JV Puleo

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Everything posted by JV Puleo

  1. Back in 1956 Dan Post re-printed a 1912 automobile body "how to" book... it had originally been published in 1912. (Although I haven't found the original title) It isn't quite as useful as it would first seem because all of the information is directed towards people in the trade and equipped to actually build bodies. Nevertheless, it is fascinating that all of it is devoted to rebodying chassis, often to achieve a more "sporty" look. This must have been much more common before WWI than is commonly thought. In fact, there is no mention of repairing damage... the entire work is devoted to fabricating new body parts, which tells us something about the nature of the car world in the brass era that is quite different from today. In any case, I've been working with the drawings in this book to design the body for my 1910 Mitchell, aiming at the look of a coach-built roadster. One feature I have noticed is that I find that "seats on the floor" often tend to look awkward and homemade though I know that cars like Mercer and Stutz were able to pull it off. I think that elevating them 4 to 6 inches (about half the height of the original touring car seats) gives a much more finished look. A slight outward curve to the sides of the body below the seats also alleviates the "slab sided" look that a lot of home built bodies have. I also find that taking extra effort on minor features can offsett the home-made look... in my case, I'm having aluminum sill plates, body frame pieces and gas tank mounts cast.
  2. I'm looking for hand operated line boring tools... probably doesn't need to be complete as I can make most things, but it will be easier to begin with something that once worked than to start from scratch. This is not for Model Ts or As so the tools specific to those cars probably won't work. PM me or jvp4570@aol.com Joe Puleo
  3. I've been following this thread since it began though don't feel I have all that much to add... but Mr. "Water Jacket" has struck a responsive cord in my memory. I joined the CCCA in 1970... I was 19 and had recently bought this: a 1927 (I thought it was a '26) 314 Cadillac 7 passenger limo. Aside from having been painted in the late 50s it was completely untouched and would, today, be considered a remarkable "HPOF" car. In 1970... as a teenage collector, all I heard was "when are you going to restore it?" or... my favorite, "its not an open car" - which everyone knows are the ONLY cars worth having. To be entirely fair, that was a general reaction, not one specific to the CCCA crowd, but it pretty much soured me on car clubs and especially the cult of "cosmetic competition." I sold the Cadillac after 2 seasons to buy this: 1929 aluminum head PI, S193FR. If the Caddy was an object of scorn, the Rolls was doubly so because it really did need to be restored... This is one of the reasons I wonder about all the hand wringing about bringing in "younger" folks. I've no impression that car collectors (with some very notable exceptions) were all that interested in encouraging new people. Thankfully I had the encouragement of several collectors of what would today be considered "high end" cars but none of them were even faintly interested in competing for trophies and, I don't think any of them even bothered to join the CCCA. As "water jacket" has so cogently put forward, there are lots of people who genuinely like these cars but the (to me) insane, narcissistic emphasis on paint, polish and conspicuous consumption is very off putting.
  4. Did this ever happen with Brass cars? I remember back in the 70s my friends and I looked forward to the big slump in prices when all those early collectors, the ones who had the big brass cars, dropped out. At this point there is virtually no one left alive who even remembers seeing a brass car in regular use but that doesn't seem to have effected prices at all. In fact, there are precious few who can remember the early classics on the road as anything other than what my late father would have called a "jalopy." I don't see the big classics suddenly becoming the stuff of hot rods... even things like the big Pierce Arrow limo that was advertised here several months ago for something like $10,000. A huge restoration project but, were I not otherwise engaged, I'd have taken a serious look at it...
  5. google "brass continuous hinge"... I found several suppliers.
  6. Two more... An iron head PI Springfield Rolls. Photo taken in the Boylston Street showroom in 1928 or 29... A 1922(?) Hispano-Suiza, photo possibly taken at Larz Anderson park in '48 or '49.
  7. A Cord... taken in NYC around 1948-49
  8. An L head Mercer. This picture was taken in Boston in 1948. I am not certain what is going on but this is part of a group of photos taken on the opening day of the Larz Anderson Museum. The cars in this group seem to be photographed along the Charles River so it looks as if some of them gathered there to drive to Brookline in a group. jp
  9. A couple of Pierce Arrows... as seen on the streets of Brookline in the late 40s. Both of these photos are mine but they have been posted on the "Old Motor" web site.
  10. I see Bob's point as well. I couldn't care less what my neighbors or anyone else thinks - nor am I interested in impressing the 99% of the population who know absolutely nothing about early cars ... In fact, were it not a safety issue (since I like brass cars) I'd only take mine out at night!
  11. Google "electrolitic rust removal"... it is the process that the plater would use to strip old plating. Plating (adding material to the surface) is the same process with the polarity of the power source and anode switched.
  12. JV Puleo

