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heftylefty

"Showroom Stock" not always the best thing to do.

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gotta say that i enjoy this type of discussion and it IS in the proper place on this forum! i now agree with the first post...but still prefer a modern rod to utilize a modern 'repop' body or maybe a truly unwanted body. (also gotta wonder how long before THIS thread is closed....:P)

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heftylefty,

I was not quite correct in my post late last night. Actually Cummins created the first Diesel Car, by installing one of his engines in a used Packard. From the Cummins Company website:

"After a decade of fits and starts,

during which time the diesel engine failed to take hold as a commercial success,

a stroke of marketing genius by Clessie Cummins helped save the Company. Cummins

mounted a diesel engine in a used Packard limousine and on Christmas day in 1929

took W.G. Irwin for a ride in America's first diesel-powered automobile. Irwin's

enthusiasm for the new engine led to an infusion of cash into the Company,"

So, while I can find nothing but your eyewitness account of the example that you cited, I will not dispute it. I will just point out again that this site is paid for by the Antique Automobile Club of America. The purposes of the AACA are not to promote modification of vehicles but restoration of vehicles. A new poster who seems to want to promote modification of vehicles over restoration tends to get on folks nerves here rather quickly.

As far as your statement of, "I suppose you could contact Cummins to see if a copy of the Clessie Cummins letter to the original buyer is in their archives if you are really interested".

I'm not interested. I am here to discuss antique car restoration, not modification.

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The best responce on this thread,

Quote;

"The purposes of the AACA are not to promote modification of vehicles but restoration of vehicles. ...I am here to discuss antique car restoration, not modification."

I like both kinds of cars, and like birds of a feather, I discuss them on different sites.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

After enjoying and reading this thread I went to HAMB and the first thing that I viewed was a vidieo about B17's , B25's and a Mosquitoe bomber.

Not exactly what is suppose to be on the site, but nothing but complements on the post.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)

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I defend my statements. There are a few youth still buying, but it is very limited. ............... He says they have no idea what a GTO is :)

Here's where the touring segment of the AACA can help educate those fellows who do not know what a GTO is! I'm not condoning this, but back in my time a stock '64 GTO could pull the front wheels off the ground, something that will get your attention and help you remember what was special about the first muscle car. (My friend had an early Corvette that would do the same thing)

As far as who wants what... I spotted the viewing stats on this site a few months ago...the TOP NUMBER ONE "brand specific" forum on AACA is the Buick Reatta forum. There's the proof. People want a modern driving car that has all the modern junk, is still fairly new, parts somewhat easier to get..etc etc. Then look at some of the other brand-forums that are only old cars...Just 2 or less people viewing...because...Nobody cares anymore. However, the prewar Dodge boys are putting in a good amount of posts, though.

The Reatta Forum is very active, but I'd say that the younger members of our hobby spend more time on social media. Most of those old prewar guys are too busy in the garage working on their old cars. Yes, and maybe adjusting mechanical brakes. :)

Hey, working on them soothes the soul.;)

As far as back roads in my area...they are also going to fast, tailgating, cell talking, try to pass, .... and the poor economy is not helping their demeanor...they are either rushing to get to a job they hate, or rushing home to a life they can't stand. The world has changed... Truth

A bigger truth has never been told. Still, as someone else said, drive the back roads, even use a slow moving sign if necessary. There is no more fun in this world than enjoying the country side in an old car, driving it as it was meant to be driven, leisurely.

Wayne

Edited by R W Burgess (see edit history)

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It seems like we have one of these threads every week. Someone asking a question about modifications or looking for tolerance of modified cars and posting it on a site that is CLEARLY not set up to accept it. The usual results with extreme comments from strong adherents on both sides with no resolution, sometimes resulting in angry comments. I think the majority are like me and think there is room for all - I don't currently own a hot rod but wouldn't mind having a nice one. But at the same time I'm going out of my way to preserve an original prewar car in its "Showroom Stock" condition because I know how rare something like that is. In the end I doubt people's minds are going to change much.

I do like Wayne's statement:

Still, as someone else said, drive the back roads, even use a slow moving sign if necessary. There is no more fun in this world than enjoying the country side in an old car, driving it as it was meant to be driven, leisurely.

