I guess there was talk of 6 cylinder fords but this ad put that to rest
Items like this are interesting insights into the "climate" of the automobile business in those days. Thanks much for posting this, Colin ! Apparently good memories of the Model K were still fresh in the minds of some folks ?
In a similar vein, I recall reading a (supposed) quote by Henry Ford: "A car doesn't need any more spark plugs than a cow has teats. " I wonder if he ever really said that . . . but it seems to jibe with this notice, and certainly would have underscored his commitment to the four-cylinder Model T !
Ford did experiment with six cylinder motors in some of his four cylinder cars . A friend of mine has a six cylinder Model N and Ford made some Model T Fords with sex cylinders cast all in one block . They were called the Model J . One of the old mechanics in town told me that a man in town had a sex cylinder Model T .
where can I get one of those "sex cylinder" engines!
I think that's a fascinating notice and look into that time!
The rumor mills were almost as busy as the textile mills and things quickly twisted out of hand even then.
This is of course where a lot of the misinformation about the failure of the model K began. From a lot of these rumors, a few facts. and some misquoting, it turned into "Henry hated the six cylinders" and Henry "hated the model K". The automobile world had changed a lot in a few years, and the realities of comparing the model K to its own time-frame became lost in all the shuffles.
The facts are, that the inexpensive, well-built, car for the masses always was Henry's primary goal. Henry (among others) himself pioneered much of the early six cylinder development, much of that in his quest for the knowledge of how to build that car for the masses. He began working on them early, and continued with their development well past the early sales of the model K Ford. This is clearly demonstrated in the known six cylinder "model N" that Henry himself drove for some time, and the final embodiment of the famous early six cylinder racing car.
It is also well known, that while Henry and Clara were in Europe for a short while, Edsel Ford had the experimental department build some six cylinder versions of the model T. Legend (probably based on facts?) has it that upon his return from Europe, Henry was angered by this and destroyed the experimental cars and most parts and molds. We may never know for sure the real truth to that story, however, it certainly helped turn the historian's opinions to "Henry hated the six cylinder". And, it almost as certainly contributed to the rumors that Ford was going to build a six cylinder version of the model T.
All that, probably is what lead up to this announcement that they were in fact NOT going to produce a six cylinder.
The fact is, at that time, Henry had is hands FULL! They were building the model Ts at the as yet unfinished Highland Park plant. Construction was ongoing. He was trying to design and build the world's largest moving assembly line (not yet running), and the factory was struggling to produce cars as fast as they could. At that time, they could not keep up with demand. Henry had just won the Selden settlement, but was still fighting for his full control of the Ford Motor Company. He finally got that a short while later.
I have wondered for a long time about that return from Europe story. There does seem to be enough documentation from those involved to make the story likely to have more than a little truth to it. Yet, there clearly is enough evidence to say Henry did NOT truly hate six cylinder cars. I have suspected that there is some other as yet unknown reason for some of that. However, at the very least, around 1912 through '15, he was too busy getting the car for the masses into full production to be wandering off on other flights of fancy. Between that, and his age (he was about 50 at that time!), it is little wonder that production of six cylinder cars or significant continued racing interests were largely dropped.
It should never again be forgotten that the Ford model K was an engineering and sales success (compared to other sixes and even four cylinder cars of its class of its time), and helped both in design and financing to pave the way for the model T.
You will notice that Ford only ever gave his distributors and dealers a 12 month contract.
A longer one was never available this also applied to the Overseas distributors with contracts with Ford Canada. In the early 1920's Ford Canada set about establishing Ford controlled businesses in the overseas countries,
In the case of South Africa they sent two employees who had lawyers draw up papers for a new company and the South African distributors were told the 12 month contract would not be renewed and they were OUT. Australia was next in line and Ford Australia began in 1925. Good for Ford anytime they saw fit they took over completely.
I think I'll start a new thread and reference what I believe is the same six cylinder Model N.
As always, interesting and well thought out points. I take issue with one fo the "rumors" that has been out there for years and years. There are reminiscences by a then employee (don't recall his name at this moment) describing when the Ford family returned from their 1912 European trip (including Ireland and England). Upon returning, Henry Ford was shown or came upon a re-vamped Model T, or updated version. The reminiscence says it was an all steel body, with other updates or improvements. The car was the brain child of C.H. Wills among others. I'm not sure Edsel was involved, as I believe he was on the Europe trip with the Fords.
Ford ripped the doors off and otherwise showed his dissatisfaction with the mice playing while he was away, and proposing changes to the car (T) that he evidently was intent on not changing. The author of the Reminiscence went on to say the experimental body/car became or morphed into the first Dodge Brothers car, making me think the Dodge brothers were in on the "surprise."
However, and this is a big "however," this wasn't a six cylinder car. That's where the story morphed over the years, combining the now accepted "fact" HF hated the six cylinder car with this incident, involving a Model T improved four cylinder experiment.
Ford according to Rob.......
I'll start a thread on Henry Ford's "other sixes" later.
Last note. While on the trip to England, Henry Ford bought a car to tour Europe with. I believe he had it shipped back to the states and it was one of several large expensive cars in his stables. The car he bought was a six cylinder Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.
Rob, I had read something about the Dodge brothers proposal for an improved Ford which then became the Dodge Brothers car in 1914? But exactly when or where I read it I am not sure. Since it was an idea I had not seen mentioned more often, I somewhat dismissed it. However, if you have seen it also, I may have to consider it some more. Edsel's involvement may also need to be reconsidered (although I have read references to that from several sources?). As I said, we may never know the real whole story. However, with you on its trail? We just might find out!
I always enjoy your findings and putting the real facts back into place.
I found my file. This is an extract from the Reminiscence of George Brown. I forgot all the details, but Wills and several others really went behind HF's back, so far as to send orders to body makers and parts suppliers. It's quite an interesting read. The nice thing about the Reminiscences is they are recollections of the people who were there. Still often clouded by years of memory loss and affected by "historical" accounts, they provide a personal look into how people felt about Henry Ford and others within the company. Unfortunately this has "morphed" into HF destroying a six cylinder car. I believe there is a story about Ford having a six cylinder motor of Edsel's destroyed, but that's a different story for a different thread...
Excerpts courtesy of The Henry Ford, all rights apply
That also is a very interesting read! Clearly I am mixing a couple stories here. You keep it up and I might become an early Ford historian yet.
Meanwhile, I'll keep reading, speculating, asking questions, and commenting.
Wayne, you have a wealth of information and experience that is tremendous, as do so many on this forum. As it turns out, my interest in Ford history sprung from one specific model and period in time. Sooooo, my opinions have changed over the years, and I expect will continue to as we learn more and exchange information and ideas.
Last thing on this particular incident (Ford destroying an experimental car). A news article defining when the Fords were in Europe, and a C. H. Wills biography with a take on the incident from his biographer's perspective, including the Dodge connection: