Our cousin sent my brother and me a photo of a T Speedster that is in the family. The family member referred to this as a "1922 Model T Speedster. This is a Model T-3, meaning it is the 3rd generation of the Ford Model T's".
In Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T - under the heading "Body", about 1/3 of the way down, you can see the 5 designations referring to the years:
1909–1914 – T1
1915–1916 – T2
1917–1923 – T3
1923–1925 – T4
1926–1927 – T5
My brother is having a fit, saying Ford never used these designations in the day and that these are something made up in more modern times.
Does anyone have some history on these designations?
Your brother is correct; it's just baloney that somebody made up and entered into Wikipedia:
Although Ford classified the Model T with a single letter designation throughout its entire life and made no distinction by model years, there were enough significant changes to the body over the production life that the car can be classified into five distinct generations. Among the most immediately visible and identifiable changes were in the hood and cowl areas, although many other modifications were made to the vehicle.
1909–1914 – T1 – Characterized by a nearly straight, five-sided hood, with a flat top containing a center hinge and two side sloping sections containing the folding hinges. The firewall was flat from the windshield down with no distinct cowl.
1915–1916 – T2 – The hood design was nearly the same five sided design with the only obvious change being the addition of louvers to the vertical sides. There was a significant change to the cowl area with the windshield relocated significantly behind the firewall and joined with a compound contoured cowl panel.
1917–1923 – T3 – The hood design was changed to a tapered design with a curved top. the folding hinges were now located at the joint between the flat sides and the curved top. This is sometime referred to as the low hood to distinguish if from the later hoods. The back edge of the hood now met the front edge of the cowl panel so that no part of the flat firewall was visible outside of the hood. This design was used the longest and during the highest production years accounting for about half of the total number of Model T's built.
1923–1925 – T4 – This change was made during the 1923 calendar year so models built earlier in the year have the older design while later vehicles have the newer design. The taper of the hood was increased and the rear section at the firewall is about an inch taller and several inches wider than the previous design. While this is a relatively minor change, the parts between the third and fourth generation are not interchangeable.
1926–1927 – T5 – This design change made the greatest difference in the appearance of the car. The hood was again enlarged with the cowl panel no longer a compound curve and blended much more with the line of the hood. The distance between the firewall and the windshield was also increased significantly. This style is sometimes referred to as the high hood.
The styling on the fifth generation was a preview for the following Model A but the two models are visually quite different as the body on the A was much wider and had curved doors as opposed to the flat doors on the T.
Well I don't know about those designations, but FWIW the MTFCI uses class designations as part of their judging system, goes from T-1 (1909-1912) all the way up to T-10 (1917-1927-speedsters) including open and closed car designations in between. They also have a T-11 for commercial vehicles, all years.
That said, your brother might be right. I'm sure there's other guys here with far more knowledge than me on the subject.
The wonderful thing (or bad depending on how you look at it) is anyone can edit wikipedia. So in one fell swoop and the delete button, that can be removed. I never knew there was a wiki for the Model T. Even some bad pics listed wrong in the bottom. Hmmm, maybe one rainy day Ill get the literature out and take an edit.
Thanks guys, interesting takes!
I'm a fan of Porsche 356s (the only one of my top three dream cars I'll probably never have) and they also have T-designations for the major styling changes. In that case at least T is for type and it's not uncommon for a 1960 to be referred to as a Type Six or a T-6. Seems to me it's a good way to differentiate between production models without having to get into "I need a windshield for my 1925 roadster, no not that kind the kind that was made in November," here you could just call it a type five and be done with it, if that were to become the norm.
I see it as similar to a "Gen _____" muscle car or a C-____ Corvette, it's just an unofficial way to describe what major body style group it fits into.
I believe Tim is correct. Those are MTFCI classifications, for use in judging, that someone has taken as "gospel" and posted them on Wikipedia. They are no more than a system, used internally by MTFCI, and not meant as an official classification for use in any other purpose.
Many automobiles, especially European, used a "type" model number. Exactly how it is spelled depends on the marque and nation of the car. If I recall correctly, Spain used "tipo" (Hispano Suiza), I have also seen it spelled "tippo".
Many USA manufacturers also used the "type" for a model designation.
While there may be some notational advantages for judging purposes. And certainly for judging classifications. I don't see any real benefit to placing such arbitrary designations onto the cars themselves. The fact is, Fords changed almost continuously from the beginning to the end of production. Some calendar years would need as many as three "types".
For the most part, the types used for the judging book works. Although I personally would disagree with judging '09/'10s in the same group as '13/'14s.
In general, correct use of Ford's MODEL year is the best designation to identify any individual car. In a few places, it may be necessary to clarify also the "style" year.
Speedsters, some trucks, and any made up wanna-be cars are not going to fit into simple classifications. And that, is the way it is. My opinion.
I took a "scalpel" to it (editing) rather than a butcher knife. Deleted the "T-1,2,3..." designations. I left their categories, as that is anyone's interpretation. Hope it wasn't done by someone on this forum (oh well, not the first time I've offended someone here....).
Good to see you here often again Rob H!
Personally, I think model Ts divide nicely into three categories.
Works for me.
As for "type" cars? I want a "type 35-J Mercer.