Ford Model N Runabout

Many historians consider the Model N as the precursor to the Model T. Ford introduced it in 1906 at a base price of just $500 – Ford’s first high-value model. The N was found to be quite sturdy and reliable, boasting two important innovations in Ford’s advanced thinking about building automobiles – the first Ford to be constructed of tough but lightweight vanadium steel and also Ford’s first attempt to employ methods of mass production.

While the Model T made great technical strides with its cast en bloc engine and removable cylinder head, thermosyphon cooling and transverse-leaf rear suspension, other T hallmarks were already in use on the N, R and S: bevel-topped radiator with tall neck, foot-operated planetary transmission, and “backwards dish” steering wheel with column-mounted spark and throttle controls. True, the cylinders were cast in pairs and cooled by a complicated water pump embedded in the bottom of the radiator, and rear suspension was by longitudinal full-elliptic springs, but a pattern of Ford engineering was emerging. It would be the Model T’s vanadium steel, the work of Childe Harold Wills, that made the T so tough, differentiating it from its four-cylinder forebears.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in October of 2010 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

18 hp, 149 cu. in. four-cylinder L-head engine, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front axle with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with full-elliptic leaf springs, transmission brake and two-wheel mechanical hand brakes. Wheelbase: 84".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel and Stephen Goodal

Gallery: Ford Model N Runabout