Talking to a T guy last night and he told me that his '24 T had a starter. I told him that I thought the starter was optional in '19 and standard in '20 and later on cars. However, being a Buck Private in the rear ranks I don't always know what I'm talking about. Which is it? Thanks,
1919 is when the starter came out for the cars, but probably you're right about 1920 or so being made a standard equipment feature for cars.
As far as I know, the 6-volt electrical system and starter became an option on certain closed-body Fords beginning in 1919, but such equipment was yet unavailable on tourings and roadsters. _ Kerosene-burning cowl lamps were deleted from cars with electrical systems and starters.
Starters were NEVER standard equipment, although I've heard in 1927 they were.
I don't think the starter became standard equipment till the Model A and was an extra cost item 1919 to 1927. Like the spare tire, you may have gotten the holder and rim/wheel (T and A) but you didn't get the tire. It too was extra cost. Bumpers (1926/27 and early Model A) same thing. That's how Ford kept the price down.
When questions like this come up I resort to the encyclopedia.
While the starter was standard on closed cars beginning in January 1919, it was an option on open cars until early in calendar year 1926. So open cars, even the early 1926 models, came with block-off plates unless the buyer paid extra for a starter. Most did.
Looking at the write up in Steve's post above does a starter weight 95 pounds or am I missing something?
I believe they are referring to the total increase of vehicle weight as a result of adding all the components related to the FA Liberty Starting and lighting system; i.e. battery holder and starter switch, storage battery, starting motor, high current cables, generator with cutout and the additional wiring and dash switch assembly.
I thought it was still possible to special order a non-starter car throughout the 1926 model year. I don't know about 1927.
THE LEGENDARY MODEL T FORD by Tom Collins states that the starter became standard in 1926. Personally, I don't know - I am only passing along what the book says.
I think Donnie Brown has a 1926 non-starter car, he has posted some threads on it:
The starter was standard (included in the price) on closed cars from 1919 on. It was optional (pay extra) on open cars until January (?) 1926 when it became standard (included in the price). Does that mean that you couldn't get a late 26 or a 27 without a starter? I doubt it.
Very similar to the cars at the dealerships today. You can find the cars with the extras at the dealer, but if you want "standard" you need to put your name on the waiting list, so the cars with starters were big sellers in the day.
Bottom line up front: For the initial question, ““When was a starter standard equipment?” I believe for a Model T Ford the answer is by early 1926 calendar year or if John is also including the Ton Trucks – never.
Additional details: The Ford USA official price listed the non-starter/non-demountable wheel “loss leader” runabout and touring as late as Feb 11, 1926 at $310 and $290 respectfully. Starters were optional on the Ton Trucks. Ref page 369 Bruce McCalley “Model T Ford” as well as the online encyclopedia at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1926.htm . It is in the top left hand corner of both the on-line as well as the paper version. And at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1927.htm and also on page 370 of his book the middle of the right hand column for the 1927 model year he shared: “Starter and 21” demountable wheels were standard on all cars. Starter was optional on the truck.”
Many of us, myself included would like for things to be more “black & white” and neatly defined and repeatable than they actually are. But for many areas of life, they are just messy and not that clearly defined.
While there could always be an exception or two – for example the 1914 Model T Tourings produced for the 2003 Ford Centennial did not have an electrical starter either standard or optional. But they were clearly not in the normal Model T Ford production. Dealers could also add or delete electrical equipment to make a sale etc.
Note the production records Bruce has listed at: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/fdprod.htm can be misleading if someone does not read the notes carefully. At least they fooled me until I looked at the additional information. That chart stopped listing the vehicles that were sold without a starter separately from those that were sold with a starter. When? With the start of the 1926 calendar year. But that foot note is derived from comparing the production information listed on page 369 (1926) and 370 (1927) along with the comment there “** Includes starter and 21” demountable wheels” with the chart on page 470 & 472 and noting the numbers are the same. But we know that the Ton Truck through 1927 was sold with the starter as optional. As well as some roadsters and tourings were sold without starters during early calendar year 1926.
There is always more to discover and learn about the cars -- from the history to how to adjust carb etc.
Hap l9l5 cut off
Steve, I have not found a "date of change" yet that says for sure when the "non starter" option was no longer available. I am fairly certain that the non starter option was "not available" for 1927 model year cars. Just when or "IF" it was not an option for 1926 model year cars is still uncertain. The date of (early 1926 ??) you mentioned above and also in the encyclopedia, may be the date of change for the "non starter option" no longer being available. I hope to make a trip to the Benson some day and try to nail down some of the "dates of change" on the many, many, many, changes made to the Improved 1926-27 Models that I have found to exist.
Fred Houston told me about a '27 non-starter car he had seen, which was an unrestored original. If the electrical equipment was considered to be "standard" by then, perhaps someone could order one without it and get a rebate. Or maybe all 27's left the assembly plants with electrical equipment and a dealer would remove it and refund that part of the car's cost. I expect dealers would do pretty much anything a buyer wanted in order to sell a car.