Morning, and much thanks to the responses and information. Plenty to read through, though also much clarification needed on my end as well, heh. I didn't want to say too much and over explain and result in an overly long post.
So, that said, a bit about me. I will admit that I was a bit miffed at first with the responses that went into how much maintenance, costs, mechanical skill, lack of performance and lack of comforts vehicles from this era had, especially when compared to modern vehicles. The whole deal about rear end gearing change as well, heh. But, then I thought about it and understood that from your end, it must have looked like yet another either nostalgia kick or known nothing person that changed their battery once and after seeing a picture of a Deuce Couple that they too could just hop right in something similar and go tearing on down the roads.
I assure you, I am very well familiar with the degree of upkeep such a vehicle requires, its driving characteristics and distinct lack of comfort and safety.
To that, I drive truck for a living, have been for over 12 years. over 6 years ago I bought and have been running my own truck, a 1990 Freightlinter FLD120. Now, a 30 year old vehicle is not old to me at all, nor is is old when compared to most anything here. But for a big rig, it is quite old indeed. It has spent most of its life on the road, it is no trailer queen, it works for a living. It is now up to 2.6 million miles, and is still mostly original. Engine, trans, axles, fifth wheel, even interior gauges, and seats are still factory original and factory spec. Most modern economy fleet trucks are nearly 2x as powerful as my rig, heh. Not to mention notably more fuel efficient, about 40%-50% more, and significantly less maintenance. Basic service every 60k miles, vs my 10k. about 8 grease fittings compared to my 40. Creature comforts are also far greater in modern trucks compared to mine. I have a cigarette lighter for powering my accessories, a basic 2 speaker stereo, a single cup holder that is meant to hold a coffee mug while stationary, and MUCH louder, heh.
But, that is all fine for me. The magnetic clutch went out about a year after I got rolling with it, and I only fixed it a year ago for my cat. So I spent 4 years with no A/C, no usable cup holders because anything taller than a coffee mug in the one gets in the way of the controls and pushes the brake handle. No radio was in it when I bought it, and I didn't install one till nearly 2 years later, and that mainly for listening to audio books. The no A/C is also far more than it sounds because this truck was also my home for those years as well, and I drove nationally in all weather and seasons. It is also the newest of the 5 vehicles I own. Despite its rather young age, most parts are either no longer available or ridiculously expensive. It is a work vehicle, so the manufacturer only stocks wear parts like brakes, windshields and such. New gauges, seats, door cards... forget it. Even some of the common parts still take a week and more to order in. Maintenance and work on it is always an endeavor that requires much planning ahead.
Driving a car with no A/C is one thing, but ever tried living in one while cruising across the southern US in the heat of summer? My radio is the sound of the engine and company of myself. While old trucks have some serious speed thanks to not having governors, the outdated power, and worse economy, means I spend the overwhelming majority of my time in the right lane at or a bit below the speed limit, typically about 63 mph.
The lack of modern "comforts" is no bother to me.
It wasn't much better when I was home, since my regular car is a 72 Super Beetle with dealer installed Baja kit. My tires aren't set to 32psi like some idiot either, but properly adjusted for the weight of the car, on each wheel, size of the tires, my driving preferences, road surface, etc. One of the biggest issues people have with non standard weight and tire sizes is too much pressure, resulting in a rough and unsafe ride with not enough tire flex and too much pressure. That car is mostly stock as well, 1.6L engine with the only enhancements being a Skip lifter cam, jetted carb and Maniflow Cannon exhaust. Single carb setup. The large open parachute fenders make it nigh impossible to pass large vehicles, even at slower speeds due to the amount of wind they catch, heh. That car at a green light, with all the thunder and roaring it has, is only just enough to barely keep up with modern traffic. It may be the angriest vehicle I have ever known, but it is still only a Beetle in power. Previous owners did a hack job of a modification on it and stripped out all the heating equipment and no vanes for the engine. So when I drove it from Michigan to Florida and back for Christmas one year, coming back in -20 weather, it was a bit cold in there, heh. Had all my blankets wrapped up around me with all my gear on just to stay warm. I had to be careful to not stall the engine because the carb would immediately freeze over and I had to wait for it to thaw out before I could start it again. That trip was also immediately after I put the engine back together because when I bought it the casing was cracked and cylinders were badly scored from lack of oil.
