Matt Harwood

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Matt Harwood last won the day on February 19

Matt Harwood had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

1,676 Excellent

1 Follower

About Matt Harwood

  • Rank
    AACA Member
  • Birthday 02/04/1970

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Gender:
  • Location:
    : Cleveland, Ohio
  1. March April The Antique Automobile

    How lucky are we to have a gorgeous, informative, professionally-produced magazine where the only criticism that can be leveled against it is the occasional typo?
  2. Are the Post WWII to mid 1950s Cars In Again?

    I think I have a good perspective on trends and I will concur that pre-war cars are suffering. Blue chip cars, no, they're still fine and the great cars are going into ever-larger collections, but certainly not to one guy who can only afford one or two cars. Things like 1930s Oldsmobile sedans and Essexs and Grahams and other orphans are dropping so fast you can hear the whilstling sound they make. Flathead Fords, formerly a slam-dunk even as recently as 10-15 years ago, are finding fewer buyers and the guys buying them are already elderly. Even formerly blue-chip cars like the 2-seat Thunderbirds and '55-56-57 Chevys are softening in a way that I can track. Why? My theory is that you buy the cars that resonate with you personally. There aren't many guys alive who bought a 1957 Chevy when it was new. There are a few guys whose fathers may have had one, but they, too, are getting old and probably already have one or just sold theirs because they're feeling too old to drive them. My point is, you buy the cars that talk to you in a personal way, cars of your youth, cars you used to own, cars that give you a pleasant memory. My father turns 80 in four days and his first new car was a 1962 Chevy Impala convertible. He collected pre-war cars because that's what he grew up with and, by association, that's what i grew up with in our collection so that's what I like. But given that I'm usually the youngest guy at any old car event, I'm an anomaly. If you're new to the hobby or if you're a collector with modest means, you're going to go with something you feel connected to, that talks to you in some way, something familiar. Sure, there are occasionally cars that are just too nice to pass up at any price like the aforementioned Plymouth, but that's an unusual situation. I have a client who only buys #1 quality cars, regardless of what they are. He's buying the quality, not the car because he likes getting good cars for half the cost of restoring them. He keeps them for a while, then sells and gets something else. But he's not a regular hobbyist because he can buy as many as he wants, regardless of price. So he just grabs whatever tickles his fancy. That's certainly not typical. Instead, you'll hunt for cars that talk to you and resonate with your past. In the AACA, we admire cars of all kinds, but each of you should think carefully about which ones you'd actually pull your own money out to own. The selection gets a lot smaller, doesn't it? Think about why. I think two-seat Thunderbirds are very attractive cars, but I don't want to own one. I can understand liking a '57 Chevy or a '49 Oldsmobile Holiday coupe with the Rocket V8 in it, but I don't want one. I buy '41 Buicks because my father had them, but you might wonder why I like them so much because it's not your thing. I bought a '29 Cadillac because I crew up touring in the CCCA and VMCCA in big Full Classics and wanted something with at least 8 cylinders and sidemounts. Be honest with yourself regarding your tastes will make understanding all this easier--admiring a car is very different from buying it. If you wonder why today's buyers don't buy '30s cars, ask yourself why you don't want, say, a Toyota Supra or a Subaru WRX (or any other vehicle whose appeal you don't understand). There's just no connection. Anyway, this is a long way of saying that the older cars are going to see a precipitous drop in value as the people who love them age out of the hobby. Young people aren't connected to these cars and therefore, don't particularly want them. Muscle cars are popular largely because the guys who knew them when they were new are now of the age where they can afford to indulge themselves with a taste of the past. But if they were 18 in 1969 (and nearly 70 today), it's highly unlikely that a 1934 Pontiac is going to appeal to them. There's just no connection at all. There are exceptions that I'm sure people will use to tell me I'm wrong, but if you're talking general trends, this is my explanation for why the older cars are seeing declining interest. Many hobbyists just don't see the appeal. The rich hobbyists want the good stuff, which is why big brass cars and open Full Classics remain strong. But for the guy with $50-70,000 to spend, he's not looking at a nice '40s or 50s ragtop, he's looking for a Corvette or a 'Cuda with a pedigree. I think the next 5-10 years will be telling, because prices will be in a stalemate between actual (dropping) values and the owners who remember when they were worth more and don't want to let go. After that, I think there will be a notable correction. What talks to you and why? That's the bottom line in this hobby. That said, it's always my hope that the prices will drop far enough that young people might see these cars as interesting historical artifacts (like the hipsters in New York City that are into farming) and start to buy them because they're affordable fun. But that day is a long, long way off.
  3. So I guess I'm a Chrysler guy now

