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Most frequently asked question about your "old car"?


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There's always the usual: How fast will it go? What kind of mileage do you get? etc.

The best comment I have frequently heard at gas stations is, "What year is that car and what color is that paint?" Once I tell them it's a Kewanee Green 1930 Model A Ford Tudor Sedan, they say, "Yeah, my granddad had one just exactly like this . . . except it was a red 1950 Buick station wagon . . . just like yours." :P

Having owned a Model A Ford for 41 years, I have gotten used to the "What year is your Model T?"

Of course the "unwashed masses" of non-old-car-owners try to be cute and say, "Weren't they all supposed to be painted black?" :mad:

And don't you just love it when you are stopped at a traffic light and a car pulls up beside you, they roll down the window and ask, "Will it run?"

I stopped for a cup of coffee one Saturday morning at McDonalds and a lady walked up to me as I was getting out of the Model A and asked, "How old is that car?" I replied, "Eighty-three" and she yelled at her husband, "Delbert! Get the camera, this car was built in 1883!" And she was standing right beside the 1930 Texas license plates I have on it. :P Sorta scary when you think these people have the right to vote . . . does that tell you anything?

On that same stop at Mickey D's, when I came out of the restaurant I discovered that the car wouldn't start so I opened the hood to check the fuse; a man walks up and starts talking to me while looking over my shoulder into the engine compartment and complimented me on the restoration and then remarked, "Did you do the work on this car yourself?" I replied, yes and he said, "You can sure smell that fresh paint!" I just smiled knowing that I had painted the car in 1972 (41 years ago).

Last comment - why is it so many people (particularly teenagers) seem to always ask, "What's it worth?" or "What'd you have to pay for that thing?" I have tried to be diplomatic and not shoot back with, "That's sorta personal, what did you have to pay for that pair of shoes?" Rather thought it was best just tell them, "I paid $750 for it." I then pause and add . . . "41 years ago."

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Fred

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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Good thread, Texas. Like everyone else I get a little tired of the "what is it worth" question BUT when it is a younger person I try to put myself in their shoes, and remember when I was a pesty kid likely asking the same thing - because at least some of them, mentally are thinking "how do I get one of these wonderful things"!!!!

Now, I TRY to follow up the answer with something like "Do these cars interest you? If so there are interesting older cars out their, some inexpensive and some most of us can only dream about..." I am a firm believer a Model A can provide as much fun as a Duesenberg if you appreciate it for what it is. The trick is encouraging that interested party vs. engaging a nosy onlooker. But it usually is not that hard to tell the difference... ;-)

Oh, I have found that over the years some people are interested in my old cars, others could care less. A problem on the road however, has ALWAYS been accompanied by interested onlookers intent on asking the questions you outlined above even if you seem knee deep in a perplexing problem. Murphy's law does seem to be in full force there...

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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I don't mind being asked what it's worth. For one thing, most folks who watch even a little of the Barrett Jackson auctions on TV think that every collector car is worth at least $50,000-$100,000. When I tell them what I paid, they're usually surprised it was that affordable. Maybe by letting folks know that you don't have to be swimming in dough to own a collector car (although it does help :)), I've opened the door to the hobby to another future owner.

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Yeah, Steve, I believe the younger crowd asking the question, "What's it worth?" is really just showing an interest and wishing they could have one. Hopefully they will some day.

I've always enjoyed driving my Model A down a tree-shaded residential street and seeing an older couple sitting on the front porch swing; I Ah-ooo-gah the horn and they elbow each other pointing at me with the thought, "remember our first time in a rumble seat?" :rolleyes:

Fred

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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With my Starfire the question I get asked most is "What is it?", even by other car guys. The Oldsmobiles everyone knows are the Cutlasses and 442's, not too many recognize the fullsize cars. Once I tell them then they usually remember if they were around in 63.

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At 70, I didn't realize how old I must look.

After looking at the 1931 license plate, they will ask what year it was built and if I am the original owner.

Over the last 12 years, I get this at both car shows and when touring.

The only brand marking is a 'H' on the radiator and hub caps, the question is 'Is it a Hudson?'

With a smile, I reply it is a 'Hupmobile' and they ask 'A hup what", never heard of one, was it made by GM?

For some reason, kids between 9 and 14 believe the wood wheels are actually steel painted to look like wood.

Then they ask why cars were built with wood wheels.

