No dash filler board but a windshield.
Is it an '09 with an accessory windshield?
Yes indeed - a very early torpedo runabout with a water pump engine - see the crank ratchet that holds the crank vertical - and maybe a 2 lever. Hard to tell.
Headlights, tops, and windshield were optional factory or dealer supplied items. This car has no headlights, and the windshield not having a filler board appears to be added by someone other than the factory.
It doesn't look like a 1911/12 Torpedo? Of course, I'm not an expert.....
I don't think it is a 1911 Torpedo Roadster, but an 09 Mother in law seat roadster. It appears to be light in color which the early 09's were.
The first photo not only has the early Mother-in-Law car but also the early Mother-in-Law!
Some back seat driving might have caused him to almost hit the tree!
The roadsters in 1909-19 were often called "torpedos".
Looks like it has a brass hoodformer, which would also indicate a very early car.
One obvious and easily seen feature that identifies this as a very early 1909 is the starting crank handle which is standing vertical. Other very obvious things in the picture are the "winged" Ford script radiator, the flat front non - billed fenders and of course the grey color.
Ford called this body style " runabout" or "torpedo runabout". Some of the trade magazines and local dealer advertisements called it "roadster" but that apparently was not what Ford called them. In the Accounts Receivable ledger at the Benson Ford they are referred to as "Torpedo Runabout" or sometimes abbreviated "TR".
Interesting. In the 1909 annual gain loss audit statement the "roadster" is referred to as .....roadster.
What I believe is the first "T" sold (actually first two, a "Laundaulet" is also on the report) is listed on the October 1907 "Loss/Gain" report by then Auditor Hawkins. It is just referred to as "Rumble Seat".
At the same time, Ford refers to the Model S body styles as "S" (runabout) and "SR" (S Roadster). While not broke separately, the Model K is also referred to in all literature as "K Roadster".
1907 FIscal Year end report:
The next Ford audit (FY 1909, Oct 1 1908-Sep 30 1909) lists model/styles separately for Model T. The roadster is listed as "T.R.".
I have two FMC shipping documents, both for Roadsters. One is for 1909 model year, car number 2507 (our car, now with touring body), and one for early 1910 model year. Both documents only list the mother in law model as "Roadster".
I suspect that in 2013, the 1909/1910 T roadster is sometimes referred to as "torpedo". I have not found an advertisement or FMC article that refers to "T roadster" as a "torpedo". However, I'll do a little research and see what I am able to find. Hap, if your following, do you have any period reference where a T roadster is referred to as torpedo (or anyone else reading along)?
It's always good to learn more about our early Fords,
Show us an advertisement placed by Ford Motor Company that calls it a roadster.
What? A Ford with rumble or mother in law seat was referred to as "roadster", ie K Roadster, S Roadster 1907/1908).
Now, show us an ad for a Ford (pre 1911 model year) calling a roadster or runabout "torpedo". That's where this began...
Of course, we have this document, from Ford, does that count?
I did find this article generally talking about the "torpedo" body style. As we would expect, it describes the torpedo body as an entirely new, and different style. Still no Ford Torpedo mention for Ford Runabout, but still looking......
I have a lot of data on '25s. In the Ford advertisements, they call it a runabout. The internal memos, as above, they call it a roadster. Go figure.
I think you will find in your research that Ford did not refer to any roadster as a torpedo until after the introduction of the 1911 Torpedo Roadster. From that point onward he generally referred to roadsters as torpedos probably as a carry over from the earlier distinction of the "commercial roadster" or "mother in law roadster" which were dropped at about the same time. Nothing official on that but I think someone else, maybe Bruce McCalley, noticed this and there was something in someones research which made this observation. I can't remember where that came from but check it out and see if that isn't what you come up with. I will look too in my "stash" and see if that isn't the case.
So far, I find the same thing. It's hard to "prove" something that didn't happen, such as finding a reference to "Ford Torpedo" prior to 1911 if none exists.
But I'll keep looking...
Another article about the "new" Torpedo body style. I'm learning more about the body style than I thought I'd have any reason to:
By Royce in Dallas TX on Friday, November 01, 2013 - 09:55 am:
"Show us an advertisement placed by Ford Motor Company that calls it a roadster."
OK Royce, I've shown you mine, now show me yours...... (Ad calling a pre T runabout/roadster a "torpedo")
One of my favorite search sites give me this when I search "1909-1910 Ford Torpedo":
And this when I search "1909-1910 Ford Roadster"
Herb, sorry for hijacking your thread. Now I'm going on to other things,
Correction, above it should say "pre 1911 T, not pre T, reference challenging Royce to put up some documentation where a pre 1911 model Ford is called "torpedo".
