According to the encyclopedia, on July 20, 1920 a production change was made to eliminate the rivets from the pressed steel hood handle. Eleven days later, (August 1, 1920) the 1921 model year commenced.
Since the changeover was so close to the beginning of the new model year, I'd be curious to see if any of you '21 owners have hoods with the riveted handles. I have personally seen a '21 with riveted handles, which the owner claims is a pristine original car...but if I remember correctly it was built in the 1st quarter of 1921 (mid-year). I'd be interested to know if there are any others.
^I should add that I'm not 100% convinced riveted hood handles are correct on the vast majority of 1921 model year cars, but I thought I'd throw the question out there to see...you never know.
What you need to realize is that a change in the "record of changes" documentation is a change at the engineering level. On-the-car presence of that change might take months. Even longer delay if a car was assembled at a branch. An engineering change only changes the drawing which is then used by purchasing department on next purchase. All changes were running changes so all existing inventory was almost always used up before the new parts began to be used. The only exceptions to this were when something was really a safety or especially problematic item. The record of changes almost always stated "change to take effect once all current stock is used up" or some similar wording. Only rarely do you see statements that the change was to be incorporated into immediate production with old stock used up some other way. Given the production rate of 1921, I would expect there might have been substantial existing production or parts in process at the time that the engineering change occurred. Removal of rivets from the hood handle was not likely a high priority change but would likely have been incorporated on the next buy of hoods or hood parts. The change might just also have occurred immediately after a rather large purchase of hoods or hood parts made "the old way". Hope this helps.
Ditto what John said -- but he did a much more concise summary. Below was typed up so I'll go ahead and post it.
A couple of items to also consider. At http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc20.htm Bruce has:
JUL 20, 1920 Acc. 575, Box 13, #807, Ford Archives
Hood and hood handle redesigned to eliminate rivets at the handle, for production.
The date the design change was made will usually not be the date that the new parts start being used at the Highland Park Plant. In this case if they needed to change the die that the press used to produce the side panel, that would have to be specified and then made, and then installed. And the procedures for attaching the handle would have to be developed and put out. Or it may have been easier than that – they may have used the same panel and just changed the way things were attached. But I suspect that the handle may have needed some modification also. And if that was a part that they also purchased from outside suppliers, they would need to send the new specifications to the supplier and the supplier would need to make the change over. Note that the supplier would probably also have the option of continuing to deliver the number of hoods previously ordered using the previous specifications.
And in this case Bruce does not share any give and take in the follow on entries but in some cases you will see something along the lines of:
MAY 1, 1919 Acc. 575, Box 11, #732, Ford Archives
T-6606 instrument board (new).
AUG 1919 Acc. 575, Box 11, #761, Ford Archives
Leather covered instrument panels are indicated on open cars and closed cars in early production. Of wood, they were superseded by metal panels by mid-1919.
NOV 5, 1919 Acc. 575, Box 12, #769, Ford Archives
Wooden instrument panels reinstated due to shortage of the steel type. These were leather covered as before.
Another item to consider, John Regan uses the original Ford Factory Drawings and change cards to produce his reproduction parts. For many of his reproduction parts you will find a statement similar to this one that is included with the 1918-mid 1919 dash shield: “It was first designed on 11/6/17 and likely began to appear within 60 days of that design just as soon as the previous version was used up.” Notice that the design was a very simple one yet it still would not be implemented until the previous ones were used up. (See: http://www.funprojects.com/index.cfm and go to search and type in “dash shield.” )
And finally remember that Ford assembled most Model Ts at the Branch Assembly Plants rather than at the Main Highland Park Plant. I don’t have a ready source for the 1920 production year but for calendar year Jan 1 – Dec 31 1921 Highland Park Plant produced 88,173 Model Ts (including trucks) out of the total USA production of 928,750 Model Ts (including trucks). So even if the main Highland Park Plant converted over at the very earliest possible time, the Branches would continue to use up the old supply of parts. And in some cases some Branches produced some parts. If any of them produced the hoods – then they would need to switch over to producing the new hoods. And if a box car arrived with the old style hoods – they would be used up.
