DeSoto Frank

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  1. How significant was the Joad's truck ? Steinbeck's own words make it pretty clear: "The house was dead, and the fields were dead; but this truck was the active thing, the living principle. The ancient Hudson, with bent and scarred radiator screen, with grease in the dusty globules at the worn edges of every moving part, with hub caps gone and caps of red dust in other places – this was the new hearth, the living center of the family; half passenger car and half truck, high-sided and clumsy." What was the Joad family confronted with, in their little town of Sallisaw, Oklahoma ? "A day went by and the wind increased, steady, unbroken by the gusts. The dust from the roads fluffed up and spread out and fell on the weeds beside the fields, and fell into the fields a little way. Now the wind grew strong and hard and it worked at the rain crust in the corn fields. Little by little the sky was darkened by the mixing dust, and the wind felt over the earth, loosened the dust, and carried it away. The wind grew stronger. The rain crust broke and the dust lifted up out of the fields and drove gray plumes into the air like sluggish smoke. The corn threshed the wind and made a dry, rushing sound. The finest dust did not settle back to earth now, but disappeared into the darkening sky […] The dawn came, but no day. In the gray sky a red sun appeared, a dim red circle that gave a little light, like dusk; and as that day advanced, the dusk slipped back toward darkness. " Some images from the film:
  2. "So, if a person was to take the Graffitti coupe and make something totally different out of it, the outrage would be intense." F&J, Thanks for providing a more contemporary analogy... I was looking for one( or more), but the only one that came to mind was the De Lorean from the "Back to the Future" franchise, whose inclusion I did not think would help my case Cars such as "The Lesley Special", Professor Fate's "Hannibal Eight", and "Herbie the Love Bug" and so-on are definitely "fantasy cars"... and are not quite in the same league as the Joad truck. Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang is somewhat legitimate, in that Ian Fleming based his fictional car on a true race car of the same name, belonging to a Count Zabrowsky. Of course, Fleming endowed his car with "special super powers". Yes, Steinbeck wrote fiction, but it was well-grounded in fact, not unlike James Michener's novels, such as "Tales of the South Pacific" and "Centennial". "The Grapes of Wrath" made quite an impact on me, even though it's been thirty-plus years since reading it as an assignment in HS English class, and at least twenty-five years since I last saw the movie.
  3. "However this was a movie replicar, and all the others you mentioned are real cars! The story was fiction, not a documentary. " While Steinbeck's novel was/is technically "fiction", it was very much based on actual events and circumstances, and in fact was a cry against what Steinbeck felt was a social injustice blossoming from a prolonged natural disaster ( the prolonged drought and resultant "Dustbowl" in the American mid-West.) . Most "Okies" were good, honest, hard-working Citizens who lost their farms and families due drought, crop-failure, foreclosure, and bankruptcy. Many of them struck-out for California (along "the Mother Road", old US 66), hearing it described as a veritable "Land of Plenty", with good land, favorable climate, and work for everybody. Along their way, these Americans were generally treated with derision, suspicion, and scorn. It rarely got better when they reached greener pastures. They were generally resented and discriminated against. This is bluntly pointed-out in both the book and the film. ( There were quite a few other films of the era that had an edge of social conciousness about them, such as "My Man Godfrey", "Mr. Dees Goes to Town", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "The Forgotten Man"... "The Grapes of Wrath" was the pinnacle of the "social injustice" films of the era.) Their story is analagous to refugees we see fleeing poverty and persecution in "third-world countries"... except that these were our own American brothers and sisters... While the specific names and events in Steinbeck's novel maybe fictious, the story was most definitely based on actual events and circumstances, and the creation of trucks from passenger cars was certainly not uncommon prior to the 1950's. If the seller's intent was to capitalize on this Hudson's association with John Ford's film, then it would make sense that it would have been maintained in it's "as-filmed" appearance. I would cry "foul" just as loudly if the Joad truck was restored back to the original sedan as it left the Hudson factory... I'm sure there are plenty of other rotting Hudson Super-Six sedans out there that could have been racer-ized... I think it was a mistake to choose this particular one as the foundation for such a project. The marketing strategy continues to baffle me. In the meantime, I will see if I kind scrounge-up some pictures of "real" Okie cars/trucks...
