Beginning at the stroke of midnight, December 31, 1906, the Ford Chicago Branch manager and staff began a Chicago tradition of driving one hundred miles in the bitter cold to celebrate the New Year of 1907. The run would evolve to include a companion train that would take less intrepid revelers to the Fox Run Country Club where they would meet the autoists for dancing and continued partying.
I'll post a description of each run. I'm not labeling this Off Topic because Model T will eventually join the run.
Happy New Year
The first run is a small affair, with Ford Branch Manager Thomas Hay and a few branch staff driving their new 1907 Model K touring car a 100 miles over Chicago streets:
Next, 1908, and the tour grows.
We're about to head into town for a short fun run, so this will be the last "Run" clip before my "run."
For January 1, 1908, Manager Hay opens the run up to all Ford owners. The course will be from the Chicago Auto Club to Elgin and Aurora Illinois and back. This article also explains the idea of a "Century Run" began ten years earlier by cyclists:
What the route may have looked like in 1908:
Not sure I'd want to take my T on i280,
But I would gladly ride with Rob in his K!
Chuck, I don't know the roads that existed then, but the mileage comes pretty close using the routes above. I think we would find less travelled streets and roads.
The January 1st 1908 run went off with six cars, two Model K and four runabouts (N, R or S runabouts):
Lived at Hinsdale for three years mid 80's, unless it has changed, I280 moves slower than the side streets. When driving to the Bethany hospital, we always took Ogden Ave paralleling the freeway.
Dale, if anyone ever resurrects this tour, my guess is they would choose non Freeway routes. With the drunks out, it probably wouldn't be a good idea, at least not until daylight.
1909 would proved to have the run's biggest turnout. The tour was opened up to all autoists:
Thomas Hay, Ford Branch Manager was the run Marshall, leading the way in a Ford 6-40 Roadster. 17 cars, including the "K" Roadster and two Model T made the run.
In addition to the Ford's, other cars participating were Mitchell (2), Knox (3), Apperson (2), Locomobile, Winton, Rambler, De Lux, Owl, Stoddard-Dayton and Oakland, carrying 80 people. The tour was widely publicized, including this article that appeared in the "New York Times" on January 2, 1909:
The 1910 Century Run was again scheduled, however, according to this late December 1909 report, conditions didn't look good. Twenty cars are signed up, with hub deep snow waiting. Tom Hay will again lead the way, this year with a Ford Model T roadster:
However, conditions worsen, and the run is dropped. Only the train makes the the run to Fox Valley Country Club:
Oh well, there's always next year........
Last one, 1911
Newspapers speculated in December 1910 about the Chicago Century Run:
As the New Year approached, the Chicago papers reported that the run would be moderated, with a 32 mile run instead of the past 100 mile efforts. Tom Hay would again lead the parade,Mathis time riding in a Model T roadster. The first three runs were led by Ford Model K, first a touring, then 1908 and 1909 with a roadster:
The group is scheduled to drive 32 miles, stopping at the "Pink Poodle" at Half Day:
However, I've found no reports of the shortened run for 1911. What I did find in the Chicago paper was this:
So it looks as though the last two scheduled century runs didn't go, due to Mother Nature.
Of course the first three did, and they were led by........Ford Model K.
Hey Rob, It looks like the K was a big hit in the day. As with all cars as new ones come out the older ones are pushed aside or driven into the ground.
Then they get a bad rap. Thanks for taking all the time to find these great post and info so we can understand how great the K was. Well worth the money and a great performer for the day. Thanks, Scott
Thank you. And thank you for helping me understand the inherent strengths of planetary transmissions. I almost passed on buying our first Model K because of the bad reputation the cars had acquired. Fortunately, I was able to ride in one during a tour, and that forever changed my impression of the model.
Below is a photo that appeared in the Chicago paper "Inter-Ocean" on December 30, 1906, announcing the new Model K for 1907. The new K had just arrived in Chicago on the 29th of December, prompting Tom Hay to run the first "Century" with the car. The rest is history: