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GregLaR

This Just Ruined My Day.....

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OK, OK, I understand everybody has the right to do what ever they like with their own vehicles and one man's idea of a great car is not necessarily the same as another's, but this just ruined my day. Stopped by my body shop to check on one of my cars and this fellow had just dropped of his newly purchased '33 Buick. A very clean, running, driving, mostly original car. I met the new owner, nice enough sort of guy but his first improvement for this lovely Buick is to pull the good running straight eight and transmission out and cram a V-8 in it's place. This beauty has survived with caring owners for 84 years..... until now.  I wish I could save it. Ugh!

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Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)

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I can beat that. Local guy bought a 1951 Chrysler club coupe with 15000  miles on it. It looked and ran like it just rolled out of the showroom. His first move was to yank out the engine and replace it with a junkyard V8 "to make it more reliable".

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1 minute ago, oldcarfudd said:

Many years ago before I knew him, my brother-in-law took a gull-wing Mercedes 300SL and stuffed a Chrysler semi-head in it.

 

Makes me wonder just who had the "semi-head."

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Whenever I take my '29 Cadillac to a local cruise night or casual show, it takes two hands to count the number of guys who say to the guy standing next to them, "That thing needs a modern V8, otherwise you can't use it."

 

Gee, I wonder how it got to the show...?

 

You guys should have seen the four or five early 1930s Cadillacs at the national meet this year, one wearing V12 badges and one wearing V16 badges, and all fitted with a Chevy V8, Fatman front suspension, automatic transmission, and chrome wire wheels with fat radials stuffed into the fender wells. All buddies that came up from Georgia and created really expensive, yet really ordinary, Cadillacs that were no longer interesting. Who hasn't seen a Chevy V8? Now how many have seen a Cadillac V12?

 

I hate to see this kind of stuff happening. The guy is going to spend a pile of money stuffing the engine in there (and surely changing the suspension, the brakes, the gauges, etc.). Then he'll realize that it's boring to drive and kind of ho-hum, and he'll sell it with plans to build something "different" yet using the same components (Chevy V8, automatic transmission, Fatman suspension). That's the problem with hot rods like this--no matter what car you start with, they all end up driving the same. Guys think that by starting with a Packard or a Marmon or something that they'll have some amazing, special car and instead they end up with a car that drives and feels just like a garden-variety Ford rod.

 

Bo-ring.

 

 

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I always snicker to myself when I hear how people are going to improve the reliability of these oldies by bolting 80s GM parts on them. The most reliable cars I have ever owned, old or new-ish, have been bone stock, or very close. The engineers were not idiots, and did what they did after checking and rechecking their math, and stress testing prototypes before production. Occasionally they miss something, but not much.

 

There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with coming up with your own combination of parts to make a car. You can pick the best parts of every year for a particular engine series, find a transmission you like, use aftermarket stuff, etc, and come up with a very good car. What most average guys don't seem to get is that it puts YOU in the engineer's chair. Do you know how to arrange the driveline angles so the universal joints will last and not vibrate? Do you have enough grill opening to cool the engine at the horsepower level you are planning? Once you get past 3 rows on the radiator, more doesn't do much. Oh, you want air conditioning too? The shiny new carburetor will come out of the box jetted too rich (so you can get it running without a hassle), and will need to be rejetted. The metering rods (or power valve) will also need attention. The distributor curve kit that came from the speed shop is all wrong for the street because it is designed for bracket racing. Even if it were right, you don't just throw weights and springs in a distributor and call it "curved". The results are completely random. You need to check it on a distributor machine, or with a dial-back timing light, or degree tape. It will need to be changed to suit the new engine. The vacuum advance probably came from a car with EGR, because that is usually what is floating around in the wild. It moves way too much, because you don't have EGR now. Got a hot cam? The spring tension in the vacuum advance is probably wrong too. They do make adjustable ones. What heat range plugs are you going to run?

 

The answers can be determined experimentally by road testing, dragstrip or dyno testing, hopefully an exhaust gas analyzer, plug reading, maybe an oxygen sensor with a readout, or an exhaust pyrometer, or colortune. The ignition curve and the jetting interact to some extent. The process is iterative. None of this is hard, just time consuming and often expensive. The learning curve is steep if you have never done it, but extremely satisfying when you get it right.

