Bakersfield Pre – War Swap Meet is a joint venture of the Horseless Carriage Club of America and the Kern County Model T Ford Club. The majority of the parts offered for sale by vendors are Model T Ford, but that is understandable considering that the Model T Ford was the most prolific car in the era prior to WWII. Without a doubt Studebaker was the second best represented make at this meet.
We had a great time at the Bakersfield swap meet. It’s worth a visit for those planning for next year.
The 1915 touring body style is a complicated subject indeed. We have spent a lot of time at the Benson Ford archives trying to identify when the new “1915” body style was introduced, and how the new cars appeared. A fortunate set of objects exist in the Benson Ford archive, which are the (so called) Cost Books. This collection of volumes is incomplete for most model years, but for 1915 it is very nearly complete. The Cost Books are leather bound, typed reports that show the actual costs incurred by Ford Motor Company during each month. The amount of detail is staggering. The accountants provide a cost for every item in the car’s construction. Even cotter pins are detailed by quantity, size, price and location.
Our friend owns this beautiful 1910 touring. Its open valve engine has a water leak from the center of the block where the water jacket has rusted through and cracked. If it was a later block with enclosed valves this would cause water in the oil. Since this is an early block, it mostly causes a big mess.
We decided this was a perfect defect to repair with fairly easy methods. Read below to see what we did to repair this common problem.
Ford hoped to expand its market share by adding two new body styles for the 1915 model year. There was a lot going on at Ford in the fall of 1914. Efforts were underway to begin fabrication of complete bodies at Highland Park for the touring and runabout (aka torpedo) body styles. The 1915 Ford was restyled with a new hidden horn mounted to the firewall. Billed fenders became standard in July 1914. A louvered hood was added. The flat wooden firewall was being phased out, replaced by a new graceful cowl section that contoured away from the hood towards the body sides. Electric headlamps, powered by the magneto were becoming standard.
The 1915 Model T Ford model year is an extremely interesting one for the history buff. The manufacture of Ford cars at the Highland Park plant was in the process of being perfected, but was far from perfect. The plant was still under construction as it had been since 1910, but cars were being built in the plant as early as the fall of 1910. Hundreds of thousands of Model T Fords were built in 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913 and early 1914 model year the old way, with the cars sitting in place while parts were delivered to each car, then assembled. The moving assembly line first became operational early in the 1914 model year, on October 7, 1913 to be precise.
Ford by this time had been the most successful businessman on the planet for several years. The Model T Ford was the single most successful product on the planet. Sales of the Model T Ford accounted for nearly half of worldwide automobile sales. The car itself, while perfectly adequate mechanically for the era, was very outdated in appearance. Ford was one of the last automakers to use a wooden exposed dashboard. The carbide headlamps were also considered to be outdated in 1914. Unfortunately Ford did not have the new 1915 bodies ready at the beginning of the model year, so the 1914 style cars continued to be built for a while.