Oh, what the heck, I've done the work.......more "Roadster" references (1909 and 1910):
And this from the Ford Atlanta Branch (so one can't say "it's not Ford Motor Company" advertising):
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
One of the things I enjoy about our Model T Fords is there is always something new to learn and exceptions to discover. I hope most of us want to avoid the trap of “I know what is correct so I will only document that.” There have been times in history when everyone agreed the earth was flat and if someone didn’t agree they were “tarred and feathered” so-to-speak. And those that were not really in agreement quickly learned not to disagree openly but to keep their thoughts to themselves.
So, with that in mind, I want to say thank you to everyone that brings questions, inputs, data, references, good natured fun [there are days I really need the fun part more than the research part], civil discussions of differences, and those that just enjoy driving or working on their Ts. [Steve – I may have to remove the freeze plugs and replace them with “Buffalo nickels after reading your great article in the “Vintage Ford.]
For Royce – thank you for all the many things you have shared and helped to clarify over the years. I agree with you that Ford often used the term “Runabout” to refer to the automobiles that had seating for two adults but I submit a few exceptions. I have seen a couple of your posting where you have mentioned something along the lines of your question and comments above: “Show us an advertisement placed by Ford Motor Company that calls it a roadster.” “Ford called this body style " runabout" or "torpedo runabout". Some of the trade magazines and local dealer advertisements called it "roadster" but that apparently was not what Ford called them. In the Accounts Receivable ledger at the Benson Ford they are referred to as "Torpedo Runabout" or sometimes abbreviated "TR".” In summary, based on those and other postings, I believe you are saying Ford Motor Company did not refer to the Runabout as a Roadster until the introduction of the Model A Ford in 1928 when they used the term often. I may have that wrong so feel free to add any clarification that is needed.
Below is copy from the 1909 Souvenir Booklet (yes cut to the shape of a Model T you are only looking at the rear seat section and top):
Below is from a reprint of the 1909 Sales Brochure “Watch the Fords Go By” [available from the vendors and a fun read see: http://www.modeltford.com/item/FSL11.aspx While it is a reprint, they normally are very accurate to the original document. Even printing the engine photo reversed in the 1906 brochure as it was originally printed reversed in 1906. And the size and color are usually very close to the originals.]
Notice the term “Roadster” under the illustration in both of those early sales/promotional brochures put out by Ford Motor Company. Roadster is also used on page 22 of “Watch the Fords Go By” describing the body styles available and page 23 describing the cost of the cars. I did not read the complete booklet so I do not know if Runabout was or was not also used, but Roadster clearly was used.
Thread drift – but an item of interest: Note the first sentence of the second paragraph that states, “ Twelve months actual service in Model T cars, one of which was driven twenty thousand miles before the car was announced, proved to us the car was right.” A clear claim that some prototype Ts existed and were thoroughly tested.
Note also that in the Sep 1, 1923 Price List of Body Parts page 7 it refers to the 1922-1923 as Roadster body parts. And in the Mar 15, 1927 Price List of Body Parts page 7 shown below it refers to the 1922-1925 and the 1926-27 as Roadster body parts (see later in the posting for what it calls the 1915-1922 cars).
For Rob – I wish I had more time to investigate the many good items you have posted and sent. I’m filing them and hoping to live long enough to sort and study them.
On page 469 of Bruce McCalley’s book “Model T Ford” serial number 34,333 was manufactured Dec 10, 1910 and is listed as Torpedo. It also has the comment under it “”Runabout with doors” (First Torpedo?). And Dec 30, 1910 they list another Torpedo manufactured– so yes just barely those two references would be pre-1911 but of course they are in reference to the 1911 model year style Torpedo. I do not remember seeing a reference to 1909 to 1910 model year T as a Torpedo. But that may have happened sometime somewhere in Ford’s literature – I just don’t remember seeing it.
But I think Royce and Darel intended to say we will find the term Torpedo applied to Model T’s other than just the 1911 – 1912 Torpedo models. For example in the Sep 1, 1923 Price List of Body Parts they used the term “Torpedo Body Parts” for the 1915-1922 only a front seat bodies. That is the same label they used on page 5 of the Mar 15, 1927 “Price List of Body Parts” shown below.
But when we are dealing Ford – we have to remember that line that goes something like: “How can we restore them authentically when Ford didn’t manufacture them authentically?” or something along those lines. Below is page 40 from the Feb 1, 1915 Price List of Parts.