I am a sucker for young people truly interested in old cars and will offer for them to sit in the car.

The next thing that happens is they look at their parents as they were just told not to touch.

They then ask, 'am I allowed'.

My experience is the girls between about 8 and 14 seem to get the biggest thrill getting in.

If it weren't for the kids reactions, I would have stopped showing the car years ago.

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Edited by huptoy (see edit history)
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You should drive a Corvair.I cannot go anywhere without the Nader question,mine leaked oil,don't they turn over,why did you put the engine in the back.I really don't think there is a car out there with so many "urban legends" attached to it.I open the door of my original un-restored 60 Corvair at shows and invite people to sit behind the wheel.I've had a women start to cry because her late parents had one just like it and she took her drivers test in it.It's all about memories.Ed in Florida

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At car shows, I am frequently am asked this same question, particularly when I show my GTO: 'How much would you take for it...?' When that is the first question out of the individuals mouth, I usually respond with; 'How much money do you have..?'

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Huptoy:

Great looking car - love the Mullins trailer! Yeah, seems like "old cars" in general have a magnetic appeal to the younger generation; I like letting 5-6 year olds sit behind the wheel and blow the Ah-ooo-gah horn when their parents are present. If I could count the number of times I've had the Model A parked at a car show or in the city park on July 4 and little kids climbed up on the running boards to have a peak inside. Don't mind "sharing" my car with the public but do get a little upset with parents who don't know I'm sitting at a picnic table 20 feet away and they take it upon themselves to open the door and put their 7 year old in the driver's seat and let them start blowing the horn and fiddling with the spark and throttle controls without asking first - it's almost as if they assume the old car is "public property" and they have a right to do whatever they want without asking permission.

I drove my Model A 2,700 miles roundtrip from Dallas, Texas to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1986 to attend the national Model A Ford convention and my 5 and 8 year old sons rode with me (they are now 31 and 34 years old). We had a wonderful lifetime experience and I even took their picture posing in front of the fence that Tom Sawyer convinced Huck Finn to whitewash for him (Mark Twain's home in Hannibal, Missouri). On that trip we were eating at a restaurant in Illinois and I looked out the window and a woman was picking up her 3-4 year old child and putting him on the front fender and letting him repeatedly "slide" down the fender to the runningboard! Guess she didn't realize what rivets in blue jeans can do to a paintjob! It didn't take long for me to bolt out the door and ask her to not do that!

post-66120-143139323013_thumb.jpg

Fred

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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Well for me, I get several questions when I take one of the Crosleys out to a show. Most popular question is "what is it?", followed by "is it foreign?", then "who made it?", then "is it legal for the road?" then "what kind of gas milage do you get?" It is fun telling them that, yes it is a Crosley made by Powell Crosley in the USA and it is legal for the road and it get between 35-50 miles per gallon.

I too enjoy letting the kids get in them and getting their pictures taken, sometimes even letting them hit the horn button! What better way to get kids involved, then letting them sit behind the wheel and dream.

Edited by dalef62 (see edit history)
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I learned to drive in a '69 Corvair and it was a good little car. That thing would go places a Jeep couldn't go! My friend also had one and we used to take it out on the strip mines to go "4 wheelin' ". Mine would leak a little exhaust fumes once in a while and eventually the left front wheel rusted off one day. We replaced the front axle(what a job) but it never steered right after that,so we let her go. It is amazing what some people will ask about old cars and how little they know(even some of the old "experts") and did you ever notice they always have to touch it for some reason. I did enjoy letting folks sit in my Model A and letting others take it out for a spin on occasion. At that time I had some older friends that actually had Model A's in their youth and I'd get a kick watching them relive "the old days". That part of sharing the car more than made up for all the stupid comments and questions! What bothers me more though, is the guy who will brag about restoring a particular vehicle and when questioned knows absolutely nothing about it or tries to make the vehicle into something it's not! I've learned through the years that when some folks ask questions or make silly comments it's because they really don't know and it's our job to help them learn!

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Where do I start? :)

1st What kind of car is it? ... An Amphicar... A what? Amphi-car, like Amphibious car. Oh you mean Amphibicar? No A-M-P-H-I-C-A-R, like Amphibious car, Oh a Duck? No that was a military truck.

Hence my licence pl8te...

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Did you make it?

