hidden_hunter

What's your most 'unexpected' part find?

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I freely admit that I am not really built for swap meets. I am not an early riser and get bored quickly pawing through seemingly endless piles of parts, most of which I can't identify and most of what I can ID, I don't need. The usual scenario would see me bring home more stuff to add to the clutter. 

 

Thirty years ago I changed my MO to better adjust my swap meeting to better suite my proclivity to late rising. After a good breakfast I would walk into the meet at mid-day and chat with old friends. Sunday became my favorite day, the crowds were down and it was just generally more relaxed, and I stopped digging too deeply into the stuff.

 

One late Sunday afternoon as I strolled down the isles of stuff, that was now being boxed and loaded, I heard my name called.  I turned to see a friend who was a regular seller. He said Bill come over here I want you to look at this. I couldn't believe what I saw. There in front of me were two beautiful 1934-35 Pierce Arrow side mount covers. They had magically survived the whole meet and were still available, at a price of $75. At the time I owned one of the two surviving 1934, 840A Club Broughams known to exist. The side mt. covers were one of the last things that I was missing for the car. More then ten years of searching had been fruitless, but here they were. The ripping the pants picture fits my hast at getting my wallet out of my pocket. The kicker was that my friend Bob indicated that just an hour before there had been original tires, wheels, with hubcaps, that someone had bought, but had ignored the side mt. covers. Go figure! Sometime later I began to wonder what the history of the parts was, and whether thy might have been stolen. Still wonder, but that was thirty years ago and the car is long gone, sold at time of a divorce. 

 

As an aside anyone recognize the car's description? I have been told that it might now live in Colorado. If it does and you have any contact info. I think that it might be fun to make contact, just for fun.-Bill

 

 

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I've found some great stuff over the years, last Hershey was a really good find, a Type 57 Bugatti oil sump,  the seller priced it but had no idea what it fit. 😁

 

 

Bob 

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Back to the 1912 Triumph Motorcycle - one of the most difficult challenges I had was with the rear hub and free-wheeling gear.  The Triumph gets started while on the kick-stand.  You go through a little ritual, priming the carb, adjusting spark, throttle, air, etc then "pedal furiously."  Once the engine fires, the machine is ready to go and the free-wheeling gear allows the pedal mechanism to disengage.  The gear assembly is a bit complex, and to make things worse, is threaded internally, reverse thread of Triumph's own pattern, to screw onto a hub that has a bearing surface for the outer rear wheel bearing.  An old motorcycle restorer there in Scotland suggested I try to reach an old retired machinist at a company in Birmingham England (T.D. Cross and Sons).  That company had at one time even produced their own brand of motorcycle in the mid teens. They had been in business over 100 years and were at that time making industrial drive and transmission components.    I was told he might be able to rummage around in their engineering department to find something I could adapt.  I was told they never threw anything away.    Eventually I was able to contact the guy, who had long ago retired, but worked there occasional evenings sweeping the floors and tinkering.  I sent him a detailed sketch and held my breath.  I heard nothing and could not get an answer to my numerous phone calls.   About 3 weeks later, an unexpected package arrived in the mail.  Inside, packed in straw was an old steel free wheeling gear assembly.  I was excited to have something I could at least modify somehow to use.  I measured it - correct!  I counted the teeth on the gear  - perfect!  I then mic'd the inside diameter - no, it couldn't possibly be that close!  Checked again and then noted it was reverse thread!  Tried to screw it on to the original hub and it screwed right on smoothly. Checking the original parts catalog I had - there was the stamped name of the company and the serial number - no, it COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE!!! Pinch me - it was the absolute correct 1912 Triumph free wheeling gear made by the same company that made the originals. All I needed to do was get it nickle plated.  Sadly though, I later learned the guy who had been my miracle worker in Birmingham had passed away.  I've told this story many times to those who will listen.  If you want a wee dram of good scotch, there are a few more too.

