The Competition – The Model T Ford in the Marketplace Part 1

The Model T Ford today is unique among collectible automobiles. There are several national club organizations that accept the Model T, and there are local Model T clubs in nearly every major city in the United States. When the Model T was new, the cars that it competed with never sold nearly as well. Nowadays we hardly even think of the fact that there were other cars competing with the Model T for market share and profitability. There are few car clubs for  the cars that shared the automotive market with the Model T Ford back then. Let’s take a look at who the competition were back then, and see how they stacked up.

This article is the first in a series. The Model T Ford was very popular for a long period of time. In this article we will look at the competition that existed in the early years of the Model T.

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Cleaning the Model T Ford Spark Plug T1386

The Bethlehem Spark plug was originally manufactured by Silvex corporation based in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. About 1918 they received a contract from Ford Motor Company to supply a quantity of spark plugs for Model T Ford and Fordson production, supplanting the contract given to Champion Spark Plug which was the prime supplier. At the time the chairman of Silvex / Bethlehem was Edward H Schwab. You may have heard of his brother, Charles Schwab who was president of Bethlehem Steel Company. The advertisement above is for one of the company’s “gimmick plugs” which had multiple ground electrodes instead of the normal single ground electrode.

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The Model T Oil Funnel and Lubrication System

A brand new 1914 Model T Ford engine is mounted on the “burn in” stand, one of many in the nearly new Highland Park plant. The large electric motor turns the engine for a minute or so, in order to establish sufficient bearing clearance for the oil to circulate. Prior to the burn in process the engine was filled with oil for the very first time.

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Adjusting The Model T Ford Transmission and Clutch

From about serial number 900 until the end of Model T production in 1927 (1928 for the TT Truck) the transmission and clutch remained largely unchanged. Earlier Model T’s built in the 1909 model year prior to about serial number 900 had a different operating system that requires some different techniques. For the sake of clarity we will not address the earlier so called “two lever / two pedal” cars in this article.

The Model T uses three pedals and one lever to operate the parking brake, clutch, reverse speed, low speed, high speed, so – called “neutral” (more on this later) and foot operated brake.

Let’s look at a step – by – step procedure to adjust the brakes, bands, and clutch, while we explain the operation of each control. In order to achieve proper adjustment of each component it is important to first of all understand that they are inter – related. You must verify the adjustments in order if you want to have success. Adjusting components out of order will result in poor operation.

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Time to Re-Tire : Model T Fords and Clincher tires

1912 model t rh drive ford

Ford used clincher tires on the Model T Ford from the first 1909 passenger car built in the fall of 1908 until the end of production on the TT truck.  There is a lot to know about these tires for the person new to the hobby, and perhaps even for those of us who have been around the block a few times. Let’s examine them and see what we can learn. Continue reading “Time to Re-Tire : Model T Fords and Clincher tires”