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Mark Gregory

Converting 1930's Car to Sedan Delivery - Dreaming ?

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i see all sorts of 1930's Reo cars for sale for a few thousand dollars as their bodies are rotted . I was wondering if it would be feasible to convert a car to this picture of a Reo Sedan Delivery . The motor would have to be in good shape to start with . I assume the sheet metal work would be the most expensive part .

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1930-ORIG-PRINT-AD-REO-SPEED-WAGON-smart-delivery-parked-outside-front-door-/232249385797?hash=item3613246345

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I doubt you'd ever see another.  Looks like a fun, but ambitious project.

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Given an adequate infusion of $$$$, almost anything is feasible/possible.  As Taylormade stated above, it would be a really cool project.  As to the sheet metal, you might be able to find a roof that closely follows the lines of the Reo "Smart Delivery".  The rear doors could be a real challenge; however a set from a panel delivery truck might fit the bill.  Of course, the use of fiber glass in making some of the body panels should be considered. 

 

My thoughts involve the building of a look alike of the Reo "Smart Delivery", and some license could be taken by the builder using the TLAR (That Looks About Right) School of styling and engineering.  If an attempt is made to build a "more-correct" vehicle, then co$t$ will spiral in proportion to the "correctness" attempted.

 

Please let us know if you decide to tackle this project.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Posted (edited)

If the body framing is rotten you are going to have to start from scratch no matter what you do. A good body man could build one of those from a sedan although probably not exactly the same. It would be easier to build a woody wagon. Some years back you could buy a universal woody wagon body kit made to be built on any medium sized twenties or thirties chassis. Don't know if they are still available or not.

 

You do know that the REO Speedwagon was built on a REO truck chassis which was different from a REO car chassis? But it wouldn't make much difference today, if you used a car. It's not like you were going to be doing heavy deliveries every day.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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As long as you have deep pockets and the right metal man to do all the forming and shaping anything is possible. Do you already have a REO to start with?

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5 hours ago, Mark Gregory said:

i see all sorts of 1930's Reo cars for sale for a few thousand dollars as their bodies are rotted . I was wondering if it would be feasible to convert a car to this picture of a Reo Sedan Delivery

 

It's been done for decades by streetrodders..

 

Fastest way is to start with a 2 door sedan.  That eliminates welding the rear 4-door doors shut, and not having the seam problem.

 

If you choose that open-front style, you lose a lot of strength with no top to tie the body together.  If the open style is a must, then go with car that has the newer/stronger X type frame.  Most cars got these starting around 1932, but not all.  The X frame keeps the car from twisting like a typical pickup truck that are designed to flex between the cab and rear body.

 

The rear door on the back is not a big problem.  You use the existing rear panel cut out, then make jambs. 

 

Keiser31 might know where the pics are on AACA of one of two prototype 29 Desoto sedan deliveries built in 1929 by DeSoto.  One still survives in his part of the country.  It was built from a 2 door sedan. It shows just how simple it was to make.  There were pics on AACA.

 

Speaking of Mopar sedan deliverys.. They later used an extended long body starting in the early 30s, up to around 34, but there were a few Plymouths around 1935 that were "again" built from the short 2 door sedan shell.  I assume that is because the demand was not strong enough to support the special long body on earlier deliveries.

 

While the mods are being done, most builders replace the body structure wood with square and rectangular tubing.  Wood is still used up in roof on pre-33 type shells because it's easier in most cases.

 

.

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Mark were you seriously considering this or just a pipe dream? If you were going to do it what would you use it for?

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theyve been doing them for years with model A ford 2 dr sedans.

 

A fiberglass rear door used to be sold for around 1200. for the conversion.

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Rusty I am just dreaming now . This all started while I was restoring my 1931 Reo Royale Victoria . As I look for parts I come across some rotted out Reo cars . Liking Antique cars I say to myself I would sure hate to see these nice but poor condition cars go to the scrap yard . So I came across this advertisement and thought about converting a car to a Sedan - Smart Delivery . A 1930 Flying Cloud has the same windshield as the advertisement . F&J thanks for all the tips , mercer09 I did not know that Ford people are doing all these things now as I usually stick to original built cars . Thanks everyone else for the encouragement and comments . Mark

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Posted (edited)

I consider pipe dreams seriously. And in this case I have done things like go out and buy the REO.

Look what was in my garage a year or so ago while I dreamed about having a Continental.

