Prototype 1915 Couplet?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: Prototype 1915 Couplet?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:06 pm:

Found this by accident the other day. Appears to be a pre - production 1915 Couplet with the early style cowl lamps and carbide headlamps.


Video:
http://www.biography.com/people/henry-ford-9298747/videos/henry-ford-a-car-for-the-people-2087064480


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Derek Kiefer - Mantorville, MN on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:09 pm:

Front fenders are curved down in front too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:17 pm:

For comparison - here are some other period shots of the elusive 1915 couplet:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:39 pm:

door opening changed as well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Luke Dahlinger on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:43 pm:

It's been a while since I've watched the A & E Produced Henry Ford biography, but my gut suspicion is the film that that still was taken from was not produced in the teens, but rather the 1930s.

I am by no means a Couplet expert, but I suspect the car got repaired over the years with whatever parts on hand and the acetylene lamps were put on for effect.

I do know A&E used alot of film from the Ford Film Collection at the National Archives for the Henry Ford bio.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 06:55 pm:

Something else of interest on that short clip, on the production line of the wheels, one half of the wood felloe seems to have a steel band on it, and a cold assembly, are the rims heated?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Putnam, Bluffton, Ohio on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 08:05 pm:

Kerry: The shot of the wheel assembly is available in other films of Ford assembly and production. In the more complete films you see the wheel rims rolling from a "slot" in the wall. My thoughts are that "slot" comes from a lehr (furnace). Wheels are then grabbed with a gloved hand because they are hot! Catch the longer version of the wheel making process you will see the clues. Just my opinion, yours may vary. JP


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kirk Peterson on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 08:54 pm:

I seem to recall the Couplet in the "Towe" Museum up in Sacramento has gas headlights.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 08:59 pm:

In response to Luke Dahlinger:

My opinion is that footage of the coupelet was produced in 1914, most likely by the Ford Motor Company.

Here is the complete footage of the coupelet. Henry Ford is the driver, naturalist John Burroughs is the passenger. Watch the whole thing as the coupelet appears twice. The website mis-dates the film as 1916. In my opinion, the car most definitely has a 1914 Michigan license plate, which was dark red on a white background with a black state medallion imprinted on the upper left hand corner. (The 1916 Michigan plate was dark blue on a white background, but the medallion was aluminum and riveted to the plate. That does not appear to be the case here.)

http://www.dvarchive.com/stock-footage/000-6710/henryfordandjohnburroughsgoforarideinamodeltin

I used my Google prowess to locate the clip. I figured the man with the beard was John Burroughs and possibly Ford was the driver. I Googled "John Burroughs" "Henry Ford" and located the complete clip.

There is stock footage showing the prototype centerdoor sedan (pictured below) with rounded front fenders, forked headlamps, and carriage lights that regularly shows up in documentaries.

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas Mullin on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 09:10 pm:

Interesting that the Center Door has no cowl lamps. Was it equipped with a starter?

Four years too soon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 09:24 pm:

Look at all of those hood louvers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 09:31 pm:

You don't need cowl lamps when you have carriage lamps on the window post.

On a side note:

For those who are not already aware, the Ford coupelet body was not unique.

For example, Studebaker produced the Laundau Roadster in 1914, the body of which was essentially the same as the Ford coupelet:

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 10:02 pm:

The black radiator on the one in the film is an interesting touch.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 10:26 pm:

I have several photos of what I think are prototype Coupelets and Sedans which I copied from the Benson Archives resources. I don't believe I'm authorized to post the pics here, but I can tell you a few details. :-)

One car is the same Sedan which Erik posted above, but the pic is of the opposite side. It has the curved fenders as shown, the many-louvered hood, carbide lamps on forks, those very cute side lamps, and what appears to be a battery box on the passenger-side running board. My guess is that the car was equipped with a starter, even though it has several early ('14-type) features. It is obviously a prototype, since several of those features didn't make it to production. Some of those pics had late '14 dates on them -- October, I believe. Actual production of the '15 closed cars didn't begin until December of '14, but Ford needed pictures of the "new" model year cars to show in upcoming advertising.

