EARLY FORD MODELS 1903 - 1908
The Ford Motor Company came into life in 1903, after some less successful
attempts by Henry Ford to start car production. The new company counted 12 investors and a
starting capital of $28,000. All hopes were aimed at the Model A, introduced that same
year, to get the company running. The first sale was made in July 20, 1903, a month after
the company's incorporation and by then finances were down to a mere $223.
After that first sale the Model A's popularity and production rapidly picked up, and between 1903 and 1905 about 1750 of these cars left the converted wagon factory in Detroit which was Ford's first production base. For the time this was a good result and it formed a solid foundation for further expansion of the company.
The Model A was a basic two-seater that could be converted to a four-seater
tonneau model like you see here as an option. This conversion was made by adding the rear
seat arrangement on top of the slanted rear side of the two-seater bodywork.
The engine of the Model A was fitted under the front bench and drove the rear wheels by chain. It produced 8 HP out of its two cylinders which were placed opposite to each other, enough for a top speed of 45 kph. Wheelbase was a short 72 inches/183 cm.
During its production cycle the Model A sold for $750, the tonneau version required an additional $100. The cars were sold without a top as standard, but a rubber top could be had for an extra $30, and a leather one for $50.
Ford described this car as "the most perfect machine on the market" and "so simple that a boy of 15 can run it", that last statement was important since most cars on the road in that era required a lot of technical knowledge to keep them running. The Model A rendered the Ford Motor Company a profit of $36,957 in the first three and a half months of its existence, so apparently these statements were successful.
In December 1927 another Ford Model A was introduced: the car which
succeeded the Model T after 15 million of them were produced. The Ford Motor Company felt
that this new car was so important to the company and such a big change, that the had to
restart the model designations.
In 1904 the Model B was introduced, a more luxurious touring car. Its styling
and lay-out was more modern that that of the Model A, with the engine in front and a
proper radiator. The 4-cylinder in-line engine produced 24 HP, three times more than the
2-cylinder Model A unit. This was in line with the price of the Model B: $2000, almost
three times as much as that of the Model A. The gas headlights were an extra.
The last of the Models B was sold in 1906, and about 500 were produced in total.
The Model C of 1904 was an updated version of the Model A. It had a more
modern look and a slightly larger engine than the Model A. The Models A and C were
produced next to each other for a while, and Models A could be had with the engine of the
Model C, making them Models AC.
The model C engine, again a "flat" 2-cylinder unit, delivered 10 HP, and the wheelbase of the Model C was 6 inches/15 cm longer than that of the Model A. The "hood" in front was ornamental, the engine remained beneath the front bench as in the Model A.
The Model C sold for $850 as a two-seater, the tonneau model as you see here was $100 more expensive. Again, the extra rubber top requested an additional $30 and the leather one $50. The canopy top you see on this model was non standard and fitted after it was sold. From 1904 till 1905 approximately 800 Models C were made
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