The Improved Fords for 1926 and 1927
By 1925 the records showed that Fords greatest production year had been 1923, during which 2,032,759 cars and trucks had been assembled. Sales dropped in calendar 1924 to 1,825,646 cars and trucks. During 1925 Ford began an extensive advertising campaign to boost its sagging market share. Competition was snapping at the heels of the company which had dominated the market for so many years. In particular, Chevrolet was capturing more and more of Fords customers.
Chevrolet and other cars in the same price field offered luxuries and styling, and a level of standard equipment that could not be had in the Ford at any price. All of these cars offered a three-speed, selective-gear transmission and a starter as standard equipment. Many offered a choice of colors. In sheer styling, Ford wasnt even in the same league. No one questioned the quality of the Ford car; mechanically it was as good as most, and better than some—including the Chevrolet—but people were beginning to buy cars because of their styling and other features, rather than on their reputation.
Time had long passed for an all new car if Ford was to continue the exceptional market lead it had enjoyed for so many years. Yet, in spite of the urging of some of his top men, including his son Edsel, Henry Ford had been insistent on retaining the Model T as the car for the masses.
Henry Ford may have been stubborn but he was no fool. The increasing resistance encountered in the sale of the Ford car did not escape his attention. As usual, his immediate reaction was to blame his declining market on a lack of salesmanship on the part of his dealers. But he finally had to relent; he allowed his engineers to develop a new model. Not a new car—a new model.
This new model was introduced to the public in newspaper and magazine ads on August 26, 1926 as the Improved Ford. No attempt was made to disguise the fact that his was just a restyling of the previous Fords. In fact dealers were instructed to point out to prospective customers that this was a restyled and more comfortable version of the tried and true Model T that everyone knew and loved. A sales bulletin to the dealers, dated August 30, 1925, reads:
We do not want the impression to prevail that we are producing new Ford cars.
Bodies of Ford cars have been materially improved but the Model T chassis remains unchanged except for lowering the frame and a few other important changes ….
In an early sales booklet, Ford said:
Note also that Ford bodies have been entirely redesigned for greater comfort, convenience and added beauty. Yet it important to remember that these cars are in no sense NEW cars. It is advisable to avoid using the word NEW in discussing them. The word NEW implies a redesigning of the chassis as well as the body. While it is true that certain refinements have been added to the chassis and that these are more radical and therefore more conspicuous than any which have heretofore been made, the Model T chassis (though lower) remains the same in design and construction as it has been since 1908. It is the same Ford car, now as always noted for economy, performance and reliability; only the bodies have been redesigned. Do not forget this point and do not fail to stress it in talking to prospective car owners. It is a strong selling point.
There is little question that this improved Ford looked a good deal like more automobile than the one it replaced. Lower, longer, heavier, more streamlined—and a choice of colors! Well, not really a choice. Initial production offered the Fordor Sedan in Windsor Maroon. The Coupe and Tudor Sedan were offered in Channel Green. There were no options; maroon Fordors and green Tudors and Coupes. Period. The Touring and Runabout were available in your choice of black.1
All cars featured new nickel-plated headlight rims as standard equipment. In addition, all closed cars came with a nickeled radiator shell as standard, with this being an option on the open cars.2
1. In spite of the initial announcement of maroon and green closed cars, it seems that these cars were also supplied in black if surviving examples of original cars are used as evidence. Perhaps some of the assembly plants could not be geared up for the new colors initially, in spite of the ads to the contrary.
2. As with the paint colors, seemingly original 1926 cars have been seen with black headlight rims, and closed cars with black radiator shells. While these could have been changed in later years, it doesnt seem likely since there are so many examples.
In late 1926, perhaps for the 1927 models, the available colors were expanded. The closed cars were all available in a choice of Royal Maroon, Highland Green or Fawn Gray. The open cars could be had in Phoenix Brown or Gunmetal Blue. Black was no longer listed as a body color. The Roadster Pickups, when ordered from the factory with the pickup bed installed, came in Ford Commercial Green. According to a factory letter dated March 21, 1927, if a commercial user ordered the pickups on a special order, Ford would paint them all black to match the color of the existing fleet of Ford cars.
All cars, regardless of body style or color, came with black fenders, splash aprons and running boards. (Running gear was, of course, also black.)
