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.
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.