1908 Ford Model R Bee-Tail Roadster SOLD

RM Vintage Motorcars in Arizona - Biltmore Resort & Spa, Friday January 19, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $40,000 - $60,000

$66,000 Sold

15hp, 149 cu. in. inline cast in pair four-cylinder engine, single Holley carburetor, two-speed planetary transmission, chain drive, elliptic leaf spring suspension and mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 84"

The Ford Model N could be acquired in 1906 for $500, which was a considerable bargain when compared to Ford ’ s top of the line $2,500 Model K. With a 15 horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Model N was capable of top speeds in excess of 45 miles per hour. The Boattail rear deck, nickel-plated driving lamps, and stout 84-inch wheelbase made the Model N easily recognizable. This proved to be a solid step towards Ford ’ s goal of producing a reliable, low-priced car for the mass market.

In 1907, the majority of automobiles were big and expensive; consequently, the Model N was rather a novelty. However, the Model N was much more. It offered very similar performance figures to its much larger competitors, but at a fraction of the cost. Ford simply could not build them fast enough to meet the public ’ s demand. Recognizing this, dealers raised the asking price of a Model N $100, and still they could not keep up with demand. For every 10 Model Ns a dealer ordered, Henry Ford made it obligatory for them to also take delivery of a (very difficult to sell) Model K.

Following the advice of his dealers, in 1907 Henry Ford created the Model R to be “ a car of more pretentious appearance ” , when in reality it was little more than a Model N with “ more frills and fussings and more brass trimmings. ” Some of these fussings and frills found on the Model R include footboards in place of carriage steps and a mechanical lubrication system replacing the force-feed oiler of the Model N. The Model R also carried a $150 higher price tag and tipped the scales roughly 300 pounds heavier than the Model N. An instant hit, all 2500 Model Rs built were sold out by September of 1907, less than eight months after their official introduction.

The 1908 Ford Model R Bee-Tail Roadster offered here was acquired from the Winthrop Rockefeller collection. Restored to original specifications, the Model R is a showstopper at any gathering, and is reported by the vendor to run and drive as well as it looks.

Reference Number 5801

as of 1/9/2007

Car 1908 Ford Model R Bee-Tail Roadster
VIN 90 
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