I've encountered stories of a few people who owned Ford Model K and Thomas Flyers, however, this is the first instance I've found one man who owned both at the same time.
Dr. J. F. Reddy was a wealthy Oregonian at the turn of the last century. He held numerous interests in mines and other enterprises. He also served as the Mayor of Medford OR.
In June, 1907, he purchased a Thomas 40 touring car:
"The Automobile," 12/06/1906
A couple of months later, the Mayor owns a Ford Model K:
"The Automobile," 12/06/1906
The Honorable Dr. Reddy owns two high powered, high priced automobiles. I don't know which he chose to drive routinely, or which he preferred. One, the Thomas, one of the best known makes of the era, highly regarded and romanticized to this day. The other, the Ford, relegated to a footnote in Ford history, and regarded as the car "that Henry didn't want to build."
Meanwhile, the Mayor has the routine issues of office to deal with. This headline from December, 1907:
More to follow.....
(Message edited by Rob on January 11, 2016)
Somehow I think I see a Thomas on the way to Nebraska. Scott
The fact that historians since the beginning of time have trashed talked the Model K is not all bad.
Had they reported that Model K Fords are great automobiles I probably wouldn't have been able to afford one.
So, from my perspective, the historians did me a huge favor.
I saw the thread title, and my first thought was "Did Rob get a Thomas Flyer?"
Timothy K, I have had that thought before about the model K being relatively affordable. I have always wanted one, but have pretty well resigned myself to never having one.
As much as I have hated to sell several of the cars I have managed to have over the years, I try to remain grateful that I have managed to still have the cars and projects I do still have. The '15 T runabout is still coming along slower than I want, but going together. I like my mostly '13 speedster, the boat-tail, and the coupe. If I ever get around to putting the gasoline carriage together? It would be an incredible car. If I sold them all, it wouldn't be enough to make the down payment for a Ford model K (or I would do it). Guess I'll just have to live vicariously through you and Rob for the model K thing!
Drive carefully, and enjoy!!!! W2
Scott, no Thomas for me....... I would like to ride in one of the 1906-1909 Flyers, just for comparison though.
Tim, I think "K" trash talk is a fairly recent phenomenon. At least through 1915 the six cylinder Ford appears to have commanded respect among the public and in automotive circles. One serious turning point in the "K gets no respect" arena appears to be during the Ford Motor Company "Reminiscences," in my opinion. We've found some of the questions posed by the interviewer, and they include "Whose idea was it to produce the big, heavy Model K? Was that Henry Ford's idea?"
Kind of like asking "do you still beat your (place the potential victim's name in the blank)?" In my old law enforcement/invistigation days, we called that a leading question. My suspicion is because of the obvious success of the Model NRS and then T, along with the relative obscurity of the Model K (1,000 produced over a three year period), it was easy to arrive at the conclusion the model was not successful.
Wayne, if you make it to New London to New Brighton, I'm sure Tim and I will make room for you to ride along and experience a couple of Model K up close and personal. We also expect to have a third K on the tour, so they should be plentiful.
I'll finish the story, then put a few Thomas vs. Ford period articles up. Now, back to the story.......
The next time I find reference to one of Dr. Reddy's cars is this November 1908 article. The Dr. meets a few VIP's and drives them around the Rogue River Valley, in his Thomas Flyer:
It appears the Thomas has indeed become the "favored child." In fact, we don't know if Dr. Reddy still owns the Ford, but at least in this instance, he chose the Thomas to escort dignitaries.
Next, a race.......
The next mention of one of Dr. Reddy's car(s) is this bit in the "Medford Mail Tribune," dated July 6th, 1909. Dr. Reddy's car is the first over a pass between Medford and the next town, and evidently won a race the preceding Monday in record time.
Looks as though the 1907 Thomas Flyer is still showing well for Dr. Reddy.
That was likely over Siskiyou Summit, which is even today, a "doozie" of a drive, although it's all freeway, albiet not 70 MPH stuff! "the next town" would have been Yreka, CA (although there were other towns, like Hilt). Interestingly, when I was in High School, I was told that at one time there were about 6 Stutz cars in that area, and one or two had been found in 'recent years' (probably the 1960s)--but I never chased any down! There were some wealthy landowners around there in the 'teens.