At their introduction, all closed cars came with electrical equipment (starter and generator), windshield wiper (hand operated), rearview mirror, dash light, and demountable rims with 30 by 3-1/2 cord tires as standard equipment. It should be noted that cord tires were new; the previous tires of that size were fabric construction. The cord construction was considerably stronger. While the spare rim was supplied, the tire for that rim was optional equipment. Balloon tires with black-painted wooden wheels were an additional option at $25. Natural-finish wood wheels were available from the factory for installation by the dealers.
The open cars came standard with 30 by 3-1/2 cord tires on non-demountable wheels, no electrical equipment, and no luxuries like a mirror or a dash light For an additional $85 you could have demountable rims for those 30 by 3-1/2 tires, and the electrical equipment. Balloon tires were $25 on top of that.
Wire wheels (21), painted black, were listed as a factory-installed option in the initial literature but apparently were delayed until early calendar 1926. Black wire wheels were apparently the standard color option, but after a time they could be ordered in green, straw, Casino red and English vermilion as well, as dealer-installed options. Wire wheels were not standard equipment on any models until late 1926 and early 1927 when black wire wheels became standard on closed cars in some areas, at varying dates, on various models, depending on the assembly plant. For example, the Chicago branch announced black wire wheels as standard equipment on the Fordor Sedan in a letter dated October 28, 1926, noting that the colors could be installed by the dealer at a suggested $10 exchange price. The Fargo, North Dakota branch announced black wire wheels as standard on the Tudor in January 1927, and on the Coupe on February 14, 1927.
Early in the improved model production the 30 by 3-1/2 tires and wheels were discontinued and all cars came with balloon tires and black wooden wheels with demountable rims as standard equipment, with natural-finish wood wheels as an option. Electrical equipment apparently also became standard on all cars, although non-starter open cars could be ordered from the factory.
During 1926, two new models were shown in the catalogs; the Sports Touring and the Sports Runabout. These were the standard Touring and Runabout but with the addition of five wire wheels (a spare was standard) and the nickeled radiator shell, plus wind-wings, nickel-plated bumpers front and rear, and a tan top boot.
The list of options available from the factory grew and grew in an effort to stimulate a dying Model T market. Speedometers, shock absorbers, stop lights, automatic windshield wipers, top boots, and so on, plus a number of apparently factory-authorized items of outside manufacture such as the Ruckstell axle.
The Improved Ford did stimulate sales for a time. 2,145,787 cars and trucks were manufactured in 1925 (this including the 1925 cars made until August), but dropped to 1,730,514 in 1926, then to just 478,558 in the first five months of 1927 when the end of the era was announced. Sadly, the 1926-27 Fords were somewhat out of style when they were introduced; looking remarkably similar to the Chevrolet models of 1923! The newer look was like a shot in the arm but the patient died anyway.
An interesting sidelight: Fords records show the last Model T to be built (on May 31, 1927) was number 15,007,033 but other Ford records show the engine with that number was the first one built June 1, 1927, the day following the end of car production.
Oddly, the entire improved line of Fords had all-new, all-steel bodies—except for the Fordor Sedan. The Fordor continued in a style similar to that introduced in 1922 as a new 1923 model, except for a new cowl section and a change in the front to the coupe pillar styling which had been dropped in mid-1923 (used on the centerdoor sedan and coupe until the 1924 models).
For the first time in its long history the Model T looked like an integrated car. The fenders, splash aprons, running boards and body all fit together so as to look like one unit. Gone were the gaping holes, and the flapping fenders of the previous models. The styling was contemporary—similar to the competition which had a similar style for years—and then changed, when Ford caught up. The fenders were fuller, and more gracefully curved. The running boards were wider. The bodies, except for the Fordor, lower and much more attractive.
The radiator shell, which Ford said was higher was the same as that which had been used since mid-1923. The nickel-plated shells were made of brass but otherwise interchangeable with the earlier type. (The black-painted shells continued being made of steel.) From the radiator shell on back, though, it was all new. The hood was larger, longer, and had more louvers. The windshields were further to the rear, the seats were lower, and the bodies themselves were lower. The cars appeared more streamlined but, alas, all this was at the expense of comfort (in spite of Fords words to the contrary). In the open cars in particular, the front seat passenger compartment was cramped and difficult to enter and leave. Ford had at last provided a door on the drivers side but the company left the brake lever in its normal position. With the lowered steering wheel and cramped compartment, it took some maneuvering to get seated. A tall man would find his knees against the instrument panel.
The new bodies were all metal except for the floorboards. Upholstery was nailed into place by using tack strips of a cardboard-like material. The cars were very solid when compared with the previous design, so much so that the Model T gained a new personality.
