So, my 1913 Touring is a very late model year car. It has a June engine, and while it does have a 2-piece drive shaft, it does have the 1914 frame. There are some parts on the car that still sport the original paint and from what I can see, it is black. At one time, I thought the paint was very dark blue (when viewed in the bright sunshine) but I determined that what I was seeing in the reflection of the paint was actually a reflection of the blue sky, giving it a slight dark-blue hue. So, aside from the fact that the paints can darken, I am still inclined to believe that it is possible that my car was originally black.
My car has engine number 299,995. Is there anyone out there with a car number that is higher, yet has confirmed blue paint? I think it would be interesting to try and pinpoint where the changeover took place.
James, from what I've read, some early '13s may have been black from the factory. My 254xxx is dark blue, through and through (no rhyme intended). I understand as they got more towards mid-late year they were going black. I have a friend with a '13 that I believe is somewhere around 385xxx (?) and while it is red, there is plenty of evidence of original dark blue under seats, etc. Hope this helps.
James, if in doubt, if you hit an obscure part of what you think is original paint with a little rubbing compound on a white rag, what rubs off on the rag will be obviously blue or black. That's also true for greens, reds, or whatever. It's just a quick non-scientific way to at least narrow down what color family you have.
I think it would be interesting to try and pinpoint where the changeover took place.
" "COLORS: All cars were painted black, with black fenders. (Factory cost books indicate that touring bodies were painted blue until October, 1914.)" "
Should that quote quote be -" painted blue until October, 1913.)" ???? October '13 would be the '14 style body. Most 1914 model year body style touring cars were all black. Only a few late '13 model year but '14 style year cars and maybe a few early '14 model year but '13 calendar year cars should have been blue (even really DARK blue). The improved body design was being switched a bit early relative to the standard model year change due to problems with the earlier '13 style bodies.
This subject interests me for several reasons. Not the least of which is that I have a door apparently from a '14 touring that appears to maybe have original blue paint on it. The jury is still out on that, however. I just want to help sort out this minor model T detail.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
All.. Here is a photo of the underside of my hood. This is the original paint. It took a lot of rubbing compound and polishing compound to get the years of caked on grease and oxidation off to reveal the original color.
So here is where everything gets screwy. You can clearly see in the photograph that the color looks to be a midnight blue. This is how it looks in the sun so the photo is a good duplication of reality. But when I look at it with white light in the shop, it looks black. This leaves the million dollar question - are all these "original" cars with a dark-almost-black-blue color really just black with the pigment crapping out? .
Jim - what did the rag look like when you rubbed the paint? (referring to Walter's post above)
It was a dark rag so I couldn't tell. Plus, it was a few years ago and I was just figuring it was black until Larry Smith told me to take it into the sun.
Roger.. There's nothing stopping me from going at it again with a white rag!
The shop light would need a CRI above 93 to reveal
the correct color. Go with sunlight.
The inside of my hood looks the same as yours, except it appears to be black! I'm going to paint the car dark blue anyway. I've already bought the paint!
Should that quote quote be -" painted blue until October, 1913.
In reference to Walters point about rubbing the color with a rag to see what the color is.
The color is in a ground or base coat, they were finished with a clear coating (as is mostly the case today)
It is this coating that fails quickly giving the finish a dull look that some then question if Fords were glossy when they left the factory. . Again something often seen in modern car paints
Well boys, the white rag test was inconclusive (or maybe it wasn't..). It looks black on the rag.
Even the darkest blues will look like bright blue with a rag test. What you're working with is likely black.
Now, how do you know what you have isn't a repaint? A lot of old repaints are mistaken for original. Many cars were repainted even when just a few years old. It takes more scientific testing to determine that in most cases, though.
I will say, what you have there looks to be in awfully good shape. Not an impossibility, but typically unlikely on a finish of that age.
There was a thread some years ago in which some old written literature suggested a multi-coat paint application similar to what Peter Kable mentioned. Seems to me that there was a blue coat (well, clear with some blue tint) over black, or maybe it was vice-versa.
My point is that maybe in your polishing, you have gone through the blue layer and into a black substrate.
Could you try another spot with your white rag ?
Peter, what do you think ?
Is there a scientist among us?
Snyder's catalog is in error regarding the fenders on your car. The fenders used on your car were not used in any T built in the 1913 model year. The fenders on your car were used during the entire 1914 model year. Use of the fender with no bills was until at least June 1914, and probably later.
The encyclopedia statement is somewhat misleading too, as it states the fact, then makes an erroneous statement (in parenthesis) similar to the one in Snyder's catalog:
JUN 11 Acc. 575, Ford Archives
T2654 front fender “peak” specified. A new design, this may have been the front lip (or bill) which appeared in 1914 before the 1915 models. (The 1913 and early 1914 fenders had no bill.)
