The 1919 – 1922 Model T Ford

After January 1, 1919 the center door sedan was built only with an electric starter, battery and full charging equipment. The price was $875, Ford built nearly 25,000 of them as popularity of the closed Fords kept increasing. We have no data as to how many were built prior to the introduction of the self starter, but it was likely about 1/2 the total amount sold for the fiscal year. Note the demountable treaded tires. All four are 30 X 3 1/2″ size, and a spare tire carrier with spare rim was included. Tires were white sidewall both inside and out, with black treads. Bale design door handles were used on closed cars until 1921.

We have decided to combine the model years 1919 – 1922 because the cars were built mostly the same for the entire period after January 1919. The 1919 fiscal year began in August 1918. Model T’s built from August 1, 1918 until January 1919 were essentially the same as late 1918 Model T’s.

The big news in January 1919 was a new engine block with provisions for mounting a generator driven by the camshaft gear. Along with the new engine block and generator were a complete electrical system including an ammeter, battery, and electric starter. To allow the starter to be used a new flywheel assembly was designed which incorporated a ring gear which was driven by the electric starter.

A newly designed cast iron hogshead (transmission cover) incorporated mounting provisions for the electric starter. An instrument panel contained an all new ignition switch and headlamp switch with the ammeter in its center, the only instrument in any Ford since speedometers were discontinued at the end of the 1915 model year.

The 1919 – early 1920 ammeter used in Model T’s was visually different than later units with its exposed capstan shaft at the base of the indicator needle. Several variations have been seen, this is but one of the known types.
The instrument panel was a new thing in 1919. It included a rectangular instrument bezel containing the ignition switch. Surrounding the ignition switch which was activated only by the rotation of the key was the headlamp switch. Three headlamp positions were needed for “Low” , “Off” and “High” . The only instrument on battery equipped cars was the ammeter. The owner of this car has added a lamp to illuminate the panel, an accessory not offered by Ford. This car has another example of a 1919 ammeter, this one simply says “AMPERES” without any Ford script.
The cutout controls charging of the battery in generator equipped Model T’s. For the 1919 model year only it was a square metal box mounted to the firewall. 1919 generators had no holes to attach a cutout originally, and the wiring harness is different than any other model year. Notice the new choke linkage which was needed because the driver would normally operate the choke from the driver seat.
A Ford dealer in the countryside often had the dealer and his family living above the showroom / repair shop. The new Fordson tractor was popular and added income to rural dealerships monthly accounting.
The 1919 touring could be purchased with electrical equipment for $600, or as seen here, without electric starter and electrical system for $525. Cars without electrical system had treaded 30 X 3 1/2″ tires on the rear only. Front tires were cheaper 30 X 3″ smooth all white tires. Cars without electric equipment continued to use kerosene cowl lamps and tail lamp. The rear of the body has seams at the corners, typical of 1919 – 1920.
The car we see here has been modified with a functional driver side door. Notice the door hinges and the unusual square shape at the bottom of the door. Ford would not include a functional front driver side door
until 1926 on open cars sold in the USA.
For 1919 and most of 1920 the Kingston L2 (now with a double choke arm for inside starting) was one of the two carburetors available along with the Holley Model G.
The Kingston L4 was introduced late in 1920 model year. The carburetor body was cast bronze for the 1920 – 1921 model years. The float material was cork until 1922. After 1921 these carburetors were made with cast iron bodies and brass floats. A good reliable carburetor, these Kingston L4 units are known for easy starting and smooth performance.
In late 1920 a new type of Holley carburetor was introduced. It was the now legendary NH “straight through” which had a side drain on the float bowl. Modern day Model T enthusiasts claim these carburetors are capable of more speed than later Holley NH carburetors.
The “straight through” Holley NH was equipped with a cork float as shown in this cover illustration from the December 1920 Service Bulletin. Notice the drain is located towards the front of the carburetor, as was the case with many other Model T carburetors.
The Collins Motor Company used this beautiful dealership in the 1920’s. Pictured are a brand new Model T bare chassis, Fordson tractor, and a 1920 Coupe,
Model T Ford coupe sales continued in an upward trend. In 1920 this coupe sold for $850. Sales exceeded 60,000 coupes for the model year. Standard equipment included demountable 30 X 3 1/2″ treaded tires, a spare rim with spare mounting bracket, and electrical equipment including starter, batttery and generator. The only visible change from 1919 was the new straight door handles, replacing the bale shaped handles used in 1919.
Milton Remaley operated this Ford dealership in Export, PA. Shown is a group of 1920 Model T tourings fresh from unloading at the rail station. Export was a booming coal mining town at the time.
Ford’s lumber company operated this TT truck in and around Montgomery County, Texas. The TT truck was not available with electrical equipment in 1920. This TT truck is equipped with the optional pneumatic tires and would have cost $640 for the bare chassis when new. Ford sold a total of 135,002 TT chassis in 1920. If you wanted hard rubber tires the price went down to $600.

