When the 1923 Ford Model T appeared in the fall of 1922, the windshield on the best-selling touring and runabout types was given a smartly sloping angle; and a new, one-man top was fitted. (Although there was some improvement in appearance, it took almost as much effort to fold the new top as it did the old one.)
A buyer could get a 1923 Ford Model T tourer for
just under $300 at the start of production.
An "instrument panel" was standard, even though instrumentation consisted solely of an ammeter -- and even that came only on cars equipped with the optional (at $65) electric starter. Internally, sheetmetal firewalls began to replace wooden ones early in the model year.
As 1922 drew to a close, a $725 four-door sedan -- which Ford impishly dubbed a "Fordor" -- was added to the Model T roster. It was not well publicized initially, however, and dealers were instructed to "push" the existing center-door sedan, with its two doors that opened into the rear compartment, requiring the driver and front passenger to squeeze through between the two individual front seats in order to be seated. (It seems safe to presume that the frugal Henry Ford was intent upon using up remaining stocks of the older bodies.)
Aside from the additional doors, the Fordor used a rectangular rear window and crank-activated roll-up windows to further distinguish itself from the center-door version. Though mounted on the same 100-inch-wheelbase chassis that was under every Model T, the four-door's body was three inches longer and an inch lower than the older type's coachwork.
This open Ford Model T was modified to serve
as a delivery vehicle.
Standard equipment on the closed cars included the electric starter and demountable rims, reflecting the fact that Ford customers were beginning to demand more than just basic transportation. (In fact, by this time, even open models with starters and demountable rims outsold bare-bones units by about five to one.)
But it was still the open touring car and runabout models, with base prices of $298 and $269, respectively, that were Ford's hot tickets, accounting between them for well more than two-thirds of the company's passenger-car sales.
By June 1923, there was a larger hood and a taller radiator with a stylish valance beneath it. In combination, these features gave the Ford a smoother, more impressive appearance.
During 1923, a new coupe design replaced the old
"telephone booth" style Model Ts.
Underscoring Ford's new-found interest in style, two body types that had been scorned for their outmoded appearance were finally phased out. The first of these was a dumpy-looking coupe fitted with what we would now think of as "suicide" doors and bearing no small resemblance to a rolling telephone booth. The other was the center-door sedan, a design dating from 1915.
Taking the place of these two anachronisms were a much handsomer coupe with front-hinged doors and an integral turtle back with a built-in trunk, and a crisp-looking two-door sedan (the "Tudor" in Ford parlance) with doors opening into the front compartment. Both of these models came with the cowl ventilator that had been introduced on the Fordor.
To continue Ford's story with the 1924-1926 Model T, continue on to the next page.
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