We in India are restoring a 1916 Ford Town Car. This is an original one and not a replica. The owner informs us that this car originally had acetylene gas lamps. (Picture of the original car attached) I am aware that post 1915, all Model Ts were fitted with electric lamps. The post 1915 Model Ts also had a different dash with an ammeter and the switch housed in the same panel. This 1916 Town car here has dashboard similar to post 1915 cars, but, had acetylene lamps originally. Moreover, this 1916 Ford Town car has the same engine hood as that of post 1915 cars. This 1916 Town car also has the original self starter, but no provision for a battery.
My reasoning for this anomaly is that in 1916 when this car was shipped to India, they fitted gas lamps instead of electric lamps, because then in India batteries were not being manufactured. The starter was perhaps fitted either for future use or by then all Ford Ts had only the engine block with the starter attachment.
I request experts to advise me whether my reasoning is correct. I would appreciate replies to my email email@example.com.
More Photos Please!
Wow! -Well, when you're talking about a Model T that was exported directly to India, and it has right-hand drive which suggests non-USA production, the "rule-book" may simply not apply. -And when it comes to a very rare, brass, Ford Town Car, things get especially interesting.
A 1916 Ford engine would not have been made with the provision for having a starter. That came about in 1919.
If this engine has an electric starter it could be a replacement engine if it had the change in the front of the engine for the generator.
It could possible have had an upgrade if the transmission core had been replaced and a ring gear was added to the flywheel.
Researching the serial number would give an indication to the year of manufacture for the engine.
Your Town Car has had some alterations made to it since it left Canada and arrived in India.
Does the Town Car have a 1916 engine in it? If so it would be a number with a C before it.
No Ford starter was available at that time, is the starter a Ford one included into the transmission cover? if not it would be one of those available at the time which could be attached to the motor.
The electric headlights did not have any provision for a switch or ammeter ( that set up is much later) there was just a on/off light switch in the wooden dash as the lights ran off the magneto current no battery was needed.
There was no provision in 1916/17 for an electric starter or a battery for it until 1919.
At a later date a transmission housing with starter motor provision ( when they became available) could be fitted to an early motor.
Acetylene lights because of the battery shortage problem may be the reason they were fitted but the TC would normally have been supplied with magneto powered electric lights.
Note that the fenders on the town car are 1917 and later.
Also, the headlights appear to have been electrified. Note the reflectors.
It's possible that the body was re-used and put on a later running gear sometime during its life.
Just thinking out loud.
Here are two more pictures that Ananth sent to me.
He also states that the frame number is 120110PS, and the engine number is 2PS.
I will tell him where to look for the engine number.
What else can you tell him about the car?
It's looking more and more like 1923/4 that anything else now, steel fire wall and genny engine and as noted above post, later fenders on the old photo.
Looks like up-dated running chassis in the 1920's
If the car was sold new in India, as Peter Kable suggests above, it will have been manufactured by Ford of Canada; it will have been sent assembled to India, at least as the chassis is concerned.
The 'chassis' comprises the frame, axles, suspension, engine/transmission, radiator, engine hood and probably the fenders (or mudguards) and running boards. And the lights. It is possible the body was made in India, or also came from Canada.
A New Zealand parts supplier and early Ford expert, Rod Welch (RIP), did tell me that some electric Model T lights were discarded and replaced with gas lights, because some people wouldn't trust the new technology. But I would guess that was unusual.
As 100 years has lapsed, this car could've seen many alterations made to it in the name of maintenance and repairs.
Another clue on the engine is the large crank pulley (1920 or later). If we could see the chassis, spring leaves with squared ends, an under-axle wishbone, and other post-1920 features wouldn't surprise me.
The owner informs me that there is no number on the engine. He states that it is blank. A replacement engine?
For the steering column to clear the generator it must have the later RHD bottom bracket. All starting to look like a 20s chassis under there. More photos needed.
Dave, any casting date on the block ?
Dave, not quite. No serial number means replacement block. It was supposed to be stamped with the number of the block it replaced, which was presumed to be toast. A replacement engine would have its own serial number.