It seems to me the 1911 Torpedo's look alot more "sporty" than the regular 1911-12 runabouts!
On the Torpedo's fenders longer and more "swoopy"? Are the running boards or splash boards different?
I really appreciate your advice. Thanks!
The '11 torpedo is the raciest Model T body style. There was an '11 open runabout that shared the same low seat and steering column. The '12 runabouts are equipped with ordinary steering column and seat placement is higher, making the '11 a unique one year style. This of course has led to reproduction bodies being more common than originals.
Similar to your "Improved" 1926-27 model that has many parts that are not the same as the previous 1924-25 cars, the 1911 Torpedo Runabout and 1911 Open Runabout have many unique parts that do not fit properly on the other 1909-1912 cars or even 1911 cars for that matter.
In addition to what Royce shared above:
"...low seat and steering column"
Some other differences with those cars:
The hood is 2 inches longer which moves the body back 2 inches.
The brake and low speed/clutch pedal are different. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/328567.html?1356261530
The steering column is longer. And to make it lower the bracket on the frame and the bracket that mounts it to the dash is different. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/94084.html?1244144665 and also there is a different part number for the steering shaft to frame bracket.
The rear running board bracket was riveted to the frame “approximately” (never do math in public) 9 1/8 inches further forward than on the standard frames ref: http://www.funprojects.com/pdf/FPIframe.pdf
The side lamp brackets are different as well as how holes are drilled in that dash / firewall: ref: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/45415.html?1200439985
Gasoline tank and gas line.
See also Trent’s site – I think you will like it:
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Thanks all. I makes sense now.
Hap left out the horn and the mixture adjusting rod unique to the 1911 torpedo and open roadster. Both had to be different due to the relocated firewall and "racy" (for a Model T) body style.
1911 open runabout, sometimes called an open roadster.
You blew the math. The rear T/OR running board bracket is 8-7/8 further forward than stock.
The middle picture in Royce's 3 pictures is of a rather early Torpedo. How do I know??
One piece spindles, above the axle tie rod.
Thank you for the correction on the math. If I was only off by 1/4 inch or so … that isn’t too bad since math was not one of my favorite subjects.
But one of my favorite subjects is “Model T Fords.”
And I believe Royce’s middle picture would be considered an early Torpedo. We know that because you of the research you shared at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/241282.html?1318798134 the Monday, October 17, 2011 - 12:05 am: “Early Torpedoes had 3 windshield clips with the outer clips being modified Touring car clips and the center clip being special. Later unique windshield clips were created for the torpedo and then only 2 outer clips were used again as with other cars. 3 clips were used for only a few of the early months as a stop gap method of keeping the windshield on since without the special center clip the windshield would hop up and off the spacer board when the car hit a bump. This only happened on the cars equipped with the modified touring car outer windshield clips.”
And as Peter pointed out we also have that indication from the one piece front spindle. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/F-H.htm#fr1 “1911
On January 31 (#36,972) the new axle with the two-piece spindles appeared. The tie rod now was below the wishbone. The steering drag link was threaded at the column end with a coarse thread (13 T.P.I.). Brass oilers on all joints except the drag link.” If anyone has some information about how long the one piece front axle continued to be used, please let us know.
And the shipping documents indicate the Torpedo shipments started around the end of Dec 1910 [30 Dec 1910 Torpedo listed as shipped] and Dec 10, 1910 possible First Torpedo – “Runabout with doors” shipped. But in Jan and on several Torpedoes are listed in Bruce’s partial listing. Ref pages 491 Bruce’s “Model T Ford” [Note on Oct 26, 1910 on page 490 is listed as Torpedo - First Runabout with doors, sample metal body but no others until mid-late Dec 1910.]
Royce thanks for adding the mixture rod and the horn. Although I don’t think they all used the “potato” shaped horn – as shown in the photo you posted of the early 1911 Torpedo that appears to have a standard horn. And a two piece front axle Torpedo on page 15 of “Fords Forever” by Lorin Sorensen that has the standard horn. But clearly many of them did use that special horn. And I don’t remember seeing that horn used on the touring etc.
The dash brackets attached to the frame in the standard location. Those brackets were unique to the Torpedo and Open Runabout. I would guess but I do not know for sure that the hood shelves were longer to match the 2 inch longer hood. Would someone confirm or correct that assumption? There are possibly other items unique to the Torpedo and Open Runabouts – please let us know if you remember some of them?
Thank you all for helping us compile more and more information about the cars, the factory, the history etc.
