This question deals with what is best seen in what is sometimes called a repair "bun panel" on improved roadsters.
Most of the parts suppliers list repair panels for rusted out areas as S154 for the roadster and S155 for the roadster pick-up. Based on this data it would appear that the pick-up has an ending of the panel inside the rear wheel well, while the roadster has an ending of the panel before the beginning of the rear fender. The ending edge of this panel has a vertical embossing on the roadster.
If one looks at a Ford factory photograph of a 1927 Roadster (Ford archives #B35979) this is indeed what is seen.
I went to the Benson Ford research center many years ago, and looked for Panel side assembly drawings 48201X (left hand) and 48200X (right hand). I thought perhaps the drawings or the record of change cards might shed some light on this. Unfortunately the research center said the drawings and record of change cards were not available.
I have seen some roadsters with the panel ending inside the rear wheel well. The question I have is were any Roadsters made at the factory that had the panel end inside the rear wheel well and if so it this another early to late "Improved Ford" change?
I understand that it is an easy procedure to change from a pick-up to roadster by changing the pick-up bed or turtle deck, so this may be a difficult question to answer. However, if someone has a vehicle that was in the family since new perhaps a definite answer may result.
Hi Arnie, Im not going to be any help on this issue. I have not done any research on that area yet. Maybe someone will have some photos of the areas you are questioning. I think I understand what you are saying, but some photos will help ...
Arnie, based on circumstantial evidence, that is looking at early/late cars and bodies, I believe that the early cars had the long (non-beaded) bun extension and the late cars had the short (beaded) extension. Of course, many bodies have been repaired, so it is often hard to know how they were originally made.
I don't think the long/short panel has anything to do with roadster vs. roadster pickup.
I sure would have loved to have seen those change cards!
Does anyone have a photo of both styles. ??? or just one of the styles... As Tom states, this could be another early/late feature to consider ..
Thanks for replying Tom and Donnie. I also have seen quite a few roadsters with the non beaded bun extension in this part of the United States, but do not have any proof that it was indeed an early/late change.
The reason I bring it up as the parts vendors sell the rust repair panels with the impression one style(long extension)was used on roadster pick-ups and the beaded shorter version was used on roadsters. I tend to believe that Henry would have just used one style to cut down on stocking a number of different parts. However I have not been able to locate factory photographs of that area for an early roadster. My particular roadster has the long extension style which according to the vendors catalogs is incorrect. However, I bought my roadster (believed to be early) in parts so I have no idea what really was there initially even though it appears to be unmolested!
I hope an owner of an original early roadster with a known history (in the family since original purchase for example) will come forward with more information.
The Ford archives B35979 shows the beaded shorter panel. The longer version would not show the the unbeaded end of the panel, as the panel ends inside the rear fender area.
I have an original photo showing roadster back seat lip, roadster trunk being installed, and the pickup side panel on the car. Taken on the factory line. I can not upload from my iphone - someone email me and post it please
My car is this was and was original.
I am posting this picture for Travis Towle.
Thanks for posting that picture. Is the date Nov 5 1925? I hope so, but it could be 1926 with my poor eyesight!
I think this is proof that vehicles were made with what most vendors today say are the bun panels for a pick-up. According to the vendors of current patch panels this would be incorrect! Also please note that I do not see any holes in the body along the vertical edge of the back of the body to bolt the turtle deck to the vertical portion of the body. I believe this also is an early feature that Donnie may want to take note of. Perhaps the early turtle decks were mounted with only four bolts in the floor.
Can someone explain what is sticking out of the deck lid in the back. What was it and want was its purpose! Also it there some cloth or cardboard on the floor of the body, and again its purpose?
At least now we have confirmation that at least the Indianapolis branch manufactured roadsters with the straight edged bun panel. Donnie for your information this is probably the best picture we can hope for with regards to that panel. Approximately two feet behind the back of the door one can see a hole in the body subrail. This is just before where this body panel ends. One can see a vertical line directly behind the hole in the approximately vertical center of the body subrail.
