Had a '26 TT for a few years but wasn't quite the fit for me and where I live so I let it go. I did have a lot of fun tinkering with it and replacing parts as needed.
Since I sold it I've routinely searched for a runabout candidate to make a truck or a touring car. Most candidates have been quite pricey or heavily modified and weren't much to begin with.
So along comes this ad for a 1927 open touring sedan. Not much information in the ad itself other than it was driven three years ago. Pictures show a pretty straight car with decent paint and top. I emailed the seller and he verifies it's mechanically sound, not pieced together, and just wants to fund a different project. I'm somewhat leery because the car is pictured in what looks like a junk dealers warehouse.
Anyway the seller wants $6500. For my area the price seems not unreasonable considering what I've seen already. I think that it hasn't been run in the last three years so it may be impossible to know it's true mechanical condition. Perhaps the reason it was set aside? Not sure of the wood condition either.
Any good value judges out there? I know it's whatever ones willing to pay but I like a good buy/sell story. I also know the hobby is more about preservation of history/memories than trying to make a quick dollar on a turn around.
I admit I'm not well versed when it comes to this model or year. From what I've read it's harder to get parts for since it was only made for two years? And it's "modern" look is not as desirable as other T years? Just don't want to pursue an odd duckling. Any thoughts appreciated.
The early brass cars are in most demand and also harder to find original parts. The 26-27 "improved cars" are next in demand. The "black" cars between 1917 and 1925 are in less demand, but all years are Model T's and are all very desirable to own.
The asking price is reasonable if the car is complete and running. There is very little wood in a 27 and what wood there is is very easy to replace. Mainly the wood consists of floorboards, blocks between body and frame and tack strips for the upholstery and top. and the top bows. The basic body is all steel.
Anyway, it is not an "odd duckling".
If you live close enough it sounds like it can be the cheapest way you can ask for to get a running T again. Parts are generally quite easy to find - especially if you compare with other brands 80+ year old cars
Go there and try get it running together with the owner - shouldn't take much more than air, gas, water and a battery if it only has been non op for three years. Then you can try it out for a mile or three - should show any immediate problems. Most problems can be solved with some work and not much money, other problems may cost you more serious dough, like a new $825 radiator if boiling problems can't be fixed with the easy tricks like proper timing and flushing the system. As long as it looks good and is running you'll be able to get your initial money back, most of the additional money you put in it - consider it hobby costs
26/27 was the improved models - better mechanically than other T's, but still a T, i.e. that's basically a 1908 design and a horseless carriage that should be driven where 30-40 mph speeds doesn't upset modern drivers too much..
Can someone explain all the differences that made it "the improved model"?..I know it had a larger trans brake drum and bigger brakes?..What else made it better mechanically v.s. the 25?..
John, the '25 already had the improved crank shaft shape with larger radii at the rod bearings but the improved EE steels came on a certain percentage of 26/27 Ford cranks and rear axle shafts, reducing the risk for breakage. Other 26/27 improvements were all steel bodies (except for the Fordor) and the connection with two bolts at the top of the hogshead to the block that stiffens up the whole engine/trans combo substantially and may reduce wear & metal fatigue. The lug shoes that reduces wear from the clutch in the trans brake drum is also an improvement. Wider clutch and brake pedals may help someone from slipping with their feet.
Some accessories were also available from Ford for the first time during these years like an automatic windshield wiper, stronger wire wheels and a brake light. Rear view mirrors may have been available earlier?
Thanks Roger, very informative summary.
I built a '27 a few years ago and had to find all the parts for it. Almost none of the parts in my stash were correct for that car. I was very surprised how many of the parts are different for the '26-7's I think they should have been called a "Model U."
John, The "improved car" is also lower by a couple of inches, and the gas tank is in the cowl like a Model A. The coil box is moved to the top of the engine, and the cooling fan mounts a little differently then the earlier cars. I paid more then $6,500 for my '27 touring about a year and a half ago. Mine was running, but as mentioned - it did need an $825 radiator, but the rad. solved my cooling problems. One thing to look out for - if it has been sitting for a long time, check the gas tank for internal rust. Modern gas with ethanol in it absorbs water in a vented system such as our T's have. The cowl tank is a major pain to remove/replace in an "improved car," but you don't have to worry about fuel supply on a steep hill.
