Jon37

Exported American cars, 1930's

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I own a 1937 car that was exported to Europe when new. It has several items not standard on American versions. I was curious if others own such export cars and if so, are there common "threads" that link all American exports? Or, were the non-standard items on my car simply added by various European owners themselves?

I suspect that European safety regulations might explain some of these differences.

Among the non-standard items I discovered on my car (a 1937 Terraplane) upon purchase (in 1971) were:

1. kilometer speedometer (this was certainly a factory item because it matches the mph speedo's in every other respect)

2. Non-standard bumpers and guards.

3. "Trafficator" style semaphore turn signals mounted to the cowl, on stalks.

4. Storage pockets sewn into the door upholstery panels

5. Lower mounting location of (standard) taillights.

6. Headlight lenses different from standard U.S. versions

7. A simpler hood ornament than the more elaborate plastic one standard in the U.S. models (I suspect safety standards here because the simpler one is much less lethal).

8. Seat cushion in two pieces rather than the one full-width cushion standard in the American version.

Also, I bought some NOS springs for this car several years ago (here in the U.S.) which were listed as "export" versions. To my mind, the ride is much "jouncier" than I think it should be, and I wondered if export springs tended to have more leaves because Europeans were used to a less-cushiony ride than Americans?

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cant help you with the European market, but here in Australia, we often had the cars completely rebodied so were similar but not quite the same. Even so I will give you my thoughts (for what they are worth)

1. The KPH Speedo would have been a local fitting to meet local regs.

2. Bumpers were often an option and I have found here it was a matter of what was on the shelf when they were requested not what was "Supposed" to go on that car

As for guards, that could be again down to a local coachbuilder, or later accident repair. =

3. Trafficators, that has to be a local regs or option thing. Only the europeans liked those things grin.gif

4. Interiors would be personalized for each market if something was "Normal" in that market

5. These like bumpers would have been a later fitting (Probably not fitted when shipped) so fitting location may have differed

6. Were they original or has someone updated them later? or again some countries had odd regs and protections (Maybee a tarrif on imported Glass so local fitted)

7. This was usually an extra cost option, maybe there was a lower cost option?

8. see answer 4...

As for "Export" springs what I have always thought that meant was they were designed for the "Colonial" conditions so had a bit more travel, to take up the lack of road conditions .

Well thats my uneducated thoughts anyhow....

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Is it possible that your car was built in Europe or at least assembled there? This was common practice in the 30s due to the heavy import duties.

My impression is that "export" suspension included stiffer springs and shock absorbers to accommodate the Eurpean taste for handling or fast cornering over ride comfort.

I doubt they were concerned about rough roads, America had plenty of rough roads, dirt roads and gravel roads. The stock suspension would have been designed for that. Just the opposite, the export suspension with stiffer springs and shocks would have been good on smooth roads but worse on bumpy roads.

In your particular case the differences are so great that it makes me suspect the car was assembled in Europe.

Or maybe the car was modified to the owner's taste when new, or accident repairs were done at some time using non standard parts.

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Hi John,

As I live here in England I may be of help to you, Did your car come from England? I suspect it did because of the semaphores, rear light position regulations dictated where the rear lights would go, It would have to be right hand drive of course but if its left hand drive then it would be from the continental mainland. All Hudson's were trimmed in this country as were Buick's etc to the buyers requirements. To bypass our crippling import duties manufacturers had to be astute. Hudson had a factory in London on the Great West Road were cars came in "knocked down" and were assembled here, then classed as British for the sake of the customs, Chrysler did this also but were building their cars from bits and Buick opened their Oshawa factory in Canada (part of the commonwealth so avoiding the duty. I have 2 1937 Buick's in right hand drive form and a friend has a 35 Hudson convertible coupe RHD also, there are many such cars in our club. regards steve

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On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2008 at 8:31 AM, Jon37 said:

I own a 1937 car that was exported to Europe when new. It has several items not standard on American versions. I was curious if others own such export cars and if so, are there common "threads" that link all American exports? Or, were the non-standard items on my car simply added by various European owners themselves?

I suspect that European safety regulations might explain some of these differences.

Among the non-standard items I discovered on my car (a 1937 Terraplane) upon purchase (in 1971) were:

1. kilometer speedometer (this was certainly a factory item because it matches the mph speedo's in every other respect)

2. Non-standard bumpers and guards.

3. "Trafficator" style semaphore turn signals mounted to the cowl, on stalks.

