Im sure this has been asked before, but here goes. How can I find the date of manufacture for my 1914 Model T touring, serial # 421895. Thanks for any information......
The general consensus is that the serial number on the engine block represents the date of engine assembly, which may or may not be close to the date of assembly of the car. There is a table in the back of the book, "Model T Ford the Car That Changed the World" showing serial numbers versus engine build dates. According to that table, engine 421895 was assembled on January 17, 1914. Again, according to the table, 1125 engines were assembled on that day, starting with serial number 421178 and ending with 422302.
Mark, I am interested in buying a 1914 Touring with the engine serial number of 443080 and a cast date of 12/29/13. What can you tell me about the assembly date for this car?
Bruce McCalley's "Encyclopedia" is also available on disk, and may be the best $50 you can spend on your T. There's a less detailed version on this website, but on disk you get a fantastic amount of information.
Bill, that was the third engine assembled on Tuesday, February 10, 1914. (Also from Bruce's encyclopedia.)
The transmission stub shafts on the early cars are actually dated. On mine, the stub shaft was dated July 11, 1913, engine "date" in the book July 17, 1913. Six days apart and 4 weeks after the casting date.
The transmissions tend to be 6-10 days before engine in the summer of 1913. Of course you have to have engine apart to see it but it gives a "not earlier than" date if your engine is a unit "as built." Some were dated with a chisel (see Bruce's book page 106). Mine was done with steel number stamps like the block number.
I don't know how long the factory continued to do this but surely into the 1914's. Beside the casting date, the only real date on the car.
Ken in Texas
Thanks guys for all the info.
Hey, Steve, can you tell me about my early '16? The engine was cast 11/22/15 and the number is 984605.
Engine 984605 was one of 1693 engines assembled on November 30, 1915 (engine numbers 984361 through 986060).
Thanks, Mark! Very interesting that the engine was assembled on 11/30/15, because the body ID tag has the same date punched on it. This may be a dumb question, but is it possible that the engine and body were finished and installed the same day???
I'm just a newbie with a useful book - as far as body tags and info, my 6 months reading the forum tells me that "Hap" Tucker is an authority on such things, perhaps he'll chime in and comment?
The listing of serial numbers is in the Encyclopedia Section on the Home page. I feel orders for bodies would have been placed in advance of their anticipated use. Since the beginning in 1903, Ford placed orders with vendors so by 1914 you would think they were probably almost masters of that type of purchasing control. In 1914, there is a photo in Bruce's book, page 179, showing touring car bodies being delivered "in the white". They are painted and upholstered in the Ford plant then assembled. It would take days to do that and the number/date would already have to have been on the body unless it was made by Ford. That is what makes me believe that they were "dated" by vendors like Beaudett for a order month requested.
Just as you are seeing the "same day", I wouldn't be surprised to see an August assembly with a "October" body date.
Ken in Texas
Thanks for the kind words. By the way you are doing great. One minor point to mention about the engines. Sometimes a block of 100 or more serial numbers were sent to another plant to be stamped onto an engine that was assembled at that plant. Those numbers are still listed on the same Highland Park and later River Rouge engine log along with the serial numbers of the engines that were actually assembled that same day at the main plant. Those numbers that were shipped to a branch for use there might not have be stamped onto an engine until days, weeks or maybe even a month or more later.
In his CD and on page 523 of his book Bruce stated, "Blocks of engine numbers and "knocked down" engine continued to be shipped to Long Island and to other assembly plants. The serial numbers are listed in the records but are not shown here after December , for they serve little purpose other than being of some interest. The production figures shown from here on are for Highland Park only. The differences between the serial numbers and the production numbers are due to the shipment to the branches.”
Note also that towards the end of Model T production none of the engines were produced at the Highland Park Plant any longer. Instead most were produced at the River Rouge. In the case of engines produced at the River Rouge they probably seldom were installed in a car the same day the engine log has them listed. Why? Because the engine would have to be shipped no matter where it was installed. Remember, the River Rouge did NOT produce any Model T automobiles. So the engine shop would have shipped the engine to the Highland Park plant or another Branch Assembly Plant to be installed into a chassis or car.