Note Ford used the terms Runabout; Torpedo-Roadster; and Torpedo all on the same section under Fenders and Running Boards. I’m doing ok reading that list until I get to the 1913-15 Torpedo rear fender irons – where did that come from?
By the way I’m still planning on forming that team to try and better document what Ford “did and possibly did” from 1903-1927. I hope you both will consider continuing to be a part of that effort.
Again thanks to everyone that helps make this forum such a great place to ask questions, share stories, share the good times and even the hard times.
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[Why such a long post? I could read about Model Ts or go do the yard….easy choice!]
Always a pleasure to read your well thought out posts and consider your points. Thank you for posting (the yard work will still be there tomorrow ),
Great thread from all involved! I love this stuff. Thanks guys.
One question: how can you tell that the car in the top pic has a winged Ford script?
Rob – thanks!
Good question. For many years I would not have noticed that detail one way or the other even in a clear photo. But as you are around the cars and especially if you start studying some of the details then you will notice them much more easily than the person who is not as familiar with the cars. A good example of that, is have you ever purchased a new or used car and suddenly noticed how many others are driving the same type of car? Prior to our purchase those cars were still being driven but we didn’t notice them. But once we have one suddenly we see them a lot more easily than before.
In this case the resolution of the photo really makes it hard for me to say I can or cannot see that the writing on the front of the radiator is Ford script let alone Winged Ford script based only at looking at the writing. It isn’t a nice clear picture of that area. As I zoom in it is blurry.
But from the rest of the photo I know it is a Model T Ford. And therefore – unless the radiator was replaced with an aftermarket radiator – any writing on a factory supplied brass Model T Ford radiator will be either the “Winged Ford Script” or the later and much more common “Ford” script. Note Ford initially obtained radiators form different suppliers until they began production of radiators and finally supplied all their own radiators during 1910. Below is one style of the winged script from the original radiator shell on car # 220 from page 66 of Bruce’s book “Model T Ford” (available from the vendors as well as our club) and also page 25 of May-Jun 1987 “Vintage Ford” used by permission and available on CD from the club and vendors as a set from 1966 to 2000 year magazines).
Notice that the “Winged Script” above goes out further across the radiator than the later Ford script show below: (That would be Ghost – my favorite 1915 Centerdoor that is getting a second chance at life thanks to Bob Kiefaber. Photo by Hap )
Doing some “blobology” i.e. looking at the original photo that is blurry, I believe it is a winged script. But I probably would not be able to prove that based solely on the photo of the “script.”
But when I add to that “something is written on the front of the top tank” that the radiator does NOT have a reinforcement bar that was introduced about mid-year, 1910as well as a higher radiator neck I know the radiator is a 1909 to mid 1910. And we note that “ALL” the 1909 radiators were “winged script” ref:
http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/P-R.htm#rad And since it is on a 1909 car – I believe that is a winged script radiator even though I cannot really read the letters in that low resolution photograph. I would guess in a higher resolution photograph they would probably be able to be read. Note also that it does NOT have the “Ford” script on the front of the radiator. Bruce noted at that same web page “Brass “Ford” script, fastened horizontally (not on an angle as is often seen on restored cars), on the core on most cars.“
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A thorough explanation as always, Hap. Much thanks! I learn something new every time I come here.
Fortunately, I also learn something new every time I visit -- and that is part of the fun. 15,000,000 plus possibilities and then several of us have modified our cars over the years....
Note while putting away some of the brochures I also noticed that the term Roadster was used in the following Ford brochures:
Above from "The Story of the Race" (FSL18 see: http://www.modeltford.com/item/FSL18.aspx ) page 30-31.
Above "The Doctor and His Car" (FSL19) page 12 and 13 also used Torpedo for that model (see: http://www.modeltford.com/item/FSL19.aspx ) . What no mention of a Doctor's coupe? But according to Bruce only 19 Coupes produced in the 1912 model year and the coupes along with the chassis were not shown in the catalog (ref page 109 Bruce's book).
Not shown but listed a Roadster on at least two pages (also Torpedo for that model) FSL22 -- 1912 sales brochure. http://www.modeltford.com/item/FSL22.aspx Pages are not numbered.
Still successfully avoiding yard work.
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I forgot to add -- Christmas is coming. Those Ford Sales Literature items are typically only $4. If any of your kids or grandkids are wondering what to get you for Christmas -- you might want to suggest those. That is how I got mine, by giving Santa and his helpers the part number and how to order them. It sure beats another tie....
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