Although some of the parts will interchange with the earlier models, there is very little that is the same on an Improved car. Some differences are frame, rear axle backing plates, drums and shoes, radius rods, engine block, hogs head, fan and outlet, radiator shell, fenders, splash aprons, running boards, running board brackets, fender irons, headlights, hood, entire body, windshield posts, gas tank, instrument panel, wire wheels (plus many options of wheels) top irons, drive shaft torque tube, coil box on engine, steering column, steering bracket on frame, drag link, lower front spring, spring clip, lower spindles, steering wheel, several carb/intake options, as well as all the accessories that were offered. This is just what I can think of in a few minutes. (not counting the early vs late features of lots of these 26/27 parts) I believe there may have been more changes made during 26-27 than were made on all the rest of the Ts. Mike may be correct about being a Model U.... Donnie Brown
Thanks for all the replies. They do give me a better handle on what to expect. Last night I found my Model T book by Floyd Clymer. It gave a lot of the model changes that many of you have mentioned. One thing I did notice is that the radiator is black, not nickel and it has wood spokes, not wire. I was lead to believe those items were standard.
It sounds like finding and stockpiling used parts for the "improved" could take a while and be somewhat scarce. Are many of the common wear parts reproduced? I can't find my parts catalog off hand to see.
Let me know if you see anything off spec in the pictures.
Kyle, Some early 1926 models and non starter 26 models had the black radiator shell. By 1927 the nickel plating was almost standard. Wood spoke wheels was the standard wheel, and wire wheels may have became standard by very late 27. The Improved 26-27 models could actually have used non demountable 30 X 3-1/2 inch steel felloe wheels, demountable 30 X 3-1/2 inch demountable wheels, 21 inch wood spoke wheels, or wire spoke wheels. If the picture above is the car, I do not think you will be looking for much. It looks pretty nice in the one picture. It has a distributor so you will need the coil box that mounts on the engine and some coils if you want to go back original. or just drive it with the distributor. As far as the normal wear and tear items, I believe everything you would ever need is available repro. If you want to verify if it is a early 26 or late 26 or 27 model let me know and Ill give you a list of things to look for. It really does not matter, but some people want their cars as "original" as possible others do not care. main thing is to have fun.... submitted with respect, Donnie Brown ....
How tall are you? I know funny question but the 26/27 are somewhat limited in the leg room in the front seat. Does it have the proper paper work to get it put in your name? I would suggest doing some reading rather then going by hearsay when it comes to what parts etc are available for those years. Parts for them are about the same as most years, look at the online catalogs.
By the way the proper name is simply a "touring car", they were never called a open touring sedan.
Based on the carb, I would think it would not be a late 1927. But I did not see Made in U.S.A on the head. I thought heads without USA were on latter vehicles?
So Donnie what do you think?
Arnie, there are not enough photos to say for sure, Black radiator, and stem style headlights, as well as a possible early notched windshield post, and I think I see a gas tank pad rivet in the firewall. All lean toward early 26... Things like carbs, heads, ect, will interchange and could have been changed. I have found that 26-27 parts are really not that much harder to find than 17 to 25 parts. You just need to know what to look for. Kyle, as with any car purchase, it is mostly personal preference as to body style. I like the touring's myself. I like that I can haul 5 people in my 1927 touring. Roadsters are 2 people only... I like the closed cars, but the open feel of a touring is more for me. But like I said its just a personal preference for me .. If you post some pics of the front of the firewall. a side view of the windshield posts and a pic of a door opening sill plate as well as the hole in the top of the door, and let me know if there is a "step" or "smooth" area in the cowl, at the point where the top of the front door meats the cowl. we can narrow down the time period that the car probably is. The engine number will also help. Donnie Brown ...
Donnie, I'm not too concerned about it being "original" at my price point. I'm just looking for a car that is complete but has imperfections, stops, and runs. I really don't want to have to replace fabric, fenders, wheels, etc. Somewhat simple things to fix but they add up quickly. What I see though are T's in pieces or ones that need major drive line work.
