Matt Harwood

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Everything posted by Matt Harwood

  1. Matt Harwood

    What is your preferred degreasing technique?

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. This is all good information. I'm kind of disinclined to take the shell of the car outside in 20-degree weather and have at it with a pressure washer, and since much of the wiring is going to stay in the car, Grimy's warning about using steam is well-taken. Obviously my first step is going to be using some kind of mechanical scraping to remove the heavy grease. My second step will be some kind of solvent to soak in and knock loose the little stuff. I think putting it on some kind of tarp and brushing on heavy coats of some kind of liquid degreaser is the best bet, then maybe use the hose inside the shop to clean it off. Maybe. Anyway, I'm mostly stalling so I don't have to start scraping that gunk off. Guess I'll get busy here shortly...
  2. So the first step of putting this Lincoln back together will be cleaning everything forward of the firewall. The engine is out, the front clip is gone, it's the perfect time to get everything cleaned up. The frame is in good shape, but it's obviously caked with decades of dirt and grease. Ordinarily I'd hit it with the pressure washer after some scraping, but since it's winter I don't really have that option. Any recommendations for getting all that goop out of all the nooks and crannies? Brake cleaner is usually my solvent of choice, but this job would take about 10 cases of the stuff, so that's not really cost-effective. What would you use? Solvents and brushes? Dawn dishwashing liquid? Let me know your favorite tricks for getting old parts clean. Thanks!
  3. Matt Harwood

    1969 Hurst Oldsmobile Purchase

    I didn't realize they didn't build any Hurst/Olds cars in '70, I don't really know much about them. Typically for most muscle cars, the '70s are worth more than the '69s, and that's certainly true with 442s. But since the '69 Hurst/Olds was a one-year-only thing, then my comment is worthless. The car is what it is. I still think you should know whether the number you're going to offer will be in the ballpark of what the seller will accept before you waste a trip. It's also worth investigating finished cars rather than spending $40K on a rusty car, even if the finished cars are more expensive. I guess once you see the car you'll know whether it's right. Just watch out for that feeling of "gotta have it" while you're there. It's easy to talk yourself into a mistake. After all, you drove all that way, you have the money, it's not that much worse than you thought, the seller seems like a decent guy, I can have this thing together by spring, whatever. It sounds like you really want this specific car but you need to have some sense of detachment so you can walk away without hesitating if it's not right. Like I said, I'd be looking pretty hard at the finished $59,000 car long before I'd make a trip to see a fixer upper that's listed for 10% more and which I only THINK I can get for 20% less.
  4. Matt Harwood

    1938 Packard 120 convertible

    Because scammers don't know the difference and they're hoping you don't, either.
  5. Matt Harwood

    Speeds on 1932 80 and 90 series

    Don't be afraid to drive it, just drive it within its limits. You don't need a top speed run to evaluate the condition of the internals, the way it drives will tell you a lot and there are simple tests (compression test, leakdown test) that can tell you more about the condition of the internals than trying to evaluate it based on how fast it will go. If it's healthy, there should be decent oil pressure, no blue smoke, and no strange sounds. That's your most basic guide. On the road, the car will tell you what's comfortable, just listen to it. It should have no problems with mountains as long as you maintain some momentum. Lugging the engine is as hard on it as over-speed, so try to keep it in its comfort zone--momentum is your best friend. It'll tell you what it likes and doesn't like. On flat ground, it should happily trundle along in high gear at idle and accelerate cleanly if it's tuned properly, and when you're going too fast, you'll know it. Nevertheless, it'll take some time to familiarize yourself with the car and learn what it likes. The important thing to remember is that it isn't modern in anything it does, so give it lots of room on the road and pay extra attention to the people around you--you will suddenly discover that everyone drives incredibly foolishly. It will accelerate more slowly, it won't stop as well, and it won't slash through traffic. Side roads are always preferable to highways just so you don't become a rolling road block. Just be aware of what's going on around you and listen to the car and you'll be fine. If you can find places where 50 MPH is common, I bet you find that the car is delightful to drive. That's really the sweet spot for cars of this era. They'll go faster but they start to sound busy and that's stressful. Take some time around your house to get to know it before embarking on a long trip and make sure the mechanicals are solid. You might find that taking your time is more enjoyable than getting there fast. I love driving but I don't much like arriving. That's when you know the car is right for you.
  6. Matt Harwood