When introduced in late 1908, the Model T was over-powered when compared with its competition. Through the years it gained weight and suffered from some engine detuning. The 1926 models were almost the last word in weight addition, although they would become even more obese before the end, and this was just about the final blow to peppy performance.
The improved Fords were lower in height than the previous models. This height reduction was accomplished by not only reducing the height of the bodies themselves (except for the Fordor) but also by lowering the frame by a redesign of the front spindles, and a reduction of the crown in the front spring. The rear cross-member had a deeper curve which lowered the chassis somewhat as well. These modifications lowered the chassis height one and one-half inches.
The chassis frame, while basically the same as the previous models, had a new rear cross-member, and steel brackets replaced the forgings which supported the front fenders. Initially, the rear cross-member was a channel section similar to the earlier design except for being longer and with a higher crown. During production it was modified to have flanges (or lips) on the underside, and then still later the entire frame was made of heavier gauge steel.
The rear axle was changed from the previous design by the addition of larger rear brake drums, and backing plates which supported larger brake shoes, now lined with an asbestos material. The new brakes used eleven-inch diameter steel drums, and were effective enough to have been used as the regular service brakes, had they been so connected. Ford preferred the transmission brake, however, so the new brakes were still operated by the hand lever. Internal leather seals were used at the outer rear axle bearings, in addition to the usual external felt seals, to eliminate rear axle oil leaks. Apparently little faith was placed in the new seal because provision was also made for oil which might bypass the seals to leak out without soaking the brake linings. Experience proved that oil would, indeed, leak out, the linings did get soaked, and the rest leaked out on the wheels. Later production rear end housings used a half-inch pipe-plug drain plug instead of the usual hex-head screw. The date of this change is not known but is believed to have been in late 1926 or in calendar 1927. Aside from these modifications, along with new radius and brake rods, the rear axle was the same as the earlier models.
The engine, while basically the same, had a number of modifications. Most noticeable was the new fan mounting; now a part of the water outlet casting. Initial production of this new mounting had a worm-gear adjustment; the fan shaft bolted to an eccentric collar and the belt tension was adjusted by rotating this collar by means of a clamp screw which engaged this collar like a worm gear. Turning the clamp screw also turned the collar and when the adjustment was correct, the adjusting screw was locked with a nut. Unfortunately, tightening this lock nut could easily break the casting. Later versions had a more simplified design in which the eccentric was rotated by means of a tool which engaged two cast-in lugs, and the adjustment was locked by a washer and nut on the end of the fan bearing shaft. With this new fan mounting, the front timing gear cover was slightly modified to eliminate the old fan adjusting arrangement.
The ignition coil box, mounted on the firewall since 1908, was moved to a position on the left top of the engine. This location required a redesign of the horn mounting bracket. Instead of being mounted on the upper-left side of the engine, the horn bracket now was mounted on the two water inlet mounting screws below the coil box.
Initial production used a Holley NH or Kingston L-4 carburetor with the universal joint fitting on the adjustment screw. During 1925 Ford had combined the carburetor adjustment with the choke pull rod, and this feature was carried over into the new models. Also supplied during the year was a new carburetor system called a Vaporizer. Designed by Holley, and used earlier on some 1925 cars, this carburetor system drew fuel past a thin steel plate which was heated by exhaust gasses, giving better vaporization of the poor fuels of the day. This system had been used on the Fordson tractor, which was designed to run on kerosene (after being started on gasoline). The Vaporizer did give better performance on the poor fuels but general engine power was decreased still further. For pure fuel economy, though, the Vaporizer was hard to beat. Used in an ever-increasing portion of production, by mid-July 1926 the Vaporizer was used on all production. Holley was the major supplier of these carburetor systems but Kingston also supplied a similar unit called a Regenerator.
All 1926-27 engines used the so-called four-dip pan. This engine pan had been standard equipment since 1924. Interestingly, all these pans were made (beginning in 1924) with sufficient room for the larger transmission brake drum introduced in the 1926 models, which might suggest that Ford had been planning this change for over a year before it appeared.