Terry

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Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Back to the 1912 Triumph Motorcycle - one of the most difficult challenges I had was with the rear hub and free-wheeling gear.  The Triumph gets started while on the kick-stand.  You go through a little ritual, priming the carb, adjusting spark, throttle, air, etc then "pedal furiously."  Once the engine fires, the machine is ready to go and the free-wheeling gear allows the pedal mechanism to disengage.  The gear assembly is a bit complex, and to make things worse, is threaded internally, reverse thread of Triumph's own pattern, to screw onto a hub that has a bearing surface for the outer rear wheel bearing.  An old motorcycle restorer there in Scotland suggested I try to reach an old retired machinist at a company in Birmingham England (T.D. Cross and Sons).  That company had at one time even produced their own brand of motorcycle in the mid teens. They had been in business over 100 years and were at that time making industrial drive and transmission components.    I was told he might be able to rummage around in their engineering department to find something I could adapt.  I was told they never threw anything away.    Eventually I was able to contact the guy, who had long ago retired, but worked there occasional evenings sweeping the floors and tinkering.  I sent him a detailed sketch and held my breath.  I heard nothing and could not get an answer to my numerous phone calls.   About 3 weeks later, an unexpected package arrived in the mail.  Inside, packed in straw was an old steel free wheeling gear assembly.  I was excited to have something I could at least modify somehow to use.  I measured it - correct!  I counted the teeth on the gear  - perfect!  I then mic'd the inside diameter - no, it couldn't possibly be that close!  Checked again and then noted it was reverse thread!  Tried to screw it on to the original hub and it screwed right on smoothly. Checking the original parts catalog I had - there was the stamped name of the company and the serial number - no, it COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE!!! Pinch me - it was the absolute correct 1912 Triumph free wheeling gear made by the same company that made the originals. All I needed to do was get it nickle plated.  Sadly though, I later learned the guy who had been my miracle worker in Birmingham had passed away.  I've told this story many times to those who will listen.  If you want a wee dram of good scotch, there are a few more too.

Terry

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Wow, Terry! AWESOME story, and AWESOME bike. WAY cool. I absolutely LOVE it!!! 

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A few years ago at Hershey I stopped to buy several pieces of Auto related music advertising from Terry Bond.  I then stopped at a vendor two or three spaces down and didn't find anything that turned me on so I asked the vendor "what are you hiding under the table?"  This is a common practice in the art glass world where dealers will hold special pieces back to show certain customers before offering them to the public.  The dealer told me that  there was an abandoned one stall fire station that had not been used for 30 Years that was being torn down  One of the fireman decided to explore the attic and came across two prints, 20X30 inches, advertising a fire school in 1918 still in there original tubes.  He agreed to sell one for $200 but wanted to keep the other one.  After purchasing the first one I offered him $400 for the second one and he agreed.  These were original  8 stones (colors) in pristine shape.  Google Stone Lithography and you will understand how rare these were.  After framing and matting I sold one for $8500 and still have the other one.  This is probably the only trip to Hershey that I broke even.

 

Auto related again at Hershey in the mid 80"s I was sorting through a table filled with non brand specific parts and spied a pair of NOS flat head water pumps.  I asked the dearer what the were for and he didn't have any idea but thought they could be Ford.  He had purchased the whole table of parts at an estate sale.  We finally settled on $35 for what turned out to be a right and left 38-40 Cadillac V16 water pumps still in their original packing.  I have owned two of these cars since 1981 and have never seen a single NOS water pump for sale again.

 

I would agree with Terry.  If you have been at it with multiple hobby interests you collect a bunch of these stories over your life time.  My dad used to say "Even a blind sow finds an acorn once in a while"  Bob Smits

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In 2001 I purchased a 1937 Pierce Arrow from 1800 miles away, while in storage for a week before I went to pick it up, some jerk stole the VIN plate..........It was on it in the photos a week before. I asked the storage guy what happened to it and he played dumb........instead of the thief that he was. He also stole the hubcaps. Seven years later I saw them for sale on eBay in another state 1000 miles away from where they were stolen. I got the caps and vin tag for 175 bucks. I later learned the guy I bought them from was the jerks brother in law.........and I’m pretty sure he was in on it also. 

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Ed, Nice Pierce Arrow story with a happy ending, reminds me of an eBay listing years ago. Every once in a while I'll do an eBay search for 1912 Ford or 1950 Glidden Tour, my 192 T was on the tour and some day some one will list a Tour Badge. There was a batch of photos listed from the 1950 Tour and my T was in then along side the Battle of Bennington Monument. They were listed, I forgot to bid, they got relisted and like an idiot I forgot to bit again. They didn't sell but were not resisted for a third time. I sent a PN to the seller only to find out he had sold them at a local swap meet, gone forever. A month or so went by and I was at the local Sunday flea market going through a stack of magazines and sales brochures...…….and there they were. I was building a stack of literature for a bulk buy and they got added right away. I didn't quibble over the price the seller gave me, just paid him. I had to ask him were the Glidden photos came from, and they were from the swap meet up in Mass. Bob 

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12 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

 Sadly though, I later learned the guy who had been my miracle worker in Birmingham had passed away.  I've told this story many times to those who will listen.  If you want a wee dram of good scotch, there are a few more too.

