A few early features on my touring.
Thanks for sharing the photos of your early 1917. Note you stated it was built Aug 7, 1916 – are you basing that on a know delivery date documented by some bill of sale etc.? Or are you basing that on an engine number between 1,362,990 to 1,364,013 (ref Bruce McCalley’s R.I.P. book “Model T Ford” page 513 – engine production log information. If so, the car would not have been built before Aug 7, 1916 but it could have been build later than that if the car was assembled at one of the branch plants or if the engine as well as the car was assembled at one of the branch plants (ref page 501 of Bruce’s book or see the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/413895.html for a sample of how cars could have been assembled the same day the engine was assembled but many were not assembled on that same day) . But it would have likely been in the Aug or Jul time frame.
Note this is similar to the same type of questions Kenneth LeBlanc has about a similar early 1917 Model T. That thread is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/494071.html?1415982807 where Kenneth is asking for information about his brother’s early 1917. Unfortunately he is have much success with posting photo. On the good side, your photo will probably help answer many of his questions as well as those who may have an early 1917 Model T in the future.
First a quick guess (speculation, theory, etc. i.e. I do not have proof one way or the other. But I would welcome any information that could clarify how it was done one or more of the times). I would “guess” that Ford did NOT shut down all the assembly plants on Jul 31, 1916 and then clean out all the old parts and then reopen them all on Aug 1, 1916 producing the Black Radiator 1917 model year style cars. [Note the engine production logs that Bruce references to compile his serial numbers do show that for 1913 the engine shop just kept making engines page 507 while on page 509 it shows in 1914 the engine shop was closed Jul 23 to Aug 3 1914 for inventory; Jul 25 to Aug 9 1915 closed (page 511); Jul 26 to Aug 7 1916 they were closed; Jul 29 to Aug 2 1917 they were closed but that was specifically the engine shop.] Instead what I believe likely occurred is Ford introduce the new model on one of the multiple assembly lines at the Highland Park Plant (or possibly even at the Ford of Canada Plant since it was a much lower volume line and was just over the rive for easy access) to work the bugs out of how do we assemble the new model. What if anything needs to change etc.. And after they got it up and running at normal speed they then began to move it to all the assembly lines at the Highland Park Plant and to the other branches. Please remember that is my GUESS – and I do not have but I would welcome information that would support or correct that guess.
If a Model T touring car was produced in Aug 1916 and had a brass radiator and boxy hood to match the radiator and the flat front fenders it would be considered a 1916 model year car. And if on another assembly line on the same day another Model T touring was produced in Aug 1916 and it had the black radiator and curved hood to match the radiator and the curved crowned fenders front and back, it would be considered a 1917 model year T. And both would be sold by the dealers as new cars. And most likely in some states both would be registered as 1916 cars since that is the year they were sold.
But moving away from the guesses to the more documented information.
You showed one of your door latches (my guess is the right rear) but the right front also looked like that style.
The MTFCI Judging Guidelines as well as Bruce’s book would say a “typical” 1917 would have the pressed steal door handle with the twist near the bottom as shown below.
But from the photos your car appears to be an unrestored original – is that correct? And if so – if may have come from the factory that way. One item I would recommend checking is to look for a body number and a body letter. If the body was produced by Wilson, Beaudett (also spelled Beaudette and refered to as Pontiac in the Ford records), Fisher all had a date code with the year and month in the body number around that time. That number is most likely located on the right front floor board riser and a letter may be near it or could also be located on the front seat heel panel. Please see the posting Forum posting “Home for the Holidays” at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/40322.html for details on where to look for the body number and the body maker letter. “IF” the body number is around Aug 1916 and the door latches do not appear to have been changed – then they likely came with that body.
You posted the photo of the horn button, steering column etc. shown below:
That horn button on top of the USA steering column was continued into the 1917 model year. Ref page 231 as well as MTFCI judging guidelines for 1917 item 360 steering column. Also the gas and spark lever ends are the typical more stubby that were introduced near the end of 1915 production. (ref item 360 in the 1915 judging guidelines). But the item I am most excited about seeing is the gear case. Is the lower portion of the gear case painted black? And is that likely the original paint? Why would I ask? Because at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc16.htm it has:
AUG 14, 1916 Acc. 1701. Model T Releases, Ford Archives
Steering gear case changed from type "W" bronze to cast steel, and raven finished. Note on September 9, 1916 deleted raven finish and now to be finished in black enamel. Specified for "1917" cars. On the same date the material is changed back to type "W" bronze.
If you car is original and has original black paint there – that possibly indicates it was produced a little after Sep 9, 1916. I also note the early 1914-1916 style door handle on the passenger door in this photo as well as what appears to possibly be original upholstery that have the metal end caps. Note the MTFCI judging guidelines do NOT list that painted black lower case. Why? Because that is not typical for most 1917 Model Ts only the early 1917s. They list the typical 1917 having a nickel plated steering case. But again your car was early so it is not typical.
Your picture of the windshield shows the riveted type of windshield brackets.
Those riveted style brackets were used from 1915 to the middle of 1917. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc17.htm that states:
Acc. 575, Box 14, #826, Ford Archives
Riveted style windshield frame and brackets were used in 1915 and 1916 and on the first 450,000 1917 cars. (Until about April 1917.)
You didn’t show a picture but your car should have the equal length windshield hinges used 1915 to
APR 19, 1916 Acc. 78, Ford Archives
Windshield hinge (with the unequal length arms) noted.
You posted the photo of the splash apron that has the buldge or clearance stamping shown below:
That also was continued through 1917 and ended as the 1918 model year was starting up. ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc17.htm
AUG 25, 1917 Acc. 78, Ford Archives
New splash aprons (T-7986, 7987) eliminating clearance stamping at rear. "Perfectly plain from front to rear."
Again thank you for sharing the photos and if the car is mostly original and unrestored we would appreciate additional photos and information.
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