The transmission now had a brake drum which was 5/8-inch wider than the previous models. The added surface aided transmission band life but this advantage was somewhat offset by the increased weight of the cars. Internally, steel shoes were installed over the cast-iron bosses on which the metal clutch plates rode. This gave much better wear and resulted in better clutch operation, even after considerable use. Demountable-ear transmission bands, introduced by Ford in 1925 production, were standard. The new transmission cover, which also featured larger brake and clutch pedals, was somewhat larger, allowing easier band changing. The magneto post now screwed into the cover like a spark plug (1/2-inch pipe threads) instead of being held with the three screws which had been used since the introduction of the Model T.
A further modification of the engine-transmission assembly was the modification of the cylinder block casting and the transmission cover so that the two now were bolted together at the top, resulting in a much more rigid assembly. Added, too, were steel brackets which ran from these bolts to the chassis at the rear engine mounting, relieving the strain on the mounting ears which had a tendency to break in the earlier design.
All cars except for the Fordor Sedan now had the gasoline tank mounted in the cowl. The filler was located under a door similar to the cowl vent. (In the Fordor, the cowl vent was a vent; on the other models very little air could pass the fuel tank.) This location greatly aided fuel flow, eliminating the flow problems the T had on steep hills. The fuel sediment bulb was now located on the firewall inside the engine compartment, making it much easier to drain. The Fordors tank was located under the drivers seat as in the previous models.
Initially, the headlights were mounted on flanged posts which bolted to the fender apron. In later 1926 production, several types of tie bars were added between the fenders which served two purposes: (1) tying the fenders together made the front assembly more rigid, and (2) The introduction of front bumpers as optional equipment had created a problem by obscuring the license plate. Law enforcement agencies complained and the license plate was moved up to this headlamp tie bar. Later 1926, and all 1927 production used a revised tie bar on which the headlamps were mounted directly.
Alas—all this was to be in vain. In spite of the improvements, the public continued its swing away from the Ford offering. Chevrolet had risen like the Phoenix from the ashes in the early 1920s to a close second in 1926. Model T production was halted in May of 1927 and the Ford plant was closed down for the first time in its history (except for the month of January, 1921). To most, it was the end of an era—almost like a death in the family.
Ford continued producing Model T engines while the plant was closed, and the changeover to the all-new Model A began. Dealers were left stranded, with no product to sell for the better part of a year. Many switched to other makes of automobiles but the majority made-do by selling used cars and servicing Model Ts.
The new Model A was an instant success. Chevrolet had gained first place in sales in 1927, mainly because there was no Ford competition during most of the year, but Ford regained the first place position in 1928. Unfortunately, while the Model A was an excellent car—far superior to the Model T—it was obsolete when it was born. Chevrolet countered with its six in 1929 and in 1931 again became first in sales, a position it then held for almost thirty years.
Ford had lost its position of leadership. There have been a few years when the Ford (brand) car was the first in sales but General Motors rose to the dominant position in the U.S. market. Even the upstart Chrysler Corporation outsold Ford during some of the Thirties and Forties.
But it was Fords Model T that put the world on wheels. When the T was introduced, the world traveled for the most part on horseback or in horse-drawn vehicles. The Model T Ford changed all that almost in the twinkling of an eye of mans history. The Model T may have had its faults, but the ability to gain almost universal love and respect was not one of them. The Model T had truly been The Universal Car.
FORDS INTRODUCTORY ANNOUNCEMENT
The following is a direct copy of the text from Fords announcement to its dealers in August 1925. Keep in mind that a number of features were later modified or changed entirely. This reproduction is for interest only and should not be used as a guide as to what should or should not appear in the 1926 and 1927 Model T Fords.
Information for Ford Dealers and Salesmen
on Improved Ford Cars
Beauty of design is so conspicuously evident in the improved Ford cars that this improvement immediately impresses itself upon everyone who sees them. Open and closed body types have been redesigned with modern stream-line treatment. Many other important changes in bodies and chassis contribute to comfort and convenience as well. These changes include the following:
Chassis frame lowered
Bodies lower and longer (except Fordor)
Bodies redesigned (except Fordor)
Closed cars in color
Improved upholstery with lower, deeper cushioned seats
Nickeled radiator shells on closed cars.
One piece windshield on Tudor and Coupe
Larger, better looking fenders
Fuel tank under cowl (except Fordor)
Added accessories on all cars
Coil box and sediment bulb more conveniently located
Improved brakes in rear axle and transmission
Two doors on Runabout; four doors on Touring Car.
It is of particular importance that the bodies of all closed and open cars are all-steel throughout, except the Fordor which has a composite body. All-steel bodies mean added strength and durability.
