From 1917, it was mainly Model T chassis only that were imported from Canada to Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie.
I have looked in my four Ford of Australia books for the answer to this, to no avail. The question is, before Ford of Canada set up in Geelong, in what state did these chassis arrive?
In other words, were they sent assembled in crates with wheels off (ie one chassis per crate) or were they sent unassembled, with motors in one crate, axles in another, chassis rails etc in yet another, for local assembly?
I found this news clip from 1918 after the embargo was introduced.
Also that Australian tyres had to be fitted.
Great Frank - thank you so much.
For me I think it was a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees. This morning I had another look in the Norm Darwin book and it does refer to it. But your newspaper clipping tells us more.
Best wishes - John
Hi Frank &John.
As for the NSW 'T'' distributors[Davies &Fehon] --They used their Steenbon body works to make as many bodies as they could for their own sales . What cars that were left over were sent to their agents .
THIS PICTURE IS ONE BEING UNLOADED at the McLeay river for the Kempsey dealer.
As for dealers getting bodies built --They used any builder that hey could find .
Note the TREVAN [Lismore] outlet has 4 ''T's pictured from 4 different body builders'
I'm keeping this quiet at present but New Holland is going to publish my book. Release is November. New Holland is the publisher of the latest Ford Australia book (The Cars and the People Who Built Them) which has a good section on the early years. I still think the Norm Darwin book is the best though (for info, rather than presentation).
Obviously French and Brookes found their time in Lismore enlightening! Was it your grand dad they were speaking with?
MY FATHER--I have been eating FORD breakfast dinner & tea for 79 years
Caption- "Cars were imported in packing crates and then assembled by dealers. This is a model T Ford in the yard of Harrison 's Garage."
I believe that Ford Canada was already shipping cars as packages of parts prior to the 1917 embargo. The reasoning was the ever increasing cost of shipping during the war. There was already an incentive for local body building with tariff increases for complete cars set up in 1911.
The dimensions of the case for a five seater Ford car are 12ft. x 6ft. x 4ft. Shipping costs were based on the 'measured ton' which was 40 cubic feet. As WW1 progresses all manner of ships were pressed into service, including many windjammers and similar. The cost of freight increased alarmingly, so sending the cars CKD and without bodies saved a lot of money.
Somewhere I have some comparative shipping costs, but can't lay my hand on them at the moment. Will try again later.
Bit more complex than than above, this is briefly what happened.
Far more Model T Fords were imported in chassis form before 1917 than complete cars. As Bob T stated the Local De Luxe bodied Ford was supplied as there was a ready market for a "better class Ford' they were often refered to as "Rolls Fords"
As far back as 1910 Ford Canada was sending just the chassis without a body to Australia ( and maybe to other countries) These were fully assembled from Canada in crates similar to the crated bodied car posted by Dane above.
It appears that the Canadian body builders were unable to supply enough to allow full assembled cars so Ford Canada shipped the chassis only without a body. At one time it was thought that the bodies on the early Fords were removed but we now know they arrived without a body.
This enabled the state distributors to build a body of British style or supply chassis for more practical bodies which were in high demand especially by farmers. The "Trolly" a flat tray back on the chassis for all types of loads and commercial bodies of all types of businesses such as Pie Vans, pick up, Depot Hack, and any design a customers desired for his business were offered. This was similar to the USA body makers such as Martin and Parry who did the same.
With the Embargo arriving in 1917 and the bodies effectively banned and shipping shortages and high costs in place Ford Canada decided to send the chassis components and let the Australians assemble them. This meant they had to expand their business to now include assembly of the chassis as well as build a body.
End result each state had to order their own chassis, assemble them, build a body or engage other builders to help build some to meet the demand. That is how we have large numbers of vastly different body styles, a good number unidentifiable today because they had no makers plate or it has long since disappeared from the remains.
I've got a question that someone might be able to answer,
with the embargo sorted and chassis kits available, I've come across ads promoting the
'New "1918" Model T' 17 Nov 1917 D&F in SA and
Qld Motor agency.
Describing the features that supersede the old model, brass T's as we know as 1916n's.