An excellent example of all those factors working together was the change over to the 1915 style cars. It took months not weeks to change form the old style 1914 open car production to all the production being 1915 style cars. At: “ http://mtfca.com/encyclo/1915-16H.htm Bruce states, “The new touring and roadster bodies, though, were introduced at the Highland Park plant in January 1915. Many, if not all, of the Ford assembly plants continued making the 1914 style open cars until perhaps April 1915, so there is considerable overlap in the production of the 1914 and 1915 open cars. The new touring and runabouts were first shipped from Highland Park in February 1915. At the same time, sample bodies were shipped to the branches; these bodies to be used as models for the changeover to the new style.” Yes, that was more complex than the minor change in the hood – but I think you can see it is not like changing over to “day light savings time” when it is done much more quickly.
I’m looking forward to what the fossil record will show us. We have so much more to document and all the pieces of the puzzle are needed.
Hap l9l5 cut off
In my humble opinion there is no 100% correct Model T for a given year especially in the black era.
Because of design changes here and there and changes that may have been made at dealerships upon arrival from the factory its almost impossible to have a T thats perfect in a paticular year.
If you have one thats 98% thats probably as close as you can get. Understanding that the ones built before and after the car that you think is totally correct might have a "design change" keeps all things in perspective.
A car thats pristine from the factory is what it is for that particular car. Until the one that came after it!
All true. Changes and the aplication of these changes? Unknown. The only way I can think of to actually date a car would be if it had the original engine. You'd be able to set a date off the number. But even that isn't a date of manufacture for the car itself.
Great points guys! There would definitely be a degree of 'fluidity' when it comes to the introduction or revision of a given part.
I have noticed a few photos of '21s online and noted the above handle revision...that's why I was curious. I'm very interested in what, as Hap calls it, the "fossil record" will show!
Perhaps 60-120 days is be a fair estimate. If the Highland Park plant produced 928,750 vehicles in that calendar year, that breaks down to an average of almost 3,000 cars per day (not including Sundays, of course). A 10 week (60 working day)supply of hoods would cover approx 180,000 cars, assuming the revised part went into production immediately.
Here's another thing to consider...does anyone know what system Ford used for warehousing? If they used a first in/last out system that would really complicate things.
I'm particularly interested in these 1920/1921 design - production changes because I'm trying to build (to the best of my ability) a correct chassis for my speedster (let's not mention my OCD here).
Basically, I am trying to recreate a speedster that someone would/could have built in their back yard using the chassis, column, running gear, dash, and hood off an older used car. For this reason, I'm trying to narrow down what would have been 'plausible' for a 1920-1921 chassis.
Thanks for all the help!
Highland did not make that many assembled completed Model T's!
For calendar year 1921 only 88,173 cars and trucks came out finished at Highland Park main plant.....
More Model T cars were assembled in Kearney NB Branch than in Detroit in 1921!
They did make all the motor components and major parts, those where shipped out to the twenty-four Branch Assembly Plants around the country.
So....depends on the parts that each Branch had on hand to make the car.that's why so many different parts on the T. Many many Assembly Branches, all using the Ford moving assembly line and just in time parts supply too.
Thanks for correcting me Dan...I see where Hap posted "Total T production" was 928,750.
I erred, Detroit Highland Park made 149 more touring cars than Kearny Assembly Branch....
to be factual, the listing of production in 1921 does show more Touring cars,without starters were assembled in Kearny than Highland plant Detroit.
39,321 starter tourings, and 2,239 non-starter vs 40,663 stater tourings and 1,046 non-starter in Detroit.
Seems like the farmers in Neb liked the non-starter cheaper touring car
You methods to determine the 'right' parts to make your speedster is spot on.
