I recently purchased a 1919 coupe from a gentleman who was selling it for someone. It doesn't have an engine serial number. The area over the water inlet is blank not erased. The drivers side floor board has a number on it B69016. The questions I have are;
Is this in fact a 1919 coupe, what is the floor board number signify and how would I register a model T with no obvious serial number?
Thanks in advance for comments and advice.
Did the car have a title? what documentation did you get with the car? that is most likely a replacement engine and was supposed to be stamped with the serial number of the car after it was installed there are several threads about blank serial number pad.
NO title just a bill of sale.
I sent you a PM.
I hope somebody who has made a study of body numbers (Hap?) will have a year for yours. If the engine and most of the chassis parts agree with that, I'd find an unusable junk engine or block from that model year and somebody would stamp that number on your car's engine.
I do not believe this is a 19, if it was it would have exposed wood below the doors around the windows and the windshield pillar. It would have straps to raise and lower the windows. It would have bail style door handles and the light switch would be a nickel plated casting. It may have a engine casting date behind the water inlet. More pictures would help. Determine the correct year and locate the serial number using a 1/4 inch metal stamp set. This is what you will need on a bill of sale.
Manny, you need to post a bunch of pictures like on the following thread, then everyone can have a better look.
They body number you found, I believe, reveals it was made by Beaudette. I would just choose an engine number placing the manufacture before August of 1919 and slam it into the boss with 1/4" stamp set like Jim suggested.
If that's a Beaudette number I believe it would put the body in the early teens, which it obviously isn't. Is it possible there's another digit or two?
If you decide to take the number from another block, be sure to buy the block or risk someone else using the same number. Of course, it is also possible that the person who junked the block used that number on a replacement engine. If that happened in your state, there would be two cars with the same number. It could end up with serious problems. Is it possible that the person who sold you the car could contact the DMV and ask for a duplicate title so that you can get the correct number? Other than that, your DMV could issue you a VIN number. Of course, if you do that it won't be an original Ford number.
That looks very similar to my '22 Coupe but I don't have to chain it up to keep it from going anywhere. Please post more photos of the engine area, interior, and all sides of the car.
Steve suggested a junk block in your possession to get around the possibility of a duplication. Sound advice. Are US engine nos. really stamped with 1/4" numbers? Our Canadian ones are more like 1/2"
If your state's system is anything like ours in South Australia, all they are interested in is putting something in the box on the form. I used the body number as the VIN on one of my cars, perfectly filled the box!
Allan from down under.
The door handle is typical of a 1921 Coupe.
Welcome to the fun world of Model T Fords. I'm sure you will be able to get your T registered so you can obtain a tag etc. so you can drive it. Each state has their own rules for how vehicles are registered. And I agree with that most of the ways mentioned above would probably work for many states but not necessarily all of them.
My personal recommendation is to determine what the most likely year for the car would be and register it for that year. But it will drive just as nice with just about any year on the title.
Steve -- thanks for the vote of confidence but I'm up to my ears in alligators at work. Other wise I would gladly look up a lot more information. But a quick comment, that body style was offered by Ford USA from 1919 model year to 1923 model year. From memory, I do not believe Beaudett (also spelled Beaudette and also referred to as Pontiac on many Ford documents) manufactured the coupe bodies for Ford 1919-1923. If I have recalled that wrong, hopefully one of you will provide us a reference so I can add that to my files, or if I run across a reference that corrects that, I will add it later. We do have a reference to Briggs supplying coupe bodies. That is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc22.htm and states:
OCT 30, 1922 Acc. 78, Box 48, Ford Archives
FORD'S QUALITY CONTROL(?)
"We have just discovered that in order to make the door panels fit on the coupe jobs, some workmen had conceived the idea of cutting the cardboard on each side about 1/2" from where it was sewed to the cloth and extending from the top to the bottom, thus permitting the cloth to be stretched so that the full surface of the door and door frame would be entirely covered.
"As soon as this was discovered we checked up and were assured by the Briggs Manufacturing Company that this did not extend over a period longer than two days.
