1917 Ford Model T


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ENGINE SERIAL NUMBERS:1,614,517 to 2,449,179 calendar year. 1,362,814 to 2,113,501 approx. fiscal and model year.

MODEL YEAR DATES: August 1916 to August 1917.

BODY TYPES: Touring, Runabout, Coupelet (two, perhaps three, types), Sedan, Town Car and Chassis. Note: “1917” trucks were “1918” models built in Calendar year 1917.

MAJOR MODEL YEAR FEATURES: Body was similar to 1916 but fenders were crowned and curved. Radiator shell was now black. Hood was larger eliminating the “step” at the cowl. Hood clash strips now metal, replacing the earlier painted wood type. Set the general style used until 1926 models. Brass trim was eliminated and replaced with nickel or zinc plating.
    Three coupelets appeared in the 1917 line. The first was similar to the 1916, with the folding top, except for the new hood and fender styling. The second was a “hardtop” coupe with removable door pillars, similar in style to the earlier, and having a leather-covered solid top. The leather covering included the rear section and top quarter panels, giving the car a “soft top” look. This type was superseded by the “1918” style before the end of calendar 1917. The third type was similar to the second except that just the top (roof) was in leatherette; the sides and rear panels were metal.
    New engine pan with wider front area and a new cylinder head (so-called “high” head) were the major engine modifications.
    The hood and radiator were all new, setting the pattern for all future Model T’s. The radiator was now a separate unit, covered with a black-painted shell. The hood was larger and more rounded, blending better with the cowl section.

COLORS: All cars were painted black, with black fenders.

UPHOLSTERY: Imitation leather in the open cars. The pattern was a stitched vertical pleat design on both seat bottoms and backs. Side and door panels now cardboard with imitation leather-like trim welting. Closed car upholstery was the same as the 1916’s.

FENDERS: Curved and crowned, setting the standard used until the 1926 models, and on the trucks until the end of Model T production.

SPLASH APRON: Now smoothly taper from front to rear, with no bulge at the rear.

RUNNING BOARDS: Unchanged from previous year.

HOOD: Steel, of new rounded design. Hold down clamps had two “ears” and were of forged steel. Handles were pressed steel. Clash strip was now metal, replacing the wood used previously.

DASHBOARD (Firewall): Wood, fitted outside the front cowl, hidden by the metal cowl trim strip.

CHASSIS: Same as 1916. Painted black.

STEERING COLUMN ASSEMBLY: Pressed steel, black painted, quadrant, Nickel-plated spark and throttle levers, with flattened metal ends. Gear case was brass but nickel plated, one piece assembly. Wheel was 15” outside diameter, wood, and painted black. The wheel spider was iron and painted black. Horn button remained on the top of the steering column, as in the previous models.

FRONT AXLE: Same as the 1916 cars. Brass oilers were used only on the spring shackles. During the year all cars used the non-tapered springs in the front.

REAR AXLE: Same as 1916.

DRIVESHAFT HOUSING: Pinion bearing spool was a casting and was held by studs and nuts, the studs being enclosed (not visible) in the housing. Integral front housing for universal joint assembly.

REAR RADIUS AND BRAKE RODS: Brake rods had forged ends. Brake rod support brackets were of the type which go out and wrap down around the rods but were of a reinforced (stronger) design, which continued until the end of Model T production in 1927. Radius rods were of pressed steel with split ends (no forged rear fork).

WHEELS: Used 30 by 3 tires in front; 30 by 3-1/2 in the rear. Front wheels used ball bearings. Hub caps had “Ford” in script letters. “Made in USA” on all caps.

SPRINGS: Tapered-leaf at the rear, and non-tapered in front. “Figure eight” style shackles used but without oilers in the front, and were later replaced with “L” shaped shackles of an assembled design. Oilers were now pressed into the front springs but remain a part of the rear shackles as in previous cars.

RADIATOR: Supplied by Ford. Shell had the Ford script pressed into the upper part. “Made in USA” was stamped in below the Ford script. Filler neck was nickel plated. The shell was painted black.

ENGINE: No major changes from 1916 except for an enlarged “high” head with greater water capacity.

ENGINE PAN: “Three dip” with wider front “snout” which would accommodate the larger fan pulley that didn’t appear until 1920.

OIL FILLER CAP: The mushroom-shaped cap, made of steel, with three flutes, as used in later 1916.

ENGINE CRANK: The plain steel sleeve type as used in 1916.

ENGINE FAN: Driven by a leather belt from a pulley at the front of the engine. The fan hub is cast iron, with the blades riveted in place. Adjustment was by means of a bolt/nut arrangement located on the right side of the front plate and bearing against a boss on the mounting end of the fan bracket. The fan bracket (arm) was now longer and straight. Early models had a fan shroud but this was apparently discontinued during the year.