How deep can it go? (I still don't understand this one)

How much is it worth? I do not discuss financial issues with strangers. If they want to buy one, it's different.

How fast is it on water? (6 knots) on Land? (up to 75 MPH)

Why did you put propellors on it? (factory installed)

Does it really float? (asked of me 2 miles off shore at Lake of the Ozarks)

Is it really a car? (asked of me at a stoplight)

Is it a '57 Chevy? ... a Covair? ... Alpine? ... Nash?

Where is the engine for the props? (inside the engine for the wheels :) )

I bet you pick up a lot of girls! (asked by a 17 yr old boy who's GF already had asked me for a ride) True, I already gave your girlfrind a ride!

I still don't mind answereing questions even after all the 1000s of times. I've met a lot of great people and a couple of girlfriends because of the questions.

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"How much did it cost?" is by far the #1 question I get asked which I reply with "I feel it was a fair deal" tho I will get more specific if I realize the person is potentially interested in getting one for themselves. If they are young I try to point them towards a more affordable 70's or 80's Benz they could consider buying as an entry into the collector car world. Next I get asked about as equally "Is that a Bentley" (I have no idea why???) and "is it all original." Usually, even after longer conversations after I have already explained that it is mostly original and it has low miles they say, "so you must never drive it" or "I bet you only use if for special occasions" to which I can happily reply, "nope, she's my daily driver!" I don't think most believe me, they just can't imagine it.

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Two of my favorite questions about my '31 Dodge Brothers coupe are, "What kind of truck is that?" and "What does DB stand for?"

That is when the education begins....

When I drive my '67 Dodge A100 compact pickup, once in a while someone will ask, "Did you cut the top of your 'van' off to make that truck?"

post-37352-143139322993_thumb.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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Twice I've been asked "Is this car real or is it a replica?", once while sitting beside a '59 Cadillac and again while sitting beside a '21 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster. The questioner in this case continued arguing with me that the body was fibreglas because he knew fibreglas when he saw it.

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Considering the cars we usually have around, (Studebaker, Austin, Sunbeam, Standard, Anglia, Thames, Mini, Packard, Pantera, even Rancheros !! ), by far the most frequent questions are " what kind is it, and who made it? " I love it though, it always leads to interesting conversations, especially with the "experts" who offer their own knowledge about the very thing they asked about. Like some of the other comments above, the kids are the most fun, with folks that actually remember the cars coming in next.

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I'm with Dale in that the most frequent question is "what country was it made in?". I too love the conversation with people who truely want to know. Kids are the most fun. The look of wonder in their eyes as they sit in the car and blow the horn is priceless. The worst?? The experts that know more about your car than you do and let you know they do!! I had a guy argue with me for 15 minutes that my car was made by Nash and sold in Sears stores!! I finally used the standard Crosley answer "with Crosley .....Anything is possible!!"

Like so many others...I wish I had started this hobby when I was much younger....and single!!!

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What a great opportunity to tell my "MG Story" again!

At a car show, young lady walks up to our MG and asks "What is MG?"

Thought for a minute and responded - "it's GM spelled backwards."

Response: "Huhh?"

Reply: "Well they drive on the wrong side of the road over there so that's why it's spelled backwards."

Response: "Ohh - I see!"

After a minute, then we had a great laugh - and let her sit in the car.

Terry

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Terry:

Cute story! After putting up with all the many snide remarks about Fords over these many, many years of owning a Model A with guys telling me what F-O-R-D really and truly stood for such as: "Found On Road Dead", "Fix Or Repair Daily", etc. a friend of mine in California told me out there they refer to them as "F _ _ _ ing Okies Really Dig'em". :P Guess that attitude is a holdover from the dust bowl days when Californians resented the migrant workers moving there to take what available jobs there were . . . we've come full circle and seems like things haven't changed much in 75 years!

Regards,

Fred

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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The two questions I always get are stereotypical cliches to Triumph owners:

1. "What year is your MG?" (This is so common one local guy has "NOTANMG" for his vanity license plate number.):mad:

2. "Triumph? Who made that?" (This almost always comes from someone under 40 working behind a parts desk.):mad::mad:

Oh well! :)

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I typically get two standard questions -

"How much is it worth"?

and

"What kind of gas mileage does it get?"

I assume that the first question is a result of the overinflated selling prices seen on the TV auction shows. Many people seem to assume that any old car in prime condition MUST sell for multiple six figures.