Note also that Ford bodies have been entirely redesigned for greater comfort, convenience and added beauty. Yet it is important to remember that these are in no true sense NEW cars. It is advisable to avoid using the word NEW in discussing them. The word NEW implies a redesigning of the chassis as well as the body. While it is true that certain refinements have been added to the chassis and that these are more radical and therefore more conspicuous than any which have heretofore been made, the model T chassis (though lower) remains the same in design and construction as it has been since 1908. It is the same Ford car, now as always noted for economy, performance and reliability; only the bodies have been redesigned. Do not forget this point and do not fail to stress it in talking to prospective car owners. It is a strong selling point.
In telling your customer of these changes, it is not necessary to emphasize the details. Your prospect is more interested in the beauty of the car, to which especial thought has been directed, and in the added comfort and convenience than he is in how these improvements were achieved. However, the detailed information given in the following pages is intended to prepare you fully to answer any and all questions which are likely to be asked concerning the improved Ford cars.
A pronounced stream-line treatment has been effected in all body types. The best way to appreciate this is to actually see the cars. If you can get your prospect into your showroom, you will find that little salesmanship is necessary as far as the beauty feature of these cars is concerned. They are so conspicuously different in design that they speak for themselves.
Many other factors contribute to appearance of the improved body designs. The chassis frame is lower. The bodies are longer and lower.
The actual figures are comparatively unimportant. The big fact is that the top of the body has been lowered and the seats have been lowered.
The beauty of the bodies has been further enhanced by the slightly raised radiator, larger hood, nickeled head lamp rims and in the case of closed cars nickeled radiator shells.
Fenders—Changes in fender design are of particular importance. Like the bodies, Ford fenders have been completely redesigned to give added beauty to the cars. They are now of the crown type, wider, larger and more attractive. They extend lower both front and rear, affording maximum protection against splashing mud and water.
Running boards are also wider and nearer the ground.
Closed Cars in Colors—Ford closed body types are now finished in attractive colors. The Tudor and Coupe are a deep Channel Green, and the Fordor Sedan is in rich Windsor Maroon. Open cars remain black.
Accessories—Standard equipment on all closed cars include windshield wiper, rear view mirror, windshield visor and dash light. The Fordor Sedan has, also, the dome-light, as before. Windshield wiper is standard on open cars.
Windshields—On the Tudor Sedan and the Coupe, the plate glass windshield is of one piece opening forward. A passage-way at the base of the windshield directs the ventilation downward into the front compartment when the windshield is slightly opened. Plate glass windshield in the open body types are of the double ventilating type both halves opening. The windshield on the Fordor has been redesigned to conform with the improved cowl. Lower half is stationary and there is a cowl ventilator as before.
Radiator and Hood—The radiator is 5/8 higher and the hood larger, more louvers (side openings) in the hood permit freer circulation of air.
Radiator shells of bright nickel, polished and buffed are standard on closed cars.
Windows—All windows in all closed body types are of Ford plate glass and lower flush with the molding. They operate by lifters set conveniently within reach.
Doors—All doors open forward on all body types except rear doors on the Fordor Sedan.
Seats—All seats in the Tudor Sedan, Coupe, Touring and Runabout have been lowered and set further back and with improved cushion effect, providing greater comfort.
Tire Carrier—A newly simplified design of arm type tire carrier accommodates either the Ford wire wheel or demountable rim. It is set at the most attractive angle to add to the appearance of the car.
Tires—Standard equipment on all Ford cars includes cord tires in place of fabric as formerly.
Headlights—The headlights have polished nickel rims, are set higher and further apart and are attached to pressed fender supports.
Taillight and License Bracket—On all body types the taillight and license plate bracket are now located on the rear left fender.
Chassis Frame—The chassis frame has been dropped one and one-half inches. This has been accomplished without materially affecting the road clearance by lowering the crown of the springs one inch. The spindle has been raised on the spindle body one-half inch.
Coil Box—The coil box is now mounted on the left-hand side of the motor. This change is a great convenience for servicing as access to the coil box may now be had by simply raising the hood. The mechanic need no longer enter the car to make coil box adjustments.
Fan—The fan has been raised to add to its cooling efficiency. Fan belt adjustments are now more quickly and simply made. This is due to a special fan belt bracket and eccentric adjustment. The bracket is designed as an integral part of the cylinder head outlet.
