what is the reason ford did not put a driver door on T's? to save money sure. but was there a reason? I have not seen anything in any books I have read or on this site
Paul, our Canadian T's have 4 doors, but the drivers side one is about as handy as having a pocket in your jocks, with the hand brake in the way, steering wheel and the top down, it's a juggle to get in. A lot easier to slide across.
It wasn't just Ford. My '12 Buick has a hand brake and gear shift that totally block entry from the right (driver's) side. Hence, no right front door. In '14, Buicks went to left hand drive and central brake and gearshift, and had a door on each side.
Ford was cheap, that's why there was no drivers side door on a T.
A nickel here, a penny there, times thousands of cars, and pretty soon you've saved real money!
Rumour has it that he didn't want the driver trying to exit the car on the traffic side when parking in the city.
Nice rumor but remember the backseat passenger still could. Cost and the fact that the steering wheel and parking brake lever are in the way, esp if the brake was set. By 26 the cowl was deeper so a door could be added. Even then the steering wheel is in the way and for even some of us thin people, still a bit of gymnastics to get in from that side.
Even some of the Model A's it is easier to get in from the passenger side.
The real reason every man is suppose to open the door for the woman is he is suppose to get in first, and here everyone thought it was a nice thing to do for the women in your world!
What I don't like about the single door is having to let my wife out sometimes so I can hand crank. Sometimes I can't be bothered to get out and she will crank the car. She has just enough strength and finds it fun to do. That really draws a crowd too.
If you watch movies from the '20's, 30's and 40's and you'll notice the car at the curb, and the actor most always opens the passenger door and slides all the way in to the drivers side or pulls up and slides out the passenger door.
Now maybe that was for the better photo shoot by the director or cameraman.
But I always thought those actors were so used to driving Model T's growing up, that is how they did it! Entering and exiting the passenger side
In many places you had to get out of the car on the passenger side by law if parked at the curb. Watch old episodes of Perry Mason, even in the late 50's maybe early 60's that's how the driver got out.
I always wondered why there was an outside door lock only on the passenger side of my dad's '53 F100. He told me that it used to be against the law to exit a vehicle on the traffic side when parking along the street.
Hadn't thought of being illegal to exit from the driver's side.
Found this law from WY on the internet, if you do exit from the driver's door, it's your fault if you are hit!
10.20.030 - Exiting from left-hand side of vehicle.
Any person emerging from the left-hand side or driver side of any motor vehicle into the line of traffic must not do so without exercise of caution and persons so emerging must give the right-of-way to approaching vehicles in the line of traffic.
Here in Missouri it is still against the law to enter or exit your car on the side of traffic. It's one of those laws that is only enforced if some one exiting causes an accident.
The Canadian Cars had Both Front Doors Opening as Some cars in Canada had LHD & RHD depending on which Provence They were also exporters to people who had RHD
In AUSTRALIA [in mine & others' opinion] was that many of the bodies were so poorly built that by having doors only on one side helped the body strength and stopped a lot of doors coming open when on bad roads
Yep, cost as well as what was a common safety practice/law at the time. My Model A had an exterior lock on pass side only, so the practice continued past the T era.
Bob, that could be another reason. I have an American Runabout and once met an owner of a same year Canadian one. He was complaining about how much flex there was in the body.
My 1950 Ford panel truck has a lock cylinder on the passenger side only. Any one know the last year Ford did this?
Here in Independence, Mo., I remember the police running a campaign of tickets to those who exited from the driver's side of the car IF you were paralleled park. If you were parked at an angle to the curb, no problem. I was a kid at the time, but I'm sure it's still on the books for extra revenue.
So, why add to the cost of the vehicle if your not going to key lock from the driver's side?
Dan, don't know the exact year for a Ford change, but dad's '69 F250 had a driver's door lock and the ignition key was needed to lock both doors. No fancy buzzers telling you about the key cause you had to use it. My'49 Chev truck and the '25 Coupe both have one passenger door key lock.
I know I am digging up an old thread. I recently acquired Canadian touring and it has the 4 doors. We were wondering why the USA cars did not have four doors, until I tried to get out of the drivers door. Then we wondered why they bothered to put on the drivers door. My son (13 yrs old) came to the same conclusion as Don Watson, so they can use the same body for Right or Left hand drive. I know this not any new information, just impressed by my son's observation.
