Matt Harwood

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Matt Harwood last won the day on October 14

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About Matt Harwood

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  • Birthday 02/04/1970

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  1. I feel your pain, brother. All this tech is exactly what will keep me from buying new cars. I'm troubled by the fact that modern car buyers are apparently unable to master the vagaries of processes such as "turning on the headlights when it gets dark" and "turn the key to start the engine." And feeling a car go dead at a red light is a car guy's biggest nightmare, is it not? It's only going to get worse. I'm not a Luddite but I sure like my cars analog.
  2. I personally like the look of the BFGoodrich tires with the pie crust around the perimeter. I have the Firestones on my Cadillac (I think you did, too, Don, yes?) and while I like the aggressive tread pattern, I don't know if it's right on a smaller car like the Chevy. Blackwall BFGs would look right and are reasonably priced. They're all coming from the same place, so pick the one that looks best to you. Anything is better than what's on there now. I might also recommend buying your tubes from a truck supplier rather than the ones that the antique tire supplier sells. 17-inch truck radials aren't hard to find and tend to be higher quality than the light-duty round condoms Coker sells. Why do we keep having this discussion? With all respect to my friend Gunsmoke, please don't drive on ancient tires. This is EXACTLY Ed's point with his story, above. The tires LOOKED fine and he drove on them and they seemed healthy... until they weren't. The tire's external appearance doesn't tell you anything about what's going on inside the tire carcass. Failures rarely happen from the outside-in. I was driving a 1970 Buick GS and it felt like it had a lump in the tire. I figured it was just flat-spotted from sitting. Then, as soon as I drove about 30 feet in our parking lot Ka-BOOOM! It gave up all at once. Brand new Michelin tires with fewer than 200 miles on them, but more than 10 years old. No cracking, no signs of failure, and I had driven on the car just a few weeks earlier without incident. They were fine until they weren't. Fortunately, I was only going 5 MPH in the parking lot. 10 minutes earlier I was going 50 MPH down the road. No amount of monitoring the tires would have prevented it. I'm shocked by car guys who spend thousands restoring and preserving their cars, then pretend that the single most important safety feature on their cars is optional. Fresh tires are cheap insurance against the worst. If you're lucky, you merely experience what Ed and I have experienced. If you're not, the tire gives up at speed and you're lucky to damage a wheel or a fender. I'll leave you to think about the worst thing that can happen, because it can and it does. How awful would you feel sitting by the side of the road with a hurt car (and hopefully not a hurt body or hurt family or hurt bystander) and realize that you could have prevented it simply by installing fresh tires? If your gas tank was leaking, would you just ignore it and say, "Nah, it's fine. I'll just keep it below 1/2 a tank?" If your engine made 2 pounds of oil pressure, would you ignore it and say, "The rod bearings aren't making any noise, I'm sure it's fine. I'll just drive slower." No. No you would not. Why are tires different?
  3. Well, there's a difference in a number of ways. Body swaps (that is, taking a correct body from one car and putting it on another chassis) are less egregious than rebodies (creating a new but correct body from scratch), which are more acceptable than whatever you would call something like this Chrysler (being a cut-down sedan modified to resemble a dual-cowl phaeton). There are certainly degrees of wrongness. Body swaps will take a hit, but not as great a hit as a full rebody and nowhere near as big as a made-up car like this. The Bentley guys are wary of made-up cars and reproduction bodywork, but body swaps don't seem to bother them much. That's typically because 1) the cars are very well documented so they know where the bodies came from and 2) because there are all kinds of "upgrades" that all the Bentley guys do anyway (for instance, most 3 litre cars become 4-1/2 litre cars without any external differences since they use the same block). They also seem more open to mixing and matching since that happened a lot in-period and has always been generally acceptable. But there are plenty of cars that are known to have been recently created from nothing (my ex-business partner's 1924 Bentley 3/4.5 litre LeMans touring, for example) and while they're technically correct, they're not regarded in the same league as "real" cars that were built by Bentley in-period. That, to me, is as it should be. With cars conjured from thin air, it all depends on the quality. This Chrysler looks OK until you see a correct one next to it, then every line on it is wrong. You will constantly have to explain this car to people who scratch their heads over certain details. It will never be welcome on any show field that matters, including AACA and CCCA, never mind a major concours. That automatically excludes any guy with real money, which will clamp down on values pretty hard. That's in contrast to, say, a Fran Roxas rebody that exactly duplicates a car that either never existed or was destroyed or which only one or two exist and someone wants one anyway. A correct rebody is worth more than a car like this Chrysler, but far less than a real one even if the quality is equal or better to original (which I would argue Fran's cars are). It's a totally esoteric thing, but that's how our hobby has decided to value premium cars. It's the Full Classic version of an L89 Corvette with matching numbers vs. a warranty replacement block vs. a clone. Technically the same car, vastly different values. Silly on one hand, but on the other, why pay a premium for a car that isn't right? You can argue that for $60,000 that Chrysler could be a lot of fun (and I would not disagree) but you will quickly find that when you try to sell it the list of buyers is extremely short. As my friend Motoringicons once said, "Easy to buy, hard to sell." Do you really want to shell out $60 grand on something that is neither fish nor foul, unwelcome at most events, and will be an anchor when you try to sell it? To put it more into your area of expertise, Bob, what about an early brass Model T created entirely from parts in the Snyder's catalog? Worth as much as an authentic 1909 Model T? Or just a mongrel, even if it's a beautiful mongrel? That is why the value on this Chrysler was relatively low. It has to be to make owning it anything near a reasonable proposition.
