Pilgrim65

Lowering a 53 good or bad?

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Saw this convertible which is the same as mine , like the lowered look , but will this devalue the car if other aspects of the car are to original spec.

ebay one has other modifications so probably not an issue. Your opinions would be interesting.

thanks 

pilgrim

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/311808608125?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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This is a full custom. It will never go back to original.   

 

Ok, I guess you could if you had a spare chassis, but nobody's gonna do that. 

 

Overall, I like it... until you get to the Bowtie under the hood. :angry: I'd probably opt for something with the distributor in the front. 

 

Not a big fan of the steering wheel, either, but I could change that, too

 

I bet this car drives great, is easy to maintain, and gets lots of looks. At a glance it looks nicely done, with just a few lapses in judgement. 

 

It's a completely different class from a restoration, so it's not really fair to try to compare. 

Edited by SpecialEducation (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, Pilgrim65 said:

but will this devalue the car

 

If your car is a nice original................Yes.............Bob

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I don't know that that car is lowered that much from stock.  Possibly an inch or two?  Certainly within the realm of "coil cutting", as was a period-correct way of lowering vehicles back then.  All you'd be changing is the springs, which are replaceable with "good ones" later on, if needed.

 

The power windows, power locks, and a/c can be found in the street rod realm of things.  Keep the original items which are replaced.

 

The Chevy engine and THM400 trans are good items, generally, but that's way too much power for that chassis.  Nothing's said about what was done to the rear of the powertrain or brakes?  A '65 Wildcat 401 and THM400 Switch-Pitch would have been a good choice to prevent "tissue rejection".  Add modern EFI and electronic ignition for good measure.  Possibly even a power bench seat mechanism from a stock car?

 

There's a later model-style steering column in that car, too.  There are a couple of places which have more period-correct aftermarket steering wheels, but cost more than the one that's in there.

 

The Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels look good with the tri-bar spinner caps and all.  Just more $$$$ than something more stock and they allow for a better tire choice.

 

The interior looks great.  The pattern looks like it is a variation of VickyBlue's '66 Electra.  Certainly not bad, but a little too new of a style for the car, to me.

 

End result, you can have something of the same look without going about it as that owner did.  Otherwise, get a complete quality front end rebuild, the shocks rebuilt, and other chassis wear items attended to FIRST. Leave the ride height issue for LAST.

 

One negative things about "altered vehicles" (as pictured) is that you can use the price guides as a base, only, as the ultimate value is in the buyer's head (and the seller's repair receipt box!).  The alterations can make the vehicle more valuable to some or less valuable to others.  Highly variable!  MANY people like older cars that act younger, but many STILL like older cars "in character".

 

It's not only the alterations, but the QUALITY of what was done . . . even on a stock restoration activity.  AND this is also operative for vehicles purchased through some "big name" auctions, too!

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Keep in mind that the subject vehicle is a Super, which has a different body than your Special.  The Super will look lower as there is the fender belt line further below the door window sill,  than the one on your car. 

 

BTW, I believe those are True Spoke wire wheels, not Kelsey Hayes 40 spoke original wheels.  Those true spoke wheels can still be purchased new today.

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If you want a car that rides, drives, and handles like a modern car, with an engine and drivetrain whose parts are available at every corner auto parts store and repair shop, go buy a 1977 Camaro with a 350 V8 or a 2017 Buick Cascada convertible, and leave the '53 Super convertibles original with their 12-volt electrics, their 322 V8s, their dependable Dynaflows, and their robust, high, coil springs at all four wheels.

I'm sorry, but cars like this are destroyed, in my opinion. Yes, it has a lot of value to some people, and I recognize that, but I would never buy one nor do that to one. OK, you asked for opinions and reactions, and that is mine.

Pete Phillips.

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A lot of places had/have a law forbidding the changing of "trim height".  Does anyone know if it was ever enforced anywhere?

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Whenever somebody ask's about if a modification will "devalue" a car, I always ask, are you planning on selling it? 

 

Personally, I lowered my 52 Special in the rear only with a set of drop coils. My car will never go to an auction like Mecum or Barrett Jackson, nor will it ever be judged at Pebble Beach. 

 

If you're concerned, I'd go with drop coils as it still is functional and can easily be reversed (if you ever felt the need to do so).

