The 1915 Model T Ford Part 3

An upside down 1915 touring is wrecked early in the car’s life. Many interesting details are visible such as the asbestos wrapped muffler, straight tail pipe, wood blocks between the running board brackets and the running board, and the 1913 – 1914 style rear axle assembly.  The new “1915” rear axle assembly was approved for production as early as August 1914, but there are so many surviving examples of 1915 cars using the earlier version that it is clear to us that the new design was not implemented until months after it was designed.

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.

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The 1915 Model T Ford Part 2

Prototype 1915 center door in a Ford publicity photo sent to dealers in late September 1914. Many features seen on this car never made it to production including the odd coach lamps on the body, the fenders, and the unusually louvered hood.

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.

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