8 production cars that Ford made before the famous Model T

14th November 2017

On June 4, 1896, when he was 32, Henry Ford put the last touches on his first automobile. He named it the ‘Quadricycle’. Its two-cylinder engine produced 4 horsepower, and reached a top speed of 20mph (32km/h).

It helped Ford inspire investors to get behind the development of the Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Company formed in 1903 with Henry Ford at the helm. It produced 9 models between 1903 and 1908: A/AC, B, C, F, K, N, R, S and T. One theory on the missing letters is that they were likely the experimental models that never reached production.

1. Model A (1903-1905) / Model AC (1904)

The Model A was a successful, basic two-cylinder vehicle that formed the base of the Ford Motor Company. It was sold as either a two seater runabout or a four seater tonneau for at least US$750 (about NZ$35,000 today). In our collection at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill we have the Model AC on display, which has the body of the Model A with the engine of Model C.

2. Model B (1904-1906)

The Model B was a modern, luxurious touring car, costing at least US$2,000 (about NZ$97,000 today). It was Ford’s first four-cylinder and front engine car. Its sales were slower than the Model A.

Note: This is the only car we don't have in our collection at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill. We have 7 of the 8 pre-Model T production cars on display.

3. Model C (1904-1905)

The Model C was a more modern, powerful version of the Model A. It was marketed as a ‘Doctor’s Car’, and is sometimes still called that.

4. Model F (1905-1906)

The Model F was even more modern and luxurious than the Model C. It was a four-seater phaeton, with a standard roof. It sold for at least US$1,000 (about NZ$40,000 today), still cheaper than many of the entry level cars at the time.

5. Model K (1906-1908)

The Model K was produced to replace the luxurious Model B. It was Ford’s first and only six-cylinder engine until 1941. It did not sell as well as the other models because it was too expensive.

6. Model N (1906-1908)

The Model N was made to replace the basic Models A and C. It was highly successful, Ford sold 7,000. It was the first American car to use stronger vanadium steel.