I see people saying what day their car was built, is there a list showing all the dates or is it just a ballpark guess?
Engine serial numbers by month are in the online encyclopedia:
A daily serial number list is in Bruce McCalley's book "Model T Ford: The Car that Changed the World" and also in his expanded encyclopedia on CD ROM.
If you have the engine number, you can find out what day it was built from Bruce McCalley's encyclopedia. PM me and I can look it up for you if you like.
Also, you can determine the engine casting date from the casting mark on the block.
Thanks, I've been meaning to buy that book so I guess I better just do it.
Here's the info on that book and others.
It should be pointed out that the date given based upon the engine serial number is not always right.
There is some debate yet on whether the date correlates to the "car" assembly or the "engine" assembly. For most cars, that won't make a difference of much more than a day. However.
Some engines were dated then shipped to a branch assembly plant and may be delayed as a car final assembly by several days or even a couple weeks.
To further confuse things. This entire procedure was continuously changing. So during some years (mid to late '10s) the given date is pretty reliable. Other years may or may not be less reliable.
Canadian built Ts used a different system to number and record the dates. I do not know, but there seems to be more confusion about them. English and European Fords mostly got pre-numbered engines directly from Detroit. Delayed by shipping before assembly across the pond could result in the car assembly being even months after the engine was dated by serial number.
Generally speaking, as fast as Ford was putting them together and driving them out the front door, it is rather pointless to debate over a day or two for most model Ts built. Most people accept the recorded date for the engine (if it is known) and use that date for the car if the engine appears to be original to the car. This is where it helps to learn a hundred little details to give a close time frame for the car's birthday based upon a couple dozen little details. Most of those details have a crossover time where both a new and an old part or detail would both still be used.
So if all is good and enough is still original, use the number on the engine. Find the date in the book. And go with it. Just know about the silly side stuff.
As far as I care, my coupe was built on April 12 1924. I guess it has a 90 year birthday coming up.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I looked at the online version of the book and my roadster was built March 17, 1924. I also ordered a copy of the book. Thanks for all your input.
Thanks Wayne, you're correct of course. In my post I was referring to determining the engine build date using the engine number, which I should have been more clear in my wording. As you noted, assumptions have to be made about whether the engine was replaced at any point, which could mean either an earlier, or later "car build" date indication depending on the block used (new or used). With so many production records lost in the fire, we're often left with only a few clues, as you noted, to determine a manufacture date.
Solving a mystery is part of the fun
For example the motor in my 1919 was cast on July 28, 1919 and numbered on July 30, 1919 - the day Henry Ford turned 56 years old.
It was barely cool when someone started the machining process.
And it has never been rebuilt or refreshed - Who said that a block needs to be seasoned?