Travis, thanks for sharing the photo and Eric thanks for posting the picture.
Travis are you saying this is your actual vehicle and someone took pictures of it when it was being built. If so that would be a real neat story to tell!
Arnie, I found a picture from the web. I believe it to be a factory promo photo. Notice the black radiator shell. I believe most of the factory promo photos were taken in calendar 1925. (early 26 models) It shows the seam in front of the fender. So you are saying there is another version, with the seam inside the rear fender. ????
Not my exact car, just set up exactly like it. I think the cardboard/paper on the floor is to help keep from scratching while installing. The item sticking out of the back is what I think held the lid up while painting it, the only reason it would be there. They must have painted the lid on the trunk and that would be what you would have to do today if you were doing that.
Please see the factory assembly picture that Travis provided. It shows the second (or should I say first) panel. Please note that the panel does not have the embossing, and the end of the panel is inside the rear fender area. I tried to point out that this panel ends shortly after the body subrail and panel hole. It ends in a vertical line without any embossing. Please let me know if I am not explaining it properly Donnie
Do you know if the date on the factory photo is 1925 or 1926? I hope it is 1925 or else I need to do a lot more research!!!!!!!!!!
I think travis's pic is from 1926
My hi"er" definition pic shows 192"5". You can clearly see a defined "-" on top of the 5 and the lower loop of the 5 is not completely closed like a 6.
Also my 1926 runabout t was made sep 9th 1925 if I recall right. The original restorer in 1980's put about a gallon of bondo packed in that panel I had to sandblast out, so the "truck" panel on my runabout is original to the car.
Arnie. My thoughts so far. (for what they may be worth) If you are thinking the longer panel is the earlier one, and the shorter with embossing came later. Do you think the change was because a long panel is really "floppy" and easy to damage in shipping and assembly.?? A shorter panel is less likely to get damaged. Now since the seam is outside the fender on the shorter version, it also needed to be embossed to look better.?? I also think the date in the photo is 1925, because it appears the top of the last number does appear to be straight like a 5 would have. But it is really hard to say for sure. As to my promo photo, it could be almost any time. But not sure when the painted radiator shell ended. Im not at home to look it up. Remember, that everthing I am thinking is just my opinions as I have nothing to base the dates on yet. But the date on the assembly photo is a good start if we can prove for sure its 1925.
I think the embossed panel was introduced at the same time as the pick-up box filler panels were introduced. I think early pick-ups had no front pick-up box fillers. This is all supposition on my part.
I do not know the answer to your questions, but I would guess that the later panel is the short one with the embossing on the end. In fact with the Indy factory assembly photo dated Nov 5th, 1925 this sort of proves which panel was first!
Your factory photo is shown in the Restoration Handbook as a 1927 (see page 175) so this also indicates that the embossed end panel was used in 1927.
Again we need to thank Travis for providing such a great picture to address the exact thing we are talking about.
Arnie, I agree, Thanks Travis ....
Arnie, If the short one came first. Then anyone with a "early features" roadster should have the short one. Have you asked Dan Treace about which one his roadster has. It may not help on the time change but it should be able to answer "which came first".
Perhaps you could help us with the 1926 improved car features.
Do you have any other photos of the Indy manufacturing plant showing assembly of 1926 vehicles?
If you have a number of pictures taken in 1925, they may help us with features of the early 1926 improved vehicles!
I am thankful for you sharing this one, and perhaps should stop there, but I find this topic of differences in the improved cars that Donnie Brown is conducting fascinating.
Therefore please do not take this request for additional pictures the wrong way.
I too would like real info on this subject!!!!
I have Both bodies to build. I have been told years ago that the open pick ups were the long style and the turtle cars were the short!!!
