The 1913 Model T Ford

Must have been a cold day when this man brought home his brand new 1913 Model T Touring. Ford completely redesigned the body and fenders for the 1913 model year, and changed nearly every other part of the car as well. Let’s look at the very interesting 1913 model year in this edition of Model T Ford Fix.

The 1913 model year began September 1, 1912. The models and prices announced were as follows:

Touring car, $600

Runabout, $525

Town Car, $800

Delivery, $625

Chassis (unknown price)

Ford records also claim that one coupe was built in 1913, probably for a Ford executive since it was not a cataloged offering. The delivery bodies were left over from 1912, the result of ordering more bodies than the market could bear.

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Model T Advertising In Ford Times and Other Periodicals

The Model T Ford upon its introduction in 1908 as a 1909 model was destined to be the world’s most popular and best selling car. It was replacing Ford’s Models N – R and S, already the world’s best selling and most popular cars.

Back cover of a 1911 Ford Times sows racing events in England. Of course a Ford won!

Ford advertising took many forms. There were advertisements placed in trade journals such as The Automobile, and advertisements in popular magazines such as Life and Harper’s Weekly. There were newspaper advertisements, post cards, and of course the in – house publication known as Ford Times.

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The 1912 Model T Ford Part 3

A brand new 1912 Model T Ford Torpedo Runabout being delivered to the first owner. The travelling salesman was beginning to be a common thing in the United States in 1912. Many of the torpedo sales shown in the Accounts Receivables are group sales to business owners. The torpedo was often converted to a light truck or other utility vehicle. Notice the car above has a black painted aluminum crank handle. E & J headlamps are both hinged on the same side, there were never left / right hinged headlamps from E & J originally.

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The 1912 Model T Ford Part 2

The color plate above is the cover of the spring 1912 United States edition Model T catalogue. The image is a bit misleading since this style of touring body was no longer being produced by that date and all cars now came equipped with a fixed driver side door and functional passenger side door. Certain parts are not finished appropriately due to liberties taken by the chromolithographer. For example the parking brake lever should be black.

In this article we will examine the evolution of the touring body style during the 1912 model year. The rest of the industry had – for the most part – moved away from exposed wooden firewalls, open front compartments, and  brass trim for their touring cars. Ford was making so many cars so quickly that change was sometimes well behind the rest of the industry. As a practical matter, Ford had to place orders to its suppliers for tens of thousands of parts at a time. Changing anything might have a domino effect on scores of other components. As we shall see, Ford, while leading the industry in sales, production numbers, and profitability was playing catch up in terms of styling. As was always the case Ford used each change as a way to not only improve the appearance of its cars, but to make them better for their customer, easier to manufacture, and more profitable all at the same time.

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The 1912 Model T Ford Part 1

As Ford reached the end of its 1911 model year on September 31, 1911 the automotive industry knew one thing for certain. The Model T Ford was the best selling car on the planet! Ford had sold about 40,000 Model T’s during the 1911 model year, about 25% more than it had sold during the 1909 and 1910 model years combined! Nearly the entire chassis and engine had been revised during the 1911 model year, making production easier and the cars more reliable. No doubt the 1912 season was going to be even better for Ford.

Ford announced its offerings for the 1912 season as the touring, town car, torpedo runabout, open runabout, and the delivery car. Not shown in the catalog but available were the bare chassis. Not advertised or listed in the catalog, a handful of 1912 Model T coupes were built, probably for Ford executives. At the beginning of the model year the touring bodies were the same as those used at the end of the 1911 model year as seen above.  The firewall is the “two piece” variety. Ford announced at the beginning of 1912 model year that new removable “fore doors” would be standard equipment on all Model T tourings. Ford was doing this in response to trends seen in the rest of the automotive industry. The Model T was “old fashioned” looking with no front doors.

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