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I was astonished to get with my recent CCCA bulletin a sweeping proposal to allow cars built prior to 1925 that are essentially identical to Full Classics built after 1925 to be admitted as Full Classics.<P>Two things bothered me about this proposal: Why has this club has become so cautious that it needs to put this simple question before the entire membership? Second, this is CCCA's first attempt to expand its Full Classics list in a general way in years and they expand to even older vehicles. I have no problem with before 1925 classics, but this sure isn't going to address the issue of maintaining the membership appeal of the CCCA.<P>I have been a CCCA member for years, and I have become more and more concerned about the narowness of the Full Classics list. As time goes on, this club is going to degenerate into an aging specialty club, you can count on it. Check out the editorial by Nick Fintzelberg in the Bulletin, it is right on the money. <P>I don't understand the need to define the Classic Era as spanning 1925 to 1948. This is so preposterious, there were many vehicles built with exactly the same philosophy as our current Full Classics well outside of this interval. How about the '56 Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Broughams, Imperial limos, Dual Ghias, etc, etc.<P>It does not serve this club well to define Full Classics in a way to almost guarantee the shrinking of this club to older and older geezers. It can be done, we can maintain our exclusivity while expanding our membership and broadening our interest to newer (and older) old cars.<P>Thanks for your attention, see you on the road soon,<BR>Bill S<BR>Albuquerque, NM

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This is an interesting and important issue, that of fiddling with the guidelines for the Classic Era. An important aspect that many overlook is that the CCCA is as much about an ERA in which these fine cars were built as it is about the cars themselves. I hope that everyone with similar concerns will take the time to read Bev Kimes new book "The Classic Era", in which she very succinctly illustrates why the Classic Era is what it is and why it only exists during this one very narrow space in our history. That does not diminish the fact that there are a lot of very interesting cars that fall outside the CCCA guidelines. There are many, many more cars that are not Full Classics than there are Full Classics. Between 1925 and 1948 fewer than 1.5 million Full Classics were built in the US, whereas in 1929 alone Ford built 1.7 million Model A Fords. I happen to think that a Model A Roadster is great car, but certainly not a Full Classic. There are many other similar comparisons within and without the Classic Era, so I won't bore you with all that. <BR>The National Board thought long and hard about doing anything to alter the established dates. The outcome of the discussions was that the acceptance of "virtually identical" cars built prior to 1925 would be very similar to the acceptance, some years ago, of the post-war cars that were "Carry-over" models from 1942.<BR>The often noted idea that expanding the Full Classic guidelines will draw in more and younger members is, in my opinion, a fallacy. Case in point would be The Milestone Car Society. Most of the cars noted from outside the established Classic Era that might qualify are certainly no less expensive than many of those accepted from the 1925 to 1948 era, so cost is not a major consideration. Another example of what can be done within an established era is the Horsless Carriage Club where the cutoff date is 1916. This is another healty active National Club. Lastly, I would remind all that the Classic Car Club is currently enjoying its highest mebership level in its 50 year history. I don't have blinders on about the inportance of encouraging younger members, but that needs to be done through education and exposure, not dilution of this fine Club.<BR>I hope to see all of you at San Jose in January for the 50th Anniversay Annual Meeting!<BR>Jon Lee

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To make a long story short, the National Board decided to put the pre 1925 matter on the ballot in an effort enact whatever the membership wishes. After all, the Club belongs to its members. While many people support the idea of expanding the dates of our club, many do not. The only way we will know what the members really want is to ask them.<P>The original idea of expanding our dates to include virtually identical cars built prior to those 1925 cars we already accept, was to simply to have our rules make better sense. To many, it seems illogical that a 1925 Model A Duesenberg is a Full Classic, while an identical 1924 model is not. We receive criticism for these quirks in our rules, which with the memberships blessing, many of us would like to fix. <P>There is no doubt that CCCA is a specialty club. I think that's fine, but I would like us to make sense, not just in our chosen years, but also in all the other things we do as well. For that reason. I am in favor of modifying the somewhat arbitrary dates. I am not in favor of lowering the standards of cars we accept, nor am I in favor of lowering the standards of our activities or publications. By making logical changes we can make things better, not worse.

