Here is the earliest photo that I have. I believe this was taken in the spring summer of 1954. My grandpa bought the coupelet on December 31st 1953.
As you can see it has black trim rings on both the headlights and marker lamps. My mom told me grandpa spent many an hour polishing the rings to keep them shiny. But she never mentioned if they had been replaced. At that time in her life she probably didn't know everything her dad was doing in his garage.
Here's a picture taken sometimes in the 60's
My December '15 touring, which of course is really a '16 was taken apart for restoration in the 1960s, and in the box of parts that came with it are a set of brass rings for the headlights and the cowl/tail lights; reproductions, of course. I'll probably find someone who needs them eventually, as they certainly aren't going on my car!
No need to phony mine into a '15, it qualifies as a "pre '16 even though it's a 16 model!
David D, If you want to get rid of those brass trim pieces? Maybe I could find something to trade to you. I have most of the pieces I need for my runabout, but a few of the pieces aren't too good. I think I may be able to fix them, however, better ones would be a nice thing.
Philip B, If it were me, I am not sure which way I would go with your car. Because it was your grandfather's T, I would be tempted to keep it close to the way it was when he had it and drove it on tours. But I would sure be tempted to put it back to black trim like it had when new.
That's me, no help at all today.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Is the car really a 1915, or is it a 1916 made in the last five months of 1915? Does it have a 1915 serial number, and 1915 features (ribbed pedals, headlight adjustment screw above the socket, 1915 backing plates, etc.)? The MTFCI judging guidelines are a good listing of each year's features.
Philip's car is a 1916 model year. The headlamp rings would have been black originally. We established that in a discussion of the car several years ago I think.
The "clipped" front spring is unique to 1916 model year, a very hard to find part.
According to the MTFCI judging guidelines, 1915 Model Year is January 1915- October 1915, eng. # 656064-914026. Philip does not mention the engine number, so nothing to go on there at the moment. Maybe gramps got tired of polishing the trim and just painted 'em black?
It has square front spring leaves too.
Okay let's stick to the subject matter, I was responding to the discussion from Rob H's post and it rabbit trailed into a discussion of trim rings.
As received my 16 coupelet (Nov/Dec 1916 assembly date) came with brass trim rings on the headlights and front marker lamps. According to Trent (from research) it should have had steel rings painted black.
Along with the car I received all my grandpa's paperwork. In that paperwork were two receipts for brass trim rings. He wrote on the receipts "for 15 coupelet".
With that I do not know if my grandfather changed the trim rings to brass. As seen in the top photo this is the earliest picture I have of the car after purchase, it clearly shows black painted trim rings. The bottom photo was taken much later (60's) and shows brass trim rings. So did my grandfather change the trim rings at some point in time? I don't know.
My mom only remembers him polishing the rings when he got the car out for a event. Now to make the mystery more exciting I have the original Hemmings featured car article. It states that my grandpa removed the black paint on the trim rings to expose the brass.
My 16 coupelet is titled as a 15 because my grandpa was sure it was a 15.
The repros are easy to spot. Let's see some photos.
You may never be able to know for certain, there are several likely scenarios. But from all the clues that you have shared, I would guess that your grandfather bought and changed (either in parts or all) the lamps to fit what was believed by most to be correct at that time (the receipt for buying lamps does indicate that). The Nov/Dec '15 build date clearly should have had black painted steel rims originally. But most people in the '50s and '60s did not know that. It was commonly believed (incorrectly) that brass rims continued to the end of calendar year '15.
Since it was your grandfather's car, and you do have that special connection to it and to him. I would recommend probably to keep the lamps on it, the way he used it. But that is me, and I am sometimes a sentimental old fool.
It would not be totally wrong to do so. The car would not be absolutely correct. But how many cars really are?????? (Not many) The Couplet came out at the beginning of the '15 model year, in late calendar year '14. The first ones came out with the very rare early '15 model year oil lamps and slightly different headlamps. All very rare parts (I have the tail lamp).
Around the beginning of calendar year '15, the Couplets transitioned to the standard early '15 head/side/tail lamps. Except for the brass trim, they are nearly identical to a '16 lamp. Most other changes between a spring '15 and a December '15 Couplet were transitional, and later in that time frame. Aluminum hoods and hogsheads were still being assembled onto some cars that late, even though the steel ones began showing up by October. There is a very famous photo of the December '15 1,000,000 motor on the assembly line. A few engines away from it, still on the assembly line, is a new motor with an aluminum hogshead.
If it were me, my car, my grandfather. I would leave the brass trim lamps on it, as something that was "his touch". And I would use whichever hood that he had on the car. I believe I recall that you have returned the original engine that he had kept, back into the car. That is a good thing, for both you, him, and the car. And everything else, I would make as correct as reasonably possible for a Nov/Dec '15.
That is my opinion. For whatever it is worth.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Ford is known to have painted brass parts black to match current production, or perhaps I should say the parts suppliers to Ford, as oftentimes the lamps, etc. were made by outside vendors.
My car is Dec. 10, 1915, we figure about mid-morning. If you look at the 1,000,000 engine, built 28 engines after mine (if memory serves me) that engine has an aluminum hogshead with smooth pedals. The ribbed pedals were only in use for a very short time. My car is definitely a 1916 year model, but made in 1915.
Back in the 1960s, not many folks new, nor understood the year model/ built year differences. Phillip, judging by your receipts and photos, either your grandfather changed the rims, or he stripped and polished the rims. Now also working from memory, I believe the Couplets sometimes had their own rim styles, a bit wider than the norm, but the books and info on that are not readily at hand.
I have been careful to read up on what is NORMALLY brass on a '16, as there isn't a lot! Things like windshield retaining channel, windshield hinge screws and the pivot nut, spark & throttle levers and steering gear case. Early 16s may have had a brass coil box switch cover, but by the time mine came out it was blued steel with stamped letters, Hmm, that's all that comes to mind, forgot where I put the list!