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Early photograph of Ford Prototype with Henry Ford & my grandfather!

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  • Early photograph of Ford Prototype with Henry Ford & my grandfather!

    Good morning!

    I have an old picture my grandfather passed down that was said to have been of he and Henry Ford, along with others, around an early prototype which appears to be a clay and steel or wood model.

    My mother said it was from 1909, but it looks more like late teens or early 20s to me. My grandfather is the tall fellow looking through the center window from behind the car! I believe that is Henry Ford sitting in the back seat area! He does look much younger in this photo than a 1919 portrait I've seen of him though.

    The picture is 7" x 12".

    I'm interested in the history of the vehicle/picture, if you can provide any information it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!



  • #2
    Hey mkm5, WELCOME to the VFF!!
    You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


    • #3
      Thank you!


      • #4
        There are no Fords in that picture
        Has it ever occurred to you that the sole purpose for your existence might be to serve as a warning to others?


        • #5
          Originally posted by CarlLaFong View Post
          There are no Fords in that picture
          Do you mean Ford people or cars?


          • #6
            Originally posted by mkm5 View Post

            Do you mean Ford people or cars?
            Take your pick
            As you pointed out, the man is too young to be Henry. He would have been around fifty. In my eyes, he looks nothing like Henry. Ford had a very angular face with a pointed chin. At the time of this pic, Ford was in full production of the "T". This body is enormous and would not fit the chassis. Ford had not yet come into possession of Lincoln. I believe he could not have cared less about building a gigantic limo when his vision of the car for the masses had become a proven reality. Also, after the Model K debacle, his dislike for large, expensive cars was even worse than before
            Last edited by CarlLaFong; 01-08-2018, 12:37 PM.
            Has it ever occurred to you that the sole purpose for your existence might be to serve as a warning to others?


            • #7
              Sorry to trouble you, I will remove the picture.


              • BNCHIEF
                BNCHIEF commented
                Editing a comment
                No need to remove it maybe folks can help you identify it there, it is history and especially yours do do not feel bad about it thanks for posting it I am real curious about the car in the picture could be you have something more than you think and welcome to the vff.

            • #8
              Not troubled a bit. It is an interesting picture
              Has it ever occurred to you that the sole purpose for your existence might be to serve as a warning to others?


              • #9
                I was just passing along a bit of photographic history; the story behind the picture was written on the back of it about 50 years ago by my mother as told to her by my grandfather, according to her. The picture went missing since then and was recently found after she passed away a few years ago.

                I was excited to find it and hopefully share some interesting history of automobiles and the craftsmen who made the prototypes, which this appears to be.

                My apologies for any errors in the posting, I had no reason to doubt the story. She had said the picture was from 1909, but the car body did not look period to me from that timeframe, which is why I tried to find a knowledgeable forum to help shed more light on it. I guess I thought if it was from 1909, Henry would have looked a bit younger than most pictures I've seen of him from the 1920s, and the fellow sitting in the back seat appears to have some stature/importance to him.

                The car body does look very odd to me, particularly the large driver side front window, which again, is why I was seeking help in identifying it.



                • #10
                  Mike that has the appearance of a town car or taxi Ford did make some but not in 1909, that said it would be interesting to find out what the body is could have been built by a body or carriage maker for a company ford chevy who knows. Give it time maybe we can come up with something and there is a story there.


                  • #11
                    Welcome Mike to the forum.
                    I pulled up some pictures of Henry that spanned many years and i could not find a resemblance. Thanks for posting your story and the picture it is very interesting none the less. We do like looking at old photos and have a very large contingent of knowledgeable folks here.
                    4~ Tudor's
                    1~ Coupe

                    Henry Ford said,
                    "It's all nuts and bolts"

                    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


                    • #12
                      Any guesses what the car is, or what year?

                      I really don't have much knowledge of cars this old at all, other than if it was 1909 it would probably look more like a buggy.

                      My guess was early 20s and maybe Lincoln due to the large rectangular cabin, but I don't think those came around til late 20s.

                      The picture of my grandfather would more support my mother's 1909 dating, as he looks very young in the picture having been born in 1883, and most other pictures I've seen of him from the 20s he looks much older.

                      So, again, it's all a bit confusing to me!


