1908 APR 1 Ford Times Model T mentioned. Letter from dealer said, “….will open some eyes!”

JUN 1 Ford Times Pictures of the Model T Landaulet

JUN 15 Ford Times “Watch the Fords Go By” moving electric sign erected on top of the Temple Theater building on June 8. 35 feet long by 22 feet high, it pictured the Model T Touring in motion.

JUL 1 Ford Times Story comparing the Model A (1903) and the Model T. Picture of the Model T Touring.
“High Price Quality in a Low Price Car” slogan used in an ad for the 6-40 (Model K) Runabout.

SEP 15 Ford Times “To Be Built” sign erected on the site of the Highland Park Plant on September 3.
“Model T Ready for Delivery “notice.” By October 1.”‘ “No retail orders until every dealer has a demonstrator.” “By the middle of October we will have a Model T Coupe listing at $950. November 1 for the Town Car at $1000, and Landaulet at $950.”
The top for the Model T Touring is listed at $80 extra.
The last page has an illustration of the Model T Touring, printed in red.

SEP 28 (Ford Archives) Model T engine number one built. (Car shipped October 1.)

OCT 1 Ford Times Coverage of the Model T features. Notes that the Model T engine block sells at $30, the same price as one dual-cylinder casting of the Model N-R-S engine. Article features the new engine. Price of the Touring is $850, without top, windshield and gas lamps.

OCT 15 Ford Times Continuing coverage of the Model T (chassis features). “It’s a veritable Pullman for easy riding.” A 1357 mile trip is described in which 67 gallons of gas and 11-1/2 gallons of oil were used. “20 mpg gas and 85 mpg oil” noted but figures given indicate 118 miles per gallon of oil.

NOV 1 Ford Times Picture of the engine crankcase showing the oil dam at the rear main bearing. Photo of the Highland Park Plant in progress, dated November 10, 1908.

DEC 14 Acc. 575 Ford Archives New design starting crank to be used after first 500 cars. Crank is T519B and ratchet is T529B. Starting crank collar, T525B is to be cold drawn steel instead of drop forging and is to be used after the first 2500 cars.

DEC 15 Ford Times Picture of the pressed-steel transmission cover.

DEC 19 Ford Archives Three-pedal cars under production. (Model T) Numerous modifications in design were made. A factory letter indicates that after 500 cars the three-pedal modification was made. At about car number 800 all used the three-pedal system. (Evidence recently found indicates that there were 750 two-lever cars made; the original run was 500 and then an additional 250 were added.)
According to factory shipping invoices, 1909 cars could have been supplied with Prestolite tanks (in place of carbide generators). Weed chains, robe rails, foot rests, auto chimes, dragon horns, tire carriers and bumper rails were also factory options listed. Touring cars came without tops, or with several styles of tops, some lined. Tops came in gray, but most were black.

DEC 29 Acc. 575 Ford Archives Floor boards changed to three-pedal design. Used after the first 750 cars (See note above).

DEC 31 Acc. 575, Ford Archives T-483 cylinder head cap screw changed from 3/8-24 to 7/16-14 “Bastard head size.” T-550 head outlet screw of the same dimensions also changed. Cylinder heads and gaskets also changed to accept the new screw size. (3/8″ screws used on the first 500 cars.)

NOTES The following was supplied by Trent Boggess and is excerpted from Frank Hadas Reminisces at the Ford Archives. Mr. Hadas was a chief tester during the NRS & K period at the Piquette Avenue plant and also tested the first Model T’s. He writes:

“On the Model T, we had trouble with the fiber discs (bands?) on the planetary transmission. We had trouble with the damn pump and a lot of things. The cover for the transmission was also a stamping and the shaft that carried the levers that applied the pressure on the different bands; reverse, slow speed and brake attached to this thing here.

“You press down good and proper on two of them and you’d bend that case a little bit. You find that the adjustments you had in there were no good at all. We finally had to make a solid cover. The first Model T’s did not have a cast cover. They were stampings at first.”

So now we know why the stamped steel transmission cover lasted only about 840 jobs. It tended to bend when had pedal pressure was applied causing the adjustment of the bands to go out.

Mr. Ernest Grimshaw joined the Ford Motor Company on Oct. 6, 1906. He writes this about the first Model T’s built:

“I know that when I worked in the Purchasing Department we ordered material for the first 10,000 Model T cars. They were delivered in quarters: the first three months 2,500 were delivered, and so forth. It took approximately one year before the 10,000 cars were produced.

“When the Model T went into production, one of the Company’s major suppliers was Dodge Brothers. The McCord Manufacturing Company made the radiators. Both B.F. Everitt Body Company and C.R. Wilson Body Company made the bodies. The Company was not buying bodies from the A.(O.)J. Beaudett Company then, but later got some bodies from them. The B.F. Everitt Body Company and Wilson Body Company were the main two body makers for Ford then. Referring to castings, I believe they came from the Holmes foundry in Romeo. The A.(O.)J. Beaudett Company manufactured tops as well as did the American Top Company in Jackson.”

Mr. Grimshaw moved from purchasing into claims and he wrote:

“When the Model T was first built there was a run of poor rear axles. They had to be replaced with new ones and were quite a loss to the Company. The situation was remedied soon enough.”

Frank Hadas also talked about the poor nature of the pressed-steel rear axle design. He also confirmed that there were problems with the early flywheel magnetos. It appears from the comments in different Reminiscences that the problem was in the way the coil rings were insulated. Apparently they first tried simply painting the insulating varnish on, but this left air bubbles in the insulation. The solution was found by applying the varnish while the coil rings were in a vacuum tank.

© Bruce W. McCalley. Rev. February 18, 2007