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.

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.



The 1926 Custom Ford Speedster as it arrived in the shop.