Was the front seat frame lid on the Tourings and Runabouts painted at the factory?
Mine is to far gone to tell.
Going to buy a new one from Howell's and wondering if it should be painted the same as the body paint or just painted with Black krylon and just don't worry about it. Just trying to be kind of authentic.
Bottom line up front: I would recommend paints it body color to prevent rust. It would not be sanded or buffed out.
Good question. I am looking forward to the discussion and if there is good supported answer. And it may also depend on what year you are referring to -- as procedures sometimes changed (and sometimes changed back to what they used to do). Also some branch plants might have done things a little bit differently from another branch plant.
Note metal gas tank covers were discontinued around the time of the introduction of the oval gas tanks – 1921 production ref: Page 275 of Bruce McCalley’s “Model T Ford” where they discuss a very complete 1920 touring that was restored closely to the original. There Bruce says, “1920 was also the last year for the sheet metal door over the gasoline tank under the front seat. The new oval tank not only allowed the seat to be lowered (in the 1921 models) but is also pretty well filled the under-seat area, making the door (actually a dust shield) unnecessary.” We would welcome data helping to support or correct that information.
I skimmed through “The Ford Methods and the Ford Shops” 1915 and it comes as part of Bruce McCalley’s “Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia” available for order from: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853 It discussed the painting of the body which was fast, spray, flow on, and touched up with a brush. Primed, base, top coat etc. The bodies were NOT dipped. From the description, it did not really address it specifically. But from the photo below from page 238 it clearly shows that the body that had been painted but NOT upholstered yet the “WOODEN Gas Tank Lid was painted” Note in 1915-16 and again in 1918-1919 wooden as well as metal seat frames were used. Currently as far as I can tell with the information I’ve seen the wooden seat frames used a wooden cover and the metal seat frames used a metal cover.
So based on that photo above, the 1915 wooden seat framed gas tank lids were painted or stained dark etc.
Below is a cropped photo from page 51 Robert C. Kreipke’s “The Model T” [great book]. The complete photo shows what I believe are 1915-16 style bodies that do NOT have the late 1916-1921ish end caps on the arm rest. Also that was the time frame when so many of the photos were taken. I did not see that photo in the “The Ford Methods and the Ford Shops.” Note by zooming in you can see the bodies that are waiting to be upholstered. They have the metal seat covers and they also appear to me to be painted (not a great coating – but some dark color to help prevent rust). You want to look at the bodies that are stacked upright in the back left hand corner of the photograph.
Now as often as I complain about not really being able to see well – do I really see a rear seat area lid. The answer is not the complete lid. I can see that it is dark colored – but that could easily be the bottom of the seat area. But if you look closely in the middle towards the front of the rear seat area you will see what I believe is the finger lift hole for the rear seat cover. And if they painted the metal rear seat cover they probably would have painted the metal front seat cover.
Below are two photos of the metal gas tank cover on the Jun 1917 Rip Van Winkle Ford from page 269 of Bruce’s book also his CD and also page 33 the “Vintage Ford” magazines. ( Used by permission.)
The first one above isn’t that much help.
But when they raise the cover you can easily see the underside that is not covered with dust. It clearly shows it is painted a dark color. And based on what we know of Ford’s paint choices in the USA during that time – that would be a black color or some sort. Notice also how the rear seat toe panel top is also covered with dust.
I did not find additional references but the above would indicate it was probably painted. And even if it was not – for rust prevention it would make sense to paint it.
If anyone has additional data points, please let us know.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Thanks Hap for the info. The car that I am working on is a early to mid year 21 Touring with the 5 piece back.
The front seat frame has the hinge mounting holes in it and what I have learned is that the lid was only on the front and not the back for these cars.
There are no hinge holes on the back seat frame so I guess that speaks for itself.
I will give it just a decent topcoat on the new lid from Howell's when I finish painting the windshield frame and steering column and let that be it.
Looking at the deep gloss on the bodies in the pic you furnished they must have been careful not to scratch them.
I submit that the part in question is not a "cover" or a "lid", but a "seat spring support". I believe that is its intended function. It's not designed to keep dirt out or noise down, but to support the seat cushion spring.
Look at the typical condition of surviving cars' original seat cushions and you will note quite a difference among cushions coming from a car with wooden supports, vs. those with metal supports, vs. those with none. The metal supports provided only so-so support, so it's no surprise they were eventually dropped.
I don't know exactly what Ford called it. Howells calls it a seat frame lid.
I guess he didn't know exactly what to call it either.