Matt Harwood

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Matt Harwood last won the day on May 23

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About Matt Harwood

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  • Birthday 02/04/1970

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    : Cleveland, Ohio

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  1. Matt Harwood

    1941 Special engine dies when warmed up

    Actually, there is considerably more resistance inside the cylinder under load than at idle or in neutral. More air and fuel being compressed, a denser charge to light, more heat (as heat goes up, so does resistance). Idle and load are not the same at all when it comes to making a spark. It's more than just the coil itself heating up, it's the ability of the coil to generate a spark powerful enough to light under heavy load conditions. As the coil gets hot it becomes more difficult to make a hot spark (resistance again). And it's more than just ambient heat making it hot--the current running through it also heats up the windings. That explains why it'll work just fine when you first start out but start to sputter as it warms up, and why it will idle and rev just fine but seems to struggle under load. I'm still betting on coil in this situation.
  2. Matt Harwood

    1929 Mercedes SSK

    The facsimile is strikingly accurate!
  3. Matt Harwood

    38 Century Driveability Hiccups...

    For those pesky fuel pump bolts I would use blue Locktite, which I use on most of the bolts on my cars. It's not the permanent kind, but it does keep the bolts pretty well snugged up. Rather than cranking them extra tight to keep them from backing off, this can help. I've never had a bolt with the blue Locktite on it come loose but you can break it loose with a wrench and a little extra grunt so it's not a big ordeal. I've also used the green "wicking" type of Loktite on already tightened bolts and it works pretty well, although not as well as a few drops during assembly.
  4. Matt Harwood

    1929 Mercedes SSK

    Is it a Pinto or a VW Beetle? If you want to own either of those, it's a good buy.
  5. Matt Harwood

    1953 Muntz Jet

    This is just too cool a car not to share. The story of Earl "Madman" Muntz and his Road Jet can be found elsewhere, but the short version is that a used car and electronics salesman decided he wanted to build a car. He bought Frank Kurtis's design, tooling, and factory, stretched the wheelbase 13 inches, added a back seat, and called it the Jet. The result was more expensive than a Cadillac 62 convertible and as exclusive as anything you could buy in 1953. Movie stars were frequent buyers and the bespoke nature of the car (and its hand-built assembly) pretty much ensured that each one was unique. Muntz used a variety of powerplants from other large luxury cars: the Cadillac 331 OHV V8, the big Lincoln 337 cubic inch flathead V8, and towards the end of production, the 317 cubic inch Lincoln Y-block OHV V8, all backed by GM Hydra-Matic automatic transmissions. Muntz claimed he built more than 400 Jets, losing $1000 on each one, but more recent estimates suggest that fewer than 300 were actually built. The Muntz Registry believes that perhaps 130 or so still exist in some form, but only 20-30 of those are complete, running, driving cars. For many years the Jet was little more than a curiosity, but that's changed recently as collectors realize that a bespoke, hand-built car designed to be the ultimate in personal transportation is a worthy machine. As for this one and my relationship with it, I wasn't sure what to expect. I suspected that it would be shoddily built and indifferently restored, but I've found it to be quite the contrary. You'd be forgiven for thinking that Muntz knew nothing about building cars, but fortunately Frank Kurtis did and using that design as base stock has resulted in a rather entertaining car, both to look at and to drive. We don't have much history on this bright red Jet other than it comes from a large collection where the former owner bought it on a lark because he'd never seen one before, but in more than a decade of ownership, he never drove it. His shop performed routine maintenance work and it does run and drive rather well today. But most of the restoration was done prior to his ownership and it was quite well done indeed. The paint shines up beautifully, the bodywork underneath is very straight (even though Muntz reportedly used several hundred pounds of lead to get each car to fit together), and it's obvious that the restoration was done to a standard befitting an expensive car, not a clown car. Nice chrome, neat details like the twin Appleton spotlights, split V windshield, and jet-inspired taillights add to the look. And yes, this is a very LOW car--parked next to a 1946 Cadillac convertible, the Muntz is easily six inches lower. Was the Jet the first American car to feature bucket seats and a console? Maybe. The boxed rockers provide support in lieu of a frame (this is a uni-body car) so you step over the sills and then down into the car and the result is a driving position that's like sitting in a chair in your living room. There's a full array of Stewart-Warner instrumentation in an engine-turned panel, and while all the gauges appear to work, I find their accuracy (all of 'em) to be highly suspect--I think that's kind of fitting for a car like the Muntz, although I have no idea why it has two water temperature gauges AND an oil temperature gauge. The upholstery is not white, it's alabaster, so the off-white mottled look is intentional, and it's in great shape. There's new wiring throughout, all the lights and signals work, and the AM/FM/CD stereo head unit in the armrest looks vintage so I think the Madman would approve. There are other neat details like full armrests in the back seat, an accelerator pedal that says "POWER" on it, and a padded dash. And yes, that's a lift-off hardtop. We didn't lift it off simply because I didn't want to take the risk of hurting it, but it comes off with some effort. It also has a good sized trunk--no spare, but the gas filler is in there. This particular Muntz is a late production car, and as such it is powered by the 317 cubic inch Lincoln V8 that was all-new in 1953. It has been recently serviced, which shows in the new ignition components and a fresh Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor on top of the original manifold. The Lincoln engine is plenty muscular and moves the heavy Jet without working too hard and it looks great in Ford Blue paint with chrome accents. Experts will spot the modern dual master cylinder and power brake booster, but there are still drum brakes underneath and the steering is manual but not heavy in the least. The GM Hydra-Matic automatic transmission shifts well--maybe too well, because it snaps your head back even at modest speeds. Maybe this is an adjustment thing and it does pop out of reverse unless you get the lever positioned just right. Otherwise, it starts easily, idles well, and runs great. Underneath, there's a new stainless exhaust system with muscular-sounding mufflers and someone obviously spent some time fixing the rear suspension, as it's now a GM 10-bolt with adjustable coil-over shocks--if you look at other Jets, you'll see that they tend to sag in back, especially if there are people in the back seat. Not this one! No rust in the monocoque, it tracks straight, brakes smoothly, and as I said, it's surprisingly fleet for such a big, heavy car. Steel wheels carry spoke hubcaps with a cartoon Madman Muntz on the center caps and a set of 7.60-15 wide whites. I didn't know what to expect, but I have found that the more I look at this car, the more attractive it becomes. I expected it to feel crude and unfinished and I am pleased to say that I was completely wrong on that count. It drives great! Good power, no quirks, no compromises, and plenty sturdy-feeling as it goes down the road. I thought this would just be some weird car that nobody would really drive but I discovered that it's actually something you can use every day and not feel like you're giving anything up. That I like. We're asking $129,900, which is a big number, but then again, these have been breaking the six-figure barrier at auction for about two years now. Are they the flavor of the month for the ultra-wealthy or a genuine collector car that belongs at the top of the heap? I'll leave that up to you to decide. Thanks for looking!
  6. Matt Harwood

