The 1915 Model T Ford Part 4

A Canadian built 1915 Model T Ford touring. Notice the typical black background on the hubcaps. This car is RH drive. As was the case with all Canadian built Model T’s it has fork mounted headlamps and opening doors on both sides of the body. All four wheels are the same size, and use 30 X 3 1/2″ tires. Notice the body feature line above the rear fender is straight to match the profile of the earlier “1914” style rear fenders.

As the 1915 model year progressed cars began to come out of the factories with the new touring bodies. Generally the cars built in Walkerville, Ontario just a few miles away from the USA main Ford factory in Highland Park, Michigan were the same. A few basic features were different on the Canadian built cars and we will take note of them in this article.

This is a LH drive Canadian built 1915 Model T touring. Note the position of the horn bulb below the steering column, necessary since both doors opened. This is a later car than the one in the first photo, as the body character line above the rear fender is properly contoured to match the new “1915” curved rear fenders.

Cars built at Walkerville, Ontario Canada were sold in Canada and some provinces had cars driving on the left side of the road, necessitating a RH drive automobile. Other cars produced in Walkerville were exported to places across the world including Australia and New Zealand, where motorists also drove on the left side. A variety of complex tax laws were in effect in Australia, which made it more economical to export chassis rather than complete automobiles.

Due to content restrictions in Canada the 1915 Model T used lamps made in that country. The CLASCO lamp company basically copied E&J designs and produced them in Canada for local Ford products. Headlamps were magneto powered but still mounted to headlamp forks, unlike USA built 1915 Fords.

A brand new 1915 RH drive touring is delivered in New Zealand.
Canadian built cars, instead of having items that said “Made in USA” used items either marked “Made in Canada” or deleted such markings in some cases. Here we see the coil box switch plate. These plates sometimes had a black finished background, others produced at different times would be bare polished brass. All Fords built since late 1913 used the same ignition key.   
This is a USA built 1915 runabout. The lady is likely on her way to find some fowl for dinner since she has a shotgun in the carry case slung over her shoulder. The car is quite interesting because it has carbide headlamps. We suspect they were retrofitted because carbide lamps are brighter – and some might say better – than magneto powered headlights.
The rear fenders used on the majority of 1915 runabouts and tourings were a new curved design with three rivets securing the fender to its mounting bracket at the top.
Spark and gas levers continued in the flattened style used in 1914. New for 1915 was a stamped steel quadrant. Both the quadrant and levers would have been brass plated when new. This car has a bare wood steering wheel rim, the rim would have been painted black originally.
Rarest of the 1915 body styles is the town car. At one time it was believed Ford did not build any town cars in 1915 model year. Factory records reveal that there were about 619 town cars produced in 1915 model year, not including those built at the Manchester UK plant. The car above is owned by Tom and Julie Praus. Wooden parts of the body were originally painted black.
The town car body style has a functional driver side door. Upholstery in the front compartment is genuine leather. This car, like all 1915 Model T Fords, would have been equipped with a bulb horn originally, with a steering column mounted bulb. A speedometer also would have been standard equipment when it was new.
This is the interior of another 1915 town car owned by Jim Finney of Oblong, IL. Again the horn and speedometer are missing.
A number of 1915 town cars were produced for use by officers during World War I. At the time the United States was not directly involved other than as a supplier of materials and equipment. We don’t know what color the car was since it is a black and white photo but a dull olive green is a good guess. Notice the bulb horn on the steering column. We believe the unique color and the light (canvas?) top means this was a Model T destined for war, not a civilian item. Photo property of the Henry Ford.
An omnibus built from a 1915 Model T chassis – sure would like to know how this contraption goes around a corner?
1915 engine blocks are easy to identify. The serial number is indicated by the red arrow, this is the legal VIN for the car and should match the title and registration. The set of characters indicated by the yellow arrow is the date the block was cast, in this case April 12, 1915. The completed car would have left the Highland Park plant within a week or so. Some engines were assembled, then shipped to Ford assembly plants around the country. If that were the case t might be a month before the engine would become part of a completed car.
A 1915 Canadian Model T touring (note the fork mounted headlights) towing a parade float. This car has been fitted with an accessory radiator cover, fenders, and hood to make the T look “fancy”.
The price seems reasonable until you realize that $17.50 was about a week’s wages for the average American. Many companies offered kits to disguise the Model T and make it appear more refined.
Interestingly we have the original photograph used to produce the Ospeco advertisement. The 1915 runabout has perhaps been in a front end wreck since the fenders have been replaced with 1914 style units. The cowl lamps have been replaced with electric ones, and the steering wheel rim is light colored, perhaps bare wood. Tires are treaded, which was not the case for a new 1915 coming from Ford.
Trafford Park was the Ford assembly plant in England. This photo shows 1915 Town Car bodies being assembled. Chassis for the UK built cars were built at Highland Park and shipped to the UK in pieces to reduce import duties. Bodies in 1915 were built to USA designs but entirely fabricated and built in England. Many of these cars would be shipped to France to be used in the “Great War” as WWI was known at that time.