Sports & Classics of Monterey

12-14 August 2010


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Lot 139

1907 Ford Model K Five-Passenger Touring

Sold for $192,500

40 hp, 405 cu. in. L-head inline six-cylinder engine with Holley updraft carburetor, two-speed planetary transmission; internal expanding rear wheel mechanical brakes, lever operated. Wheelbase: 120"

- From the collection of Clyde Ensor, Sr.

- Spectacular example of Ford’s first six-cylinder luxury automobile

- Formerly in the Harrahs, Bemis and Anthony collections

- One of only about 25 known to exist

1906 marked the introduction of two vehicles from the fledgling Ford Motor Company. At one end of the spectrum was the low-price and ruggedly simple four-cylinder Model N. Entirely opposite was the large and luxurious six-cylinder Model K. The Model N listed for just $500, while the Model K, on the other hand, for $2,500 (raised to $2,800 for 1907). The Model K was the biggest Ford yet with a 2,500 lb curb weight and a 114" wheelbase (increased to 120" for 1907-1908 models), as well as being the first Ford to feature six-cylinder power.

Much of the car’s weight came from the big liquid-cooled 405-cu. in. inline six that featured an L-head design with a 4½" x 4¼" bore and stroke. Cylinders were individually cast in iron, and in an attempt to save weight, Chief Ford Engineer Childe Harold Wills (who later went on to produce the Wills-Sainte Claire automobile) specified an enormous 50-inch long cast aluminum crankcase. Producing 40 hp at 1,600 rpm and putting power to the ground via shaft drive, the big Model K was good for 60 miles per hour – very impressive for 1906.

According to expert Don Mates, the first public showing of the Model K is believed to have been held at the 1906 American Motor Car Manufacturer’s Association (AMCMA) Show held at the 69th Regiment Armory, Lexington Avenue and 25th Street, New York in mid-January, 1906. A Touring car was displayed along with a complete chassis “adorned with much polish and engine turning.” A similar showing followed in Chicago later in the month. 1906 production was pegged at just 350 chassis built by Dodge Brothers on a 112-inch wheelbase. Total Ford production for the model year was 8,828 units, continuing a trend which would see Model Ks built in limited numbers throughout its three-year production run.

Ford advertising stated, “The whole six cylinders inspire the driver with the confidence that there is an enormous latent energy in this motor, ready for any new demand without overloading the motor, making it the easiest controlled and most flexible automobile ever built.” The Model K, available in either a Five-Passenger Touring car or sporty Runabout called the 640, was everything Henry Ford abhorred in an automobile and everything his company investors Alexander Malcomson and Charles Bennett wanted. It was easy to understand the choice of a smooth operating six-cylinder engine for a luxury automobile and for the Ford director’s enthusiasm for the Model K, given that approximately half of U.S. auto sales were priced at the K’s level or even higher.

The company’s 1907 catalog boldly stated that the Model K offered “the silence of an electric with the simplicity and economy of the gasoline motor.” But the car was far and away from Henry Ford’s ideal for a “car for the multitudes,” costing five times what he thought his company’s products should. Ford was selling all the Model Ns it could build and, at the same time, a smattering of Model Ks. Ford dealers were forced to take a Model K for every 10 Model Ns they ordered. The ensuing debate over the direction of the Ford Motor Company and the future of the Model K would ultimately lead to the departure of cofounder Malcomson from the company. But as they say, that’s another story! The Model K remained in production though October 1908 when it was discontinued in favor of the Model T, the car that Mr. Ford envisioned. Ford would not produce another six-cylinder automobile until 1941.

This spectacular Model K is currently part of the Clyde Ensor, Sr. Collection and was formerly part of the Harrah’s Collection in Nevada. Other noted owners include Elmer Bemis and Warren Anthony. Expert Don Mates, in a March 1st, 1989 letter to Mr. Ensor, stated that, “This car was used on several Glidden Tours in the 1950s by Mr. Bemis, driving to and from as well (as much as 1000 miles each way). Beautiful re-restoration by Harrah’s.”

Resplendent in a handsome combination of dark blue with cream pinstriping, black interior, and black canvas top, this is a very imposing vintage automobile. Brass trim is prevalent including the radiator, lights, cowl, horn, brake lever, gear shift handle, wheel hubs and steering column, all of which appear to be in good condition. It is fitted with a brass Prest-O-Lite tank mounted on the driver side running board. The black canvas roof fits beautifully and is lined with red cloth, and the black tufted leather seats are presentable. Some cracking is evident in the paint, particularly on the passenger side door, while the engine bay is impressive as is the wood trim, which is likewise excellent. In all, a remarkable vehicle considering the restoration is decades old. It is thought to be one of just 25 known to exist. This is a spectacular automobile certainly to be the centerpiece of any Brass Era collection of early vehicles.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more