A friend of mine has a nice and rather correct '26 Runabout, an American version, all black with black wire wheels as seen this photo. He would like to know what is correct or not. I told him the rad neck should be nickel. The trim at the bottom of the rad is nickel but the rad shroud and headlight rims are painted black so, something is not right. Were all '26 and '27 cars nickel trimmed? I wondered if someone painted the trim black to cover up some faded nickel plating. Thanks for any help.
The standard car had black radiator with nickel neck. It also had black wood spoke wheels with demountable 21" split rims It had black headlights with nickel rims. The delux had nickel bumpers and nickel radiator with wire spoke 21" drop center rims. Wire rims and bumpers were available at Ford dealers, so many standard cars were upgraded.
And so, either black with or without bumpers or with or without wire wheels could be correct.
Ok Norman, so by what I'm reading, the car should have nickeled headlight rims regardless of whether it is standard or delux? Sounds like his car is the standard model. I guess he should sand down that thin piece of nickeled trim above the crank handle and paint it black if he wants it correct.
The radiator is an aftermarket honeycomb, which would explain the non-plated neck.
Don't know about the head light rims, but I had a junk '26 Tudor with a black radiator shell and 3 1/2x30 non-demountable large drum wheels. It also had the block off plates for the starter and generator. Talk about cheap!
A friend has a 26 coupe that was restored with added bumpers and nickel shell and rides on 30 X 3 1/2 with large drums also. That's how he got the car and that is how it will stay!
The early 26 body should have zinc step plates in the door jambs. There should be a "step" in the area that the dash/door post/and cowl come together. If a "standard" non starter there will be block off plates for starter and generator, a black radiator shell. Its ignition switch plate will have a block off plate for the ammeter. It will have 30 X 3-1/2 inch non demountable steel felloe wheels and tires. It will also have the taillight mounting holes but no taillight. It will use a "Ford-O" oil taillight on a special bracket instead, mounted under the back of the car. There is also a pair of special brackets to mount oil side lights to the windshield stanchons. But a non starter car still has a nickel radiator neck, and nickel headlight rims, as well as nickel steering gear box at top of steering column. As Fred states it was a "Cheap" car. The non starter Improved car was only offered in 26. If you can describe or post a few photos of the step plate (rocker panel) area of the car and also the door jamb dash area we can nail down the year of the body. All of the above applies to Non Starter cars. Starter cars have the normal 1926 27 items on them. One more thing is that 26 open cars were black only for the first several months. I do not remember from memory when open cars were offered in color. Color was only offered on closed cars at first.
I think I would get the radiator shell nickel plated to match the trim strip and the headlight rims. If is a brass shell, the it likely has nickel under the paint. That's really a nice looking shell, too good of condition to be left black.
Ted, if it is a brass shell, then it may be a good one. However, steel shells are much easier to get looking good if they are to be painted. Filler and paint can disguise a multitude of flaws which would rule out plating the shell. I am always cautious about painted shells for this reason, specially if they should be nickel plated.
Allan from down under.
My guess is that during the restoration process, some owner swapped out the standard wood wheels for wire ones and installed the nickel (or is it really chrome. Hard to tell by the pic.) valance trim themselves. Seems unlikely that a dealership would install that piece without including the nickel radiator shell. Or, it possibly could have been added when the radiator was replaced. Don't forget that the runabout was the base car offering and didn't come with many frills. A lot of questions could be answered by just testing the radiator shroud with a magnet.
Touring and Runabout had nickel or black radiator shell.
Coupe and sedans had nickel only
Send me your email address and I will send you copy
email@example.com (I don't remember how to resize)
I don't have access to the car at this moment but I probably will soon. I will send a link from here to the owner. He has expressed interest in this forum and hopefully will join. This car does have a starter, generator and proper '26 tailight. I wasn't aware the rad shroud could be brass. We will try to get a magnet test done. It appears to be a fairly original car. The markings and details on the running boards are sharp and clean, just like the radiator shroud. It might be a couple of weeks but, I'm sure I can get some good photos of the whole car and get them posted here. Thanks for all the help so far.
