Ford racer involved in a driver fatality.
One of these racers was also the first to exceed 60 mph on a circular track, with Barney Oldfield driving.
Good luck with the seminar and thank you for posting,
Not long ago I made a comment about modern drivers excessive speed including a crack suggesting they all must think they're Barney Oldfield. My 40 year old son said, "Who?"
That's "just wrong".......
Time marches on..........
A few more pics of the same car. The first is of the 999/Arrow wreck as it's loaded on a wagon at the WI State Fairgrounds in September 1903. Notice the tiller steering. The "v" shaped intake indicates it's the same racer seen in the first photo on this thread, and the racer used by Henry Ford (with steering wheel) to set the mile world record in 1904:
This is a page from the January 30, 1904 Automotive Review, showing the racer now with steering wheel, shortly after Henry Ford's record run:
I wonder where the first picture was taken? I also wonder what happened to the coils that say Huff on them?? G Wayne,I enjoyed your book! Bud.
I can't be sure, but the picture at the top of the thread could be in one of the power houses at the Ford Motor Company. The engine/generator in the background appears to be one of the power units installed in the early teens. There were reportedly a total of six of these gigantic engines installed in 1913-1914. Each engine had a 20-foot flywheel weighing 85 tons carried on a 32 inch diameter crankshaft. Each engine was rated at 6000 horsepower at 85 rpm. 42 inch bore and 72 inch stroke. The intake and exhaust ports were 15 inches in diameter. Big power for a big manufacturing plant!!
William,Those were called the Gas Steam engines.One side was for a gas i think Ford produced like natural gas.The other side was Steam and Ford could run whichever was cheapest at the time. There is one in the Henry Ford and maybe a search would pull up the exacts?I also think the crankshaft was centred and there were pistons on each end.I'm not sure if they could run both sides at once?? I wonder if the 13-14 date is correct and what did they start with when Highland Park was built?? I think your right it look's like a powerhouse but i doubt it was at Mack Ave or Piquette! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Rob I've got a 1902 Detroit newspaper hanging in my shop that was print the day after Oldfield broke that record. There is a front page article on it. Tried to copy it for you last year without success.
Thanks John, these are a few headlines I've collected.
I hope G. Wayne doesn't mind the additional posts, but this is quite an interesting topic for early Ford followers.
This is how the run to break the 60 mph barrier was billed:
The 60 mph circular track mile is finally broken, by Barney Oldfield, in mid 1903:
In this news clip, with more detail, Oldfield claims the Ford racer "was designed by himself (Oldfield)." It also says Tom Cooper was driving "his 999." I suspect some of the confusion over 999 and Arrow was already happening, and the two partners may very have traded racers during their barnstorming races.
The remarkable aspect as far as I'm concerned is, Henry Ford built both racers, and at this point in time, they were the fastest racers, or among the fastest, in the world.
The other thing of note, Henry Ford isn't mentioned in any of the news clips. While I suspect many racing people knew who built the racers, the media publicity wasn't necessarily there, until Henry Ford drives one of his creations to a world record in 1904:
One of the few photos I'm aware of with both Ford racers together, Barney Oldfield Tom Cooper and driving:
Some really wonderful stuff added to the tale here!
Can someone please super size the picture of each engine?? Are the heads/valve/valve drive the same? Bud.
I'm not sure if I have ever seen a photo of the Arrow and 999 together. Too bad the photo is not from the manifold side.
I always learned the Arrow had the V shaped manifold and the 999 had the curved manifold.
Of course parts could have been swapped around...
: ^ )
OK, more information about the power station at Ford Motor Co. I'm getting the information from the book, American Gas Engines, by C.H. Wendel. The engines were supplied by the Hooven-Ownes-Rentschler Co. The engines were designed by Mr. Gray and were known as the Hamilton-Gray Engines. The first engine, of 5000 horsepower, was installed in June of 1913. The other six combined gas/steam 6000 horsepower engines were placed into service in 1914. Each of those 6000 hp engines carried a steam engine and gas engine on the same crankshaft. Cooling water from the gas engines provided pre-heated water for the boilers, and the boilers themselves utilized surplus heat from the gas producers, and those in turn provided coal gas for the gas engine. It is unknown how well this complicated merry-go-round worked in actual practice!
Another pic of the racer Ford revamped and drove to the world record in 1904. I suspect this photo was taken shortly after the record breaking run. The V shaped intakes are heavily insulated:
If that is the Highland Park power house, the picture would have to be later than 1910 when Ford moved from Piquette.
Thank's everyone!! Bud.
Have you ever done research at George Eastman Museum here in Rochester, NY. We have the Nathan Lazarnick archives in our collection. These are hundreds of original dry plate (glass) negatives that document the early history of auto racing 1900-1920. Really amazing stuff.
Most of these are unpublished and only known to the few scholars who have come to inspect them, though I believe there is a database with many of the images digitally inverted to positives.
