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Old 9th May 2008, 17:56   #1
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Default A Discussion on Model T Fords in India

I think, but I'm not 100% sure, that the Model T Ford was assembled in India, possibly in the 1920s. Does anyone know if it was? Do any Model T Fords still exist in India?
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Old 27th June 2008, 17:05   #2
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After much research since my last post Iíve finally established that the Model T Ford was not assembled in India. I think the first one arrived in India sometime between 1913 and 1916.

All Model Ts being supplied to India (a total of 22,000) came from Canada, not the USA.

Does anyone have any information on Model T Fords in India? Are any of the 22,000 still there?
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Old 27th June 2008, 17:47   #3
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Originally Posted by historyman View Post
After much research since my last post Iíve finally established that the Model T Ford was not assembled in India. I think the first one arrived in India sometime between 1913 and 1916.

All Model Ts being supplied to India (a total of 22,000) came from Canada, not the USA.

Does anyone have any information on Model T Fords in India? Are any of the 22,000 still there?
We can be quite sure that the T was not Indian assembled, and yes, all that I have seen are of Canadian origin.

Here are the T's that I know of in existance.

APU 1009 was recently entered in a rally here in Pune by Pervez Vora.

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MH 01 MA 7450 is a regular at rallies, part of the Fali Dhondhy collection.

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BRN 1763 was also captured at a rally in Bombay, entered by Rishad Kundanmal.

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WPB 1833 was spotted at an event in Calcutta

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This T, also in Calcutta, belongs to the uncle of one of the members here, unfortunately no other pics.

A Discussion on Model T Fords in India-modelt02.jpg

MLS 4883 is in Shillong, Assam (Im told) and was also used in the movie "Gandhi", then black in colour.

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NLK 9999 was part of the late Ravi Kumar's collection, Im told it is now with Ravi Prakash.

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Th Bhogilal collection has this one, and their maybe a second one too.

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There was one more car that came from Dehradoon to Pune last year, it was in long term ownership there (over 60 years!) till it came to Pune. I remember it being DLJ regd I think, and was in very original condition, requiring minor work. Im not sure on its current whereabouts.

This picture is courtesy xoticars, and could well be one of the above cars themselves.

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Old 28th June 2008, 14:52   #4
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Karlosdeville,

What a beautiful reply! Thanks for the info.

Iím currently preparing a major upgrade to my Carhistory4u.com web siteís Model T entry. I should have it ready by early August.

May I have your permission to use some of the photos you attached on my web site?
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Old 28th June 2008, 16:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historyman View Post
...the Model T Ford was not assembled in India. All Model Ts being supplied to India (a total of 22,000) came from Canada, not the USA.
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Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
We can be quite sure that the T was not Indian assembled, and yes, all that I have seen are of Canadian origin.

Here are the T's that I know of in existance.

APU 1009 was recently entered in a rally here in Pune by Pervez Vora.
NLK 9999 was part of the late Ravi Kumar's collection, Im told it is now with Ravi Prakash.
A rather far-fetched number, that of 22,000 Ts coming to India. Could be in the sub-continent at the most.

Right hand drive US Fords have been produced (rather, assembled initially) in Canada, since 1904. It started with the Model C first, followed by the Model T. All RHD American Fords ever since have been manufactured by Ford Canada. Besides going to the RHD markets, the final assembly of some LHD versions also gave Ford Canada, a member of the Commonwealth, a huge commercial benefit. Canadian manufacture enabled them to avail of tariff rebates in all the British colonies, some of which drove on the 'wrong' side. Ford Canada drove in more than 40 countries.

The US Model T (LHD), by the way, had a non-opening driver's side door. The door pattern was simply embossed on the metal sheet but never cut, to give visual symmetry. Henry Ford feared that drivers would walk out and into traffic (or trip over the emergency brakes right next to the door) and so the opening was not cut for the driver. I guess with the pedal arrangements being what they were, and the overall crudeness of the Tin Lizzie, drivers were quite likely to be in a daze, so clever Henry was probably right!