Dosen't really make much sense to me but that Is what I was told by the elders in the 70's. I am MORE inclined to think that one being the early style and the other being the later. The way to tell is to have everyone LOOK at their 26-7's and look for the cowell changes at the top of the doors and at the windshield posts. This is one of the ways to tell if it is a 6 or 7 model. Then have them check their body heel panel and see if it is long or short on the under support shelf. The also if it is a turtle model or pick up. Many cars were converted when new and by farmers and such during the next 20 years after mfg'r date for use on the farm or business. So it will be really hard to tell which way the car was built originally! I am more inclined to think that the windshield/cowell will tell us more as to year and then compiling the shelf data of long or short would do better. My two bodies had rot in those panels and I cut them off hoping that someone would make them later. Howell does I believe. Donnie knows Arthur and could maybe find out for us. I know that he doesn't want to be bombarded by us asking but Donnie should be able to find out. The only other way is to check for the differences I have mentioned here. Got to go and get back into the shop so I am going to disappear for a while now. Hope this helped someone.
Joe in Mo.
Unless you can visit the archives and find any change orders!!!! I do not have time to do that work again as I am too old and too broke to go visiting any more. That's for you guys to do.
I found that photo online in some hard to find archive several years ago, and there were a ton of photos like that. That was the only one I saved to use if I got points knocked on judging, so I could prove my car was made like that at one point.
There are enough examples of roadsters made this way it had to be standard. I have heard that if ford needed a roadster and they had a truck body sitting there they would just grab it. Don't know. But this is real proof.
My cars rear seat panel is a turtle deck bump panel, and was original to the car as with the so called pick up truck rear qtr. but since I cut mine out and replaced them I was going to toss photos of it originally with this factory photo inside, behind the seat panels for a future restorer to see.
Arnie, There is a roadster body on e-bay. It is a rough body made from the front of a 27 and rear of an early 26. Look at it and see if you can see anything worth while to your search. Im no good at links, so it is auction # 181374037096 or use key words, "26 27 roadster body doors". I could not get the photos to "save" or I would have "snagged" them .... The back half is obviously a early 26 (aluminum step plates )that appear to never been removed.
Are you talking about the steel panel behind the seat backrest? There is a long story about that, and the inverted "U" embossing in that panel in most vehicles.
We believe that Ford made some roadster bodies without the inverted U embossing, but believe later styles had the inverted U embossing. I believe I have an early vehicle, but it has the inverted U embossing. Perhaps it was changed very early in the improved vehicle roadster production. Bruce McCalley (RIP) in his book stated on page 409 in his book originally thought one form was used in the roadster pick-up and the other in the roadster. I believe he may have changed his point of view as the CD did not seem to have that information (or at least I did not see it). Please look at forum postings of a few years ago when I was active with this topic!
You mentioned hard to find archive several years ago. Do you mean on this forum or some other place, as finding those Indy factory photo's today may help us answer a lot of questions about the early roadster production.
I looked at the e-bay body and it appears to me to have late style doors and cowl (did not see gas tank anti-squeak rivet holes in the cowl). The rear bun panel area appears to be the early type. The panel behind the seat backrest has the inverted "U", so it appears not to be the very early type.
Perhaps the sill plates are cut off, probably due to the grafting of two different vehicle bodies together.
Here's the link to the ebay body: http://www.ebay.com/itm/181374037096 (overpriced IMHO)
Thanks for the early picture, Travis
In true T spirit I opted for the early version when I bought repair panels from Howells - they were $5 cheaper
Arnie, The seller states that the body is a front 1/2 of a 27 and rear 1/2 of a 26. The main thing I thought may be of interest is it shows the structure of the rear section in good clear photos. It also appears the step plates have not been removed and are the early style. They were just cut off when they did the cowl graft.
Someone posted on this forum several years ago about a library opening up their archives online. It was that link I used to find the photo.
Neat picture, I tried to search the forum for that past post with link to that "Library" but no luck Would love to link to it to view more branch assembly factory photos!
That black runabout photo is dated Nov 1925. I did a Nov. 1925, and it was the same, same subpanel on the side rail frame, same front seat back with the embossing (I blew that photo to 300% and you can see the embossing on the back panel.)
The other photo of the finished runabout in color with bumpers (first avail. Fed 1926) and accessory stop tail lamp has to be in 1926, as later, or even 1927 model year.