010.thumb.JPG.93b2ac74ebb1b715f7a995445c657601.JPG

 

The dream fizzled out and I made a few bucks selling off the pieces. The important thing was putting tangible dream parts where I could touch them, sit on my draftsman's chair and ponder them, and fire a few neurons. A lot of people don't. I bought that car for $600 including the trucking, deliberated on it for a few months, and made, maybe  $2500 shipping parts around the world. If I had no dreams and felt depressed that 600 bucks might have got me three hours with a shrink.

 

Buy the REO and take it from there. I guaranty you will be happier than Ransom E. Olds!

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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What you end up with, is a reflection of what you started with. If a person wanted to do the project, starting with a good foundation will save you a ton of money. 

 

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REO was a high grade car with excellent chassis and motor. Most bodies typical of the time, being stamped steel panels over wood frame which is very subject to rot and deteriorating over time.

 

One solution is to restore the chassis and rebody as a speedster or roadster. Your idea is more creative but a lot more work.

 

Rebodying such a car would be prohibitively expensive if you paid a bodyman to do it. But a skilled amateur could do the job for a fraction of the cost.

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28 Chrysler's picture looks just like today........four guys working and three guys watching.

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1 hour ago, Tinindian said:

28 Chrysler's picture looks just like today........four guys working and three guys watching.

 

I wish it were so.  It seems that these days, it's more on the order of two guys working and five guys watching:o.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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You mean like this 1927 Wolverine project for sale in my area for $3500 Canadian? That's like $18 bucks in real money.

 

 

1927 REO Wolverine.JPG

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Yes Rusty I posted that Wolverine under the For Sale on the AACA a while ago . I have seen some 1930's Reo Flying Clouds with the same work done on them . I assume no one restores these cars any more and they are going to scrap ? ? So instead of just having a picture from a magazine ad . There would be a car Sedan - Special Delivery sitting there you can touch . I appreciate what you are saying about the work and cost involved in doing the project . I guess I am stuck on 1930's cars . Mark

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It would be easy to convert that car to a sedan delivery. Cars like that are not scraped, they are turned in to Hot rods/customs/street rods/rat rods. If wanting to build one, buying a donor car that is in nice shape, just needing a re-paint would be the way to go. Gut the interior, do the mods, body work and paint. Then install the interior, that way you avoid the rebuild cost of the car. To start from scratch the restoration costs will ad up fast (as we all know) I would not be afraid to take on a project like that, can not be harder then cutting a Jaguar in four pieces. There are some great 30's sedans that would look good converted in to a truck.

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21 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

You mean like this 1927 Wolverine project for sale in my area for $3500 Canadian? That's like $18 bucks in real money.

 

17 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

Cars like that are not scraped, they are turned in to Hot rods/customs/street rods/rat rods.

 

Nobody will buy that Wolverine at that price.  There is a reason that 90 year old car never got restored back when a 1927-model car might have been wanted by someone. Too much work for a unpopular car and model year.

 

It's too far gone for a stock restoration, and besides, nobody even wants a car like that now.  You can't part it out as nobody needs most of what is still there.  A streetrodder won't take it because it's too boxy/frumpy looking.  So that only leaves the ratrodder who won't even bother painting or filling the roof insert back in.  They will slap the shell onto a S-10 chassis and throw the rest away.  But not unless the price is more like $800 USD.

 

If it were a 32-34 style car, then the odds are better for someone wanting to tackle it.

 

.

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44 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

But it would make a cool sedan delivery.

Yes, it would....

 

...  But so few people either have the time, or the desire for a project these days.

 

 

Edit:  Actually, if someone did make a delivery out of it, I'd bet there would be decent resale value.  I can see a business owner buying it to add their company name on the side for advertising.

 

If it was restored to stock 2 door sedan, it may be a huge loss, even if a lone buyer was found.  This is one case where modifying an antique car has some honest merit.

.

Edited by F&J (see edit history)

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Here is an example of a 1930's car that to me is over priced but in poor enough shape to become a Sedan Delivery . He says he has all the parts ? ? I have learned a lot from everyone's comments thanks . In the future if I go ahead with a project like this I will inform everyone of the out come .

 

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/6056018396.html

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)

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There is as fellow about two hours from your place that could do the metal work for you in his garage at home. Some of his work took awards at Pebble Beach and other shows over the past few years so I know he can do it. No more dreaming then.

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