Anyway, since the passenger-side had to be open, RHD versions got a door on both sides. I wonder if there are any comparative accidents statistics of the two versions available?

Nice pics there, Karl. Both the black cars, APU 1009 and NLK 9999, look really nice. Wonder what Henry would have to say about the colours of the other ones, and the white tyres of NLK 9999?!!
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Old 28th June 2008, 17:32   #6
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Originally Posted by historyman View Post
May I have your permission to use some of the photos you attached on my web site?
All the pictures havent been taken by me, PM me your email address and Ill send across high res versions of what I have taken.

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A rather far-fetched number, that of 22,000 Ts coming to India. Could be in the sub-continent at the most.

Nice pics there, Karl. Both the black cars, APU 1009 and NLK 9999, look really nice. Wonder what Henry would have to say about the colours of the other ones, and the white tyres of NLK 9999?!!
Enjoyed the trivia Prabal, thanks!

We all know Henry Ford's famous line about any colour as long as its black, but was this applicable to the entire production run? I would think by the end contrasting colours might have been offered. What say?

And regarding the white tyres, they certainly were popular on American cars back in the day (1900s) but Im not sure if they were still in vogue in the model T days.
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Old 28th June 2008, 18:20   #7
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Enjoyed the trivia Prabal, thanks!

We all know Henry Ford's famous line about any colour as long as its black, but was this applicable to the entire production run? I would think by the end contrasting colours might have been offered. What say?

And regarding the white tyres, they certainly were popular on American cars back in the day (1900s) but Im not sure if they were still in vogue in the model T days.
You're very right, Karl. Model Ts were offered in many colours other than black, but only in the period between 1908-1914 and then again between 1926-27. So, this thing about Henry Ford only giving it in black, is fiction. But it's such a popular quote, I thought I'll just rake it up! Even white tyres were available, from 1913/14 at a cost.

Basically, black was put on most of the Model Ts, because, A) it was cheaper and more durable and B) it dried faster than the other colours available at that time. The black itself had more than 25 variations over the production life of the T, on the body as well as on the other components. This was not just in the shade, but also in the chemical composition.

By the way, most people credit haughty Henry as the creator of the assembly line. Well, it should actually go to a gent called Klan or Klein, don't remember exactly now, who got the brainwave from a similar process at an abatoir he visited. The morbid joke goes that it was a disassembly line that gave birth to the assembly line!

Well, in my post before, regarding the closed driver-side door in the US-made LHD models, I ommitted to add that it was made openable from the 1910/11 model.
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Old 28th June 2008, 23:32   #8
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Hi Prabal. I read your posts with much interest. Nice info. My recent research into the colours of Model Tís has revealed the following:

Between the start of US production in October 1908 and June 1909 Model T cars were produced in three colours: Red, Green and Gray: Touring (Red), Runabout (Gray), Town Car, Landaulet & Coupe (Green). Between July 1909 and during 1910 all US cars were Brewster Green (very dark, almost black). In 1911 and up to the start of the moving production line in 1913 all US cars were Blue (again very dark, almost black).

Between the start of the moving production line in 1913 and 1926 the US Model T was only available in Black.

In 1926, when closed models became available, the US Model T was available in Windsor Maroon and Channel Green. Later in the same year open cars were available in Phoenix Brown and Gunmetal Blue. From 1924, in addition to Black, the Model T was available in Empire Grey in Great Britain and Grey in Denmark. From 1926 Danish models were also supplied in brown/red.

What Iím still trying to find out is the exact colours of the Canadian produced Model Ts (which is where the Indian ones came from).

Regarding numbers: Ford Canadaís export figures indicate India (22,000), South Africa (30,000), Australia (100,000), New Zealand (37,000), Java
(7,900) and Singapore (12,000). By 1921 Model Ts represented almost 57% of the worldís automobile production.

