Production date

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Production date
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:31 pm:

Hi, I am trying to help my husband gain some information about his 1916 touring. I have an engine number and a number stamped on the body on the passengers side. Can I find on exact production date with these? The engine number puts it in July 1916, but that is all that I can find.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:52 pm:

You can safely assume the car was built and shipped with a week or two after the casting date if it was built at the Highland Park plant. There are no known shipping records for 1916. The casting date on the engine block is the best evidence.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:20 pm:

I will have to see if I can find a casting date, I only know of the engine number stamped on the engine. I'm sorry, this is all new to me. Thank you for your help!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Townsend ; ^ ) Gresham, Orygun on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:38 pm:

Karen-
The casting date will be on the same side of the block at the serial number, just to the right.

-Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:43 pm:

I would think that the serial number would be a better indicator and closer to the assembly date of the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:49 pm:

Got it. 7 1 16. With it being so late in the "year", could this car have come with a brass radiator? We are only the fifth owner and the car was pretty much original and not driven much until now. We have traced it back to the second owner, and know it is from Ohio.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:51 pm:

Erik, how can I get a more exact date from the serial number? I have looked but have only found the month.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 01:57 pm:

If you post the serial number here, I can look it up for you in Bruce McCalley's book.

July 1916 was the last month of the 1916 model year and also the brass radiator and flat fenders among other details.

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:04 pm:

The serial number is a bad indicator because often blocks are replaced. The casting date is irrefutable proof of the date the block was cast.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:07 pm:

Thank you so much Erik!! The number is 1337908.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James Chochole, Oswego, IL on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:24 pm:

http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/sernos.htm

Here you can see it yourself:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:30 pm:

Your serial number corresponds to July 8, 1916.

The actual date that the car was assembled is subjective because of the time lag depending on where the assembly was done - in Detroit or at an assembly branch, etc. As Royce indicated, Ford was very efficient and things were done relatively quickly.

Regarding Royce's comment: "the serial number is a bad indicator because often blocks are replaced. The casting date is irrefutable proof of the date the block was cast."

Of course the casting date is proof of the date the block was cast.

However, I am under the impression that Karen is trying to pinpoint the assembly date of her car, not the date the block was cast. The serial number is a better indicator for a car that has it's original block seeing that the serial number were assigned after the block was cast. In this cast, seven days later.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:31 pm:

Stamped aug 1916. Most probably had a black radiator, magneto headlites. The 7 1 16 could have been brass radiator.
The date given is very close to the cross-over, does anyone know the exact date? I don't remember seeing the date in any literature


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:32 pm:

James:

The online encyclopedia only lists serial numbers by month.

Bruce's black book and his CD Rom give a daily breakdown.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 03:51 pm:

I misread the number, it was stamped on July 8, 1916.
If it is black, then the cross-over was earlier, maybe even June 1916. Anyone any info?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 03:56 pm:

1917 model year did not occur until August 1916.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 04:18 pm:

According to the MTFCI Judging Guidelines, 6th Edition, page 3, the 1916 model year went through July, 1916, and the 1917 model year started in July, 1916. This means the car in question might be a '16 or a '17 model year car.

Does it have an exposed brass radiator like the '16 model year cars, or does it have the black steel radiator cover like the '17's? If we know this, we can properly identify which model year the car is.

Bear in mind that many '17 model year cars built in the Fall of 1916 were registered as 1916's, when they were actually 1917 model year cars.

I don't claim to be an authority on this, but all this information is in Bruce McCalley's book: Model T Ford, The Car That Changed The World, as pictured above.

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 04:21 pm:

The car came with a brass radiator which we believe was original. We just recently replaced it because the leaks were getting numerous.
I sincerely appreciate all of your help everyone, I continue to learn about the Model T and am always in the garage with my husband trying to help as much as I can. I wanted to do something special for it's 100th birthday, and thanks to all of you, I now have a date to plan it on!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 04:38 pm:

It's not complicated folks.