  4. If you're in Northern PA: Scranton: Moosic Diner (Rtes US 11 & PA 502) Terry's Diner US 11 in Moosic ( 2 miles north of Moosic Diner) The Glider Diner (Providence Rd ,Scranton - across from Scranton HS / Memorial Stadium) "The Six East" - US Rte 6, between Scranton & Carbondale, next to the Circle Drive-In The Blue Bird II - US 6 & 11, Factoryville ( The above are all genuine stainless-steel diners, mostly Mountain-View) The Wellsboro Diner, Wellsboro, PA ( a 1930's "Lunch-wagon" style ) And in Western NJ - "Hot Dog Johny's" - Rte. 46, Buttzville (near Belvedere). Bon appetite !
  5. Paul, Well, I guess we'll have to "Agree to disagree" on this. Perhaps I'm being unfair to Mr. Wales, this may not have been his idea, but that of a client with a thick wallet... What's done to the car is done. I still maintain that to continue to try to make such a strong association between this Hudson in its present form and "The Grapes of Wrath" is a flimsy marketing ploy, at best... but then, that never stopped the folks on Madison Avenue ( "Marketeers"). I would argue that such a "famous vehicle" belongs to "everyone" who either reads or sees "The Grapes of Wrath", or who suffered through the Dustbowl saga; it's a piece of American culture / history. The Joad's "truck" is as significant as Henry Ford's "Quadracycle", Horatio _____'s Winton from the first cross-country auto trip, the Model T, Bonnie and Clyde's '34 Ford, Marshall Teague's "Fabulous Hudson Hornet", the Lincoln that carried JFK through Dallas, the "Further" bus, the VW bug, the Lunar Rover... these are all vehicles that defined/were defined by a certain era or event(s). As for "highly modified movie vehicles", Steinbeck is very detailed in the Joad's "shopping" for a used car, which kind to buy, why, the unscrupulous nature of the used car lot owner, and the blow-by-blow process of changing the Hudson sedan into the truck, down to "blocking the rear springs" so they wouldn't break from being overloaded. Steinbeck vividly describes the Joads cutting through the Hudson's skin with a hammer and cold chisel... Steinbeck didn't invent this.... this is what folks really did, trying to survive.... The notion of "re-inventing" the Joad truck into a racer is frivolous at best... "What would I restore it to? " If it was indeed the Joad truck from the movie, then I would restore it to the "movie version", complete with all the Joad's household effects. While we're at it, why don't we go to Philly, and "sympathetically restore" that crack in the Liberty Bell ?
  6. Thanks Dave... I'll check it out ! How much clearance is there supposed to be between the underside of the light-switch crown and the top of the steering wheel hub ?
  7. Great photo ! Where & When ? ( I'm guessing somewhere "out West", looking at the mountains ) :cool:
  8. Paul, Point taken, but this was not "just any" '26 Hudson sedan. If it is indeed one of the "Joad family vehicles" from the 1939 movie "The Grapes of Wrath", this car/truck represented a very significant piece of American history and literature. If you're not familiar with John Steinbeck's story, I would seriously recommend reading the book and definitely watching the movie sometime; it 's a great story, and a great movie - John Ford directing, starring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, and other Hollywood greats... If the Hudson's aluminum sheet-metal was as intact as the auction listing suggests, I don't think it would have been anymore labor-intensive to re-wood that square Hudson body and replicate the "Oakie" truck body than it was to convert it into a racer. Again, this is my own opinion, but I feel this was an irresponsible direction to go with this car; especially since the sellers insist on continuing to connect it with the film. It now bears no resemblence to ANY vehicle in the film.
  9. My favorite instrument panels: '60-'62 Chrysler '55-'56 De Soto (great "gull-wing" design!) '28-'29 Model A Ford (elegant in its simplicity & symetry) '28-'29 Chevrolet '34 Packard '37 Zephyr '41-'42 Chrysler (beautiful marbled plastic ! ) The Cord & Duesenberg panels are great too...
  10. This week, I finally took delivery of my '28 Ford 49-A Special Coupe. As I was driving around towards twilight, I switched-on the headlights, and began to notice that as I turned corners, the headlight switch seems to be dragging on the steering wheel (?), causing the lights to switch off or to high-beam... got to be annonying, to say the least. Is this a common problem ? Car has the Gemmer two-tooth steering gear, and the horn-rod/ headlight switch appears to be an original part. This is my first A , so I'm starting at the bottom of the learning curve ! Thanks !