The second question seems to come from a need to sympathize over gas prices - as if the car is my daily driver and I am approaching bankrupty by being forced to drive it.

But I perceive the questions to be generally in the spirit of starting a conversation, so I quickly shift the focus toward the standard features, optional equipment, and drivability. Being a history teacher, I try to put it in the context of the times, and it is gratifying to see the light bulb of understanding suddenly blink on.

Jim Eccleston

1961 Coupe de Ville

BATILAC

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In response to the questions about value, I often say that it would cost considerably less than a new Mustang/Camaro/Challenger.

Where do you get tires? A--there are two or three companies making new tires in the old sizes.

Do you have to add lead to the gas? A--no, these cars pre-date the addition of lead to gas.

Are you going to restore it? (It's a '14 Overland roadster with no paint) A--not if I can help it!

And the best ever was from a US border guard as we were heading to the Old Car Festival at Dearborn: Who was the original owner? A--darned if I know!

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Terry:

Cute story! After putting up with all the many snide remarks about Fords over these many, many years of owning a Model A with guys telling me what F-O-R-D really and truly stood for such as: "Found On Road Dead", "Fix Or Repair Daily", etc. a friend of mine in California told me out there they refer to them as "F _ _ _ ing Okies Really Dig'em". :P Guess that attitude is a holdover from the dust bowl days when Californians resented the migrant workers moving there to take what available jobs there were . . . we've come full circle and seems like things haven't changed much in 75 years!

Regards,

Fred

My favorite to snide remarks about Ford " FirstOnRaceDay"

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I get many of the same questions that have been covered, but here is one of my favorits and it has happened twice. My 50 F1 stake bed has nice heavy fiberglass front fenders. The previous owner used them because good ones are hard to find and he was building a driver. I don't mind it at all and they look fine. Two different times people have stood there talking to me and rapped their knuckles on the fender and say, "thy don't make steel like that anymore". The first time I started to tell them they were fiberglass but stopped myself and just said they sure don't, trying not to laugh. Did hesitate the second time.

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When I'm with my '62 Buick, people ask if I bought it brand new........I'm 66 so in 1962 I was 16. My answer to that would be, "I only wish I could have afforded it". When I'm with the Mets, the first question is, "Is this the car that goes in the water"? I'm so sick of answering that question!! The cars look nothing alike at all. 2nd. question..........do you drive it???? My answer is, "no I pedal it" .............. But I do let the kids sit in the Mets. They really get a kick out of them.

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Not a question, just a dumb statement. I had my T out one day, at a small local show. I heard Joe Knowitall tell his wife, "I sure hate to be that guy when he needs tires for that thing." That was the first time I had taken it out after, you guessed it, putting 5 brand new tires on it. They still had the little rubber **** on them and were as shiny as a new dime.

Post scrip. I see that's a dirty word. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, little rubber cha cha bingos

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I haven't dealt with this in a long time because I haven't had an old car on the road, but I remember the common "what's it worth" question being asked all the time long before the advent of TV and internet auctions. Its always been a popular misconception that collecting old cars was a "rich man's" hobby... its anything but. 99% of the old car guys I've know weren't rich though quite a few were fairly well-to-do after years of hard work. That question has always amazed me... its positively rude but no one ever seems to question it.

My favorite question... back in the 1970's, in my office, I had a photo of myself at about age 25 sitting on my 1910 REO. One of my employees, about 19 at the time, asked my father if that was him and did he buy the car new. I thought it was very funny but my dad didn't! (He was born in 1916... and regarded all old cars as useless junk.)

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One question that I will invariably get asked every time I drive or park one my 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster around our auto-centered suburban Detroit areas is;

"What kind of Ford is that?" "Is it a model T?" "Is it a model A?"

Not taking anything away from Fords. But why do people who don't collect cars always think that every antique or classic car is a Ford???

I get this when I drive my 1920's Chevy as well.

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Huptoy:

Great looking car - love the Mullins trailer! Yeah, seems like "old cars" in general have a magnetic appeal to the younger generation; I like letting 5-6 year olds sit behind the wheel and blow the Ah-ooo-gah horn when their parents are present. If I could count the number of times I've had the Model A parked at a car show or in the city park on July 4 and little kids climbed up on the running boards to have a peak inside. Don't mind "sharing" my car with the public but do get a little upset with parents who don't know I'm sitting at a picnic table 20 feet away and they take it upon themselves to open the door and put their 7 year old in the driver's seat and let them start blowing the horn and fiddling with the spark and throttle controls without asking first - it's almost as if they assume the old car is "public property" and they have a right to do whatever they want without asking permission.