The 1916 model year was August 1915 through July 1916.

The 1917 model year was August 1916 through July 1917.

Model years are determined by the manufacturer, not the governing body that registers motor vehicles. It's not relevant to the discussion if the secretary of state, DMV or relevant state government office that registers vehicles mis-identified the model year.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 09:00 pm:

Karen,

First welcome to the forum. It appears this is your first posting -- glad you stopped by and hope you will find it helpful to continue visiting.

Second, you will find a wealth of information and advice from the many forum participants. And you will often find that some of us feel strongly one way while others feel strongly another way. And that is ok also -- but you will need to understand for many things with Model Ts as well as life in general there is not a single correct answer like occurs with some math questions.

Third, you haven't shared what your husbands experience level is or I missed it when I read the postings above. If he has had lots of time with Model Ts he is probably already aware of many of the known safety issues they have. But if not, I would encourage you to read the posting on safety at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/541535.html By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Friday, May 15, 2015 - 09:23 pm: . It may help prevent one or both of you from having your T scare you or cause some harm to you or the car. The Ts are safe to use but just like you should not run up behind a horse there are some things you should not do with a T either. That same thread has some excellent book recommendations in it by Steve Jelf. And also recommends checking out the local Model T chapters near you see: See: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 09:23 pm:

Wow, so much to comment on! I picked a bad week to be out of circulation for awhile.
First, welcome to the affliction! Model Ts have a way of connecting their caretakers to history that gives them an understanding of their place in the universe, like nothing else.
A bunch of good photos of the car could help a lot. It sounds as if it may be another special car worth documenting for its originality. On that, I have a question. Are the rear fenders "curved flat"? Or compound curved rounded (crowned)? And just for frame of reference and clarification. Are the front fenders flat as all '16s are believed to have been.
When I got into this hobby, about 1967, a lot less was factually known about model T production than is known today. The 1916 model year is one that has always had a lot of doubt and errors about it. "Common knowledge" used to believe that the "curved flat" rear fenders continued to the end of brass radiators. However, a few photos along with a fair number of surviving cars indicate that at least some of the June and July '16s may have had brass radiators and crowned rear fenders.
Thank you. And, again, welcome!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 09:58 pm:

I believe using a single item for determining a date range for a Model T is often similar to the story of the blind men and the elephant. The single piece of data is helpful but often will not tell the entire story.

Feel free to skip the rest -- it only adds support to that belief above.

In the case of Blackie my 1915 cut off, if I used the engine serial number I would say that number was recorded on the Ford engine log on Apr 19, 1915. And depending on where the engine was assembled and also where the car was assembled it could be close or even on that same date or several weeks or months from the date of the engine log entry that the car was assembled. Bruce McCalley (RIP) on page 501 of his book shares, “The author cannot stress too strongly that care must be used when attempting to accurately date a car by its engine number. Remember that the dates shown are those when the engine assembly was completed, not the car, or the date a block of engine number records were shipped to another assembly plant.” [Hap again – those shipped numbers would be stamped onto an engine that was assembled at those plants that assembled engines. And that could occur weeks or months later. If you want a reference for that – let me know and I will try to look it up for you.]

If I used the casting date on the engine block, that would give me a Feb 1, 1916 date and of course the engine and car would normally be assembled after that date. As Bruce points out again on page 501 that is a strong indication that the serial number was stamped before the engine block was cast or more likely it has a replacement block. Note the dealers were instructed by Ford to stamp the replacement block with the original serial number of the engine that came with the car. Sometimes that did not occur as not all of the blocks were replaced by a Ford dealer etc. Putting those two numbers together along with the large number of welds on the water jacket of the cylinder head leads me to believe the engine in the car froze during the later part of the winter of 1915-1916. And because it was a relatively new car, a replacement block was used and stamped with the original number. If it had been a 5 year old car – I suspect they would have just purchased a used engine or even a newer used T because by 1920-21 there were lots of used Model Ts and used engines available.

