Lot Number

1906 Ford Model N Runabout

Sold For $41,250

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The Merrick Auto Museum Collection

Chassis No.
Engine No.
Registered No.
  • Jaunty “bee-tail” Ford
  • Predecessor to the Model T
  • Excellent quality and detail

Although most people correctly attribute the Model T’s simplicity to Henry Ford’s dislike of complexity, few appreciate the extent to which the T was a natural evolution of the earlier four-cylinder Fords, the Models N, R, and S.

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.

Purchased by the Merrick Auto Museum in 1998, this Model N Ford was previously in the Don Sherwood Collection. An excellent example of the “bee-tail” Ford, so named for the shape of its rear deck, the car presents very well in red with white accent striping, which contrasts nicely with the black fenders and black-buttoned leather seating. The varnished wood dashboard holds the coil box; there is no instrumentation. A black leather cape top with side curtains is included. The engine compartment is excellently detailed, including a New York registration medallion numbered 43257. With correct brass lighting and radiator, this Model N is an excellent example of the pre–Model T Ford.

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