Were all the cars 1926 and 1927 shells nickel plated? And were any 1925 car shells plated?
It varied over the world, but in USA I think only the closed cars got nickeled brass shells in 26/27, while the open cars and the trucks got the painted steel shells like in 1925.
I understand that it was optional.
Who offers the best repro shell with apron, as I am in the market for a plated one
If there are any repros to be found, they're aimed at the hot rod crowd that won't have any demands on how it should fit an original radiator, so your best bet is to try finding an original, repair the inevitable cracks in the thin brass and have it nickle plated..
The Sports package for the open cars included a nickeled shell:
Nickeled radiator shells and headlight rings became available as an option beginning in June of 1925. So a few late 25's came with them. They may have been a dealer-installed option rather than an assembly plant thing; I don't know about that.
I even saw an original '25 apron for the nickel shell once.
This is an original nickel plated apron for the 1925 Model T to be used with the matching radiator shell. Being nickeled steel, I don't think too many survived. It is the only one that I have ever found.
Am curious if you know the difference of the model years on the three aprons in your last photo? (I'm watching the swap meets for my '25.)
Jim,I have an apron with side tabs on it. It would be a bear to attach.
The three aprons are all original Ford. They are all the same length, but the camera angle makes them look shorter further back.
The bottom apron is the 1925 nickel plated steel, part #T-3977B, that listed for $.75, according to factory letters April 29 & 30, 1925.(See page 566 in Bruce's big black book.)
The top apron is a typical 1926-27 apron with the nickel trim strip that is used with the nickel plated radiator shell. This one is missing the spacer cup behind the crank hole.
The middle apron is the same as a typical 1924-25 apron, except it has the hole below the crank hole for fastening it to a 1926-27 front spring clamp/engine mount. This apron appears to be NOS original Ford. This one is a mystery to me. There is another apron just like it on page 331 in Bruce's big black book. He mistakenly called it a 1926-27 apron, unless they are used on 1926-27 TT trucks. Or, were they made for very late 1925 models that started using the front 1926 style spring clamp/engine mount? Here are more photos of the aprons.
My car had this nickel plated steel apron on it when I got it.
I always assumed that someone had plated it so I did a quick paint-over to give it the typical factory look. The plating was peeling especially at the edges.
It does not have the spacer thimble behind the crank hole and doesn't look as though it ever did. The ears have been welded to it and one is broken off in the pictures.
In June 1925 a Service Bulletin listed the nickel plated radiator apron available for 75 cents. Part number was T 8016. I cannot find this number in the Price List of Parts edited in 1928.
It sure sounds like this apron was completely plated. The apron on my car probably wasn't nickel plated originally - it has the slots in it to mount the nickel strip (part number 3977-D).
Jim, that is an interesting piece you have there. Glad you posted it.
It isn't the apron that was nickel plated. It was the beaded strip that attached to the top of the apron with tabs. They made those for 1925's too, and are quite rare. I've only seen two of them.
Larry, the entire apron is nickel plated on the 1925 accessory apron, part # T-3977B. The factory # is 8016. The description in the factory letter dated April 30, 1925 is "nickel plated", like the radiator shell and headlight rims.
Also, the August 1, 1925 Ford Price List of Parts for Owners, shows it as being "nickel" at $,75. The standard painted apron is only $.35, for comparison.
Larry, I wonder if what you saw was a 1924-25 apron that somebody put a 1926-27 nickel trim strip on? All it takes is 3 little slots.
, and it would crimp on perfectly. Even the hole for the choke wire lines up.
I believe this is the 1925 nickel plated apron, part # T-3977B