Discounting the windshield and top, is a '22 roadster body tub essentially the same as a '23 (the so-called "low cowl" '23)? If so, how far back does that body go?
A '22 roadster body would probably be the same as a '23. The top saddle support irons most likely would come through the body like the touring does?
They're very different. My '23 Runabout is the variant with the low cowl. The body has a mix of features from the '22 and earlier bodies as well as the '24 and later. This body is easily identifiable because the one-piece driver's side panel is made for the low cowl, but it has the hole at the rear for the one-man top. The car is equipped with a low, steel firewall, making it consistent with late spring of '23 production.
When I restored it, I noted that the wood structure was very different than earlier and later example cars that I looked at. Rather than all wood up front as in the earlier cars, mine has pressed steel floorboard risers and there are a couple of pressed steel support pieces in the upper cowl framework. At the rear, the wood structure was also a mix of old and newer design, but I can't recall the details.
To better answer your question, there were a lot of minor changes between '15 and '22. Those bodies are probably best broken into '15-'20 and '20-'22. The addition of the dash and lower seat riser for the oval gas tank were big changes. The transition from panels nailed to the wood structure vs. bolted together at the rear was also a big change. I think those three occurred around '20, but others may know better.
I have a '23, engine number showing that it was built in November of '22; body is kinda humble; one of those that you have to toss a coin: rebuild or replace?
I know that Ford referred to all open cars built in '23 with the high cowl as '24s, and as such are not the same as the "low cowl" (genuine) '23s. My question really should have been: is the sheet metal in the '22s and '23s the same, except perhaps for the saddle iron hole? And if so, how far back does that style sheet metal go?
Looks like we were typing simultaneously. Thanks for your clarification; that's the kind of info that I'm looking for.
Here's a picture of my 22 roadster. It has low radiator, straight windshield, wood risers and metal firewall. It has oval gas tank. This car was restored in the 1960's and I am unfamiliar with it's original configuration.
I think that the body on your car is the same as the early '23. It's what I've been trying to find out, anyway.
I'm pretty sure that the low steel firewalls on both our cars are later Ford replacements.
I would be suspicious that your Nov '22 car would have a lip stamped into the top edge of all body panels that the wood trim would bolt to for attaching the interior and top to.
During my study prior to rewooding my car, I came to find that the later (but low cowl) '23 body has body panels that finish flush to the wood structure on the outside, and the interior wood along the top edge is pretty beefy. This is like the body that you wrote about years ago for the club magazine. You and I both had the exact same car and I rewooded mine, like you did yours...
Thus, I would suspect that your Nov. '22 car's body would be different, even with top iron differences ignored.
Take a peek at how your interior and top attaches at the top of the body panels and I think you'll be able to tell if there is a difference.
Outwardly, the bodies look identical, save for the hole for the top iron. The real difference would be trying to retrofit one top iron for another type, and making sure there was wood structure sufficient one way or another to make the modification if the body was replaced and the original top iron from one car was replaced for another.
I didn't see anybody mention the upholstery tack strip that goes around the seat back. I don't know just when it changed on the runabouts, but touring cars changed about the same time they switched to the three panel rear tub (about 1921). Earlier bodies had the seat sheet metal folded out, with the wood tack strip outside the seat. Later bodies had the seat sheet metal go straight up, with wooden structure inside the sheet metal for the upholstery tacks. I know that I have seen runabout bodies made in the later method, but I don't know when that change was made.
I believe that the tack strip changed to the belt rail some time in '22, possibly with the change to the '23 models, and that change may have entailed only the new windshield and top. It's what I'm trying to find out here, anyway, and I appreciate everyone's input.
I think this goes back to the body makers Ford used to make the car bodies. I think records show there were as many as 5.
It could have been that a particular body maker or makers during the transition time from low cowl to high cowl started making subtle changes in the body while the rest of the body makers kept their designs the same until Ford started the high cowl era.
I have a 1919 Runabout and a 21 Touring that I restored and after scratching my head about the changes in the sheet metal from sheet metal parts I acquired over time that I was using to replace some bad panels I came to the conclusion that 'to get it just right' you would have to find a car that was pretty much untouched and complete. BUT from which body maker!
Mine weren't that way but they are at 95% the way they should be.
My '23 has the later style belt rail in place of the folded lip and tack strip. So, that change came befor the high cowl.