    Roller Chain

    They are drive chains to the rear wheels... not timing chain. I'd be tempted by the permanently lubricated stuff as chain lubrication was always a major shortcoming of chain drive cars. I've also read of running a line from the crank case breather to just above the sprockets to "mist" the chain with oil. The period directions I've read suggest pulling the chains regularly and soaking them in a mixture of tallow and wax, heated to a liquid state in a double boiler - then hanging them to dry. This is similar to the idea of the permanently lubricated chain though there was nothing permanent about it must have been a messy job in both doing it and using them.
  13. The original was probably "close plated"... a process where very thin sheets of metal were carefully soldered to the surface. Despite being thin, the plated surface is much thicker than most electroplating and can withstand virtually unlimited polishing. This is the process used to plate the shifter and brake handles on a Silver Ghost RR. It was expensive to do even at the turn of the century and I have my doubts if anyone does it now. I have the same problem with my brass car... there are traces of brass plating on a few protected areas but the surface of the brake and shifter handles is extensively pitted. It will be a huge job to file and polish them but I suspect the strength of the steel parts is critical so replicating them in brass is not a realistic option.
  14. JV Puleo

    Mitchell Limo

    I've seen the same picture. The most likely explanation is that they didn't and that the body was replaced or built new for the chassis. Since its in Europe, I'd guess the latter is more likely and that the car was exported as a chassis. Mitchell did have agents in Europe at the time and depending on what the pertinent laws were, it may have been much cheaper to pay duty on a chassis rather than a chassis & body... then have the body built to order where the chassis was sold. While Mitchell did supply stock bodies (which was the common American way to sell automobiles) I wonder if anyone knows how the European market was handled? It was much more conventional in Europe to order a chassis and have it bodied locally. Where this practice is assumed to have been confined to big expensive cars in the US, in Europe medium priced and even quite inexpensive cars were often treated this way. I'm thinking of WO Bentley importing DFP chassis to England and having them bodied in London to British tastes before WWI. I even wonder if it didn't happen here more often than is commonly thought as there are many advertisements in the period literature for small body makers. Without the company records, it is impossible to say at this point.
  15. I wonder if the Mercer con rods are "steel castings" or if they were made of "cast steel." As confusing as that sounds, "cast steel" is the traditional name for crucible steel and refers to the manufacturing process of the metal, not the item the metal was made into. Its an endlessly confusing issue in the antique arms & armour world. In the mid 19th century "cast steel" always refers to the material but as it became possible to actually make castings out of steel the use of the term became more and more ambiguous. Are the Mercer rods machined all over? If so, I'd suspect that they were machined out of solid pieces of a high grade of crucible steel (aka "cast steel"). Forging is the other premium option but its not cost effective if the quantities involved are small - though companies like RR did it that way.
  16. Here is a CW re-enactor supplier... Presumably this is the real stuff because those guys would NEVER accept a modern product. Oil Cloth | Period Fabrics I also found some directions on how its made... very simple, though I'd like to do a bit more research before I tried that and put it on the roof of a restored car where a water leak would be a disaster.
  17. The water pipes and intake manifolds of RRs were bent by filling the tube with lead ... then bent in a fixture. Ordinarily, I'd try Wood's Metal as a filler but 2" is big and the stuff is expensive. Can you use and exhaust pipe bender? You could also try filling the tube with sand, sealing the ends and bending it around a large pulley. Be sure to anneal it first... heat to red and quench in cool water. Brass softens in exactly the opposite way to ferrous metals...
  18. In the early days, when electrical systems were first offered, different electrical equipment makers used different voltages... including 12. Twelve volt systems were commonly used on British cars. American-made RRs were 12 volt up until around 1926 when they went to 6 to conform to what had become the commonplace American practice.
  19. You can also use phenolic plastic... either the cloth or paper based versions. McMaster Carr sells it under the trade name "Garolite." I buy odd bits of it on ebay. Micarta is a phenolic plastic. It was developed around 1910 by Westinghouse using Dr. Bake's phenolic resin and filler material formed under high pressure so in a sense, its a close relative of Bakelite. I'm in the process of making a distributor cap and rotor out of it.
