First post from a new Model "T" Owner. Recently purchased a 1914 Touring Car, Engine #471984, and stamped into the leading edge under the front seat cushion is the following: F 3 14 140455
(spaced just like that) All the symbols are about an inch tall. The engine # reflects a build date of March 13, 1914. Can someone explain the body numbers to me? (I was told to ask HAP what he makes of the number)
As an aside: I must thank Mr. Ron Patterson and Mr. John Reagan for spending so much time with me as I get acquainted with this marvelous machine. Their expertise, advice and knowledge is truly appreciated and have greatly accelerated my learning curve. Wonderful people.
Your body was built in March 1914 by the Fisher Body company. The body number was used so that the Ford dealer would know which replacement parts to order if your car needed any.
Ford used bodies made by many outside suppliers in 1914. Fisher, Beaudette, Wilson, Hayes and several others over the years.
Some time in 1914 the body makers began to place a stamped letter in the steel seat riser panel to denote which maker built the body. For example Beaudette would be the letter "B".
If you click here:
You can see the month your engine was stamped with its serial number. This matches the body manufacture date nicely, since your engine was serialized in March 1914. The completed car would have made it out the door of the factory within a short period of time. You can safely say the car was shipped from Highland park in the spring of 1914.
Gary..welcome to the club! Or as many will also say.. "the affliction"! I've sort of stolen the good ol' "Lays Chips" saying.... "can't have just one"...I bought my first T in March 2012 and now I have four of 'em! Also a Model A I got in Nov. 2011. Guys like John, Ron,Royce and Hap plus too many to mention will be a big help to you, as they have me.
If you haven't already noticed, you can click on a poster's name to see their profile, many of us love to show off our babies with pics in the profile too.
Hope to see yours someday.
I spent several days at the Benson Ford Archive researching T serial numbers. The Accounts Receivables ledgers contain records of cars shipped from the factory to individual dealers.
I purchased rights to publish certain pages of the Accounts Receivables. Through use of my license, I share part of a page from the Reidsville Ford account from 1914. Reidsville Ford was located in Reidsville, North Carolina.
We can see that Model T's shipped in March 1914 to Reidsville Ford were serialized as follows:
March 2, 1914 Six cars shipped. Four tourings, two Runabout Torpedos (RT). Highest serial number recorded is 460700.
March 9, 1914 Six cars shipped. Three tourings, three Runabout Torpedos (RT). Highest serial number recorded is 467651 (I think - hard to read).
By the next shipment on April 11, 1914 the serial numbers were much higher. We can see that there were three Tourings and three Runabout Torpedos (RT) shipped, with the highest serial number recorded 494690.
From all this we can safely say that your engine / car likely left Highland Park before April 1, 1914.
Gentlemen: What a great way to be introduced into the "T" family! Thank you!
Trying to upload photo of the car…exceeds the 200KB limit
The 200K limit is really more like a 190K limit, I use Corel Paintshop to resize my photos, but there are other programs that will also do it. Search for "resizing photos" in the forum and you will find several suggestions for programs to use.
March 9 should have said 5 Tourings 1 Runabout Torpedo (TR)
Here is what your car probably looked like the day it was born:
In March 1914 a typical car would have non - billed front fenders, and the cowl lamps would be mounted to separate brackets.
Below is a late 1914 touring in another factory picture. Notice that it has billed front fenders, a feature that carried on through 1916. The billed front fenders for late 1914 and 1915 model year would have four rivets securing the fender bracket to the fender. You can't see it in this picture, but the cowl lamps would have been integral with their brackets on a late 14 like this one.
That "non-billed" photo is exactly what my car looks like!
I sent you an email.
Here is a factory interior photo of a brand new 1914 Touring. Published under my license, photo property of the Henry Ford. The original image scan of the glass plate negative is about 2 Megs. It can be zoomed to provide very exacting detail images.
Royce…Thank you! I forwarded a photo to you. I love the factory photos. My car does not have a speedometer, but I would like to find one.
If it were mine the first thing I would do is turn the horn right side up. Here is a factory photo showing the proper horn orientation:
I'm learning more this weekend than I learned the first six-months of ownership! Thanks for the photo. It doesn't look like you lost any resolution. Beautiful Job
Gary...fantastic looking car! Congrats on your acquisition.
I cropped it to lose image size but keep the car the same relative screen size.
Hey Royce...your publication rights wouldn't happen to include 1925 would it? Trying to find out as much info/background as I can for my '25 TT chassis/Pirsch firetruck. Eng. #11872312 The best info I've acquired so far is that the engine was mfg. on June 1, 1925, probably late in the morning. Sure would like to find out where the chassis went to originally, be it a city or directly to Pirsch.
P.S...the rear perches look great.
The Accounts Receivables ledgers that exist end at December 31, 1914. I don't know of any records that could be used to identify any specific Model T later than that date.
I don't have copies of all of the Accounts Receivables ledgers. I could only afford to copy a few pages, I believe it was six pages total at $34 each. In all I spent about $1200 on document copies and right to publish while at the Benson Ford. I also purchased a number of photographs at Ford Photographic Services in the basement of the Ford World Headquarters on One American Road in Dearborn.
