Having purchased my first Model T a month ago, I’m unsure if it is a 1914 or 1915 touring car. Outwardly, it appears to be a 1915 (electric lights, vented hood, metal cowl), but my title says it is a 1914. The serial number is no help because the engine is a 1918 replacement and the title carries that serial number. The prior owner’s widow told me the orignal engine was traded in as a core when a rebuilt engine was purchased decades ago.
I’m thinking it might possibly be a 1915 model made in late 1914 or a 1915 mistakenly retitled as a 1914 when the car was retitled in Virginia after migrating south from Pennsylvania. I can get the title corrected to read 1915, but I don’t want to do that if it actually is of 1914 Model T.
In doing a Google image search of 1914 Model Ts, I did come across a couple pics of alledged1914 cars with the 1915 features.
One thing it clearly is NOT? Is that it is NOT a 1914.
There were problems and delays getting the new 1915 style into production. So, instead of early production 1915s built in late calendar 1914 (the usual model change routine?), instead Ford continued building the 1914 open style model Ts well into calendar 1915. The last of the 1914 “style” cars went down the assembly lines in April of 1915! People almost always call those cars “1914” when in fact even the 1914 style cars produced that late should in fact be called 1915s. But nobody wants to admit to having a later year model when they can claim one year earlier?
A handful of 1915 prototypes were hand-built in the summer of 1914. Actual production of 1915 open style cars began in very small numbers (less than a hundred if I recall correctly?) in December of 1914. Serious production of open 1915 style Ts (less than 2000 if I recall correctly?) began in January of 1915. With each month through April of 1915 the numbers of 1915 style grew while the numbers of 1914 style were reduced.
Vehicle licensing on the other hand, was not always accurately done. Many states did not begin registering automobiles until years later. When people were asked to license their cars, they often did not remember what year they really were. So often faulty memory guesses were wrong by a year, or sometimes several years.
It is a fine looking model T! And for all appearances a 1915. However, a lot of 1915s are not purely 1915. Many are slightly later Ts, altered and “backdated” to appear to be 1915. Many 1915s have over the years been updated with later engines or other parts. Only close examination can determine just how correct a 1915 might be.
Regardless, it is a fine looking 1915, and in general appearance better than most. I hope you have many wonderful years of fun with it!
Actually the body style that you have was not made until February 1915 in small quantities. No tourings were made in January of 1915 according to Ford records. The date is stamped on a metal plate found under the front seat cushion on many 1915 Tourings. This one was made in March 1915.
Thank you so much for your informative and well written response. You have confirmed what I suspected. Of course I would prefer that it be a 109-year-old car, but 108 will have to do! I really wish I had the opportunity to speak with the seller’s husband before he passed.
The car I purchased came with a large poster with a picture of my T bearing an antique PA license plate. I could make out the plate numbers, but not the year. Well, that PA plate, along with a host of other Model T parts from the prior owner’s estate, went up for auction earlier this week and I was able to see that plate in person. It bears the year 1915–which confirms my suspicion and your informative response, So apparently the prior owner was ware it is a 1915 and presented it as such. It will cost me $15 to have the 1914 dated title corrected to 1915.
Again, thank you for your expert reply.
(Oh, and now that I’ve figured out the magic combination of carb adjustment, priming cranks, an accelerator setting, it starts with the first or second pull of the crank)
Thank you. I’ve looked for the number but have not found it and I’ve seen no evidence that it ever had a date plate. BUT, nail holes in wood can close up–I’ll get my flashlight out and do a more thorough exam.
I’ve always wondered about the practice of “back dating” old cars. I can understand somebody back-dating a 1916 car to 1915 so that they can claim it as a “horseless carriage” and participate in HCCA tours, but otherwise why do it?
Both of my cars came from the previous owners with one year “back dated” titles. I left them that way when I transferred the titles to Missouri - one less thing to explain to the DMV.