Question would be, What WAS? or happened to a 1917 Model T in Australia?
Frank, the answer may lie in wartime scarcities. With little or no product to sell in 1917, there would have been no need to advertise. Once cars became available again, the advertisements may just have been run to advertise the availability of cars. These would certainly appear to be considerably different to the previous brass offering.
Just a random thought.
Allan from down under.
I have located one of several newspaper articles about freight rates. This one is from The Sydney Morning Herald, 11th January 1915, Page 9.
From the dimensions given above, a crated T measured 7.2 tons, and at 12/6 per ton would cost 90 shillings (£4/10/-) whereas at 17/6 per ton it would be 126 shillings (£6/6/-). Quite a substantial increase on a commodity that traded on the fact that its price was always low. As the war progressed so rates increased further.
AMERICAN FREIGHT RATES.
Freight rates from America to Australia
have, advanced 50 per cent; since the openinging
of the war. In August there was an excess
of tonnage for prompt loading, but this was
absorbed by the beginning of November.
Freights to England advanced from 40 per
cent, to 150 per cent. Grain freight, which,
on June 5 was quoted at l½d per bushel,
and on July 2 at 2½d- per bushel from New
York, November 12 was quoted at 6d.
Dimension goods formerly 12/6 per ton of
40"cubic feet had advanced to 17/6. Accord-
ing to the "Wall-street Journal," chief among
the factors making for the advanced rates
Were the large number of mercantile ves-
sels requisitioned by Great Britain, said to
numbor between 1000 and 1100; the practical
disappearance of German tonnage from the
seven seas; the Improved foreign exchange
situation, making possible . the - financing of
consignments of the various commodities; the
necessity of obtaining tonnage to move grain
out of Montreal before the St. Lawrence is
frozen up for the winter; the easing off of
war risk insurance enabling freer.movement
of cargoes and the acceptance of Great Brit-
ain of pledges. as to neutrality of cargo- des
tinatious received by neutral countries. .
This is turning into another one of those great threads that explains why I love the Model T and its people so much!
Thank you all for your contributions. All these bits and pieces go to make up the story.
Bob - 79 years young!
Dane - the shipping info is interesting. The photo of the 1915-16 car just out of it's crate (the steering wheel has already been put back on) is typical of how they were freighted to Australia and NZ at that time.
Also Dane - we will be using the Rofe registration plate!
Peter, I have never heard of bare chassis being exported that early from Ford of Canada. But I have heard that the body builders were struggling to keep up with the demand. And body building was quite a slow process, at that time.
The inference in Norm Darwin's book is that, with the introduction of the Australian Government embargo on bodies in 1917, Ford of Canada (rather than anyone in Australia) decided to send the chassis in bits - all 346 bits - and that it must've come as a surprise to the distributors when they opened up the packs.
Frank, once the embargo was in place, the Australia body builders couldn't keep up, so the Government altered the restriction so as to allow one assembled car (semi-knocked down) to every two bare chassis. That is why you see adverts for the all-new 1918 cars, but not 1917. Although it was released in the US in August, 1916 the first of the 1917 non-brass Ts did not arrive in NZ until April, 1917. Australia would've had a similar delay.
But wait! There's more... because of the backlog (unsold cars) from 1915-16 in Australia, no new Fords were sent to Australia in the year to 30 August, 1917. That would further explain it, but this was a complete contrast to what was happening in NZ - we couldn't get enough Ts through that time.
What month was the embargo put in place?
Best wishes - John
I have found in a Jan 1916 article when the big back log of freight rail rolling stock hit New York, backed up for a 100 miles, a car, by clipper, as that was all that would run the gauntlet to NZ and Aust, a larger car (Buick) was costing 25pounds went up to a 100 pounds.
Just a thought on the 5000 cars so called in storage at that time, maybe was the ones stuck in rail transit, still haven't found any information that they ended up in storage in Australia for the war period.
Frank - our cars never came via NYC. They usually went up the St Lawrence Seaway into the Atlantic, to the Indian Ocean to Australia then on to NZ. During the war there is some evidence of cars coming out of Vancouver and San Francisco.
