I am new to the world to the model T world,having acquired my first one this past August. The one thing I've noticed is how rare town cars are. I have yet to see one for sale or see members post any photos. I'm assuming production numbers were very low. if anyone out there owns one I'd love to see some pictures. Even Hemmings has not one for sale
There are a few posters here who own town cars. Maybe they'll post up. Reproduction bodies are available should you care to build one up on an early running gear.
I personally love the town cars. Done right they are very elegant and lovely.
Old post, with some pictures...
If you can ever make it to the Model T Museum in Richmond Indiana, you can see one in person in RHD no less. At least there was one there a couple of years ago.
Why Ford town cars are scarce:
Total........9331 is less than .3% of Model T production
Jay & Barbara Klehfoth’s English T Town Car is no longer at the MTFCA Museum.
It has a new owner .....
Freighter Tim transported it.
Town cars are not for guys with long legs, or a fat stomach!
Is the 1915 "Town Car" here in Minnesota not a "towncar"? If not, what is it? It was restored from an very nice original in 1956.
Welcome to the world of Model T's. Good luck with your coupe. The folks on the forum are great with a lot of good information.
Vincent..here's a zoomed in shot of the Town Car I brought home for a friend....
And one that I didn't..it was at last year's Montana Tour that I couldn't attend.
Based on the information for a town car... "the rarest Model T"... there were a total of 9331 of original construction (.3% of the total production). At a survival rate of 3% that would mean there are 280 surviving.
If I wished to build one from plans, I would have to be careful on the choice of the chassis and engine combination. I could by mistake construct from the bits I have around a non-existent 1915 or 1916 town-car.
But I see there is a 1915 bits-a town car in existence.
i think it is my favorite model t...i also like the model S..love to own either one
Seems like I read somewhere that the town cars are the most uncomfortable T. But a lot would depend how big a person would be. Maybe using a fat man steering wheel would help for any T.
There is one for sale in Hamilton, Montana. I'm not sure if it is the one shown in the above photo but I have the owner's name and phone if anybody wants it. It's about 150 miles from me.
Does the level of comfort in a town car depend on whether you're the driver or the passenger?
Well a 1915/16 Town car is listed as an available model in Canada. Sept 1916 Ford Times.
"Town car" is one of those terms used in different ways across many years to mean different things. As such, it has become basically a generic term for several body styles from different eras.
The pictures shown by Tim W above are technically called a "Landoulet". A landoulet may be either roofed over the driver, or not. But the key characteristic is that a short section of the roof and back folds down over the rear seat. A limousine technically has no folding top, but also may or may not have a roof over the driver. Later, limousines were usually fully enclosed around both the driver and rear passengers. All these things varied over the years. Limousines and landoulets from 1910 were a bit different than they were in 1930, and a lot different in the '70s. There have been numerous discussions on the terminology on this and other antique automobile forums over the years. And believe me. There is still no universal agreement yet in sight.
There are a few other reasons (other than low production) for why such (original) cars are so rare.
For one, although they were usually well built, they tended to be rather gangly. Heavy glass added to the stresses the body suffered on rough roads. Most such cars were in pretty bad shape after only a few years.
Another factor is that a large percentage of these cars were put into commercial taxicab service. Some when they were new, others after they soon became just a little old to be acceptable to milady.
Third. Many of these cars WERE commercially used. And when the car became too broken down to keep in service? Few businesses had a place or were willing to put the car safely away for a few decades. There were exceptions of course. But for most of those less-than 4000 built? There was no barn or old carriage house to sit out a few decades until they became collectible.
As for comfort? I would imagine that there is a huge difference between the front seat and the back!
Very interesting that no 15/16s are listed, I sw one that was in the former Domino's Pizza car collection years ago. It was stored in a warehouse owned by a friend who supplied cars for movies. It was clearly a 1915/16 car that had been used as a taxi. It was basically an unrestored but pretty well preserved car with taxi meter, and the two side lamps had been mounted up on the door frames. The front lens on them was red and it has been etched "Taxi" on them. It was a pretty neat car. Just wish I had my camera. Wonder what ever became of it?
The front seat is a bit cramped compared to the other types , touring, roadster etc and there is little padding especially in the seat back which is also short because of the windows behind the seat.
