I am looking for an original top for my 3 door touring model T my great great grandfather bought brand new. Anyone know of a good place?
I found top irons for a 1917 T but not sure if that would fit or now.
Most of the Model T parts vendors sell top irons and bows for a '24 touring. They are a one man top and the 17's use a two man top which would not work as they mount differently at the windshield and the two man has a mount at the driver's seat.
Thanks Rich! I have mostly all the original parts for that car. I brought the bottom part of the seats and the rear fenders up with my from Ohio to get restored until I can move back down to finish the rest of the car. I really can't wait to drive the thing!
I have two sets of two-man touring top bows,in unrestored shape. Contact me off line if email@example.com
I have the same as Jack if of interest. Joe Bell
Welcome to the forum and based on your posting, I would guess you are new to Model Ts. If you are an old head and been around them for a long time feel free to skip the rest of this posting.
Before you start purchasing a lot of items for a 1924 Model T Touring, I would recommend verifying what year range your car’s body and running gear really is. In some cases original one owner cars are registered with the correct year for the car and not much has changed since the car was purchased. In some other cases the registration is off a little bit [I still have one of those cars that has been registered as a 1906 at least since 1951 or so and it really is a 1907 and it is registered as a Model N and in reality it is a Ford Model S. So if I ordered fenders for it based on the year and model on the title I would order the wrong parts.] In some other cases I’ve seen the Department of Motor Vehicle make a mistake and the year of the car etc. changes on the title but not on the car [that happened to me before the age of computers and they said not to worry about it!] And in some cases the body was swapped out or the engine was swapped out etc. I’ve done both of those swaps to get a better running and driving car. We also know of one car that stayed within 50 miles of where it was first purchased but it was made into a pickup and then back into a touring car and the parts got a little out of synch with a single year etc. So in some cases over the past 80 plus years some things may have changed and/or have been recorded incorrectly to begin with.
If you have some photos of the car that you can post on the forum, that would make it fairly easy for folks to verify that it was a 1924 -1925 touring body [very similar – and most of the body parts interchange just fine with the later cars having more and more metal and less wood, and slightly different hinges etc. ] Or if you have an earlier or later body. For information on posting a photo please see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/381460.html?1376643978 If you run into problems, you can also click on my name at the beginning of this post and my e-mail address is the third line down. If you send me the photos I will try to post them for you. Please put Model T in the subject line so they get read sooner.
You can also purchase a copy of Bruce McCalley’s book “Model T Ford” available from the club and vendors (see: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/model-t-ford-the -car-that-changed-the-world ) which will give you a great reference for identifying which parts go with which year model of car. While many parts will fit any T they are not correct for any T and in many cases they do not fit well – for example a 1924-25 stytle firewall will not work well on a 1923 year model car. You can also purchase a CD version that actually has more up to date information see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853
You will notice that both Jack and Joe have the two-man top bows that would fit a 1917. They will actually fit and function fine on a 1915-1921 that uses the two-man top. But if your car is an actual 1924 model year (for that matter 1923-1925 are interchangeable) the 1915-1921 style two-man top will NOT work properly without modifying your car (not recommended). And while the same size – the shape of the two man top bows were oval 1915-1917 and changed to rectangular sometime between early 1917 and the 1918 cars ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#top Note there is a lot of good information on the on-line encyclopedia see: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm Note if your car body is a 1923-1925 model year, then the top bows discussed at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/381221.html?1376500836 would be appropriate for your car.
Don’t panic with all the different years, parts that fit some years etc. Depending on what you want to do with the car – many of us drive them without a functional top [many speedsters do not have tops or fenders – but they are not driven much in the rain. Are you going to drive your T much in the rain?] And just like your modern car – once you have it and study it a little bit it is easy to tell what fits what year car etc.
Again welcome aboard. There are lots of other things we could comment on but I need to run. Please let us know if you are new with Ts, new with working on cars, etc. so we know better how to answer your questions. And welcome to fun hobby with lots of helpful folks. And don’t forget to check out the local Model T Ford club near you – see: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15 .
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I also have two sets of the one-man top bows for 23-25 tourings.
As I recall, a '17 still has oval top sockets.
We are probably getting into some thread drift, but I agree with you that the oval top irons were used in the 1917 model year. Like a lot of things with Model Ts I do not think there is a nice clean date and time for a switch over from oval top irons to rectangular top irons. As referenced above: “And while the same size – the shape of the two man top bows were oval 1915-1917 and changed to rectangular sometime between early 1917 and the 1918 cars ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/S-T.htm#top “ The on line and CD version of Bruce’s encyclopedia both say:
Similar to 1914 but rear no longer rolls up. Metal sockets are oval in cross section, as in earlier cars. Metal tack cover strip at rear of body where top rear curtain is nailed. 1916 was the last year for Murphy fasteners for the side curtains.
Similar in style to 1916 but rear window now three separate pieces, each 9-1/2 x 5-1/4” with 3” between them. Sockets in early 1917 were oval in cross section but were changed to rectangular cross section by 1918.
The MTFCI Judging Guidelines (sixth edition) for the 1917 model year list the top bows and sockets [item 320] "Oval cross section, painted black" and for the 1918 model year they list rectangular cross-section top irons, wood top bows made in three pieces and riveted to top irons. Painted black.”