  11. Yes, right alongside the "1928 Porter" from "My Mother the Car" ! ( Actually the Olds from "the Beverly Hillbillies" has some parallels with TGOW - poor farming family from the heartland heads to California for a better life, in a converted jalopy truck with all their worldly possesions tied-on, including Grandma!... At least the Clampett's Olds has been shown more respect ! )
  12. Sorry if I crossed a line with respect to forum rules ! I was just so outraged by the listing description and attitude, perhaps more-so than by what was actually done to the vehicle. To continue to make an association between this "racer" and the Oakie truck from TGOW is ridiculous. Even though TGOW is technically a work of fiction, if this Hudson was indeed one of the cars from the John Ford movie, then a piece of American history has been DESTROYED. And to what end? For someone to "flip it" at a profit ? I hope they lose lots of money on it. I certainly don't recall any racers / speedsters in the movie... perhaps they exist in the "director's cut" ? Sorry about my indignation - I just couldn't let this one go quietly into the night... De Soto Frank ( Perhaps the John Steinbeck Trust will get wind of this and file an injunction preventing the seller for associating this vehicle with Mr. Steinbeck's story ! )
  13. Check this out... 1926 HUDSON Bad enough what was done to the vehicle , but the lame reasoning behind the "crime" is even worse... :mad: :confused: Today's "sales-speak" vocabulary word is "sympathethically restored".
  14. Here's a few more... '28 Ford Special Coupe 49-A :cool:
  15. Hmmm... All it needs is Jack Lemmon screaming "Press the button, Max !" I'd like to see video of a 1938 Ford "Tonner" with Marmon-Herrington 4WD conversion, and dual 10x38 tractor tires at each corner (all 1938!); saw a pic of this beast in a book once...
  16. Bryan, Some of us have already "done it" and have moved-on to more modern rides for our daily slog. I did it for the first 20 years of my driving life ( 1985-2005 ): drove nothing that was less than 25 years old. Frankly, just from the pics alone, that Olds looks too nice to be a daily driver. Don't know where you live (and I'm not asking you to make a public statement), but winter-weather is one of the biggest enemies of a vehicle. Salt / brine road-treatments will tear-up a vehicle before you know it... in areas where they just use cinders for traction, you still have to worry about paint / glass chips. Then there's all the wet slop that will be dragged inside the car on your shoes... Even if the winter weather is not an issue for you, as a daily driver, you will be putting wear and tear on the car, especially the interior. Those seats look really nice, but I'll bet the foam padding underneath is hard and crumbly, and will start to break-down under daily use. Also, consider UV exposure, probably a more insiduous enemy of vehicles - UV kills paint, vinyl trim, interior fabrics... silently, slowy, relentlessly. Especially vivid colors such as red. Then there's all the mechanical issues you will confront as you bring this car back to life: original parts that are reaching the end of their normal service life after 40 years / 60,000 miles, plus "perishable" parts ( rubber, hydraulic brake plumbing ) that do deteriorate strictly from age and chemical deterioration, even if the vehicle is mothballed in a "neutral" climate controlled environment. Rubber suspension bushings and hoses chemically decompose as they age, and even if they appear to be "like new", once the vehicle goes into service, things will quickly start to deteriorate. Hydraulic brake systems used DOT-3 fluid, which absorbs moisture from the air over time, and the steel tubing & master & wheel cylinders corrode from the INSIDE-out. DOT-3 brake-fluid turns to a yellow-ish gel then powder, seizing wheel-cylinder pistons. Even if stuck pistons break free, the wheel cyls usually begin leaking in short order. Suspension joints such as ball-joints/Kingpins, tie-rod ends may be packed full of once-soft, now fossilized grease, which has no lubricating benefits and prevents fresh grease from reaching the moving parts... so now you've got a heavy car, grinding-up expensive suspension parts.( That may have been 70 % worn-out already) Then there's the issue of parts availability.... the farther away from 1960's-'70's Mustangs and Camaros you get, the less likely you will find parts at your local parts house. Most mechanical parts are still available, but many have to be "special ordered" now, which take anywhere from three-days to a week. That's a long time to have your "daily-driver" laid-up. As I write this, I feel like I'm only offering "reasons why not"... not trying to be negative for the sake of being a grump, rather I'm trying to relate what I have been confronted with in using older vehicles for everyday transport over the last 25 years. When I consider/purchase an old vehicle, unless I have positive documentation from the seller of repair/restoration