First, I must say the following book is a well written, excellent resource concerning Ford of Canada, and I highly recommend it to anyone exploring the beginning of Ford's association with the Canadian automobile market:
With that said, I must take exception to these passages in Chapter 2, page 44:
My poor old Model K is dis respected in several ways. First, 1906 Model K sales by Ford Canada are characterized as a "mere 12." While this may seem like an insignificant number, the reality is, as with 1906 Ford U.S.A. sales, Model K is in all likelihood the profit leader for Ford Canada in FY 1906, due to the substantial price, profit and number of cars sold.
If the Canadian cars sold in fiscal year 1906 generated roughly similar profits of U.S. Ford models (and I see no reason to think they didn't), the numbers should look somewhat like this:
The bottom right number, $4,096, is the documented Ford Canada profit for 1906. By pro rating Ford U.S. audit profit by model, the total (in other words, if the Canadian Ford's generated similar profits to their U.S. counterpart), the total U.S. Ford profit with the Canadian Ford's sales numbers would have been $4,258, less than $200 from the actual Ford Canada 1906 profit.
The number of sales for 1907 and 1908 also resemble U.S. sales in proportion to other Ford models, indicating the Model K generated substantial profits for Ford Canada.
The portion of page 44 that "get's my goat" the most is the second highlighted portion. The paragraph begins by discussing testimonials "of a growing Ford mystique." This passage refers to a Canadian Ford owner, W. J. Gourley, who "drove a Ford from Windsor to his hometown of Calgary, clocking 3,000 miles without a tire puncture and 3,700 miles without a breakage (except a spring)."
It appears this intrepid Canadian, "W. J. Gourley" conducted an odyssey with his Ford, undoubtedly a Model N, R or S, across major portions of Canada, with virtually no trouble, and the trip "generated publicity the whole way," helping to build the Ford "mystique" in Canada, "following transcontinental trips in the United States." That sounds like an epic journey, and certainly deserving of more explanation. To put a 3,700 mile trip across Canada in perspective, the distance from New York to Seattle, Washington is........... 2,834 miles.
Tomorrow, more about this epic trip with a Canadian Ford
Windsor to Calgary is only 2500 miles by way of Canada roads. Then he probably had to drive back for another 2500 miles. So he did pretty good going 3700 miles without a flat or anything else. YOu need to plan on driving the K in the O2O tour to see how well she handles a long trip.
Fortunately we have a pretty good idea of the route from the news article below, dated July 29, 1907. At that point the Ford owner had driven from Windsor Canada, to Detroit, across Indiana, Illinois, into Wisconsin, across Iowa into North Dakota. He then entered Canada at Gretna and on to Calgary.
On the return trip he makes it as far as Winnipeg:
Below is my guess of the route he may have taken. This route gives us a total of 2974 miles. I suspect the route varied from my guess to reach the 3700 mentioned in the article. Regardless, a remarkable trip by motor car over roads and terrain that sound difficult at best. The article says he had to back a long distance due to a bridge being out. It also mentions that fuel was not to difficult to find, due to the use of gas stoves throughout the country:
Of course, we still are not sure of the model of Ford that made the trip. And we are not sure how long he has owned the Ford.
Anyone wish to place any bets?
(Message edited by Rob on February 05, 2016)
Where was I? Oh yes, a Ford made a remarkable cross country journey in the summer of 1907, traveling more distance than the 1908 New York to Paris drivers would while crossing the U.S., (the winning Thomas Flyer traveled about 10,000 total miles, across North America, Asia and Europe), and more miles than the Ocean to Ocean racers in 1909.
As it turns out, we learn of the model from another newspaper article. On July 22, 1907, the "Manitoba Free Press" reported the results of a series of auto races in Winnipeg. Seems Mr. Gourlay and family, along their journey, stopped in Winnipeg, and participated in the races, with their "six cylinder Ford:"
A side note, both Barney Oldfield and Bruno Seible participated in these Winnipeg races. Seible was one of the last drivers of Henry Ford's 999, having raced the Ford creation up to just a few months before this race.
So, the Ford written of in "In the Shadow of Detroit" is one of those lowly, poor selling Model K.
And, we learn a bit more abput this particular car from the Ford Canada sales ledger:
This particular K, number 499, was sold to Mr."Gurley", Calgary, on April 11, 1907.
(Message edited by Rob on February 06, 2016)
I always enjoy your “the rest of the story” research. You tie many different clues and facts together from different locations to present a more complete picture and always a much more interesting story.