Terry

 

 

Its been said before: When someone like that passes away, you've lost a full set of encyclopaedia's worth of knowledge.

 

Craig

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In 1957 I purchased my first tool. I was 11 years old. It was a screwdriver with different size bits that were stored in the handle. A common thing today, but unusual at that time. The body was plastic with a curved smooth panel on all 4 sides. With the point of my Boy Scout pocket knife, I scratched my initials in each panel. Somewhere along the way I lost the screwdriver, no idea when or where. As time passed I forgot all about it. Many years later I was at a salvage yard looking for a part for my car. When I located a model car similar to mine, I went over and opened the door. Surprise! Lying on the floor was a screwdriver identical to the one I had purchased with my paper route money many years before, and then lost. I picked it up and surprise again! There were my initials carved in 4 sides of the handle! I lived in a small farming community where you knew everyone, and what car they drove. As I stood there looking at the car, I realized I did not know who had owned it, or how my screwdriver had gotten in it.

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How about a mint, Holly 3 barrel carburetor sitting on top of the metal dumpster at the recycle convienance center. I kept it as a wall hanger for a few years and sold it for 250.00.

With the crazy prices of MOPAR muscle cars its probably worth 3 times that.

3 barrel Holleys are hemi and 427 Chevrolet specific.

 

Bill H

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Was wasting time one day waiting on my wife to go out to eat.

I loged on to E-Pay and typed 1930 Chrysler.

Instead of starting with page 1, I scrolled to page 20 something. BAM.! !

 

My spedo is frozen. Pot metal swelling.

My coil is all to pieces.

Etc, Etc.

I made an offer. No bids with 2 days left.

The next morning I hit BUY NOW.

Plug and play. Complete panel for a 1930 Chrysler CJ-6.

 

 

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On 9/10/2018 at 11:48 PM, hidden_hunter said:

What's the most unexpected thing you've come across when looking for parts?

 

Mine happened recently, when I found (on ebay) a NOS Delco coil resistance unit that was specific to 2 years of Cadillac only (1921 and 1922)... Mine had been resolded at some point and someone just happened to be selling a NOS one, what are the chances!

 

 

 

 

The one I didn't buy.  😭  In the late-60s, a guy had a NOS 53 Merc flathead long block (last year of production) and a McCulloch supercharger that had been used, but very little.  He wanted $400 for everything - about $2500 to $3000 now but still not a bad deal.  At the time, I had no use for it so I passed - dumb!

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Years ago while back in Cheboygan, Michigan and visiting my late brother, we decided at the last minute to duck into a little second hand store to check it out. Almost didn't go in. We strolled in and as we wandered through the place, the proprietor asked if there was anything I was looking for in particular. I said that I am looking for old car stuff. He said he only had one old car part and he had it for a long time. He brought it out and I had to have it. He practically gave it to me, so now it is in my display case waiting for the right owner to show up for it. It is a new old stock piece that has never been mounted on a radiator....

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Very first Chickasha, Oklahoma "early cars" swap meet.

 

We set up at the meet, which was grossly over-hyped. Turned out to be a glorified Ford Model A and Model T meet.

 

Didn't sell a solitary item; but:

 

Walking around, found an older gentleman (older then, probably younger than I am now ;) ) with two tables of "rebuilt" Ford carburetors. 'Nuff said about his rebuilding skills, but there were two new old stock "odd" to him carbs setting by themselves. Each was tagged "non-Ford, $1. One was a Marvel for a 1930 Pontiac (I was carburetion tech advisor for POCI at the time). The other was a Zenith 105DC (Stutz). Needless to say I did not try to haggle the price!

 

Jon.

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As mentioned, when you fool with old cars for more than 5 decades, as I have, there are LOTS of stories.