of given systems/components, I plan on rebuilding/replacing the following: Brakes (usually the ENTIRE system: steel lines, flex hoses, master & wheel cyls) Front suspension (inspect, clean-out, re-lube, replace as-needed) Rear springs (inspect/replace springs, eye-bushings, shackles) Fuel system (pump, flex-hoses, lines(as needed), boil-out tank, repair-replace sending unit, rebuild carb, etc) Electrical system - inspect/repair/replace: battery, cables, starter, alternator, regulator, points & condensor, plugs, wires, bulbs, etc. Cooling system - replace hoses, thermostat, radiator cap, check/repair radiator, water-pump. Accesories: wipers, heater/defroster, seat adjustment, windows (power assists?) Tires Shocks ( Notice I didn't mention anything about paint, chrome, or upholstery... ) You can either go through the vehicle and check/address all these points BEFORE you hit the asphalt with it ( which means a significant capital investment AFTER purchase), or "just get it on the road" and deal with any issues as they come-up, when they come up ( think "side of the road" ) As a final thought, most vehicles are sold on appearance first, then performance... anything that compromises this Olds's appearance is going to DRASTICALLY reduce its re-sale value. That includes daily wear & tear. Most folks that would consider an old car want something that functions, but more importantly that "looks cool" and that they are proud to be seen in. :cool: There is a certain pride in owning / driving a shabby(?) jalopy that is mechanically reliable, but that's a special kind of joy that is not usually shared by the casual observer. (Or by girlfriends / spouses! ) ( The '41 De Soto in my avatar fits this description ! ) Think carefully about how this scenario fits-in with your financial situation and trasportation needs... if you can comfortably make it work, and have a back-up vehicle, then go for it... Above all, make sure the damned thing is safe before you take it out on the road; you're talking about two-tons of Oldsmobile - make sure the brakes are up to factory condition, and the tires & suspension are in good order. Here endeth the "sermon" :cool:
  17. Not surprising, given GM's early sucess with Diesels. Stude also used Perkins in their big trucks; there's a guy up this way with a '57 Stude 2-ton with Perkins power.
  18. Well I'll be .... it makes more sense that these were European export conversions. Initially I was racking my brain, trying to figure out how one would convert a 250 cid "Spitfire" six to a Diesel... These days folks like to complain about the "sluggish performance" of the flathead six and Fluid Drive with semi-auto... I'm sure these Diesels weren't barn-burners either. Thanks for the All-Par link ! :cool:
  19. I have never seen any reference to Diesel-powered Chrysler products prior to the 1980's, the exception being Dodge trucks. What could possibly exist might be a Diesel-engined Dodge or Fargo truck badged as "De Soto" for foreign export. This is purely speculation on my part. Down in Cuba, and possibly in the former Soviet countries, where they've been keeping American cars going for decades, by any means possible, means that a lot of 1940's & '50s autos have been re-powered with whatever Soviet-made running gear happens to be available. There's a fair amount of Detroit running around courtesy of SKODA engines. I was aware of Perkins Diesels in Stude trucks; had no idea they put them in Larks.
  20. Wow, that's about a quart of oil every 35 miles... but also an average of 16 mpg on fuel consumption. Not sure when the three-piece "flexible" oil ring came along; probably not until the late 1930s...
  21. Some of it went past the rings and burned-up in the cylinders, and some went on the ground, past primitive gaskets and seals. Engines weren't as "tight" then... Watch some silent movies / news reels on You-tube, etc, and see some of the clouds of smoke blown by some of the vehicles. Chicago to DC is about 900 miles each way, on modern roads... how mnay quarts/gallons of oil were consumed ?
  22. I think I see a master cylinder filler cap (square head) between the two pedals, and back a bit. Which makes things a little more interesting if this is based on '28-'31 Packard running gear; Packard didn't get juice brakes until 1936 or so ? Also, while some of those gauges might be Packard, that switch group is early 20's at the latest... There appears to be a lot of wood framing in the body; I'll bet there are a lot of leaded seams in the skin, under that grey paint / primer... I wonder if the skin was pieced-together and formed over wooden bucks... No doubt there's some skilled fabrication in evidence here, but I'm still thinking this could be the handiwork of some skilled individual over those long Michigan winters... Curioser and curioser... :cool:
  23. The steering wheel that's in the pictures looks like it is from a '47-'53 Chevy / GMC truck... Wheels look like Packard... '29-'31 ? Very unusual looking vehicle...