David, it's great to hear from someone who knows the area.
As it turns out, I had to go to 1940 to learn which car won the race, and made it over the pass:
It seems while Dr. Reddy chose his Thomas to show a VIP around the valley in 1908, in 1909 he chose his "six cylinder Ford" to win the race, and set a record. You have to love it......
I'll put up a few other Ford/Thomas Flyer tidbits in a while (sooner if Alabama scores again....)
Central Point?? Well, yeah, that's a bit of a grade, but nothing like the Siskiyous!
BTW, still lots of wonderful roads around there for T tours!
Rob, it's great to read about something from an area I know! Most everything is see posted is from "back east." There were a lot more folks around back there than out here, even with the gold rush!
David, many of Mayor Reddy's efforts while in office were directed toward "good roads" (as were many politicians and motorists of the period). I can only imagine what the roads were like when slope was involved along with mud.
I don't have many Thomas vs. Ford Six examples, but I'll post a few. In almost every instance where I've found head to head competition, the Ford held it's own, or beat the Thomas.
The most famous, a Ford six beat several cars, including a 60 hp Thomas Flyer, to set a new 24 hour World Record in June, 1907. This is the same model Thomas Flyer that would win the 1908 N.Y. To Paris race:
Another Ford six (roadster) has a perfect score, as does a Thomas Flyer 60 hp, in a 24 hour sealed bonnet contest in New Jersey (1907). The Thomas driver, Montague Roberts, will be one of the Thomas Flyer N.Y. To Paris drivers:
(Message edited by Rob on January 11, 2016)
Rob, Maybe some day I can take you up on that! Getting to the NLNB and OCF are at the top of my bucket list. I really want to get to the OCF before Marty B retires, but probably won't be able to make it.
Meanwhile, I'll just keep reading reports and looking at photos from you and others.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Hope to see you at both events sometime. As additional incentive, this is the 30th anniversary of the New London to New Brighton Tour (Antique Car Run) and I believe the tour planners will add another day (Eric Hylen, if you're reading us, please jump in). Also, the Early Ford Registry will have a pre-tour out of nearby Paynesville MN, beginning the Friday before NLNB.
One last clip on Dr. Reddy. In 1911 he returned from several months touring Europe on a ship that will later become an important footnote in American history:
Another Tomas-Ford competition. In this west coast race, Thomas 70 and Ford 6-40 roadsters are racing neck and neck, when the Ford wrecks:
This description of the race,many wreck. The cars were averaging over 50 mph according based on this article:
Ads for the two cars:
Rob,Any idea as to the cost of the 70 hp Thomas?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Hi Bud, The prices for the Thomas cars are in the ad just above, but the print for the prices is kind of small.
BTW, I hope you and the family are staying warm! It was 1 degree here this morning at sun-up.
The price is tough to see. This description of the $4,000 70 hp roadster:
The Thomas 40 and the Ford six did share another feature in addition to the same horsepower rating. An option for the Thomas was the Holley magneto. The same magneto was standard on the Model K:
To add insult to injury for Thomas, the Holley magneto was developed patented by Ed Huff and.........Henry Ford. Henry Ford was the patent owner, and probably received fees from Holley for each magneto sold.
I caught the term "rumble seat" in the description of the Thomas. You didn't mention the source of the 2:40 pm posting's description. Was that an original era description? Or a historic rewritten description? Just trying to narrow down the origin of the term. I know the term was used as early as 1907, but did not become common until somewhat later.
I also got a kick out of your "add insult to injury" comment!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, it was a December, 1906 "Cycle and Automobile" magazine. Rumble seat is the term I see most of the time in pre-1910 literature. Sometimes it's referred to as the "chauffeur's seat" when the owner wishes to drive with a companion. I don't believe the term "mother-in-law" seat was used, or very seldom if it was. I did a search once and believe it began to show up later. I may check again later.
