Difference in body 1916 and 1917

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Difference in body 1916 and 1917
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard A Eddinger Sacrament Ca on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 08:38 pm:

What was the main difference in the body of the 1916 and the 1917 body? I am looking at a T registered as a 1916 engine number is 1590874. but the owner says it looks more like a 17 body. On the 1916 models can the serial number be found any place else on the car?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 09:44 pm:

The 1917 model year was August 1916 through July 1917.

1590874 corresponds to December 1916.

If the car you are looking at is not a "put-together" and has its original motor, it is a 1917 Ford.

One major difference between 1916 and 1917 model year bodies is the 1917 bodies usually have a notch in the cowl on the firewall to accommodate removal of the radiator radius rod.

Is the car in question a roadster or touring?

The body should have a date (month and year) and a body number on the passenger side floor riser - either stamped in the wood or stamped on a plate attached to the wood. The body number is unique and does not correspond to the motor serial number.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard A Eddinger Sacrament Ca on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 09:50 pm:

Thanks for the information. I know it is registered as a 1916 on the registration. But like you say after I read a couple of articles they started the change around August 1916.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 09:52 pm:

The serial number is only on the engine, though there may be a body number. The date of your serial number is Monday, December 11, 1916. That's well into the 1917 model year.

The differences are major and easy to see. 1916 has an exposed brass radiator, just like 1915. 1917 has a black shell covering the radiator. Look at the front fenders. On a 1916 they're flat. On a 1917 they have a rounded crown in the center, just like a highway. There are other differences, but those are the dead giveaways.


1915-1916 radiator & fenders.


1923 (1917 & later) radiator & fenders.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 10:23 pm:

It's that old thing calender or model year. It may be a new style 1917 model but for TITLE it's a 1916 in some states (when it was sold) so that what your tile will show, 1916.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 11:05 pm:

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one. Calling a 1917 model a 1916 doesn't make it one. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 11:52 pm:

I thought the question was specifically regarding the body, in and of itself, not the general appearance of the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 12:37 am:

OK, here are a 1916 and a 1917. You can compare the bodies.




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 12:58 am:

I guess I'll clarify or perhaps the original poster should clarify.

I own a 1917 roadster. My dad owns a 1917 touring. I know what a 1916 Ford looks like.

Richard Eddinger owns a 1915 roadster. I would think he knows what a 1916 Ford looks like.

Serial number aside, Perhaps Richard should clarify if he is looking at a car that he suspects is a 1917 Ford that has been dressed up with a brass radiator and flat fenders to masquerade as 1916 or, if he simply doesn't know what either a 1916 or a 1917 Ford looks like.

If the inquiry simply about the body in and of itself: to the casual observer, 1916 and 1917 bodies are identical. However, I mentioned that most 1917 bodies have a notch in the cowl to accommodate the radiator radius rod. Note that I said MOST because my roadster has an August 1916 body and does not have this notch. I don't know when this notch was introduced but I believe it was fairly early in the 1917 model year based on studying other examples of 1917 Fords.

(Message edited by Erik_johnson on May 11, 2016)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Hylen- Central Minnesota on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 01:09 am:

Are the door latches and strikers different too? I can't remember which year they changed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 01:25 am:

They did change some time during the 1917 model year from the straight up and down forged handle to the twisted handle, but who knows when?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 03:26 am:

Like most things Ford. None of this is easy. And I don't claim to know a tenth of it. However, throughout the '10s, Ford used several body manufacturers/suppliers. Bodies varied almost daily with several odd trends. On touring cars, the so-called side-panel "rivet" (actually a carriage bolt) went and came back, and went away again only to come back again only to go away again. It was near center panel, near rear panel, about midway back, then gone completely (don't ask me in what order or when!). The seat frame was wood, then steel, then wood again, then steel again. The front floorboard riser also went from wood to steel, back to wood, then eventually steel again. It is enough to drive one crazy. How all these changes back and forth relate to each other I have NO idea. Some of it does have to do with the various body suppliers. Some of it had to do with production delays. Some of them with WWI wartime shortages.
The long and short of it is that re-tracking all these variations is not a simple problem. SOME bodies have manufacturer serial numbers and even better, date codes. Some bodies do not have those.
Things like the door latches likely had considerable overlap of the earlier and newer designs. Few detail changes happened strictly around a model year change. The "notch" in the cowl panel is probably one of the few changes to happen quickly (a very minor change actually). When the change was made to the higher (still low) black shelled radiator for 1917 (a change made around August '16), it suddenly became difficult at the factory to install the radiator brace rod. I have heard of a few early '17s without that notch, but not many.
Overall, the change from '16 (brass radiator) to '17 model year (black radiator shell) looks significant. However the actual difference in the body itself is not much other than the firewall-cover/hood-former itself (and that notch).
There are also many other minor changes and variations over these years. Leather end, or metal end-cap on the front seat upholstery is one. Minor changes in top irons (the body brackets) is another. That detail, I am glad my runabout still had its original brackets in it. Everything fit, and can be assumed to be correct for the car. (Do you have any idea how many ways those things changed?? I don't think anyone can sort them all out!) The top sockets themselves changed from early oval type (without bow bracing) to a later square type somewhere after 1917 model year.

That actually is a big part of a problem for some people. For a long time in the hobby, many people thought it was simply easier to restore one car by using a body from another (usually later) car rather than repairing the original body. Too many '15s, '16s, and even '17s have bodies that are from later cars. Not really a huge deal. But annoying to even marginal purist types. Of course, I am not going to complain about that too much, myself. That is how I came to have an actual February '15 body for my reassembled spring '15 runabout. Somebody, somewhere, has a nice believed-to-be-'15 car with a wrong body on it.

For the most part? Don't obsess over it. Enjoy the car. If it looks like a '16? Call it a '16. If it looks like a '17? Call it a '17. If you want to tour with the HCCA? You may need to make certain of certain details, like engine numbers. And if you think we're tough? You should check into some of the Veteran car rules in Great Briton.
Drive carefully, and do enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 08:44 am:

The local authorities may well have registered it as a 1916 if it was delivered to the customer during calendar year 1916, even if Ford called it a 1917, so if it's an original registration transferred since new, then that would explain it. Many old car enthusiasts has also been concerned with getting as old date on their car as possible, and since the block is dated 1916 that could have been the cause for the date on a more recent registration too. Nothing to worry about, just different practices from Ford and those who registered it :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 11:55 am:

The firewall brackets changed in '17. I've not heard of the radiator support rod referred to as a radius rod! I believe the door handles came in two types during the 14-16 model years, but are very similar.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 12:05 pm:

Semantics…...

Going forward, I will always consult the Price List of Parts to ensure I am using the proper terms prior to posting.

The correct term is "radiator rod," part no. 3932, according to my greasy copy of the "Effective February 1, 1917" edition.


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