"By feeling along the sides of the panel it can be easily distinguished whether or not this cardboard has been cut and wherever you find it necessary, out suggestion is that you replace the panel with a good one from your service stock.
"If the panels which you remove can be used for service and if you have only a very few of them, our suggestion is that you put them into your service stock. In any event, advise us of the number your replace, so that we can determine whether or not they are to be charged back to the Briggs Manufacturing Company."
The letter does not say what to do when you get one of these defective panels from service to replace another defective panel on the coupe being repaired!
Additionally in the Price List of Body Parts they list parts for a Briggs coupe as well as a different hinge used on the Fisher produced coupes for 1920-1923
DOOR HINGE Upper Right, Briggs Body
Sep 20 8630A 1920 .70
Dec 21 8630A 1920-21 .70
Apr 25 8630A 1920-23 .50
Mar 27 8630A 1920-23 .50
Note if the block has never been stamped, then we know the block is a replacement. If it was done while the car was still fairly new, the blocks are usually newer than the car the put back into. For some hints on how to ID the block please see the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/491027.html
Based on the above I suspect the "B" is for Briggs and not Beaudett in this case. But again I would love to find out more about who produced which body styles.
As others have mentioned additional photo should allow folks to help you identify what you have. Also asking to speak with the previous owner can sometimes shed additional light on the subject. In the case of the cars my Dad had we could go back to the 1950s on what was done to them and approximately when.
Don’t be discouraged that you don’t have a nice black and white answer to your question. In general Model T answers are more analog than digital and there are periods of overlap when more than one style of part etc. was often used.
Below is lifted from my previous posting but I worth repeating for a new T owner:
See Bruce McCalley’s (R.I.P.) On Line Encyclopedia introduction to Bruce’s On Line Encyclopedia is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm and the big contents/index is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/index.htm . Lots of interesting information that can be helpful to you in establishing a reasonable date for your T.
If you enjoy learning more about how the cars originally came from the factory (or typically came from the factory as there were often variations) Bruce’s 1994 (please note the date) book “Model T Ford” available in a soft cover at: http://modeltstore.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/model-t-ford-the -car-that-changed-the-world as well as an updated CD version that includes many years of updates since the book was originally published. It is available for order from: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/333725.html?1357665853 And if you could care less about how it came from the factory – that is ok also – as many folks just enjoy driving them and having fun with them.
I would encourage you to check out the local Model T Ford club(s) near you. See: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15 They can be a real source of encouragement and help you as you learn to maintain the car. Steve Jelf has an excellent set of books he recommends for new owners on his web site at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/ with the T section at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG52.html and the recommended books listed at: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html Note there are also free “how to books” on the internet such – see: http://books.google.com/books?id=uKVAAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:xR 56bbT2W68C&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tdpWVMi4PMOjgwSAhoC4Ag&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=fa lse and there are others – but I didn’t see a 1926-27 one. And the Ford Service is online at: http://mtfci2002.readyhosting.com/manuals/Model_T_Service_Manual/mtsm.html and does include the 1926 -27 “Improved car” features.
I also try to include some safety items for new owners. Getting an experienced Model T person to help you learn about your car can save you lots of frustration and possible expense. For example if you fail to retard the spark and you push down on the starting crank at the front of the car to start the car, you could easily break your arm. That is a known safety issue with Model Ts. And it isn’t dangerous as long as you understand what causes it [spark lever advanced [that is the left hand lever on a left hand drive car] it should be pushed up], commutator adjustment rod installed wrong or bent improperly so that even with the spark lever up, the spark is still too far advanced, shorted wire on the commutator, etc. . And if you use the electrical starter that your car should have – if the spark is advanced and the engine back fires – it can damage the starter and/or bendix drive. For additional details please see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/68644.html?1224126132
and there are other related threads.
Some other safety related items:
And 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 on the later Ts (yours is a later T)– but if someone replaced your later teens steering gear housing or rebuilt it without the lock pin – or 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 – although there is some discussion that it is a little less but still positive for the balloon tires like you have). 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.
Folks will gladly help with any questions you may have. Again welcome aboard!
Hap l9l5 cut off
A wealth of knowledge wow!
