JV Puleo

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Everything posted by JV Puleo

  1. I don't think they have poison ivy in Europe... I know my English friends have never heard of it.
  2. I've never had a "collector car" that wasn't older than I am. I was born in 51 and I did have a 34 Chevy for a few months but I've long lost interest in "new" cars and stick to brass now. I generally feel that cars been going downhill since the invention of the electric starter... That is an exaggeration and if I had the time and energy I would be tempted by many of the early 20s classics that were really big brass cars in disguise.
  3. My first car was a 52 Citroen... it ran but the transmission was smashed and I never was able to repair it. My first car that I was able to drive, purchased in the Summer of 1970 and the one I learned to drive a standard transmission with, was a 26 Cadillac limo. I was 19 at the time. It was my "daily driver" for about a year when I was home from school... but I eventually broke down and spent $20 on a 62 Corvair to drive in the winter.
  4. Ball and socket fittings very similar, if not absolutely identical, were offered in US accessory catalogs as early as 1910...
  5. Thats about what I assumed may have happened. It would really only work where large sums of money are concerned and the difference is relatively small. I don't know about car auctions but in the Antiques world right now there is stiff competition for important collections, so much so that in some cases auction houses are waiving the sellers fee and making guarantees as to what will be taken in. To compensate, they've raised the buyers fees to between 15 and 20% which, I would think, has the effect of putting a damper on the selling price. I know when I bid I take all the total cost as my limit and calculate the bid from that. I expect all the pros do that too and its mostly the amateurs who get caught out... but I completely agree that there are bargains out there if you have the patience and expertise to find them.
  6. Thats a good article. Its basically how I understand the situation... that it is generally illegal but that there are possible exceptions, the fundamental one being that the seller and everyone participating in the auction knows up front that the house can bid. I wouldn't call that shill bidding... which I take to mean someone placing a spurious bid to raise the price, unknown to the other buyers and with no intention of actually buying the item. As far as I know, this is always illegal. The scandal in Texas revolved around the auction firm setting up a separate company to bid in their own sales to avoid having to tell the sellers or the customers they were bidding. It was strictly legal but very unethical, so much so that it even merited an article in the Wall Street Journal. Where reserves are concerned, my own experience is that the auctioneer does not have to announce the reserve in advance and if the item doesn't meet the reserve he can say something like "sold to buyer xxx" which simply means it didn't sell at all. I find it very hard to believe that an auction company would "make up the difference" for something that didn't reach reserve unless the difference was extremely small and their commission was extremely high. About 90% of the auctions I attend have no reserves and the auctioneer's discourage them (with most items being in the 1,000 to 15,000 price range). Almost invariably sellers set reserves too high. The catalogs contain estimates and these tend to be just slightly on the low side - not much, but just enough to convince potential sellers that the auctioneer is able to get "above average prices" and the average bidder that the auctioneer knows his subject. Needless to say, there are always surprises but none of these sales are the stuff of idiotic "un-reality television " or media hype of any kind. Virtually all the customers are dealers or serious collectors... there is almost no "walk in" traffic and thus very few uninformed bidders. I like auctions. I do nearly all my buying through them but first and foremost, you have to make your own decisions. Nothing the auctioneer says or that is printed in the catalog means anything (and there are always small print disclaimers to protect them when a description is found wanting). There is always some risk involved and never the option of returning something you don't like or that you paid too much for... but if you know your subject throughly you can make some very good deals.
  7. I haven't been to a car auction in years but do have quite a bit of experience in other areas of antiques. Shill bidding is very much illegal almost everywhere in the US although there are loopholes - Texas, for instance, allows an auction house to bid against their customers, but this was something of a scandal when it came out that a major Antique Arms auction firm was regularly doing this. That isn't to say it doesn't happen. It clearly does and it is very difficult to police or to prosecute. Where reserves are involved, some firms start with the reserve or, more often, start lower and if the item doesn't reach reserve its a "no sale." One firm I regularly do business with makes believe everything is a sale to avoid the impression things are being passed ... then six months later the same item shows up again.
  8. On a RR Left hand drive PII I worked on many years ago, the alignment of the front wheels was wildly out... in fact, it couldn't be driven. The owner had inherited the car and it hadn't been driven in years. He, rightly, arranged to have it towed to his house... and the tow truck guy had wrapped a chain around the axle AND the tie rod (which is a tube), bending it so badly that it was almost impossible to push, much less drive.
  9. Are you saying the "first car of 1904" or the "first Pope Hartford in 1904" because the company is older than that. One of my friends had an 02 Pope Hartford... a big single cylinder car.
  10. Here is my 3rd or 4th preliminary drawing. I'm working with a 112" wheelbase and what we see here is the body from the dashboard back. Because I'm not much of an artist, I've done this in my graphics program (I design and edit books). The slight outward curve of the body doesn't show... nor does the difference between the aluminum gas tank mounts and the body. Since I'm probably 3 years from even starting on the body, I've plenty of time to work out the plan. Fortunately the Mitchell chassis is flat, without any curve over the rear axle which makes building the frame of the body much easier. I think there is actually a mistake in this drawing... the side height of the body behind the gas tank is intended to be about 2 inches lower so that it forms a sort of tray behind the tank with sides about 4" high. The tank is intended to have 2 fillers and be divided so that 1/3 or 1/4 of it can be used as a waste oil tank. The Mitchell has a total loss oiling system so I will need a place to dump the used oil as I don't think the powers that be will approve of dumping it by the side of the road as was likely done in period. I'm undecided on the trunk/tool box. From a pure design point of view I'd like a folding jump seat but I plan to drive this car and need places for both tools and possibly luggage. At this point, I'm thinking of a big wicker trunk with a wooden liner. I'm also going to use electric lights... as I have been stranded on the road after dark with nothing but gas lights. I'll go with early accessory lights (I have Gray & Davis sidelights and a spotlight). For this reason I'm making a generator distributor unit to attach to the side of the engine in place of the magneto and I'm planning to put the battery and electrical connections under the seat where they will be unobtrusive. Suggestions are very welcome! Joe Puleo
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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...
  15. google "brass continuous hinge"... I found several suppliers.
  16. 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.
  17. A Cord... taken in NYC around 1948-49
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.