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I can't disagree with much that Jon and Chuck have said and I appreciate their feedback. However, I am convinced that a necessary (but not sufficient!) means to get new members into the club is a broadening of the Full Classics list.<P>I know that membership is at it's highest level in the history of the club. That is unfortunate, in a way, because it conceals the fact that the average age of members is very high and increasing. This does not bode well for the future.<P>You should consider the positive impact giving the 40-48 Cadillac 62 Full Classic status has had on this club. Some members still consider the 62 as not really representative of the "Classic Era". Yet, I believe this car is responsible for bringing many new participants into the club, and we see and enjoy them often at Grand Classics and Caravans.<P>I think the club's challenge for the future will be to broaden the Full Classics list while maintaining the exclusivity and remembrance of the Classic Era. Sitting on what we have or making minor changes in the interest of consistancy is one option that I do not think will ultimately give is a strong, vibrant CCCA.<P>Bill Sullivan<BR>Albuquerque, NM

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For what it is worth here, for many, many years the AACA began its Classic classes with the 1930 model year and embraced all of the same makes and models, but not years, as CCCA [and some others CCCA didn't recognize]. So AACA faced the same retro acceptance dilemma problem. [Those last two words are redundent aren't they?]<P>Finally, a solution was reached whereby all vehicles and years recognized by CCCA were considered to be AACA "Classic" cars, but without unlisting those years and models outside of CCCA recognition which AACA had accepted as "Classic" for years.<P>What AACA did was essentially what you are facing now. I was serving on the AACA Board at the time of the decision and I can tell you first hand why it was done. Not to increase membership and not to include some special person's vehicle.<P>We did it because it was the right thing to do! It made no sense to adhere to an outdated policy that was basically wrong just because we had always done it that way.<P>I am not a CCCA member at this time, although I was for many years, but please permit me to offer an opinion. Going back as has been stated makes sense. Taking in a whole bunch of new years, makes and models doesn't. You have got to sell your product because it is good, not cheapen the product to broaden it's appeal and lose what made you what you are.<P>Please excuse a non member for butting in, but my experience in a similar instance may be worth something. But of course that is just my opinion. I could be wrong.<P>Howard Scotland<p>[ 11-30-2001: Message edited by: hvs ]

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Buicksplus: I am not a CCCA member, but you ssaid it very well. Both the HCCA and CCCA have major issues.

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Despite reports to the contrary, both HCCA and CCCA are doing pretty well at the moment. They are both specialty clubs and clearly aren't for everybody. Is there room for improvement in either club? You bet! But the basic idea of specializing in a particular type of car is a good one. There is little point in being a club for all old cars. AACA already does an excellent job of that. It's hard to argue with their success. VMCCA should get some credit too. They specialize in touring. I'm a member of all these organizations and appreciate them for what they are individually. They are all about the same basic hobby, but just like puppies in a liter, they each have their own personalities. I think that's great. tongue.gif" border="0