How long did it take to ship an engine from the River Rouge to the Highland Park Plant. Glad you asked that.
From: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/C-D.htm#Chassis1 Bruce shares:
Accession 94. Walter Fishleigh files.
“Motor number was first placed on frame side member R.H. on Dec. 12, 1925. Motor No. 12,861,044. Information obtained from Mr. Burns, Final Assy., Highland Park.”
From page 533 of his book, “The Model T Ford” Bruce shares,
Dec 1925 engine production records:
Dec 5, 1925: 12,8555,160 to 12,863,164 were produced.
Some of us have wondered how long it took for the assembled engine to be placed into a chassis [not all chassis became cars]. In this case engine #12,861,044 was documented as being placed into the frame on Dec 12, 1925 and the chassis would have been completed that day. It may have become a car but the notes I currently have access do not state if it was a car, Ton Truck, or bare chassis. So for that particular engine it took about 7 days (Dec 5 to Dec 12) to go from assembled and stamped engine to installed in the frame.
(Technically it could have been fewer days – if the engine number had been sent some where and then returned and then used. That happened sometimes as described on page 515 right hand side – Jan 7 1918 and Jan 16 1918 combined with the note on page 523 left hand column after Dec 31, 1919)
Other engines may have made the trip in a shorter amount of time but that one appears to have taken about 7 days.
And of course some engines were occasionally stock piled for example: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc24.htm
See Mar 18, 1924 Letter from Chicago Branch: "We hear stories that some salesmen are telling their customers to be sure and look at the motor number of any car when they buy in order to be sure they get a late motor number. These particular salesmen are just making a lot of trouble for themselves because at the new plant we have hundreds of motors that have been standing there for thirty days or more and will be going into the cars in the course of production. This means that all dealers will receive motor numbers from the Burnham plant that will be considerably lower in number than those motors received from the Chicago plant so just stop your salesmen making any remarks at all about motor numbers because in so doing they are going to make a lot of trouble for you when we start shipping from the new plant."
P.S. In correspondence the old Ford plant in Chicago is referred to as the Chicago plant and the new plant is referred to as the Burnham plant because it is near the Burnham railroad yards.
For additional reading see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8925.html
Please confirm I have the correct body tag below – I believe that is the one from your car, but if I have that wrong, please let me know.
Note also that in this case we are talking about a Beaudett (also spelled Beaudette and also referred to as Pontiac in many of the Ford documents) produced touring body as your car has the typical “B” stamped onto the front seat heel panel. I am confident [I wonder how long that will last?] based on the Beaudett body tags compared to engine serial numbers that the ”dots” separate the month and year from the follow on body number. On the tag above – the fist two digits are “11” then a “dot” then “15” then the second and last dot. I do NOT yet know what relationship the numbers after the second “dot” have. But I don’t think they are a day. I.e. how would you know if it was “30” or “3” since there is not a third “dot” to separate it from the rest of the numbers? If you or anyone else has found some information to indicate that the Beaudett body [or any of the other body makers] number also includes the day, I would love to hear more about that and be able to add it to our other information. I am hoping that one day we can better understand what the other numbers represent. My current theory is they are a serial number Beaudett used to keep track of how many bodies to bill Ford for. For additional information on where to look for body numbers and body letters please see the posting “Home for the Holidays” at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40322.html) . Note if you have a body number, and you have not yet sent it my way, please do so along with a few other details (serial number (feel free to xxx the last three digits), casting date, type of letter stamped on the heel panel (front or rear) and type of seat frames (wooden or metal).
And thanks to all of you for helping us gather addition puzzle pieces about our cars. We never know which one of the pieces of information will unlock our understanding.
Hap l9l5 cut off