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heftylefty,

I was not quite correct in my post late last night. Actually Cummins created the first Diesel Car, by installing one of his engines in a used Packard. From the Cummins Company website:

"After a decade of fits and starts,

during which time the diesel engine failed to take hold as a commercial success,

a stroke of marketing genius by Clessie Cummins helped save the Company. Cummins

mounted a diesel engine in a used Packard limousine and on Christmas day in 1929

took W.G. Irwin for a ride in America's first diesel-powered automobile. Irwin's

enthusiasm for the new engine led to an infusion of cash into the Company,"

So, while I can find nothing but your eyewitness account of the example that you cited, I will not dispute it. I will just point out again that this site is paid for by the Antique Automobile Club of America. The purposes of the AACA are not to promote modification of vehicles but restoration of vehicles. A new poster who seems to want to promote modification of vehicles over restoration tends to get on folks nerves here rather quickly.

As far as your statement of, "I suppose you could contact Cummins to see if a copy of the Clessie Cummins letter to the original buyer is in their archives if you are really interested".

I'm not interested. I am here to discuss antique car restoration, not modification.

Didn't know Cummins' first vehicle was a car. I knew they did a few before WWII much like Gardner in England did several high end cars both as transportation and a rolling demonstrator.

Again, the reason for this thread was NOT to exhort owners of Packards to go find rare Cummins diesel engines, pull out the factory engine and convert them over. To do that today would be kind of stupid, I think. It was to bemoan the fact that someone took one that was already done, and done very well, with Cummins factory support and custom castings not replicable today, and destroyed it.

In England, several of the Gardner works cars-Rollses, Lagondas, Jaguars, and maybe an Aston Martin- have been restored to the condition the Gardner Works constructed them, often with one-off engines. I think that's the exactly correct thing to have been done. That is restoration per se, in the sense that something is going back to a prior condition. Others have stuck Gardners and Perkinses and whatnot in old Rolls as a method of getting a big car that is cheap to run, some of those conversions are "bodge jobs" and some fairly well done, but that isn't restoration. It does keep the car on the road and out of the "breakers" (junkyards), but that's another matter.

Some will just never accept that the restoration of a Gardner-Rolls works car to Gardner's standards IS restoration since it didn't come out of Crewe (or is it Derby?) that way. To them, I'm a Lutheran arguing with the College of Cardinals and therefore this is not worth pursuing, since we have differing True Religions, and True Religion is not for logic or debate. (I'm using an analogy and not wanting to discuss religion religion here.) But others will understand just what I mean and it's for those I write. The True Religionists are no different than the people on HAMB who just have to put a small block Chevy in everything because that's THEIR True Religion.

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F&J,

While I would like to see more people on the Model A Forum here, there are too many alternatives out there. Fordbarn and some others are way more active than our Reatta Forum here. There are several reasons why the Reatta Forum is the most active one on this site, but that does not mean that it is the only collector car that people are interested in. I don't think that the prewar hobby future is nearly as limited as you seem to think. Feel free to point me to any of those low priced Model A Fords. I am in the market for a 1931 Fordoor or Town Sedan, preferably a Slant Windshield one, but will consider 1930 or early 1931 as well. The prices that I have seen have certainly not been less than they used to be.

Well off the topic again, but the second subject about the "apparent" changing of peoples "wants", are worth mentioning (IMO) As far as Medel A "sales" that I have handled: A good friend in his late 70s passed away about 3 years ago; a life long A guy. His family , extended family, and one friend bought all of the estate cars except one. A 29 Murray sedan. The eldest son asked me to sell it for the family and wanted no part in the sale, and asked me to store it, and sell it quickly. I was asked for a quick sale price by the son and I said 4500 should do it. I sat on it for several months, but only used Ford Barn and Hamb. I was even PM'd on the Barn, telling me it was way too cheap! I replied that "hey. it is still here though"

Finally sold to a guy on the Barn for 4150, paid for right away in person, but i had to agree to store it a few months. I had to take the deal, as he was the only buyer. This car ran nice and was useable, and was in the funeral prossesion BTW. I believe the passed owner bought it for 5800 a couple of years prior.

When I mentioned the old pricing on A roadsters... I was talking comparative values, not actual dollar amounts. I said a A roadster was worth what a then new LTD or fancy Impala had for a new car sticker price.

I wish things were not going this way, but as a former part time flipper, I won't touch a average prewar car anymore, as it is way too risky. I dealt with cars I really liked, because I at least got to own them for a short spell :) . I think it is a game of musical chairs...at some point, there is only one person left.

One thing I have learned is that the market pricing of cars as well as parts, was always driven by flippers. The flippers have backed off for good reason; the economy, the dwindling market, etc. This brings prices downward in a hurry.

Going too long here..but...there is a local advertized 32 Pont 6 wheel coach in what appears to be Senior quality restoration... begging for months for the firm price of 15k. I really like it, but don't dare stick my heirs with it. :( Another very elderly friend who is very antique car savy said today :"who would want it enough to buy it, and I will bet he could not find a buyer at 10k".