 

 

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Thanks Guys good reading , not planning on changing Ruby or selling , just admired  the sleek look.

will go with general opinion and keep original , but love the wires so will be looking at true spokes as mentioned 

cheers

pilgrim

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When inquiring on those true spokes keep in mind that the center of the hub has to have an opening for your brake drum pilot pins, and clearance for the rivets holding the front drums to the hubs, as well as the 7/16" bolts holding the rear drums to the axles.  Hopefully the vendor will remember this but in case he doesn't, beware.

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I bought my '64 Riviera in 1978 with a non-original vinyl top. So far it has not affected the value. I did remove it for the recent paint job. I expect it will be another 35 years or so before the determination can be made.

 

On low cars in general. This one had to go when the so called highway engineer widened our road and built a 6" ditch at the end of my driveway.

nov3.jpg.15816ef1c0b939d40671041bacfbf0ad.jpg

 

On the highly modified '53 Super, I would bet that no one connected with the construction and ownership of that car has ever driven a '53 Super in good condition. And if it was a nice original '53 Super convertible it wouldn't be listed internationally on an auction. When owners of good original cars want to sell, most can pick up the phone and make a couple of calls saying "I decided to sell my car."

 

 

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60FlatTop, sound logic,

Nice xjs , I had a V12 in Monza red think it was a 82 and mine in 86 , fond memories , one of the prettiest cars I've ever owned, I remember used to polish it , admire it, and sit in it in my garage , just smelling the leather and listening to music . Amazingly quiet engine which took me to the fastest I ever driven 155mph , may have gone quicker but I chickened out on a slow bend as g force felt like it would go!

However although my fondest memories also one of my scariest moments , one morning whilst taking my young girls to school the engine burst into flames , luckily near to a garage pulled in with flames and smoke pouring out , got the girls out, and staff tended to fire with extinguishers , car needed front end and engine bay  respray . I was told afterwards, Apparently not a uncommon problem with that model, so Didn't feel comfortable after that and decided to  px for a  BMW.

cheers 

pilgrim

Edited by Pilgrim65
Mistake (see edit history)

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On 2/28/2017 at 3:41 PM, Pilgrim65 said:

Saw this convertible which is the same as mine , like the lowered look , but will this devalue the car if other aspects of the car are to original spec.

ebay one has other modifications so probably not an issue. Your opinions would be interesting.

thanks 

pilgrim

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/311808608125?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

If you lower only the front of the car you change king pin inclination angle. This is part of the engineer of the suspension that helps you turn the steering wheel more easily when the car is stopped, etc. If you've ever pushed a grocery cart that has the front castor's bent toward the back and hard to steer, I think that might describe what happens when you lower only the front of your car. It's way more complex and competent description much longer, but suspension is the stuff of physics and can actually be dangerous to modify without understanding possible unintended consequences. Hope that helps!

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Greg is correct. What may drive OK at 30 mph may become an unstable nightmare at 60 mph! Do your homework before modifying! Or follow Pete's advice and just don't!

 

Cheers, Dave

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In many cases, you can alter the front end height from stock spec about an inch either way before front end wheel alignment (usually camber) become an issue.  Lowering the rear end could have longer term issues with the angularity at the output side of the transmission (meaning torque tube area) and related durability.

 

I believe the Kingpin Inclination Angle has a relationship to "caster" on the later vehicles?  In that case, it needs to be correct (or close to spec) for the best total road driving characteristics.  With only the front end (only) lowered, it might make the steering easier, but could also decrease inherent vehicle stability at higher speeds.  Caster helps with straight-line stability and steering self-return from corners.

 

When the car chassis bounces up and down, the front wheels don't stay exactly perpendicular to the road surface outside of that 1" plus/minus range.  Camber change becomes much greater past that.  You've got to keep the physics under control with geometry.

 

NTX5467

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Exactly, NTX! When I first got my car 4 years ago, the caster was positive. I had a hard time driving a straight line! Now I have it at the far neg side of the spec and it drives nice!

 

Cheers, Dave

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thanks Guys 

giving the lowering a miss , but intend swopping wheels for Kelsey Hayes lookalike , some on eBay now, but have to wait till I can check suitability and tyre size , next week when I return to Cyprus . Will post new look when done.

cheers for advice.

pilgrim

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