DeSoto Frank

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Everything posted by DeSoto Frank

  1. A fellow gear-head e-mailed me yesterday asking if " I'd heard the news about tires failing due to dry-rot after only two or three years? " He did not disclose where he had read/ heard about this, I presume through some standard news/media outlet... Anybody else hear about this, or is it perhaps some smoke and mirrors to divert some attention away from Toyota's recent troubles ?
  2. One of my great-great -grandfathers down in Central Virginia was known as "Stiller John"... :D
  3. Hey Bill, Nice Chevy, and good comments. :cool: Your Chevy and my Ford will be running as long as there are some sort of fuel and lubricant available to make 'em go ! Happy (cozy) Motoring !
  4. Dave, When I was running my '62 Falcon ( Deluxe 4 dr, 170 cid, 3 speed), we picked-up a second one for my Mom - a nice '62 Tudor ( white w/ red & white interior) that had the 144 and two-speed Dog-O-Matic... The difference in performance between the two cars was like night and day.... Mom's might do 70 MPH on level road with the wind behind it. Mine was good for at least 85 or 90 MPH... No creature comforts beyond the heater and windshield washer, but it was a good reliable car, and I do miss it !
  5. James, Good luck with everything you're dealing with... as other have said, do whatever you can to keep this car. If you have to continue to "mothball it" for a while, literally do just that: get some disposable foil pie-pans, place in the front and rear floors and trunk, and fill them with mothballs. Sprinkle some more under the hood. Leave the windows cracked about 1/4". This will help discourage rodents from taking up residence in the car, especially if it's parked out doors or in an open shed. Lots of help and encouragement here... keep in touch ! Frank
  6. "Not because it gets good gas mileage" Well, mileage was considered a selling point back in the "good old days"... How about the Gilmore and Mobilgas Economy runs of the 1930's and '40s ? Packards and Lincoln Zephyrs used to compete too, along with the Willys Americars and Nash "600"... Personally, I used to be and still am proud that I used to regularly get 25-28 mpg on the highway with my 200,000-mile 1962 Falcon...
  7. Just a few comments here, not expecting to change anyone's mind, but to offer some more fodder... I'm (presently) 42, and I certainly do remember gas rationing and lines back during the "gas crisis", around 1974... We lived in Maryland, just outside the Baltimore Beltway, and I can remember sitting in lines as Mom waited to put gas in our 1970 Ambassador SST ( 2 dr HT). At that time, MD had a rationing system that went by the license plate number: plates ending in even numbers could buy gas on an even numbered day, odd plate on an odd numbered day. I also remember stations with big, crudely lettered signs that said "no gas". It really did happen. As for gas mileage, some land yachts are better than others... my Dad commuted back and forth to his work in Washington DC, about 90 miles a day ( in those days, he drove the Balto-Wash Parkway). In the early 1960's, he had a '53 Packard ( the big one), that he bought from Ballenger Buick in Laurel, MD, for $25, and rebuilt the engine with a kit from Montgomery Ward. Dad complained then and still comments now about "what a gas-hog that Packard was!". By the same token, one of his very good friends from work, was responsible for maintaining the emergency lighting plants on Capitol Hill; he commuted from Martinsburg, WV every day, and swore by his early to mid '70s Continentals... Dad eventually gravitated toward smaller cars, including an Anglia, '66 VW Bug, Pinto Wagon ( that delivered over 200,000 miles of sevice), and other more thrifty cars. He always seemed to express a desire for the big cushy Buicks, Caddys and Lincolns, but that's not what he drove. Not really trying to change any minds with this post, just offering a "slice of life" from "back in the day".
