Ford 1912 Torpedo Runabout

Ford 1912 Torpedo Runabout Chassis
The 1912 Torpedo Runabout chassis was identical to those used for all models produced that year.

With just a few minor modifications, the 1911 chassis is converted into a 1912 chassis. With its raised steering column, shorter hood, and square-cornered dashboard, this chassis was used for all T models produced that year. Ford was standardizing its designs to simplify production.

Chassis with Fenders
Chassis with deck, splash aprons, and fenders. The gas tank and toolbox are mounted on the deck.

The passenger compartment floor, rear deck, splash aprons, and fenders are next. The front fenders look straightforward but are surprisingly complex three-dimensional shapes. It would take me three or four attempts before I could finally get them right.

The Torpedo was unusual in that the gas tank was mounted on the rear deck behind the passenger compartment. In most T models, it was mounted beneath the seat.

It’s beginning to look like an automobile.

Torpedo with Top
The top is attached to the windshield with a leather strap.

The passenger compartment, windshield, and top are added to complete the body. The windshield and imitation-leather top could be folded down to convert the Runabout into an open-body car. Since it will be used in a scene set in mid-October, I figured both should be left in place.

Side Lamp
Ford used third-party suppliers for many Model T components. This Model 204 kerosene side lamp was manufactured by the Atwood-Castle Company.

Now for the brass fixtures. Headlamps, side and rear lamps, bulb horn and other parts were manufactured by third-party suppliers and often similar to those used on horse-drawn carriages. At the Ford plant they were simply bolted on to the T frame or body.

The side and rear lamps used kerosene and would have to be lit by hand before an evening drive.

Jno Brown 19 Headlamp
The Jno Brown 19 headlamp was powered by acetylene gas.

In 1912 the T’s electrical system was limited to the magneto (powered by a handcrank) used to start the engine. Headlamps were powered by acetylene gas created in a cylindrical carbide generator mounted on the driver’s side running board.

Double Twist Horn
Rubes double-twist bulb horn.

And of course the familiar Model T horn was powered by a bulb mounted on the driver’s side of the passenger compartment.

Finished Torpedo Model
Completed Torpedo Runabout model.

Once the brass components are all in place the model is complete and ready for shading.