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.