I am in the process of restoring my 1926 Coupe, and I am working on repairing messes left by the previous owners.
Someone had gutted a speedometer housing and used it as a spot for aftermarket turn signals. I have removed the turn signal system. I know most (all?) T's didn't come with speedometers, but I thought I might have read somewhere that they could be had in the improved cars. Should I patch the speedometer hole or leave it and find a speedometer to install?
There are two holes on the underside of the dash just to the right of the carburetor adjustment hole. Before I weld them up in- are these supposed to be there? I don't think they attach to anything as I recall, but I wanted to see if someone might have a photo of the bottom lip of their 26 dash.
If nobody can see the holes I'd leave them. In the future you could hang an accessory.
Leave the dash light hole. That is correct. As far as the speedometer hole, it was nicely done, but you are going to have to measure it and contact Russ Furstnow to see what speedometer it could use. As for the ones on the right bottom side do as you wish. I'd weld them.
I'd find a speedo and a dash light (holes above speedo) as a speedo is nice to have. I'd also keep the turn signal system and make it less obvious and look old. Hard to use hand signals in a coupe with the windows up and most people don't know what they are anyway.
Here's the dash to my '26 coupe. I added the clock and speedometer. The original Ford dash light was in the dash when I bought the T in 1970. These are all original, correct and functional accessories for the period. Jim Patrick
The speedometer in Jims car above is the one most '26s use, but I think the hole in you dash is larger?
Yes. In 2010, I purchased complete original sets of both the 160 and 490 speedometers. Although I preferred the look and size of the more elaborate 160, I decided to install the smaller 490 in my dash because it was the most correct for the 1926, even though the earlier 160, being very close to the same era, would have been suitable also. What I liked about the 160 is the colored numbers that can be set to corresponded with the mileage between various Model T service times. I still have the 160. It appears that the hole in Michael's dash is for a 160. Jim Patrick
I take that back. The position of the dash light on Michael's dash would prohibit the installation of the 160, due to the adapter plate. Jim Patrick
Jim, The Stewart 160 mounting plate shown in your post above is for a pre 26 T. The 26-27 T's using the 160 used a different mounting plate. I have a picture of it. I'll try to post it.
Thanks for the insight, everyone. I'll measure the speedometer hole today and post up, it would be nice to know what to look for.
A friend has 1926 FORDOR with the exact same dash. The 160 speedometer is in that hole, without the plate and firmly attached.
I have one of those plates like is shown with the photo and it has three small tabs with a screw hole in them to mount the speedometer.
The speedometers are still available and not very cheap to buy.
James, I have a 160 speedometer set with the reset knob to the right of the number. Doesn't there need to be a rounded U shaped notch to the right of the larger hole to accommodate the reset knob? Without the above 1919-'25, 160 adapter plate, or the revised '26-27, 160 adapter plate Terry referred to, how is the gearbox of the reset knob hidden? Jim Patrick
Jim, there were two Stewart Warner speedometers offered in 1926, the 160 shown above and the 490, not shown, but that is possibly the one that was originally installed in the above dash photo, as it did not have the reset knob, which replaced the lower right screw in the 160 speedometer mounting shown. The 490 may have been smaller than that hole, as I have never seen one.
There was also an accessory A. C. Company speedometer available that did not have a reset knob and was about the right size to fill that hole.
My friend's speedometer does not have a reset knob, so it could be an A.C. or a 490, but the hole is about the same size and the dash light above is mounted in about the same place. I may have to look closer to the back some day.
Looking in Bruce McCalley's book, it does suggest that this car may have come equipped with the A. C. Company speedometer, especially if it was an early 1926.
Stewart Model 160
This was the most common of the Ford speedometers. Mounted on a rectangular escutcheon that in turn mounted on the right end of the instrument panel. Drum type 75 MPH. Had a 5-digit odometer plus a 3-digit trip odometer below the speed indicator. The trip reset button is on the right side.
AC (First series)
Similar in dimensions and mounting to the Stewart. Drum type 80 MPH. 3-digit trip odometer was below the 5-digit odometer. The reset button was on the lower face below the trip odometer.
AC (C series)
Similar to the First series but with a less ornate face design. Trip reset button out the side of the case behind the instrument panel.
The larger hole maybe fit this style speedo. Haven't seen one in person in a '26 dash, have seen more the 490 style. The Improved car dash doesn't have much space behind due to the gas tank.
The more compact '490' style, uses a smaller hole in the dash.
I have seen the 160 mounting plate at Chickasha a couple of years ago. It is raised up and angled out for gas tank clearance. I went with the 490 .
I think I would see what speedo I could find (if any) THEN decide on the hole.
I agree that turn signals (and a stop light) are essential. My LHD coupe has the switch under the bottom edge at the left end by my door, and an LED 'tell-tale' red light just poking out from behind the trim in the extreme top left corner of the trim above the screen so it's in my eye line.
James, the 490 is shown next to the 160 in the first page I posted. In it, you can see a comparative size and that the 490 is much smaller, due to the cowl tank and probably not the type that was mounted in the hole in Michael's dash, for the hole in his dash is much larger than the adapter ring that held the 490 in place. I installed the 490 in mine and may sell my 160, setup. Jim Patrick
The speedometer hole is 3-3/8" in diameter. Here are the two holes in question on the underside:
I'm going to leave it for now, but I think I might weld it up in the future. If I have to downsize it to fit a speedometer I might as well fill the whole thing in and save some money on the speedo.
Michael: 1926 dash boards are relatively easy to find, and I would suggest replacing it if you don't want the huge hole. However, now that you are becoming a body man, perhaps you could weld in an insert?