Finally! It is coming...
See right at the bottom of this message for the proposed book cover! Or read my forthcoming waffling first...
As some of you know, this book has been years in the making. But we have a saying in New Zealand that, same as cheese, "Good things take time". But, in the end, it will be left up to the reader to decide whether this book is a good thing or not.
I have absolutely avoided what is already well-documented in other books - the US history, the technical aspects, illustrations from elsewhere.
So, what DOES it include? I hear you ask!
In a nutshell, it is the New Zealand history. But it is much more than that, because the NZ history is inseparable from what was happening elsewhere - at Ford of Canada, and in Britain and Australia especially. The Model T actually changed society - so a true history cannot ignore that. This is a social history as much as it is a car history.
Secondly, the idea of this book is to explain the development of motoring in New Zealand. Our physical conditions were very similar to those in the US - roads, where they existed, were muddy tracks. American cars suited NZ better - but the British became unhappy about this! For good reason, New Zealand was the third highest motorised country in the world in the mid-twenties, behind 1) the USA, and 2) Canada - and most of the cars were Model T Fords! But Britain wanted a slice of the action.
Possibly already you can see that, to tell the early Ford in NZ tale effectively, we simply cannot get away from the social aspects and the politics. Whilst the Model T was 'The Universal Car', the reality is not that simple, leaving us with too many 'whys?' that need answering. Hopefully this book answers them. And, I might add, it is those aspects as much as the cars that I have enjoyed exploring the most as this book has come together.
And that gives us the title. I hope you like it - you are the first to see it. "Putting the Car Before the Horse", aside from being an obvious play on words, is exactly what the Model T did in society.
Anyway, it is essentially a Model T book, but it does cover the pre-T period in the first two chapters, and the last chapter "Model Changes" takes the reader on the very great journey which takes Ford from the Improved Car (known here as the New Beauty), the Model A, the end of the 'single-model policy, the advent of a V-8 for the masses (the biggest car that Ford had ever made) and the English 8-hp Model Y (the smallest car that Ford had ever made).
All this is relatively-easily explained from a New Zealand perspective, because we got all these cars here! So readers not just in NZ will enjoy reading it. Readers in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia I know will enjoy it, as well as in other places who are interested in the untold history of Ford.
New Holland Print have now received the edited text (they required a reduction in words from 98,000 to 74,000, which has happened without a great loss in material content - this simply shows how much I must waffle!). And today they received all the illustrations - which means it is now out of my hair!
Release date is November.
Below is their proposed cover artwork. (I have suggested changing one of the pencil drawings at left for a Model A or a V-8, which are also covered in the book.)
This is the first time I have said anything about these latest developments publicly. I think it is appropriate that I say something here first, because this Forum has been absolutely wonderful assistance in my research. I have developed some friendships through this Forum. It is quite unlike anything else I have seen on the internet. It is special.
We have another saying in New Zealand. It comes from our Maori heritage. "Knowledge not shared, is not knowledge." I will be forever indebted to members of this Forum for sharing their knowledge.
Take a bow. And I can only hope my book reciprocates your willingness to share.
Maybe we'll add in a V-8 or Model A too...
Congratulations on progress so far, John. Obviously a major project, and I am sure the resulting book will be well worth your efforts.
I am eagerly anticipating news of from where copies will be available.
Great news, well done!
I am looking forward to reading your book John. Many, many months of effort have gone into this work, and I hope it is a success for you. It has been interesting watching the progress and meeting with you on occasions. I wonder what the family will buy me for Christmas this year?
Rod McKenzie. Registrar for MTFCNZ [Life Member MTFCNZ]
I am looking forward to seeing this book , John.
Hoping for some never seen before photos of the pre Seaview era.
The illustrations of the '34 V8 & Model A [ from NZ 'paper adverts] would look great included on the cover.
Thanks for the comments.
Wayne, you raise a good point. I have tried to avoid already-published photos.
How does a photo of what is probably the first Ford in NZ sound? We can't be sure - but we think it it is! And, no, it's NOT taken from the first motor racing event at Addington!
As another example, the Model C photo used in the chapter "An Empire is Built" has never been published before - there is another Model C photo available but it has already been used twice elsewhere, even though so little has been written on this subject. I wanted to use both but, having to rationalise, I've chosen the unpublished.
As Hap Tucker will testify, some of us have spent hours staring at single photos, analysing them! Sometimes to no avail - sometimes with very great reward.
Photos of two Model Ts from the first shipment to arrive here!
There is a calculation made on the number of Model Ts on our roads. We will NEVER know the actual figure and I have taken the guessing as far, I hope, as anyone can. To support it, two street scene photos are included from New Zealand towns - one in the North Island, the other in the South.
And that has been the other goal of this exercise - to be inclusive of all of New Zealand. Including Gallipoli (No photo - but I kid you not!).
I have learned so much from the research - the hard part now is knowing what to leave out.
PS now we have some rugby to watch!!!
Sounds good John. Can't wait to get my own copy.
Manuel in Oz
I hope I get to see a copy of it!
John congratulations! Iím so looking forward to reading through the story, the questions, and the conclusions you weave together from your research.
And I liked Rodís comment, ďI wonder what the family will buy me for Christmas this year?Ē Iíve found that if I give my family some suggestions and where they can order the item, I am much more likely to have something under the tree I really enjoy. Besides, I donít need another tie to hang in the closet!
I have thoroughly enjoyed your many postings and e-mails as you discussed and tracked down various leads and information about them. Your posting prompted me to look back at some of them over the years. I quickly got side tracked having fun looking at some older threads and even saving some that I had missed.
Please continue to keep us posted so folks will know when and how they can order a copy. And again, congratulations on completing your book!
Hap l9l5 cut off
Bump to get rid of the spam
Thanks for the kind words Hap.
As you know, I have huge regard for this Forum, it's members, and your good self. You have been so accommodating and patient with me.
I hope you don't get another tie for Christmas!
Best wishes - John