    New exhaust gasket installed and it runs smooth and quiet. Nice! Then we pulled the regulator and all the points are free--it's shiny and clean like it is a new regulator. Points are all smooth and free. I do note that on one of the terminals (the one that looks different from the other two, which I presume is the cut-out), they have it adjusted pretty tight. I did buy a shop manual, so we'll see what needs to be adjusted, but it seems like it's just tuned too tightly to release the points. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the feedback that confirms what we suspected!
  4. My car's weight and trailer advice

    My '29 Cadillac sedan fits in our 26-foot enclosed trailer without incident, and it's standard height. It's surely heavier than your Buick, and I'm sure you'll get more advice here to purchase the best trailer with the heaviest axles you can afford. Mine has two 10,000 pound axles and it's an aluminum trailer, so it's light and heavy-duty and will carry the heaviest cars that will fit inside. I bought it used from a friend, and such deals are common so keep a lookout. I'm very pleased with it and it tows very well behind our 3/4-ton Suburban. The Suburban sometimes works pretty hard in the hills, say, when going to Hershey, but on flat land, it's great. A diesel dually is obviously the best choice, but if you can't afford that, at least get something bigger than a 1/2-ton truck or van to pull an enclosed trailer with a big early car in it. A 1/2-ton anything is inadequate for any enclosed trailer, no matter what's inside and no matter what they claim it will pull. Your towing equipment can never be too heavy-duty. It can easily be too light-duty. Get more than you think you need and you'll be fine.
  5. So I guess I'm a Chrysler guy now

    It has arrived! Dead battery in the trailer, so we jumped it and it fired right up. Pretty serious exhaust leak at the manifold collector, so it sounds like junk but we'll get that fixed later today. Otherwise, extremely straight, clean car that appears to be wearing original paint. Runs very well, idles nicely, pushbutton transmission shifts without hesitation. Even the power windows and seat work! The rear leaf springs are shot, so we have a guy locally who can re-arch them or add a leaf, so we'll take it to him next week to get it to sit right. I just ordered new shocks, since the ones on the car appear to be original. There's no rot anywhere on the car, it's really impressive, although it's obviously scruffy and dirty underneath. Interior is new and someone just spent a lot of money on detailing the engine bay and a new correct wiring harness. It's also sitting on relatively recent BFG wide whitewall radials, which is nice. One puzzling thing is that when we put the battery charger on it, the generator started to buzz--you could feel it through the belts as if the battery is driving the generator. Is there a cut-out in there somewhere that should prevent this from happening? It seems to generate properly when the engine is running according to the ammeter, but when the charger is on it, it seems energized. Also, connecting the battery charger, the terminals sparked as if something was on, although everything was off. Can a Mopar electricity expert offer some thoughts? I'm guessing regulator but it seems to be operating properly. Maybe just because the battery was so flat dead? Things on the list to do: 1. Fix exhaust leak. 2. New fluids throughout (looks like the brakes have been recently serviced with new cylinders and hoses at least) 3. New seal on pinion. 4. New shocks. 5. Fix loose exhaust hanger. 6. Wire wheels! (I confirmed it has the large bolt circle) 7. Add A/C under the dash 8. Don't kill me, but if this is going to be a regular driver, we're thinking about a late-model 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission so Melanie can take it on long trips home to Canada. Best of all, Melanie is IN LOVE with it. She's extremely excited. So we'll have to get it dialed in before the warm weather hits. Thanks for the advice!
  6. Treating Bare Metal