  4. So the car is back and I can find nothing seriously wrong with it, although there was a large puddle of what appeared to be red anti-freeze under it on the trailer. It seems that they drained out the 50/50 mix that we put in it and filled it with straight anti-freeze, possibly because he was freaking out over the engine overheating (it wasn't, but the faulty gauge said it was hot so he panicked). I'm guessing the same idiot mechanic who told him his Studebaker had to have catalytic converters (and charged him $8000 to install them) also told him to put straight anti-freeze in it to cure the problem. It won't, it will run hotter. Anti-freeze is not nearly as good as water at transferring heat in the radiator. This would explain why it would act up on hot days and in rush hour traffic. The other stuff is probably explained by a guy not knowing anything about cars or chokes or anything else. Nevertheless, it started right up and idled nicely coming off the trailer. I took it on a test drive and seemed fine. Ran it up to about 60 MPH and there was a bit of a stumble when I stepped into it at high speeds, so we'll look into that. I suspect the mechanical fuel pump is a little weak and it isn't delivering at high speeds or in hot weather. As long as it's here, I'm going to add an electric pump and replace the temperature gauge sending units. I suppose I should drain and flush the cooling system. Again. So I'll spend a large-ish pile of money, plus $1600 worth of shipping, to fix non-issues that would be simple and cheap to fix locally if he would just find an honest mechanic. He insists his "guy" is "the best" but anyone recommending 100% anti-freeze and installing catalytic converters on pre-1975 cars is a moron, not "the best." This is what people do to old cars. Think about it next time you're buying a car standing in some fool's driveway.
  5. This really was one of the better ones. The weather is always a big factor, but I think there were more full vendor spaces than I've seen in quite a long time. I take that as a good sign. I am always sure to thank every volunteer I see working the show--remember it's just a local region that puts the whole thing together and almost everyone working there is a volunteer. Be sure they know you appreciate their hard work! And always tip the hell out of the guys and girls working the port-a-johns. That's literally a shaitty job and they do it with a smile.
  6. Not to go off on this tangent yet again, but there's a big correction happening right now, in front of our eyes. Current owners or their relatives, or, if you're lucky the next guy to own your car, they're all going to have to take considerably less than they think the car is worth to get it sold. The days of old cars gaining value every year are over and the mass-produced common cars that were popular with a huge swath of the Baby Boomers are going to get hit hardest (think 55-57 Chevys and T-Birds). Supply far outstrips demand in almost every category so prices are necessarily going to have to fall and they are falling, right in front of our eyes. In 2008, a really nice 1957 Bel Air convertible, black with a red interior and a Power Pack would be a $100,000 car. I just sold an extremely nice one for $62,000. -40% in about 10 years, and the bleeding has only just begun. Whatever you do, DO NOT tell your kids that they'll be able to retire on what your old cars are worth. You're only dooming them to maintaining these anchors for life while they wait for a buyer who will never come. And stop saying, "Well, I paid $40,000 for it, but I spent another $15,000 on it, so I need to get $70,000 out of it." That's a pipe dream, too. You WILL lose money, so go ahead and start planning for it. There's no money left in the hobby except at the very top, as AJ says. The rest of us are going to have to get back to simply enjoying it because we enjoy it and let the money we lose be the cost of the fun we're having.
  7. Glad you're enjoying it, Don. If you ever grow tired of it, there's a list of about a half-dozen guys with broken hearts that you got to it first. Really a fun little car to zip around in and the previous owner was a talented guy but also a man of few words who is very modest about his talent. I'll put you in touch with him. He also rebuilt all the gauges. He did try to buff the green paint a bit but he did it by hand since a machine might grab on the bare spots and make a mess. I think a good paintless dent removal guy might be able to fix that dent in the front fender. Or not, it goes with the car. You'll just have to figure out a story for the bullet holes! Have fun!
  8. Guys like that always remind me of this cartoon: Also reassuring when idiots self-identify so the rest of us can steer clear.
  9. There was no money in the room for anything after that V16 Cadillac. Some of that stuff went shockingly cheap. I bet RM was thrilled with day 1 sales and disappointed with day 2 sales.
  10. No matter what you do, people will game the system. This is why we can't have nice things.
  11. https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf19/hershey/lots/r0148-1931-chrysler-cg-imperial-dual-cowl-phaeton-in-the-style-of-lebaron/797013
  12. Right-hand drive rebodied from a 4-door sedan in South Africa.
  13. There is no certifying authority for automobile inspectors or appraisers. Each company seems to "certify" their own people but there are no uniform standards nor education requirements. If you have transportation and sort-of know what a car is, you're qualified for the job.
  14. A difference without distinction. Every guy who comes into my shop to look at a car for money claims he's both when he's actually neither.
  15. Log out and log back in and you can keep posting photos.