  20. Thanks Herm, this is about what I suspected. I completely agree that there is no reason to rely on the shims for final adjustment... thats just the cheap way out. What do you allow for thrust clearance on the middle and front mains? I would think that .002 or .003 larger than the rear main would be sufficient. By the way, I'm not going into the babbitt business... but I'm fascinated by the actual process. The only car I'm interested in doing is my own... and I don't think I'll have the energy to do another one when this one is back on the road. I have found nothing on exactly how automotive bearings are made, even in the old literature. It always says something like "pour a new bearing"... of course, before 1930 just about every mechanic and machinist was familiar with babbitt bearings so the presumption is that everyone knows how its done. I do have a good idea how machine bearings were made (I collect antique machine tools)... but its clear that automotive bearings are much more highly stressed and require far more diligence and accuracy than an overhead belt drill press. Like you, I've looked at the various youtube videos and found them generally depressing... as you said, nothing sticks to dirt. I don't see how really good work can be done in a really dirty environment. Here's another question, if you don't mind. How are the bearings split after they are poured? I imagine that on a main or rod, the circle of babbitt is solid... presumably you want the outside dimension to be exactly round... so are spacers or shims used that are bored with the caps? I've worked on a number of pre-war RR engines that had bronze shells separated by a fairly heavy spacer between the halves, perhaps as much as .125 thick. While the shells were bronze, the spacers were ferrous. The spacers had the same thickness of babbitt on their inner edges that the caps did. I don't remember seeing any shims in them (at least on engines that had not already been tampered with). It looked as if the spacer would have to be surface ground if the intention was to tighten them... though I don't think that was the plan.
  21. Thanks Herm, this is very informative. When you make the bearings, I take it that the main adjustment for thrust is on the rear bearing... what end clearance do you use on the rear bearing and on the center and front bearings... which I presume are larger to allow for crank expansion? I think I see your point regarding my earlier question... that anything that diminishes the polish on the bearing or journal surface is counterproductive. That said (this is what confused me) I have several period books on auto repair (ca. 1910-20) that suggest lapping bearings... and in those cases they were referring to using hard abrasives. I agree that this isn't a good idea, but apparently it was commonly done. Also, when do you suppose align boring main bearings came in? I've yet to see a brass era reference to it. In every case they seem to recommend pouring bearings and scraping them in. I know that horizontal boring machines existed... but I suspect they were so expensive that only major factories had them. "Garages" and even automotive machine shops probably had to resort to some other expedient.
  22. Beautiful work Herm! Here's another babbitt question... The engine I'm currently working on, a 1910 Mitchell "T" (284 cu. inches, 4 1/4 x 5), has 2" mains. The crankcase is aluminum but the bearing caps are cast iron. The babbitt was poured directly in both the crankcase and the caps. There are no bronze shells. I have been under the impression that babbitt does not stick to aluminum... they dealt with this by drilling holes through the main bearing seats so that the molten babbitt would effectively make its own "pins"... something like you show above on the Marmon rods but nowhere near as elegant. I would think that the aluminum expands more than the iron does when hot... so what was happening to the bearings? It may be that the amount of expansion is negligible but this does seem like "cheap and nasty" engineering. The babbitt is a good quarter of an inch thick... My plan, ultimately, was to have the crankcase align bored and to make bronze shells so that the thickness of the babbitt would be something less... I am a long way from this part of the job so I don't have finish dimensions to work with as yet but it looks as if there is plenty of room to make the shells at least 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick and still have room for a reasonable babbitt surface.... Does this make sense to you? Incidently, Mitchell used babbitt as a bearing metal all over the car, including in places where it was probably not appropriate... in the shifter mechanism, the steering, the clutch etc. I suspect it was a way of keeping costs down.
  23. All of those details are unimportant in the context of 1911... except perhaps in the case of something like Model T's and even then that level of detail is sometimes exaggerated. Lots of cars didn't even come with lights... the owner was expected to buy his own or get them through the dealer. The same for things like horns - they were all made by accessory manufacturers and there was no guarantee that two cars - even the same make and model would come with exactly the same equipment. Its probably a mistake to apply a 1950s and later concept of "factory" to brass cars...
  24. The problem arises from the fact that I'm making both the rotor and the distributor cap... so there is no gap to measure and it will likely be 2 years before the engine will be reassembled. Even then, it will probably be another 2 years before the car is reassembled enough to run it. I am planning on building a test rig for the generator/distributor unit... but if all works out properly it will then be boxed up and put aside until the engine is back together. This is the most complicated thing I've ever tried to design and make from scratch so there is hardly a part I haven't done twice... sometimes even more times!
  25. Another technique was to fill the tubing with wood's metal, a very low heat melting alloy. After its bent, just immerse in boiling water and the filler will come out.