    Diamondback Aurburn Tires

    As a matter of fact, I did speak to Diamondback just last week to buy a set of 700R16 tires for a '41 Lincoln limousine. They did say that the Auburn was available in that size, but I was skeptical. They said early June for delivery, but they've been saying "any day now" for nearly five years. So I didn't buy the Auburns he swore he could deliver--I bought a set of BFGoodrich commercial truck tires and had them put the whitewall on those. However, I think the Auburn radial, if available, is a great choice. It looks right and if it rides as well as other radials, it will be the best choice by far. I don't question Diamondback's quality, just their delivery dates. If they are producing a 700R15 Auburn radial that you can buy today, then that would be what I would buy. If they're telling you "it's coming any day now," I'd be skeptical and maybe ask them for alternatives and see what they come up with. It's been "in the pipeline" for so long that I won't believe it until I see it.
  7. Matt Harwood

    Tax and your cars

    The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon. It hasn't been raised since 1992--that's 26 years since an increase. 26 years ago, you could buy a new Ford Taurus for under $18,000. A gallon of gas was $1.10. A quart of oil was about 60 cents. 26 years is long enough for you to have had a child and for that child to have children. Politicians know it's suicide to touch it, but it's getting kind of stupid not to if they're considering other taxes to raise revenue for infrastructure. I think a tax that would stabilize gas prices would be beneficial. Let's make the gas tax whatever the difference is between, say, $4.00 and the current price of a gallon of gas, so gas ALWAYS costs $4.00/gallon. That way the price of gas, which has inelastic demand, will remain constant and the tax can be varied to either produce a lot of revenue when gas is cheap or prevent spikes that can affect peoples' budgets when gas gets expensive. That way people who are budgeting for their transportation expenses can rely on a steady figure and no shocks to their income. We may not feel it, but when gas was $5/gallon in 2005-2006, people lost their jobs because they couldn't afford to commute to work anymore. That's not right. It will also give consumers the opportunity to move into more efficient cars gradually rather than being forced into it by a sudden spike. Higher prices are coming, how do we want to manage it? In Europe, the gas tax is on the order of $3-4 per gallon! If you've driven over there, you know that the roads are in excellent condition and that they don't mess around with driving. People seem to have survived over there without the collapse of society with expensive gas. No, they don't have 3-ton pickup trucks for commuting to work, but they manage just fine nonetheless. Or we can just let it all fall apart and count the pennies that tax cuts give us and pat ourselves on the backs for being so fiscally smart. Every time I hear someone complain about the condition of the roads or the schools or the wait in line at some government agency, I remind them that they just got a tax cut--isn't that what they really wanted? A few extra dollars each week, maybe enough to buy a pack of smokes--who cares if the rest of it goes to hell, right? I'm sure all that wealth will start to trickle down any day now...
  8. Matt Harwood

