The 1926 – 1927 Improved Model T Fords Part 1

A new 1926 touring poses behind the Highland Park plant showing its new straw colored wire wheels, optional bumpers, wind wings and top boot. Notice the headlamps are individually mounted without a headlight bar. The headlight bar would be added early in the model year to stiffen up the headlights and fenders.

Henry had made a lady out of Lizzy. The new “Improved Fords” for 1926 introduced a series of improvements that made the Model T more stylish, sturdier, and more reliable. Meanwhile the accounting department sharpened their pencils and kept the Model T the most affordable four cylinder cars in the world.

Ford had a “loss leader” price on the 1926 touring cars at $290. For that price the buyer received a Model T with kerosene cowl lamps, non – demountable 30 X 3 1/2 tires on clincher rims, and no spare wheel or tire. The car shown above is such a car, that has had the optional 30 X 3 1/2″ demountable wheels added. Sales of the 1926 “non electric” tourings was only a fraction of the “fully equipped” car, but remained an important part of Ford’s sales strategy.

Above, the 1926 “fully equipped” touring came complete with electric starter, battery charging generator, and a 6 volt storage battery. Price was $375. Wheels were 30 X 3 1/2″ demountable clincher rims with wooden spokes. The spare rim and tire carrier was included, but the spare tire was optional at additional cost.

Above, the 1926 coupe was the third most popular body style with nearly 290,000 examples sold during the 1926 model year. The closed cars came standard with electric charging system and starter, demountable wheels, and nickel trimmed radiator shell and door handles. Coupes were available in Channel Green or black.Above, a Channel Green 1926 coupe on a crisp fall day looks for a new owner in a recent online advertisement. These coupes cost $520 when the new 1926 model were introduced in August 1925, nearly $150 more than a fully equipped touring car.

The photo above is from the Benson Ford Archive. It shows the extremely popular 1926 coupe body stampings waiting to be assembled on Christmas eve 1925.

Above a nearly new 1926 coupe in Washington, DC is equipped with aftermarket accessory “balloon” tires and fancy stamped aluminum wheel hub covers. Many tire manufacturers introduced the balloon tires in the 1920’s. They were also available as a factory option on the Model T either with 21″ wire wheels or with wooden spoked demountable 21″ split rim wheels.

Above, gigantic conveyor system at the Highland Park plant moves Fordor Sedan bodies from the paint department towards the upholstery line. Photo credit Benson Ford Archives, taken December 1926.

Above chassis are assembled with 21″ balloon tires in December 1926 at the Highland Park plant.

Above, the body drop line shows a 1926 coupe following a 1926 touring. A 1926 roadster is about to receive its body in the background. Photo dated March 1926, Benson Ford Archives.

Above, a tudor sedan receives its body in December 1926. Notice the chassis in the foreground is equipped with the new Holley Vaporizer carburetor.

Lovely Channel Green 1926 Tudor sedan with optional bumpers. The tudor was priced at $580 upon the 1926 introduction in August 1925. It was fourth in sales volume, just behind the coupe. Notice the shape of the fenders and splash aprons which are sturdier and more graceful than the ones used by Ford from 1923 – 1925.

A ford dealer demonstrates how the doors still open and shut smoothly even with the entire weight of the car on its roof. Such demonstrations gave the buying public reason to believe that the closed cars were safer than open cars. There had been a persistent rumor that closed cars were “death traps” due to the glass surrounding the occupants. Such rumors were not without basis, all the glass in a Model T was plate glass, not safety glass as found in all Fords built starting with the Model A in the 1928 model year.

Above, a new 1926 Model T Tudor sedan is equipped with optional 21″ balloon tires. Photo courtesy of the Benson Ford archives.

Ford used every imaginable way to deliver cars to the customer. The cars above are loaded on a steamer, tied down in the cargo hold. Photo taken May 1926.

Ford was very creative when preparing cars for rail shipment. The cars were partially disassembled on the loading dock prior to departure in specially built rail cars.

Above, another shiny new 1926 touring in a specially built rail car. You have to marvel at how much hardwood was used in the construction of these rail cars.

Above a 1926 coupe takes its place after the touring has been secured. Up to 5 Model T’s per rail car were shipped using these ingenious techniques.

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