I understand the problem with New York was the bottleneck caused by the arms trade for war, and food for Britain.
Although I own a '21 with a Sydney built Steenbohms body, I'm in no way knowledgeable enough to comment.
About a million years ago, my Dad tried telling me about all this, but I wasn't much interested then. Since then, I've done a LOT of reading on the subject, but when I read a thread like this, it becomes obvious, it wasn't enough.
I love lurking on this subject, absorbing as much as I can and you never know, I may be able to contribute something one day.
Thanks to everyone above for the education.
Now you've done't, I have to go and look and research for what type of cars could be in such large numbers if not Ford.
April 1916, trying to clear the back log.
I'm away from home at this time so don't have access to my notes but I do have my laptop with me and some saved items are from the 1917 period.
The Embargo was announced on 10th Aug 1917. Immediately the motor trade could see problems, typical govt they did not do too much consulting and most distributors had just about cleared their old stock and had placed new orders.
Obviously none of these cars had been delivered and they asked the govt to allow the import of the cars which had been ordered before 10th Aug plus extra time for orders mailed.
As the cars were RHD it was pointed out that it was unlikely the orders would be cancelled as most other countries were LHD. This was agreed to eventually.
The big problem with shipping besides the cost was the cars were not seen as essentials they were classed as luxury and with space being short most often missed out on getting the space. It was 3 years till things got back to normal, not many Fords survive from this period today as there was not many that got here.
John, it's always been that we follow what was the case in the USA often though things were different. yep, as early as 1910 we were getting chassis, it is possible that Henry decided to sell the chassis by itself a few years later because of the fact Canada was able to find a ready market for the Ford without a body.
Some distributors here only ordered the chassis stating their customers did not favor the "ugly" imported body.
Not only were the body builders unable to keep up there was a large shortage of materials to build them as well.
Frank, there were several sailing ships plying the trade in 1915. You might like to look up these-
The Barque Howth, Kilpurney, Berwicklaw, to name just a few.
I created a list on Trove to store shipping information, unfortunately, I have not continued my research, but you might like to visit the list-
Thanks for that Peter. Everything you say fits with the stats, etc from the 1915-18 era.
Why was there such a big backlog of unsold cars?
As for early chassis, the Ford of Canada Export Sales printed in "In the Shadow of Detroit" show the first sale of Chassis to Australia was in the 1913-14 year (when 360 were sold - a fast uptake indeed). This corresponds to the exit from the range of Ford's short-lived Van body.
But, as we all know, never say never and I guess it is quite possible bare chassis were exported before then and the sales lumped in under some other body type. After all, if a chassis is all that someone wants, I would see no reason not to sell it to him. Or am I missing something? Get the sale!
And yes you are right Peter - Ford of Canada did initiate some things that were later followed by the US. Maybe chassis sales was one of them.
Best wishes - John
Sunny New Zealand (although its night time now and I'm off to bed!)
Below picture is a shipment of T's destine for the Trevan branches just unloaded at the seaport of Ballina NSW.
NOTE 4 CHASSIS ONLY IN BATCH.
I am neither knowledgeable nor Australian but I've been following this thread and find it quite interesting and educational.
Dennis thank you. If you are finding this interesting, you will love my book when it finally comes out in November. There is some wonderful knowledge amongst the Model T folk on this Forum. I will pay tribute to that one day.
Bob, great photo that last one. I can't tell if they are Ford bodies on the cars. If not, do you know where they were made and how they came to be shipped to Ballina? I would have expected locally made bodies to be delivered by road.
Allan from down under.
Roads!! Allan, Cobb & Co wagon and bullock tracks on the east coast, rail or clipper.
Forgive me Frank. We in South Australia did not have those difficulties. I can imagine those problems in Gippsland in that hill country.
Allan from down under.
Hi Alan. This picture i think would be in 1924.
The drop of port for the Richmond river was at Ballina .As most coastal trading ships were too large to get up the 72 mls. of Richmond river to the TREVAN head office in Lismore most all stock was dropped of at Ballina and either smaller shipped to Lismore or driven straight to a local body builder of which father had a few doing his work..