    Speeds on 1932 80 and 90 series

    Top speed would be about the same. The 80 series isn't significantly lighter and frontal area is the same, so wind resistance would be similar to a 90 series. When it was new, it probably ran close to the advertised 80 MPH. Today it might do somewhere in the high 70s... for a little while, anyway. My '32 Model 97 would cruise pretty happily at 55-60 MPH. Too much more than that for an extended period and I would worry about at least one of those long rods ventilating the side of the block. Taking an ancient long-stroke engine and running it flat-out for any period of time seems like a catastrophe waiting to happen (never mind the brakes, suspension, and tires at those speeds). You have to remember that driving conditions in 1932 were vastly different than they are today. There were no highways and even paved roads were not necessarily the norm. Big cars like these were designed to be easy to drive by just leaving them in high gear and letting them creep through town at modest speeds without a lot of shifting. In 1932, if you could find enough pavement to get up to 60 MPH, it was probably considered like going 150 MPH on our highways today--unreasonable and reckless. Flat-out speed was never the point with any manufacturer, it was just bragging rights in advertising more than a recommendation for reasonable cruising speed. I'm going to politely ask you not to try to go 80 MPH in your old Buick. It's not as thrilling as you might think, it proves nothing, and it could end up outrageously expensive. That said, if you bought a car like this and are interested in going fast, you've made a crucial error...
  7. Matt Harwood

    1969 Hurst Oldsmobile Purchase

    Asking for pricing advice here will get you lots of opinions but probably not any closer to a deal or a real number. In my opinion, the buyer is the sole arbiter of what constitutes a "good deal." That is, if you feel like you got your money's worth, then that is all that matters. If you're going to pour through price guides and ask opinions, well, the numbers are going to be all over the map and you'll have a hard time recognizing a good deal or a bad deal when it presents itself. It's good to have a frame of reference and at least a range in which these cars can live, but without seeing a car in person and evaluating it personally, there's just no way to say what you should or shouldn't pay for a car. $67,500 seems like an awful lot for a rusty Hurst Olds, '69s aren't as valuable as '70s, and you do want to make sure that it is not only numbers-matching but also a real Hurst, which probably wasn't coded into the VIN since it was built by an outside vendor (I'm not positive, but I'm sure an Olds expert will be able to confirm or deny this). Bear in mind that while you seem to think $40-45,000 is a reasonable offer, the seller might not. That's 1/3 less than he's asking and even if he's way off base, that can be offensive. I don't suffer fools lightly in my showroom and I know that I won't be able to make a deal with a guy who's that far away so I don't even try. HE obviously thinks it's worth that much--even if he's wrong, it will be hard for the two of you to find a common ground if you're that far apart. Don't waste a trip if you don't think he's going to be receptive to your numbers. You should probably negotiate price before you go visit to determine whether it's even worth your time. If you negotiate $45,000 and show up and it's worse than you thought, then you can walk away. I'd recommend settling on a price with him before you go, not while you're there. That will tell you if it's going to be a wasted trip or not. Also, if you're seeing restored cars running through auctions for $50-75,000, perhaps you should buy one of those instead of this rusty fixer-upper. A little rust inevitably turns into a lot of rust and you'll be into that range long before the paint is dry on a project. With just a quick look, I can find two for sale right now, one with a dealer known for egregiously high prices @$89,900 and one in Oklahoma for $59,995. If you want one of these and have $45,000 to burn, I'd be looking VERY hard at that $59,995 car. Maybe it's more than you want to spend right this moment, but you won't be able to take any car with rust that you purchased for $40,000 and restore it into a car that nice for $20,000. Does that make sense? Go see it, evaluate it, and decide if it's worth your time to restore it. It will cost you twice what you expect to restore it, maybe 3-4 times more. If you're not ready for that, then a finished car with a slightly higher price tag is where I'd be shopping instead. Good luck!
  8. Sure wish I'd bought this Buick instead of this stupid Lincoln...
  9. Matt Harwood

    Then and now: where did these prewar cars go?

    That's my attitude exactly. All these guys who spend a fortune restoring a car and then refuse to drive it "to preserve the value" so the next guy can have a really nice car for pennies on the dollar. With most cars, you're never getting your money back on the restoration; you may as well enjoy it yourself rather than just handing it all to the next guy for free. Nothing better than buying someone else's 100-point car for 50% of what he spent restoring it, then driving it down to 80 points.
  10. Matt Harwood

    Then and now: where did these prewar cars go?