  8. Some cars of this era that used AC gauges (primarily GM), used electromagent gauges fo Fuel, Oil Pressure, and Temp. This type of gauge normally"snaps" to its reading when the switch is turned on/ off, as opposed to the bi-metal resistance types where the needle slowly moves from the pin to the reading & vice-versa. Magnetic gauges will "care" about polarity, bi-metal resistance gauges do not. Did the temp gauge function correctly when the car was still 6-volt Positive ground ? Just for yucks, you might try reversing the battery terminals and seeing if the Temp gauge now responds correctly... if so, then you have to find a way to reverse the polarity at the gauge itself, which could be challenging, if the guage grounds through its case to the instrument panel. Also, many (most) cars of that era had Bourdon-tube temp gauges (vapor-pressure type), that ran a thin (1/8" OD?) brass capillary tube from the sensor bulb to the dash... I'm not famliar with Caddy of that era, so I don't know if the temp gauge is electric or not. Also, when changing battery polarity, the low-tension wires to the coil must be reversed, otherwise the coil will not function properly, and the points will tend to burn. All that said, I'm in the camp that prefers leaving things six-volt, and have never personally encountered a vehicle that "forced me" into a 12-volt conversion. When all is right with the wiring, starter, generator, etc, six-volts start and run reliably for me. As for "brighter headlights", the Sealed Beam was made to SAE/DOT standards for brightness and beam pattern, and (in theory), a 6006 6-volt sealed beam should be just as bright as a 6014 12-volt sealed- beam. That said, I have found the most vintage cars have the headlights grounded by a pig-tail from the headlight plug to the headlamp bucket or other nearby sheetmetal; when a car develops thirty=plus years of "crust" or oxidation, the "chassis grounds" are no longer as efficient, and lighting performance tends to fall-off. This is especially true of headlamps, but also plagues lighting at the rear of the car. My '41 De Soto is one of the crustiest cars I know, and I had all sorts of lighting issues until I realized that the chassis grounds through the body were lousy. I ran jumper wires from the frame ( or battery ground terminal) to the various lighting assemblies, assuring a good path to ground. Lo and behold, she stopped popping fuses, and my headlights were/are MUCH brighter. Entirely sufficient for nighttime driving at 60 MPH +. Another help is to install a relay on the headlight circuit, using the dash switch to energize the relay, but keeping the big amps away from the dash switch. One last thing - if you're running the old style "metal-backed" sealed-beams, the reflectors can get dingy over the years. I would only have them in a "points" show-car. Use modern Sealed-Beams for a driver. Good luck Chris, you're a good egg for trying to help your buddy with the Caddy ! . De Soto Frank :cool: Good luck
  9. I think this is hugely a matter of "personal perspective", local DMV classifications not withstanding... When I was a little kid ( earliest memory takes me back to about three years' old - 1970), my parents drove used cars ( still do ); at that time, Mom drove a '61 Rambler American convertible, Dad drove a '55 De Soto Sportsman 2 dr HT. These were not collector cars, but their everyday transportation. My grandfather was driving a '56 Chevy Bel Air "Sport Coupe" ( stovebolt six and 3-speed ), yellow with a black top and sweep; he also had a very tired '54 Chevy 3/4 ton pick-up that he bought in 1968. Around 1972, Grandad traded-in the '56 for a '67 Impala "Sport Coupe", and in 1974, he retired the '54 Chevy PU for a 1965 Ford F-100, both of which he drove until shortly before his death in 1985. So, my personal experience was that "new cars" were around 5 to 15 years old, and nobody we knew bought a new car every three years. When Grandad (or one of the uncles) retired a car, it usually got parked in my Grandad's field: '50 Ford Tudor, '61 Beetle, '61 Chevy Biscayne wagon, etc... we kids used to play in them, at the risk of angering the resident wasps.:eek: As for "antiques", my Uncle Mike had inherited the family homestead, and there was a long, low open shed, filled with... stuff, including my other grandfather's '41 Chevy Special Deluxe 2-dr, and a '39 Studebaker coupe. Again, not "collector cars", just retired jalopies. My first experience at a car museum was around 1971; I was about four years old, and my parents took me on a day trip to southern PA (Lancaster?), where we stopped at an antique car museum ( don't remember the name or location; might have been along US 30, east of York ?), and parked out front under the canopy was a '30 Model A Ford Coupe -black with Apple Green wire wheels. My first look at an "old-fashioned car", as I called them. Inside