As for cars arriving with bodies[as can be seen in picture]---These bodies would have been built in Sydney after being picked up from the NSW distributor[Davies & Phon].
Further to the above --The body less that had been directed by dealers from the distributors [Davies &Fehon ] to any available Sydney body builders would [when finished]-- be sent by coastal shipping or train to the Ford dealers that was having the body built for him.
The only time that Davies &Fehon would send one of their [steenbon] built bodied cars to dealers was when they knew there was a OS ship load of cheaper priced cars due to arrive in the Sydney Port.
They then would be able to advertise their cheaper car against other Ford dealers that had received the higher priced cars from D&F prior--No wonder my father [and most other dealers hated D&F. This can be seen when reading the interview by Herbert French with my father in his [French report] back to Ford head office in Canada in 1923-4.
"Why was there such a big backlog of unsold cars?"
short answer, no one was buying them.
The Australian Govt thought the war would be over in 2 years, (sounds familiar!!) and after 2 years there was no sign of any victory one way or the other. Finances were getting low so taxes and duties were increased to help pay the bills,
Everything was either costly or unobtainable and motor cars classed as Luxury items meant owning one was expensive. Add to that most of the normal customers were overseas fighting so sales dropped off. Not only Ford sales real slow so were all the other makes.
Here is a 1911 mention of chassis being imported for local bodies. This from Feb so they were placing orders late 1910 for them.
John, put me down for one of your books, November is an ideal time to order for Christmas, start hinting to the family !!!!!
Peter that is such a contrast to what was happening in NZ. We couldn't get enough! I think NZ benefited from the lack of demand in Australia - we seemed to get a disproportionate number compared to you.
And that is so interesting about the chassis. Worth exploring more. I now wonder if it was a trend that was, indeed, followed by Detroit?
PS - did you see a separate thread directed at you?
Bob, you had me confused, not too hard to do. I read D&F as Duncan and Fraser, and could not work out what you were on about! I had heard that Davies and Fehon were more than a bit self serving in their dealings with other ford Dealers.
Allan from down under.
Hi Allan. When the state distributor for Ford product was also retailing against the regular Ford dealer it sure makes for a disadvantage in the dealer doing a deal due to the $$$ margin advantage by the distributor .
EXAMPLE--This is a picture of the D&F retail outlet competing with father in Lismore.
I have been studying period newspapers regarding the import and sales of Fords during the war years. The Queensland dealership is the most forthright about which ships are due to arrive and how many cars are on each ship. Right into 1916 there is usually a mention that most, or all cars in each shipment have already been sold.
Information for 1917 and 1918 is less frequent, but even so, the odd mention is that cars are still arriving and that a substantial proportion have been pre-sold.
I would very much like to see some evidence of a backlog of a substantial number of cars that remain unsold. Is there such evidence? How many cars are supposed to be involved? Were the numbers in a similar proportion to the previous sales in each state?
Dane, like you I'm at a dead end trying to find evidence of 'unsold'.
Without down loading page after page of period clippings from papers,
Going by 'In the shadow of Detroit' we have Ford of Canada's #'s that are sent to Australia, #'s in fiscal years
15/16 totaled 6502 with only one shipping described as a forced sale but all selling or sold as you state in your research as well.
16/17 only 964 making it with well documented reasons of shipping.
The last part of that year, up to Aug 17, D&F SA had 711 bodies in stock waiting for delivery of Ford chassis, the embargo was thrown in as well by the the end of that year, Paper ads release the black radiator/new body style late 1917 as the 'New 1918 Model.
It's simple maths, sales reports from the likes of Melbourne and Sydney and others reporting a sharp drop in sales is because there was no cars to sell.
If that report of trying to clipper 2000 cars from the New York to Sydney in 1916 from the stock pile of rail freight ever came through and had no Fords in as well, then we would have a whole years supply of Dodge, Buick and Chevs for all of Australia making it , 1916! a hard year to find anything but a T today.
Whilst we try to figure out the above questions. Is there an explanation as to why there are rolling chassis [as seen in my 2nd above picture] with regular ford guards fitted] .And as t why there are so many cars in Australia fitted with various styles of guards . Sorely they would not throw away the Ford guards to have to add the cost of these other styles of guards ?.
