In 1905, at least 12 Model B taxi are photographed in London:
Features include the "epicyclic" transmission:
According to this article, Scotland Yard gets into the act, insisting that future cabs have a short turning radius for narrow London streets. The virtues of the cabs include the ability to operate on the high gear:
The Central Motor Car Co., expect to place 200 of the Model B cabs through the London Cab Company by the following spring.
While Ford did not place 200 Model B, we now know (photo) at least 12 of the cabs were in service at one point.
Later a few more articles about the Ford cabs
(Message edited by Rob on February 10, 2016)
Ok, back home. A few more articles.
This prospectus was presented in public papers to attract investors for the 200 cab Model B project by "The Automobile Cab Co."
The copy isn't geprear, but the spokesman for the cab company, C. Alfred Smith, describes his trial of a Model B, driving 500 miles in and around London.
He went on to say a horse drawn Hansom cab moving in any direction from the Bank of England for 34 minutes only took 15 minutes with the taxi (Ford). He also says the cab is able to take almost all trips on the high gear, down to two and a half miles and hour, and that most cab drivers would be able to learn to drive the car easily because of it's simplicity:
A little followup on the Ford Motor Company taxi order from Central Company of London. A lengthy article ran in the London Times on February 27, 1906, almost 110 years ago. As we know, Ford Motor Company was actively engaged ramping up to produce new models K and N, as well as finish production of models C, F and B.
At the same time, a prospectus had been published, stocks issued, and money raised for the purchase of 200 Model B chassis from Ford Motor Co. to be used as cabs in London. The excerpts below discuss the problem the new company faced with Ford's refusal to deliver the now out of production Model B chassis:
Thanks for that rare information Rob. Interesting to see how early Ford started exporting his cars overseas.
Eric, my pleasure.
One of the many remarkable things about Henry Ford, and Ford Motor Co., in my opinion, was their early desire to create foreign markets. Ford's participated in the Irish and Scottish automobile trials in 1905, one of the only non-European makers to do so.
Ford of Canada is another prime example. Ford entered the Canadian market as a Canadian maker in 1904, years before most automakers. Amazing that men (Henry Ford, James Couzens, the Dodges) saw opportunity for a startup automaker so early in the company's existence.
It would have been an interesting footnote in Ford history if the contract for 200 Model B chassis had been filled. Evidently, the combination of a four cylinder engine, short turning radius, two speed transmission (easy to learn, hard to break) and relatively low price, made the Ford Model B the car of choice for this London enterprise.
One thing I just noticed, the drawing of the Ford taxi in "The Automobile" was made from the same cab and people seen in the English magazine photo (Automotor Journal, an English publication), except the drawing shows the Model B with the top down. There must have been a photo of the same car with the top down that the artist used for his drawing.
20 hp, start from the seat?
Ford advertised the four then six cylinder for frequent "free starts" over two cylinder cars. I'll find some examples later.....
I haven't found the Model B example, but Ford advertised their 2 cyl, 4 cyl, and then 6 cyl. as cars that would give "free starts:"
Rob - this is my first visit to the Forum for probably 6 months! Good to see you still contributing in detail. If my memory is correct (and I think it is!) the 12 Model B taxis for London had to be repainted, in white, to make them more visible by night. That requirement was easily accomplished - with paint brush or two.
And this is meant as an accurate but candid observation: the dividing wall between passenger and driver also serves as a barrier between the classes. Very English!
Thank you, and welcome back. I have not seen the "repainted in white" info. If you come across it, please add it or send it along. I am attempting to categorize and save these articles and comments.
Personally, I think the Model B is very important in Ford development, and overlooked. The first four cylinder Ford, and maybe more importantly, the first model using Ford's patented enclosed shaft, ball joint three point rear end.
The Washington Post article express what we all feel about getting "free starts"..When the Model T brought the magneto, did Ford ship them with a battery?