Love that black runabout photo, and how neat to see the 'drip' pan hanging over the open turtle deck, that kept the 'flowed on' paint from dripping onto the rear panel under the deck!
Nov 25 1925 build date, block #12,635,128
Has embossed panel, and long subrail bun panel.
I have started a new topic asking for people in the Indianapolis area to try to see if Voorhis studio is still in business. It was listed as being at the corner of 32nd & Meridan in the 1930's.
I also spent some time trying to find the library archives that were mentioned but no luck. I then also tried to find photos of side curtains that were on the forum some time ago with no luck. That means my search skills have failed me or some stuff that was on this forum years ago, may not be here now.
Perhaps someone on this forum knows of the library archive that released the Indy factory photos. If so please give us a shout!
As I was painting my roadster body today and looking over my orange peel paint, thinking if I should to wet sand and buff I thought of this photo again.
#1. They painted the trunk with the fender welting ON.
#2. Pull the photo in close and you can see runs in the paint, literally runs. Look very close at the side of the trunk where you can "read" the reflection.
So I guess I will leave my orange peel, and since it is nason single stage gloss black with hardener I can always wet sand - huff and buff.
Now that I can take a break from the T, I will start returning a weeks worth of phone calls - sorry if I have not gotten back to anyone yet! 785-408-3409
Also I will fire up my computer tomorrow and see if I might have bookmarked the site where this original photo was found. I will also look in my backup drives.
Travis, To add something to your paint techniques. Last winter I re-painted the outside of my 27 touring. It had been repainted on the outside(over the original paint). The earlier re-paint was flaking off. In the process of doing my new re-paint I discovered dozens of runs. Massive very large runs. My car was originally a black painted touring. The strange thing is all my runs, ran up-hill.? My car was a very original basically unrestored car, other than the poor flaking re-paint and re-uphoulstery. All my wood in the body is excellent condition original wood. All the wood in the inside of the body, and the wood up inside the subrails was actually "glued" into place with excess coagulated paint. There were massive "puddles" of paint in the corners and hard to get at places. I believe as the bodies came down the assembly line that the body was upside down at some point. The bottom sub rail blocks were installed and are held in place with 1 wood screw. Then the paint was put on with a water hose or some other flow on technique. After the bottom was painted it was at some point flipped upright, but not before the runs had started to run in what appears to be up-hill runs, after the bodies are up-right. I believe they probably fixed the obvious runs when painting the top side. But the ones under the cowl, and on the seat frames, as well as other hard to get at places were missed. I also have several large "sags" in the paint at points whee the paint ran from seams and under brackets. There is one run that started at the bottom center of the front seat frame at a small hole. It runs all the way to the top lip of the seat frame and then formed a "drip" The body had to be upside down for that to happen. Just to be clear, These are massive runs in the original paint that can be seen 10 to 15 foot away. On the bottom side of the splash aprons there are massive puddles of coagulated paint almost 1/8 thick on the inside bend of the apron. It looks like they dipped them and then only paid attention to the outside of the aprons before going to the oven room. I also believe that since there is so little wood in the Improved open car bodies, they were also sent to the oven room to be baked if the car was black painted. No real proof of that yet, but it sure appears that way. I have lots of photos of my "original" runs, but they are on the hard drive of my lightening struck old computer. Im hoping they can be saved.
I want to thank you in advance for trying to find out more information on where or what library archives have the Indy factory photos.
Even if you are unable to locate the source we should thank you for the effort you are making to help this forum answer questions about the early production improved Fords!
Its people like you that make this forum entertaining and interesting.
I will also continue my search in this forum for the library archives with different search terms.
Just to update you on my mission to find those photos! I have written the Indy Public Library on the chance that they may have the Indy Model T Ford assembly plant photos taken near the end of 1925. It is a stab in the dark, but worth a try! I will let you know if they respond.
What an interesting read!
I'll throw my runabout body into the mix...
Firewall has the 4 split rivets and gas tank webbing...paint under the webbing and patent plate is black Gilsonite. Cowl has 3 holes for the for the stanchions, not 4 as many early models have. Sill plates are riveted steel, not zinc, and there is no 'dogleg' in the cowl next to the top door hinges.
