1915/16 MODEL T TOURING
17AN ORIGINAL 1915/16 MODEL T TOURING This unrestored and seemingly original Model T touring car was discovered in a barn in Pennsylvania in 1998. Technically a 1916 model (Ford’s model years at the time were August to August), it presented a number of interesting details, some of which are presented here.
The engine number 906,044, with a casting date of 9/14/15. (September 23, 1915 engine assembly date.)
Hubcaps had the “high” F as well as the standard F in the Ford script. There were six caps with the car so we don’t know which were original for certain. Both script styles were being used in 1917 so the “high F” is believed to be “correct.”
The hood was steel.
Headlamps, side lamps and tail lamps were brass-trimmed. Headlights had “H” lenses, obviously changed sometime in the past.
Accessory horns had been installed, one a hand klaxon and the other a six-volt electric (connected to a hot-shot battery under the front seat). There was no evidence of the typical horn button on the steering column or of the wire cover under the column, which leaves one to think that the car originally came with a bulb horn. The present horn button is typical 1923 and later, with the wires hanging under the column.
The original side curtains were under the rear seat. The top had a home-made dust cover installed so we were noT able to examine the top itself. (There wasn’t room to put it up in the storage area where the car was situated.)
The body was as solid as new. There were no dents or rust-outs anywhere that we could see. The cowl area (inside) was of the “one-piece” style. Upholstery was original with diamond-pattern imitation leather seats and plain pleated seat backs. The front roll of the arm rests were leather.
The foot pedals were plain (not ribbed).
A pair of original 1915 Pennsylvania license plates were with the car. The present owner said her father had purchased the car new but we’re not certain these plates were the original ones. The plate at the rear was a Pennsylvania Antique plate so we don’t know when the car was last licensed. The car has been in storage for many years, she said, and neither her father nor her husband drove it often. The general condition of the car would indicate very low mileage. There was no wear on the top-to-windshield hooks and brackets, and the steering, front linkage, etc., had little play. Time had taken its toll on the paint and upholstery, not due to wear but to the exposure to the elements over the years.
An unusual set of rear wheel brakes were installed. The operating lever was at the top rear of the drum and was hooked up to the brake lever (not the foot brake pedal). The standard Ford rear wheel brakes were not connected and the Ford brake shoes were missing. The Ford brake cam lever showed little wear.
The engine dust pans were intact. The radiator hose (red) appeared to be original.
© Bruce W. McCalley. Rev. April 9, 2000.