Fords Before the T

 
 

Ford made a good number of cars before the Model T was introduced. Beginning in 1903 they produced Models A, followed by Models B, C, F, K, N, R, and S. There were also a number of "special" cars, sometimes referred to as still another model, "E" for instance, but more often just a part of the regular model-letter of the time.

Ford's sales ledger books of the early years are in the files of the Research Library of the Henry Ford Museum, and in these the models and serial numbers were listed as they were sold. Sadly, not all of the ledgers are extant but from those that do exist a good bit of information can be gleaned.

These records are, of course, not complete so there are gaps in the data. From the data we have, the following might be a guide. Remember, these are the dates of the sale, not of manufacture.

 

Model A
First sale July 20, 1903. Last sale January 10, 1905.* Approximately 1750 were made, beginning with serial number one. (Serial numbers 1, 2, and 3 apparently were never sold. Perhaps they were kept by Ford executives.) The Model A was superseded by the Model AC (a Model A with a Model C engine) which continued the serial number sequence of the Model A.**

Horsepower

8

Bore/Stoke

4 by 4 inches

Cylinders

2 opposed

Wheelbase

72 inches

Tread

55 inches

Price

$750. Tonneau, $100.
Leather top, $50. Rubber top, $30

Model AC
The Model AC was a later production Model A with a Model C engine.

Model B
The Model B was a four-cylinder touring car.
First sale October 20, 1904. Last sale June 30, 1906.* Approximately 500 were made, beginning with serial number one.

Horsepower

24

Bore/Stoke

4-1/4 by 5 inches

Cylinders

4

Wheelbase

92 inches

Tread

55-1/2 inches

Price

$2000. Gas lamps extra

Model C
The Model C was an up-dated version of the Model A. The engine was a bit larger than that in the A. The Model C sported a front "hood" which the Model A did not have, giving it a more modern appearance.
First sale November 17, 1904. Last sale December 14, 1905.* Approximately 800 were made, beginning with serial number 1751(?)**.

Horsepower

10

Bore/Stoke

4-1/4 by 4-1/4 inches

Cylinders

2 opposed

Wheelbase

78 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

$850. Tonneau, $100.
Leather top, $50. Rubber top, $30

Model E (Delivery Car)
The "Model E" appears in some literature and is described as a delivery car. In 1905 Ford did produce a delivery car based on the Model C chassis. The Ford catalogs described it as "Delivery Car" but no separate model letter was assigned. The first sale was on March 4, 1905 (to John Wanamaker). The last sale was November 4, 1905*

Price

$950. Plus gas lamps.

Model F
The Model F was an updated version of the Model C, with a larger body, finders, and with running boards.
First sale March 4, 1905. Last sale May 22, 1906.* Approximately 1000 were made, beginning with serial number 2575** (a continuation from the Models A and C).**

Horsepower

 

Bore/Stoke

4-1/2 by 4 inches

Cylinders

2 opposed

Wheelbase

84 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

$1000. Plus gas lamps.

Model K
The Model K was a six-cylinder car available as either a touring or a roadster. Expensive ($25-2800), and not too good, it was a poor seller and generally credited for Henry Ford's dislike for six-cylinder cars.
First sale April 16, 1906. Last sale September 30, 1908.* Approximately 900 were made, beginning with serial number one.

Horsepower

40

Bore/Stoke

4-1/2 by 4-1/4 inches

Cylinders

6

Wheelbase

114 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

1905-06, $2500 plus gas lamps
1907-08, $2800, $3000 with top and lamps.

Model N
The Model N was a four-cylinder car, generally a runabout although a few special bodies were apparently built as well. It had rudimentary fenders with no splash aprons or running boards.
First sale July 7, 1906. Last sale December 21, 1908.* Approximately 7000 were made, beginning with serial number one.

Horsepower

15

Bore/Stoke

3-3/4 by 3-3/8 inches

Cylinders

4

Wheelbase

84 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

1907, $500.
1908, $600. Gas lamps and top extra

Model R
The Model R was a up-graded version of the Model N, using the same engine and chassis with minor improvements, but with a somewhat larger body and with improved fenders and running boards. Its success resulted in the Model S.
First sale April 1, 1907. Last sale October 21, 1907.* Approximately 2500 were made, beginning with serial number one. (The records show a fair number of Model R's being sold on May 17, 1909. There were none found between the last date above and this date, and none after this date. Where these came from is unknown.)

Horsepower

15

Bore/Stoke

3-3/4 by 3-3/8 inches

Cylinders

4

Wheelbase

84 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

$750. Gas lamps and top extra

Model S
The Model S was similar to the Model N but with a bigger body, fenders, etc. It was sort of a compromise between the Models S and R.
First sale February 4, 1907. Last sale February 1, 1909.* Approximately 3750 were made, beginning with serial number one.

Horsepower

15

Bore/Stoke

3-3/4 by 3-3/8 inches

Cylinders

4

Wheelbase

84 inches

Tread

56 inches

Price

$700. Gas lamps and top extra

 

* Dates are those of the vast majority of sales, the dates are from the sales ledger books. There may have been earlier and later sales. Earlier models were sometimes sold months after the replacement models were introduced.

** Ford catalogs show the Model A serial numbers as 1 to 870, Model AC (A with C engine) as 670 to 2570, and Model F as those above 2570.