Have a good week,
I told my almost mother in law it was the Bit-h basket. Took a couple of days for the dust to settle. Be careful where you use that term. Scott
Scott, you have a way with words......
Wonder why she didn't become your M-I-L?
I wasn't going to add this, but it seemed ironic that a Thomas dealer chose this example to advertise his cars superiority. Considering both the Thomas 40 and Ford were rated at 40 hp, does it really seem notable to say the Thomas "passed them all like a rocket, even a big Ford six-cylinder?" And, it sounds like this wasn't a competition, just that the Thomas started later, and passed several cars on the way to Jamestown.
Rob & Wayne,
Yes, this year the 30th running of the NLNB Antique Car Run will feature four days of pre-tours before to grand run on Saturday. Ed Walhoff always does a great job of finding interesting stops. For more info, check out: www.antiquecarrun.org
Thanks Eric. My favorite event of the year (OCF right up there too).
Maybe we will see a Thomas, Pierce, or other contemporary of the Ford six this year. This will make the fifth straight year one or more Model K have been on the run. So far (knock on wood) they've made every Saturday 120 mile run.
My last Thomas-Ford six competition. This one at the Missouri State Fair in 1907. With a $1,000 purse ($25,000 today), six cars entered the ten mile race. A Ford six came in second, a Thomas Flyer finishing fourth:
While there was a Thomas this year at the OCF i doubt the owner ever thought about taking it to Walnut Grove for a comparison? Bud in Frozen Wheeler,Mi.
Bud, I tried to learn more about the cars in the last race. A $1,000 purse seems like quite a lot, so I was surprised more cars weren't entered.
I did find the following on the winning Stoddard-Dayton:
It would be great to see similar cars (to the Ford K) on tours, however ther just aren't many out there that tour.
See you at the next OCF,
Thanks for the post this is interesting reading. (truth is I can't read I just look at the pictures). You mentioned in one of the postings that 3 Model K's will be at the OFC. Do you have any information on how many Model Ks still survive and how many are running?
I have also enjoyed your other postings of the videos of the Model K running on the roadways.
Dennis,The K's have a lot of usable smooth power and the best part is the fact that Rob shares his car!! Bud.
The Bay Area Horseless Carriage Club had a member that toured a Stoddard Dayton for several years. I gotta say, it was a great car! I do not personally know what became of the car since.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy! W2
Rob: As always an interesting and well researched thread
Dennis, here's a 2014 thread on the present number of Model K cars in the world: (about 23-25) http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/427113.html?1393645631
Denny, as always, my pleasure. I'll try to post more pics in the future.....
Bud, if you liked the power of our old touring, you'll really like the power/torque of the K Roadster, lighter and a fresh engine.
Wayne, there was a Stevens Duryea "little six" on the New London to New Brighton tour the first year I took our K touring. Unfortunately, I was not well versed in the history of these two cars (Ford and Stevens were the two leading six cylinder makers in 1906-1907 in the world in terms of sales), and didn't get the two cars together for comparisons.
Roger, thank you. As the link says (I believe, not opening from my mobile device), there are 23-25 K known. Also, I believe there are five engines too. Of these, about six are roadsters (a few roadsters are not stock, but custom made), about six 1906 tourings with Victoria bodies, and the remaining 1907-1908 tourings. I think four or five are documented from first owner, including our roadster.
WOW!!!!! Other than it being Henry's i don't see how it could get better!!!!!!! Denny,It's well worth the trip to the OCF!!!!!!!! Bud.
Bud and Roger, seeing how it's cold in Nebraska (OK, probably nothing like Michigan or Sweden), I'm heading south.
Not in person, but I have found some Texas and Oklahoma "K" stories, so it's time to head south for the winter......
I would love to go to the OCF but my work schedule always interferes. It is on my bucket list but I will most likely kick the bucket before the list.
Dennis S, I know what you mean. Work (and dirty politics) forcibly retired me a couple years ago. Now that the time away from work isn't an issue? Money is.
Still, OCF and NLNB are near the top of my list. I may have to camp the entire trip.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2