1924-1926 Ford Model T

Many changes were in store for the 1924-1926 Ford Model T, as the car evolved with the changing times and increased competition.

This 1925 Model T shows off the integral turtle-back deck and built-in trunk introduced for 1923.
This 1925 Model T shows off the integral turtle-back
deck and built­-in trunk introduced in 1923.

Mechanical changes were minor for 1924, although the use of lighter pistons tended to improve performance of the tried-and-true 176.7-cid four-cylinder engine somewhat. Closed cars adopted more all-steel stampings for doors and body panels. Presumably the switch resulted in some manufacturing economy, though the difference -- if any -- was not reflected in the price of the car.

Modifications were negligible when the 1925 models were introduced, but during May, a roadster pickup was added to the line. Priced at $281 in basic form or $366 with electric starter and demountable rims, this double-duty vehicle was an immediate success.

Other late arrivals included 4.40 × 21 balloon tires and varnished natural-wood spoked wheels. The balloon tires, a $25 option, replaced the standard 30 × 3.5 high-pressure skins. Because the softer tires made for heavier steering, the ratio on cars so equipped was advanced from 3:1 to 5:1. The varnished wheels were an alternative to the the standard wooden-spoke wheels, which were painted black.

The 1926 Ford Model T roadster acquired a longer deck and opening driver's side door.
The 1926 Ford Model T roadster had a longer deck
and was available in paint colors other than black.

The 1926 line was billed, justifiably, as "The Improved Ford." Perhaps the title was inspired by Chevrolet's use of the term "Superior." In any event, fatter tires were only the first of many changes in store for buyers of that year's Model T.

With the exception of the Fordor, bodies were attractively redesigned. Fenders were new; running boards were lower and deeper. Chassis height was reduced by 1.5 inches.

Nickel plated radiator shells were standard on all closed body types, optional at modest extra cost on open cars. A hand-operated windshield wiper was standard equipment on all closed cars (and a 50-cent option on open models). But a hand-operated wiper is a nuisance at best and a menace at worst, so for a mere $3.50, the 1926 Ford buyer could have his car
equipped with a vacuum-powered wiper, on the driver's side only.

Seats in all models save the Fordor were lowered, and more deeply cushioned seats were fitted. The fuel tank -- again with the exception of the Fordor -- was moved from beneath the driver's seat to the cowl, greatly increasing the effectiveness of the gravity feed, and eliminating the need for the driver to disembark in order to have his tank filled.

A well-optioned 1926 Model T might include wire wheels, bumpers, and triangular side curtains.
A well-optioned 1926 Model T might include wire
wheels, bumpers, and triangular side curtains.

The Tudor sedan and coupe were lower -- by as much as 4.5 inches -- and longer -- by 3.5 inches -- than before, and both were finished in deep Channel Green, instead of the previously ubiquitous black. Fordor sedans were finished in rich Windsor Maroon. Closed cars were upholstered in gray fabric with respective fine green or red stripes to harmonize with the exterior colors.

Open models continued, for the time being, to be painted black. Bodies stood 4.5 inches lower than before. Front seats were three inches wider, while the rear seat of the touring was widened by a generous five inches. The rear deck of the runabout was stretched, increasing the length of that model by 7.75 inches.

The touring was elongated by 3.5 inches, a difference reflected in increased rear leg room. Most importantly, as far as the open cars were concerned, a driver's side front door was fitted, rendering it unnecessary for the driver to enter from the passenger's side, or swing his leg over what had previously been a "dummy" door.

To read more about the improvements made to the 1926 Model T, continue to the next page.

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