Land Speed Record in Miniature
A lot has been written about the Ford 999 and Arrow, some of it wrong and quite a bit of it contradictory. This is my brief interpretation of events, I hope it clarifies a few points.
In 1902 Henry Ford built two almost identical cars, these became known as 999 and Arrow, I will keep images of 999 to the left of the page, Arrow to the right. One car was painted red, the other yellow, accounts vary as to which car was painted what colour but it does not seem to have been too long before they were both painted red. The arrow was the faster of the two and could be identified by the angle of the intake manifolds.
999, Barney Oldfield and Henry Ford, notice the different radiator
Arrow, Barney Oldfield, you can see the angled intake manifolds
Many books and web sites only refer to 999 as the record breaker and this has led to some people assuming that this was the Lake St Clair car, but I think it is likely both cars were breaking lap and race time time records but looking so alike 999 was the one receiving all the credit.
Ford had sold the cars to Barney Oldfield and Tom Cooper before they ever raced, but part of the deal was the cars were still referred to as Ford's for publicity purposes. In September 1903 Arrow was taking part in a race when it crashed killing driver Frank Day.
Arrow being recovered after crash
Ford bought the wreckage with the intention of attempting to set a new land speed record to publicise his new Ford Motor Company, the car was not just repaired as regularly stated but given a major rebuild, stripping all excessive weight, (it did not even have brakes,) the steering tiller was replaced with a steering wheel,the radiator was replaced with a brass tank and a brass fuel tank atop the engine, the seat was lowered, moved to the left and slightly forward and the intake manifolds lagged, a lot of the floor was removed and replaced with a small footrest. As the original 999 had been retired Ford renamed the car 999.
The rebuilt Arrow, now renamed 999, you can just see 999 on the seat. The brass tank on top of the engine is the fuel tank, I have seen this referred to as a header tank for the radiator.
The press referred to the car as "the Red Devil" "new 999" or "The 999 Red Devil". In January 1904 Ford took the car to Lake St Clair and with his mechanic Spider Huff clinging to the engine set a new record of 91.37 mph.
The Lake St Clair car was apparently bought by Tom Cooper, who then sold it to W H Pickens
About eight years later Ford built another race car, this was known as the Frank Kulick racer and was given the nickname 999 the 2nd
Photo by Nando
Next to Spider Huff's shoulder on top of the fuel tank was a piece of hose that he was to blow into to speed up, stop blowing to slow, However he got the signals from Ford mixed up and kept blowing until they crashed into a snowbank.
Can the Brumm model be converted
It depends on how accurate you want it to be, if you want it to look like the car in the photographs, here are some things you can do
1, remove spare wheel and the framework underneath it
2, remove radiator and cover, replace with brass tank
3, the wind break can be cut in half, it only needs to shield the driver
4, remove the steering tiller and replace with a steering wheel
5, the intake manifolds are to low and to small
6, the brass piece on top of the fuel tank sticks out to far and most of the pipe pointing down can be replaced with a piece of white/grey hose
7, the piece at the front of the car between the suspension can be removed, it did not appear on either car
8, remove the seat, grind off the seat base, refit seat at the left side of the chassis and a little forward
9, the brass pieces on the right side of the engine can be removed
10, paint it red
Land Speed Record in Miniature
Ford 999 Arrow