    Epoxy primer is waterproof and will seal the metal permanently. When you're ready to paint, just scuff and top it with the products of your choice. It's relatively easy to spray and can be tinted to help with your base coat later.
  7. Beware of hi-jacked Buicks-for-Sale ads

    Holy crap, that very '57 Chevy is sitting in my showroom right now! That's my photo, taken of my car, in my studio. They even left my license plate visible on the back of the car. I've been thinking about putting a watermark on our photos, maybe that would cut down on this kind of nonsense. Note that it does not have power windows nor a cassette player... On the other hand, if you're dumb enough to fall for this kind of trick, perhaps you're a hard learner who needs to get burned before you understand that the stove is hot.
  8. 1939 Lincoln Zephyr

  9. 1935 Lincoln K - Series 541 Sedan

    Go find a cheaper 1930s 12-cylinder Full Classic. I'll wait. And a club sedan no less! This car is a win. If you want a big Classic, you won't find more car for your money than this. If I didn't just buy two cars to keep for myself, I'd would have already given Tom a deposit on this one.
  10. 1939 Lincoln Zephyr

    I think this is flat-out the most beautiful car you can buy for less than $100,000. I'm sure some will disagree, but look at it--if you don't think this Zephyr is gorgeous then you might not have a pulse. It's the pinnacle of Lincoln's Art Deco movement, blending the superlative Continental-style front end with the sleek fastback bodywork that defined the first Zephyr in 1936. There's not a bad line anywhere on the car and I find myself looking at it over and over and finding new things to delight the eye. Look at the wind wings, the hood ornament that doubles as the hood latch, the split rear window, and those lovely taillights perched at the points of the rear fenders. Bob Gregorie gets most of the credit for the design, although he actually facelifted a previous design by a pair of Briggs Manufacturing stylists--regardless of who penned it, the car is enough to make everyone stop in their tracks. Anyway, on to this particular car, which comes out of long-term ownership where it was properly maintained but rarely driven. My gut tells me that it's never been fully restored, but it has obviously been repainted and then touched up, at least partially, and there's an overall patina that's quite appropriate. There's no sign of rust or previous damage and all four doors close with authority. The glass and weather seals are original, and that's what tells me that it has never been apart. The chrome is quite good, and I suspect the bumpers have been refinished, but the rest is probably original and in fine condition. The interior is likewise mostly original, although I believe the upholstery on the seats has been replaced at some point. It's quite old, so it was done some time ago, but someone else suggested that those are fitted seat covers and it was common at the time to actually stitch the seat covers onto the seats rather than just laying them on top. Regardless, I haven't probed underneath, it looks just fine the way it is. The unique center-mounted gauges might be one of the earliest examples of a center console, and they all work. There's also a column-mounted fan (I can't figure out how to turn it on, so it might be broken), accessory AM radio (inop), and a Southwind heater under the dash (it'll roast a turkey!). The clock ticks away reliably and all the knobs and controls are operational. The only real demerit is the steering wheel, which has the usual cracking, although it seems to work in the car and I'm not sure I'd restore it. The trunk is full of spare tire, but pull it back and you'll find it's on a spring-loaded hinge and just glides out of the way, revealing a reasonably spacious trunk. Even the trunk light works! I don't think Lincoln's 292 cubic inch V12 needs any introduction. This one starts easily with a little choke and idles almost imperceptibly from behind the wheel--more than once I thought it had stalled when I was moving it around the shop. It's very correct with no notable modifications save for an electric fuel pump in the rear of the chassis. I haven't pushed it and obviously it's not very warm out so I can't vouch for its ability to keep its cool under duress, but I will say that the last owner loaned it to a friend whose father owned the car for many years--that guy is a client of mine and he drove it all summer two years ago without incident. I'll call it healthy. The three-speed gearbox shifts neatly with the convoluted shifter and yes, it has overdrive, so it should cruise at 70 MPH without too much effort. The brakes and suspension were just rebuilt by the fellow who borrowed it two years ago and it sits on relatively recent Firestone wide whites. It comes with a lot of extras, including spare parts, an original jack assembly, and lots of paperwork for its history. It's criminal that these cars are not more valuable than they are, and to me, the $37,900 asking price seems like a screaming bargain--I'm full up on '40s luxury cars, but if not, I'd very much like to have this one in my fleet. A wonderful car that's just right for touring and casual shows. Thanks for looking!
  11. Define replica

