Been researching and am wondering about which frame and body I have.
Sold to me as a ‘20.
‘23 engine. A broken ‘20 engine came along with (both mean nothing really).
Let’s assume the frame and body have been together for 96 odd years (I KNOW about ass-u-me’ing). Partial history on this Ford.
Cleanly drilled/rusty holes for the boughten battery box (frame was painted before drilling). Punched holes wouldn’t be that darned pretty. Found a really cool chart from Gavin H . http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/411944/491959.html?1415785956. Scroll down a bit. Am I looney?
NO holes in the frame for the starter switch and bracket (that why it’s just layin" there) and NO hole for the battery cable holder (double checked my late center-door chassis for reference).
Hacked out hole in the steel floor just in front of the “heel plate" and behind the floor board for a starter switch (very original body).
Wide (two u-bolt) engine mount/spring clamp up front.
Bolted front cross member with safety wires on the bolts. NOT riveted to the frame rails.
Where are the body numbers IF/WHEN they exist on the roadsters? I’ve been lookin’ but I forget...
Wood firewall (with used holes for the dimmer winding thing--I’ll assume the original firewall bits are with this pile of parts), crazy dimmer/horn switch for the column in the toolbox (this all means nothing perhaps), maybe marks on the column where the switch/horn button was. Maybe.
Side question: Repop firewall from 30 years ago... Do the holes sometimes NOT line up to the body? The hole pattern is way off on the upper holes. The repop firewall matches today’s firewall pics nicely.
Dash is another question in and of itself. Hacked up opening for the square switch and screws. Screws? Not bolts? Excuse my ignorance. No steel “cover” for the wood dash. I need to show this in a pic.
Cannot trust the fenders, splash aprons and running boards as similarities abound in this time frame IF I have my head on square. They all appear brand new (30 years ago) anyway.
What else can I show and ask to get it right? :-)
The frame and (mostly) untouched body are all I have to go on.
Body screws are another subject that’ll wait for another minute.
The clean MN title and pioneer plates say '20 so that's A-OK with me but I'd like to know.
Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the thing!
My wild starry-eyed guess would be that the title means about as much as anything else on the car.
Does the title number match either engine? Basically NO frame before December 1925 had a serial number from a USA Ford factory. And runabout bodies last had Ford "car numbers" stamped on the firewall plate in early 1915. SOME runabout bodies (depending upon who built it and when) may have had manufacturer numbers cut or stamped into the floorboard riser, or seat frame, or on a plate nailed onto the sill board inside the passenger's door. This up into 1919. After that, Ford built most of the touring car and runabout bodies and did not number them. Closed cars (including my '24 coupe) often had them until somewhat later.
See the thread on the following link for some examples of manufacturer's numbers.
A big question? Or did I miss it? Which style running board brackets does your chassis have? And, is it drilled for only the one type? Or drilled for both types? That would mean as much as any other one detail.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Forged brackets only. No holes for the later type at all.
I should've addressed this.
Wayne, thank you for the post. Your link causes me all kinds of things to look for/at! No numbers/letters in my looking thus far.
Oh Jimmeny! Hinges! That may help... Questions there too.
Duey, on our Canadian sourced cars the last of the 21 models still had forged running board brackets. Your mix of some holes for the battery carrier, none for the starter switch, may indicate that the car originally came without the electrical gear.
The stamped holes in the chassis rail blanks were nice and clean. I don't think you can make assumptions about holes based solely on how neat and tidy they are.
Others will have more to add.
Allan from down under.
With enough parts changes, and effort, you can turn it into pretty much anything you want it to be. I would guess that it probably was about a 1918 or '19 pre-starter chassis. The body may or may not have been original to it, as with the dash. The same is true for the engine.
You can pretty much pick a year that you like, and build it to match, or just use whatever parts that are convenient and call it whatever you want to.
Model Ts do not have to be perfect to be a lot of fun! In fact, many of the most enjoyed model Ts are a mix of many year parts.
You can restore it to suit yourself, or your budget.
I hope you have a lot of fun restoring, and driving it, for many years to come.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Well, the body numbers were staring me in the face! Just where they're supposed to be.... on the right hand riser!
3 9 3430 Could that really be a 7 and a 17 on either side of the screw?
No letter on the heel plate/seat riser.
I gotta go clean up a few rusty holes on the frame.