I also took a 1974 Honda CB750K4 on a solo ride around most of the country. Started in Michigan to Lewiston Idaho for my CDL course, then kept on West to the Pacific, down to and through Death Valley (in August) and across the lower US to the east end of Texas before a pouring rain washed me out and ended the trip. 8,000 miles solo on a bike like that is something else. But it was a spectacular ride.
One could say, I am used to outdated vehicles. Something from the era I am looking for is even more so, yes, but fear not, I hold no allusions to what they offer and am well aware that they are utterly lacking when compared to modern vehicles, in terms of any practical and measurable facet.
As far as myself and my mechanical skills, well, I do all my own work on my vehicles whenever possible. For my truck, I often don't have the required heavy duty equipment required for larger work, or simply don't want to get filthy doing a thing since I have no access to a shower at the time. Otherwise, I do it myself. None of my vehicles have ever left me stranded nor needed a tow. I was formerly ASE certified in a variety of things, included antique vehicles (pre-1973 at the time) and have continued my work on them professionally and personally ever since. I say without boasting that I know a fair deal about them, but what I don't know is specific information about all of them, heh. Certain vehicles like the Model A are abundantly easy to learn about due to the wealth of info available. But less common ones like a Studebaker or Nash, not so much. Those often require finding people that have had or currently own them and learning from them directly from their experiences and knowledge what they are like and what they require. Service manuals, documentation and parts support are all also just as uncommon for them.
That is why I am here. Rather than trying to chase down every single special interest group for every type of car out there, I can start here and get an idea of what to go for and make the task easier. I can hopefully eliminate models that either have notable lacks, such as no front brakes, or only have less capable engines.
Which, leads me to the car itself. I guess I needed to clarify better, heh. I am not looking for a road ready driver that can pull 65mph right out of the box for only $10,000. Not at all. What I am looking for is a vehicle that, AFTER the application of a 4 core radiator, an auxillary trans, balanced rotating assemblies, etc, can maybe get to those speeds. Really, it is less about getting a certain number, and more of what is the most engine I can get for a given price? The price, is merely the PURCHASE price, since I am well understanding that I will be investing potentially several times that bringing the vehicle to restored and fully capable. What I need, is recommendations for a good platform to start with, because while the Model A is uniquely suitable for such a vehicle due to its MASSIVE support network, there is no getting around the limits of the engine. Whereas if I started with something that had a straight 6, or even better a straight 8, it gives me a platform from which I have much more to work with. Even if the top speed is unchanged, it "should" render a vehicle that can be driven more comfortably for longer and not work as hard to get down the road.
I also understand that pretty much anything other than an A will require extensive work in chasing down parts that may only barely be serviceable, will probably have to have numerous parts custom fabricated as needed, very little support beyond anecdotes from other owners and so on. That is all fine by me.
That is why I had put down the two vehicles I did. The Commander because there is one that is within price range and of a condition I can easily work with, the Nash mainly as a reminder of to look for the straight 8 version if at all possible. Here are the links. https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1442875/1927-studebaker-commander-for-sale-in-staunton-illinois-62088 https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1932/nash/series_960/101448585
As usual, both sellers claim the car runs and drives, though what some define as "drives" is often a far cry from what should actually be driven, heh. But, going off of the little information available, the Commander serves well as the "benchmark" vehicle to compare other offerings to. It fits what I am looking for in style, condition and price. (given of course, that the seller hasn't exaggerated the "drives" too much). Going off of that, if nothing better comes along in the next 2-3 months, then if it is still available, I would get that vehicle.
Of those two, if I had to buy sight unseen, I would go with the Commander simply because they seem to be in comparable condition, it has a lower price point, and I like the overall lines of it better. Especially how the roofline flows right to the tip of the visor. Good stuff. Ideally, a wider grille, and a lower roofline would be GREAT, but being as this isn't going to be my "THE" car, but more as just my regular driver, and also given the price limits, I am in no way chasing for ideals, heh. Ideally, the best car I could hope for would be the Cord L29 Hayes Bodied Coupe, but I certainly don't have the potentially 3 mil for that automotive perfection. heh.
