The 1912 Model T Ford Part 1

As Ford reached the end of its 1911 model year on September 31, 1911 the automotive industry knew one thing for certain. The Model T Ford was the best selling car on the planet! Ford had sold about 40,000 Model T’s during the 1911 model year, about 25% more than it had sold during the 1909 and 1910 model years combined! Nearly the entire chassis and engine had been revised during the 1911 model year, making production easier and the cars more reliable. No doubt the 1912 season was going to be even better for Ford.

Ford announced its offerings for the 1912 season as the touring, town car, torpedo runabout, open runabout, and the delivery car. Not shown in the catalog but available were the bare chassis. Not advertised or listed in the catalog, a handful of 1912 Model T coupes were built, probably for Ford executives. At the beginning of the model year the touring bodies were the same as those used at the end of the 1911 model year as seen above.  The firewall is the “two piece” variety. Ford announced at the beginning of 1912 model year that new removable “fore doors” would be standard equipment on all Model T tourings. Ford was doing this in response to trends seen in the rest of the automotive industry. The Model T was “old fashioned” looking with no front doors.

The touring car bodies evolved over the course of the 1912 model year. The car above is a later 1912 touring with a serial number that would be above 100,000 and a production date some time after January 15 1912. The removable front doors are not seen in this chilly scene. We will examine in detail all the changes in the 1912 touring bodies later in this series of articles.

Above we see the new 1912 torpedo runabout. The 1912 torpedo runabout bodies were similar in design to the 1911 body except the entire body was taller and the windshield was now entirely vertical. Like the touring, all cars were painted dark blue, a shade of blue so dark that it looks black in all but direct sunlight. Running boards, splash aprons and hoods continued to be painted black as had been the case in 1911.

Ford also offered a second runabout body style in 1912. Shown above is the “runabout” which was not offered with doors. The single rear seat was called a “rumble seat” by Ford; many people refer to it today as the “mother – in – law” seat. The runabout is a more practical car than the torpedo runabout since the gas tank is under the front seat. These cars were often converted into commercial vehicles and are quite rare today.

Speaking of commercial vehicles, Ford offered the first Model T commercial vehicle in 1912. The delivery had an all wood “C” cab panel body with twin rear doors at the rear. At $700 it seemed like a fair price for the vehicle. Buyers were scarce, and having built 1845 of them, Ford found many of them still in stock by the end of the 1912 model year.

A RH drive 1912 Model T Ford delivery on the show field. This one appears to have an aftermarket body, notice the shape of the door opening above the driver’s seat. Since the original delivery bodies were entirely made of lumber very few have survived intact.

A brand new 1912 delivery photographed in Russia.

Could this be Henry Ford’s personal car? The 1912 Model T Coupe is virtually unheard of. The car above is wearing later Model T electric headlamps and earlier 1910 style JNO Brown #60 cowl lamps. If the owner of this car could please contact us we will revise this story to add more details about this fascinating car.

Carbide headlamps, speedometer, and horn were standard on all of the new 1912 Fords including the town car as seen in the 1912 color catalogue.

Second in rarity only to the elusive coupe, the 1912 Model T Ford town car was often used as a taxi cab in cities around the world. Only 802 were built during1912 model year. The bodies were almost entirely wooden. The rear compartment has a folding top.

Above we see a 1912 RH drive Model T town car in New Zealand.

The photo above is also reportedly taken in New Zealand, but none of the people are the same. Could there have been two 1912 town cars exported to New Zealand or is it the same car?


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