The wheel base is so short to be able to fit in a door for the back compartment it is necessary to have it wide enough for a human body at the hips (I'm talking normal, not bigger) to be able to enter. The rule was at least 2 ft width, on open cars one only has to allow for the legs to pass through so they can be narrower.
Making the door that wide means the front seat back ends up closer to the dashboard and steering column.
The steering column was made shorter for a TC because of this.
I never had the correct column but did measure the Richard Williams TC when I saw it in Grosse Pointe Farm Michigan in 1979 it was 4 1/2" less from the dash to the bottom of the steering box.
I still haven't bothered shortening the column as I am used to driving the TC having done so for over 50 years. The front seat is a bit squeezy but it never has been a problem for myself. There are far more uncomfortable Model T's around where the front seat is placed at such a position or been shaped so bad comfort is horrible, a lot of speedsters fall into that category and they should be easy to build and make comfortable.
As noted by Wayne Sheldon the back seat is about as good as you can get even with kids sitting on the jump seats in front of you. A TC has to be the most practical for a family especially if the kids are small.
The back can be sealed up making it waterproof, the doors can be locked as the locks are kid proof. In fine weather the rear of the roof can be folded down so the back is open, all the windows front and side go down, as well the front windscreen can also be moved up out of the way on the early cars.
A minus may be for the driver, he is always in the open so gets wet when it rains and is under a fixed roof so does not get any sun in nice weather.
Could be the TC count is a bit low as quite a few came to Australia though they were through Canada.
As noted taxi's were often TC's after hard use they probably were reinvented when sold, as touring cars often became pick ups the TC probably had the hand saw treatment and ended up with no rear section or roof as well.
anybody ever see any town cars at Hershey?
Going back and looking at the past three years at Hershey, the only town car I find is this Packard.
Depending on where you obtain the information sometimes you will find conflicting numbers etc. In your listing above you have "0" Town Cars listed for 1915-1916. But all the numbers you have agree with the list on page 462 "Model T Production (Oct 1908 to Jan 1919) of Bruce McCalley's book. Except that he also has
1916 1,972 Town Cars produced.
And while they were not listed for 1915 fiscal year Aug - Jul 1915 -- They were listed in the catalogs, etc.
From the on-line encyclopedia at http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1915-16H.htm Bruce has:
The Town Car
The Town Car was modified to conform to the new styling. This model had added rear passenger space but at the expense of the driver’s comfort. The front seat was closer to the steering wheel, and its back rest was quite upright and poorly padded. Portly chauffeurs had a real problem! The passenger compartment could seat five in a pinch (and it would have been a pinch), seating three in the seat and using the two folding jump seats. Upholstery in the Town Car was full leather on the front and rear seats, with either real or imitation leather door panels. The jump seats were upholstered with imitation leather. The top was imitation leather. Inside the top was lined with a gray cloth, trimmed with a lace similar to that used in the sedans and coupes. The kick panel of the rear seat was covered with a rug-like material.
The Town Car is interesting. Ford’s existing records show that none were built during fiscal 1915 (August 1914 to August 1915). Also, Ford generally referred to cars built during a fiscal year as models of that year. 1915 is certainly an exception to this rule, since the cars built during 1914, except for the Sedan and Coupelet, were definitely 1914’s. Apparently there were enough unsold 1914 Town Cars to last through the first part of calendar 1915, and the “1915” models were actually built in fiscal 1916 (August 1915 to August 1916). It is also possible the existing Ford records (a relatively recent compilation) are in error. Interestingly, though, of the existing “1915” Town Cars we know of, all are dated late in the year.
The closed cars did not sell well. According to Ford Archives figures, just 989 Sedans, 2417 Coupelets, and no Town Cars were produced in fiscal 1915. In February 1915 Ford announced that they would discontinue all advertising because they were backlogged some 50,000 cars. In the same letter, though, they noted that there were plenty of the closed models available and that more effort should be made (by the dealers) to move them.
Note Don Watson used to own the town car below: It had a late Aug 1915 engine serial number so it was technically a 1916 model year car produced in either very late Aug or early Sep 1915.
There is a good thread discussing 1915/16 style town cars:
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Would anyone care to comment on the history and ownership of this very correct looking 1909 Town Car
Wow those last two photos are sweet...definitely the classiest T
Early 1909 Town car, at NY auto show, Jan. 1909.
Wasn't the model shown above called a Landaulet?