Transmission Brake Band—The transmission brake band has been increased from 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/4 inches wide, an improvement which contributes to the ease and smoothness of braking. In addition, the wider brake band lining requires infrequent adjustment and will last much longer than heretofore. All transmission bands now have removable ears to facilitate changing and band lining. Hardened steel shoes have been placed over clutch casing keys to prevent wear.
Hand Brakes—Brake drums in the rear axle have been increased from 8 inches in diameter to 11 inches in diameter and the width has been increased from 1-5/32 inches to 1-1/2 inches. Brake shoes are now covered with asbestos composition, eliminating the old method in which braking was effected by direct contact of cast iron shoes on the steel brake drum. Being of the self-energizing type, these new improved brakes render braking smooth and positive.
Pedals—Brake and clutch pedals are farther apart and have wider surfaces with flange at the side to prevent the drivers foot from slipping.
Steering Wheel—The steering wheel on open and closed cars was recently increased from 16 to 17 inches in diameter. In all types except the Fordor Sedan the wheel has been set three inches lower for greater comfort and ease of driving as seats have been moved back and lowered. There is a 5 to 1 reduction in the steering mechanism to accommodate balloon tires.
Gasoline Tank—In the Tudor Sedan, Coupe, Touring and Runabout the fuel tank is now placed beneath the cowl in front of the instrument board. This is a marked improvement, the importance of which cannot be over estimated. The gasoline now flows from the tank to the carburetor at an abrupt angle, even when negotiating the steepest hills. The tank can be readily filled from outside. The filler cap is located in the middle of the cowl under a rain-proof cover, having the appearance of a cowl ventilator. A large trough and overflow pipe has been provided to carry any spillage directly to the ground.
There is a marked convenience in having the gas tank located under the cowl for it brings the sediment bulb, usually so difficult to access, to a convenient location under the hood where water can easily be drained from the gasoline which is so necessary in freezing weather as all automobile owners already know. Any Ford salesman can readily see that the hazard has not been increased, for the ventilation and overflow provided has been a distinct improvement. The dash provides an adequate separation from the motor. Vacuum tanks containing a quart of gasoline and being suspended almost over the motors have not been considered dangerous, and the location of our gasoline tank is much improved over these.
Body in Color—The Improved Tudor Sedan is finished in deep Channel Green.
New Upholstery—The upholstery fabric is especially strong and durable. It is of a gray tone with a fine green stripe to harmonize with the exterior color of the car. The headlining is a fabric of gray mixture and the floor carpet is gray with a suggestion of green. The back curtain is of gray silk.
Drivers Seat Tilts—The drivers seat, in addition to the other front seat, is of the full bucket type, tilting forward with much deeper cushioning, giving added comfort. When tilted forward, rear seat passengers may either enter or leave the car without disturbing occupant of the other front seat, which is also deeper cushioned with higher back. Rear seat also is lowered and deeper cushioned. All occupants of the car have greater riding comfort, being seated nearer the road and having more leg room.
Visibility—Visibility for the driver has been materially increased by new design front pillars on either side of the one-piece windshield. They are narrower, this giving the driver better vision in every direction.
Visor—Another marked contribution to driving comfort is the redesigned leather cloth sun visor which is closed completely at both ends. It is of much better appearance.
Accessories—The Tudor Sedan now comes equipped with windshield wiper, rear view mirror and dash lamp. Starter and demountable rims are included as standard equipment.
Changes in Dimensions—Following are the approximate changes in dimensions between the former and the improved Ford Tudor Sedan:
Body—4 inches lower from top to road. 3-1/2 inches longer
Seats—2-1/2 inches lower from top of seat to floor. This with 1-1/2 inch drop in chassis brings the seat 4 inches nearer the ground.
Distance from back panel of front seats to front of rear seat increased 2 inches, affording more knee room. Foot room also is increased.
Color—The improved Coupe is finished in a deep Channel Green.
New Upholstery Fabric—The upholstery fabric in the Coupe, is the same as in the Tudor Sedan. The back curtain is of gray silk.
Beauty—Improvements in the Coupe are most pronounced. The sweep of the body lines from the radiator cap back to the spare tire carrier is startling. By no means the least important feature is the rear deck which is full width of the body enclosure and extends well back over the rear spring with fenders bolted to the body. The rear deck compartment is not only wider and longer, but deeper as well. Rust-proof compartment lid hinges are concealed at the juncture of the rear deck and body enclosure. The wide double steel panel lid sweeps backward and down almost to the floor level of the compartment. When opened, access to the compartment is extremely easy. An automatic catch fixes the lid firmly opened. This compartment is waterproof and dustproof. Hidden channels carry any rain or moisture leakages around the lid to the ground.