 

It is always an enjoyable conversation when I run into someone else who knows how to do all this. It doesn't happen often. What I usually hear are things like "I don't need a choke" or "I can run without a power valve" or "it runs great but it wont idle" or "it overheats when I take it out of town" and so on.

 

At the local cars and coffee I ran into a guy who has another flathead Pontiac, newer than mine. He plans to put it on a chassis from an F-body or a Monte Carlo or something. He is going to take it on trips, and says that it will be impossible to find parts for the old drivetrain while on the road, and he needs to be able to repair it without waiting for parts. I guess he is planning on repairing it on the road. As someone who has repaired 80s GMs for a living, I imagine he might have some opportunities to do that.

 

It never even occurred to me that my Pontiac couldn't make a road trip without breaking down. I drove it 150 miles on Thanksgiving. To each his own.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I find most of the time when someone says they want more reliability, what they really mean is they want more familiarity.  They want the same engines that they cut their teeth on instead of learning about the older ones.

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That is a crying shame.   I am constantly amazed at people who claim to be “car guys” and yet they don’t know or understand the mechanics of cars older than the 60s.   Recently, I was asked, yet again, when I was going to put a SBC 350/auto in my 1929 Studebaker President.  I asked why?   I was then lectured on how any car older than the mid-60s is unusable unless the original drivetrain is upgraded to a SBC 350/auto.  I informed the gentleman that I drive my 29 Studebaker everywhere it needs to go.  I don’t own a truck and car trailer.  I told him that the last tour I completed was a six day 1,000 mile tour that included driving my Studebaker over several mountain passes.   He stated it was not possible and that he did not believe me and walked away.   Here is a picture of my 1929 Studebaker at the summit of one of those passes with the elevation sign visible.  I guess I must have faked the picture, according to some people, since it is not possible in a stock 1929 automobile.   Also, another picture taken in the middle of nowhere with a snow covered Mount Shasta in background. 

 

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Edited by Mark Huston (see edit history)
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59 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Whenever I take my '29 Cadillac to a local cruise night or casual show, it takes two hands to count the number of guys who say to the guy standing next to them, "That thing needs a modern V8, otherwise you can't use it."

 

Gee, I wonder how it got to the show...?

 

You guys should have seen the four or five early 1930s Cadillacs at the national meet this year, one wearing V12 badges and one wearing V16 badges, and all fitted with a Chevy V8, Fatman front suspension, automatic transmission, and chrome wire wheels with fat radials stuffed into the fender wells. All buddies that came up from Georgia and created really expensive, yet really ordinary, Cadillacs that were no longer interesting. Who hasn't seen a Chevy V8? Now how many have seen a Cadillac V12?

 

I hate to see this kind of stuff happening. The guy is going to spend a pile of money stuffing the engine in there (and surely changing the suspension, the brakes, the gauges, etc.). Then he'll realize that it's boring to drive and kind of ho-hum, and he'll sell it with plans to build something "different" yet using the same components (Chevy V8, automatic transmission, Fatman suspension). That's the problem with hot rods like this--no matter what car you start with, they all end up driving the same. Guys think that by starting with a Packard or a Marmon or something that they'll have some amazing, special car and instead they end up with a car that drives and feels just like a garden-variety Ford rod.

 

Bo-ring.

 

 

Matt,

Generally i agree with most of what you post, but.....  Read this.

On the Sentimental Tour in Kerrville Texas, one of the tour cars was a 1932 Cadillac V-12.

Our passengers  owned a  1931 Cadillac V-12, that is a constant problem.  So we naturally

gravitated to the 7 passenger Fleetwood that looked very much like their 31.   The 32 was

mostly stock with the V-12 intact.  We listened to their familiar sounding problems.

The owners had disagreed on which route to take in the restoration and stock won out.

$250,000 later they had a stock V-12 that was still a constant problem.

My friends are now considering a 454 or possibly a Cadillac 500 V8.

P. S.  We've enjoyed our 35 Buick V8 for 18 problem free years,  and it's still a Buick 8.

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He may be  nice guy but he is also an idiot.  

 

Meanwhile, I look for nice original cars and it never ceases to amaze me how many nice old cars have been bastardized and unceremoniously dumped on the market...

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Yes, the new owner said his reasoning behind the engine swap was to make the car more "driveable". :(

But, but......it seems to have "driven" through the last 84 years easy enough.