There are also several pics of a couple of early Coupelets, which were pretty close to what was actually produced. They apparently are P.R. pics, taken in Oct. of '14. One car has the big electric headlights on forks, flat front fenders and a regular '15 hood, E&J #6 cowl lamps, and a #7 tail lamp. It also has the tailgate turtle and a '14-type rear end.

Another car has the fat headlights on stalks, not forks, and the same early E&J oil lamps. I have only one pic of it, so I don't know those other details about it. This may actually be an early production car, since there are no dates on the photos of it.

I was impressed at how many different features the Sedan had which didn't make it to the production cars. Apparently they were trying out several new ideas but many of them got eliminated, probably because of their cost. After all, Ford was still trying to produce a low-priced car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 10:50 pm:

Before the digital age, you could order and purchase beautiful, high quality photographic prints struck from the original negatives from the Benson Ford Research Center.

This is probably the most familiar factory photo of an early coupelet (negative is dated 10-22-14 in lower right corner). Note the 1914 Michigan Manufacturers (denoted by "M") license plate. It's directly from the Henry Ford Museum website.

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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 11:05 pm:

Yes, I have a nice framed enlargement of that pic, as well as several other pics of that same car. Some of the pics have those same people in them, and one even has the woman at the wheel. Some of the pics are apparently of the same car, but without the people and the license plate. Maybe they were taken earlier.

On going back through the pics of the Sedan, I have both sides of the car pictured. It apparently is the same car in all respects, except that my pics of it have carbide lamps for headlights. What's odd is that there is no carbide generator on the car. I guess they didn't need a generator just to take its picture. :-) Another feature of that car which didn't make it to production is the "recurved" lower ends of the rear fenders. You can just see that reverse curve in Erik's picture above. The car also has the one-piece lower rear body section, which was a feature of the '15 production Sedans. It's difficult to see in Erik's picture posted above, but it's clearly one-piece in the pic I copied at Benson.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 11:44 pm:

Why did that first picture make me think of this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 12:16 am:

It has a prestolite tank on the running board.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 08:29 am:

That first picture Royce posted is very interesting, and I have not seen it before. It probably is a prototype car, having the carbide lamps, curved front fenders, and as Kerry mentioned, the front-hinged doors. Ford apparently wanted to do some updating with the '15 models, using the curved front fenders on both the Coupelet and Sedan prototypes. Reports are that Ford (or Fisher) was having great difficulty in getting the "new" car bodies into production, so they took the easy way out regarding the fenders. Remember, Fisher made the bodies, and Ford made the chassis they went onto, including the fenders.

Anyway, those are interesting pics of the Coupelet and Sedan, and they show what Ford stylists were thinking, even though many of their ideas didn't make it to the production line.

Kinda' like this Caddy from 45 years later:

59 cad


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 08:39 am:

I wonder if the fenders were supplied by Fisher for the prototype, along with the headlamps etc. Maybe Fisher was given a '14 chassis to play with and this was the result?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Sosnoski on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 08:49 am:

Fisher wasn't the only one building the early Coupes. Briggs was building them as well.

Dave S.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Bohlen on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 11:11 am:

Currently finishing up a restoration of an early 15 coupelet no port holes etc. I am in search of the side light bracket or a good photo of the blade type light. Any help would be great. Thanks


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 11:44 am:

Notice the cowl area too. Seems different than the production version.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Hylen- Central Minnesota on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 12:50 pm:

After watching the clip that Erik posted, we can see why Henry didn't see a need for an electric starter. Ford walks straight to the door of the car, knowing that he won't have to bother with the crank. Note, that his lackey places his left hand on the headlight, ensuring a good smudge mark on the brass, while he wraps his right thumb around the crank.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Philip Berg on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 02:45 pm:

There might be a picture of what you are looking for here:

http://s153.photobucket.com/albums/s203/fbergski/1916%20Ford%20Coupelet/

If not I have many more photos.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 06:12 pm:

Bill B. -- Are you needing a mounting bracket for a spade-mount lamp or a bolt-back lamp? If you need one for the bolt-back, such as an E&J #6, I have a couple of extras of the type used on early Coupelets and Sedans.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Bohlen on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - 09:01 pm:

Philip, thanks for GREAT photos. Your car is a 1916 with port holes in the top. The sides lites that are on your car was used on later models with the mounting bracket off the back.

Mike, I am looking for the brackets for the spade mount lite. Thanks


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