David Robert’s began his research in 1997 just to write an article (ref pg VII). And his book is copyrighted 2006. I believe that was prior to you sharing your research about the K and that he like others at the time were still operating under an erroneous myth when he was writing his book. I don’t think anyone prior to your research ever seriously tried to change the myth and error that the Model K Ford was a failure. I would guess that prior to your research you also probably thought the myth was true – after all it was written in several good books on Fords and automobiles. Thank you for sharing your research or most of us would still think that what we had read in the previous books was the true. And it clearly is not.
But I also believe David Robert was assuming that the number of cars produced was the important number rather than the profit produced by the cars sold. I.e. 12 is a small number of cars sold compared to the 101 total. But by your USA estimated numbers etc. those 12 Model K’s probably produced about the equivalent profit of about 170 of the C or N cars sold. So the number sold is not the most important number to look at in this case.
And knowing there are no perfect books or anything else on this earth, I agree with you that David Robert’s book “In the Shadow of Detroit” is a great read. It’s primary focus is the life of Gordon M. McGregor the founder of Ford of Canada. It started out to be an article biography about his life (1873-1922). But it became a lot more than that and I’m glad Mr. Robert shared his research with us. He includes many interesting items about the Fords that were produced as well as the Ford USA & Ford Canada companies. He also included a little information on the many “border city” companies that sprang up to support Ford (Kelsey wheels and many others opened Canadian plants to avoid the tarrifs). It is available on line at: https://books.google.com/books?id=THOyZ5JwkEQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=In+the+Sha dow+of+Detroit&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3-ZPJoOPKAhVCVyYKHaDsAgYQ6AEIKzAA#v=onepag e&q=In%20the%20Shadow%20of%20Detroit&f=false Sometimes I think the entire book is there on the web site and at other times (like today) it is more a preview mode with pages to get you started and if you like what you are reading a link to the book sellers etc. that offers the book. I often use the electronic version to do a word search to find something I remember reading and then I turn that page in my hard copy.
Note he also does a great job of documenting where he obtained his information. Pages 265 to 301 are his foot notes! That makes it much easier to go back and see what the original documents had to say. I sure wish Stern’s “Tin Lizzie” had such a footnote section – as there are lots of items stated in the book that we have never been able to find a supporting document. And we may never know if it was an item that was destroyed in the Benson Ford archives or not. And in the case of the paragraph in the book – one of the sources he listed was the Jul 29, 1907 “Evening Record” the same one you posted above. And in that account the newspaper only used the term Ford and not what the model of Ford was. I suspect if the type of model had been included in the newspaper article, David Robert would have included that in the text or at least in the footnote in the back.
You no doubt are already using some of those footnotes to help you locate additional leads. But just in case you missed it, on page 41 it has: On 30 May  McGregor personally tested his plant’s first K, achieving a speed of 50 mph, and in July he dutifully drove one on promotional trips to Hamilton and Sarnia. The later excursion was reportedly written up in “Motoring,” an early Canadian automobile magazine. That might provide you some additional early material on the K. Granted, if it had been bad, they would not have submitted an article to be published.
Also I suspect traveling 3000 miles on the unimproved roads back then without a flat probably has another “the rest of the story.” Perhaps he was extremely lucky? Who knows?
Again thank you for weaving so many different items into a much more complete glimpse of the past.
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As always, I appreciate your insight and observations. I mentioned David Robert's book to a mutual friend and Ford researcher, and he also had good things to say of Mr. Robert's fine book.
Since most Ford historians and researchers work includes brief mention of the Model K, and since the model hasn't been the focus of anyone's research product that I'm aware of, I find it not surprising that what has been written and accepted as fact is repeated, and over time, becomes the accepted "truth." I sincerely hope anyone reading my theories and conclusions doesnt' think I'm discounting or minimizing these author's work.
To the contrary, if the many Ford researchers and historians had not put their work out to the public, I would have little or no information to work with.
On another front, you are correct, I thought the Model K was an inferior model based on Ford historical accounts, and not a car I would choose to own. We drive our early Fords, and a car that was reported to be of poor quality and not road worthy held no appeal for me. In fact, I had the opportunity to buy our first K touring several years before we finally did. The only reason I became interested in a K was because Tim Kelly gave me a demonstration of his K, and I had the "bug."
You are also correct, the footnotes and bibliography's of books like "In the Shadow of Detroit" have led me to find many other interesting early Ford information. In fact, two of author Robert's resource books are on their way via Amazon used books due to his excellent footnote system.
As Ford Model T enthusiasts, it's easy for us to discount what appear to be small production numbers of other models and makes. As it turns out, a manufacturer who produced over 100 of a model and even make was often a profitable, viable auto producer before 1910. In fact, Ford with about 800 Model K in 1906 and 1907, was probably the largest producer of six cylinder cars in the world, outselling marquees such as Rolls Royce, Stevens Duryea, Franklin, Napier and other well known makers of the period who produced sixes.