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Hap I don't think it was mentioned but the sediment bulb is special to the torpedo also.
The hood clash strips were indeed 2" longer. I have the drawings for those. They are also often referred to by us as hood shelves. The rear fender irons were unique since while they were butterfly type irons they had a unique drawing number and unique bend. What is interesting though is that the irons themselves were the exact same forging as the 1910 touring car fender irons but they were just re-bent to the new shape. Thus there was only one butterfly forging per side for the 1910 touring car and 1911 T/OR iron. Same forging just different bend.
Handbrake and control rod for it was different bend. Dash edge trim was different as was the dash. I think the "ugly" horn was likely sought out for later T/OR cars because of customer feedback that it was difficult if not impossible to get the hood open with the narrower dash width and only a small place to mount the horn along the dash edge. The "standard" horn would be very very close to the hood and with the bottom lip of the hood having to slide up in the track of the hood former and radiator - horn hitting the hood lower edge lip is a real issue. Later horn tubes had a clip added on the torpedo but not the Open Runabout. Probably horn tube interfered with door.
The correct T/OR steering shaft to frame bracket bears the number 953 on it while standard one at that time was 932. Easy to spot those numbers in raised castings on the bracket.
If you see side view of almost any original picture of a T/OR you will notice that the top windshield half is always tilted back a wee bit while the sales brochure shows it to be exactly vertical. This is because original side braces were too short and would be only about 1/2 way inserted into the castings at the side of the body if the windshield is in fact vertical. It is even noticeable if you study the pictures above except of course for the straight on forward shot of the early 3 clip windshield Torpedo.
All T/OR cars I have ever seen had the dog leg intake manifold. That is because at "build" time the actual reason for the dog leg manifold was to clear the steering on a RHD version of this T/OR car. When Ford did away with the dog leg intake and changed it to the simpler flat design they noted that they would have to continue to make the dog leg version since they were still selling RHD versions of the T/OR at that time. To solve the 3 clip windshield issue - Ford made unique outer windshield clips for the T/OR and then discontinued the center clip. The center clip went from design drawing and put on cars in about 10 days in February of 1911. I have the drawing date somewhere and a car with a known build date that has it on the car and the build date was about 10 days later. It was a real embarrassing mistake to have the windshield land in the drivers lap I would think The windshield was same dimensions as 1911 Touring car but the center glass channels had special brass shaped extrusions riveted to them to keep water from coming up that slanted windshield and then dumping it through the crack of the bent windshield right into the driver's face.
There were 4 side curtains on this car and the front pair were different for the Torpedo versus O/R since the O/R had no doors. The rear pair were the same for both the T/OR.
One weird detail is that the correct gas valve is in fact open when the lever is down with the valve body parallel to the road as that valve exited the small unique sediment bulb. If it were not open with lever down then a good bump in the road might cause the gas to shut off. The weird routing of the gas line isn't so weird when you want to turn off the gas. Just reach under the rear edge of the tank platform and the lever will be right there. If the sediment bulb is rotated to point forward the valve will not be so easy to reach from behind the car. Gas cap was cast iron for the later cars while the early ones had brass caps. Brass caps are more common now but that is because the repos are made of brass. The gas tank fitting for the car also was brass early on and cast iron later. Leather top straps going forward were different length than Touring. Rear spring was unique. Later bodies (about July of 1911) had an iron bead trim that fastened to the body with 3 wood screws rather than being rolled into the body sheet metal at the side. I think this is because the rolled in body side bead tended to always crack. This is at the curve along the back edge of the seat pedestal where that pedestal goes down and then runs along the side toward the back. That bead is often broken there. About the same time there was also a screw on bead for the rear seam that was short enough to go on the rear deck somewhere but while I have the drawing, I don't know where it actually was used since my O/R was earlier (May, 1911). Along with unique rear spring the rear spring clips holding rear spring to frame were unique part number and measured 3-5/8 from end of thread to underside of the top horizontal surface. Radiator support rod was 2" longer and unique number. Gasoline tank mounting bolts were unique at 2-1/4" long square headed 5/16-18 threaded and drilled for cotters (4 bolts required). Front body bracket was unique 2 bolt type that was drawn up in October of 1910 and appears to be different (smaller) than the earlier touring body 2 bolt front body brackets previously used but I have no early bracket to compare with. All 4 floor boards were unique.
This torpedo looks like it has the painted sidelight brackets. Didn't the earliest 1911 torpedos (made in October 1910 or earlier?) have the brass plated steel sidelight brackets?