Not many changes were made for the 1920 model year. Among the most noticeable changes was the running board brackets. Up until now they had been made as steel forgings, riveted to the frame. The new brackets for 1920 were made from stamped steel, again riveted to the frame. As had been the case in 1919, all cars had a magneto powered horn mounted under the hood.

Sometimes you wish you had not got out of bed at all! This Model T touring has seen a hard life. It has accessory lever shock absorbers on the front axle, and an aftermarket honeycomb radiator.

The big news for 1921 was the touring body now had a stronger rear body section made of a single piece of steel; there had previously been three pieces used from the rear door to the rear door on the opposite side. Also the front seat position was lowered by the introduction of a new oval gas tank. Forged brake rod ends were eliminated in favor of the new split end style.

In December 1920 (midway through the 1921 model year) all Model T’s had a new headlamp lens with green visor painted on the inside at the top. These fellows are probably travelling salesmen. The 1921 Model T runabout has been modified with a salesman’s box in place of the turtle deck and rear fenders. This runabout was sold new with full electrical equipment and demountable 30 X 3 1/2″ tires for $490.

Coupe prices, like those of all Model T Fords, were slashed in April 1921. The coupe had been $745 at the beginning of the model year.

New Brighton, Minnesota with a brand new looking 1921 touring coming out of the front door. All of the cars appear to have “Macbeth” accessory headlamp lenses. The touring on the right also has accessory Hassler shock absorbers installed.
A 1922 Model T Ford touring and a police motorcycle flank this snappy group of officers.
This is a brand new 1922 Model T bare chassis about to be loaded on a rail car outside the Highland Park assembly plant. The new “1921” stamped steel / welded muffler and oval gas tank can be seen. Also notice the front axle wishbone which was moved to its mounting place below the axle beginning in 1919. The three dip crankcase continued to be used with no changes since 1917 when the nose was widened for the larger crank pulley – which did not appear until 1920!
Lullaby Falls, known by the local Indian tribes as Wau Gwin Gwin falls, is located on the property of the Columbia River Gorge hotel. This photo was taken in 1922 when the hotel had been open only a few months.
As in earlier years the 1922 Model T Ford center door sedan – now in its final model year – was equipped with a spare wheel rim, but a spare tire was not included. The center door sedan cost $660, lowered to $645 in January 1922, and finally reduced to $595 when leftover 1922 models were still being sold in October of 1922. The new “Fordor” sedan replaced the center door as a 1923 model. The building in the background of this very steep street appears to be a jail house. Wonder where it was?
Model T’s are known for their oil leaks, When the oil leaks down enough to need topping off, then you throw another quart in the crankcase. One of the biggest scandals in United States history was the “Teapot Dome” oil lease caper which involved the Pan American Oil company’s president Edwin Doheny, and corrupt US Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall who had been appointed by United States President Warren G Harding. Fall was receiving kickbacks in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil leases that were given to Pan American (and other oil companies) in exchange for bribes. Pan American was sold to Standard Oil of Indiana in 1925 after the scandal was exposed. Standard Oil of Indiana, later known as Amoco. merged with BP in 1998.
Two important engine changes happened during the 1922 model year. The Holley carburetor built under licence by Ford as the Ford Model F started to have the “dipped” venture which Ford engineers found to give better performance than the Holley “straight through” design. Holley changed its drawings and began to make their NH carburetors the same way as seen here. Also seen in the above photo, the engine valve cover became a single piece of stamped steel instead of two separate pieces beginning in April 1922.
The 16″ stamped steel steering wheel spider was introduced in June of 1920. It was used until the end of 1925 model year. This is a 1922 runabout.