My take is to use the engine number and base your efforts off the date of mfg of that block.
Then if you fit parts that are generally after that date, through the model year (or depending on the engine date, if its very early or very late in the model year) back or forward some in the 'model' year.
Then match parts to what is known or acceptable for the 'model year' you are striving for.
that is pretty much what I am trying to do on my 21 touring restoration.
I picked up a mid year 21 engine at Chickasha last year to go with the low cowl touring body that I have. It has the low cowl body with the 3 piece rear section. It may not wind up being completly perfect as far as the year is concerned but its going to be pretty close.
Here's a photo of mine Dan. My 1921 Touring was purchased in 1958 by my grandfather with the original engine and the cast date is 7/13/21. I never before paid any attention to it so I had to go down to the barn and take a look and I thought I'd might as well take a photo to. Dave
Thanks for posting! Ford ended production of the 1921 model year in August of 1921, so your car is more than likely one of the last few thousand 1921's built!
This is exciting, as it sheds some light on the hood handle issue. We know that by July 1921 the revision was actually being seen on production cars. I also noticed the photo on your profile shows the later one-piece front motor mount, which was a design change that occurred sometime in the late 1920-1921 time frame.
I'd be interested to see if your frame has the three holes (see photo) for the older forged style running board brackets. I've looked at a couple 23-24 frames that did not have these holes. Would be nice to confirm whether or not they were still present in late 1921 production.
Thanks for the info back. Very interesting. I just went down and took a shot toward the rear on the right side near the muffler and so here is what my bracket looks like. For what it's worth, my engine number is 5185498. Also, my wife was born in Lufkin, her parents live with us and were born in Mineral Wells and my step-daughter was born in Abilene. Housefull of Texans except for me, all Hoosier.
My T also has non-demountable rims which I think are not too common for this year. Here is a shot of my late grandparents with the 21 Touring and a 29 Model A Tudor Sedan sometime in the 60's.
That's funny, I'm a 7th generation Texan on my maternal grandfather's side (they came to Texas in 1832) while my maternal grandmother's family is from Indiana (moved here in the 30's and came in a model T). Great to see you keeping your family history alive!
Thanks for posting photos of the undercarriage! These details fascinate me; your car seems to disprove the theory that the forged brackets were done away with by late 1920/early 1921. Here we have your car, one of the last 1921's built (there were no more than 25-35 thousand more built after yours) - and it has the forged brackets. Simply amazing!
Would it be okay for me to contact you via email? Both me and Corey (who also posts here) are cobbling together cars from this period and I'd love to get some detailed photos - if that's okay.
my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org looking forward to hearing from you!
Bottom line up front: I’m 90% sure that Dave’s 1921 Touring with the “cast iron” running board brackets could have just as easily be produced with the “pressed steel” running board brackets.” And during 1921 cars were produced both ways. With the main plant at Highland Park switching over to the pressed steel running board brackets first followed by the different branch plants over time as the old style orders were used up.
Additional information and ramblings: (By the way feel free to skip the following if you are not into details on the 1920-1922 frames.)
What fun! Tracking down clues to the way it was possibly done, realizing that Ford could and often did have exceptions. Ok, it probably won’t become a part of the game show Jeopardy …“I’ll take Model T Ford frame changes for $100” but it is helping us better document the “running changes” that Ford USA and other locations made.
Why do I think Dave’s 1921 Touring could have just as easily had the “cast iron” running board brackets which it does have or the “pressed steel” running board brackets that it does not have? See Dave’s photo below:
Note the hole the arrow points to. The frame was already set up to accept either the forged or the pressed steel type running board bracket. [Dave when you have time if you would please confirm or correct my assumption that all of your forged running board brackets have a hole drilled above and below them on the frame for the “pressed steel” style bracket also.] But why would either be acceptable for a car as late as Dave’s touring that has a Jul 13, 1921 casting date on the engine? When we look at the entry about the pressed steel running board brackets at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc20.htm we read:
JAN 12, 1920 Acc. 575, Box 12, #780
Pressed-steel running board brackets, T-336B.