    Re-production license plates

    It's awesome when cars have real history--I don't think mine has any of note beyond the headmistress of a girls' school in PA using it for its first few years of life. I just like the name Chester Nimitz. Sounds important and ridiculous all at once. I'm also reminded of Charles Durning in that movie where the aircraft carrier goes back in time to Pearl Harbor. When he sees the name on the side of the ship he shouts, "They named a boat after that @sshole Chester Nimitz? He's not even dead yet!"
  9. Matt Harwood

    1941 Special engine dies when warmed up

    I am leaning towards coil. It matches the symptoms and since these coils are kind of unique with their armored ignition cables, people tend not to replace them even when they need to be replaced. A car will run fine when it's cool but as soon as it warms up, the coil can't fire the plugs anymore. Very common in old cars. I would start there. I might also replace the condenser, which are known to go bad and even new ones aren't always good. But do one thing at a time before changing a bunch of parts. That way you know what solves the problem. I don't think that it's fuel, although it could be the fuel pump. Ethanol brings headaches of its own and modern fuels evaporate too easily, but they usually cause problems in these cars only after prolonged sitting, like in traffic on a hot day. You might want to check the butterfly valves under the carburetors to make sure the exhaust heat is being diverted out the pipes rather than up to the carburetor heat boxes. If the carbs are getting too hot, that might be an issue, although an unlikely one. Adding an electric fuel pump isn't a bad idea, either. It will help with priming and starting after the car has been sitting and it will push fuel into the carburetor when it's hot enough to boil in the lines and the mechanical pump can't move vapor. If the mechanical pump does not have an ethanol-safe diaphragm or check valve, it might not be moving as much fuel as it should with each cycle. Try one thing and evaluate. I would start with the coil. My Limited runs on a standard coil and it has been rewired so it doesn't have the armored cable connector. If you take it apart, you'll see it's the standard setup, just enclosed in metal. No big deal to change it and that gives you access to lots of new coils rather than NOS ones that might also have shorts. After that experiment, try the next thing on the list. This is a common problem that's usually one of these simple things. Shooting in the dark and throwing increasingly esoteric guesses at the problem does nothing until you're actually in there testing and changing parts to see if you get results. So let's start that process. Keep us posted.
  10. Matt Harwood

    Tires/Tubes for 1947 LC

    Your wheels shouldn't be unusual to any tire shop and they won't have any problems mounting the tires on them. The only possible trouble might be if it uses two rim halves joined with rivets, but I don't think that's the case by 1941. They had zero issues mounting my radials on my Buick Limited wheels or the radials we put on Melanie's '56 Chrysler with the wire wheels and tubes. As long as the rim wheel hold air, you'll have no problems. The stems on a '41 should be rubber, I believe, so even if you're judging the car, you shouldn't get docked for that particular detail. My Buick has small hubcaps and trim rings, so a shorter valve stem was fine, but if you have full wheel covers, maybe a longer valve stem would be preferable. But no, the tire shop should not run into any problems with the wheels. Be sure to tell them to balance them with weights on the inside only so it looks best. Stick-on weights are OK inside the rear half of the wheel and should balance up nicely. None of the wheels on my Limited needed more than a few ounces to balance perfectly. I was very impressed. If I had to make a recommendation, maybe find a tire shop that does truck tires or that has been around for a long time, rather than a chain. My tire guys have been in business as an independent dealer for decades and they know trucks, split rims, lock rings and all the other old car stuff because it's similar to a heavy truck. They know it's my stuff so they're extra careful and I always give the guy doing the work an extra $20 when he's done so they remember next time that I'm a good friend to have. That said, I've also had a local chain store mount some tires on my '41 Cadillac a few years ago and it went without incident. Tires are tires for the most part. Just remind them that the weights go on the inside and to be careful with the whitewall. You'll love the radials, I promise!
  11. Matt Harwood

    Re-production license plates

    I've used to have these made at a cost of about $95 each. They look great but they're a little lighter-duty than a real plate. Nobody can tell by looking at it, though. I'm not sure I like custom plates, but Melanie loves hers. I may go back to my set of 1941 government plates on the limo since I sometimes put stars on the rear doors and tell people it was Chester Nimiz's staff car. Have fun with it. Both cars wear them on the road. I carry my dealer tags with me, but I've never been hassled by The Man about the plates on an old car and I've never heard of anyone I know being hassled because of their plates. I guess if you get a cop that's bored enough, but I'm willing to roll those low-risk dice.
  12. Matt Harwood

    Tires/Tubes for 1947 LC

    Here's an article I wrote on the subject a few years ago. RadialVSBias.pdf
  13. Matt Harwood

    Saw this nice 1968 Camaro again....

    Yeah, but sometimes they catch awesomeness like this:
  14. Matt Harwood

    Tax and your cars

    Because then I wouldn't be able to cheat on my taxes by lying to the government about how far I drove and how much I paid for the car! It's not fair! Everyone else should pay their share, but not me!
  15. Matt Harwood

    Auburn AGNM-2019

    Kind of a bummer that RM Auctions is able to dictate when two clubs hold one of the biggest meets of the year...