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)
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Never understood this kind of mentality.  Would you replace the workings of a fine antique grandfather's clock with a quartz movement? How about a beautiful horn phonograph with a boom box installed? Why can't people appreciate the fine craftsmanship and engineering of these classic cars and drive them as they were intended?  I find the biggest thrill of owning old cars is following the same operating procedures as the original owners. Sure, there are flaws and new cars do things better but who cares?  I can understand hot rods built 70 years ago when these cars were all over the place but this kind of butchering has no place today as the supply of these beauties dwindles. 

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31 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

 

P. S.  We've enjoyed our 35 Buick V8 for 18 problem free years,  and it's still a Buick 8.

 

Paul, not to nit-pick, but I hope you mean "STRAIGHT 8"

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Last summer I put about a thousand miles on my 1936 Pierce V-12 in eleven days. Didn’t carry a single tool, never opened the hood to check the oil, and the car never missed a beat. I did have to slow down and pass a few cars while driving up the Mount Washington Auto Road. Only complaint I had was burning about a quarter tank of gas going up the hill. Photos enclosed. Stock is fine from any year car, as long as it’s properly restored and sorted. My dual points and coils have been fine for the last twenty five years, with no adjustments necessary for the twenty two thousand miles they have on them. I guess the guys are right, you need modern drive line installed so you can get good cheap Chinese junk parts to replace the stuff you installed when you built it........all my 81year old parts have worked just fine with no attention or worry of break downs. Restore it right, fix it right, don’t take any short cuts, they all drive fine.

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My 38 Studebaker is original (rebuilt) it uses a little oil but runs well. I took it on the Indy track after a Hagerty show. I waited to be the last car in line so I didn’t slow any one down. Put my foot to the floor and never lifted. On the third Lap I almost passed a turbo Porsche!  Two “muscle” cars broke down. I drove back to Lexington that night with no problems. I take two or three 350 - 400 miles each year and I’m currently planning a trip to see my brother in San Diego this coming spring. 

 

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Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
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To call the owner an IDIOT, is just wrong.

 

 We as owners have the right to do what we like, YOU can say you don’t like the mod, but to call him an IDIOT, poor choice of words, and simply WRONG

 

We have beat this topic to death in the past, allow those that wish to do their own thing do their thing.  I’m all for your decision to be a purist, that’s your right, so is deciding to modify our right. 

 

Matt loves his Limited, I’m happy for him, I’m thrilled with my modified Limited.  I have never picked on a purist, just don’t call me an IDIOT.  Those that know me, know,  they would never call me an IDIOT.

 

I suggest you edit your comment.

 

Dale in Indy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

appy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dale, I don't think Steve directed his comment at you.

You certainly don't have to agree with him but, as the owner of this Buick is entitled to do whatever he pleases, I think Steve is equally entitled to his opinion without censorship.

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I was well aware he was commenting on the owner of the car in question.

 

If that's his opinion, I say it's MINE, to say, WHO IS HE TO CALL SOMEONE AN IDIOT.

 

I will leave it at that.

 

Dale in Indy

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I like to see cars with the hood closed, how in the world could you tell what the OP Buick had under it, much less care what someone else does with a vehicle he owns. Bob 

 

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A part of the problem is the fact that we Americans have put up with built-in obsolescence for so long that it has crept into our psyche. Not all of us, mind you, but plenty of us. I think that it skews our judgement when we think about things that have reached a certain age. Because society is always encouraging us to by something new, we believe that something that is older is automatically inferior, when often the opposite is the case. To many it's simply counter intuitive to believe that a fifty or seventy five year old driveline can really be relied upon to give good service and not leave them stranded somewhere. As my name might imply I've always had a love for Hudsons. I rarely frequent the Hudson forums anymore since I got swindled out of three step-downs. No, I don't want to talk about it. I only bring up Hudsons because when I did used to drop in there often, some new owner was always asking what to replace the wet clutch with. (The wet clutch being the cork covered clutch disc running in a proprietary oil). We would always tell the newbie that the clutch that their Hudson has in it now is a better, longer lasting and smoother clutch than any replacement clutch that they could buy now. No matter how hard we would try, some guys just couldn't wrap their heads around that. Just because that type of clutch is no longer offered in new cars, they were sure that it was inferior. It's not, it is, in fact, superior and it would cost manufacturers too much money to offer it nowadays.  I've trained a lot of sales people over the years and I've always told them the way to overcome resistance is to root out the vague ideas that so often cause vague fears. Vague ideas and vague fears cause people to do some of the dumbest things imaginable.

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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