I drove my Model A 2,700 miles roundtrip from Dallas, Texas to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1986 to attend the national Model A Ford convention and my 5 and 8 year old sons rode with me (they are now 31 and 34 years old). We had a wonderful lifetime experience and I even took their picture posing in front of the fence that Tom Sawyer convinced Huck Finn to whitewash for him (Mark Twain's home in Hannibal, Missouri). On that trip we were eating at a restaurant in Illinois and I looked out the window and a woman was picking up her 3-4 year old child and putting him on the front fender and letting him repeatedly "slide" down the fender to the runningboard! Guess she didn't realize what rivets in blue jeans can do to a paintjob! It didn't take long for me to bolt out the door and ask her to not do that!

[ATTACH=CONFIG]171087[/ATTACH]

Fred

I had a similar situation at a local show with my '28 Ford RP. I was walking back to my truck when I noticed 3 good sized twentsomethings crammed in the cab. I guess they wanted to see if they would fit. Man was I ticked,more so because they had to climb on the running boards with their dirty work boots and I never used the boards after restoration! I calmly walked up to the truck and leaned inside and said "Hi fellas, pretty neat truck huh?" They responded "Yeh ,this is cool man!" I said "Do you think the owner would appreciate you being in here?". "Well we don't know who he is,we're not hurting anything!" I responded " i know the owner and he is on his way over here and will he be angry when he sees you guys. You better get out now and git". Boy those guys piled out like their buts were on fire! You just don't know about some people. I also am wary of women carrying purses or men who have the long chains dangling from their pants. I had one guy looking at the truck one day wearing a truckers wallet and a chain about 12 ins. long hanging down. I asked him not to get so close and he stood up ,turn around abruptly and that stupid chain bounced of about 4 spokes of the spare wheel. Fortunately,no damage! One question folks would ask about the truck was "Does the top fold down?". They seemed so perplexed when I told them no and that it was designed not to fold or come off! People also seemed to think that you had to really slam the doors to get them shut! I don't know why that was, I guess it's the same theory that if you meet a blind person you must scream at them so they can hear you better! Go figure! Still it wa a lot of fun..I do miss that truck!

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Car: 1950 Packard Custom Sedan [built for sale as a '49 then renumbered by the factory as a '50 when it didn't sell... but that's another story].

1. What year is it?

A. '50

2. Is that the original paint?

A. 'bout 90% of it.

3. What kind of mileage do you get?

A. Don't know... never checked... I might not be able to afford it if I knew.

4. Who made Packard?

A. Packard

5. Where do you get that weird battery?

A. Farm/tractor supply or NAPA.

6. Straight Eight?

A. Yeah.

7. Parts must be hard to find.

A. Not really, just sometimes pricey.

8. Where did you get it?

A. e-Bay, Moline Illinois.

9. How long have you had it?

A. 6 years.

I've only been asked "what's it worth" a very few times. I usually respond with a range that I think I could actually sell it for [not that I ever would].

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In response to the questions about value, I often say that it would cost considerably less than a new Mustang/Camaro/Challenger.

Where do you get tires? A--there are two or three companies making new tires in the old sizes.

Do you have to add lead to the gas? A--no, these cars pre-date the addition of lead to gas.

Are you going to restore it? (It's a '14 Overland roadster with no paint) A--not if I can help it!

And the best ever was from a US border guard as we were heading to the Old Car Festival at Dearborn: Who was the original owner? A--darned if I know!

Ian:

Whenever I have been asked who was the original owner, I always have replied, "Henry Ford." Don't guess that would work with an '14 Overland.

Fred

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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Most common question: Where do you get parts/tires?

Most amusing question, and one my wife and I still joke about every time we see a bird-style hood ornament. I was out in my father's Model A when a fellow in a pickup rolls up next to me at a light, nods towards the famous Model A quail hood ornament and says, "What is that, some kind of grouse?" So now every bird hood ornament that we see, from LaSalle herons to Packard cormorants, is "some kind of grouse."

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