I have also heard rumor that there were basically 2 runs made of the 1911 torpedoes, one run with chassis block cast dates from around October 1910 (which have the early features, like old style rear axles, one piece spindles, etc.), and then a second run with block dates in May-June 1911? Any research done on that?; and if so any ideas why the chassis were built but not shipped out right away (Hap says they were shipped out in December 1910, apparently with block dates from October?). Maybe they were they waiting for something (maybe the bodies were not there yet)? Thanks for this very interesting info.
I am not aware of any brass plated side lamp brackets being correct for any Model T John.
If we only had more time to live at the Benson Ford Archives and drive Ts for the Greenfield Village ( http://www.thehenryford.org/village/transportation.aspx ). What fun we could have and what additional bits of information we would be able to uncover. We all are discovering new things that were common knowledge back in the day to a good Ford dealer. Note the MTFCI Judging Guidelines 6th edition (great reference -- available from Russ Furstnow please see: http://modelt.org/discus/messages/2/33968.html and may also be ordered from the vendors ) states " Sidelight brackets: Brass plated steel." for 1909 to about February 1911 then painted black. I had to scan a photo to illustrate that as the ones I already had scanned did not clearly show the bracket being plated. In the photo below you will notice that the lighting clearly shows the plated bracket on the passenger side but not on the driver's side. But it would have been plated on both sides. Original un-cropped photo is on page 14 of "Fords Forever" by Lorin Sorensen and has appeared on other web sites etc. It is listed as a 1909 in his book.
Often times that brackets are not visible in photos and unless you specifically look at them most of us will not notice if they are black or brass plated. And of course once they tarnish they appear darker.
Again thank you for all your efforts to help us gather the most correct information we can obtain and knowing that there could easily be exceptions due to older parts being used or different suppliers or perhaps even something that may have been delivered by mistake? For example at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc19.htm .
JUN 16, 1919 Acc. 575, Box 11, #745, Ford Archives
T-519B. Changed diameter for the hole for the starting crank spring from 1/16" to #50 drill (.070"). This change was made in order to use up 12,000 #50 drills which were on hand, and was to take effect as soon as the change could be made without holding up production.
How did they wind up with 12,000 #50 drill bits? Did someone order the wrong ones or did someone deliver the wrong ones and Ford got them at a discount because they were not quite the right ones? Or some other reason or reasons?
Again thank you for your inputs!
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Thank you so much for the many many details you provided above and all the support you provide to our hobby.
I am hoping to one day start or to work with someone else if they start it sooner a repository of additional details, photos, references etc. on more and more of the early Ford cars (ok that would be 1903-1927 for me while I realize that is the 1990s for many folks). Technically the Benson Ford Archives already is that repository – they have a wealth of information. But it is currently expensive [at least on my budget] for folks not living near by to obtain the information. I.e. travel and hotel or paying the research staff to look for things for you. They do a great job and they are on my list of recommended organizations to support. But if someone is not near enough to visit easily – you could go broke purchasing copies etc. Note if anyone is ever in the area – it is a wonderful place to go and do research. And there is no cost for taking photos etc. of the material with your own camera. [How much stuff? Please see Trent’s posting “Visit to the Stacks” at: http://jupiter.plymouth.edu/~trentb/HFMGVStacks/Stacks.html Note 99.99% of visitors are not allowed in the actual “stacks” but the staff at the Benson Ford will bring you the actual documents or microfilm. How does that work? Please see: http://www.thehenryford.org/research/index.aspx ]
I’m still trying to figure out how to achieve something similar to an expanded version of Bruce’s “Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia” and the MTFCI Judging Standards rolled into one DVD series that would contain many additional details such as your information above and the photo of the T/OR steering bracket below [snagged from e-bay advertisement and yes the numbers were blackened to highlight them].
And I know that you and several others have done a great job of documenting various years, models, etc. of the early Fords. Thank you for your efforts and your support to our hobby.
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I make exact side light brackets and my research shows they were painted black starting in early 1911. Those exact brackets were brass plated in the version just before that. There is ample documentation on the torpedo side lamp brackets that they were polished brass (I think they were plated) at first and then became black enameled. The early torpedo picture that has the 3 clips at the windshield might also have some of the very first enameled side light brackets since those changes were very close together time wise with the 3 clips but it is also possible that the ones in the picture are plated but just not polished up very nice. Sometimes camera lighting can make it hard to determined exactly which.