    Can you imagine the people losing their minds at a show today if you asked them to drive it on the tilting device or over the sandbags? It seems that the only contest most owners will agree to these days is "how gently can you touch it with a duster?"
  11. Matt Harwood

    Looking to add temp gauge to 29'DeSoto K

    Here's how I did it on my 1935 Lincoln using the upper radiator hose.
  12. Matt Harwood

    1933 Buick 90 series engine and body numbers I.D.

    The frame number and engine number will not match and do not correspond to each other in any way. Some factory records may show the range of engine numbers built each year, so you can at least narrow down the year in which the engine was built, sometimes even the month. That is as close as you'll get to "matching numbers" on a car of this vintage. It's all academic anyway--as long as the engine is the correct type for the car, it should not have an effect on value. There are several members on this site who will be able to tell you about when your engine was built based on the engine number, hopefully they (or West) will supply an answer.
  13. Matt Harwood

    1938 Packard 120 convertible

    "This is how the car looked in 1973. Ran when parked. Do you feel lucky?"
  14. Matt Harwood

    53 buick straight eight and a 4bbl. Does it exist?

    The '52 Roadmaster had a 320 straight-8 with a 4-barrel carburetor. I actually have a 4-barrel manifold on the shelf. I'm not sure if the '51s also had a 4-barrel, but I'm pretty sure it was one-year-only with the new Nailhead V8 taking over in '53 in all models but the Special.
  15. Matt Harwood

    Where's that guy looking for a '32 Buick 90-Series?

    My 1932 Buick model 97 was a wonderful car to drive. Considerably more powerful than my '29 Cadillac (on paper it was 9 horsepower stronger but it felt like 50). Better suspension and brakes, lighter steering. It was amazing how much better cars got year by year in the early 1930s. Very tangible when driven back to back. That '32 Buick felt STRONG but a friend who collects 1932 Buick 90 Series cars exclusively (he has almost every model) says it felt about like any of the others, so they must be pretty muscular cars in general. Mine could cruise at 60 MPH pretty effortlessly and I didn't mind taking it out on the highway with traffic without a second thought. Very competent, roadworthy car. For driving, I would have kept it over my Cadillac, but my Cadillac is a better car overall in terms of condition and we're sentimental about it. I couldn't justify having two 1930-ish full-sized GM sedans, so the Buick had to go. Sold for full asking price to the first guy who saw it. These are very good (and very under-rated) cars.
  16. Matt Harwood

    Where's that guy looking for a '32 Buick 90-Series?

    Unfortunately, here's what the Lincoln looks like as of today, so I don't think it's worth anywhere near what that Buick might be.
  17. Matt Harwood

    1928 Ford Model A Sport Coupe

    This is a relatively unusual little Model A. I haven't seen many early sport coupes like this, so it's kind of a neat find. It's an early production Model A with a few of the early features, including the red rubber steering wheel, center-mounted parking brake, and drum taillight. It was restored in the '80s and has plenty of tour miles on it, but the engine is more recently rebuilt and it features a Lloyd Young overdrive that makes it a pleasant 55-60 MPH cruiser. I like the unusual chicle and copra drab colors, which were the same as my father's Model A roadster that I grew up in, so maybe that's why it appeals to me. The trim is still nickel, so it has a soft shine that could probably be brought up a notch with some elbow grease and the top (which does not fold) is in very good shape. I don't know if green leatherette was on the menu in 1928, but it looks rather handsome inside the coupe and beyond the overdrive controls and add-on turn signals, it's completely stock and everything works. Dual sidemounts, accessory manifold heater, trunk, and moto-meter. The engine starts easily and runs great with no smoke or odd noises. The extra wiring on the steering column is for the turn signals and on-board battery charger. It shifts nicely, the overdrive works like mine does so it'll take a little familiarization, and the steering and brakes feel right. I'm not in love with the whitewalls, but they're in good shape and this is one car that would really look dynamite with blackwalls. Asking price is a very reasonable $19,900. Model As are still a great place to start!
  18. Matt Harwood

