The 1923 Model T Ford

A 1923 Model T center door sedan has a San Benito (Texas) Public Health Nurse logo on its door. Mrs Irma Dixon appears to be dressed for nursing. Photo says “South Texas” on the back. San Benito is just south of the larger city of Harlingen, Texas.

The 1923 Model year began on August 1, 1922. The cars Ford produced for the first month were unchanged from 1922. Open cars still had the vertical windshield, and the touring still came with the two man top. All cars had wooden firewalls. By September 1, the new “1923” touring and roadsters were coming off the line in Highland Park with their more modern looking slanted windshields. The 1923 tourings now had a so – called “One Man Top” that was sportier looking with no center top support, but a handful to erect by ones self. Firewalls continued to be wooden, and the low radiator was used on all cars.

Then as now, Model T rear axles were not the most reliable part of the car. This 1923 touring sports an accessory brake lamp mounted next to the typical 1923 – 25 tail lamp inside the spare rim. It is somewhat unusual to see a picture of a Model T with the top folded. Many owners put the top up and never folded it regardless of weather.

When we think of a Model T Ford the 1923 – 1925 body style comes immediately to mind. This is because more of them were made than any other style. The 1923 – 25 cars have most of the mechanical problems of the Model T worked out to their ultimate best solutions. The driver position is not as cramped as the 1926 – 27 version. Parts are plentiful and cheap. For the T enthusiast this is the best driver you can own.

Ford had a pretty good year in 1922 with over 1.3 million cars built. 1923 was momentous because for the first time Ford exceeded 2 million cars sold! Prices were lowered again with the best selling Touring at $298 with no electrical system, magneto powered headlamps, kerosene cowl and tail lamps, and hand crank starting. Or $393 would get the deluxe Touring with full electrical system, battery powered headlamps and tail lamps, and demountable rims with a spare rim carrier on the back of each car. More than 930,000 Tourings were sold, most having the electric starter.

The corner store often had a gas pump and oil drums out front. Nehi soda was popular in Texas with several flavors including orange and grape. The car in this photo is 1923 or later because we can see it has a shroud below the radiator. The oval shaped gas tank was still below the front seat.
A Ford dealer shows off his wares in the early 1923 model year. Notice the runabout still has the 1922 style body with vertical windshield. The center door sedan was in its last model year, as was the coupe body with doors hinged at the rear. List price for the coupe was $530 with over 313,000 delivered that model year.
Travelling salesmen were often seen driving Model T Ford coupes. Standard were demountable 30 X 3 1/2″ tires on all four wheels, with a spare tire carrier and spare rim mounted out back.
Freshly painted 1923 center door sedan bodies come into the drying area in the Highland Park plant. Photo property of the Benson Ford Archives dated April 2, 1923.
This 1923 Coupe has an accessory vent in the cowl, and a Clymer spot light mounted in the center of the windshield. Heaters were a popular accessory in colder states such as where this photo was taken in Minnesota.
This heater was made by the Visel Darling company of Michigan. It is a very high quality heater that operated much the same as other heaters for the Model T Ford. The fan is used as a source of air. Air from the engine compartment enters the front of the heater just behind the fan. The air is heated by the hot exhaust manifold. Then the warm air (mixed with engine oil fumes and exhaust leaks no doubt!) emerges from a register cut into the floor boards in front of the passenger.
Interior view of our heater – equipped 1923 Coupe shows the typical smooth pedals and the elongated sheet metal firewall shield typical of 1923 – 1925 cars. The heater can be turned off if the passenger is warm or has had enough fumes for one day!
This 1923 Valentines Day card shows the nearly universal popularity and name recognition of the Model T Ford.
WC Fields in the silent movie “Running Wild” was filmed in New York City, 1926. Fields is driving a 1923 Model T runabout with boxing gloves on for some reason.
The 1923 runabout interior was upholstered in “leatherette” as had been the case since late in the 1913 model year. Notice the hooks on the center and bottom of the windshield stanchion where the side curtain attaches.

On October 10, 1922 the new 1923 Fordor sedan was introduced. Bodies were entirely clad in aluminum. The 1923 sedans are easy to spot because they have no cowl vent like later Fordors do.

1923 Fordor sedans have several features not seen on later Fordors. The wood firewall, lack of a vent in the cowl, and aluminum body panels make identification easy. All of these cars had the “low” radiator used since 1917 with no apron at the bottom of the radiator shell. The aluminum body saved weight; yet Ford records show that the weight of a new 1923 Fordor was 1930 pounds which was nearly 500 pounds more than a touring. Photo from a Hemmings Motor News advertisement several years ago.
Brand new 1923 tourings are seen in the storage area of a Ford dealer. These are low radiator cars with no apron below the radiator.
Model T Ford engines for 1923 continued much as they had been in 1922. This car has the starter and battery powered horn typical of T’s with elecrical equipment for that year. This one is restored fairly well other than the firewall which was originally painted black on both sides.
A 1923 Saturday Evening Post advertisement shows the Chamion X spark plug for Model T Fords with the new double – ribbed porcelain. The version shown is the 1/2″ NPT short version used by Ford since 1911.
The 1923 Model T did not come with any attachment connecting the steering column to the dash as was seen on the 1924 and 1925 models. This 1923 runabout has an accessory steering column support.

In February 1923 the new steel firewall was introduced in production. This was a “low” steel firewall. Notes on the part drawing indicate there will be both wooden and steel firewalls used on the line through the next 60 days. By April 1923 all firewalls used in production were of the low steel variety.

Singer sewing machines were in nearly every household in 1920’s America. This 1923 runabout has been converted to be a light delivery truck by substituting a home made bed for the turtle deck.
The TT truck continued to be very popular in 1923 with more than 300,000 sold that model year.
Due to tariff laws Australian Model T’s in 1923 used chassis built in Canada with locally sourced – and very attractive – bodies. Price was 192 pounds / 10 shillings which was considerably more expensive than Model T Ford prices stateside. It is approximately 425 dollars if converted to 1923 USA currency.
Meanwhile over in Great Britain Model T chassis were being imported from the United States with British built bodies being installed. This is a custom town car body. The town car had last been available in the USA in 1917 as a factory supplied body.
British Ford dealers sold many of these Model T delivery vans with this snazzy factory steel body in 1923. This one is LH drive, most were built on RH drive chassis.
Fuel has always been expensive in Europe and 1923 was no exception. This French Model T advertisement boasts that the Model T can travel 100 kilometers on less than 10 litres of gasoline.
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