I'm sure I have the spelling wrong!
Spelling is OK Larry. It's instructive to look at mid to late 19th century carriage types, since that's where the horseless varieties come from. "Landau" = carriage, "landaulet" (or landaulette) = little carriage.
I was under the impression a roof over the driver was town car and roofless was a landaulet.
The car in Stephan Walter's photo is a landaulet.
Dan Treace posted the truth. There is a town car in the photo.
From left to right: town car, runabout, landaulet.
The photo showing the Landaulet with the Door Open belongs to Crag Beek in Moline.IL
As Wayne mentioned above different countries, different people, and automobile companies used the terms town car, landaulet etc. differently at different times.
In the case of Ford Motor Company USA, they used the terms as shown at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1909cat.htm which is from their 1909 Early Production Catalog as:
See also that the Town Car name was continued to be used by Ford at:
1911 Sales brochure at http://www.mtfca.com/books/11Cat.htm
1912 Sales Brouchure at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/12Cat.htm
1915 Closed Car Brochure at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/15Cat.htm and the
1917 Brochure at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/15Cat.htm
What happened to the Landaulet? It was no longer produced by Ford USA after 1910.
At http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1909.htm Bruce listed 236 Town Cars (which Steve previously listed) but also 298 Landaulets -- 62 more than the number of Town Cars.
Note also that Bruce uses a different spelling -- "Laudaulet" in his Encyclopedia in the production listing under 1909 & 1910. I'm 99.9% sure that is a type-o as in his printed book he has it spelled Landaulet -- on page 13, 16, 79, 462, 479 etc. And on the on-line version it is spelled Landaulet on the same pages where the type-o is used only once.
At http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1910.htm Bruce listed that only 2 Landaulets produced and 377 Town Cars.
And at http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1911.htm Bruce listed 0 Landaulets produced and 315 Town Cars. After 1911 Bruce no longer listed the name Landaulet at all.
So why did Ford USA use both names? I suspect it is because they had 2 slightly different versions of the fancy model. And they wanted to be able to have a different name for each of them.
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Speaking of scarce, how about the Torpedo runabout. You see more of them than town cars on tours, but many are reproductions. The 1911 Torpedo has many unique characteristics that set it apart from the 1912 Torpedo. So much so that it really doesn't seem like the same car at all to me. How many 1911 Torpedo runabouts were made ? I can't find that number. Fewer than 9,000 I would guess. Don't mean to offend any town car or 1912 Torpedo owners, this is just what I have observed.
Tom, I interpret the Runabout numbers to include the Torpedo's. Just my thought.
Tim you are correct -- the production numbers for 1911 rolled the Torpedo Runabout (2 inch longer hood etc.), the Open Runabout (2 inch longer hood etc.), and the Runabout (standard length hood) all under the Runabout total.
You are correct that the 1911 Torpedo Runabout (had doors) and Open Runabout (no doors) both had quite a few special parts (2 inch longer hood, dash supports for the firewall being 2 inches further back, different setting bracket, different fenders, different running boards, etc.) While the 1912 Torpedo was assembled on a standard Ford Chassis using the standard hood length etc.
From: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/1911.htm we see the production of Town Cars (no Landaulets) was 315. While the Runabouts (all 3 types) the combined number is listed as: 7,845.
Your profile has New Philadelphia, Ohio listed as your home. I wasn't sure where that was but Google says it is a little less than 4 hours from Dearborn, Michigan. If you had been in Toledo, Ohio, it is only about an hour from Dearborn. Why does that matter? Because the answer to your question, "How many 1911 Torpedo Runabouts were made? is mostly contained on the microfilm at the Benson Ford Archives in Dearborn. They have the shipping documents for most of the Model Ts from # 1,119 3 Mar 1909 to around #70,750 the very early part of Oct 1911. But the 1911 model year was approximately Nov 1910 through Dec 1911. So we are only missing the Oct, Nov, & Dec documents. Bruce McCalley on pages 490 (32,404 was a Trouing produced Nov 1, 1910) 499. In general he has a listing for every 100th serial number unless he saw something he thought should be documented. For example #34,333 manufactured Dec 10, 1910 is listed as Torpedo "Runabout with doors" (First Torpedo?) The next one listed was 34,899 Dec 30, 1910. And he soon only will list them when they fall on the even 100s as they are no longer something unique he want's to point out.