Allan, you were correct to challenge my assumptions about drilled verses stamped frame holes. I'm glad you did. :-) So I went lookin' again.
Why on Earth didn't I just remove the turtle deck? It ain't correct and it ain't bolted down... Looney? Uh huh. Darned creeper hurts my everything.
I'll beg for help later about low turtle deck widths and what-not.
On second and third inspection, these 3 battery box holes were drilled by hand. The left rail holes are not evenly spaced height-wise and all three have drilling burrs from a twist drill and they were definitely drilled after the frame was painted.
I might put that battery box in the car but I'll drill no holes for the starter switch mount plate, I can't bear to do it at this time. :-/
"7 17" corresponds to July 1917 followed by the body serial number. Most likely wound up on a 1918 Ford (August 1917 through July 1918) especially if that is one of the cars that you recently retrieved from Minnesota.
Duey, The "7" "17" are probably the manufacturer's date code. But maybe not
There doesn't seem to be a solid correlation yet between the date codes and car manufacture date (as determined by the original engine serial number. Still trying to sort that one out.
Often, the car's build date follows the body's date by about two months. It probably depends a lot on whether the body was delivered "finished" or "in the white" (meaning it still needed upholstery and trimming, and maybe even paint. Sometimes bodies were built by one supplier, then finish by another, which could make the delay even longer. Sometimes, bodies were finished in the Ford factory.
The order of the "7" and the "17" make me question it. But IF it is the manufacturer's date code, it would indicate a late '17 or early '18 model year body. Those codes usually were only the month and year abbreviations. Full month-day-year codes have occasionally been found.
Either a late '17 could or early '18 would have had the fancy column mounted horn/light switch and dash mounted dimmer coil. It sounds like you have some of that stuff. So I would think that to be a good era to aim for. I think a nice pre-starter runabout would be great properly restored. And if you really wanted a "self-commencer" on the car, I don't think anybody would shoot you for it.
Whatever you do decide to do with it. It is your car. I hope you have a lot of fun with the journey!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I type slow!
And, that is what happens to me when I read the English model T message site. My head starts reversing date codes!
To reiterate, it is a July 1917 body. That does not automatically mean the car was assembled in July. Bodies were components, just like anything else, so they did sit in inventory. There are a at least a few variables for the lag between the body date and the assembly date. For one thing, it depended on the delivery schedule from the body builder to Ford Motor Co. They could have sat in the body builder's inventory and/or Ford Motor Co.'s inventory. Also, it takes travel time to deliver bodies to branch assembly plants. Some bodies sat longer than others. The date and serial number were most likely stamped by the body supplier, not Ford Motor Co.
1917 models have the light switch on the firewall. Based on surviving cars and documentation, the combination light switch/horn button did not appear until a few months into the 1918 model year. I am aware of two early 1918 Fords (September and October 1917) that still have the light switch on the firewall.
My dad has a July 1917 touring (last month of the model year). His car has a June 1917 body with stamping directly in the wood riser - same as what Duey C shows.. Light switch is still on the firewall. My dad the second owner of the car, having purchased it in 1949 in excellent unrestored condition from the original family.
The Rip Van Winkle touring is a June 1917 car. It has June 1917 body with serial number 238750 stamped directly in the wood riser. Number appears as follows on the car: "6 . 17 . 238750."
I also have an unrestored May 1917 roadster sitting in the garage - known history since new. Date and serial number are stamped on a metal plate that is attached to the floor riser. My car has an August of 1916 body. Why it sat so long before ending up on a car is a mystery. The original upholstery is single button like late 1917 Fords, not double button like the earliest 1917 Fords so the body sat a long time before being on a complete car.
All three of the above were assembled at the Minneapolis plant.
If Duey C's car came from the pile of stuff that he recently bought in Minnesota, and that body had spent its entire life here, the car from which it came most likely would been assembled at the Minneapolis plant. If the firewall with the dimmer coil is original to the roadster body, then it definitely have been no earlier than a 1918 Ford. If the firewall is not original to the body, it may have wound up on a 1917 Ford (July) but I'll bet odds are ended up on a 1918 Ford (August or later).
Erik in Minneapolis
The car could not have been assembled prior to July of 1917 because that is the month the body was manufactured. Erik is right, it likely was a 1918 Model T.