 

In the category of "unexpected find", not long after moving up to Winchester from Louisiana, I went to a car show in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Walking the small flea market, I happened upon a fellow with a few tables of early bicycle lamps, all what is known as TOC (turn of the century) 1895-1905 style.  Bicycle lamps then were mostly kerosene, with a font and wick, and some of the higher grade ones were spring loaded so that bumps in the road wouldn't affect them as much.  I guess sloshing kerosene with a lit wick might lead to interesting tales of fiery bicycle destruction!

 

Of course, I'd been into Pierce Arrow memorabilia for a long time, and after perusing the inventory,  I sort of kiddingly asked "Gee, where's the Pierce bicycle lamp?".  He looked at me kind of funny, and said, "well, I just figured no one here would be interested, so it's sitting on the front seat of my truck...let me go get it".  I was astounded and flabbergasted and any other adjective you'd care to insert into this narrative, all agape and awed and big eyed that he even HAD one, at the time I really didn't even know they existed.

 

He brought it to the table.  I looked at it, inspecting and figuring it had been nickel at one time and striped down to brass.  It was a "Pierce Matchless" (has a striker with flint to light) made by the "Geo. N. Pierce Company", predecessor to the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company.  Note the spring loaded suspension system for the lamp, and how elegant the legs of the "four arm mechanism" are, as we'd say in engineering class. It's a design that absorbs shock yet keeps the lamp in the same plane as it bounces.

 

Needless to say, I didn't haggle when he mentioned the $200 price, but remember that this was a couple of decades ago and money was different, and Ebay wasn't a driving force in the market.  I know there are others out there, but I've never seen one, although I did hear there was one in the bicycle museum in New York that's been liquidated ((Borgwart, I think, he sold me a Pierce Special Racer dating from about 1903).

 

There are times when fate puts you at just the right place, at just the right time, and you ask just the right question, and that was one of those times for me....

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I was fixing up a Triumph TR6 in the 90's with the rear bumper pushed in dead centre.  A friend happened by one day and told me he had seen the back end sheet metal from a TR6 that had been torched off with the bumper still attached that had been dumped off in a recently created rural subdivision about 10 miles from home. A very nice, free bumper and I helped clean up the neighbourhood.

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i've been buying 1953 pontiac parts since the mid 1970s, there have been several parts that i never thought i would find for sale, much less in beautiful nos condition. two parts come to mind, first a nos instrument cluster dial face made of lucite plastic, the other one is a complete 1953-1954 pontiac chieftain 7 tube radio, power supply, and front speaker.1523977743_restored53customcatalinaspeedocluster001.thumb.JPG.5dae019e668fdac725ebde92830e7dd7.JPG1794924018_nos53-54pontiacradio001.thumb.JPG.7cc61c9777357ff4a0bad06ce07c0c02.JPG563168015_nos53-54pontiacradio002.thumb.JPG.886d3ebca94004a819b0740cb79e87eb.JPG988828410_nos53-54pontiacradio004.thumb.JPG.0ed35e552778084c0c23478198aa2f39.JPG109381328_nos53-54pontiacradio005.thumb.JPG.c3ab097cb1c268610a1432e46797a2da.JPG410604479_nos53-54pontiacradio006.thumb.JPG.1ce7145a8c0c8ba2b1d253950c4e1825.JPG

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At the yearly Winchester, Va. car show in the '70's I was rummaging through a large coffee can full of junk and was floored to find a near perfect '37 Cord trunk latch, $2.  At a junk recycling place in Columbia, Pa. in the '80's a Harman Collins early V8 magneto, $8, and a short production run '32 V8 2 blade fan, $3.   At a local yard sale, a mint-in-box green lense'd wig wag tail light, $1.50.  

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This is a great thread!  Dave, that Winchester flea market brings back loads of great memories.  It was a regular when we lived in the DC/Baltimore area years ago.  In it's prime back then with lots of boxes of old stuff just cleaned out of garages, basements and barns.   I've got a few more stories waiting in the wings just in case the discussion starts to wane a bit - but for now, let's keep it rolling.  This is the kind of stuff we used to talk about at Hershey in the evenings.  Far better than talking about joint replacements and how hard it's getting to walk around the swap meet! 