So, given the supposition that I am familiar with what vehicles from this era require in maintenance and driving habits, in a general sense at least, and fully understand the performance limits they impose, what are some platforms I can get into to get the most future benefit out of around $10,000 purchase? I am fine with going higher, to maybe $15,000, if I can find something better set, like a straight 8 instead of the 6. Would prefer it to be in mostly or nearly running condition if possible, understanding that running, or running well, and driving are different things. I don't mind traveling a long ways to get it, I do kind of have a very capable transport vehicle, heh. I prefer better mechanicals over better interior. Since most interiors will require a full replacement anyway, it is silly to get a car with a "decent" interior and pay a higher price for something that will still have to be replaced regardless. So given the choice between a good but non running shell, or a driving but gutted shell, I prefer driving.
Now outliers are always considered on a case by case basis. If one car comes along that has something uniquely particular about it, that can change things. But those are often not the case. I am not scouring the margins for perfection, just looking for something "good enough"
As far as for the why? Because I love the experience of it. To me, driving a car isn't just transportation, but an experience in and of itself. Why get something modern and practical for the sake of cup holders, when instead I can enjoy myself every mile and turn in something unique and wonderful? My Baja is not practical, my truck is certainly not practical, yet I enjoy them thoroughly and would not trade them away for anything modern. I say I am a car guy not because I merely like cars, but because I enjoy their experience. The problem with having a fleet is that I am only one person and can only drive 1 vehicle at any given time, heh. Driving such a vehicle, with its proper engine, wheels and such is the whole point. The reactions people have to hearing about my truck are priceless. They cannot believe that it is as old as it is (and in the truck world it is absolutely OLD), has the miles it does and is STILL out here earning its keep side by side with brand new rigs. It even still has its original seats, though I need new cushions in them, eesh, not much cush left. Swapping out the engine for something more modern takes that away, it is no longer that truck, but just yet another thing made to suit. It is easy to swap out parts for modern versions, engines, wheels, electricals, etc. and make something more capable and comfortable. But older vehicles are just as capable in their own right, when set up properly. Usually, the biggest issue with any vehicle not performing to its best is not from lack of ability in the vehicle, but lack of proper respect and car from the driver. So why don't I want a restomod or retromod? Because it isn't the same vehicle anymore, it is something else. That something else is fine for others, but me, I like it proper. Now, that isn't to say that they always are perfect, far from it. Engineers, manufacturers, and ESPECIALLY accountants, make poor decisions. (Yugo anyone?) Other times they are decisions based on incomplete knowledge or manufacturing limitations. Either way, I strive not for a perfectly original car down to the tires and metallurgy, goodness no. I want to preserve as much of the original character of the car as possible, while over time enhancing its abilities to get the most out of what it truly can do. Hence things like a better radiator and auxiliary gearbox are preferred over swapping out to modern engines and wheels. Safety glass and LED bulbs, yes, Mustang front ends and bucket seats, no.
These vehicles are perfectly capable as daily drivers, even in midwest winters, heck, most of the world did it during their times. It may not be as good and comfortable as modern vehicles, safety advances for a reason, heh. But with the right mindset and care, it can be done. And in daily driving, well, I am on the road for a week at a time, so daily driver for me is much the same as a weekend cruiser for anyone else. We live in a rural area nearly an hour from the interstate, so lots of country roads, but a long ways to get anywhere. Plus visiting family takes a while as well. All of which ads to the desire of a capable cruiser with a larger engine and larger body rather than a hot rod coupe. Plus, I just always prefer the large, full bodied cars. Yall can keep your 70's muscle, give me a full sized 4 door cruiser any day, with rare exception as noted above, heh.
So, I hope that clarified a few things, and put to rest any fears of "Oh boy, here we go again with another midlife crisis or garage show watcher thinking they are gonna be the next big thing". Pardon the length of the post, but short and concise is not my forte. Again, much thanks for your info and input. And please don't snatch that Commander out from under me if you happened to be looking for one, heh. At least find me a good 8 if you do.