Matt Harwood

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Everything posted by Matt Harwood

  1. We've been running tubes with radials in my wife's Chrysler wire wheels for a few years without any issues. Multiple long-distance highway trips at 65-70 MPH, smooth and quiet. Install them carefully, make sure they're not pinched or folded, and use flaps to protect it from the flaps and it should be fine. Find a shop that does heavy truck tires and they should have no problem doing it right where your regular tire shop might look askance at the request. There are "radial" tubes but I'm not convinced they're any different. Just make sure they're sized properly to the wheels and tires you're using.
  2. Fortunately, exactly zero people on this forum are saying people shouldn't do what they want with their cars or that it's wrong to modify an old car.
  3. Stupid moves in unpredictable ways. Any time you try to engineer with stupid in mind, stupid gets creative and finds new ways to stupid. It's an unwinnable battle. We should consider ourselves lucky when all they do is injure themselves with the stupid.
  4. He was thanking you for being an awesome person. I thank my wife all the time, even when she does nothing, because her mere presence in the world makes things better. I think you're probably cut from the same cloth.
  5. As the price goes down, expectations go way up. It's weird.
  6. I'm OK with such upgrades, but it's getting really boring. Like finding a Shelby without Ol' Shel's signature on it, finding a Tri-Five Chevy with a stock 265 or 283 in it is pretty rare anymore. If you want a street rod, go for it. But given that the engines are virtually identical, I think it would be cool to make a 350 look stock--the extra 70 or so cubic inches can make it more powerful. Disc brakes are OK and aren't very visible, although the modern brake boosters and master cylinders always jump out as wildly incorrect. I don't even object to a modern transmission tucked underneath, but if you're changing the transmission, do a 2004R or a 700R4, not a 3-speed TH350 (especially if your goal is "better highway driving and safety"). In short, do a good job with good parts and quality workmanship or don't do anything. There are already plenty of hacked up cars with cheap parts, don't make another one. My philosophy is that you should do what makes you happy. It's just a car and a common one, so you're not hurting some piece of unobtainium. I just like to encourage people to do something that demonstrates more craftsmanship and forethought than just throwing a crate motor in there, a yester-tech TH350 transmission, a cheesy Summit Racing dress-up kit, and goofy braided stainless hose covers on their car and turn it into a generic Tri-Five just like every other ordinary cruise night ho-hum blahmobile. I should note that these garden-variety "builds" are also pretty boring to drive. They don't feel like vintage Chevys anymore. They don't feel particularly modern, but it's like the car has lost its soul. It's like driving a 74 Nova. I will also say that it won't make the car more valuable or easier to sell unless you do it right with good parts. 3-speed transmissions, cut-rate dress-up crap, no A/C, no power steering, and backyard quality are exceedingly common and there are piles and piles of Tri-Five Chevys laying around that are all pretty much identically dull. Modified is great. Just do something that justifies the time and money you'll be spending. And if you don't want to do that, just buy someone else's ho-hum blahmobile already done and enjoy immediately. As far as the forum welcoming and discussing modifications, the AACA is and always has been a club for people who like cars as the factory built them. That doesn't mean the people here don't like modified cars, this just isn't the place for discussing them and there are plenty of outlets for modified car discussions--as far as I know, this is just about the only place for unmodified car discussion. As I've pointed out before, you wouldn't try to take a Mustang to a Corvette show, right? It isn't that the Corvette guys don't like you and your car, it's just the wrong venue. Do what makes you happy. Just do it well and you'll come out OK.
  7. Here are my sons taking their first drives ever in a 1909 Cartercar the day it arrived. So easy to drive, a child can do it! No clutch, no shifting, and if you get in trouble, just let go of everything and it stops. I figured that would be a good choice for their first time out. Cody, age 13: Riley, age 9: Here's Riley on the roll:
  8. My step-grandfather, who ran a scrap yard before and during the war claimed to have scrapped "more than one" Duesenberg. I'm not sure he was remembering things correctly and I'd be horrified to learn that it was more than one or even one. Some were surely lost to scrapping during the war, but I'm sure the number wasn't huge. These were still big, expensive, prestigious cars that were only a few years old. I think the "restorers" and "collectors" of the '50s and '60s did a lot more damage to Duesenberg stock than scrapping did. Now as far as making trucks out of big sedans, yes, that happened a lot and I'm OK with that. In fact, I'm on the hunt for my next vehicle: a Full Classic wrecker, something like this Cadillac (this topic is under discussion in another thread around here somewhere): All that said, sign me up for a "bitsa" or "rebodied" or "unpedigreed" Duesenberg J at a 50-80% discount. Matching-numbers fever is ridiculous at any level. Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?