    1928 Ford Model A Sport Coupe

    The overdrive is a Borg-Warner unit from something like a '50s Ford. It incorporates free-wheeling and an electric solenoid for operation. People sometimes have a hard time conceptualizing how it works because it's not an on/off switch or another gear. The short version is that you have to put it in free-wheeling mode, then accelerate to more than 29 MPH, push the actuation button on the steering column, then abruptly lift off the throttle, at which point it will shift into overdrive automatically. Pushing in the clutch disengages the overdrive. It's not difficult to master, but that understanding of its operation is sometimes tough for non-mechanical types or first-timers to figure out. No big deal, but thought it was worth mentioning so that there are no problems later with a new owner who calls unhappy that it doesn't shift the minute he hits the button and therefore I owe him money.
  19. This is my 1935 Lincoln K club sedan, known in period Lincoln literature as the "five-passenger two window sedan" (impressive name, I know). I was attracted to it because it's a 12-cylinder Full Classic that isn't a frumpy limousine. I thought it represented something of a bargain. I like the way it looks, I like the idea of owning a 12-cylinder motorcar, and I've never seen another one like it, have you? The fact that it looks very much like the maroon 1934 Ford 4-door sedan that was the first old car my father bought in 1973 is purely coincidental. In short, I really wanted it so I bought it. You may recall that I started a thread on this car once before, then deleted it right about when it started to get interesting. Sorry about that. A lot of things in my life were going sideways at the time and my mental resources were stretched thinner than I realized. I placed a lot (probably too much) hope that a thing--just a car--would mend my mental wounds, but you all know how that goes. Of course I knew it would be a project and that it would need a lot of TLC, and I accepted all that with my eyes wide open. In fact, sorting cars is one of my favorite things to do because it's so rewarding. Few things with old cars offer instant gratification, but fixing something small that's broken always lifts your heart. Sorting is a series of small projects that build into a larger success, but each one brings a tangible improvement that is very satisfying. It's distinct from a restoration which is a process whose payoff comes only at the end. With sorting, you fix one thing and you can enjoy the results right away. For someone like me, small successes bring big rewards. I started addressing a few of the more notable issues: a hot start problem, a leaky water pump, overheating issues, a fuel system full of gunk, a wobbly distributor, bad wiring, and all the other little things that go into making an old car healthy. I'll try to re-create the projects I showed in that old thread , and I'll continue with some new ones, because as another experienced forum member wisely pointed out, it's worthwhile to show folks that even those of us with substantial resources hit roadblocks and need to overcome them. So I started down the path. The snag, of course, was that shortly after cleaning out the cooling system with my 9-year-old son on a Saturday afternoon, he pointed to the side of the engine block and said, "What's leaking?" Uh oh. Sure enough, there's a hole in the block. A hole in a Lincoln V12 engine block. Dollar signs started spinning around in my head like the drums on a slot machine. The car I just wiped out my savings to buy had a hurt motor. I couldn't drive it, I sure as hell couldn't sell it knowing there's a hole in the block, and it could cost anywhere from $2000 to $35,000 to repair it, depending on what needed to be done. What's worse, someone had already smeared JBWeld over the damage and painted over it, so it was a known issue to someone. And that really felt like a sucker punch. Here's what we found: That, combined with all the other nonsense going on in my life at the time, put me in a particularly foul mood all the time. All. The. Time. I was a lousy husband and dad for a few weeks and I couldn't snap out of it. I'd invested too much in this car, and I'm not talking just money. It kept me up at night and it woke me up in the morning. I hated turning on the lights in the shop because I could see it in the corner. I had thoughts of just pushing it outside and hoping it would get stolen or hit by a truck. I thought about saving it for our open house next July and letting people take turns whacking it into scrap with a sledgehammer for $5 a throw. I even thought about turning it into one of those grotesque resto-mod hot rods--I've got a Chevy 454 and a 700R4 transmission sitting in the storage room, and I figured I could install those A LOT cheaper than rebuilding the V12 engine. Important note: I should point out that I do not believe Tom Laferriere knew about this issue, let alone did the JBWeld job. To his credit, he is taking the car to his metal stitch guy to see if it can be repaired. After a rocky start to our discussions (mostly my fault), we spoke in person at Hershey and he owned the issue. A great weight was lifted from my shoulders and my wife says I'm a different person today, maybe better than I have been in years. A tip of the hat to Tom for stepping up and doing as much of the right thing as is possible under the circumstances--thank you, Tom. You are the person I hoped you would be. Besides, despite hating the car with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns every second of every day between the discovery of the leak and that conversation at Hershey, I have come to really like the stupid thing. With luck, this big hurdle will be cleared without major expense or difficulty, and in the mean time, I've been getting it into good shape so that the leak can be properly addressed without being masked by other problems. In a few weeks, I'll ship it back to Tom, he'll take it to his metal stitching pro, and we'll all keep our fingers crossed. Sometime later, it'll come back, I'll finish sorting it, and I'll have a 12-cylinder motorcar for touring next summer. I'm not permitting myself to get excited about it, but at least there's a path now that I couldn't see before. Over the next few days, I'll try to re-create the steps I took in that old thread and add those that I've taken since then. There's information from which others can benefit and I've learned a lot along the way, too. If I can help others, well, maybe that makes all this nonsense worthwhile. Thanks for bearing with me and stay tuned...
  20. Matt Harwood