I like to refer to early February 1911 as "Saint Valentines Day Massacre" with regard to brass since during that time many parts on the T went from Brass or Brass plating to black enamel. Floor board trim plates, windshield stay rod to frame clamps, entire hand brake assembly...to name a few. Little known is that the carb control casting on the dash went from brass to cast iron polished and enameled but before 1912 version that was a formed piece of sheet metal. Before they were done away with, the long windshield stay rods went from brass jacketed steel tubing to black enameled steel tubing. There are lots of little "2 weeks of use" type of parts that I am looking for. On another thread I talked about early battery horn being mounted on firewall first in 1922 using a unique mounting bracket. I have seen 2 of those. Bud Scudder (R.I.P.) sent me a picture of a horn he found with that bracket and he couldn't make any sense of it. I explained it was in fact "standard issue" for a time. This is a fun puzzle that we are all working on together but it is very important that we don't contaminate the truth pool with opinion since there is a strong human tendency to want to authenticate the car we have in our possession but we must rely on facts rather than opinion. I want to repeat something that Trent and I both agreed upon at a point some time ago and that is that neither of us has ever seen a single discrepancy between archival data and actual totally unrestored cars. Ford was very anal in their documentation which they would have had to be to build 15 million cars. Without solid engineering documentation it would be chaos. I spent my career in that circle of information exchange and it has not changed today in function but just in method of data storage and dissemination.
I love these types of discussions.
Herb – thank you also for your input about the sediment bulb – I wonder what other parts have not been covered yet?
John Wightman – First a clarification/correction. The dates listed in Bruce’s book (and CDs) titled “Shipping Invoices” is the date the car was Manufactured (assembled). In one case he also includes the shipping date – i.e. for Model T # 1 it was manufactured on Sep 27, 1908 and shipped Oct 1, 1908. But for the other listings he only shows the manufactured date and not both dates. I sometimes forget to use the correct term. Note that in the Accounts Receivable records they list the actual shipping date and not the date the car was manufactured. Normally those two dates are relatively close together because of the high demand for Ford cars.
Yes the earlier Torpedo and Open Roadster side lamp brackets were brass plated. Ref the judging guidleines mentioned above. Also John Regan at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/45415.html?1200439985 states on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 01:52 am:
The Torpedo dash light brackets were unique to the torpedo and were NOT the same as used on the 1911 touring nor where they mounted in the same hole locations. Torpedo dash light brackets are CAST and not flat steel bent up like typical touring car variety. They were brass plated and polished on the early ones and then painted black by May of 1911 or there abouts.
How much overlap is always an interesting discussion – and one that normally does not have a specific date and time but sometimes does.
I need to run, but if you have any documentation supporting that the Torpedo Runabout or Open Runabouts were produced before Dec 1910, please let us know. Note that I do not know of any documentation that supports regular production before the mid/end of Dec 1910 and in general normal production began in earnest in Jan 1911.
Again great discussion and neat looking body styles.
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Looks like I need to have the side lamp brackets plated for #904. Too bad, I had them just about ready for paint!
Great thread! I can't thank you all enough. The '11 torpedo has always been my overall favorite Ford standard offering bodied car. The open roadster is close behind it. I will never be able to afford to buy one. I have at times considered the possibility of putting one together (But I hate to muddy the waters too much with made-up cars). I don't think I will ever try to do that. But I still love to read about and look at all the differences. They are beautiful cars! I will just have to get my '15 runabout put together and be happy with it. It is enough original.
Thank you, again, to all. I hope this thread grows much larger.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Hey Royce you could always find some brass colored paint. In keeping with Model T tradition it would be authentic because it would be cheaper
No doubt in my mind that early ones were not painted black.
A quick question about door check straps on the torpedo roadsters. Were they the wide kind with the grommets under the screws or were they the kind with the two screw brackets ?
The MTFCI Judging Guidelines 6th edition does not address the type of door strap attachment for the 1911 cars (or if it does, I missed it). However Trent posted photos of his restoration as well as a very original 1911 Torpedo Runabout at: http://jupiter.plymouth.edu/~trentb/ModelT/Torpedo2/TorJune16Y2K.html Those pictures of the straps may or may not be of some help. But they give you a lead of where to possibly find some additional information. When you find out – please let us know.
Also, I believe the early bodies were provided to Ford already upholstered. If that was the case, then there could easily have been some variations based on who supplied the body and when the body was supplied. In that same thread by Trent he shows two different ways the bottom door jam was manufactured by two different Torpedo body suppliers.
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The door check straps were wide and had a groove on each side. They were attached with four oval head brass screws and brass finishing washers. I make these straps.
Hope this helps,