I have been reading some stats for the Couplete and have some apparent conflicts. Anyone who can, please jump in. Mike Walker, I suspect you know more than most of us. Here are some numbers that raise questions.
In earlier threads Trent's research from the Model T cost books has been posted which I summarize:
Coupelet production: Dec 1914 - 801 Jan 1915 - 211
Feb 1915 160 These totals 1,172 Production began again in Oct 1915 - 1 Nov 1915 - 225 Dec 1915 - 213 These total 439 for a grand total of 1,611 produced through calendar 1915 Production continued into calendar 1916
According to the sales figures listed in the Encyclopedia on the MTFCA web site sales were as follows. Oct 1914 - 47 Nov 1914 - 597 Dec 1914 - 677 These total 1,321 Production shown above for calendar 1914 shows only 801 in Dec.
Calendar 1915 sales; Jan 1915 - 148 Feb 1915 - 114 Mar 1915 - 453 Apr 1915 - 201 May 1915 - 187 June 1915 - 75 July 1915 - 46 Aug 1915 - 36 Sept 1915 - 17 Oct 1915 - 11 Nov 1915 - 256 Dec 1915 - 646 These total 2,190 The above production numbers for calendar 1915 total 810.
Obviously sales and production do not always coincide, but the sales beginning in Oct 1914 predates the production numbers and the total sales far exceed the production numbers.
The Model T mysteries continue. Any information, thoughts or ideas??
All I know is mine is one of 256 built in November of 1915
Barry -- I'm still trying to learn about this stuff, as are most of us. The guy who probably knows more than the rest of us is Trent Boggess, so I tend to trust his research at the Benson Center. The numbers he found in the FoMoCo Cost Books is Ford's own accounting of their production during that time, so I don't think any of us has any basis to refute that information.
We don't know where the Encyclopedia numbers came from. That section in the Encyclopedia says they are from the "Ford Production Department." If so, I don't know why they don't agree with the figures Trent found in the Cost Books. It also says, "There are several sources of production figures and they do not always agree."
Bruce did a great job of compiling information for the Encyclopedia, as well as for his books. But we now know that some of the info thought to be accurate in "From Here to Obscurity" was not accurate, and there are notes in his later book "Model T Ford -- The Car that Changed the World" which attest to that. Likewise, there probably is misinformation in the later book, such as photos of prototype cars which were assumed to be production cars at the time of the book's publishing. Photos from the time the cars were new usually are very accurate sources of information for us today, but sometimes it is difficult to say which car is a prototype and which is a regular production car. Likewise, those production numbers in the Encyclopedia came from somewhere thought to be accurate, but we just can't know whether they are. The production table in the Encyclopedia shows a total of 2,417 "Coupes" built during the 1915 model year, but the Ford Cost Books show only 1,172 Coupelets. As the Encyclopedia says, "There are several sources of production figures and they do not always agree."
There is precious little known about the 1915 Coupelets (and Sedans) compared with the other body styles. Those bodies were produced by the Fisher Body Company and taken across town to the Ford assembly plant to be placed upon a completed Ford chassis. There are no existing archive records of Fisher's operations during that time, before GM acquired Fisher in the 1920's.
Since Ford didn't produce those bodies, there is hardly any information at Benson about those body details. I spent a week there a year ago looking for anything I could find about them but found very little. I'll spend another week there when I have that opportunity, and I hope to find information which I overlooked the first time. All we can do is keep digging, and the Benson Center seems to be the best place to do that. It's too bad we don't have an original example of a '15 Coupelet like the "Rip Van Winkle" car, but we don't.
I mentioned to a fellow Forum member recently in an email that the '15 Coupelets had leather seat upholstery and 16's had vinyl, as a cost-cutting measure to make the 16's more affordable. He asked me where that is documented, and I don't know. That is the type of detail information we'd like to have, and it's frustrating when you can't put your finger on it.
Stamped on the wood floor of my coupelet is "121". Would this be a sequential serial number from Fisher?
The Encyclopedia data that I noted above were sales date, not production date. The numbers that Trent found were production. The sales numbers took a jump in Nov and Dec of 15, which correlate with the production data. And the low sales during the spring and summer of 15 are consistent with thought that they were selling existing inventory. The most visible conflicts are the sales in Oct. of 14 and the larger total sales numbers.
Barry -- Sorry, I missed the word "sales" in your first post: "According to the sales figures listed in the Encyclopedia..."
I thought you were still referring to production numbers. It still seems odd that there were any substantial Coupe or Coupelet sales in Oct. or Nov. of '14 though, since Ford didn't make any '14 Coupes and hadn't yet begun to produce any '15 Coupelets (at least not according to their own Cost Books).
Yes, that is one of the interesting conflicts. The sales say 47 Coupelets were sold in Oct of 14 and 597 sold in Nov. of 14. Also, as can be seen the total reported sales of Coupelets through calendar 1915 were much greater than the production numbers that Trent found.
Maybe Ford let people order cars that weren't produced yet for later delivery in december? (but the sales orders were noted directly)
That could be a possibility for the sales in Oct of 14, but the sales in Nov 14 alone exceed the production in both Nov and Dec of 14. That could be true, I guess, if there were production problems and the orders were backed up, but it was my understanding that the Coupelet was not that popular.
"...it was my understanding that the Coupelet was not that popular."
Kinda' like the Model K?
K and Coupelet - sorta apples vs oranges thing, I suspect. The production numbers from the cost data would not indicate great popularity and even the larger sales numbers in the Encyclopedia are small compared to the Touring and Runabout models.
Ford sold a lot more Couplets than Model K's. Wonder if there were any Couplet races? That would be interesting
I don't think it was unusual for folks to plunk down their money in the late Fall or early Winter for a new car and take delivery in the Spring. Most of the cars went into the barn for the winter back then if it was out in the country. Road conditions being what they were, it was just as easy to hitch a team to a bobsled or sleigh as had been the habit.
In a situation like that is it possible Ford counted a car ordered and paid for as a car sold? Of course I'm thinking like a Minnesotan; farther south the argument doesn't make much sense.
Warren, there certainly is a vein of logic to your thoughts and perhaps that would explain the 47 sales in Oct 14 when the production apparently started in Nov 14. There still remains, however, the pesky question as to why are the sales numbers so much greater than the production numbers over a period of a little over a year? Perhaps either one of the sets of data are wrong, or there was a real production problem and they were backed up for over a year trying to get production to meet sales demand. Also, since the bodies were made by Fisher, I wonder if they were the bottle neck? I have read that in about that time period Ford was struggling to meet demand. Another thought, could it be that Ford focused his attention more to the Tourings and Roadsters and left the less demanded Coupelet on the side line?
At this point in time is appears we have more questions than answers.