Why the engine serial date for a 1926-27 car is probably not the date the car was assembled

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Why the engine serial date for a 1926-27 car is probably not the date the car was assembled
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Monday, February 06, 2017 - 08:26 am:

To avoid spamming a great thread about some beautiful unrestored 1926-27 Fords, I thought it would be nicer to post this separately.

The following is a short summary of why I believe a 1926-27 T would almost certainly NOT be assembled on the date listed in Bruce’s “Engine Assembly Log Summary.”

This applies to any USA Ford assembled after Feb 1925. The probability of having the car assembled on the same date the engine number is listed in the engine log in Bruce’s book is extremely remote and probably never have happened. Note for many cars assembled at the Highland Park Plant when engine production was also at the Highland Park Plant -- if the engine was assembled early in the day and the car later -- it could have happened and probably did happen.

Why not for the 1926-27 cars? Good question. Bruce McCalley’s (R.I.P.) excellent book “Model T Ford” has the listing that from 1915 to 1941 was recorded in the daily log books of the engine assembly department. [Ref Bruce - pg 501] That is the date the engine number was listed in the records. For engines assembled at the main Highland Park and later River Rouge plant it should be the date the engine was assembled. But for any engine that was assembled at another location i.e. branch plant – it could have been days or weeks later before the engine number was actually stamped onto a completed engine. [Ref Bruce’s intro to the listing on page 501.] Then on page 532 of Bruce’s book, we see that the engine assembly was all transferred to the River Rouge Plant with the last 62 engine numbers sent to Highland Park on Feb 13, 1925. Those would have been the last 62 engines assembled at Highland Park. Therefore even for cars and trucks that were assembled at Highland Park – the engine that was built at the River Rouge had to be transported to the Highland Park plant for assembly into a car/truck.

How long did that take? Another good question. We have 2 documented cases. The first took 8 days and the second very special case took 1 day.

From: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/C-D.htm#Chassis1 Bruce states: under
FRAME NUMBERS
Accession 94. Walter Fishleigh files.

“Motor number was first placed on frame side member R.H. on Dec. 12, 1925. Motor No. 12,861,044. Information obtained from Mr. Burns, Final Assy., Highland Park.” But on page 533 of Bruce’s book the engine logs show engine number range of 12,855,160 to 12,863,164 were entered in the engine log book. So that serial number was entered in the log book on Dec 5, 1925. And since we know the car was assembled at the Highland Park plant on Dec 12, 1925 we know that the engine came from the River Rouge engine shop. So it took about 8 days to go from the Highland Park plant engine shop to being installed in a car on the assembly line.

The second illustration we have is car/engine #15,000,000. On May 25, 1927 the engine log records that 3 engines, number 14,999,999; 15,000,000 and 15,000,001 were held out for the next day. In Stern’s “Tin Lizzie” on page 116 it shows the 15,000,000 Model T Ford coming off the assembly line. The caption reads “May 26, 1927.” Note that is one day after the engines were held out of the normal production flow. I suspect if they had been sent through the normal channel it would have been closer to the 8 or so days documented above. But note that it was NOT the same day.

And to further reduce the probability that a 1926-27 car was produced on the date the engine was assembled at the River Rouge Plant, we see that the vast majority of cars were assembled at other locations. I.e. even if the engine was assembled at the River Rouge on the date listed in Bruce’s book, it was shipped to the branch assembly plant to be installed in a car. They didn’t have Fed Ex back then so at least one day longer and I suspect more than that. On page 470 of Bruce’s book the total calendar year 1926 USA production was 1,449,111. Of that only 89,548 were assembled in the Detroit area. So a little less than 6.2 percent of Ts & TTs were assemble at the Highland Park Plant during that time.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Brough on Monday, February 06, 2017 - 09:21 am:

I'm a newbie to the hobby and am used to the data plates supplied on WWII military jeeps, where the DOD is stamped. The engines and all other parts mostly came from suppliers and Ford assembled them.
In the case of my T, there are no DOD stamps or documentation, no body or chassis numbers. The engine casting date is the only number, and therefore, the only date I have to "date" my vehicle. My engine casting date is represented as Nov. 4, 1925 for a 26/27 engine. It's my Father's dirthday. I'm going with it.

Is it a DOD? Probably not. Is it a shipped date? Probably not. Is it a final assembly date? Probably not. But it's the only date I got and I'm going with it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, February 06, 2017 - 09:59 am:

Casting date only? Is there no serial number above the water inlet?


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