Robert,...Those 3 chassis out of your 4 in your group car photograph are TT chassis. And cars with the Australian built bodies most probable come in as boxed parts and assembled here and are part of the Australian manufacture. Just my thought.....N.
Now, you gotta believe this, after all it is on a Government department web site and letter head, written by a Dr at Sydney university.
All we need to do now is convince Ford Canada that they got the export figures wrong for 1917!
Thank Neil. You are correct.
Looks like my near 80 year old eyes are saying ''had enough''.
What does this indicate?
1917 -Re. NEW SOUTH WALES MOTOR TRADE .
Bob, that I believe, simply because the early part of 1917 falls into the 16/17 fiscal figures, 432 cars and 532 chassis sent to Australia for that 12 mths, can't sell what you haven't got!
I find it amazing that Frank and Dane have not been able to find reference to the cars that were unsold.
The problem happened around the middle of October 1916 . As was the case with newspapers of the day an article which was printed in a city paper was in the following days reprinted in country newspapers and there are lots of them.
Here is a nice clear one, the first one I found was so poor it was hard to read but the Trove (newspaper computer site) found it no problem.
I have several pages of notes on this, when Norm Darwin's book was made the facts were kept to direct facts. The sources and backup information was not included but although the newspapers don't show details of what the businesses were experiencing often the trade and motor periodicals did. You will find them at the libraries.
Arthur Davies wrote in 1925 that in 1916 the distributors were left with nearly 5000 cars they were having difficulty selling. They had ordered big time in 1914/1915 before the effects of the war hit home.
About half the 3600 cars mentioned were Fords about 1800, if you add the other states using this number showing the proportionally number they used to sell they would have had it is close to 5000.
So in Dec 1916 NSW only sold 24 for the month down from the good days of over 200 per month.
With so many Fords unsold they had to move them first.
Why is there so many 1915/16 Fords and so few 1917?
Because the cars they were selling in 1917/1918 were not 1917 cars they didn't have they were the earlier brass cars they were trying to get rid of.
Evidence available shows that no Fords were shipped to Australia between September 1916 and August 1917 it took till then to clear the backlog.
Even though New Zealand had a different result I'm sure Johns Stokes book will have a chapter which explains the problems Ford Canada had shipping cars to Australia and NZ in the later part and after the war which also explains why so few Fords are around from the period.
Yes, I and Dane have posted the findings over the years of the 1915/16 extra car stock imposed on Australia, but what is in question and very fuzzy in history was how long it took to clear those extra cars. Affecting the sales for 1917, I have my doubts because.
Example, 200 per mth down to 24 for Dec 16
Those 1914/15 orders would have largely been filled upto late 15 as by Dec 15 the New York export had stopped, clipper transport in small numbers of cars, dribbled into Australia for 1916, including Fords from the west coat USA'
Now keep in mind that NSW new car registrations for the year was down by 484 Dec 15 from Dec 14, so yes sales have slowed.
So early 16 had plenty of brass cars to get rid of, maybe a years worth?, now the BUT,
SA & QLD had or did sell every thing going their way,waiting for deliveries to fill orders several times reported may times though the year of 1916, by March 1916 the word is out, head lines
'Australia Needs Cheap cars'
It was April 1916 for the try to get 2000 of the back log cars to Australia.
So by Dec 1916, a year has past, 200 in good times down to 24, I'll say it again,
Can't sell what you haven't got.
Now 17 rolls in, that fiscal year 964 T's manage to get here, D&F, SA sells it's last brass 16 in Jan 17, for the best part of 1917 have built 711 bodies waiting for chassis by news paper reports of 1917, David Chantrell's book on D&F has put the number at
200, now called Embargo body, 15th Aug 17, waiting for something to bolt them too.
5000 cars unsold? say 40% T's, yes a 1916 T can be found, several in the Vic club, but are T 's from every state in Australia, try and find any of the so called other 60% of makes, I know of 1 1916 chev in our district.
Here are the sales stats from "In the Shadow of Detroit".