4. Storage pockets sewn into the door upholstery panels

5. Lower mounting location of (standard) taillights.

6. Headlight lenses different from standard U.S. versions

7. A simpler hood ornament than the more elaborate plastic one standard in the U.S. models (I suspect safety standards here because the simpler one is much less lethal).

8. Seat cushion in two pieces rather than the one full-width cushion standard in the American version.

Also, I bought some NOS springs for this car several years ago (here in the U.S.) which were listed as "export" versions. To my mind, the ride is much "jouncier" than I think it should be, and I wondered if export springs tended to have more leaves because Europeans were used to a less-cushiony ride than Americans?

I suspect #4 and #8 were arranged to be done by a local importer.  Often, a certain country will have a local content law, which reduces the import duties on the vehicle.  The car's Production Order (if available) will be able to provide most of the answers.

 

I posted photos of Mike Whitby's English export 1939 Commander here:  http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?46573-39-40s-lets-see-em

 

Craig

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The different headlight lenses are probably designed to direct light down and to the right to illuminate the edge of the road.  European lighting requirements were much better than North American standards of the day.

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All Graham-Paige cars exported had the 6 wheel (dual spare tires) option and taller springs to help with ground clearance at least up to 1932.  I own an exported 1930 Graham, I think it came back from New Zealand?  What I have found is when something broke or needed to be replaced the owners just used what they had to repair the car.  My Graham now had Holden door handles and check out my "factory" rear seat....curious what year it was reupholstered?  The black was on top of the red, hoping the original is under the red.

 

2098.jpeg

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Canada's Oshawa Buick factory came about in an unusual way. The McLaughlin Carriage Company was the biggest manufacturer of carriages and wagons in the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century. About 1910 they decided to get into the booming new auto industry by hiring an engineer to design a car for them to build. They talked the idea over with William Durant, then head of the Buick company, who they had known since his days with the Flint Carriage Works. He advised them that it would take at least two years to design, test and tool up for a new car. While he could sell them a proven Buick chassis right away.

 

That is how McLaughlin became the Buick importer, bringing in Buick parts which they assembled into a chassis on which they mounted a body of their own design and manufacture. These were sold as McLaughlin Buicks. It was not unusual in the carriage industry to buy running gear from an outside supplier. In fact McLaughlin made their own patent running gear which they also sold to other companies. As time went on more of the chassis was made in Canada.

 

Most export orders to British Empire (later Commonwealth) countries were sourced from Canada because they paid no import duties. The duty on imported cars in England I believe was 25%.

 

This included 2 Buick limousines supplied to King Edward in 1936. These so called American cars were made in Oshawa of Canadian made materials by Canadian workmen.

 

 

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Graham-Paige did the exact same thing building an assembly plant just across the St. Clair River.  I am sure other companies followed the same avenue to try to bolster car sales, 1933 was the lowest production numbers, Europe was in a little better shape for economy in those years making sales somewhat easier.

 

Back to the original topic, my 1930 Export Graham rides almost 2 inches higher then a domestic version.  The Canadian built cars also had a much wider color pallet to chose from, those creative Canadians.

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Hi Jon,

 I rebuilt a 36 RHD terraplane series 62 cabriolet in Zimbabwe. The car was scrapped and the remains thrown into a dam in the 1940's, so it was in a terrible state.

 My years of researching this car and looking for parts revealed much interesting information. Hudson used more than 20 different chassis frames in the 5 years they built Terraplanes, the sixes and eights were different frames and the sedan, coupe, convertible frames were not all the same .

 As rightly said Hudson also assembled cars in the UK and supplied rolling chassis to Railton to fit their own coachbuilt bodies. It is possible that this car was built in the UK and either sold there or most likely an export order to the continent. You don't say if the car is LHD or RHD?

  Your list of items:-

 1. The KPH speedo is most likely an original factory one and probably extremely rare. I'm building a RHD 1926 Nash advanced 6, the factory Nash parts book specifies a KPH speedo for RHD cars and I have been lucky enough to find one. I recently saw an wanted advert from Germany looking for a KPH speedo for a 28 Chrysler, as the owner says by law it has to be KPH. 

2. Bumpers-- Please post a picture of your ones. I picked up a 38 coupe here many years ago, so know what that car had. Sadly this car got scrapped by a subsequent owner.