                      • #13
                        I don't think the '09 supposition is too far off. The style fall within that era. These types of bodies were pretty common in large cities as taxis. The body pictured is, likely, a coach build item that a manufacturer would contract out, to be installed on their chassis. The cowl shape might be a clue to it's eventual chassis.
                        I would post the pic on the AACA site. There are some very knowledgeable folks there
                        Has it ever occurred to you that the sole purpose for your existence might be to serve as a warning to others?


                        • #14
                          Please leave the picture up. There are a lot of people familiar with early Ford history who are members of this site but do not visit it daily. Sooner or later you will learn something about the car and your grandfather that you did not know before you posted the picture. This is the type of historical "mystery" that produces knowledge, sooner or later. You may want to post it on the AACA website also. Whatever you learn, please share it with us.


                          • #15
                            Thank you for the info guys, and the interest in the picture!

                            I'm not familiar with the AACA site, but will check it out.

                            I thought the cowl might give some clues too, and maybe the way the A-pillars are constructed.

                            It does make sense it may have been a coach built body and not a prototype; I worked on prototypes for many years and they were always initially on posts versus chassis, so that's where I reasoned that from!



                            • Mitch
                              Mitch commented
                              Editing a comment

                            • BNCHIEF
                              BNCHIEF commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Mike that cowl does not look like ford either a little too long and very rounded like a whippet altho later model t I have a 27 fordor and that is a long cowl also do a search on taxis from say 1920 thru 1930 and see what turns up I will my curiosity is piqued.

                          • #16
                            Thanks Mitch, I just posted the picture over there!



                            • Mitch
                              Mitch commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Keep us posted on what you find out

                            • Curly
                              Curly commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Please keep us posted, you have my interest.

                          • #17
                            If you look close it looks like the drivers door was filled in, and they extended the front seat area. The cowl does look some thing like a T.

                            The two guys in the back look like bothers. Maybe the Dodge bothers.


                            • #18
                              Yes, that driver's side door was what made me think it was a clay model or something, since it has no real gap opening lines. Maybe the cab was like a bus that did not use a driver's door and they got in on the passenger side?


                              • #19
                                The other thing that crossed my mind which is why I didn't initially doubt it was Henry in the back seat, is that there must have been some reason of importance to take this picture in the first place. And for it to be printed on large 7" x 12" paper instead of post card size paper like was typical.


                                • #20
                                  Some of the early t's did not have a driver door, but this one looks like a piece has been added where the door would be.


                                  • #21
                                    Take a look here
                                    Ford Body Styles, Model A, Model T, V-8, Ford Motor Company, Body Suppliers, Briggs, Murray, Budd


                                    • BNCHIEF
                                      BNCHIEF commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      There was a guy H ford referred to as spyder could he be in the picture representing henry ford at a coach builder. The link I posted for you shows some vehicles very similar to your photograph and possible the gas tank was not installed yet or it could have been special and under the front seat as many model t fords were and in 1909 thru 1925 they were under the front seat.

                                  • #22
                                    1909 was the first year for the Model T. Henry had already gone thru the entire alphabet with prototypes, which began with the letter A, ending with the Model T.
                                    In 1928 when the "New Ford" came out, Henry wanted a big splash so he started the alphabet all over again, thus giving us our Model A.
                                    Geo Miller's comment about the Dodge brothers may not be too far off, they built a ton of stuff for Henry as an outside contractor, until Henry stiffed them and they started their own car company in the teens.
                                    Please leave the pic up for all the reasons stated above.
                                    Between us and the AACA you never know what will happen. As stated above not all members of any forum are online all the time.

                                    Now you have us very intrigued, since somehow I feel there must be an element of truth somehow to the info that has been passed down to you.

                                    Time to dig deep for Henry pictures. What about Edsel Ford, we need pix of him too

                                    Henry was born during the Civil War 1863

                                    Edsel was born 1893


                                    • BNCHIEF
                                      BNCHIEF commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Tbird take a look at the link I posted their are some similar body styles there.

                                  • #23
                                    What city and state was your dad in when the picture was taken? Car body fabrication occurred in a lot of places and knowing the location of the photo might be significant in identification of this body.


                                    • #24
                                      there were over 1800 car manufacturers between 1894 and 1930. There could be all kinds of reasons for that picture. Maybe an outside coachbuilder body for the TT. The TT has a wheelbase of 125", 25" more than the T. I'm dying to find out the story.


                                      • #25
                                        With Photoshop you could even fix the crack in the middle of the picture. I hope someone can add information to the picture.


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