Robert - No battery with Model T's 1909-18, the battery position on the coil box switch was put there by the coil box suppliers, not by Ford. Here's a factory letter to dealers from October 5, 1912:
"The only equipment permitted to be attached to any Ford cars is a robe rail, a clock, and a tool box on the running board. No exhaust cut-outs, trunk racks, bumpers, batteries or other items mentioned in previous letters should be recommended or permitted to be put on Ford cars either by our branches or by our dealers; and, as previously noted, our guarantee will become void if devices of this sort are attached."
Maybe a number of customers had mistakenly attached a battery to the magneto and thus destroyed the magnetism - then tried to get it fixed on the guarantee..
Later on when the starter was introduced there was a change of mind about batteries.
Speaking of the guarantee, what was the factory warranty on the Model T?
Sorry it has taken an age for me to go looking for the source and, on this occasion, it was quite easy to find!
The Robert Lacey book "Ford", the chapter "Dr. Pfenning Buys a Car", Lacey is introducing the man who would soon lead Ford of England, and he says...
'Perry (ie Percival Perry) was a car enthusiast who had helped sell the first automobiles to be used as taxis in the streets of London: three imported Model B Fords, which the authorities had insisted should be painted white as a warning to pedestrians.'
I agree that the Model B is an important but largely forgotten car in the early Ford development - as you say, she was the first 4-cyl Ford motor and she was a large car - a forerunner of the K.
Sorry I am seldom on the Forum these days as my business (rental cars) has been so incredibly busy, and that must come first right now.
Eric I just spotted your unanswered question. The Ford Motor Company did not offer a warranty or guarantee with the Ford. That was not so unusual at the time. But people must've wanted one - when asked, Mr Ford would state that the guarantee is in the reputation of the name on the front of the car.
Things must have gone wrong with some of the cars - even just a few. If I know how Mr Ford operated, he would've stood by his reputation. I have never heard of of any disputes in this regard whatsoever.
Your question is a good one and probably warrants (warranty - ha!) it's own thread.
I posted some footage of The Henry Ford's Model B running. The footage is not the best, done with my old cell phone, this was before the Old Car Festival and as far as I know, was the last weekend the was been driven. The footage is on You-tube.
Thanks Bruce, a full link:
I've found advertising by Ford with guarantees for parts, and in a few cases, a general guarantee, up to one year. I'll post a few examples when I'm able to find them. These were pre-T Fords, but I believe I saw some for guarantee of parts on early T too.
In 1905 or early 1906, the FMC board of directors agreed to take back three Model B (England) due to bearing issues. I'll also post that page later. It
Great video of the Model B running. How many are known to exist?
After I watched the Model B video the screen went to many small blocks advertising other videos and there is one on a 1903 Model A that is running in Tasmania, Australia.
Eric, I remember that the warranty was 90 days.
Is the Towe/Rector Model B in the Sacramento collection?
Denny, I believe the number is 7. There are a couple out there that are mostly fabricated. Engine number 1 or 2, part of the Porter collection, is at the AACA museum at Hershey.
(Message edited by Rob on March 12, 2016)
A few Ford guarantees. (I hope the guy who started this thread doesn't mind the "drift").
And my favorite, a 1907 dealer article, "we give a full year's guarantee and absolute maintenance with this Winged Palace of Power."
Hopefully you noticed the source of the white taxis comment?
Also, the guarantees you've shown relate to the pre-T cars. That topic does warrant its own thread, I think, to catch some attention.
I did notice it. I have a photo of an English bodied NRS roadster that is painted white, participating on an endurance tour. Perry and Thornton are mentioned as the owner/agent of the Ford. I'll try to find it too.
I love the newspaper article that states " Any man with a "Ford six" who allows another to pass him on the road or up a hill ought to be fined, imprisoned, and his car confiscated.
So Rob if you get passed then I get first dibs at confiscating your car!
That goes for you too Timothy!
An English bodied "Ford Junior," Perry Thornton and Schreiber:
Two good photos Rob!