One more "can you I.D. this" thread: ca. 1920 automobile

I’m scanning and uploading family pics and I’m curious about the make of this car . The photo is between 1920-1925. It’s not a Model T but that’s about the extent of my classic car knowledge; does anybody recognize it?

There’s really not enough to identify it with. We’d need to see a grille, a windshield, something.

That being said, I’m thinking Buick - about 1915-1920.

Yeah, unless we get a shot of something, there’s just not enough to work with. Somebody like Jay Leno could probably figure it out from that photo, but I don’t think that there’s anybody here with that kind of knowledge of old cars.

Is there a name for that kind of roof? It looks like it’s removable but probably not easily.
Also, the fact that it has no glass windows on the sides- would that make it a “touring car”?

This style was a standard for the era. Looking at it, I would have at first guessed a Ford Model T, myself. The roof was fabric and folded down (with difficulty); the side “windows” would have been small panes of glass within a netting of leather.

Definitely not a T. Way too big and hi Lux. Lots of rolled seams on the fenders and the top of the doors. Brass running lamps too. Not to mention Woodrow Wilson to be your chaffeur. Model T’s were the Yugos of theeir day. Dirt cheap transportation for “The Common Man”. Ford bragged that all repairs on them could be done with an adjustable wrench, a screwdriver, and a pair of pliers. Could be a Franklin. They had those rounded skirts under the doors.

Sampiro, any idea of who owned the car? Was it someone in the family or a friend of the family and do you know what they did for a living or where the picture was taken? That would enable us to narrow down some of the possibilities. There’s elements of the car that make me want to think it’s a Packard, but that could just be my own biases towards the make.

It’s my grandfather driving it and my grandmother in the front seat, so I’m assuming it’s their’s but I don’t know that. He was a construction worker for the GM&O railroad (later a foreman but I doubt he was in the early 20s) so that’s probably middle class.

Thanks for all suggestions, incidentally.

Remember, there were a lot more auto manufacturers back then.
Coulda been any of em.

This 1918 Buick is close. The size looks right. The angled roof support at the back and the fenders look the same.

It’s really hard to tell. The running boards in your picture seem different though.

Pel2na mentioned ‘rounded’.

Upon closer inspection, it’s not it. Same idea though.

I did want to say this though - I love that your Grandmother is smiling in your attached picture. Something that just wasn’t done in photographs back then. I bet she was a real pistol.

Couple of classic car forums whose members might have a better idea.



There are others, these were just the top two hits for “vintage cars forums”.

No idea about the car but I have to hijack. You showed us some of the pictures before, but who is the man in photo 27 with the extraordinary beard?

I was confused at first by this because I didn’t realize you could see the other pics (not that they’re private, but on the previous photo hosting site you couldn’t- but it closed) and was wondering “who has a beard in that photo?”.

Short version: He’s my great-great-grandfather, a “mulekillin’” Confederate cavalry private named Marion B. Cotton (“like the plant, only spelled the same”) who I worshipped (literally) as a kid.

Long version

Taking the Buick touring car hint, there’s this 1913 Buick Touring Car – can’t see anything that definitively disqualifies it, though it’s tough to tell:

Another 1913 Buick:

And another:

However, you can say the same about this 1917 Model T Touring Car:

or this one:

or either of these two 1915 Model T Touring Cars:

More evidence for the Model T hypothesis (these are all 1915 to 1922 Model Ts), all from the Model T Club of America web site ( :

Maybe the clincher for me – note the diagonal support for the roof running from the middle vertical support toward the upper corner of the windshield: . This photo is from a similar angle to yours, and every detail that’s visible in your photo appears to me to be present in this one. Note also the straight line of the lower edge of the soft top, and how the top doesn’t extend around the sides of the car at all from the back – unlike many other similar cars of the era, or post 1923 Model Ts. The astute observer will have noticed that some of the 1913 Buicks above also have this top style – but that may be because their missing original tops have been replaced with the much more common Model T tops (I’ve seen references to this related to other cars, but not specifically with the Buicks). This is supported by the fact that each of the Buicks that has this feature also has extra tie-downs running from the front edge of the top to the front bumper. I’ve seen photos of other, slightly later Buick touring cars with the tops up that do not have these tie-downs, but nothing definitive on the 1913. These generally also have a top that wraps around beside the rear seat from the back. Also, on Buicks that have this top style, the top generally seems too large for the car – it doesn’t meet the top of the windshield but extends in front of it, and it seems wider than the car as well. Buicks from 1914 and later have concealed door hinges, which the car in your photo does not, so we can rule those out.

Note one important difference between the 1914 and 1915 Model T touring cars – the rear fender on the 1914 extends straight back from the apex of the wheel, while the 1915 (and the car in your photo) have a rear fender that closely follows the curve of the wheel. 1914 Model T Touring Car:

By the 1923 model and later, the running lamps had disappeared from the Model T design, as had that diagonal support running from the center pillar of the roof to the windshield. The soft top also began to wrap around from the back of the car along the sides.

Best guess then, would be a 1915 to 1922 Ford Model T Touring Car – the most popular body style of the most common car in the country during that era.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Identical back door width, hinge locations, and curve along the bottom rear; rolled edges of back door and rear fender the same, same bob to the fender and curve on its back edge, the chassis bodywork is the same, especially the sweep from the body to the running boards. Fancier running lamp, but that’s to be expected in a car built for civilians. These are easier to see if you copy the picture locally and convert it to grayscale then sharpen the contrast.

Ford didn’t just make Jeep Wranglers, especially in the early days. He also made some Jeep Liberties, a bit upscale but still able to go anywhere. And more profitable.

I agree, it sure looks like the same car to me.

Yeah, I think that’s what sort of threw all of us off the Model T scent early on – when I think Model T, I think of the classic Model T Coupe or Roadster “Tin Lizzy” body style, or the later Tudor or Fordor hardtops. That’s the “iconic” Model T. One of the eye-opening things for me about the Model T Club of America site was the range of body styles the Model T was made in – Speedster, Roadster/Runabout, Touring, Sedan, Coupe, Hack, Truck, etc. But however much the Coupe/Runabout/Roadster type is what comes to mind when you think Model T, the reality is that the Touring Car body type was produced in greater numbers than all the other types combined in most years, according to the production numbers on the Model T Club web site. If you saw a Model T back in the day, the odds are extremely good it was a Touring model.