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Introduced in 1906, Ford Model N became the bestselling car in America at $500

David Goran

In 1906, Henry Ford’s dream to make an affordable car for the everyday person was being realized. The Model N was Mr. Ford’s conception of a runabout that was “all automobile”– in other words, all efficiency with none of the frills or fussings so dear to the hearts of some motorists. The Ford Model N was introduced as a successor to the Models A and C as the company’s inexpensive entry-level line; and it was built at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.

This was the Ford Motor Company's first truely low cost car

This was the Ford Motor Company’s first truly low-cost car. source

 

The first Model N did not become available until July 1906.

The first Model N did not become available until July 1906. source

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Advertising claims the Model N had more power in proportion to weight than any other car ever built. The Model N Ford featured a 4-cylinder 149 cubic-inch engine cast in-pairs producing 15 horsepower. The transmission was a two-speed planetary type. It had an 84-inch wheelbase weighing 1050 lbs. The Model N was capable of top speeds over 40 mph and featured a trembler coil ignition powered by a battery. Optional equipment was limited to a tail lamp, horn, sidelights, headlights, and cloth or leather top. The engine of the Model N is quite different from the later Model T’s. The cylinders were cast in pairs, machined, and bolted to a crankcase made of cast aluminum. The manifolds and carburetor are located on the left-hand side of the engine. This may have been done to allow the steering gear to clear the carburetor.

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

 

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

Ford Model N, Den Hartogh Ford Museum. source

At US$500, the car was viewed as highly affordable at the time; by contrast, the high-volume Oldsmobile Runabout went for $650, Western’s Gale Model A was $500, the Brush Runabout $485, the Black went for as low as $375, and the Success hit the amazingly low $250. Maroon was the only factory color for the Model N.

The Model N was introduced at the New York Auto Show in January 1906 and deliveries began in July of that same year. During the 28 months of production, 7,000 Model N automobiles were assembled and sold.