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At the same time CCCA is considering changes in the years of coverage to include "substantially identical" cars of years earlier than 1925, I suggest a slight expansion of the list of cars that are covered within the existing time frame.<P>A specific point, relevant to my ownership of a 1929 Hudson Town Sedan: CCCA identifies "L" model 1929 Hudsons as Full Classic cars, but does not include any "R" model cars of the same year. This makes little sense; aside from being longer (139 inches vs. 122 1/2 inches), the L model cars were not that different from some of the R chassis cars. They all shared the same engine and drivetrain, the same basic body parts, and in many cases even the same interior fittings. <P>The least-expensive L model (the 7-Passenger Phaeton with Hudson-built body) sold for $1,600. Several R-chassis cars -- the Biddle & Smart-built Victoria Sedan and Landau Sedan -- sold for $1,500. They are every bit as elegant and technologically advanced as the L series cars built by Biddle & Smart. Several other R-series cars, including the Briggs-body Town Sedan, featured the same "Rose" pattern interior and exterior fittings as the L-series cars built by Biddle & Smart. <P>I realize that you have to draw lines at some point, but I think dividing the 1929 Hudson series solely by length, rather than by specific models, misses the mark. The 1929 Hudson Town Sedan, Victoria Sedan, and Landau Sedan are every bit as praise-worthy as any of the L series 1929 Hudsons. They share the same technology, about the same price range, and (like the L series) were in limited production. In short, at least some of the 1929 R-series Hudsons qualify for recognition for exactly the same reason that all the L-series 1929 Hudsons are recognized: they were superior in technology and design, relatively expensive, and in limited production. <P>Although I am intimately familiar only with the 1929 Hudson line, I'd be willing to bet that there are other instances where a careful appraisal of the field would yield other worthwhile candidates for inclusion in the Full Classic field.<P>Lew Phelps<BR><A HREF="http://home.earthlink.net/~lewphelps/hudson_29" TARGET=_blank>An Introduction to the 1929 Hudson</A><p>[ 01-02-2002: Message edited by: Lew Phelps ]

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Lew,<BR>You have raised some excellent points that illustrate how difficult the job is of the Classification Committee. There have been some very fine lines drawn in the past 50 years concerning which models are and which are not. Sometimes that line gets somewhat squiggly. And certainly not everypone, myself included, has agreed with all the determinations.<BR>I happen to agree with you that the '29 Hudsons are very fine automobiles and very handsome as well. I would also bow to your obvious knowledge of these cars. Looking at some of the past information relative to the Model L indicates that one reason for the acceptance of just the L was the fact that, reportedly, all these were fitted with coachbuilt bodies. The R used Biddle & Smart for two styles and other styles were general production. It is probably unfortunate that the Landau Sedan and Victoria were put on the shorter chassis. It is possible (no promises in predicting the actions of a committee) that the Biddle & Smart styles may be considered by individual application, although I do note that this was done some years ago without success. I would beinterested to see an R Model presented to the Classifictaion Committee, if only to increase our knowledge. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'm sorry I do not have a better response, but maybe other members will.<BR>Jon Lee

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Jon,<P>Thanks for your response. The points you made in fact support the concept that dividing by body length was not the "best" choice. <P>You wrote that, "one reason for the acceptance of just the L was the fact that, reportedly, all these were fitted with coachbuilt bodies." This is not correct. Hudson, not a coach builder, made two of the five L-series cars (the 7-passenger sedan and 7-Passenger Phaeton). <P>You also wrote that "The R used Biddle & Smart for two styles and other styles were general production." This also is not precisely correct. Biddle & Smart made two of the nine R-series models, and another custom coach builder, Briggs made three more of the nine R-series models. <P>Thus, it certainly doesn't seem consistent to admit all L-series cars to the club and none of the R-series, if the criteria are coach-builder bodies and limited production. Five of the nine R-series models meet those criteria, and only three of the five L-series.<P>Details of the various models are on my web site; the particular page is <A HREF="http://home.earthlink.net/~lewphelps/hudson_29/what_model_frame.html" TARGET=_blank>http://home.earthlink.net/~lewphelps/hudson_29/what_model_frame.html</A> <P>My Town Sedan is not nearly ready for submission to the Committee, but when it is complete, except for the length of chassis, it will be no less a car than many of the Biddle & Smart L-series sedans. I would be pleased to submit it when it's done, if that would help to expand the knowledge of the Committee. I think there are some superbly restored Landau and Victoria Sedans out there right now. I'll raise this subject in the SuperSix 16-29 discussion list and see what happens. <P>Thanks for your thoughtful response.

