The chassis parts of the early 1909 Model T Ford were the beginning of 15 million other Model T’s. Yet in nearly every component there is a difference from what came later. Let’s take a closer look at them to see what happened and maybe understand why it happened too.
This early postcard shows a pre – 2500 Model T Ford with brass plated hand crank, flat “no bill” front fenders, and early front axle assembly. Note that this is a runabout that has an additional runabout rear seat added, making it a “tourabout” which was not officially offered in 1909 model year but was obviously possible. Also note the linoleum covered brass trimmed running board.
The first Model T Fords used what T collectors today call the “No Rivet” rear axle assembly. Ford made the two main pieces of the axle housing from deep drawn steel sheet. It was an engineering gamble to drive down the cost of manufacture.
Henry Ford had overwhelming success with the four cylinder Fords built during the 1906 – 1908 model years, with close to 14,000 sold (all models, all years) in Model N, Model R and Model S (or SR). With Ford the #1 automobile maker in the world, his next car was expected to be a good one. No one could have predicted just how successful it would become!
A happy family with their very early 1909 Model T.
Cobb X Shinn was an artist who specialized in greeting cards. About 1914 Ford Motor Company hired him to pen a series of humorous cards that portrayed the Model T as iconic, inexpensive, yet superior to other cars of the day.
Shinn was a young man of 27 at the time. He went on to serve in the US Armed Forces in WWI, and lived in the Midwest until 1951 having a long career in illustrating mostly post cards and greeting cards.
The weakest part of the Model T Ford design is the rear axle. OK, sure, it was well designed for its time, and perfectly adequate when the car was new. The fact is, if any part of it fails, the car won’t go forward, and it won’t stop either. People have been killed or injured because their rear axle failed in a Model T.
This article is about the drive shaft assembly. We are going to rebuild it as a Ford mechanic would have done back in the day. First let’s take it apart and see what we have to work with.