there were more cars, mostly 1900 to 1930; the only detail I really remember was one of the later brass cars had the hood open, and I was intrigued that the cooling fan had a round hoop around the perimeter of the blades. That, and in the gift shop there was one of those motorized model kits of a clear plastic V-8 engine. (But I digress). A few years later, (1977?) we visited Zimmerman's "Automobile-a-rama"... woo-hoo-hoo ! What a treat that was !!!! So, to my little mind, "antique cars" have wood or wire spoked wheels, skinny tires, spark plugs on top of the cylinder head, a hand-crank, "ah-OOOOH-gah" horns, etc. That concept still persists in my mind, forty years later. I also have trouble thinking of cars that I remember as "new cars" now being considered "antiques"... Pintos, Mustang II's, Caprices, etc. Popular culture perspective changes over the years too, to cite two literary examples: 1) John Steinbeck's late 1930's novel "The Grapes of Wrath": he describes the 1926 Hudson Super-Six sedan pruchased by the Joads in vivid detail, and specifically refers to it as "ancient". The story is set around 1939-1940; the car was fifteen years old... that's "ancient"?! :confused: 2) I have an issue of "Fleet and Commerical Vehicle Monthly" (a trucking industry trade magazine) from early in 1942, amongst the various articles discussing keeping truck fleets going during "the duration", and coping with gas & tire rationing, and parts shortages, there was an article on fleet maintenance, hilighting a very large dairy in California. The dairy had modern trucks in its fleet, mostly 1935 and newer, but their "test goat" was "an ancient Pierce Arrow truck from 1928". Again - here is a 1940's account describing a 15 year-old vehicle as "ancient"... :confused::confused: When I started driving, in high school (1984), I drove Grandad's '54 Chevy pick-up, then my own 1962 Falcon four-door; my peers certainly acknowledged that these were "old", but no one would have called them "ancient"... Your results may vary... :cool:
  10. I've generally preferred four-doors to two-doors, as far sedan bodies go ( assuming the "Coach" and Sedan share the same body silhouette ). Certainly a lot easier to access the rear seating in a 4-door... I couldn't help but laugh when GM brought back the "Impala Super-Sport" and Chrysler the "300", both as four-door SEDANS ! ( "Post", I believe ?) ( So much for all the "cool" gearheads back in high school who used to tease me over my "more-doors" ! ) But, maybe I'm a little bit prejudiced, being the "King" of unwanted four-door sedans ! :cool: (PS: I agree with BJM, that there are particular cars that look best as "clean-sheet designs"... in 2-door world, I would offer the '60-'62 Ford "Starliner" and '61 Plymouth Fury 2dr HT; I think most "fast-back"sedans from the '40's & '50s look a little better in their 2dr version...)
  11. Roger, Not aware of anyone reproducing them... however, suggest you post your inquiry at the DeSotoland website. There is a fellow down in Australia making repro tailight lenses for De Sotos, he might be able to make the Lucite knobs for the '46-'48 De Soto. If it's any help to you, the same knobs from a '46-'48 Chrysler will work in the De Soto.
  12. First three vehicles facing camera are: 1930 Model A 1951(?) Olds 1946-48 Olds
  13. Sounds like dirty battery terminals, and / or a weak/dead battery.
  14. I believe Dreamwerks Engines somewhere out in the Central US is presently offering Model "short-blocks", "run-in" and ready to install for $2,500. Don't know if there's a core charge on your old engine, or if that's outright. I believe there's a shop or two in Texas that do A & T engines... Will try to get some more details. Frank
  15. Ivan, Have seen adverts from the Teens for this type of tire. Also for "strap-on" cleats ( leather or rubber ) with metal studs. Am fishing for what ( if any ) traction tread ( not "high way" or "rib") would have been available for my Model A, between 19282 and say, 1950. My grandfather used to tell me about his '26 Ford Runabout, which he had fitted with "oversize tires and Goodyear Diamond-tread tires"... he sold this car when he moved to Baltimore in late 1926. Thanks for the reply ! Frank
  16. ( Fessing-up to my "youthfulness", here ) Okay, I'm forty-two (for now), and am familiar with the traditional "lug-type" or "mud-grip" snow / traction tires that our fathers used to put on the car every fall, and usually kept on the pick-up truck year-round. All of the winter-time car pictures taken before WW II seem to show cars wearing chains. When were "snow tires" first developed / mass-marketed ? Were they ever available in sizes such as: 4.50 x 21, 4.75 x 19, 6.00 x 20; etc. Photos courtesy of Universal Tire Co. The first one ( on green rim ) I would call a" knobby"; the second one is "my father's snow tire"... when did this type come along ?