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PLEASE, do not add non classics to the CCCA. There is no need to admit production cars of the 1950's to a fine club such as this. I could understand admitting a 1924 Rolls or Duesenburg,but nothing new post WW II. I am not a CCCA member but I have owned several true Classics. There is no need to cheapen the quality of the CCCA.

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Lew, It would be interesting to get your application. Your car does not need to be completed to apply. The Committee has considered restored, unrestored, partly restored and nice original cars at various times. If you so desire, an application can be sent to you at any time. Just drop an e-mail to National headquarters asking for an Individual Custom Body Application.<P>Responding to 1937hd45, as Chair of the Classification Committee and National Board Member, thank you for your comment on not admitting cars after the 1948 "Classic Era" date. Rest assured that there are no plans to extend admission into the 1950's. I might suggest reading a copy of Bev Kimes new book (available through this web site) "The Classic Era". This spells out very succinctly just what constitutes the Classic Era and why it ends in 1948. I can never stress too much my belief that the Classic Car Club is as much about an era as it is about the automobiles. Thanks,<BR>Jon Lee

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Please keep a meaningful definition of "Classic". With ads for "classic '57 Chevy" and "classic Beetle" abounding, there is some need for a standard, although this will always come across to some people as snobbish elitism. Any cut-off will be imperfect, as the discussion on the Hudson shows (my personal whine is how can a '48 Cadillac 62 be a Classic, but not a '48 Packard Custom 8?). The great advantage CCCA has is that even with a limited base, that base includes vehicles that have been and likely will continue to be of collector interest. Marque clubs of orphan makes are trying to adress the problem of new members.

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Please keep a meaningful definition of "Classic". <P>This is a major concern to CCCA Board Members. We are all acutely aware that the term "Classic" means different things to different people. The proposal to alter the strict enforcement of particular dates of manufacture is not intended to lessen the significance of the very special cars CCCA honors. It is an attempt to simply make our rules make a little more sense, and to reflect an accurate view of automotive history, rather than an arbitrary one.<P>We are happy to be a specialty club, just like many of the single marque organizations. We have a long history of being pretty good at that. Rest assured, there is no desire on the part of the current CCCA Board to be "all things to all people."

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I'll add a couple of minor points to this part of the discussion. In relation to the use of the term and definition of "Classic", the CCCA, several years ago, through the efforts of Jeff Broderick and others, set forth the TRADEMARKED terms Full Classic™ and Modified Classic™. The definitions of each are spelled out in the Handbook and Members Roster each Club member receives. I will be glad to quote some of the relative parts of the Handbook, but only if I'm asked, as members already have it on the shelf. This forum is supposed to be informative and entertaining. Secondly, neither the 48 Packard Custom or the 48 Cadillac 62 are Full Classics™, but both models in 1947 are. The only 48 Cadillac that remains a Full Classic is the carry-over Model 75. The 62 carried the new postwar finned body style and the 48 Packard also wore new postwar styling. I do hope that has helped the peevishness.<BR>Jon Lee

