1902 Exoto Ford ‘999’ Barney Oldfield [1/18]
|Model:||1902 Exoto Ford ‘999’|
|Race:||1902 Winton Challenge|
|Traded Price||$230- $300|
History of this automobile:
The 1902 Ford ‘999’ is not only the first Ford to ever complete a race, but also the first to win one! Barney Oldfield, the one man who at the time did more for popularizing racing in North American than anybody else, raced a number of truly spectacular automobiles but the Ford ‘999’ was his first. The ‘999’ earned race victories and held the land speed record. More importantly, it earned the prize money and publicity upon which Henry Ford built the giant of American automotive giants!
It took a brave man to drive the ‘999’ at speed on the dirt oval tracks of the day. Thankfully, Barney Oldfield was just the man for the job. Back in 1902, when auto racing was in its infancy, there were few cars at all and even fewer that could even hope to stay ahead of the Ford ‘999’ once it had built up a head of steam!
Where to purchase:
eBay–>search “exoto 999”
History of famous Ford “999”:
Henry Ford had an early interest in racing cars, having built and driven in 1901 a 70 horsepower (52 kW) model that won a race against Alexander Winton and other challengers. It was from the proceeds of this race that Ford created the Henry Ford Company. In March 1902, Ford left this original company over disputes with his stockholders and Henry Leland, taking with him $900 and schematics for a planned racer. In Ford’s absence, Leland took over the company, and made it into the Cadillac Motor Company later in 1902.
Henry Ford collaborated with bicycle racer Tom Cooper and a team of several assistants to create two similar racing cars that were as yet unnamed. They were painted red and yellow, respectively. The result was a huge engine with a bare chassis attached to it, with no bodywork whatsoever. Both of the cars were extremely heavily engineered, with an 18.8 L inline-4 engine, 230-lb flywheel, a bore of 7.25 inches (184 mm) and a stroke of 7.0 inches (180 mm). Power was quoted anywhere from 70 to 100 horsepower (75 kW). There was no rear suspension, no differential, and steering was controlled by a crude pivoting metal bar. The total cost of the project was $5000.
Though Ford’s name was attached to the cars and the ensuing legend, he had ironically sold his stake in them for $800 to Barney Oldfield and Cooper when the cars had refused to start during a test drive two weeks before the first race. Ultimately, Ford would abandon his share of the racing money, but would reserve the right to promotions and publicity of the cars, which secured his image behind their eventual successes. He meanwhile built up Ford Motor Company, which surpassed Winton in terms of production by the end of 1903.
In summer of 1902, Cooper and Oldfield carried out further work and got the red one working. The red one was named 999 for the Empire State Express No. 999. No. 999 was a type 4-4-0 American steam locomotive which had famously set a world speed record of 112.5 mph (181.1 km/h) on May 10, 1893, making it the first man-made vehicle to exceed 100 mph (160 km/h) under its own propulsion. The yellow one was named Arrow for the connotations of a sleek arrow flying through the air.
Little background about the driver:
Oldfield, despite having absolutely no driving experience, learned how to race the 999. In his October 1902 debut, a five-mile (8 km) race known as the Manufacturers’ Challenge Cup, despite a strong challenge from Winton once again (which was the rematch for which Ford had originally planned), Oldfield easily won. The 999 set a course speed record at the track at Grosse Pointe, and went on to tour America and score many other victories. Cooper retained ownership of the car for its racing career, while Oldfield ultimately pursued a racing career with Winton, against whom he had raced at the outset.