Royce, I noticed in the drivers compartment photo there appears to be an area stitched in for storage? My car has a flat, plain kick panel on that side. Like a horizontal seam/hinge stitched in.
Royce...OK, thanks for replying.
Welcome aboard! Royce gave you some great information about your body number and how that relates to your car and engine. If you want additional information on body numbers and letters please see the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40322.html -- it won't add more information about your car, but it will help you better understand about the other body makers. Your T looks beautiful. I've been tracking down body numbers for a while and some of them, like fisher, Beaudett [also spelled Beaudette and referred to as Pontiac in many of the Ford records] and Wilson have a nice date code in them. Others apparently do not or if they do, I have not been able to figure out what it is.
If you have not already obtained a printed copy or an electronic copy of Bruce McCalley's excellent book "Model T Ford" I would highly recommend you purchase one. Pages 171 to 196 cover the 1914 open cars and there are lots of other 1914 pieces of information in other parts of the book. The book is available from our club at: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/model-t-ford-the -car-that-changed-the-world I personally like the CD version better as it has many corrections and new discoveries that were not in the original book. It also has several additional items (such as the Price List of Parts from 1909-1927; Ford Methods and the Ford Shops; and several other items) and is available from his widow at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853 Since you are new to Ts you may not have any information about Bruce, if that is the case please see: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/north/2012/02/20/Obituary-Bruce-W-McCalley-Top -expert-on-Ford-s-Model-T-and-its-era/stories/201202200364 A lot of us really appreciated all that he did for our club, us, and the research on the early Fords.
Since you are new to T’s I often recommend you check out some of the know safety issues also. Please see below:
Be sure the car is in safe working order. An engine that burns oil is not a critical safety issue (at least not in my book) but the front end castor if it is set up negative can flip the car. If the rear axle still has the original babbit thrust washers you can lose your normal service brake. Those and similar items are well documented "oops" for the T. But if you have never been around one -- they are probably new "data points" for you. Some of them are listed below – not to scare you but to let you learn from others rather than discovering all the lessons on your own.
Safety Glass is nice: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/72116.html
Use safety wire and not lock washers or cotter pins on the two studs holding the wishbone to the underside of the engine.
Lots of safety items http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/69429.html
Over center steering – shouldn’t happen but your steering case did not come with a pin to prevent it from happening like the later Ts had. Or if someone installed the wrong length drag link it might happen: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/86345.html as well as: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/300409.html
Types of safety wire: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/41859.html
Example of loss of brakes caused by drive shaft failure: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47804.html
Top T tips – many of them are safety related also: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/85208.html
Tour safety check list: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/44331.html
And if you have a gas hot water heater in the garage – be very very careful. The float in a Model T Carb will sometimes stick (or trash in the valve) and the carb will leak gasoline. Not too bad if there are no sparks – several homes, garages and cars have been lost when a gas hot water heater was near by and someone started the dishwasher other item that caused it to turn on the burner at the wrong time. Note gas fumes tend to be heavier than regular air …. so they tend to hug the floor. If you adjust your garage door to let the mice in and the air out – that is a temp work around. But replacing the gas fired hot water heater with an electric heater or having the gas one relocated away from the garage is the best thing
Even with a perfectly good and properly adjusted front steering system – if you back up quickly, the front wheels can go full left or full right and pull the steering wheel out of your hand – so remember to back up slowly. It is caused by the caster of the front wheels similar to the casters on the front of the shopping cart – designed to be stable in one direction but not so stable in the opposite direction. Since you have already been driving the car you probably do not have the following problem – but you might still want to check. If someone rebuilt the front axle and it is was really difficult to keep the car going straight they may have inadvertently swapped the front spring perches. There is a left and a right spring perch that tilts the axle so the bottom of the axle is slightly ahead of the top of the axle (5 1/2 degrees positive caster). If it has negative to neutral caster it can cause a wild ride and also could cause the car to flip even at a slow speed see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/80333.html?1233523419 that shows the spring perch installed incorrectly and how the front axle looks then. Also see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40382.html Note even with the spring perch installed correctly a bent or shortened wishbone could cause neutral to negative caster.
Also the rear axle thrust bearings if they are babbitt (originally bronze in the 1909-1915 cars and then switched to babbitt on the cars during 1915) can fail with minimal warning leaving the driver without the normal transmission brake (the main regular brake on a stock Model T). See the discussion at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/78685.html?1233159025 If you loose the brakes and you are on a flat area with minimal traffic – it is not nearly as bad as loosing them while going down hill towards a busy intersection. See the rear axle babbitt discussion part way down in the following thread: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/277093.html?1332591272
Again a T is a faithful servant but it has some known issues that the driver needs to be aware of and to take proper precautions about.
Steve Jelf will post his excellent recommendations for books to have and others will gladly help with any questions you may have. Again welcome aboard!
Hap l9l5 cut off
Hap.. I appreciate all the safety advice and I will work through all your recommendations listed. I already experienced the "oversteer" last week and it scared me a little as it was all I could muster to pull her out of it! I think I'll start there!
You have a great network of guys here. I've never experienced anything quite like it! I'm very very appreciative!
Have a great evening