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I have enjoyed reading this thread, it at least indicates that the CCCA is hardly brain dead.<P>I find it ironic that the CCCA that was founded in 1951 (this is from CCCA's own web page) because of the elitism of the AACA, who considered these "Classics" too new and classified them as Tow Vehicles! Today, we have the CCCA doing the same thing.<P>I remain convinced that a general broadening of the Full Classics list will ultimately benefit the club. It will not "devalue" the great Classics on the list. The list today is already not fair, there is no way an early thirties Dietrich Packard is comparable to a 40's model 75 (or 62) Cadillac. Yet we need many cars to make our events interesting, colorful, and well attended. <P>For what it's worth, here are my suggestions: <P>1. Tell the classificiation committee to stop nitpicking "borderline" classics, like the aformentioned Hudson. The committee should accept these cars unless it is obviously clear that they are not acceptable. Now, the committee requires proposers to prove that they are acceptable, a difficult, discouraging process. <P>2. It is time to get simpler with the '25-48 era. How about (gasp), Cadillacs/LaSalle - All; Packard - All; Lincoln - All. Believe me, this will not produce a deluge of cars into the CCCA, there aren't that many of these cars left. But, it will stop excluding some truly great and interesting luxury, indeed, classic cars of the Classic Car Era.<P>3. Put the classification committee to work to consider expanding the Full Classics list up to, say, 1962 (40 years old). Believe me, your own members will come forward with many outstanding, beautiful, and historically interesting cars for them to review. This is where classification effort needs to go, not in nitpicking the 1925-48 era.<P>Doing this sort of thing (I'm sure others will have better suggestions than I) will give this club some of the spirit it had in 1951. And I am convinced it will not devalue to destroy our great history, in fact it will highlight and preserve it. I fear now that once our leadership passes on, there may not be much of a CCCA left. <P>Happy New Year!

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I have also been following this thread from the start and have not felt prompted to post a comment until now. Being a new member of the CCCA, but a long time car collector, in the past year I have been able to own my first CCCA approved car. It has taken many years of buying and selling '28-29 Studebakers to finally have a '29 Studebaker FE Brougham, a Full Classic. There are many great cars that could be looked at still for CCCA approval, but I can't think of one 1962 model, or any of the 50's. I think he CCCA is on the right track with the standards they have already set. There are to many cars out there that are called a "classic" when there is nothing classic about them othen than they managed to survive as long as they have to reach a point where someone thinks they are worth saving. There are those that think a Volkswagen Thing should be called a classic. The Full Classics as recognized by the CCCA will survive long after we, the current owners, are long gone. As an example, my 24 year old nephew is hot to own his own '29 Studebaker FE President, he is going to buy the one mother currently has. And he will be going with me to look at all those Full Classics this Saturday in San Jose at the national CCCA meet. I don't think many of the critics of the CCCA would think that a young 24 year old kid today would care about a big old 1929 Full Classic. I am sure there are more out there, just like him. I let my nephew drive me around in my '29 President, he has a blast and I enjoy seeing the thrill he gets out of successfully shifting gears. Yes, the hobby and the cars will live on long after we, the current owners, are long gone. wink.gif" border="0

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This has been an interesting discussion, one in which it has been possible to try to clear some misconceptions that I have heard for many years from many different folks. Mark Huston's comments are right on the mark! Thanks, and I hope to meet you and your Nephew at San Jose!<BR>To address a couple of the points brought up by Buicksplus:<BR>1: The Classification Committee actually does just what you suggest: accept fine cars other than those obviously not Classic. Where we all have difficulty is with that "obvious" part. That which I find obvious, you may find some fault. Therefore the job of the Classifictaion Committee is to determine just what is and is not "obvious"<BR>The application process is not a difficult or discouraging process. The instructions are printed on page 15 of your Handbook & Members Roster, and comprise six items. (5 for a Series application, as serial numbers are not pertinent to a series application.) We are talking about such things as photographs, specifications, original prices and production figures and special characteristics about the car such as custom bodies, unusual design or sepcial engineering features. I would suspect that any of us with a special appreciation for a particular make or model would find proseltyzing about it would be fairly simple.<BR>2. The theory that inclusion of all Packards, Cadillacs/Lasalles and Packard models would have no impact in the Club is one that has been around for many years. Consider this: Using the current Accepted list of Full Classics, between 1925 and 1948 there were about 1.3 million Full Classics built in the U.S. Through the year 1942 (I didn't take the extra time to look up postwar numbers, sorry) non-classic LaSalles (1934 through 1940, Packard 110, 115, 120, and Lincoln Zephyr sold approximately 655,000 cars! That is 50% of the total of the current Full Classic list. Draw your own conclusions.<BR>3. It helps putting this in perspective to consider that the Classic Car Club is thoroughly concerned with an era within Automotive History when cost of certain goods allied with a life style that went away at the end of 1941 in the U.S.<BR>4. If you have a chance to speak with a CCCA member from those early years, you will find that the original parameters for what we now consider Full Classics was much more restrictive than it is today. An early item of contention was that 1942 (the original published cut-off date) was much too new and the era, at best ended with the demise of the Packard 12 (1939), Lincoln 12 (1940) and Cadillac V-16 (1940).<BR>5. Mr Huston made the point of survival and caretakers of our Full Classic cars better than I.<BR>Thanks for listening.<BR>Jon Lee