    Acura tl 2006 repair estimate

    Trust your independent tech. I think your hunch is partially correct and the dealer is either trying to get you to buy a new car or at least get you to buy some expensive repairs. My wife had a wheel bearing go bad in my Cadillac CTS wagon while she was traveling in Canada, and while the wheel bearing had to be repaired ($1100! Yowch!), they also tacked on a bunch of unnecessary stuff and said they would refuse to let her leave in the car because it was so unsafe to drive. When I got on the phone and asked them to explain what was so unsafe, they said the tires were bad (they were two years old), the brakes were shot, and the exhaust was leaking into the cabin. They said they weren't even confident that the car would make it home and they were very afraid for her safety. Total BS. I'm still driving the car today on those same brakes and exhaust, and just replaced the tires last spring. With many European and Japanese cars, it will behoove you to find a local shop who is familiar with those makes. You might find their work is just as good and their prices are half as much. When I found an Audi tech who could work on my allroad, I was overjoyed and probably saved thousands over the years. The only item I might encourage you to investigate is the timing belt, which can be dicey because they fail all at once without warning. Audi used to say 100,000 miles or 7 years for a timing belt, then revised it a few years ago to 70-80,000 miles and 5 years. It's the kind of thing that you don't ever think about and doesn't give any warning, but if it goes, it typically takes the entire engine with it. Although $1000 can't really be considered cheap insurance, a timing belt is nevertheless cheap insurance. Even if you don't hit the mileage, if you hit the age, it might be time to investigate having it changed. It's rubber like your tires, so it won't last forever no matter how little you drive.
  21. Matt Harwood

    Then and now: where did these prewar cars go?

    When I was a kid we used to tour with Paul Tusek who had a 1913 Lozier 7-passenger touring that was as big as a garage. When I was 10, I could stand up in the back of that car with the top up. He used to hammer that thing down the road at like 60 MPH. That was one of those amazing road locomotives that make brass cars so spectacular. Paul died a few years ago and I always wondered what happened to the car. It had to be quite valuable, although I don't really know what kind of number such a thing would bring just because I'm not sure what model it was--all I know is that it was ENORMOUS. I believe he bought it from Richard Shreve if that's any help. Does anyone know the car or where it went?
  22. And this is what a scam looks like, gentlemen...
  23. This is a fun little hauler that you just don't see every day. No, it's not some home-built custom job, but rather an Australian-built 1950 Chevrolet Coupe Utility, and yes, that's how it came from the factory. Apparently Australian farmers like to be able to work during the week and drive their pickups to church on Sunday, so these early El Caminos became a staple on Australian roads. Most automakers built some version of this car/truck, although not in vast numbers; only about 2300 1950 Chevrolet Utes were built. This one has registration papers from Victoria Provence as recently as 2006, so it came to the US sometime after that, landing in California and then coming east about four years ago. Obviously, all that desert was kind to the sheetmetal, and it was repainted in California sometime around 2010. The color isn't exciting, but this was apparently the only choice available for the Ute, so there it is. The tonneau was factory-installed, not an add-on, and the wood floor in the bed is likewise correct although likely nicer than new. The interior is a mirror image of American Chevys, with a brown vinyl seat cover, standard gauges over on the right, and simple door panels. Yes, it takes a little familiarization to handle shifting with your left hand on the right side of the car, but to be honest, the hardest thing to get used to is looking to the left to find the rear-view mirror--I never broke that particular habit. Mechanically it is identical to US 1950 Chevrolets, including the Stovebolt Six under the hood. It's rebuilt, runs great, and reasonably well detailed. No modifications save for conversion to 12 volts, but they used a generator so it's all but invisible. Sadly, the radio doesn't work, likely because of that conversion. The transmission is the same and uses a clever linkage to shift gears and actuate the clutch, and steering, suspension, and brakes feel exactly the same as the '52 Chevy Bel Air I had sitting next to it. Blackwall radials on steelies look right for the hard-working little Ute. I promise you'll have the only one at any show, and it really is fun to drive and show, especially when people see you sitting on the "wrong" side of the car. Comes with clean Ohio title, no issues with registration in any state. Asking a very reasonable $24,900 and it's ready to enjoy. Thanks for looking!
  24. Matt Harwood

    1930 Model A Ford Deluxe Roadster

    Wow, that's really a nice Model A for a reasonable price!
  25. Matt Harwood

    1950 Chevrolet Coupe Utility (AKA "Ute")

    Actually, the most amusing thing is driving this with my 10-year-old son. Everyone at red lights does a double-take when the see a little kid over there where the driver should be. This thing is more fun to drive than it should be just because of the oddity factor. It also works rather well as a truck--the bed is as big as the bed on a full-sized pickup. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. Isn't that what an old car is supposed to do?