3.Semaphores, again pictures would help, but I suspect UK spec.

4&8. If UK assembled the seats and upholstery could well be a local input requirement.

5. Tail lights mounted lower ? are there any indications of holes  that have been filled in further up the body? It may have been a legal requirement to fit them lower, or perhaps an owners choice to move them further down.

6. Headlight lenses on all RHD and LHD vehicles are different, even today. The RHD lens has a totally different pattern in the glass, this is designed to throw the beam of light differently to a LHD. A LHD lens will divert the beam of light to the right hand side of the road, the RHD lens will divert the beam to the left side. This is to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. If you look carefully on your lenses they probably will have "EXPORT" molded into them, this will indicate they are for use in countries that drive on the left side of the road. If you intend driving the car at night in the USA then I recommend you fit LHD lenses.

7. The 36 Terraplanes here seem to have a simpler  hood ornament. They did not have the little "wings" above the cigar, that the American ones seem to have. Again maybe a colonial request or did Hudson have several different ones.

 9. Your export springs, could well have been for use in areas of the world, where owners opted for stronger springs due to the harsh conditions, where roads were non existent or extremely bad .

Another thing that seems common on export Terraplanes, is the 6 wheel option with dual side mounts. I noticed a lot of pictures of Australian Terraplanes with this as standard, and all the Terraplanes I came across both here and in South Africa had double side mounted spare wheels fitted as standard from the factory.

Hope this helps.

Best regards

Viv.

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8 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Canada's Oshawa Buick factory came about in an unusual way. The McLaughlin Motor Car Company was the biggest manufacturer of carriages and wagons in the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century. About 1910 they decided to get into the booming new auto industry by hiring an engineer to design a car for them to build. They talked the idea over with William Durant, then head of the Buick company, who they had known since his days with the Flint Carriage Works. He advised them that it would take at least two years to design, test and tool up for a new car. While he could sell them a proven Buick chassis right away.

There was actually only one owner of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company at first who was Sam McLaughlin and started producing McLaughlin Buicks in 1908. Bill Durant and Sam were actually best of friends and Billy met his wife through Sam. She was from Port Perry Ont. about 30 Min. north of Oshawa.  Sam was actually a partner with Durant in both Buick and McLaughlin having equal shares then bringing in Charles Mott  to form General Motors. Much of Billy's money came from Sam to take over Chevrolet. McLaughlin remained chairman of the board of General Motors of Canada as well as vice-president and executive director of General Motors until his death in 1972 at age 100. His mansion is now a historic site used in many movie shoots and a great tour stop. 

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14 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Canada's Oshawa Buick factory came about in an unusual way. The McLaughlin Carriage Company was the biggest manufacturer of carriages and wagons in the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century. About 1910 they decided to get into the booming new auto industry by hiring an engineer to design a car for them to build. They talked the idea over with William Durant, then head of the Buick company, who they had known since his days with the Flint Carriage Works. He advised them that it would take at least two years to design, test and tool up for a new car. While he could sell them a proven Buick chassis right away.

 

That is how McLaughlin became the Buick importer, bringing in Buick parts which they assembled into a chassis on which they mounted a body of their own design and manufacture. These were sold as McLaughlin Buicks. It was not unusual in the carriage industry to buy running gear from an outside supplier. In fact McLaughlin made their own patent running gear which they also sold to other companies. As time went on more of the chassis was made in Canada.

 

Most export orders to British Empire (later Commonwealth) countries were sourced from Canada because they paid no import duties. The duty on imported cars in England I believe was 25%.

 

This included 2 Buick limousines supplied to King Edward in 1936. These so called American cars were made in Oshawa of Canadian made materials by Canadian workmen.

 

 

For some reason the Buicks exported to New Zealand in the 1920s and 1930s all came from Flint, (although there were some McLaughlins imported pre 1925 the year General Motors New Zealand was set up), whereas our Chevs, Fords and lower price Chrysler stuff all came from Canada. Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles also came from the US as far as I know. I don't know what the import duty rates were but I suspect that up to 1938 they were not too severe. It was only in 1938 when New Zealand suffered a 'balance of payments crisis', that severe import restrictions were imposed (not just on cars and parts but almost everything else as well), which remained in force until the 1980s, although there was a gradual relaxing from the 1960s on.  Nowadays New Zealand has one of the most open markets and our cars come from all over the world.

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