The 1926 – 1927 Improved Fords Part 3

One of the most photographed Model T Fords of all time is this 1927 touring, serial number 15,000,000. The car is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford’s design concept, from its introduction in the fall of 1908 as a 1909 model to the final day of production in 1927 was responsible for making the entire world a better place. Whole industries revolved around the Model T Ford. Businesses such as The Pep Boys in Philadelphia, Chicago’s own JC Whitney company, Western Auto stores of Kansas City, Kansas, KR Wilson of Buffalo, New York and many others were started and indeed were thriving on the Model T Ford by 1927.

Ford’s model line for 1927 included the Roadster available with or without electrical equipment, the touring, also available with or without electrical starter or generator, the roadster pickup, also available both ways, the Tudor sedan, the Fordor, and various styles of TT truck. The TT truck above is equipped with an aftermarket dropped front axle, a most unusual arrangement we think.

School children pack TT chassis based buses in Bying, Oklahoma in 1930. Many buyers elected to purchase the Model TT chassis in 1927, accounting for a good portion of TT truck sales that were recorded at just over 83,000 units for the model year 1927.

Above, sacks of ice melt as lookyloos stare at the aftermath of a collision involving a TT truck and a 1926 touring. This TT truck is a “non – electric” model equipped with kerosene cowl lamps. The touring is an electric equipped car with standard 30 X 3 1/2″  clincher demountable wheels with rear mounted spare rim.

Above a Ford dealer kills two birds with one stone, showing that a sturdy new Fordson tractor is easily carried by a new 1927 Model TT truck chassis.

We don’t know if this is related to Tim Allen or not. This 1926 Ford has an unusual “Binford” script on its radiator for some reason. You can see the new for 1926 front axle which is bowed across its width to allow the car to sit lower in front. This, coupled with new lower spindles and revised rear spring perches lowered the Model T considerably compared to earlier years.

1927 was a pivotal year in American history, yet few of us learned much if anything about 1927 in public schools or college education. The worst recorded flood in American history was the “Great Mississippi Flood” of 1927. The photo above does not show a Ford, but illustrates the ruined roads, towns, cities and homes that resulted from the seemingly never ending rains that lasted from fall of 1926 until mid – 1927. This event makes Hurricane Katrina seem like a minor spring shower. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were forced to abandon their homes. Hundreds died. Herbert Hoover was made famous by his leadership of the relief efforts which ultimately led to him becoming the next President of the United States. The damaged economic conditions lasted for many years afterwards, yet are rarely mentioned in context with the resulting Great Depression of 1929. Towns from New Orleans, to Vicksburg, Texarkana, and everywhere along the tributaries of the Mississippi river were devastated if not entirely destroyed. Nashville, Tennessee was intensely hit when the Cumberland River crested at its highest level ever recorded on Christmas Eve, 1926.

Many photos were taken of Edsel and Henry Ford on May 26, 1927 when the 15 Millionth Model T Ford left the assembly line above. The end of the Model T era was near, and Ford production at the Highland Park Plant would end in a few months.

Above the channel green 1927 touring is equipped with wire wheels and full electrical equipment. Nickel plated radiator shell and headlight rims were standard on all 1927 Fords except the TT trucks. Photo taken in front of the engineering building near the Henry Ford Museum.

Above, this image was a popular post card available at Greenfield Village museum, today known as the Henry Ford Museum.

The image on the post card has a 1909 Model T, Henry’s original 1896 Quadricycle, and the 15 Millionth Model T Ford in front of the engineering building.

Above, the car has been “freshened up” a little over the years but is largely original except for the tires. You can see it at the Henry Ford Museum.

Henry had his engineering department, and Eugene Farkas specifically, working on a new engine that was initially thought to be the replacement for the Model T. Henry Ford described it as his “cross shaped” engine, it is remembered today as the “X-8”.  It was built in both air cooled (above) and water cooled versions. Testing was accomplished using a modified Oldsmobile chassis as the engine was too large and powerful for a Model T chassis.

The X-8 program was shelved in 1925. It was a powerful and reliable engine but suffered from all the same problems that were typical of radial engine aircraft. The lower cylinder banks used lots of oil particularly during cold starts, and the lower spark plugs fouled too often to be acceptable for an automobile. This was happening at a time during the all time highest Model T sales. Henry thought he could keep building the Model T Ford for another decade. History shows he was mistaken, but who could blame him for what he thought given the fact that he was building millions of Model T’s every year with no end in sight?

Ford had been watching Chevrolet sales numbers increase during 1924 and 1925. The restyling of  the 1926 Model T Ford was supposed to slow the rise of Chevrolet, but it did not, and Chevrolet sales of the “Superior Series” of 1926 were up again at 486,366 cars, while Ford sold a little over 1.2 Million cars, and a quarter million TT trucks. In 1927 model year the bottom fell out of Model T sales, with Ford selling just 450,415 cars and TT trucks, while Chevrolet, with its al new “Capitol AA Series” cars sold 678,540, taking the sales dominance away from Ford for the first time since 1906. The Model T had lasted as long as it could, and in fact longer than it should have lasted. Many of Henry’s top advisers had been begging him to develop a replacement for the Model T for more than a decade. The X-8 fiasco having left a sour taste in Ford’s mouth, he decided to make a completely conventional four cylinder car to replace the Model T.

The Model A Ford would debut late in 1927 as a 1928 model year car. If you know anything about the collector car hobby you know that there are tens of thousands of Model A Fords still being enjoyed today.  Compare this to the number of collector Chevrolets from the same era – they are mostly all gone. Many were scrapped before WWII because the wooden framed bodies fell apart making the car unusable.  Ford engineering made the Model A Ford, like the Model T, a car for the ages, built so well that you could not help but like it.

Even though production of the Model T and TT ended, the cars and trucks continued to provide reliable service for many years afterward. After the torrential floods of 1926 – 27 Americans next had to endure yet another nasty stretch of weather as the “Great Dust Bowl” caused crops to fail and families to relocate away from the American Midwest states during the 1930’s. We hear about how the “man made damage to the environment” is today from the talking heads on television, yet they fail to recall that the weather was much worse for our parents and grandparents. They had no faith in the banks, the stock market, or the weather. The one thing that nearly always worked hard and worked reliably was a Model T Ford.

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