My bun panels have been pop riveted over...will see if I can remove the patch panels to see if mine have a long tail or short tail.
The presence of black Gilsonite tells me that this body was produced by or before August 1926 (per the Trent Boggess article - Ford adopted colored Pyroxylin in 8/26 for both closed and open cars).
My guess is that it is a late-26 (model year) with some early transitional pieces. Would be interested to hear your experiences/comments!
"Sill plates riveted steel" would indicate a late model.
Please look at your floorboards that are at an angle. The floor boards are split where the pedal slots are located. If at each end of this split there are clips that rotate on a rivet in the metal side support area, to hold the floorboards in place, then you probably have a late model.
Also if the panel behind the seat backrest does not have an inverted "U" embossing, you may have an early model.
The more I look the more difficult it is to tell for sure if it is an early or late model, depending on what one calls an early (1st month, 1st 6 months etc.) or late model also enters into the picture!
We also do not at this time have definite dates as to when the actual changes took place. Then, again we may never know as it is possible for different manufacturing plants to make the changes at different times. Some say Ford would use up all the old parts at some plant and the other plants would build with the latest stuff!!
I do have the "U" embossing on the back panel and, after looking at the bun panel 'tails' (or what remains of them) under the crude 'patch panel' mine appears to have had the short tail.
Are the floor board retaining clips riveted to the floor board sub-base or the firewall? I see a hole on each side of the floor board brace, about halfway between the firewall and the door sill, but no clips are present.
Would be nice to know when the fuel tank webbing was phased out of production; that and the Gilsonite paint are the only to "early-ish" features I can find, leading me to believe mine is a mid to late '26...
I'd be more than happy to take/post up photos of anything that might help. This is pretty interesting stuff!
Gary, from my research so far, it is appearing that most (not all) of the early features may have been in calendar 1925. (aug, sept, oct, nov, dec). There were also some changes in calendar 1926, as well as some overlap of parts being used up. But it appears lots of the changes were in the early months. Your riveted steel sill plates as well as no "dogleg" on the cowl suggest a later 1926 body. My opinions on black painted open cars, is that it has little to do with the use of color on the open cars. Color just became"available" in Aug 1926. I believe you are right that "all open cars should be black before Aug 1926. But they painted open cars black till the end of production. I do feel that all black painted open cars may have been painted in the "old way" of flow on painting till the end of production. Your car being black painted, does not mean it was built before Aug 1926. I am a little confused by the four rivets for the gas tank anti-squeak pads. I do not have a date of change for that item yet. It is one of the changes that goes into calendar 1926. Thanks for your input.
Thanks for the clarification Donnie! I guess I interpreted the Boggess article to mean that all cars were painted with pyroxylin as of August '26.
Having conducted several recent experiments with asphaltum, I'm pretty confident that the paint inside my firewall is Gilsonite. That stuff has a reflective, almost oily sheen that is unmistakable.
I'm going to stay tuned...hope we can find some info that unlocks the mystery!
The holes on the firewall for the gas tank webbing were eliminated when Ford went to a cardboard over the tank before installing it. I do not know when the change happened.
Update on Voorhis photo studio pictures: The Indianapolis public library told me that they have some pictures from Voorhis photo studio but they were of the Bell Building being lifted and rotated. Well, it was worth a try but that's not the place!
Travis, do you know the year that someone posted on this forum with the link to the factory photographs? I do not have a history of the forum, but it my understanding others do, so perhaps if you know the year members can search for the establishment that has the November 1925 Indianapolis Ford factory photos shot by the Voohris Photo Studio in Indy!
It would have been between 2009-12 for a fact
I think they mentioned "archives" and I am pretty sure it was a .edu site if I recall correctly
A high resolution version of the above photo may be found here; http://www.autogiftgarage.com/carculture/2012/02/ford-indianapolis-assembly-bran ch/
Attribution is to Ford Motor Company, 1926