You would also need to confirm when the 1912 style torpedo was introduced. If it was introduced earlier than the rest of the 1912 model year then when the listing had Torpedo -- it might be the 1912 style.
I am hoping one day to work with others to digitize more of the data that is stored at the Benson Ford Archives. In part -- so we will be able to analyze it better. And in part, so if the building ever had another fire the information would be available in another location. At one time the Benson Ford Archives had information on the cars from the teens and twenties. But there was a fire that destroyed those records. (They still have the accounts recievable ledgers that go from 1903ish to Dec 1914ish or so -- but they are incomplete and list only about 22 % or so of the USA cars. And a lot less information about them compared to the shipping documents that often included the type of headlamps, coil box, windshield type, color, and starting around Jul 1910 they started including the body number.)
Note if we compare the single year production of the Torpedo Runabout [some fraction of the 7,845 number that included all 3 types of runabouts] to the 11 year production of the Town Car (11,303 [I added the 1,972 Town Cars that were not included in Steve's listing above to his total that was 9,331]) -- clearly there were more town cars made than 1911 Torpedo Roadsters. But for 1911 -- it would take more research to say if more Town Cars or Torpedo Roadsters were made since we do not know how many Torpedo Roadsters were made.
There is always more to learn about the cars. Some of it more theoretical and some of it more practical (be sure the gas is turned on and the spark is retarded etc. before you try to start the car.) But most of it interesting.
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The Brewster Green Landaulet was restored by Craig Beek. This is one of approximately 2 dozen premium brass T's that reside at Craig's private museum in Moline.
Apologies to mimic your post Don...I wasn't paying attention. I believe there is another shot of the same Town Car in the 1909 exhibition photo floating around.
It was quite common for UK coachbuilders to make them for taci work. My neighbour is doing a fabulous restoration on a RHD 1923.
How about some photos of your friends 1923 Towncar and contact Information -Don
The town-car/taxi/landoulet model Ts truly are a study unto their own. While "mostly" here we have been discussing USA Ford factory built cars, there have been a few comments about English and European versions also, as well as a mention of Canadian cars that headed to regions South of the equator. Most such cars would not be included in the Detroit records. They also exhibit an interesting array of variations in style and construction not seen on the USA built cars. One such car has been discussed here recently as it is currently being restored in India. That car appears to have a unique body, and a lost history. Although apparently a good original (although heavily abused) car? Even where it was built is not known.
Over the years, I have seen several pictures (both era and modern) of English and European model T town-cars. Most of them were quite different than their USA production built counterparts. I also once saw photos of a USA built custom T town-car apparently built in the 1920s. I wish I knew where I saw those? Whether USA or overseas, the custom built bodies can have a great deal of variety in style and construction.
This is the same Town Car photographed at some other time at the same show. Not just a Town Car, but a 2 lever Town Car. Note the linoleum running boards. Interesting that this body does not have outer passenger grab handles at the divider wall, and appears to have passenger lift assist straps inside the coach.
1912 left hand drive.
this is the body i any putting om my 1911 Russel. charley
1912 right hand drive Town Car.
the body on that Studebaker hit the pavement at 60 nph. they did not strap it down. luckily they pick up every part. i sold the stude, body was not for it anyhow. got the body for free, and still made money. someday i will rebuild it. the Russel could have had one like when new. charley
Just barely visible behind the Towncar Scott provided is the Super RARE 1909 Coupe -Don
Hey Charley! I knew about the Russel project, but had not seen the picture of the body on its previous chassis. Looks like it could be wonderful.
Wayne i have pics of it now but they are to big to post here. and it is all packed up with the car. charley
Emailing stude 2 1042014.zip (172.4 k)
well that didnt work ha.ha. charley
Don't forget the Town Cars (2?) and 1910 Coupe in Craig Beek's outstanding all-brass Model T museum in Moline, Illinois!
Here is the link to some photos taken by Model T enthusiast Ron Heyen years ago. The guy in the photos is our own Dean Yoder from New Sharon, Iowa (near Iowa City):
'Sorry, Scott! 'Just noticed your mention of Craig's museum. Oh, well. 'Doesn't hurt anything to mention it twice.
I thought landaulet was soft top over the passengers as in the maybach of the early 2000's
Or the rolls black cherry