Unless one saw the car roll off the assembly line or has the original sales slip, it is impossible to say what is correct. To many dealer variables and custom add ons from the dealers. Enjoy it and fix it as you see fit. KGB
I know the owner and I don't think he's going to get bent out of shape about every last correct detail (even I'm not that bad). It's just that the one nickel (or chrome) strip below the rad is obviously out of place on an otherwise stock car.. The front of the car should probably be all nickel or all black. The correct way would be better.
Interesting, I wanted to run the 3 1/2 x 30's on the 27 T we're doing, but was told they wouldn't work with the car
Do me a favour and see if your buddy wants to sell the grill shell ;)
Robert: The 30 X 3-1/2 inch wheels are only correct if you have a non starter improved car. They are unique as they are non demountable wheels with steel felloes. They were used in 1926 as the 27 models were not offered with a non starter option. To be a true non starter improved car it should also have all the details I listed above. The wheels will fit and work on your 1927 but not be correct. Dave I was giving the non starter details because the painted shell is one of the signs of a non starter. There are very few non starters surviving today as it was easy to add a starter and other details to make it a starter type. Almost all non starters have been converted either today, or back in the day, and even by dealers trying to sell an outdated car.
The splash apron should be painted, and it doesn't look like you have Ford headlight lens.
Donnie, does that mean they still had front oil lamps in '26 if it was a non starter car? This car does not have them. I agree nearly all the non starter cars would have been updated.
Interesting on the wheels. I have a what seems to be a starter improved early 26 roadster with wood wheels (with the demountable rims 30 x 3 1/2 tires) The radiator neck is nickel, but no trim underneath the radiator (there are slots there) The shroud is steel (as I just had it stripped and repainted)
I will have to check with the owner of the 26 (early) coupe and see if he knows any of the cars past history. As far as I know it came with the 30 X 3 1/2 dismountable wheels, large drum rear end and correct spare tire carrier from the factory.
If the front valance was replaced I think the only ones you can get now are the ones with the bright trim.
Dave: Yes non starter cars had kerosene side lights mounted on a special bracket that uses the top 2 windshield stanchon bolts to mount. Langs has them for sale in there catalog. The taillight is also a kerosene "Ford_O" light. It is the one that has the large license plate lens and the small red lens. It mounts to a special "Ford_O" tail light mounting bracket that bolts to the rear crossmember of the frame. The holes will be in the fender for the electric taillight that would be used on starter cars, but are not used or not even plugged. I am not sure if the 30 X 3-1/2 inch demountable type wheels could be substituted for the non demountable steel felloe type that came on non starter cars or not. More than likely they could have been offered by the dealers. Like I said above, these unique parts apply to Non Starter 26 model Ts. The bulk of production was what we think of as "Normal" Improved parts. Most of the original non starters have been converted to starter type thru the years. A real non starter Improved Ford is a rare bird....
Did anyone say "Headlight Bar"?
The headlight bar is correct for later 26.
Lots of interesting information on 26 T's here.
Dave was curious about my car and posted the original question.
I have been a member here for a short time, but have not posted until now.
I have only had the 26 since 2012.
My Father also passed away in Sept 2012 and I have been juggling the estate.
Lets just say very busy with things.
I don't know allot about the 26, but I build an interest as the days go by.
The rad shell is steel.
The magnet almost flew out of my hands and chipped the paint.
The 26 came out of NY State and was restored about 18 years ago I was told.
Forgot to add;
My Engine serial number is #13590719
April 1926 I think.
Hope these work;
Glad you made it here Garth. Are you trying to post pics in your last post? They have to be 194kb or smaller. If you have problems posting pics, you can email or text them to me as I have mastered pic resizing and posting here.
The radiator is also the earlier style and not the correct height for a 1926, as it is 5/8th inch too short for the filler neck to show properly.
James, 5/8" is not the difference in height between the high and low radiators, so it is not the reason the neck is low in the shell. Such a small difference may be due to the top of the tank being dented down or perhaps the neck has been modified a little at some stage. Or perhaps the radiator/shell have not been assembled in the correct way where they mount at the frame.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Allen my 1927 radiator neck looked just like that and I measured the old radiator and the correct new radiator and that was the difference in my T. The top tank was also slightly exposed below the cowl in front.
Here is an after photo with the correct radiator.
This photo shows the correct height difference better.
The after market radiator company may have split the difference between both styles. Kind of like one size fits all.