The 1916 Model T Ford

Side curtains and chains make a 1916 Model T usable even in cold snowy weather.

Ford had a relatively bad model year in 1915 with production significantly slowed due to problems encountered while changing over to the new body style. The 1916 model year officially began on August 1, 1915 with serial number 856,514 being the first 1916 model car produced. There would be no such problems for the new 1916 Model T’s with model year production over a half million cars. The last 1916 Model T built had serial number 1,362,813 on July 31, 1916. 1916 was the last full model year with a brass radiator and hub caps used on all cars and chassis. Let’s take a look at the state of the art Model T Fords of 1916.

The biggest noticeable change to the new 1916 Model T was the switch from brass headlight and cowl lamp rims to plain black painted steel. This was done likely for two obvious reasons. First the price of brass was climbing due to it being used for millions of rounds of ammunition needed to fight WWI in Europe. The USA was still not an active participant, but was selling munitions to both sides. Second, the use of brass trim on automobiles had been discontinued by most other car manufacturers several years earlier. Ford was simply making the change for economic reasons that accidentally made style sense as well. Radiators and hub caps continued to be made in shiny brass for one final model year.

Ford prices were down from 1915 as shown here. Not mentioned were the Couplet priced at $590 or the center door Sedan priced at $640. Surprisingly the Town Car was the most popular of the enclosed Fords for 1916, likely because they were purchased in large numbers by taxi companies in larger American cities.
Ford did not offer any factory made commercial vehicles – yet – but you could buy a bare chassis for $360. Many companies specialized in building custom bodies for the Model T Ford, the delivery car shown above is just such a vehicle as was common in cities around the world.
Another commercial body built on a bare chassis.
Depot hack type bodies were popular for hotels, railway stations, and people who had large families. This one has the cowl and windshield from an open Model T Ford, so it may have started life as a touring or runabout. Just the thing for taking the kids to the lake for a swim on a hot summer day!
The 1916 center door sedan was not too popular. An acquired taste, sedan sales would overtake open cars late in the next decade.
We are looking at approximately 1500 pounds of fresh hay strapped to a 1916 Model T touring. Notice the custom grille made to disguise the Ford’s old – fashioned looking brass radiator. Not every farmer could afford a commercial vehicle and a car. This Oregonian did what he had to do.
Tires available in 1916 could be had with black treaded area for better wear. This T has a set of the higher quality tires. Note that the sidewalls are white both inside and outside. These tires were far better quality than the ones Ford supplied.
This is a 1916 runabout adapted to have a fifth wheel cake trailer attached where the turtle deck once was.
Sometimes a standard Model T chassis was not long enough or heavy duty enough for the job at hand. In this case we see a Smith Form – a – Truck conversion which mounted small sprockets to the ends of the standard Model T axle, with chains running to large sprockets on each wheel. A beefy extension for the Model T frame and new, extra heavy duty rear axle and suspension were part of the kit. This arrangement gave a truck conversion much greater pulling power, while reducing top speed significantly.
Another 1916 Model T with Smith Form – a – Truck chassis is loaded with boxes while the one in the background is loaded with wooden pallets.
This is yet another Smith Form – a – truck made from a runabout body. A ton of cargo was advertised as possible; in real life these trucks would carry much, much more.
Engine serial number 1,000,000 was cast on December 6, 1915 about the middle of the 1916 model year. The engine block has a thin coating of black enamel with lots of drips and runs. Ford factory workers were in a hurry to get these engines into cars and out the door! This engine would have left the factory within a day or two installed in a new Ford.
The one millionth engine block was cast on December 6, with factory records showing it was assembled on December 10 at 1:53 AM. Ford was working three shifts to try and meet the demand for new Model T Fords.

Very few changes were made for 1916. Significant changes that would be important to the picky restorer include the change to cast iron transmission cover (hogshead) announced October 1915 but not implemented until perhaps February 1916. All cars were intended to receive electric horns, but for some reason all steering columns did not always have horn buttons and wiring until November 1915. This is not surprising; many seemingly original 1916 Model T’s have no evidence of ever having a horn of any kind. The fan pully and hub were made from cast iron beginning in July 1915. Of course the change was made with the note “All stock on hand of brass pulleys to be used up first”. Brake pedal and transmission pedals were now plain, with no ribs or lettering and no rubber pads.

The touring body style continued to outsell all others for 1916. Model year production exceeded 360,000 tourings.
Another nearly new 1916 touring shows the standard tires used by Ford that year. They are natural rubber, sort of a greyish / off – white color, with no tread front or rear. The front tires were 30 X 3 size while the rears were 30 X 3 1/2.
This 1916 touring has an interesting rear mounted spare tire carrier.
Looks like the headlight lens has been temporarily repaired with tape – was duct tape available in 1916? A bird dog and a shotgun suggest that a hunt may be about to happen.
Commercial signs still had periods in 1916. This open Model T has some sort of accessory shock absorbers.
The 1916 Model T Ford runabout accounted for nearly 100,000 sales. Its popularity was second only to the touring.
Heavily retouched factory photo from July 7, 1915 shows the new 1916 town car – with a bulb horn mounted to the steering column? Most if not all 1916 town cars would come with electric horns as the bulb horn was phased out before the start of the 1916 model year on August 1, 1915. The town car was quite popular with taxi companies. Almost 2000 were sold at the list price of $640. Notice the hub caps have the center painted black to highlight the Ford script, as was the case for all Model T Fords from mid – 1911 model year until well into the nickel era Fords.
The rear fender was unique to the 1916 model year with the four rivets arranged as seen here on a touring in the Piquette Avenue ford Museum. Car owner: Tom Mullin.
Albert Lucien Noyes was a business man and inventor who lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here he is with his modified 1916 runabout. Wonder what’s in the box on the running board?
1916 was the last year that Ford offered Model T’s in the special “southern tread” 60″ wide track versions of all body styles. A number of parts were specific to the wide track model T including axles, fenders, tie rods, and drag links. We do not know exactly how many were made or sold, Ford did not publish records to support this. They are quite rare. The 1916 wide track touring shown belongs to Julius Neunhopfer of Kerrville, Texas. Photo taken at the Texas T Party, 2015.
Not many buyers wanted the 1916 Model T Ford center door sedan. Just 1859 examples were sold to buyers that year. Notice the kerosene operated cowl lamps which were standard on all center door sedans until the end of 1918 model year. Men, women, and even preachers often hunted for food in the days when there were no drive through windows.
A tiny slotted window on either side of the top tells us this is a rarely seen 1916 Model T Ford Couplet. With about 3500 sold the Couplet was far more popular than the slow selling sedan, but still quite rare today.