Ford Model B - fact and fiction

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Rob
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Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Rob » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:15 pm

Almost labeled this, “Model B - things I know, things I think I know, and things I don’t know.

As Kim brings one of the earliest and most complete Model B left back to life, we’ve had a chance to see his work, and enjoy bringing this significant Ford out in the light. Since there’s no Chickasha coming up, I thought this might be a good time to explore the Model B.

Like Fords next “big car” to follow the B, the K, i think there is a lot of confusion about the B, and some outright historical inaccuracies.

First and formost, the Model B, like the C, was a 1905 Model car. Ford’s fiscal year began every year on October 1, and just as with the Model T, began selling the B and C after October 1. As with the Model T, not many were sold prior to Jan 1, 1905. This advertisement ran in November 1904, and shows the early B including step plates instead of running boards. The car Kim is bringing back to life is like this, and is similar to a 1908 built Model T, one of the earliest.

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Closer view. As with later Ford’s and the Model T, Ford is touting the light weight, and high horsepower to weight ratio, shaft drive and other features. Most cars of the time were chain drive, and none in this price range had four cylinders. At the same time this ad runs, Ford is also completing his six cylinder racer, whose power plant will be the “next generation” of Ford’s large cars.

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The advertisement goes on to point out the Model B sells for significantly less than comparable cars:
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While the Model B was Ford’s least produced model, with 500 produced, it was still a significant production number considering it was primarily intended to be a one year model. Model C were not produced in much larger quantities, with about 880 produced. Also, in early 1905, the Model F will come online, making three models produced during 1905.


I’m going to work on this thread during the week, and will get back with other items, including an interesting foreign sale, and another foreign sale that would might have changed our perceptions of the Model B. If anyone has any B photos or additional info please join in.
Thanks,
Rob


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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Dropacent » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:48 pm

Here is what little I have, Rob. These are pics of the discovery of B#1. I wish now I would have recorded the story. It was found in Missouri, and the tall old farmer was the owner. He was going to restore it one day. LD Porter convinced him that he’d rather have a couple hundred bucks. A couple small treasures I have is a pencil rubbing of the serial number, and one of the hubcap medallions. It was dinked up and he replaced it with another.
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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Dropacent » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:49 pm

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Dropacent » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:50 pm

F38A8E9F-ACFD-4D24-994F-701D3FC39B63.jpeg
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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Rob » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:56 pm

Thanks Tim. That’s a great story of recovering #1. I saw it at the AACA museum once. Great car.

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Atomic Amish » Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:25 pm

Tim, that's the one that's currently on display at Piquette, no?

What a great documentation of a monumental find!

Thanks for sharing!
My other car is an Amish Drag Buggy.
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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Dropacent » Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:34 pm

Jason, it really shows Mr Porters admiration and dedication to early Fords. That B was restored 60 years ago, and she still looks great.

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Rob » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:35 pm

A few period pics of Model B.

Production at Piquette:

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Henry Ford riding. I believe Clara and James Cousins are in the back:
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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by dllr28bl » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:35 pm

Rob,
I am interested in the apparent similarities in the 1905 Model B Ford engine and the engines Cadillac used in their 4 cylinder autos. Cadillac offered a 4 cylinder engine for the first time in 1905, I believe. The later Model 30 Cadillac engines were a mirror image to the Model B Ford, but had similar copper clad water jackets, similar head / valve / manifold arrangement, placement of water inlet/outlet, etc. Did Cadillac borrow Ford’s idea from 1905? Compare the Model B engine in the first two photos to the Cadillac engine in the last two photos.
1904 Model B Engine Driver side.jpg
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1904 Model B Ford Pass. side.jpg
1904 Model B Ford Pass. side.jpg (131.23 KiB) Viewed 954 times
Cadillac Model 30 Engine Exhaust Side.jpg
Cadillac Model 30 Engine.jpg

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Rob » Tue Mar 17, 2020 8:39 am

Dan, i don’t know regarding B similarities with the copper jacketed Cadillac motor. Maybe Kim will weigh in if he’d reading along, since he’s been “in the guts” of the B motor.

An interesting side note regarding Model B are the chassis sent to London and fitted for taxi work. Below, 12 Model B taximeters in service in London. As usual, there’s more to this story:

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According to the article and photo below, not only were 12 Ford Model B used for taxi service, but 200 were reported to be ordered for future use. Initially I thought this might be a mistake, or typo. 200 more Model B would have greatly increased Ford’s production of the model from 500 to 700 cars:
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As it turns out, “London Cab Company” had a plan, and intended to place 200 Fords on the streets. Below the article works through fare values and uses for the new cabs:

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Next; thanks, but no thanks........


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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by cessna53195 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:42 pm

One difference in the two engines is the copper jacket cylinder, the Cadillac was strait at the bottom while the Ford was necked back down at the base. Had to take longer to make...Robert

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Rob » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:52 pm

The “Automobile Cab Company” raised capital for the purchase and operation of 200 Model B Fords. Had this happened, I suspect our opinion of the model, both here and in England, would have changed dramatically:

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However, the calandre was working against Central Motor Car Company, handling Ford, and Automobile Cab Company. In the article below, the reporter explains Central Motor Car Company considered bringing suit against Ford Motor Co. for not honoring their agreement. Ford had moved on by late February, beginning production on their new, 1906 Models K and N:

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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Dropacent » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:24 pm

Hubcap medallion. These were riveted to an off-the-shelf item, used on many makes cars. Remember, FoMoCo was an assembler then.
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Re: Ford Model B - fact and fiction

Post by Les Burg » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:57 pm

This 1905 and 1906 were taken on our family trip to California in1950. Part of the Harrah' collection.
I wonder where these 2 went. I'm sure Kim Knows.
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