We might think that within a year they would have completed the change over from design of the new part to using up the old parts and now be using only the new parts. But the entry at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc21.htm sheds some additional light on if one or both styles of the running board bracket were still being used in Jul 1921. .
JUL 19, 1921 Acc. 235, Box 38, Ford Archives
"We wish to call your attention to the new style pressed steel running board bracket which has gone into production and as shipments have been made to some of the branches we ask that you kindly note the changes which will go into effect through the adoption of this new bracket." (A list of the parts followed.)
Note the phrase “…new style pressed steel running board bracket which has gone into production and as shipments have been made to some of the branches…” It clearly indicates that the “pressed steel” brackets have gone into production “BUT” that shipments of those new parts have only been made to “SOME … not all” of the branches. So some locations (for sure Highland Park as well as some of the branches) were producing the 1921 cars with the new pressed steel brackets. At the same time “SOME” of the branches were still cranking out the new 1921 cars with the forged brackets.
[For those who may have thought you may have seen a similar comment under the 1920 “On Line” encyclopedia – you are not dreaming. There was a minor administrative mistake and the Jul 19, 1921 entry was listed in both the 1920 and 1921 section. It was listed correctly in the CD version [available http://mtfca.com/encyclo/mccalley.htm ] and Bruce will correct the on line version. As anyone who has done proof reading knows, it is hard to catch mistakes in your own work, because we tend to see what we know it should be rather than what is actually printed on page. Bruce is always glad when we can share new information or items that may need adjustment. His encyclopedia is a great living document and with the help of others will continue to become more and more accurate. If you are interested in helping with that project – please see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/111749.html And don’t panic – Bruce is feeling fine. But probably in 30 years neither he nor I will be assisting you any more and we want to put in place a group that will continue to maintain and update the information for future generations to use. Thanks again Bruce for all your support! ]
Hap l9l5 cut off
Great info Hap! You're absolutely right, here is a photo of a nicely restored '20 which used the forged brackets but had holes for the pressed brackets in the frame;
Dave also sent me some photos via-email (what a fantastic car) and pointed out that his frame retains the early (11-16) forged firewall bracket mounting holes. Phil Mino's post from 3/24/07 indicates that a frame in his posession with an engine assembly date of 3/24/22 lacks the early firewall holes. In addition, I was emailed a photo this afternoon of a '21 (build date uncertain) which also lacks these holes. Apparently, this was yet another feature that was being 'phased out' over time.
Dave, the combination of these features leads me to believe your car was most certainly assembled at one of the branch locations and since the car's original owner was from Hannibal, MO, we can guess that the car was might have been assembled at St. Louis (or possibly Des Moines).
Hap and Gary,
Just wanted to confirm that I checked all four mounting locations of the running boards and they all have a hole lining up with each other in the top and bottom of the frame. I just took another photo of the same area near the muffler but looking at the inside of the frame to better show both unused holes. Interesting stuff!
Dave and Gary,
Thanks for the additional confirmation. We may not like what we find in the "fossil record" but it usually makes sense eventually. I like John Regan's example of how folks tended to toss the pointy front springs they sometimes found on their 1916 cars. They thought they were aftermarket replacements. But it turned out one of the spring leaves had a "Ford" script. That led John to do some research in the archives and he found the documentation that confirmed the "fossil record" was telling the truth.
Note – some times the “fossil record” can be misleading – when parts are changed out early in the life of the car and we cannot easily document that the parts were or were not on the car when it came from the factory. Or sometimes cars are built up from parts and may not have the appropriate parts for the year they are representing. Still fun cars to drive but not ones to base our documentation on.
Hap l9l5 cut off (not as it originally left the factory – but a fun car none the less).
Correct me if this is not true: the Kearny Assembly Plant was in New Jersey (not Nebraska).