The windshield hinges would lead me to believe the car was a mid 1917 or later as they are the unequal length style.

But the windshield brackets are the 1915-mid 1917 style riveted brackets.

The front fenders are 1923-1925.

The rear fenders are 1917-1925.

The splash aprons are 1915-1916 (and yes they were too short to meet up with the 1923-25 style front fenders and a piece was added).

The rear axle does not have the reinforcements on the lower part of the rear backing plates which points again to 1915 and have the center section like the 1915-early 1919 cars.

The demountable front wheels are 1919 or later.

The steering column does not have any holes for a horn button to be mounted on it and it has the 1915-early 1916 spark and gas levers.

The Ford scrip on the dash is from a 1940s Ford.

The side lamps are E&J #8 with the round style reflector inside.

One of the headlamp rims is the brass style (I have forgotten which make and number – but correct for a 1915). The other is all steel – so the last month of the 1915s or later.

It has the Ford H headlamp lens so 1921 or later.

The body had the 1915 style door latch and door striker.

The coil box has the 1915-16 and possibly even into 1917 style rounded corner lid.

The headlamp switch appears to be from a 1950s car and it is used for the ignition switch and not the headlamps.

And if it had a body number which unfortunately it does not, that would add another piece of data.

It does not have a half moon cut out in the dash area above the coil box – again indicating 1915-1916.

And by now you can see it clearly has parts from different years. But it also appears to me that it most likely began life as a 1915 touring probably around Apr 1915 or so. It was still being used as transportation when my Father purchased it back in the late 1940s.

All that to say, I would recommend looking at the whole car and trying to determine what if anything has been replaced and what most likely was original to the car. Then make the determination about what date range the car was likely produced.

And I agree with Wayne, posting some photos would help with that a lot.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 05:47 am:

Here are a few photos. One of when it first arrived at our home, the other after our complete restoration. My husband did all of the restoration work. The engine we took over to a model T engine guy in Orlando and he was quite impressed by the condition of the engine. He went through it and did maintenance where needed. We did the rest of the restoration here. We have pulled the engine a few times (I think we are getting good at it!), the last time was to replace the low speed drum in the transmission. We have been on three week long tours and many other excursions. There is an article that I wrote about the car in The Vintage Ford magazine Jan/ Feb 2015 (Thoughts from a Model T Greenhorn) with more pictures.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 07:58 am:

It looks great Karen! I enjoyed your article in the Vintage Ford.

The casting number can be seen just to the rear of the engine number on the driver side of the block. Like this (yellow arrow):


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 08:17 am:

The only things I see that are non-1916 are the "natural" wood wheels (a modern fad), and the 1915 headlight rims. Everything else says 1916 to me.

I agree with Erik's comment about DMV folks being misled by the difference between model years and calendar years. Here's my take on this constant source of confusion: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG90.html

Hap's analogy of the three blind men and the elephant is a good one. Dating usually has to consider a combination of factors. It's very rare to find a T with its origin well-documented.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 10:46 am:

Thanks, Royce, I found the casting date 7 1 16:-). Steve, my husband is a woodworker and one of the first things that he did was scrape and put a finish on the fellows and spokes. It really brought out their natural beauty!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 01:06 pm:

That makes perfect sense. The casting date of July 1, 1916 corresponds perfectly with the stamped serial number recorded date of July 8, 1916. The expected time from casting to car leaving the factory is a week.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 02:57 pm:

By the way, happy 99th birthday to your engine block! :-O


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 03:28 pm:

That is a beauty!
It looks like it does not have the seat bolt/rivet? (Two photos sort of disagree?) That detail seemed to appear and disappear a few times in those years. It apparently depended more upon the specific body builder and which of several seat framework designs they used. I believe that Hap T is still trying to sort that one out.
And it looks like it does have the earlier style "curved flat" rear fenders. Do you know it those fenders are original to the car?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 04:11 pm:

