The 1911 Model T Fords were different from the previous 1910 model year cars in many significant ways. The restorer has all the information available, and many of the sheet metal parts, complete bodies, lamps, radiators, coil boxes, are available brand new. It seems like it should be easy to get the details right. Let’s try and show what a 1911 Model T should look like.
Above, wheels were dark blue, often with much more extensive pin striping than we see here. Hubcaps for 1911 have Ford script for the first time seen on any Ford. Notice that the Ford script is raised and there is no circle around the word Ford, and nowhere on the car does it say “Made in USA”.
Prices for 1911 were down again, as Ford was able to build the cars at less expense than previously. In the 12 months preceding the 1911 model year Ford had begun the move into its new Highland Park plant. The plant was many times the size of the old Piquette assembly plant, and while the assembly line was not yet operational the Highland Park plant had been designed from day 1 to house a moving assembly line. While work was being done at Highland Park, considerable assembly was still happening at the old Piquette plant as well.
Prices for 1911 were as follows:
Touring car $780.00
Tourabout $725.00 Note: The Tourabout body style is not recorded as being produced in 1911, however the buyer who wanted one could order the Runabout – also called Roadster with Rumble Seat and have it converted to a Tourabout by the dealer. Such a car would have left the Highland Park plant as a Runabout.
Open Runabout $680.00
Runabout (Rumble Seat Roadster) $680.00
Torpedo Runabout $725.00
Town Car $960.00
The Coupes and Town Cars were sold with kerosene lamps only. Or, the buyer could opt for the optional lamps at extra cost. Buyers of these cars were thought to mostly use them in cities where street lamps were common. As such Ford thought it was prudent to offer them without the added expense of carbide lamps.
A Landaulet body style was catalogued but apparently not built during 1911 model year.
Ford as usual had multiple suppliers of any outsourced components. Coil units used in 1911 model year included Heinze (above, most common) Kingston, and very rarely Jacobson Brandow.
Above the 1911 Kingston coil unit, manufactured in Kokomo, Indiana for Ford.
Ford used two brands of spark plugs in 1911 model year. The main supplier was Champion, the secondary supplier was Mosler.
The Champion X plug was introduced in 1911 and was the primary spark plug used by Ford in 1911 and for many years to come. The 1911 version had a straight sided porcelain with no brass top. The words Champion X Pat Pending are on the side of each plug in blood red.
Above the Model T’s influence was spreading across the world in 1911. The car above is a typical RHD Model T probably assembled in Trafford Park, UK.
The fenders, running boards and splash aprons were all new for 1911 model year. Gone too were the so called “butterfly” rear fender brackets used in 1909 – 1910. The rear fenders for 1911 hugged the body at the top and the fender irons were now attached to the rear seat base of touring bodies, extending out through a hole in the side of the body. The yellow arrow above shows the mounting location of the fender bracket with three carriage bolts going through the seat base.
The horn used in 1911 continued to be a double twist made by either Rubes or Non Pariel. The construction was changed somewhat from the 1909 – 1910 version. Now the portion of the horn tube where the reed and hose screws in is made to very closely parallel the angle of the front floor board. This gave an improved appearance compared to earlier Model T’s where the inlet of the horn is parallel with the running board. Note the mounting position of the carbide generator is directly below the horn bulb so that the new for 1911 Ford script on the running board is visible. The running boards are completely new for 1911 with raised diamonds stamped in to keep you from slipping when they are wet or muddy.
Much was said about the reliability and low cost of ownership for the Model T. Ford dealers really had plenty to show off. The Hartford fire department made a great example for this Hartford, CT advertisement from 1911.
The 1911 town car was the most expensive Model T body style. It was offered at $1200.00 with full carbide lamps and generator.
The Model T town car became a common sight in New York City, as a taxi. On warm days the rear could be opened and the windshield folded forward for ventilation.
The Model T Ford’s success in the United States was beginning to be seen all over the world. Above we see a 1911 Touring in Sweden. It has a quite unusual accessory cowl and front doors fitted to it. No doubt this improved the all weather use of the car in cold or wet weather.
Another photo from Sweden. This is an early 1911 with E&J headlamps. Again we see the enclosed cowl and front doors, perhaps this was common in Sweden? Or could it be the same car?
Above we see 1911 touring serial number 35432, a car built in mid January of 1911. The car is equipped with 1910 style E & J headlamps. Notice the profuse pin striping on the body.
Another view of 35432. Photo courtesy Tom Helf.
As we move into the second century since the 1911 Model T was made there are fewer and fewer unrestored cars. The question needs to be asked: Should we restore an intact example or preserve it for future generations to study as is? The collector with his garage shown above has made his decision.
Over at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegnce a different opinion can be seen. Here we see one of the judges dressed in attire fitting a Scottish golf club in the Edwardian era deciding whether the subject 1911 Torpedo Runabout is worthy of a small wooden plaque to reward its owner for financing a costly multi year restoration.
In a dusty warehouse located in a small Texas town we had to climb over mountains of junk in order to take this and the following series of photos. The car is an unrestored 1911 touring. It has not moved in decades. To get it out of the building would require hours of labor to move all the piles of stuff that surround it.
Another photo taken with great difficulty due to mountains of collectibles and building materials piled around the car. The seat upholstery has been replaced at some point with vinyl.
The headlamps are originals. The owner polished them at some point, the rims are removed for a polishing job that was never completed many years ago. Ford script has been added to this car, it was not placed on the radiator core after 1910 model year. The car is equipped with a Rands windshield and Stewart Model 26 speedometer. The body is made by Herbert, body serial H5952.
The open valve engine is backed by its original square door wide hogshead. The intake and carburetor have been replaced over the years with parts from a later Model T.
The serial number 44518 indicates the car was probably assembled in mid May 1911.
A look around back was accomplished after moving some of the junk surrounding the car. We were rewarded with a view of the original 6 rivet rear axle still in place where it began life. The owner of the car plans to restore it some day. We hope the car gets preserved rather than restored.
The touring body for 1911 is a complete redesign from the 1909 – 10 version. The new 1911 touring body is smaller, with the front and rear seats about 3 inches narrower than earlier Fords. The rear of the body is much lower at the top of the rear seat cushion. The top assembly no longer attaches to a iron rail around the rear of the bodies as it did in 1909 – 1910. Instead the top irons have a threaded stud on the ends so that the top bows now can attach directly to the top irons. The position of the stowed top assembly when not erected is much lower than 1909 – 10, allowing much better visibility for top down drivers. The car above has JNO Brown lamps, Rands windshield, and some low tires that could use some air.