Looking at the Passenger Car figures, the picture is clear. In the first two years Australia was getting lots more than NZ. And rightfully so, given the population of each country, and that trend is generally consistent. Except for 1916-17 , when NZ got a disproportionate 958, compared to Australia's 432.
Staying with passenger cars, 1916 to 1920, Australia sales plummet. NZ sales sales are about half of the 1915-16 number - no-one knows for sure, but I think we could've sold that number again in NZ that year. We know the demand here was huge.
Then we can look at Chassis sales. Forgetting NZ sales, Australia tracks from 471, to 1268, then plummets to 532 in 1916-17, then bounces all the way up to 4412 the next year. Work that trend out!? When you compare total Ford sales 1916-17 ( NZ received 1,002 Fords, compared to Australia with a trifling 964) we know something ain't right!
Something we do know is that the Australian Government embargoed purchases of Fords, for Government use, following Henry's 'peace mission' to Europe. That was the end of 1915 but possibly that had a much bigger effect than we realise?
As for cars coming out on barks or clippers from New York City, the notion is preposterous for several reasons. The first is the exposure the vehicles will have had to the elements (Colonial in NZ had very tight controls over this). Secondly, the port at New York was clogged with backlogs of badly-needed war exports. Thirdly, the ports in Canada at this time were not cluttered as New York was. Fourthly, there were ships available bringing cars and all sorts of other imports to NZ from Canada, as evidenced by the sales stats, and using the same shipping routes as Australia.
With respect, I must admit I was struggling to comprehend some of what you wrote, and maybe I have the wrong end of the stick.
So, I hope my wee contribution helps.
Frank your observations are just plain wrong. Your quote Example,
"200 per mth down to 24 for Dec 16"
does not mean they reduced stock down to 24 cars left to sell, it means they used to be able to sell 200 month but now could only get rid of 24.
"So early 16 had plenty of brass cars to get rid of, maybe a years worth?,"
NO they had heaps more to sell.
At the end of Dec 1916 they still had lots of cars still unsold in NSW nearly 1000 ( in Oct there were 1800 unsold) as the article says.
It was reported at that time Jan 1917 ( I have the literature) that "it would take 3 more years to sell the backlog of cars at the rate of 24 per month unless they could increase the selling".
Reports in papers were saying cars arriving had been pre sold, they were actually orders which had been placed for cars initially but were now not being payed for as things had changed especially the price which had gone up because of the freight problems and customers were not able to or decided against purchase of the cars now they had arrived.
It took till August 1917 for the backlog to be disposed of and only after the Ford Company helped the distributors by rebating money they had received for the orders from the distributors. Most of them nearly went "belly up" they owed so much money. Ford even sent out one of their representative to sort out the problem in 1917.
At some time in the future this will all be published in full but until then keep trying and if you find any different actual facts let us all know.
Why is there so few other makes around? because there was less of them and from memory that 60% numbered around 30 makes and most did not have many spare parts at a reasonable price available, when things went wrong they were scrapped.
Fords were repaired and reused often in other forms such as farm hacks this "plus" was highlighted often in papers of the day. The Ford had a far longer life than nearly all other cars.
I see John has posted the "Shadow of Detroit" figures, yes it appears we got 4412 chassis but everyone was hard pressed to assemble them and build the bodies real fast. It took a long time to get production up to more than a few cars per week.
From 1916 on, clipper or small steamer was the only way that freight was getting to Australia from either side, west or east of USA or Canada, research will tell you that large shipping companies had emposed a boycott on Australia refusing to load at New York and other ports, because it was made mandatory for all freighters to back load to England with wheat and wool,(left to rot in storage at the export depots in Aust), that was a standing order up into the early 1920's, imports to Australia of anything hit rock bottom 16/17. The 0's on complete cars for 2 years is not only complying with the embargo but how to get any numbers of crates on a clipper. There is no mention that I have found that Ford had trouble selling it's self at any time in Australia, now the top end of the market in cars is another story.
Peter, in reality, they din't have a clue what was unsold, March 1917.
Read this and especially the last part and think out side the box, who's interest are they working for?, hint, it's not the Canadian/USA trade!!