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Hey Buck how about changing the record its not ofen I look at this site but you are there. Apart from that trust you all in the U.S. ot A had a good festive season.<BR> GReetings from the land of OZ<BR> .

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this latest thoughtful chapter of a long-running issue brings up 2 somewhat contradictory directions: The need to maintain some meaning to the term "Classic" and the need to maintain a vible membership. For my two cents' worth (and I am a Packard fan), the prewar 6 cylinder cars don't belong in the same category. Consider which vehicles were their competition at the time, and would you also include them? Perhaps the answer is to recognize a second category (the Milestone idea) with different criteria.

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Just to liven things up a bit:<P>On Friday, January 11, 2002, at the CCCA Annual Meeting, our membership approved a By-Laws change that will allow the Club to accept pre-1925 cars that are "virtually identical" to those built in 1925. <P>The glacier is moving.<P>This change was approved by a very large margin of better that 5 to 1. The members have spoken.<P>The Classification Committee will be a very busy place in the next year or so. smile.gif" border="0

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Split:<P>Perhaps we can try "Full Classics" and "Half Classics".<P>Seriously, I see no need to put tiers into the system. We already have massive differences in value and importance of cars now on the Full Classics list. All car clubs have this situation, and everyone manages to deal with it without introducing a system of class labels. <P>I think the CCCA needs to broaden the list as a natural growth process to ensure its future survival. In the fifties, you probably could have started a sixteen cylinder car club, and had no problem finding enthusiasts and cars to populate it. But there are not enough 16 cyl cars around today to support a major, national organization -- even though we all agree that these are fabulous automobiles, well worth preserving.<P>So, while the CCCA was very selective in the fifties, it is not so appropriate today. My proposal to admit more luxury cars of the 25-48 period is intended to have an impact, that's the whole idea. What I did say is that it will not produce a deluge of cars into the CCCA. I don't question Jon's 600K car figure, but not that many of these cars survive today, and most owners will probably not join the CCCA anyway. But some just might, and they will probably be younger and will be able to carry on the memory and appreciation of the fabulous early Full Classics that will always be the honored and revered charter members of this club.<P>I fear that because CCCA has sat on this so long and made so many declarations in the past that they will NEVER change their list much, it may be too late. Also, there appears to be little feeling that CCCA needs to change, our membership is up and the club is in excellent shape. I hope though, that the club leadership can look ahead and see that we may be headed for trouble on the current course.<P>Bill S

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Does that mean that for example a 1917 Locomobile is now a full classic? Will there be a complete listing of new full classics?

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No, it does not mean that a 1917 Locomobile is a CCCA Full Classic, unless it is "virtually identical" to the 1925 model that is already approved. Since I think Locomobile was out of business by 1925, I believe you have your answer. grin.gif" border="0 <P>At first, pre-1925 cars will be considered on a "please apply" basis. Eventually, some cars will be aproved as a series and will not require individual application. There are obvious examples such as some Cadillac, Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Duesenberg models. I'm sure a list of these cars can eventually be expected. But for now, they must individually apply.<P>There are some cars that will be much harder to figure out. In any case, the CCCA Classification Committee will have to deal with all this. They have their work cut out for them.

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Locomobile survived till 1929. What is "Virtually Identical"? Are you looking at chassis, or identical coachwork? If it is coachwork, how do custom bodies fit in?

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