I appreciate yours and everyone's input. I look forward to this adventure and sharing it with all the good folks here.
George - How do you tell the difference between an OJ Beaudette body serial number from a Briggs body serial number?
The list of suppliers says Beaudette made only open bodies for Ford from 1910 to 1922. Briggs made open and closed bodies for the entire Model T period (09-27).
I'm always trying to gather additional puzzle pieces. Would you please let me know the reference or references for your comment "Briggs made open and closed bodies for the entire Model T period (09-27).
I would like to add that to my information and see if it provides further leads. From memory, (never great and not as good not as it once was) I don't recall them being listed as a supplier of open car bodies -- but if they were/are -- I want to make sure I have that in my notes.
For the bodies that Briggs produced for the Model A Fords, they had a distinct logo that would be stamped into some of the body panels. It was a "B" that had another "B" in the top loop of the larger "B" and probably a "C" or something in the lower loop. I don't have a ready photo that is not copyrighted. I'll try to find a link that works (the one that worked a few years ago does not work now). If I can find a link that works to the original site I'll post that or if I can find a non-copyrighted photo I'll post that.
Hap l9l5 cut off
The USA blocks are stamped with 1/4" high numerals.
1919 block stamping
1927 block stamping
The available modern stamps (Pittsburgh / Harbor Freight China) are 1/4" and look very much like the Ford stamp.
...but the numeral one isn't like the Ford, as that 1 has the baseline serif. The modern set is a rather plain numeral 1.
Have also an antique set of numeral stamps, but these have the ball ends, and some aren't mates, and a bit too large. The Harbor Freight job will do to make the DMV folks happy.
I'm too clumsy to stamp numbers or letters in a straight row, so I clamp a straight edge like a piece of angle iron across the work and set each stamp against it when I swing the hammer.
To add to what Hap said-
(From documentation on a family 1922 Coupe)...""The Coupe body, as with all Ford automobiles from 1908 to 1927, had a wheelbase of 100 inches. The Coupe body was manufactured for Ford by the (Walter O.) Briggs Manufacturing Company, Detroit, Michigan (McCalley, 1994:419-422). "Auto Industries" of 12 October 1922 stated that in 1922, ' Rouge Plant Builds Most of Ford Bodies.' Ford used various manufactures including the Beaudette Company, Pontiac, Michigan to Fisher Bodies. The Beaudette Company, according to the 1922 article, built roadster bodies for Ford. The sale of the company to Fisher Body, who began to manufactures bodies for Ford’s competitor Chevrolet.
The Rouge plant in 1922 was building the phaeton and all two-door sedans. The phaeton bodies are built in numbers of 3015 daily, with an average of 2650 daily. Sedans (bodies) are manufactured at 900 daily. Bodies for Coupes and a new four door sedan are manufactured by the Briggs Company and not by Ford. These two styles are low production (1922) cars averaging 5000 daily. The Model T presented in this nomination has a body number, located on the door sill of the passenger side of B 21 3663.""
As you may note your 1919 door sill number is B69016. The 1922 coupe described above is B213663 then with input from other coupe owners in this date range providing sill numbers, maybe a sequence could be developed for dating bodies. Based on the Encyclopedia, between 1917 and 1923 approximately 726845 wood bodied coupes were produced. If all were Briggs body and the sequence beginning with B XX XXXXX maybe a pattern could be found?
Who has a coupe with a B XXXXXX number close to 1?
Can someone tell by this photo?
1919 1920 or 1921. Can's make a guess because the door handles have been changed. The exposed wood around the side windows was used up to the introduction of the 1922 models. 1919 and 1920 would have used the bail type handle, 1921 would have used a "T" shaped cast handle. The cast handle with the black insert were replacements at some point.
Manny, the spring clip on your car is 1921 or later. But as we all know, that doesn't mean the whole car is. My suggestion would be to use the encyclopedia on this website to look up the features listed for each year (1919, 1920, 1921) and see what parts on your car fit the various descriptions. The Rodda books and the Ford parts books can help with this.
From what I've seen, the spring clip was changed to that type sometime in 1920.