I do have a list of production numbers for the years I could take along to help verify the year. I'll have to ask what the ownership/title status is. Generally MA, NH, and CT do not issue titles to vehicles over 20. All I need for CT is a bill of sale. With that, a temp. permit, Vin check, and insurance will get you on the road. Quite simple, unless I ever move out of New England(which I hope to someday).
It would take the better part of a day to go view it and my time is limited. Hopefully not too many are interested in it yet. Hence all the questions here.
Donnie, just sent the guy a message asking for the serial number and some more pictures. I have a suspicion it could be a 1926 model year to. The truck I had was always thought to be a 1925 until I researched the numbers. Found out it was a 1926. The frame and engine numbers actually matched too!
Which brings up another question a little off subject. Would the TT trucks from '26 share the same engine/transmission as the new "improved" T's? or was it carryover from the black years? Reason I ask is that the closed cab truck I had was styled earlier. Perusing the old books I don't think I've come across an "improved" styled TT.
This is it for pictures other than a close up of the Boyce Motometer.
Kyle, the TT trucks in 26 and 27 used the same engine/trans as the cars. Im also with you on the price as to all original or not. Most of the details do not really matter to most people. I have been doing a lot of research on the Improved Models as to running changes made during production. The early 26 changes are really interesting to me. This car shows a lot of traits to the early 1926 cars built from Aug 1925 till Jan 1926. If you buy it, I would be very interested in knowing if it has certain features to add to my research. I have never understood why the changes in the Improved Models do not garner the attention of the changes of the earlier cars. For years it has been general practice to just say all the 26 27s are the same. The car looks to be a very nice car from the pics. I hope it works out for you, as the Improved models are a fun car. From Marks statement above about size, I would suggest to sit in it and see if it "fits" you. I am very comfortable in my 27 touring, but as they say "your mileage may vary" As to me discussing all the parts of the car, does not mean that I am trying to "pick it apart" Its just my interest and study of the features, of the Improved Models that drives me. And more information can only help when making a decision. Good luck with the purchase. Submitted with respect Donnie Brown ..
As Donnie said, the TT's got the updated engine/trans, but retained the black era nose.
Improved era cabs had little detail tweaks, but largely look the same as 24-25 cabs, both
open and closed styles.
Your truck was a late-25/early 26 build, if the various parts present are original. A total
plumbing replacement at my house has kept me from driving or working on it much, but
I had it out last Saturday for a few hours. Will be doing some logging with it soon, if plans
hold. This winter, the engine will get a complete rebuild with a good balance and some
performance parts to get that high gear speed up. It is a great truck.
Out hunting old rusty metal this summer:
Burger, glad to see you're having some fun with it. Looking good! Always enjoy the updates.
I was reading a little further into the distributor setup. I would say half the enjoyment of the T is running it by hand cranking, magneto/battery, and adjusting the spark. I assume all that is out the window with a distributor? And most likely it was installed because the magnets may be bad(or bad coil boxes).
You have the right color car! That color was actually a 1927 color, but I have used it on my 26. I think, but don't quote me the standard wheels for a 27 were wire spoke.
There are 3 things which will give a clue to which body you have. Two can't be changed, but the other can. The 26 windshield posts have a notch on the side toward the car. On the 27 that side sweeps very much like the front side. However, the posts are interchangeable, and so the 27 posts could be replaced with 26 posts or vice versa.
The other two differences are not easily changed. The door sill plates on the 26 are aluminum but the plates on the 27 are steel and shaped differently. The front door post which is attached to the cowl has a notch at the top on the 26, but is flat on the 27.
Here is a picture of my 26 which is built out of parts. I bought almost a complete set of parts in 1992 which was all disassembled. They were various colors and some had no paint when I got it so I think they had been collected from many sources. I added a few parts which I got at swap meets which either replaced the worst of the parts or missing parts. After two attempts to find a good used windshield frame, I got a repro.
Anyway, there's no telling how the car you are looking at came to be unless you have a written history.
Here's a picture of the aluminum door sill plate which I referred to in the previous post.