MANIFOLDS: Exhaust pipe flared at the manifold and was held in place with the brass nut but with no packing. Intake was cast iron.

CARBURETORS: Kingston Model L2, or Holley Model G.

CARBURETOR STOVE: Several designs, all of which rose vertically at the rear of the carburetor and mated with the exhaust manifold at the rear area.

MUFFLER: Cast iron ends, mounted with brackets integral with the end castings. The three long bolts that held the muffler end plates together were replaced with a single bolt through the center of the muffler. Brackets were stubbier than previous types. No exhaust pipe extension. The asbestos wrap was discontinued early in the calendar year 1917.

FUEL TANK: Cylindrical, under the front seat. Mounting brackets clamped to the tank. Outlet was between the center and the right side, between the frame rails. Sedans used the square tank under the driver’s seat.

TRANSMISSION: Three-pedal standard-design. Pedals were of the plain type. Transmission cover was cast iron. Tapered inspection door, held with six screws. The door was a plain metal plate with no script.

COIL BOX ASSEMBLY: Ford. The box had a tapered top to enable the coils to be changed in the limited space created by the new cowl. The box lid was now an assembly of three pieces. Brass-top coils were replaced with the plain wood type (top of the coils were painted black) and with a Ford-designed composition-cased coil.

LAMPS: Magneto powered electric type. Black steel rims. Side and tail lamps were similar to 1916.

HORN: Magneto powered electric.

WINDSHIELD: Upright, with top section that folded to the rear. Frame was riveted to the mounting brackets initially, then was modified and bolted to the brackets. Painted black.

TOP: (Open cars). Top color was black on all open cars. Unchanged from 1916.

SPEEDOMETER: No longer standard equipment.

TURTLE DECK (on Runabout): Similar in style to the 1915. Handles were painted black.


1917 Changes



Acc. 575, Box 14, #826, Ford Archives

Riveted style windshield frame and brackets were used in 1915 and 1916 and on the first 450,000 1917 cars. (Until about April 1917.)



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

"New springs (front), hangers and perches, and rear spring hangers eliminate T-218 oilers and require T-2944 oiler." (Oilers now on the perches and springs instead of on hangers.)


MAR 14

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Mention of new style windshield mounting brackets as having been used, and of the discontinuance of the 1915-16 style for replacement.


MAR 22

Acc. 78. Letter to all branches, Ford Archives

"As we expect to paint all bodies black by April 15th, we ask that you kindly give us an inventory of all the F-113 (blue body paint) you now have on hand, and that you do not requisition any more of this material beyond your needs to April 15th."


MAR 28

Acc. 78, Box 1, Ford Archives

New style perches, hangers, etc. now being supplied to the branches. Warns of non-interchangeability of the new parts.



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Tire prices increased to $12.75 for the 30 x 3; $16.25 for the 30 x 3-1/2, less 20% discount to branches.


APR 15

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

April 17 to be the last issue of the Ford Times.


APR 19

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Windshield hinge (with the unequal length arms) noted.


APR 19

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Brass hub caps no longer available.


APR 24

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

One-bolt muffler now in regular production.


APR 28

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

"Ford" being cast into many parts to stop bogus parts being sold as genuine.


MAY 10

Acc. 575, Box 11, Ford Archives

T-751 triple gear changed to one-piece design. A number of modifications were made until November 25, 1918.


JUN 14

Ford Archives

Engine number 2,000,000 built at 1:02 P.M.


JUN 14

Acc. 1701. Model T Releases, Ford Archives

Drawing of steering gear box changed. "Brought up to date by specifying this case to be nickel plated instead of black enameled."


JUL 27

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Model TT (truck) announced at $600 F.O.B., less 15%.



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

"About August 15, touring bodies will be supplied with rear seat tool box and frame will be made of wood."


AUG 21

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Prices: Touring, $360. Runabout, $345. Town Car, $595. Coupelet, $505. Sedan, $645. Chassis, $325. Truck, $600.


AUG 25

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

New splash aprons (T-7986, 7987) eliminating clearance stamping at rear. "Perfectly plain from front to rear." Steering column shafts milled for one key instead of two at the steering wheel.


SEP 10

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Coupelet bodies to have gas tank in rear deck. New design (rectangular instead of oval cross-section) of Touring top sockets and bows.



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Transmission cover with blank clutch hole (not drilled through the right side) in production. A new clutch shaft was required with this change.



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Prices: Touring, $360. Runabout, $345. Town Car, $645. Sedan, $695. Coupelet, $560. Chassis, $325. Truck, $600.


OCT 30

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

"Profit sharing" minimum wage reduced to 18 years (from 21).



Acc. 78, Ford Archives

7-leaf front springs to replace former 6-leaf as stock is used up.


DEC 20

Acc. 78, Ford Archives

Truck rear frame cross-members were recalled and replaced with stronger design which was identified with an "X".