As it turns out, I had already posted the story of a Model K racing at Winnipeg, with 3700 miles to it's credit a few years ago on this forum. However, upon reading this book, "the rest of the story" about this particular K was revealed.
Finally, one theme I've noticed, folks who owned Model K seemed to frequently race and hill climb with the car. Seems as though many Ford K owners couldn't resist the temptation to compete with the cars. I know how they feel......
A couple of other tidbits relating to Ford in Canada shortly after this Model K is sold to Mr. Gourley. The article below appeared in the "Winnipeg Tribune" in June, 1907, and a large retail automobile dealer reports "The machines mostly in demand were Ford runabout, Ford six cylinder, Winton and Pachard (sp)." According to "The Dominion Automobile Company," Ford sixes and runabouts are one of the best selling cars of the day.
It may be easy to conclude that the Dominion Auto Co. spokesperson is embellishing the credentials of the Ford six because they sell the car. However, as seen in this advertisement that appeared in the same paper on the same day, Old Dominion also sold Bayard-Clement, Stevens-Duryea, Peerless, Thomas, Russell and Napier.
To finish, I drove the K to town this morning for coffee. We had a light snow last evening, and a little drifting from a storm earlier this week, and the K plowed through a few deep drifts with ease. Driving our K in all weather is a great way to disprove the myths in my opinion. Have a good weekend,
This photograph shows Gordon McGregor driving the Canadian Governor General Earl Grey. The photo appeared on the cover of the October 15, 1908 Ford Times. The Model K is also licensed in Michigan, #3B24:
(Message edited by rob on February 06, 2016)
Thanks again Rob for all your efforts!
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I just came across another article covering the Gourlay trip across the northern U.S. And Canada in 1907. Much of the story was included above, however this one has more detail, including the use of Fisk tires.
For anyone who crosses the U.S. Canadian border, take a look at the last paragraph. Some things never change, even 109 years later:
These "K" Posts are the best OT posts I have ever read on this forum. Thank you very much Rob for sharing your research!
Thank you. As long as I know someone is reading and hopefully enjoying these, I'll keep posting. I also post to The Early Ford Registry site, however our group (EFR) is much smaller, and so not a lot of forum give and take.
EFR forum link:
I hope stories about the pre-T Ford's help us gain perspective about the Model T and it's development.
Hi Rob! It's me again! I agree with Jeff Perkins - and I just wish I could devote a teeny weeny portion of the time to researching this fascinating subject that you are able to. I am envious.
No doubt you are collecting all your pre-T info (and arguments!!) in a repository so easy access for a book? Or I hope you are!
And Yes the David Roberts' book is an excellent read - very difficult to buy down here but my daughter picked me up a copy in the US when she was there last year.
Best wishes - John
PS did you know that NZ now has a Model K? I have not been on the forum for a while (time constraints) so maybe you all already know about it but check this out: http://www.transportworld.co.nz
We might just have to organise a tour for some folk from the US to these parts - you'd be impressed.
Thanks, and yes, I have noticed that beautiful K is now in NZ. My wife and I would love to visit NZ, and if time allowed, Australia at the same time. That would be quite a trip.
Another book I would like to find an inexpensive copy of is "Cars of Canada" by Hugh Baechler and Glenn Durnford. This book reports that Ford Canada sold 16 Model K in 1908. This is a number I had not seen before, and probably brings the known Model K sales (from audit and ledger reports) to about 980, only 20 short of the original 1,000 K ordered by Ford in the board of director minutes.
www.abebooks.com has several of the "Cars of Canada" available. They run US$250 to US$300.
I second what Jeff wrote - I enjoy your entusiasm for the Model K - in fact - if I had the funds I would love to have one :-)
I have a copy of "Cars of Canada" signed by Glenn that I will sell you for $200.00 if you still need a copy
Very Very interesting book
Thomas and Don,
I've noticed the used books for $250 plus. The problem is, my collection of books is growing, often because I wish to read or use only a small passage or article from the book concerning Model K (or B, or other unusual early Ford related item). It's hard to justify a book for that amount when I'm interested in three pages. Fortunately, a good friend sent me copies of the three pages I was most interested in. Don, I appreciate the offer.
I believe there is an early K motor in Scandinavia (maybe #177), I wish we could learn more about it's origin. Also, there was a K at the 1908 Brussels auto show, and two K shipped to Germany in mid 1906. If you ever encounter any leads I would greatly enjoy learning more about those cars.
Always more to find.......