I just purchased this car. The engine number reflects 1921. I know the wheels are wrong - they're just to move it around. It has a metal firewall but received some new parts with the car including a plywood firewall. So now I don't know which firewall would be correct. I can see welding around the firewall/cowling area. Any help would be appreciated. The previous owner is deceased so I have no further info. Thanks
Lyndel -- That body could be anywhere from 1915 to 1922, I believe. I don't know when they began putting the through-the-quarter top props in the Runabouts, but yours are the earlier type. The windshield is 1917 or later. Look for a hole in the floor for a starter button, as well as a battery carrier underneath the turtle. Those would indicate 1919 or later. The running board brackets are 1921 or later, so it should have a battery carrier. The steel firewall is 1923, so I expect it has been changed from wood.
Other "eagle-eyes" here will have more things for you to look for.
Frame is 1922 or later. Everything looks 1922 - ish to me.
The car does have a battery carrier and a hole in the floor for a starter button. Mike do you think the firewall has been changed from plywood to metal? I'm wondering if the entire front section has been changed.
Mike I need to rephrase my question - do you think the entire front of the body has been changed?
The fuel tank should be oval. That should coincide with the pressed steel running board brackets. It is either a 21 or 22. Some say that the low cowl cars never came from ford with a steel firewall. Some say it was strictly a dealer accessory replacement. I think a steel firewall is a very common thing for low cowl cars. What is the engine serial #?
The engine serial # is 4456149. I appreciate the good help. Also it does have an oval gas tank.
Sources note the '22 runabout continued in the older body style with the 'L' arms above the trim rail, while tourings usually are seen with the arms thru the body panel. So wood firewall was used on these runabouts in Sept 1922 even with the intro of the new touring car body "1923" with the slant windshield and metal firewall. So a late model year 1922 or a early model year 1923 runabout could have the wood firewall.
I have an early 1923 model year runabout with the metal firewall, of note is the first few months of assembly of the cars with metal firewalls, there was noticeable 'wiggle' of the steering column due to the thin metal not being as strong as the wood firewall. So Ford came out with the dash to steering column brace, that fixed the column better. You can tell the early low cowl slant windshield 1923 with metal firewall, as they lack the brace on the dash panel.
No steering column brace on the early 1923 model year open Ford.
The engine serial # makes that engine produced in October of 1920 which means that the car is likely a 1921 model year... assuming the engine has never been changed.
You're right about the engine. Friday, October 8, 1920, would be in the 1921 model year. But as Mike points out, there could have been an engine change. Over the course of nearly a century, that's pretty common. I'd guess that a majority of T's on the road today have parts from several different cars, and many have parts from several different years.
As far as the firewall goes people would change the wood firewalls that were used in the 17-22 early 23 cars to the metal firewalls that came out a little later sometime in 22.
The metal firewalls stiffened things up when people replaced the deteiorating wooden firewalls as the years went by.