I think the 22,000 figure for India is more than possible for the 14 or so years it was sold there.
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Old 30th June 2008, 09:41   #9
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On speaking with a friend, Im told of atleast 8-10 more Model Ts accounted for, (2 being owned by him himself). Apparently Dr Prakash has another one as well.

Also, the T under restoration in one of the pics I posted earlier is indeed APU 1009 itself.
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Old 30th June 2008, 15:15   #10
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My recent research into the colours of Model Tís has revealed the following:...

...What Iím still trying to find out is the exact colours of the Canadian produced Model Ts (which is where the Indian ones came from).

Regarding numbers: Ford Canadaís export figures indicate India (22,000)... I think the 22,000 figure for India is more than possible for the 14 or so years it was sold there.
Very nice info on the colours, historyman. Let me see if I can dig up something on what was sent to India.

The numbers again, I know that's what Ford Canada says, but I still find it difficult to digest. Assuming that the influx was steady right from the beginning, it would mean an average of more than 1500 cars every year! Secondly, The Model T has survived in large numbers around the world, but so very few in India now are known to be around. There are more Austin 7s to be seen in fact, by a huge gap! Just because Herbert made his more fuel-efficient?!
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Old 2nd July 2008, 20:10   #11
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Prabal,

I've been trying to find out how many Model Ts still exist. The figures I've come across vary a lot; from 100,000 to 300,000.

What I did find out was that in the 1920s the overall life of a car in the USA was 6 years and above averge, at 8.3 years, for the Model T.

Have you every seen any figures for how many Model Ts still exst?
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Old 2nd July 2008, 22:21   #12
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Prabal,

I've been trying to find out how many Model Ts still exist. The figures I've come across vary a lot; from 100,000 to 300,000.

What I did find out was that in the 1920s the overall life of a car in the USA was 6 years and above averge, at 8.3 years, for the Model T.

Have you every seen any figures for how many Model Ts still exst?
I remeber that Ford had introduced a novel buyback scheme, where the company would buy back the Ts after a certain period and crush them. I wonder how many they themselves destroyed. I will never forget seeing footage of Ts being crumpled in huge crushers in the 30s!
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Old 15th July 2008, 14:51   #13
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A rather far-fetched number, that of 22,000 Ts coming to India. Could be in the sub-continent at the most.
Harit is keen to share his views on this figure of 22,000 Model Ts supposed to have come to India.