The real reason the door is on the right side is make for easy removal of a nagging female. Not my statement. I think I heard it from Bill Clinton. Scott
The fact is, there are a lot of contributing reasons for it. Cost versus strength is probably the main reason. And, it is NOT a "cheap car thing. Most (not all by any means) fore door cars from about 1910 through near 1915 had no driver's door. Pierce Arrow, Packard, Cadillac, on down the list built many cars without a driver's door.
Many cars continued with door locks only on the right side well into the '30s. Trucks and pickups for most companies continued that way well into the '50s, and I think a few into the early '60s. I had a '65 Ford pickup for many years, and a '66 Ch@^y before that. I think both had locks on both sides. As I recall, the '59 Ch@^y pickup my dad used for many years had an outside lock on only the right door when he got it. But he changed that.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I was always told that Michigan had a law on the books by a lawyer who is my farther-In-law that you could exit the car in the Detroit area towards the center of the road. Something about scaring horses in cities. It may have been a local ordnance but it makes sense. I don't know if it is true or not.
Reading all these theories (and they are good ones), I would lean towards hand brakes and steering wheels being in the way. Having rear doors on both sides seems to go against the idea that exiting into traffic was a problem. As for cars with a lock on the passenger side only, you could not enter on the driver side but, you could still exit which is worse. I bet the other makes of three door cars all have the controls blocking the drivers door.
My '27 has a driver's side door. I never use it. With the parking brake set and the steering wheel where it is, the door is basically useless. If I can find a period correct toolbox, I will mount it on the running board in the same place as my friend's '24. (where the door opens). I'm sure Ford put it there so they could advertise it as a 4-door.
The driver's side is very hard to exit or enter on a 26-27. The earlier ones didn't have a door. The Model A had a wider door and moved the brake lever to the center which made it easy to use the door.
I am going to put myself into Henry's position, which may or may not be how it happened. Since it would be so hard to use a left door, leave it off and save some money. Also it would make the body a bit stronger in that area.
Since the cars manufactured in Canada would be exported to countries which drive on the left side of the road, they put on doors so they could be used either way with fewer changes. Just the hogs head and the steering mechanism needed to be changed.
My '41 Dodge has an exterior door lock only on the passenger side. Of course, it also has a bench seat, so the driver can easily slide across. Getting out on the passenger side of my 2008 Sable would be a challenge.....
According to the MTFCA Encyclopedia, Ford sent a letter to dealers on March 24th 1915 asking for opinions on the possibility of eliminating the left REAR door on tourings... pinching pennies.
I never slide across. Just get in the driver's side. I am 4'9", 200lbs. and have size 13 feet.
OK, I have size 13 feet.
With the handbrake pulled back and the engine at a fast idle I entered my speedster from the driver's side (I had a passenger) and bumped the handbrake handle with my knee. The car lurched forward several feet and fortunately died. No harm done, just some embarrassment for me and amusement for my group of onlookers. Could have been worse. I can understand not having a door on the drivers side. What I don't understand is why is the release on the handbrake on the outside of the handle?
I'm going with the blocking theory. Dave Wells summarized it best.
Olivier's '24 with French body that was badly rear ended a couple of years ago did not have a driver's door or REAR DOOR on the left side.
It only has the two doors on the right.
That makes sense to me, for body strength and safety as well as cheaper and quicker to build.
Adding to the controversy is the later Ford Model A. My late '31 slant windshield 4 door sedan has the gear shift lever and parking lever in the center of the front leg area so it is easier for the driver to exit out the drivers door........but the drivers door only locks from the inside so one still locks the drivers door from the inside, slides across the seat to the passenger side and exits. The passenger side front door locks both from the inside and the outside. One can manipulate the gear shift post out of the way to slide across but it can still be a bit of a pain depending on how agile one is at their age. I personally lost my agility a few years back!
I have a Canadian 1913 touring car with 4 doors.I have owned it for 28 years.I always use the drivers door.You get used to it.Its all in the the way you move your hips to get past the steering wheel.I believe that all T bodies flex a little,due road or ground condition.