So clearly the oval top sockets were used in early 1917. When in calendar year 1917 they switched to the rectangular style and how much overlap they had when both styles were used at different locations/assembly plants I do not know. I doubt that all 1917 model year open cars had the oval top sockets and that the switch to the rectangular style was done within a single day so that after that day all the 1918 model year cars used the new rectangular style. It could have happened but I believe that would be highly unlikely. If you are anyone else has additional data that would help us document when the new style sockets were introduced and when the old style was phased out that would be great. I looked up my notes on Eric Johnson’s May 1917 roadster, but I could not tell if his top irons were over or rectangular from the couple of low resolution photos I found. But he has a very well documented car along with several other folks. Again a single data point would not establish a trend – but they can help to establish one. And of course the design for the new top sockets would not necessarily determine when they were first introduced. But normally a part is not introduced before the drawing was created and then was given to the manufactures. So in most cases the part will not be available before the date on the drawing. In some cases the part was not available for a long time. For those few times that the change was made before the drawing was updated, it was normally indicated on the drawing that it was updated to reflect what already was in production. [From memory, one example of that I believe was the way the felt was cut for use in sealing the transmission hogs head to the back of the engine block. That is from memory – so I may have remembered it wrong. But there was some drawing that had the annotation – brought up to date for how production is being done or something to that effect.] So if you are anyone else has some additional data on when the change over occurred, how much overlap etc. please let us know.
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My '17 is one of the last built that model year, serial number 2024893. My dad bought it from the original owner in 1951 with under 2000 miles since new, with all the original top and upholstery intact. It has oval top bow sockets.
I don't believe the rectangular sockets were used until some time after the 1917 model year.
Thanks! Your serial number places the engine on the Jun 23, 1917 engine log entry. [It could have been assembled into a car that day or a little later. Or the engine could have been shipped to be assembled into a car, or just the number shipped to be stamped on an engine & transmission that was assembled at another plant. But all of those would have happened on or after Jun 23, 1917 .] So yes it would have been a very late 1917 model year. Does anyone have a likely original with the rectangular top irons/bows they can give us some dates on? There was an excellent “restored from an original” touring in the "Vintage Ford" [also used in Bruce's book] with the rectangular top irons/bows -- but it was a 1920 year model. For sure they changed earlier than that -- but when? Does anyone have some other later dates/references for the oval top bows or earlier dates/references for the rectangular style top irons/bows?
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Karen Davis has what I consider to be a very good example of a an early 1918 touring (October 15, 1917 casting date - I don't know what the serial number).
This car does have square bows.
In 2009, Mark Nugent, the previous owner, had posted a number of detailed pictures of the car on the forum via his website but they are no longer available.
Although it has an older amateur restoration, for all practical purposes I think it is very complete and correct example of an early '18 touring.
Thank you for pointing out Karen's early 1918 [Oct 15, 1917 casting date] that has the rectangular top bows.
From one of the postings about Karen’s [at that time Mark’s car] at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/117377.html?1261287401 scroll down to:
By Erik Johnson on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 08:38 pm:
Some have claimed that the combination horn button/light switch started showing up on cars around February 1917 but cars that have known histories with which I am familiar including three 1917s (my unrestored May '17 roadster, the June '17 Rip Van Winkle touring, my dad's July '17 touring which he purchased in 1949 in original unrestored condition from the original family), a friend's 1918 (September '17 roadster fairly complete and unrestored prior to a full restoration) as well as Mark's [now Karen’s ] car indicate that the changeover occurred well into the 1918 model year.
Can you verify that all of those 1917 cars had the oval top sockets/bows. You have already verified that the Karen’s Oct 15, 1917 casting date engine car has the rectangular bows. But what about your friend’s Sep 1917 roadster – do you know what type of bows it has?
And yes, I understand that top bows could have been changed out early in a cars life and we would be hard pressed to tell – but in the case of well documented cars it is much less likely.
Another place folks can look is original factory photos. In the lower right hand corner is often the date the photo was taken/developed.
Again than you all for your help.
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The following cars have oval top bows:
My May '17 roadster
Rip Van Winkle June '17 touring
Royce's June '17 roadster
My fathers July 17 touring (last month of 1917 model year)
All of the above cars have known histories and can be traced back to the original owners.
Unfortunately, I cannot confirm whether or not the September '17 roadster originally had oval top bows. The car was originally owned by a painter J. A. Carlson in Minneapolis and spent most of its life in the city. He had installed a commercially made pick-up box on it. A second fellow bought sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s and his main contribution was to let it sit outside and deteriorate. My friend, a collector in Red Wing, MN bought it in the 1950s and restored it. I have a copy of a snapshot of it when he first purchased it in its unrestored state but in the photo, the top is not on the car. I don't know if the top was included when he purchased it and in hindsight wished I had asked about it. The restored car did have oval top sockets but I do not know if the top is original to the car. (He also was not interested in restoring the pick-up box because he told me he preferred having a roadster with a trunk. He located trunk and installed it as part of the restoration.)
He passed away about 10 years ago so he is not around to provide any additional information. The car was sold the car and it went to Tennessee.
The pick-up box below came from the September '17 roadster and is in my possession (I bought it from the estate). It looks a oily or wet because I had washed it prior to taking the photos. (You can see "Carlson" on the sideboard).
Again thank you for confirming that those known history 1917s had the oval top bows and that you were not sure about the 1918 roadster.
Great looking pickup bed!
I'm trying to track down some additional data points.
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Philip, you are lucky to have something from that far back in the family.
Any car from my great, great, grandfathers day would be somewhere in europe and pulled by horses or donkeys. (called buggies)
My dad was born in 1901 and used to tell us kids about the first car that he ever saw. They got to look at the back end of the horses on the way to town from their rural farm. (they were in a wagon or buggy)