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I read this blog and was wondering what is so difficult about this number, 22K. There must be today at least 40 Model T’s surviving. Now why is the survival rate so low and is 22K a possible number? This should be logically thought out.
I personally think that 22K is a possible number. Do not forget that India is a big country and a lot of cars did end up in the countryside. In fact most of the T’s alive today were found in the country side.
The T was good for the country side as it was sturdy and highly agricultural. The problem with the T as in the case of Fluid Drive cars and later the American automatics was that there were few trained mechanics to repair them when they went out of style. After some time the parts and the skill were no longer available. And remember, these cars were being repaired at that time by professional garages who wanted to see the backside of your car as quickly as possible (after you paid the bill!) and were not going to hunt for parts and restore. These cars were utility just like Maruti 800’s today. Not only the parts, but even the mechanicals became dated. I have personally seen a 1926/27 Ford T tourer bought from Bihar being scrapped in Mahim as the engine was opened and no one was there to repair and put it together. Like that I know of about 5 T’s which were scrapped. Then you could also not get the tyres. Later on there were only a few who could drive them, I cannot yet drive a T but I will when my T gets restored. Will you believe this, I drove an Amby 1975 daily till April 2008 and have sent it for fixing as it was literally falling apart. I am one of those crazy guys who used it even to go to the Taj/ Oberoi. The valets almost always talked to me. Many admitted not having driven an Amby for long and on 2 occasions the valet gave the car to another to park. When this happens to an Amby, why not earlier to a T.
Even Beetles have been destroyed because mechanics did not understand them. Today you can get a beetle running properly. But the Karmann I bought from Goa was sold by the owner because his mechanic in Goa !! messed up the engine. We had to get it by truck. It was first fixed in Pune but sort of failed, finally it was sorted out in Mumbai by Solanki.
One more point is the low survival rate of cars upto 1930. Very poor except for Ford A’s and Austin 7’s. Does this mean that there were any less cars imported into India? No, spares availability played a big role. We in India do not throw away something if it could be repaired, and then sometimes sold. And if it was irrepairable, then it was sold to the scrapper and we did get some money which was always welcome. Unfortunately India had a recycling industry which ate a lot of cars. Many people did keep the rusting junk until they lost the storage place like sale of property, new acquisition etc.
Just check how many Thornycroft or Albion vehicles have survived. I personally know of none. But if you see old registration books, an example of type of vehicle mentioned is Albion. This should infer that there were many of them around. Austin 7’s have survived not because of great fuel economy but because their parts were available for a long time. I know that in Amravati, Maharashtra Ford A taxis ran till 1980. I know that they were so reliable that my friend used one between 1977 to 1982 to go to Lonavala almost every weekend with his “chicks” They were indestructible.
Whenever I meet people I always bring up the topic of their old family cars. One has to be careful because only a certain segment of people possessed cars at that time. So many time I heard that the car was run until parts or tyres wre no longer available. Like the Adler, I met this bank manager who told me that he ran his family’s Adler upto the 1960’s and then had to give up because the Adler ex-agent no longer had parts. Adler cars shut down during the war and never recommenced manufacture after the war was over. I have a photo of Chor Bazar taken in the 1960’s and one can see an Adler and Citroen grills displayed on a wall. Incidently, that wall still exists today.
Today we know where to look for parts as it is our hobby and we can import parts and tyres provided we find them. If a car is not so common it takes real efforts to source parts even abroad. How many cars have been ruined because tyres are not available? I know of a 1920’s Star which suffered this fate. Now it is long gone.
How many commercial vehicles of the 1920’s survive? Hardly not more than 20, but they came in lacs!
So, I prsonally think that it is certainly possible to have had 22K Canadian T’s coming to India.
By the way, Ford had a facility in Mumbai, if I remember they used this also for assembly or inspection. This was near Opera House.
Plus I found this photo of what appears to be a T from the Pakistani website covering Indian cars. I assume the picture is shot in Delhi.
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Last edited by aah78 : 15th July 2008 at 19:09. Reason: Posts merged as requested.
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Old 15th July 2008, 18:25   #14
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Also, the T under restoration in one of the pics I posted earlier is indeed APU 1009 itself.
Wow, a Hyderabad registered model T!

Thats intriguing to know! Pity it isnt here now though!
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Old 15th July 2008, 21:41   #15
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Some more lovely pics of Model Ts.

Quote:
Attatched please find pics of Ford T's. Pic 1 is a T undergoing restoration at Mahim. Pic 2 is the same car on the road, in fact on Altamount Road. The lady was a model at that time, Ranjana Kapadia. No idea where she has gone, probably USA. Her brother was with me in college, there were 2 more sisters one of whom is still around and I believe a dancer. Some trivia here. This car was bought just outside chor bazar for 18K, again late 1970's. The car had come from Ahmednagar and was lying in a shop. Later on this car was sold, probably to a dealer in Calcutte. The owners at this time were Vohra.Pic 3 is also a T! I have seen better T's being scrapped, this one survives and is undergoing a slow restoration. Now T's are not available and with todays prices any sort of slightly exotic scrap is worth saving. Incidently, I do not think that the Riley in the background survives, belonged to an official in VCCCI.
I have a T woody with royal number plate of a state in Maharashtra.
A Discussion on Model T Fords in India-2a.jpg

A Discussion on Model T Fords in India-1a.jpg

A Discussion on Model T Fords in India-3a.jpg

I would be very keen to see the car in the last picture after restoration is complete!
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