Ever since I bought this car a few years ago I've been pretty sure it was one of the many put-together 1915 Fords, something of a Johnny Cash car with parts from several years. The frame and engine and body are correct, but there were plenty of later parts I've been replacing a little at a time.
This morning I decided to see if I could dig up a little history on the car, and had good luck. A few minutes ago I talked to the son of the fellow who put it together. Jimmy is eighty, and told me his dad died in 1991, and he thinks the car was built in the seventies. I'm guessing Dad was probably born around 1910 and grew up with Model T's. He had a collection of several. Jimmy said he'd lend me some pictures to copy, so maybe I'll have a shot of the car under construction I can post.
That certainly is a piece of luck! So many of these cars are patched together from bits & pieces. Few of us ever get much of the history of our cars.
Not that there is anything wrong with having a car that is pieced together. Most of mine are and that's what I can afford. But I'm sure it is very satisfying to find out all you can about your car. Both for you and future owners. Glad to hear you are having some luck.
Steve If it makes ya feel better my 1997 F350 does
have some 1993 maybe 95 stuff on it= its now we do
what we gotta do thats what they did. Say its the
tough times in 29 or 30 so what if they put 25 parts
on a 15? By 1930 they were throw away cars right.
So I drive an 85 Lincoln may as well be a 35 Lincoln
need somthing go to dealer they look at ya cockeyed.
tough time finding a windsheild the snow cracked it
and the glass guys think I got a job ya right-one
check a month barely ta buy cat food..so my 23 is
the first line driver (sterno heat cans and all)
At some point in their lives, all of our cars got assembled from parts. The only question is where they got assembled...and maybe when. As far as I concerned, it is still a really cool car and I'd love to own one like it.
15 roadsters are nice looking cars
I love it! You enjoy it!
It is always nice to know the background of our antiques. It would be best if everyone had kept a running commentary written up and protected under the seat. But that didn't happen often.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Good idea, Wayne. Maybe I can remember to make that one of my winter projects. I can't tell a lot about my T's, but I can write up what I do know.
As for factory-assembled versus home-made many years later, knowing this car was put together from parts forty years ago doesn't bother me a bit. A Model T that's always been together and has all its original parts, and has any documentation to back it up, is such a rare critter that the percentage has to be in single digits. Part of the fun is tracking down the right parts to make the car closer to the nearly unattainable goal of "correctness". This one came with a lot of the right parts but I've also replaced some wrong ones, with more to go. That's all part of the game.
I have one original Model T. Its my grandfathers 24 Coupe that he bought in 1942. I'm pretty sure nothing else was changed other than a lock steering wheel that somebody added way back when.
The rear fenders were roadster fenders when I inherited it. When I restored it I replaced the roadster fenders with the correct Coupe fenders.
My 1919 Roadster and recently finished 21 Touring are both put together from 95% correct parts.
From what I've seen at Chickasha over the years in the way of frames and chassis being hauled off I have a feeling that a lot of nice T's running around are put together from 'a pile of parts' like 2 of mine are.
I wouldn't care if that car had Cambell's soup cans holding it together. THAT is one nice looking car!
Nice work in getting it up and running I've been following your progress on the forum and will keep looking for the history report when you get time to post it.
For whats its worth it sure looks like a 15 roadster to me! And really how many people know enough to know the difference! I know that everyone that walks up to model t is instantly an expert:-)
My 1923 touring was purchased used by my wife's grandfather. Even so, by 1926, it must have been in an accident as the front axle has a 1924 cast date, it has an aftermarket front spring, and "had" an earlier front spring mount. You fixed it with what you had. Good looking car, Steve!
I would not kick it out of my garage Steve!
If it was mine I would sort it out so that it was road worthy and then drive it until it refused to go any more and then I would fix it and go again!
As Richard said, 15/16 roadsters are great looking cars.
Just save the parts you take off and use them as a starting point to build another T ;)
I have always held with the theory that all of them came from parts bins somewhere... It is a very nice car,enjoy.
