Name: 1907 Ford Model K
Year Produced: 1906-1908
Number Built: 8,828
Body Style: 2-row touring car
Engine: 405CID cast iron block, 6 cylinders
Power: 40 hp
Top Speed: 53.5mph
Transmission: planetary 2-speed manual
Wheelbase: 114.0 in.
With no hood and firewall this doesn’t look like a typical racing car. However, as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover or in this car’s case, the lack of any. For many years, racing legend has it that Ford’s 6-cylinder 1907 race car was a drop dead failure. Thanks to some bits of historical info shared to us by Rob Heyen from Eastern Nebraska through the Model T Forum (http://www.mtfca.com/), this piece of Ford history will have us rethinking on the feats made by this humble champ.
The ‘car’ was built in 1907 and Henry Ford used a 6 cylinder engine from the Model K car. Ford built the car for one sole purpose to break the record for one lap of a one mile track. Behind its wheels dare-devil driver Frank Kulick. Through out his racing career with Ford, Kulick had his share of accidents, the last being on October 18, 1907 where he severely injured himself on the race track while testing Ford’s 120 hp six-cylinder. A vintage news article from October 24, 1907, posted by Heyen, describes in vivid detail the ordeal that Kulick went through. “The timers got their watches ready as Kulick let the big car out and came thundering down the stretch for the start. A second later the car skidded on the lower turn and plunged through the wire fence, turning over twice before it landed bottom up… he was taken to a hospital where it was discovered that his right knee cap is split and the right femur broken in two places… he also sustained contusions along the spine, shoulders and back of the head.”
After Kulick’s tragic accident, the news clip says, “According to local newspapers, Mr. Ford declared that he will never build another racing car.” The 6-cylinder, though partially wrecked was rebuilt in 1908 and 1909.
Scrolling further down on Heyen’s post, you’ll some pretty good evidence of the Ford’s accomplishments. Based on the Almanac and Year Book for 1908 by The Chicago Daily News, the Ford Detroit Team using the 6-cylinder is listed as one of the winners in the 24-hour races running at 1,135 miles, and are listed on the same page as the 07 circular mile records.
Kulick on the other hand was honored by Ford to be the company’s official head tester of his six-cylinder factory after his accident as reported in the Ford Times dated May 1, 1908.