...not putting a functional driver's door on the earlier models?
The car did not need one, it increased the cost of the car, and it is much easier to mount from the off side.
You don't want to hook the family jewels on the control shaft lever!
If we accept those as valid reasons (especially that "jewel" one there) then what was the reasoning used to start putting doors on that side in later model years?
The only reason Ford Canada provided both doors was to satisfy the destination requirements
East and west cost provinces as well as British Commonwealth export countries were all Right Hand Drive
Customer demand? My T ambulance does not have doors, and I have found it much easier to mount from the right, unless someone is already there. That is the curbside and the logical side to enter. although it makes it difficult for a man to be gentlemanly (it also does not make points to tell your wife to get out and start the car because it is easier from her side.)
The '26 & '27 touring can be entered from the left door on left hand drive cars, the earlier cars-not really.
I ALWAYS get in and out of mine on driver's side. I can not on an earlier open car.
Today I worked on a '13 Cadillac. It has doors on both sides but I could not get in the driver's side (RT) without tilting the fat-man steering wheel.
In many of the old photos the women are in the back seat in a lot of cars of the era. Even in the 50's maybe the 60's even a lot of people got out on the curb side when parked on the street.
A 1911 torpedo runabout has doors on both sides.
I can slide in on with out too much difficulty.
Anybody who has experience with early automobiles knows that it is typically difficult to enter the car on the drivers side because of the brake lever, shift lever (if so equipped) and the steering column. Even the pedals can pose a problem. This isn't a Ford thing - it applied to many cars.
If the driver wasn't going to enter the car from the driver's side, it makes sense for Ford to save some money and not to have a door there.
I looked at a centerdoor last week. On my touring and speedster the brake lever is on the left of the seat. On the centerdoor it looked like it was in the middle of the seat.
Are the seats on a centerdoor that far apart that the lever is in the middle?
Wish I could have gotten in it, but the owner was not around.
The centerdoor seat and brake arrangement is slightly awkward. You sort of sit to the left of the steering wheel instead of behind it and the brake lever, although not in the middle of the seat it definetly something that takes getting used to.
Center Door Operators Ride Side-Saddle
Had one once ...
I'm going to venture a guess that by omitting the driver-side door, Ford was able to stiffen the body quite a bit. Apparently, body stiffness was important, as the oversized doors on the 1913 touring body proved.
Then there was the issue of the awkwardness of getting past the emergency brake lever, which would be in the aft position whenever the driver would be leaving the car.
Lastly, by eliminating the door, Henry saved, let's say, a single dollar on each set of door-frames, hinges, latches, screws, and the labor to assemble them, on maybe a third of the cars he produced. That comes to five-million early-20th-Century bucks!
Again, I'm just guessing.
Many correct comments above! There were many other makes of automobiles, both right-hand drive and left-hand drive, that did not have a door on the driver's side. Something I have found even more curious, is some cars (Pierce Arrow for one), that sometimes have a nearly functional door that cannot be opened because the spare tire carrier is mounted on the running board, in the way of the door. So it was, at the time, a common thing.
As for the Canadian cars, I read many years ago that they were built with both front doors because the body was built at one source that did not know whether it would end up on a right-hand or a left-hand car, as previously mentioned. The body may end up leaving the factory one way, then be shipped overseas and be switched to the other.
I had a center-door sedan years ago (wish I still had it). The brake handle in it never bothered me. The funny thing is, the handle in the coupe I have now is about the same and does seem to get in the way more. That is probably due to the fact that I do get in and out on the driver's side mostly. That is partially due to having both a Ruckstell and a Rocky Mountain Six Speed shift levers in the middle making it difficult to slide across.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I heard that Ford added the fourth door because of marketing. Chevy was using it as a selling point and he conceded and added the door then. Just what I heard.
I was once told that Canadian law required a driver's door (Whether it could be used or not). Perhaps that was just an old wive's tale?
I wold point out that the Dodge Weapon carriers of WWII had the spare mounted on the driver's running board, making it necessary to mount from the off side as well.
Thought this would fit in here.
"STEP OUT IN FRONT" ACCESSORY DRIVERS SIDE DOOR FOR ROADSTERS AND TOURING CARS.
Here's the link:
Ford went to left-hand drive on the T and others to follow. My understanding was that this was done to avoid dismounting on the drivers side which was many times a real mucky filthy road situation. No door on the drivers side saved money, added body strength and provided curb side dismounting, hopefully on a cleaner curb. Paul
Here's another past thread link on the Step out in front door.
I noticed in the old movies that the driver would often just jump into the car and didn't use any doors.
There's also the fact that Henry said in order to make a left turn in a touring car with the top down you'd have to stand up to look back and see if anyone was about to pass you on the left.
Right hand drive cars just do not fit well in right hand side of the road traffic. I have owned right hand drive cars. Not too much fun, especially when passing a truck or trailer.
In CA. any old right hand drive car is required to have directional lights and all 3 mirrors.
I "het" mine up with a torch, and offset it to the left. People were smaller than me (6'2" x 230#) years ago.
The idea of entering and leaving the car on the curb side lasted a long time. Both doors on my 1941 Dodge can be locked from the inside, but only the passenger door can be locked from the outside with the key.
I was watching a 1960 episode of Perry Mason and both Mason and Paul Drake, the Private Dick, got in curbside and Mason simply slid all the way across to get behind the wheel.
It makes it more interesting if you kill the engine on a non-starter car. The woman either has to get out so the driver can get out and crank, or she will need to drive the car or crank it. With the door on the left, either person can get out to crank the car.
The right front passenger will still need to get out when filling the gas tank.
Similar to Paul, and others, I was told that people were getting hit by passing cars or horses so Henry fixed that by not allowing drivers to get out on the drivers side.
Until '40 Ford expected driver's to get in on the passenger's side.
They had to if they locked the door, there was no place to put a key in the driver's side door to unlock it..
Until my Dad got the new '47 he always slid in from the passenger's side.
We always left the cars parked in reverse for that reason.
Our 13 Buick (they were still right hand drive) had no drivers side door. In fact, the shift lever and linkage came up through the side of the car where a door would have been. Like the T, the door outline was still stamped.
I do not think Ford was trying to offer a safer car by making the driver mount from the curb, otherwise there would not have been a nearside door on the back. The early Fords did not have doors on the front, and I think it was observed that most people mounted from the off side, so when the front of the car was closed to the cowl, it was not thought necessary to put a functioning door on the driver's side.