I have been slightly admonish by some of my friends for not knowing when 1916 production started..... It is given as August 1916.
OK was it August 1?
If so August 1 was a Tuesday. Does this mean they use brass radiators until midnight on the Monday and then switched to black on the Tuesday morning?
In my mind it would be much more logical to start the new model on the first day of the week which would have been July 31.
I suppose we might never know, either way it will not change the world but I find "August 1916" a little ambiguous


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John C Codman on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 05:37 pm:

I agree that the "natural" wood is a "modern fad". I also think that it looks better then (in the case of my '27) the original black. Hand sanding the wheels (about 40 hrs) is a great exercise in
inspecting the wheels for safety. I did my first last winter. My plan is to do one per year for another three years. MinWax spar varnish on the wood looks great.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 08:36 pm:

Throughout most of model T production, Ford made "rolling" or "running" changes when they were convenient. Other than the switch to the "improved" cars of model year '26 (during August of '25 according to what I have read on this forum), most changes also overlapped from weeks to several months during production.
It is well known that sedan and couplet 1915s were built around September and October of 1914. These were usually called 1915 models. There MAY have been a very few 1915 style touring and runabout cars built in December of 1914, but that is very doubtful. It is well known that the 1914 style touring and runabout cars were built through the end of the 1914 calendar year. It is also known that only a couple to few hundred 1915 style cars were built in Highland Park during January of 1915. I believe that Royce has posted the actual production numbers of those cars on this forum in the past. The rest of January production was 1914 style cars at both Highland Park and the branch assembly plants. While Highland Park moved mostly to the 1915 style cars for February, many of the branch plants continued building the earlier 1914 style cars into at least April of 1915.
It should also be noted (again and again and again) that such things as aluminum ('15 model year) hoods and steel (so-called '16 model year) hoods clearly were both being installed on new Fords for a few months. Even better, several original factory photos have been seen that clearly show both cast iron and aluminum hogsheads installed on new engines running together down the same production line. Interestingly, one of them is a photo of the one millionth model T engine late in December '15. If I recall correctly, that is nearly two months after the iron ones first started to be used.

I have never seen a definitive date for the change from "brass" 1916 and "black" 1917. Clearly, the apparent model year should be easily discernible. But is it? Many black radiator cars along with the fenders and other parts associated with 1917 are claimed to be 1916. Many, but not all of them, upon closer inspection do turn out to be late '16 calendar year cars that should be called 1917 model year cars. Some cars may be the victims of engine changes or other mis-assemblies. I have seen a few 1916s using running board brackets that were not available for nearly four years yet. Actually, I have seen brass era model Ts of all years with that glaring error.
My guess is (and it is exactly that, a guess), is that brass so-called 1916s and black so-called 1917s probably were being built on the same days for awhile at least in different branch assembly plants. I have heard claims that black 1917 style cars were being produced as early as June of 1916. I do not know that, and, actually, I doubt that. I would be interested if some of our better educated researchers could enlighten me a bit more on all of this.
Thank you all contributing to the enlightenment of us all!
And thank you Karen K for bringing this very special car to all our attention. It appears to be an excellent example of a changing times model T and should help provide some answers.
Again, BEAUTIFUL CAR!!!!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 09:30 pm:

"It is well known that sedan and couplet 1915s were built around September and October of 1914."