  9. Even at $522,000, that red Duesenberg has about a $1 million discount on it. Most of that is because of the rebody, correct as it is (meaning it is a body made long after production ended but which accurately replicates an original body). I wouldn't characterize this car as a re-creation, simply because it uses mostly real Duesenberg parts; there are no fake Duesenberg engines, transmissions, or rear ends, for example. But it could be a "bitsa" (bits of this, bits of that) where it was assembled from several different cars, or a car that uses some reproduction parts like frame rails, bell housing, and bodywork. This is similar to a body swap where, say, a frumpy limousine body is ditched in favor of a sporty roadster body, either newly created or removed from a different but similar car. I have a client who bought a Duesenberg with the wrong body on it. He found another Duesenberg wearing the first car's original body so he bought that and intends to reunite the original body and chassis and then have a second "bitsa" car instead of two bitsa cars. I believe he also found a Duesenberg that needed the engine out of that second car, so he'll ultimately have two correct Duesenbergs and one bitsa. Apparently there was a great deal of Duesenberg engine/chassis/body swapping going on in the '50s and '60s. Why, I don't know, other than guys were trying to get good base stock for their restorations and "matching numbers" wasn't yet a thing so they just grabbed running engines from frumpy cars to use in their sporty cars rather than face an expensive rebuild. On the other hand, something like a Duesenberg II can safely be considered a re-creation, as it was a wholly new creation using no original parts but fairly accurately replicates the original look (although it's all modern running gear underneath). Perhaps think of this particular red Duesenberg more as a non-numbers-matching Corvette with a warranty replacement engine, but which has also been painted the wrong color and filled with options, but not options that came with that car. It obviously has an effect on values to serious collectors but doesn't change what the car essentially is. Ultimately, a Duesenberg like this is one I'd be happy to own (well, maybe one that doesn't need $150,000 worth of engine work, but if you can afford the $500,000 buy-in, that's probably something you can swing as well). It IS a Duesenberg just like a my blue 1966 Corvette is still a Corvette, just not one with a pedigree. That separates the good from the great, both in Corvettes and Duesenbergs.
  10. Without brakes and on Bring A Nitpicker, I bet it does no more than $28,000. Potential bargain for someone. I sold this one for about $70,000 about a year ago, although it was a long, slow slog to get it to a new home...
  11. Most important question: What kind of welder? Brand names always better than the off-brands (of which there are many) but that doesn't mean they're bad. I'll assume you're looking at a MIG, which is a great choice for a hobbyist and a novice. Make sure that the wire moves easily through the cable and torch and that the regulator flows properly. If possible, run a few test beads at all settings to evaluate whether it's working properly--some Chinese brands have little more than ON and OFF settings even though it looks like they have more. If possible, do a few passes on whatever material you plan to weld, especially if it's sheet metal. I would not even consider a flux-core welder; get one that uses shielding gas for best results. Whatever brand you might be considering, look at replacement parts availability. Things like the cable sheath, torch, and wire feed/motor may all need to be replaced at some point so you should know whether you can get those parts easily or if they're obsolete or only sold in Zimbabwe. Also consider the power of the welder. There are plenty of 120V units that work on household current, and most of the well-known manufacturers make both small and medium versions--get the medium if possible. It will handle thicker material and lay down better welds with more precision because it will be using less of its potential. Easier to make a big welder do light work than to make a little welder do heavy work. My advice is always to buy the best tool you can possibly afford. A used Miller or Lincoln Electric welder will cost a bit more, but it will serve you well for many years, offer great parts and technical support, and be easier to work with as a novice compared to an inexpensive used flux core metal-sticker-togetherer from Xuixong Industries. Show us some potentials and maybe we can offer tips. I love welding!
  12. Wow, that's a big job and those bearings look scary. I agree, it's amazing that it wasn't making all kinds of scary noises. The good news is that just about everything you should need to fix it is pretty readily available. Is there any indication as to what caused the bearing failure? Incorrect installation? Wrong parts? Good that you tackled it now when you have the time rather than having a failure on the road!