Seat—Redesigned with deeper cushion and windshield same as in the Tudor Sedan.
Recess Shelf—The shelf at the back of seat is 5 inches wider than in the former Coupe and affords more room to accommodate parcels or small luggage.
Door—Door is wider, making it easier to enter and leave the car.
Accessories—Same as Tudor Sedan
Changes in Dimensions—Following are the approximate changes in dimensions between former and Improved Ford Coupe:
Body—4-1/2 inches lower from top to road. 3-1/2 inches longer.
Seats—2-1/2 inches lower from top of seat to floor. This with 1-1/2 inch drop of body on chassis brings seat 4 inches nearer the ground.
Color—The improved Fordor Sedan is finished in rich Windsor Maroon.
New Upholstery—The upholstery fabric is especially strong and durable. It is of a gray tone with a fine red stripe to harmonize with the exterior coloring of the car. The headlining is a fabric of gray mixture to harmonize with the upholstery cloth. Floor carpet is gray with a suggestion of red. The window curtains are of gray silk.
Seats—Same as former Fordor Sedan.
Gasoline Tank—Under the front seat as before.
Changes in Dimensions—Following are the approximate changes in dimensions between the former and the Improved Ford Fordor Sedan:
Body dropped 1-1/2 inches on the chassis. No other changes.
Color—The improved Ford Runabout is finished in black. The upholstery is of Ford leather cloth.
Appearance—The sweep of the body lines from the radiator cap back to the spare tire carrier suggests the sports car more conspicuously perhaps than the other improved body types. By no means the least important feature of the improved Runabout is the rear deck which is now the full width of the body and extends well back over the rear spring with fenders bolted to the body. The rear deck compartment is not only wider and longer, but deeper as well. Rustproof compartment lid hinges are concealed at the juncture of the rear deck and the body. The wide double-steel panel lid sweeps backward and down almost to the floor level of the compartment. When opened, access to the compartment is extremely easy. An automatic catch fixes the lid firmly opened and it must be released by hand in order to close down the lid which locks. This compartment is actually waterproof and dustproof. Hidden channels carry any rain or moisture leakages around the lid to the ground.
Two Doors—An additional door is provided at the drivers left, a new convenience. Both doors open forward and are wider than before.
Storm Curtains—are on uprights and open with the doors.
Seat—has been completely redesigned for increased comfort.
Changes in Dimensions—The following are the approximate changes in dimensions between the former and the Improved Runabout:
Body—4-1/2 inches lower from top to road. 7-3/4 inches longer.
Seat—2-1/2 inches lower from top of seat to floor. This with 1-1/2 inch drop in chassis brings the seat 4 inches nearer the ground. Seat is 3 inches wider.
Color—The improved touring car is finished in black. The upholstery is of Ford leather cloth.
Four Doors—An additional door is provided at the drivers left which is of genuine convenience both to driver and passenger. All four doors open forward and are wider than before.
Storm Curtains—are on uprights and open with the doors.
One Man Top—The top is a genuine one man top of Ford leather cloth. Improved design makes it extremely easy for one man to raise or lower the top.
Compartments—are provided under both front and rear seats for tools and curtains.
Seats—have been completely redesigned for increased comfort.
Changes in Dimensions—Following are the approximate changes in dimensions between the former and the Improved Ford Touring Car:
Body—4-1/2 inches lower from top to road. 3-1/2 inches longer.
Seats—2-1/2 inches lower from top of seat to floor. This with 1-1/2 inch drop in chassis brings the seats 4 inches nearer the ground. Front seat is 3 inches wider. Rear seat is 5 inches wider. Distance between back panel of front seat and the rear seat is increased 3-1/2 inches, giving more room for passengers. This increased width also provides additional floor space between the seats to accommodate a bushel basket, an advantage for farmers.
After the initial announcement in which the Fordor Sedan was shown as being Windsor Maroon, the Tudor and Coupe as being Channel Green, and the open cars as being black, a number of changes occurred.
Existing samples of 1926 models, which appear to be original, seem to indicate that in spite of the colors listed for the closed cars, all body types also appeared in black in early production.