Terry

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Terry,  Yes, I'm afraid the Winchester show's flea market has gotten pretty tapped out.  Among my other automotive interests I used to find numerous Model A parts vendors there in it's heyday.  I remember the little guy who I thought resembled Roy Rogers who came in from W. Va. with a flatbed full of interesting parts at cheap prices.  Come to think of it, I did buy a brass Model A instrument panel (stamped "B" on the back) from him for $3.  They plate beautifully because they don't get rust pits in the groves like the steel ones do.  I'll explain, the Model A era was also the "strike anywhere" match era, and those grooves in the panels lit many a smoker's match, ultimately causing the unmanageable pitting.. 
I'm for more of this thread too, but I've blown through my very best finds, so do tell us more about some of your other discoveries.  
I'm still waiting for David Coco who is a regular at the Winchester show to check in about my Cord latch find, he has a Cord too and lives in Winchester, albeit I don't think as early as the '70's.  David?  You there? 

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Do overhead valve Race Car Hot Rod cylinder heads count? This story starts 50+ years ago when Dad &  I went to look at a pair of 1930-31 Ford Roadster rear fenders. I don't remember how Dad got the lead but we drove two towns north and found this guy with a garage filled with Model A's and parts, over in the corner was the very first Vintage dirt track single seater I'd ever see. The race car belonged to his friend Richard, and were to become became life time friends He'd always buy something from me at swap meets, never any quality pieces, but he would go on to amass quite a collection over the years. The race car had run at the local track in in Danbury but I never got any history on it, Richard did have an Alexander overhead for it, but I never got to see that. When Richard passes away about 10 years ago the family had to sell off all his automotive things, I bought a few chassis and sections of Model A bodies, one was the back of a 1930 Cabriolet I'd sold him when I was still in high school. The one item I really wanted was the "Chicken Coop" and its contents. The roof had collapsed about 10 years before Richard passed away, this allowed the snow and rain for 120 months to collapse the floor as well. The hoods and fenders were carful removed and everything else that was in sight. It was a lot easier to remove the remains of the roof and all four walls, for access to the pile. I've never dig for dinosaur bones, buy you've seen photos I'm sure, you have a picture of what I had in front of me. The 1914 Harley Davidson engine parts were the first things near the surface, everything  from the coop had rotted to the consistency of heavy to medium grade garden mulch, and I was using garden tools to move the debris to find the automotive treasures. I uncover the front of a Model A cylinder head, saw just the top water manifold flange/outlet. I went to brush of the mulch from the rest of the head with my left hand and slammed my little finger into something really hard. The rocker stand and #1 valve of the  ALEXANDER overhead! My first underground auto find!

 

 

Bob 

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My wife and adult kids and I all love to go to yard sales, etc, especially when an entire neighborhood is holding an event of lots of sales all at once. One spring the rest of them were driving around the neighborhood without me, because I had been at a meeting. I called my wife on her cell to find where they were, so we could run around together. As I pulled up to where she was parked at an intersection, I saw several sales...one on each corner. I saw her coming out of one driveway, and I headed her way. But I could see behind her that that particular sale was all "women's stuff," (as I tend to call anything which is not "men's junk," as my wife describes it!) As she passed by me, I asked, "Is there nothing in that sale for me?" She responded, "No, no tools or man-junk at all, except for some old Edelbrock valve covers, or something." I decided to go see for myself.

 

The garage was packed with shoppers, and everything there was household stuff; Avon, clothing, dishes, kiddie toys, etc...EXCEPT for the nicest pair of vintage alumjnum Edelbrock heads for a flathead Ford I've ever found, lying in a corner on the floor! I asked the lady the price, and she said, "Oh, I don't know. How's $25?" I paid instantly, of course, and asked if she had any other car goodies anywhere else. "Nope," she quipped. "Those are leftovers from the divorce. They're all I have left of that marriage, and I'm glad to be rid of them!" 

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Back in the early '70's, I was in a used bookstore in Manhattan and saw a copy of 'Fix Your Plymouth' by Bill Toboldt.  The price was kind of high so I didn't buy the book.  I thought about it, and a few days later went back to the bookstore and the book was gone.  I was disappointed but had some time so I went browsing in other bookstores in the area (there were several clustered in a few-block radius).  In one little bookstore I found another copy of the Plymouth book, marked at $3.00.  I immediately went to pay for it, and the shopkeeper said 'Today is half-price day....this book is $1.50'!    That book is still on my shelf,  6 feet from where I'm sitting now.   

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