Just out of curiosity, when and why did Ford start putting fake doors on the driver's side of touring cars? I was looking at a 1911 Torpedo Roadster and it looks like the driver's side door has hinges. Thank you and Merry Christmas to all. Jim Patrick
I think '13. Canadian cars all had 4 doors so that they could be built either RH or LH drive. Obviously the LH door had a cost and with the location of the steering column it wasn't terribly useful.
Most 1912 Tourings had a removeable panel on the left (drivers side). It was removeable (like the right), but not hinged.
The 26 and 27 "improved" Ford touring cars have left hand front doors. They're very handy when you're working on the starter bendix or transmission linkages. I don't even think about trying to enter or leave through it. Heck, I have enough trouble getting in and out on the right. Bob
I have 2 26's, a Roadster and a Touring. It is fairly easy to enter and exit the drivers side with the top down. You just swing your behind over the door post and sit down or get out, however, when the top is up, it is much harder, because you have to bend over in the middle at the same time going behind the steering wheel and the brake lever. It can be done. I am 5' 7 1/2". I think that the taller you are or the fatter you are, the harder it would be. I usually use the passenger side except when my wife is sitting there and I have to get out temporarily, but she does not need to. I don't think Mr. Ford was very considerate of the women, for which I'm surprised, because in those days, courtesy was even more the standard than today. For these two reasons. One is that to crank start you need to start if first, and get in before her, so there is no holding the door open for the lady. If you kill the engine she will either have to get out and crank it, or she will need to get out first so you can crank it. Second, when you need to gas up the car, she will also have to get out so you can lift the seat to reach the gas tank. Mrs. Ford must have been an angel!
I've heard it said that Mr. Ford felt the driver's door wouldn't be used very much because the handbrake lever was in the way. Eh, perhaps. I suppose it's more likely that Ford saw this as an excuse to save a few bucks on each car. From an engineering standpoint, leaving the driver's door solid definitely added strength and stiffness to the body. Canadians, whose Model Ts were equipped with all four operating doors, would know whether the body suffered from a lack of beef. Being an old-fashioned kinda guy, I think I'd prefer to be able to hold the passenger door open and offer my arm to a lady as she steps up onto the running board, rather than getting in ahead of her. Oh, well.
Back to the topic of stiffness: According to the book, 1913 touring cars had three doors cut out all the way down to the bottom of the body which caused enough flexing in the rear that the back doors tended to pop open when the car went over bumps. Strengthening kits were manufactured to address the problem. The following year, the three doors were cut much more shallow and these had rounded corners which left more beef in the body.
Lack of stiffness. Riding in an open front 09, the steering wheel will move several inches relative to the driver when you go over a change in camber. And the rear locks operate in 3 planes: a conventional latch, a wedge to stop up & down movement, and a hook which comes out of the door and grabs the pillar to stop fore & aft flexing. Obviously they decided to save money in 1913.
Going back to front doors, the English 20s cars had a blind right hand door - by then most of the parts were being made in the UK. Earlier, in 1909/10, Percival Perry (UK agent at the time & later founder of FoMoCo UK) made accessory front doors for a while, but got stopped by Henry - US customers had seen them and started asking for them in the US.
Here's an example