    John Q. Public doesn't care. Most people would see that "Packard" and think it was a real antique car and would take the owner's word for it that it was a 1934 Packard. Things like that offend my eye, but I don't whether that's because I pay attention or because I have spent my life with real old cars. I think the general public has neither of those advantages and therefore anything out of the ordinary is extraordinary, no matter how crappy it is to people who know.
  12. 1935 Lincoln K - Series 541 Sedan

    Wow, that's A LOT of car for the money. [checks wallet] Dang.
  13. What a handsome car! And if Litton did the mechanicals, you know it's a runner. That may look like a big number, but it actually seems rather reasonable for a car with this pedigree and bodywork. If it were a Ghost or a PII it could be twice as much. Fantastic!
  14. Teflon Coated Pistons

    We used to do a Teflon coating on the pistons we put in the LS1 stroker motors we built for the C5 Corvette. We used forged aluminum pistons, which tended to make a knocking noise until they warmed up and expanded, and this coating largely eliminated it. I do not think there was any measurable performance improvement except at the very fringes when we were running a supercharger--we did it mostly to reduce complaints of the knock. I will say that the bright blue pistons looked rather odd and if your hands were even a little bit oily, they were like holding a wet bar of soap, so the stuff is certainly slippery. It seemed to hold up OK in the engine, although we did see skirt scuffing on tear-down (this was a stroker motor with higher piston side loads, however). If you're considering it to reduce friction and improve performance, I don't know how much of a benefit it will provide and I wonder if there was enough improvement to justify the process on an otherwise healthy engine. As I said, we only did it to reduce the knock, not necessarily improve performance or durability. I doubt there was more than a 1-2 horsepower increase due to the reduced friction, if even that much, and that was on a 450+ horsepower engine. Maybe it would help more in a 100 horsepower engine, I don't know. But it's probably way out there on the fringes of diminishing returns in terms of the money:improvement ratio.
  15. Oil Bath Air Cleaner - '40 Buick

    I don't doubt your credentials, I just wonder about the need to re-engineer a system like this where the original is already pretty effective. Besides, it's going on a low-compression, low-RPM, gently-driven machine with pretty loose tolerances that has spent the last 80 years sucking air through the oil bath air cleaner without ill effects. Installing a state-of-the-art filtration system now kind of seems like closing the gate after the cows have wandered off, no? I understand that it's your preference and your area of expertise, but these cars lasted tens, if not hundreds of thousands of miles in much harsher conditions with far inferior oils and yes, these oil bath filters. I drive my cars regularly (my '41 Limited is my daily driver from May to October) and don't expect to wear out the engine from sucking dirty air. I'm not driving on dirt roads and modern oils are far superior at holding particulates in suspension rather than letting them grind on cylinder walls. I'm also a bit more careful than the guys who were ramming around in these cars in, say, the 1950s and 1960s when they were just cheap used cars that they could throw away when they were done. An engine isn't an intensive care patient with delicate lungs--it's a machine designed to work under adverse conditions and the oil bath was effective enough that it is still in use on commercial vehicles used in harsh environments (like large farm equipment). Your engine doesn't care and won't be hurt by whatever dust manages to get past the oil bath. I do not believe you will add any measurable life to the engine with a different air filter, no matter how good. My comment was only to suggest that you're past the point of diminishing returns in redesigning the air filter unit. I'm not criticizing you or saying that you're wrong, just suggesting that your time and resources could be more productive elsewhere if they are, like they are for most of us, finite. You asked for advice as a rookie with no experience with these cars, so I responded as someone who has been driving and working on these cars for decades, and that's my advice. You don't need to listen to me, it makes no difference and you certainly won't hurt anything by changing the filter. I just don't know if your gains will be measurable, either. No harm, no foul here. Do as you like.