The 1915 Model T Ford model year is an extremely interesting one for the history buff. The manufacture of Ford cars at the Highland Park plant was in the process of being perfected, but was far from perfect. The plant was still under construction as it had been since 1910, but cars were being built in the plant as early as the fall of 1910. Hundreds of thousands of Model T Fords were built in 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913 and early 1914 model year the old way, with the cars sitting in place while parts were delivered to each car, then assembled. The moving assembly line first became operational early in the 1914 model year, on October 7, 1913 to be precise.
Ford by this time had been the most successful businessman on the planet for several years. The Model T Ford was the single most successful product on the planet. Sales of the Model T Ford accounted for nearly half of worldwide automobile sales. The car itself, while perfectly adequate mechanically for the era, was very outdated in appearance. Ford was one of the last automakers to use a wooden exposed dashboard. The carbide headlamps were also considered to be outdated in 1914. Unfortunately Ford did not have the new 1915 bodies ready at the beginning of the model year, so the 1914 style cars continued to be built for a while.
The 1915 Model Year / Fiscal Year began on August 1, 1914. The first 1915 Ford was serialized 550,939 on that day. Body styles at the beginning of the model year were the popular Touring car priced at $490, the Runabout at $440, the Town Car costing a whopping $690, and the chassis available at $410.
Electric lights had been tested on earlier Model T’s and it was determined that the magneto was marginally underpowered when used for both ignition and lighting. Starting with engine serial number 578,042 on September 4, 1914 all Model T engines now had a “double stacked” magneto coil assembly equipped with 16 T5634 coils on the new cast iron coil mounting bracket. Magnets now were 3/4″ thick. Cars continued to be produced with carbide lamps.
The new sedans had the gas tank mounted below the back seat, which immediately began to be a problem for owners and dealers. While it was not much of a problem driving around mostly flat areas like Detroit, the new Sedans had trouble with even the slightest hill if the gas tank was not completely full. A flurry of factory letters to dealers and assembly plants recommended and implemented a variety of fixes. Between December 19 until the end of 1914 engineering specified first a longer intake manifold, then advised dealers to install 5/16″ fuel line, and finally the Kingston Model L carburetor in combination with the longer intake, and of course a longer heat stove to feed the lowered carburetor.
One major mechanical improvement for 1915 was the new rear axle assembly, which began to show up installed on cars about January 1915. The new axle housings had cast iron center sections replacing the earlier pressed steel versions used through the 1914 model year. The earlier axle housings had plenty of strength, but tended to leak around the riveted center section. The new “1915” rear axle housings resembled the 1906 – 1908 Model N ford housings quite a bit.