  17. I'll bet the tenor was James Melton - a great opera singer AND a great car collector.
  18. Nice Ballantine's Beer truck in the background...
  19. I met a fellow at the Scranton Region AACA show about four years ago who had a '41 Buick Convertible Sedan. He has a set of Coker's new ( at that time) "antique radial" WWW tires on it - equivalent in cross-section to a 6.50 x 16 (15?) tire. In other words, it "looked right" on the car. He toured a lot with the car and said they were wonderful, that he'd never put bias-plys on a driver again. Have seen other driver cars with them in the ensuing years, no complaints, except for the cost. :eek: I still use bias-ply tires on my antique drivers, and have no complaints... they work. Just have to be careful on access ramps and curves - usually the bias plys start to shriek before you get into real trouble...
  20. It's a British car... isn't that reason enough ? (I'd bet on these holes being there for some sort of adjustment purposes, like brakes... how much cooling would they provide with the Met hubcap installed ?)
  21. Looks like it's in fine shape... a great candidate for HPOF (Historic Preservation fo Original Features) Class in AACA. :cool: If I were in your shoes, I would get it running & driving again, then try to keep it in the family. If none of the kin-folk want it, then see about finding a good home ( non Street-rod ! ). All of my grandparent's / parents cars are long, long gone...
  22. A few additional comments to my original reply, several pages back.... I think the viability of an "old car" for a daily driver really depends as much on the driver's individual circumstances ( geographic/meteorlogical location, driving habits, mechanical aptitude, family situation...) as to the merit of the vehicle itself. If you are handy, and have the time to do your own maintenance, or have a trustworthy mechanic and can afford to send the vehicle in whenever necessary, then you can deal with whatever mechanical issues arise. ANY vehicle used as a daily driver is going to suffer from wear and tear... Unfortunately, life does not grant you a handicap if you take a veteran automoble that's dry-rotted, brittle, and half-worn-out, and start pounding it as an everyday driver. Do you really want to do that to a nice old car ? It has been my personal experience that while significant others / spouses might tolerate or even enjoy a Sunday drive in an old car, they'll sing a much different tune when it's dead in the parking lot of the grocery store, or on the side of the road. Then there is the issue of creature-comforts... From a mechanical standpoint, I believe it is possible for vintage cars to be reliable daily drivers; have had several that were over forty years old, and were truly "gas & oil" drivers. And my wife refused to ride in them because they were (are?) " ratty old junkers"... But, now that I'm closing-in on fifty, and "free-time" has become scarce due to job & life pressures, I'd rather not spend all my free time working on my daily ride, so that it can get me to work tomorrow. I also live in an area that sees a lot of snow and ice, and the powers that be fling a TREMENDOUS amount of salt on the roads. I can't take an antique out in that slop... In the warm months, I usually choose to drive one of my antiques ('41 De Soto, '61 Rambler, '60 Windsor, '28 Ford) over my "modern" daily driver ('97 Jeep wagon). Have also witnessed the wear and tear inflicted on my "nice" '60 Windsor during the 10,000 miles I've put on it since getting it back on the road after and engine rebuild in 2006. I think this is really a subjective question, the answer probably different for everyone. After trundling along nearly 300 miles in my '28 Ford over the last couple weeks, it would make a decent driver, but it has its limitiations, chiefly that it does not go over 45 mph... So that rules-out driving on Interstate highways... taking the milk route adds 30 minutes each way to my commute to / from work... many days, I ask myself "do I want to get up an hour earlier just to drive the Ford?" And being a coupe, it is a two-person car, one of whom is the driver. So that limits Car-pooling. I seems to remember there being someone here at AACA Forums that lived on Long Island, and either drove or knew someone who exclusively drove pre World-War I Cadillacs YEAR ROUND, no matter what the weather... I think that's the extreme end of the spectrum. "Your results may vary..."
  23. I've seen early fire engines on similar chasses - ( large wheels at rear, small at front )... Jumbo ?
  24. The wreck on the right might be a Model T "Landaulet" - a "Formal T" that was discontinued by WW I.
  25. Okay, I've seen these photos before... a long, long time ago. Looks like they mounted the Model T (?) engine in a transverse manner... if Fordsons were known for "rearing-up" on their hind wheels, I wonder if this machine was even worse ?