My 1914 Touring is a "Southern Tread" (wide-track) car. I don't see many of them, even here in the south. Always wondered about how they were assembled. Since the assembly line was going full-force by 1914 it just doesn't seem logical they would have shut things down to build a run, and it certainly doesn't make sense that every-so-often something so different would just go down the line. There are so many different parts on these cars it's easy to see why Ford decided to discontinue them, but even as they were being phased out, were they built one at a time? Was there a single plant use to construct them? I have a good friend locally who bought one several years ago out of Boone NC and it's only a month or so later than mine according to engine numbers. I know mine was first restored from an original complete car back in the early 1960s. The pic clearly shows the wider fenders on these vehicles. Any documentation or guesses on how these were built?
(Message edited by adminchris on July 06, 2015)
Beautiful car! Do a Google search for "wide track mtfca", a lot of older threads about wide tracks will appear, perhaps the answer will be in one of them.
(Message edited by cudaman on June 16, 2015)
I do not think they had to stop the production line. I looked for but I did not find the photo that I think I recall seeing. It shows an assembly line with cars and Ton Truck chassis on the same assembly line. The workers just had to make sure they put the correct parts on the correct chassis. That was also true when they had the gas tanks in different locations -- such as the Centerdoors, some Coupes, the Fordors in 1926-27 etc.
From the posting at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/549131.html?1434075417 it has:
From the May Jun 1996 “Vintage Ford” page 26 (used by permission)
by Russ Furstnow
A distinctive and unique Model T, known as the
“wide track” or “Dixie tread,” was produced on a
limited basis by Ford from 1909-1916.
The car looked quite different from a “regular”
Model T because the wheels were placed 60 inches
apart rather than the standard 56 inches.
The wide track Ford was made to be driven in
the southern United States, including Florida,
Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama, as these states
produced horse-drawn wagons with a 60” wide
track. Ford surmised that it would be easier to sell
his cars in the south if his cars would track in the
60” ruts produced by the wagons.
In the northern states, the 56 inch “standard”
tread worked fine, yet when the standard track
Ford went south, drivers had difficulty maintaining
control of their Fords while driving in the wider
ruts left by wagons.
The wide track Ford had numerous parts which
made it unique. Also, this option made the Model
T appear more massive and stable when driven on
a good paved highway-or at least, it was more
stable than the 56 inch standard tread car.
Early versions of the wide track Fords (1909-
12) had wider fenders, aprons and running board
brackets that were unique, yet the fender line was
smooth and appeared to “fit” together. (See Photos
1 & 2.)
In 1913, Ford began to utilize the “standard”
apron and running board brackets, necessitating
the use of very wide appearing fenders. (See Photo
3.) These fenders extended beyond the standard
width running board, making the car look somewhat
ungainly. These wider fenders were used
until 1916, when Ford discontinued this option.
The 60” tread Ford was identified in the sales
brochures as a special order option. It is assumed
that the cost of the standard and wide track models
were the same. This assumption is based on the fact
that Ford’s Price List of Parts did not add a premium
for the unique 60” tread parts over the standard
It is unknown how many wide track Fords were
produced, as no records have been found identifying
the production figures for these unique vehicles.
However, it is believed that a very small
percentage of Model Ts produced were ordered with
the wide track option.
[The article/original posting has some additional comments -- but these seem to apply the most to your question about the assembly line.]
Below is a 1915 wide track and you can see how the rear fenders curve in to meet the standard running boards.
Your 1914 does not appear to have the standard 56 inch running boards. Perhaps different assembly plants used up older parts? Perhaps they were replaced when the car was restored? By any chance do you have any photos of your car before it was restored?
And yes the front axle and rear axle assemblies are 2 inches wider on each side but I believe they could easily run a small batch to 6 or 12 or more or even run them between standard tread cars and it would work ok. They could just feed in the chassis and then have the other parts in place available when and where they are needed.
Note -- that is NOT what I have documentation for but rather what I believe could have happened. They also could have run a line (many of the plants had more than one line) of wide tracks to fill orders while they were also running the standard 56 inch tread on other line(s).
Hopefully someone will have some documented information on what occurred rather than guesses like mine on what might have occurred.
Why 60 inch tread in the south? That would be “king cotton.” The link to the photo of the wagon with the 60 inch tread and the load of cotton is: http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/GFM/id/928
If you look at the rear wheel you can see why they could not shorten it to 56 inches without hitting the bale of cotton. And they had been using those 60 inch wagons for a long time.
Some previous wide track postings:
1914 wide track: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/28721.html
http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/80491.html a few shown about half way down.
http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/42514.html has at least one wide track
Hap 1915 cut off
(Message edited by adminchris on July 06, 2015)
My 1910 is a wide track and does not have wide fenders.
Thanks Russ, I have the 1996 magazine the above info comes from. Agree that by about 1913 they began using the standard running board braces, so the fenders will stick out a bit from the edge of the running boards. I like the looks of it actually, it appears to be a much more stable car, and it sure rides great. We've been on several AACA tours including last year's Reliability Tour in the Lancaster PA area. It was a pretty good workout for cars and passengers, but we survived.
oops, meant to say "thanks Hap" -
Rod, The tops of the fenders on a 1910 wide track would not be wide. The extra 2 inches on each side is made up in the part of the fender going to the frame. Also the splash apron is 2 inches wider. Later wide track cars came with the top of the fender 2 inches wider and the part going to the frame standard and also the splash apron was standard width.
This past week on a tour, I had the pleasure of seeing a wide track '13 touring. It had the angled lip on the front of the front fenders that is common to some '13s.