Erik, umm yep. That's one of them. Gosh, it's gonna be a sweety! Another couple little things are pushing to the '18 model year also. The original firewall bits, it's "used" screw holes (after Dec '17) and a part in the toolbox that was in that shed. That crazy dimmer switch for '18 plus marks in the fresh paint (then) on the column for the clamp/holder. Where the hell did the wiring "conduit" go to? Two welds seem to have held the "conduit" (can't remember the name of it) on the column. I gotta do some lookin' in the parts piles for a conduit...
This chassis has been re-done crazy like! Parts, fenders, running boards and more. The body was left alone pretty much. Theres's so much "new" put on this chassis, that it's hard to count it all.
This car had been around the New Ulm area for ???? years.
I have the 1938 card from (Tremaine) Oconomowoc, WI for this car, then on to Laatsch in Jefferson, WI (bought at an auction in Ococomowoc), Spangler hauled it for Laatsch's-prob'ly July '73- There was an old photo in the envelope from the seller in the paperwork! It's my car, judging by the ratty interior hanging out...). Mr. Laatsch bought some parts for it. Top irons and bows at least. Then to New Ulm for ??? years and then to the sellers shed around '93 when he was on a T kick. He's a Harley-Davidson fella. Cool guy!
The TT and the open cab TT "faced" pickup, with a wonderful period pickup box came from Nicollet, MN. Just a couple counties south of the seller. Those two bad boys were in other sheds.
Wayne, thank you so much! You type slow? I type slow too! It has taken me an hour plus to type this out (so it's as correct as possible).
I hear you about the date codes and the maybe not's... It's hard telling at this point.
Yup, on the other hand I've resorted to calling this an '18 and my wife simply says "Nice." She's gonna cut grass as soon as I put gas in the mower.
She lets me be consumed.
Oh! Gas in the mower!
I'd LOVE to think that a T from the Oconomowoc, WI area would've been assembled in Minnecomepapolis!
My Twin City 17-28 tractor rode the rails up to the nearest point to Kensington and got off and stayed there until it came a bit south...
Thank you guys!
If the car was originally sold to a resident of Oconomowoc, WI, then it most likely was assembled in Milwaukee.
Next question if I may for this '18 roadster.
Does the radiator brace rod pass thru the body or just the firewall? I'd wager just the firewall but wanted to ask... Probably just under that "archway" in the body.
Last one tonight I hope. Has anyone ever used self adhesive weatherproof foam in between the body and the firewall instead of the felt?
The rod passes only through the firewall. That is the reason for the half circle notch in the cowl.
Your cowl has three extra non-factory holes. (Later cowls had two extra square holes and a metal strap on the inside of the cowl - not sure exactly when that occurred, 1919/20?)
Yes - we used foam weatherstripping when we put a new firewall on my dad's 1917 touring.
Aha! That looks nice! Did those two outer bolts, just under the third (down) row of weather stripping pull it all together on top? My cowl wants to stick out on the bottom up there.
I was going to drill the two outer holes of those three as I want the cowl to "conform" (Jeez, I hate that word-old job related) better to the firewall...
I do have a couple wood frame screws that are missing also. One open hole can be seen in the pic on the middle right. Those screws will help a bit to pull the upper cowl lower lip back.
Plus I should reset the smaller body to frame screws up there (just out of the pic) to get them more flush with the steel.
Any sources for correct screws? I have almost none. Screws or sources. U.S. made would be the best for me. :-)
WAIT! Is that a boughten firewall? Were the carriage bolt holes counter-bored?
Any clue how to counter-bore those four holes for the bolt heads when holes are present already? Or do I just whack them? I hate to as that's never very nice looking. My 30 year old firewall (incorrect) isn't counter-bored for the carriage heads...
I know, too damn many questions but the devil is in the details and and this one might be half-ways correct-ish if I let it. This little car has always had love and parts thrown at it and I'll continue in that endeavor as I can.
My '24? Who cared! Get it up and going was the motto. It was close and it fit? perfect! Gosh, we've had fun with Lizzie!
Tin Cup (the '18) should get almost the Royal treatment as it's so far along already in the chassis. lotsa nuts to tighten and key.
Just for fun.
Look at the upholstery. Not intentional but it works for me. :-)
Raggedy Ann (Tin Cup). Picture taken July of '73.
The firewall was purchased front Langs. We had the factory drawings and made necessary corrections to it to make it correct for 1917. We also had two original 1917 firewalls to use as a reference.
Take a look at this thread:
Thanks again Erik!
Much needed info in that thread.