Steve already has three other T projects waiting their turn, I'm sure the removed parts will find good use.
Exactly correct. Left over parts will go on other cars or will help to pay for what does.
My '14 runabout was put together from pieces collected over 25 years by Bruce Zillmer of the Santa Clara Valley Model T Club. He said he would get a radiator for Christmas and fender at a swap meet, etc., etc., on and on for 25 years. Finally he looked around the garage and decided he had a '14 T here, and he put the thing together. It was mostly original. So while the car does not have an official birthday, it is mostly 1914.
Mainly for the sake of safety and reliability I have added several modern upgrades.
Bless me father for I have sinned!
That is one nice looking runabout on your profile pic, Jon!
Even though I don't own a '15, they interest me, mainly because there are so few REAL '15s around. The easiest way to tell is to look over the coilbox. If their is a u shaped notch above the coilbox lid, it is a later body. The other thing to check is the door latches. If they are like a '14, then it is a '15.
No notch above the coil box, so I guess the cowl is right. I don't have any '14 latches to compare, so I don't know about that.
Steve, take a look in Mac's catalogue. They have some good pics of the latches that were used for the 14-16 open cars. The later ones are listed also to compare with
This is a 1915 door latch. It uses a brass striker on the body:
1915 striker - notice the "tooth" points up:
Here is a 1916 - 2? style door latch:
Notice the "tooth" points to the front now, a much sturdier arrangement:
So my door has the 17-25 latch. Given the prices for new ones, currently $181 versus $32.15, I can see why. Something else for me to watch for at swap meets.
My '16 body latches are steel, not brass; wonder when that change occurred, or maybe it depended on parts supplier? (car is Dec '15 manufacture).
Steve, scrounge around the swap meets, especially the "junk" boxes, you can find the early latches & oftentimes the seller doesn't know what they are!
(Yeah, I'm Cheap!)
That's how I shop.
About January 1916 I think the latches were changed to the later type.
The strikers were steel earlier, I've seen some like the ones on my 15 made from steel on a car made in the summer of '15 - a 1916 model year car.
My '15 touring has a March 1915 date stamped in the wood under the front seat, so it is only one month into production of the '15 touring body. The runabout body style for 1915 started in December 1914 I think.
In regard to the difference between the 1914 and 1915 latches, the handles look the same (long and straight up). However, my 1914 latch handles rotate concentrically about the bottom end (no slot in the latch plate). My 1915 latches have a short vertical slot in the latch plate so that the handle moves slightly upward as the latch opens. Both my 14 & 15 have the vertical striker plate that Royce shows but both 14 & 15 are cast steel not brass. When the upholstery panel is on you can't tell the two type handles apart (pivot point is partially covered). As Royce showed, the early latch/strikers operate and look different than the 1917 and new ones. Hope this helps.
Good point about the latches Dennis, I knew that, but didn't think to mention it. Royce, my strikers are the early type, but steel. The hard one to find is the passenger rear door, as it's touring only. The passenger front door (touring and roadster) and driver's side rear door, being the same part, so there's more of them around.
I saw a '16 roadster recently. It had the correct cowl, with no notch, (which is for the radiator support rod), and it had the later style striker plate and door latch.
Just curious, how was the engine in the car when you purchased it?
It started on the first pull and ran pretty well, but smoked a lot. It also had a weak magneto. Excessive crankshaft end play. Mike Bender let me help him on the rebuild so I could learn a little.
is the hood former on the 15 different than the 13or14 thanks bernie
The 14 & earlier hood formers are an equal width all the way around the back edge of the hood and extend about 3 inches away from the hood. It is screwed to the front of the wood firewall. The 15-16 hood former is much larger and covers the exterior front of the firewall all the way from the edge holding the hood to up to the cowling and sides of the body. No firewall wood is exposed between the hood and body front. 1915-16 formers are unique from all the others.