Numerous changes were made in the front fenders and splash aprons at this time.
Not me Larry... I'm just a lowly Engineer.
What I plan to do next is to move the car into the sunshine in the coming week and view the hood against the black fenders. See what that shows us.
This site chews up and spits out scientific results, and the engineers engineer and the scientists scientist tend to run...
However, were someone to really want to know and be accurate to a level acceptable to even the US Govt, I'd suggest using the governments own protocol method for the national painted treasures.
This is to create a crater in an obscure place, a crater that will reveal the history of the coatings along with the most probable original color hue of each layer...but folks here seem to resist going that far to the best of my knowledge.
Take a piece of 200 grit and with only your fingers as backing and swirling a circle, open up a hole to bare metal the size of a dime...
Then successively move up going to 600, then 1000, then even 1500 where at the 1500 the test point is the size of a half dollar while the bare spot stays less than the size of a nickel...
Apply a quick thin coat of mineral oil...
Count the rings revealed and color match by comparison each ring...
Shows the layers...and is the closest known way to mimic an early paint free of oxides and UV burn...could also point out a recoat....(even under a scope, it is difficult, not impossible but extremely expensive, to sort out the beneficial oxides of the original pigment and carrier from the later non-beneficial oxides cause by natural air, light, and UV, so the govt accepts the sanded circle from conservators investigation on general treasures.)
Yeah, it is only accurate to one light frequency and a fairly tight range...but still close enough for the general public eye perspective for the front door, windows, trim, and general furniture in govt archives
James, I just had a thought..could it be possible that the fenders/splash aprons ARE black, and the body IS midnight blue? With these cars, anything's possible. Just thinking....which for me is dangerous.
George... Great information!
Tim... My car is a very low-mileage car with a working speedometer that shows 20,400 miles. The rest of the car has wear that agrees. It was repainted black about 30 years ago. HOWEVER, they left some parts original. For instance, the steering column, hood former and the entire running gear are un-touched. They replaced the original interior with horrible vinyl, the top is not correct, and they gave the exterior sheet-metal a novice paint job that it terrible also. But despite all that, and to my good fortune, they left the under-side of the hood original. It was caked in grease and I spent some time cleaning and removing it. You can see runs in the paint where it was coated very thick in paint and then leaned on something while it dried. It's classic for the era.
Anyway, I only have a few items to extract original paint from, and the under side of the hood is the best spot.
George's information is great, but like he mentioned, I am reluctant to sand a crater into the original paint. Besides, if we have to look this hard at the original paint and squint in sunlight to say that we "think" it's midnight blue, then I'm not so sure it's blue at all. Here is a picture of my car.
lets not forget that in Bruces book he states that blue paint was still in stock in 1917. thats never been explained. my 14 will be blue because i like it!
At the OCF a few years ago there were 3 or 4 Canadian cars painted very dark blue and the latest was a 1915?? Bud.
The less invasive way is to pick a chip and send it off. They will set it in resin, saw it in half, polish it, and look at it thorough a microscope. I have a few chips out right now.
There are right ways to pick them and strategic places to look. In the case of wood bodied cars (or even here with your door jambs), they can provide the best samples because even on a body that has been stripped, it's unlikely they picked clean all the tight spots and you can tell a lot about what you're starting with where the base layer has soaked into the fibers of the wood vs. a metal panel that, once stripped, is just paint on metal.
It's not something that most people care to dig into, but that's how you get a truly definitive answer. From there, they can also analyze the chemical makeup of the paint to to tell if it was created later than the era in which the car was built, etc.
According to Trent B., there is strong, but not totally conclusive, evidence that touring bodies were blue into the summer of '14.
Snyder's catalog is in error regarding the fenders on your car.
I've had luck finding paint colors mentioned in want ads and news articles for other period Ford's, but not much for Ts in 1913 and 14 (searching blue and Ford). I did find these two. I think the stolen T would be a 1912 car based on the number. The other doesn't have a year listed. Not much help, except to demonstrate that different combinations such as blue with yellow wheels existed. Also no way of knowing if these were factory or repaint colors:
You must either say calendar or model year. Otherwise what you are saying doesn't make sense. This is the problem with the vendor catalogs - they are saying something that might be true for the calendar, but not for the model year.
In no case does a 1913 model year fender have any beads across the widest part of the fender, or on the inner fender.
The 1914 model year began August 1, 1913. The fenders that were being used would have been exactly what you see on your car, and James Lyons car, and my 1914 touring when new.
