Sign in to follow this  
Frantz

Is it possible to ID Ford T assembly plant?

Recommended Posts

Is there a way to identify where a model T was put together? A quick google search turned up nothing of value, I didn't know if anyone here was familiar with numbers or quirks that could identify where it was put together. I don't have one, but I'd like to hunt for one, and would prefer a Pennsylvania built one if it's possible to know. If not, is there data supporting what regions were served by specific plants? Were they exclusive, or could a dealer/agent have cars from multiple plants any given year?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The simple answer for most model T Fords, is "no". There are exceptions. 

The earliest model T Fords were all built at the Piquette Avenue plant. This, unless they were Canadian builds, in which case they would have been built in Walkerville (I hope I spelled that correctly?). Even some NRS and one K model were built by Ford of Canada.

I am not sure when the first USA branch assembly plant was in operation. That would be a good question on the MTFCA forum. There was a temporary site at the World's Fair (Panama-Pacific Exposition) in San Francisco which ran for about half of 1915. Some cars from there are known. I think a few branch plants were running before that, and Ford added more as the years went on.

SOME "improved model Ts (1926 and '27 models) do have a mark stamped somewhere on the body that can identify which assembly plant put it together. I only know this because the subject has been discussed in the past on the MTFCA forum, and I have read it there, and even seen a couple photos showing the stamping. I have never really worked on an "improved" model T, and therefore am not an authority on their details. As I recall, the mark is usually only one or two letters (I think it may have been mentioned that "KC" was for Kansas City). I don't offhand recall more than a few specifics being mentioned. Also, as I recall, the location varied (making it really fun to find). I recall that some were stamped somewhere on the firewall, others inside the driver's door jamb. Many were apparently not stamped in this manor at all.

For the rest of them, more than fifteen years of production, it mostly becomes speculation. If you know the car''s history, back at least to nearly new, You can speculate that it may have been assembled near where it began its working life. I do not have a copy of it,  but have seen a few USA maps for different years showing the location of all Ford's branch assembly plants. It could probably be found on the internet, but Mr Google and I do not get along very well.

In rare cases, having the original sales or delivery documents may (or may not) reveal where it was assembled. But since that applies to maybe one model T in a couple hundred? That isn't much help.

 

A couple years ago, a few people tried to get a good conversation on this subject going on the MTFCA forum. But it didn't get very far. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information readily available.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some differences between Canadian and American Model Ts. One is, Canadian Ts had 2 front doors when American models had only one. This was to make it easy to produce right hand or left hand drive models with the same body. Another difference was, Canadian cars used a lot of Robertson (square drive) screws. Robertson screws were a Canadian invention that saved 2 hours per car on the assembly line but for some reason were not used outside Canada.

 

There were other differences often connected to locally made parts being slightly different to their American counterparts.

 

Many Ts were shipped as a pile of parts and assembled by the local dealer. The 'assembly line' might be 50 feet long and located in an old barn as all they did was bolt the parts together.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not know about identifying a Model T from a Body marking, but the only method I have found is by researching past information from Ford Dealers which I have been fortunate enough to come across. Of course with several thousand Total Dealers spread across these States and with millions of cars having been sold, it would be impossible to research all possibilities.

But I am gathering, from what I have, such Model T statistics as MOTOR NUMBERS, BODY STYLE, DELIVERED PRICE, ORDER DATE, etc.for both NEW an USED units as sold by two small-town Ford Dealers - one from Indiana and  the  other from here in Central Ohio.

So far I have over 700 units listed. This information could primarily help those in only these areas. But it might help those owners whose cars have been moved to different areas.

Typically, Ford Motor Co. had so-called BRANCH OFFICES scattered across the nation - with the main office and factory located in Dearborn. Some of the Branches also assembled and shipped new units to the Ford Dealers that were assigned to their territory. For the most part, each of those Branches tried to keep New Unit Ford sales isolated to their area. But since Ford was after all the sales he could come by, probably boundaries were frequently crossed in order to close a sale. If so, the selling-Branch probably shipped the unit to the Dealer who received credit for the sale. Also keep in mind that Dealers would go out of their territory to another Dealer if that Dealer had a certain Model on hand that was needed by the first dealer in order to complete a sale.There were over 30 Branch Offices in the late 20's, but not all assembled and shipped new Units.

Several Branch locations served the PA. area, so it depends where you live. The Buffalo, N.Y. Branch assembled units for mainly the Central- Northern and  North- Western parts of N.Y. , as well as for portions of North-Central and Western PA.. Edgewater, N.Y. served areas in Northern N.Y. , some parts of Eastern PA., plus probably some other close-by areas. I also think that the Chester PA., and perhaps the Alexandria, VA. Branches may have shipped some new Model T's to areas of Western PA.

I hope this is of some help'

Lincoln.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 7:27 PM, wayne sheldon said:

The earliest model T Fords were all built at the Piquette Avenue plant. This, unless they were Canadian builds, in which case they would have been built in Walkerville (I hope I spelled that correctly?). Even some NRS and one K model were built by Ford of Canada.

 

I am not sure when the first USA branch assembly plant was in operation.

 

Wayne, do we think all engines were built in Detroit and shipped to the branches? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few Model T's here, presumably from the Canadian plant: http://mackauctioncompany.com/18aug4.html

 

I'm certain the 1917 is as it has an operable passenger door.  The other way to tell which plant Model T's came from is to look at the various fasteners holding them together.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, poci1957 said:

 

Wayne, do we think all engines were built in Detroit and shipped to the branches? 

 

Pretty sure that Canada had it own engine plant which is why our 24 Model TT  engine was cast with MADE IN CANADA on the side of the block. There are several other parts that are stamped Made in Canada

Likely cheaper for Ford to set up another plant to comply with applicable trade restrictions. I'm pretty sure most other parts of the car were USA made . Protectionism ran pretty fierce back then . Some things never change!

 

Brad

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

034.thumb.jpg.63e6469e7efa93c17057fe36f1d118b3.jpg

 

That is part of the Highland Park Model T plant in the background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both plants I know of in PA are still standing to the best of my knowledge as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this