By mid-1926 the Fordor Sedan color was listed as Moleskin which should be a gray. By the fall of 1926 (1927 models?), all closed cars were apparently painted in a choice of three colors: Royal Maroon, Highland Green and Fawn Gray. Whether the Windsor and Royal maroons were alike; the Channel and Highland greens were alike; or the Moleskin and Fawn Gray were alike is open for question but evidence seems to indicate they were not. The differences may have been due to the different paints used. The 1926 cars were initially painted in enamel, but later production used the new Pyroxylin paint.
Black, Channel Green and Windsor Maroon
Black, Highland Green, Royal Maroon, Fawn Gray, Gunmetal Blue, Phoenix Brown, Commercial Green, Moleskin and Drake Green.
WIRE WHEEL COLORS
Casino Red, Emerald Green and Straw
Casino Red, Emerald Green, Straw, Drake Green and Black
Note: While not listed under the enamels, Black was the standard wire wheel color. The other colors were optional and often dealer-installed.
Champagne, Cream, Emerald Green, Orange and Vermilion.
Apparently the Pyroxylin paints were introduced after the initial introduction of the 1926 cars. The enamel colors listed in the Ford Parts List concur with the colors in the introductory line folders. It would appear that at the time the Pyroxylin paints were used in place of the enamels, the Fordor Sedan body color became Moleskin (gray) and that after a time all the closed cars could be had in a choice of colors (maroon, gray or green). The actual dates of the changes are not known but it seems the Pyroxylin finish became available during 1926, and that the three-color option came in the fall of 1926 (1927 models). Further study seems to indicate that the open cars were all black until late 1926 when black was dropped in favor of the Gunmetal Blue and the Phoenix Brown options.
The bodies of the closed cars were striped at the factory. The stripe was quite thin and appeared just below the body molding. On some of the cars another stripe was added on the front body pillar; this stripe beginning at the front edge of the upper body stripe and following the curve of the pillar down to the bottom near the splash apron. The striping colors were Vermilion or orange on the maroon cars, champagne on the gray cars, and cream or emerald green on the green cars. Some open cars were seen with stripes but it is believed that these were dealer options and that such striping did not come from the factory.
When supplied as standard equipment, wire wheels were black. Any of the available colors could be ordered on any car. Ford offered an exchange program for the dealers who installed wire wheels in place of the wooden ones, or colored wire wheels for the black ones.
Fenders, running boards and splash aprons, as well as most hardware (bumper brackets, for example) were painted black on all cars.
The generally accepted pitch has been that the engines on the 1926 and 1927 cars were painted green. In our research at the Ford Archives, and after examining a good many original cars, we have yet to prove this to be true. The only reference to engine paint we have found was in the engine number record books, where on July 27, 1926 a note was entered which read, Began painting engines in Pyroxylin. Drake Green was specified. Whether all engines were black, unpainted, or green cannot be determined with certainty. We have seen original engines in black, and also unpainted but have yet to see a green one that seemed original. Yet, it is quite possible that Drake Green was used on at least some engines after mid-1926.
Upholstery in the closed cars was listed as gray with a red stripe in the maroon cars, and gray with a green stripe in the green cars in the introductory Ford descriptions. By mid-1926 the green cars were listed as having Rich dark green wool fabric with carpets and curtains to match. The moleskin cars had a rich dark brown wool fabric, with carpets and curtains to match. All open cars were upholstered in a black leatherette fabric.
The Ford body catalogs list no options other than the gray with the red or green stripe until 1927 models when gray with a white stripe was the only color. Original samples of cars seen by the author seem to indicate these three fabrics only, and no doubt the gray with white stripe came into use when the cars could be ordered in optional colors. Gray with a white stripe would match any of the possible exterior colors.
What is the modern equivalent of the original paint colors? Probably there are none. Maroon, in particular, was an unstable color until fairly recent times. Beautiful when new, it soon oxidized into a dirty brown. Some years ago one of our members gave the author three samples of original paint from new old stock, unopened Ford Motor Company cans. When these samples were painted on a sheet of aluminum foil, I could not tell them apart! They all looked black!
Original Model T Ford paint colors are all but impossible to duplicate accurately today. The paints used in the very early cars were varnishes, and had a relatively short life. This was also true of the later enamels and Pyroxylins, although they were a good bit better than the earlier varnishes. The original (1909-1910) early greens and (1911-1913) blues were all but black, and could easily be taken as black. Consequently, original cars seen today no longer have the same color they had when they were new. Today, batches of the same paint formula will vary in color, and it is certain the variations were even more pronounced more than sixty years ago.
© Bruce W. McCalley. Rev. July 1, 2000.