Wayne -- That may be well-known, but it is not correct. There are some dated photos from Sept. and Oct. of '14 of prototype '15 closed cars in Ford's archives. Those photos probably led Bruce McCalley to believe that the closed cars were being produced then. So when that incorrect info was published, it became common knowledge. But research by Trent Boggess has shown that the '15 closed cars were not in production until Dec. of '14 and they were produced for only 3 months. Closed car production resumed with the '16 model year, in the fall of '15.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Wednesday, July 01, 2015 - 10:42 pm:

And I keep learning! Thank you Mike W. You are one of the several I think of when I refer to "more learned researchers".
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Dupree on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 08:15 am:

Your car was built just a little later than ours. Our block was cast on June 29 and the motor number was stamped on July 5. The Wilson body was stamped as made on May 17, 1916. Interestingly, the door latches are '1915 style' but the upholstery has metal ends 'typical of 1917'. When we got the car, the title had last been transferred in Los Angeles in 1944, but we have no way of knowing the build plant location.

Ron Dupree


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 12:07 pm:

With the major changes between the 1916 and 1917 models, radiator, cowl, "hood and firewall, it seems very unlikely that they were assembled on the same production line. I suppose they could have changed each assembly lines on different days until most of the old stock of materials had been depleted. I mean even the fan bracket changed, so the engines were not directly interchangeable, lots of complications. When I was working, we had three separate production lines so we could build several different products each day. I suppose the Ford had many assembly lines, I would guess up to a dozen, so changing one at a time would be easier than switching the whole plant overnight. This way the transition could be spread out over a few weeks, giving rise to the Model Year transition being in "August".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 12:55 pm:

It's fun to make up stories.

Note that the Detroit plant was closed July 29 to August 12, 1916 according Bruce's black book. I believe he meant to say July 29 THROUGH August 12, 1916 as motor serial numbers did not re-commence until August 13, 1916.

(I've noticed that in a lot of his writing, "to" and "through" seem to be interchangeable and create a lot of confusion.)

I suspect but cannot prove that the assembly branches were also closed.

Ford Motor Company was a modern and going concern during the Model T era. However, when I read poster's comments here and elsewhere, you'd think it was run by a bunch of disorganized rubes who didn't do any planning, didn't manage inventory, didn't communicate with branches, etc. In reality, they ran their business using the modern methods of the time, just like many other successful companies during that period.

Stories based on logic instead of history may or may not jibe with actual history. Using logic, as many folks have done here, I can propose that there was a definite change over between the 1916 and 1917 model year as the plant was closed for two weeks. Also, it is not far fetched to say that Ford Motor Company communicated with its assembly branches and they also acted accordingly.

In my opinion, the source of confusion regarding 1915, 1916 and 1917 Fords is what started happening to them after World War II when the antique automobile hobby was picking up steam and what continues today - making major changes to cars and presenting them as something they are not, either unintentionally via ignorance or intentionally in order to deceive.

I grew up around antique cars. For many years, nobody would admit to owning a 1916 Ford. Many of those who did called them 1915 Fords and altered them accordingly by adding brass headlamp and side lamp rims, etc. There are also many post 1916 Fords that are posing as 1915 Fords.

This reminds me of a story: about 20 years ago I had my '17 roadster at a car show in downtown Minneapolis. A fellow from way out west said that he too owned Model T Fords and was a member of a large and active chapter. He then proceeded to brag there were 75 1915 Model Ts in the city where he lived. I responded by asking him how many of those '15 Fords actually started out as '15 Fords. He admitted, very few…..


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 01:13 pm:

Whoops - I was looking at the wrong page in the black book.

It appears the Detroit plant was closed July 26, 1916 through August 6, 1916.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karen Krawchuk on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 05:01 pm:

Thank you so much for all of my new knowledge! I am out of school for summer break and am gaining a wealth of information, awesome!
The way I see it, this coming week will be our car's 99th birthday, I hope that if I make it to 99 that I look as good as she does:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Bowker, Ramona, CA on Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 05:14 pm:

Still learning....
I see from the daily engine numbers that the stamping of engines was stopped July 23 to August 3 1914, then July 25 to August 9, 1915, then July 25 to August 6 1916, July 29 to August 12 1917.
I guess this is when the factory changeover occurred. Now I have hard dates :-)


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