G Wayne, I hope you have a great turnout for your seminar! I'd love to be there.
That 1st pic is sooo cool for me! I run steam engines in central MN in the fall of each year.
Any chance of a better pic of that engine room?
Anyone notice that picture/drawing from the Indianapolis Star, Jun 21 '03?
Is that real or???? Did these fellas try overhead cam instead of the automatic intake Valves? The racer in the museum and the replica (in Mich?) have the automatic intakes and tiller steering.
Bevel gear drive from the lower/exhaust cam to the intake cam?
Duey,When you are looking at the 999 in the museum at the Henry Ford if you get real low you will see there is no oil pan!! There are also grease cups on the rods!!Bud.
Oof! Bud, you've seen those details too!
Cool but very crude! Yup! Burned in my memory!
Bud, The oil pan was one of the innovations Henry and crew brought out with the Model T. Before that, cars usually had a cast crankcase with the cylinders bolted on either singly or in pairs. As you say, no sump at all is pretty crude.
Thomas,I think your right about the N R,and model S but i'm sure Rob's model K has a oil pan? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Yes, the K has a sump style pan. NRS is a more shallow one piece pan with inspection covers on the side of The aluminum engine pan/frame. The K pan is separate, with gasket, and the seven main bearings are in the top half of the pan, like the Model T went to after the one piece pan.
The K pan holds over three quarts of oil, NRS between 1/2 and 3/4 quart in it's shallow pan/engine bottom.
This is a pic of a K engine with the cylinder jugs and pan removed. Like a T, the motor can be worked on from top or bottom without removing the engine frame from the car:
Ok,The next question is--Is there babbit in the K engine block or is it only in the cap's like the very early T's?? Ok,The K has a pan with a mechanical oiler so do you have to drain excess oil?? We have a nice 40 deg thaw here but it will not last! Thank's for restarting the thread Thomas!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I've heard Barney Oldfield's name for as long as I can remember. A couple years ago I read that he used the number 3 one of the times he raced at the Indianapolis Speedway. As a sort of goofy tribute I put the number 3 on my speedster. Then last summer some guy reminded me that 3 was Earnhardt's number. Is it my problem if Dale Earnhardt copied Barney Oldfield too. No disrespect intended but, I'm not all that fond of NASCAR anyway!
Yes, the Model K has babbitt on both block and cap sides. The K pan has one petcock, to check high level and drain off excess oil. The oiler takes care of the low side (instead of a high/low petcock on the T. Ideally, if the oiler is set correctly, you won't let off much excess oil, and not need to add oil to the crankcase.
Like the 1907-1926 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, the K oiler feed each cylinder wall on the thrust side, as well as an oil line to the timing gear cover and u-joint cover.
Michael G, I wouldn't worry about the number three thing. There are a few numbers that are sensitive to some various hobbyists. Number three is generally fine. I have run the number three on the SCVMTFC Endurance Runs for several years myself. The past few years have not treated me well and I have missed them, so the number has become available again (the club will only reserve it without being entered for I think two years). If I lose it, I will simply chose some other available number.
For many years before that, I ran the number twenty on several different cars.
I gave up that number when a good friend managed to acquire my original first speedster which still had the number on it. I felt that the number belonged to the car more than it belonged to me. He still runs it.
There are few numbers that are frowned upon by some people. The two biggest ones are simply "0" and "1". Egos come into play. Both numbers I have seen on several cars, and even been run by close friends of mine. "00" is also run on a car or two.
There are a lot of people that refuse to run the number "16" because of the reference to the original "old 16" Locomobile. Then again, one of my longest time absolute best friends has run the number himself. As have a few other people on different cars.
You may remember this photo.
One of my favorite happy ending "oops" photos.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
When I was a young man I worked in the pits for a friend on the local dirt tracks. We had an 8-Ball, an HC 1, HC 2 and HC 3. The HC was to represent Hill City. We also had one with the number 13 on it. Everyone's number was somehow significant. I always found it real interesting.
What part of the shackle broke on number 16? It don't look like a good thing.
He and his wife were on the SCVMTFC Endurance Run doing about 45 mph when the shackle perch broke. The car handled badly, but he drove well and pulled safely onto the side of the winding road. Followed by one of his rare rides on the vulture trailer.
This car has some history of its own. I sadly do not recall the name of the fellow that restored it, but it was restored back in the 1960s by one of the early proponents of speedsters preservation. He and the car were regulars for many years when the SCVMTFC began putting the runs on about 1969. I remember the car from those days, although the first run I made it to with my first car was not until 1972.
Dan did a bit of work on the car after he bought it some years ago. The car had been fairly well cared for and did not seem to need much. After the perch broke, it was discovered that some time way back in the past, the perch had been welded (no knowledge who welded it). The weld, however eventually broke. Unfortunately, that is a reality of driving century old cars. Sometimes, something has happened in the past that we cannot know about.
That is one of the reasons I close the way I usually do:
Drive carefully, and enjoy. W2