  13. Nah, all that car needs is a small block Chevy, a TH350 transmission, an Edelbrock carb, and some Cragar mags and it'll be killer!
  14. Well, I didn't really mean that it would be profitable, only that you could sort it and perform some modest restoration work, and those chores should pay for themselves, more or less. I think the car is desirable and while it doesn't justify a full restoration, I don't think it's at peak value, either. Detail the engine bay, make everything work properly, perhaps freshen a few chrome pieces like the grille, new tires; those are all things that would add enough value to justify doing them. That's all I meant. Ultimately you'd have one of the best-looking closed Buicks that's also a Full Classic, and arguably one of the better road cars of the period. As I said, I'd own that car today if I hadn't wasted all my savings buying a similar Full Classic club sedan that promptly cratered itself in a most expensive way. Yeah, I'd be sorting it, buffing it, and driving the hell out of that Buick next spring. Just for comparison, this car sold well into the six-figure range not too long ago. And it's brown. Heck, this carnival of a Buick brought twice the asking price of the black car I mentioned (I don't care that it was made for the Queen, it's a disaster):
  15. Like it or not, Japanese cars are collectible and you're going to see more and more of them showing up at AACA events. That 10,000 original mile MR2 sold in about a month with multiple guys fighting over it. The 24,000 mile 280Z Turbo was so popular that guys called me asking me to let them talk to the guy who bought it. And for guys about my age (50) who grew up in the '80s, cars like this 1985 Toyota Supra are much like the Camaros and '57 Chevys that previous generations grew up with and later collected. The hobby still works the way it always has, it's just the age of the cars is changing. Which brings me around to this stunningly well-preserved Supra. This is the car you want to own and it's a slam-dunk for HPOF competition. It's had just two owners and despite spending almost all its life in Minnesota, it is spotless (and that's a word I don't use lightly or often). It is fully documented with window sticker, manuals, ownership papers, and service receipts dating back more than 30 years and it appears that the same shop took care of it for most of its life. Everything works, it offers a desirable color combination, and every single option except a sunroof. There are a few minor signs of use on the original paint, but nothing that needs any attention and it has obviously never been hit or rusty. The medium red is about right for a car like this, neither overtly sporting nor something awful, which were on the color charts in 1985. 1985 was the only year it came with the big SUPRA decal on the tailgate, and I kind of like that detail. Leather seats were a $700 option, and this car has them and they're beautifully preserved with no cracks, splits, or even significant wear. Original carpets are protected by original mats, the dash isn't cracked or split, and the headliner was replaced a few months ago. Supras came only one way: loaded, which means power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors, a decent AM/FM/cassette stereo with graphic equalizer (remember those?), and automatic climate control, all of which work properly. The trunk is in great shape except for one little spot where it faded for some reason, and the original, untouched, unused Dunlop spare tire and alloy wheel are still in the well. If I told you that you could buy a car with a smooth, torquey DOHC inline-6, all-independent suspension, and 4-wheel disc brakes you may not guess Toyota, but this car is spec'd like an E-Type Jag. The 2.8 liter 5M-GE six sounds spectacular thanks to a new stainless steel exhaust system and with 160 horsepower pulls the relatively lightweight Supra around with genuine enthusiasm. Check out how beautifully detailed the engine bay is--it's original except for a repaint on the valve covers and basic service items. Even the new battery is from Toyota, not a parts store generic. It starts instantly (it's a Toyota after all) and runs superbly thanks to fuel injection. The automatic transmission isn't the liability that you'd expect, since it also came with 4.10 gears, making it quite punchy--especially if you set that little switch on the console to "PWR" and disengage the overdrive. The suspension is supple yet capable and it feels incredibly tight and solid going down the road. It shows about 125,000 miles, but it feels more like 25,000. I can't get over how nicely preserved this car really is. New 15-inch radials were fitted last year, so it's ready to roll. I've come to accept that cars like this are part of the hobby--you should, too. And I have to admit that the more I look, the more I like this car. I ignored it when I was 15 years old but today I can see it was a significant step forward for Japanese performance and was a cornerstone in today's hyper performance machines. The fact that it feels so contemporary and has ignored the passage of time only means that you'll have an interesting car that will be easy to own and fun to drive. And for only $19,900, how can you go wrong? If you like sports cars, you owe it to yourself to give Japan's finest a closer look. Thanks for looking!