Those fenders were used until the new "1915 style" billed fenders arrived in June 1914, just in time for the beginning of the 1915 model year.
Well, that's good to know. So apparently, the catalogs are selling fenders by when the car was produced in a calendar year.
Did you arrive at these details from a judging manual?
Early '14 photos taken in like August or September of '13 show numerous '13 parts.
No, the record of changes are the source of many production facts regarding the exact dates of engineering and production changes. They are arranged in terms of the calendar. You have to compare the date with the date that your car was built to see if a part has changed, and whether your car still wears its original part, or some part that was made too early or too late.
Early '14 photos taken in like August or September of '13 show numerous '13 parts.
Thanks for the links, Royce. I was told that the car was "mostly" original when I bought it and 1914 fenders lines up better with a 1 14 body date.
I think I'm going to use some of my social security money to hire a psychic and after she lays her hands on the car, tell me everything I want to know about it. Yeah, that should do it.
(Me, Laughing out loud!)
Photo of a new 1914 with "1913 style" front fenders. No bead across the wide part or apron. Example of what you are talking about.
Ken in Texas
Know Ford and his no waste and running change he probly just added black paint to the dark blue and kept on with production
In the picture that Ken posted of the new 1914 touring isn't those cars in the background well used late 14s or early 15s, I was just wondering where the new early 14 come from.
Jesse, funny you should say that, I took my 14 to a psychic and this pic of the new 14 and asked her if they were the same car. She laid her hands on my 14 and the picture, and she assured me it was the same car. That's all she could tell me about the history of it. So if you all want to know who has this car it is me! LOL
Even though the photo above has been posted numerous times over the years, has anyone commented on the brass plated nuts on the firewall? There are a lot of cars around with these nuts that are painted black.
The photo was taken inside the Ford Highland Park plant executive garage. The building still exists today.
Dan - What is the dash tag number? grin
I have a higher resolution and can see the tag is numbered...
Tim - A better choice of words may have been "like new, very early '14".
The first two cars on the left are 1915's, billed front fenders so the picture was probably taken some time after August 1914 when the 1914 cars began use of the billed, full beaded fenders.
I believe the photo is from the other forum and the detail is beautiful. There are several 1913 parts that indicate early 1914 style car.
Obviously, in this photo, the front fenders are 1913 and the other is that particular Stewart Model C was used on 1913 cars built prior to August 1913. My #312,XXX would have looked like that when new so answers any questions I could have.
The metal coil box is a 1913 part but is not particularly helpful in indicating date of assembly. Ford probably used them as soon as they were available, February/March 1913 to take advantage of the new coil. There was no reason a 1914 style car couldn't have had a wood coil box except there wasn't any left by July 15, 1913. ----Same situation with the 1913 windshields, used them on the 1914 style until they were all used up.
The speedometer in the photo is not the last style Model C Stewart used on 1913 calendar year cars, there is one more.
The Model C's are about a 1/2" shallower, front to back than the Model 102.
The last Model C's were used prior to November 1, 1913, and suggest that the dashboard on this car was assembled sometime between mid-July and the end of October 1913.
Too bad we can't tell what color the car was. Dan!!
Ken in Texas
Thank you Royce. I couldn't remember where it came from but it is really a very nice photo.
Ken in Texas
Wait a minute. "...some time after August 1914 when the 1914 cars began use of..." After August wouldn't they be 1915 cars?
I purchased rights to publish that photo from Ford Photographic. I think I sent you the high resolution version years ago. I want to make it into a poster for my garage some day.
The original plate glass negative is in the Ford Photographic media collection in the basement of the Ford World Headquarters building in Dearborn on One Ford Road.
Ken, the number was stamped to lightly to read 102 years later,the color might be blue or black, maybe I should take it back to the psychic and see if she can figure it out. Seriously I also have a very early 13, November 12 with a lot of 12 parts, it looks black, maybe I will try a circle spot under the hood.
Yes, but the open cars looked like 1914's until sometime in January 1915 when some 1915 style open cars began being produced.
The 1915 model year began about engine number 569,000 for the closed 1915's so there must be a lot of 1914 style open cars out there above that number. Some maybe as late as March 1915.
Ken in Texas
You shared it on the other forum 3-7-2015 in the 1914 thread. Great photo.
Here are some pictures of a original Jan 1914, cast on block Dec,1913 with 1913 fenders.
Those coffee can headlights look right at home!
The nut and washer inside the engine compartment on each of the 1913/1914 metal coil box bolts are also brass plated on mine.
Ford may have been using 1913 style fenders well into the 1914 Model year.
Ken in Texas