  16. It's a Knight sleeve valve--if it's not smoking, it's broken. And if it's a former Aseltine car, the mechanicals are going to be right. Nobody knew more about these cars than he.
  17. I think it's handsome and given what it is, I don't think the price is crazy. As with any orphan brand, the number of buyers is small, but I don't think it's zero. I can think of three of my own clients who own such unusual stuff and to whom it might appeal.
  18. I suspect what you're experiencing is the Ackerman angle getting wonky. Ackerman is the relationship between the tie rods and the spindles and on lowered cars, that gets pushed all out of whack. Essentially the steering box and tie rods remain in the same place they were when the suspension was stock but the connection point on the spindle is higher relative to stock (because the suspension is lowered and therefore the body is closer to the ground and therefore the steering box is closer to the ground). It depends on how the car was lowered, but essentially you're now moving the tie rods through a different part of their travel. Since the range of travel is an arc, the distance between the steering box and spindles has been shortened somewhat and gets even shorter when you go over a bump and compress the suspension. It's easy enough to set up a static alignment to keep the car going straight, but as the suspension compresses, the already shorter tie rods pull the spindles inwards more than they should, causing the squirrely handling. It can be especially pronounced while turning a corner where the left and right wheels have to also travel a different radius. Here's a quick diagram of your tie rods (red) as viewed head-on from the front of the car. You can see how the relationship between the tie rods and their attachment point on the spindle can drastically affect steering (the blue arcs represent the travel of the tie rod end on the spindle). On a stock setup, Ackerman is arranged so that the tie rods are moving through the widest point of their radius pretty consistently. But you'll also note that as the suspension compresses on a lowered car, the tie rods pull the wheels inward significantly more than they do on the stock suspension as they move through the upper areas of their travel (the blue arc). What's the fix? Probably some creative aligning, perhaps some spacers on the spindles to move the tie rods back down to an angle closer to horizontal (or whatever stock spec is), or even different spindles. For instance, "drop spindles" mostly avoid this problem because they simply move the location of the wheel relative to the suspension rather than lowering the entire suspension as with shorter springs. There might even be brackets that relocate the steering box lower on the frame, but I'm not sure whether that would require modifications to the steering column. Or you could put it back to stock ride height, but I'm guessing you don't want to do that. It'll be a little twitchy no matter what, but a good alignment shop and the right components can mostly alleviate the problem. When I lowered my 5.0 Mustang and went racing, alignment was critical and I machined some spacers to drop the steering rack a bit to put the tie rods back into a more friendly relationship with the spindles. You might also check to see if they installed a quick-ratio steering box when they lowered it (or--God forbid--a modern rack). That can add to the touchiness. Putting in a slower steering box will at least reduce that over-sensitive unpredictability. Hope this helps!
  19. I'm with you. Packard did some remarkable packaging with the convertible sedans to get that giant top to disappear so completely behind the seats. It makes for a better finished product and these cars look handsome top up or top down. I'm at a bit of a loss to explain their booming popularity compared to other options, but I suspect it's a bit of "flavor of the month" and a bit of the expense of making one right pushing values up. There are many things I like about the Brunn bodies, including the windows above the windshield and the tangible build quality, but I always think about how I'd use a car and touring is what I prefer to do. The Brunn touring cabriolet, despite the nomenclature, seems ill-suited to my needs--why should the guy in the back get the convertible? It's my car, I'm driving, I want to be the guy enjoying the sun and air. That's why I love town cars--convertible in front, penalty box for the kids in back, and why even my limousine is a nice compromise with its divider window. It's a personal thing, of course, but from a pure usability standpoint, I would prefer to own a true open car with a "factory" body rather than a custom landaulette of any kind. In fact, I'd take any factory body style before a landaulette, but again, purely a matter of personal taste. I understand it, it's just not for me.
  20. Another one where buyers can't see the car for the colors. A paint job would be pricey, but this car, like the green Packard dual cowl phaeton, is one of those cases where some re-coloring work would probably pay for itself (unlikely that this car needs/deserves a $50,000 paint job).