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F&J, I can see how your viewpoint and experiences might make you think that pre-war cars are "risky", but would like to review the point further.

Judging the prewar market based on Model A's is like judging the postwar market on early Thunderbirds, there are a LOT of them out there, and basically it's a commodity purchase. On most early cars, you might say "gee, I want a 1931 Pontiac", and you take whatever color and options happens to show up. On Model A's and Tbirds, you first decide that you want "a slant windshield late '31 sedan" or a "red 1956 with automatic", THEN you go looking. Since so many cars are available, prices are kept in check, although from what I've seen a really nice 30-31 Model A deluxe roadster will still bring mid-$20K (which will buy an Impala by the way, or pretty darn close).

Now, let's look at some other market segments of pre-war cars.

Brass cars, or HCCA eligible, are bringing strong dollars. Anything pre-1915 that's decent will bring good money, even a chassis as a project is $5-10K. There's no lack of interest in the early cars, and there's surely no one around who drove them in their youth. Any decent mid-range pre-1915 car is at least $25K, and many are much higher. From what I see, the market is as strong as ever for those cars.

Model T's, while they should be somewhat of a commodity also, seem to bring good prices for good cars. In addition, the Model T Ford clubs seem to be very strong, with many people driving the heck out of their cars. Interest is very high in these cars, as they are reasonably priced, fairly easy to fix (probably easier to fix than drive!), and they're eligible for a lot of tours. Read the forums on the MTFCA and you'll see strong interest. There are also a LOT of young people and families touring in Model T's.

Your point that "run of the mill" cars might be suffering may be true, but good cars still bring good prices, and people are interested in them.....

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F&J, looked like a nice old "A". Wish I saw that one right in my backyard for four grand, I miss my old "A" but I don't frequent Fordbarn anymore or HAMB. Too bad it was not on AACA - maybe you would have reached a more interested crowd.

Anyway, forgetting rods vs. restored for a moment if OP is referring to that fraction of 1% of cars modified and documented well in period, that is an interesting point. Makes me think of an early 50s Packard I read about in the Cormorant once, which the original owner, an engineer or something simillar had held for around 40 years. In that time, he made minor modifications to help preserve and improve his pride and joy, carefully documenting each of them in a very detailed maintenance log. The car went to a collector who valued that as part of its history, and has elected to preserve it in it's "original" as modified/maintained/documented by the original owner - condition. Clearly valued enough by Packard people to feature in the PAC periodical. Personally, on this particular car my approach would be the same. In this case, the mods were not what I would consider "hot rodding" and represented the original owner's dedication to keeping the car in top form. Also, this particular car (early 50s Packard sedan - can't recall model now may have been a lower level like a 200) is a nice, but not extremely rare or desirable car. Since we are not talking about a Caribean convertible, the added interest seems to enhance the car's historical and possibly even monetary value in this case.

Admittedly examples like that are few and far between, but could be interesting discussion if anyone can come up with others.

Simillarly I had a great visit with an older gent a few years ago at a show in CT, where he had a stunning '36 Ford roadster, which had some unusual trim attached to it he had fabricated himself. He went on to tell me how the car was set up with OD (I think) so he would not be a "slug" on the Merritt Parkway here, and how he worked for Dragone Bros. for years, as a restoration mechanic. I would not change a thing on that car either, although the mods were likely much more recent to me, in this case, they are integral to the car's history. The car was also clearly not a hot rod despite the personalization. Another stone stock restoration in this case, on a desirable but not super rare car would not benefit this one, IMHO, although others would think differently.

Lastly, I believe AACA does now recognize period hot rods although I do not know enough of the specifics on this to speak intelligently to it. That is just a side comment and getting a bit away from my post which is really to spark thought or discussion about those rare "grey area" cars.

So it is a tough call in some cases, even for a member of this (AACA) church. :)

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
added a couple of thoughts (see edit history)

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There has been a lot of the usual discussion of the street rod vs. restoration thing of late. In general, I'm inclined to agree with the restorers, but to take a car back to factory is sometimes not a very good thing to do.

Most cars go to the junkyard with all their original bits intact. The engine, transmission, rear end, everything are all stock. In most cases today the head and the oil pan have never been off the engine. When I junked my Dodge Neon, it was 100 percent stock and all that ever had been replaced was the CV joints and one brake rotor. It was a perfectly good car structurally. The transmission finally gave out and its market value was less than it would cost to fix it. This is essentially unchanged today from fifty years ago except that back then most cars had a lot of rust damage that made them structurally questionable or impact damage.

A car that gets a different engine or transmission, custom bodywork, or is fitted with custom equipment when it is new or a late model with value, is statistically rare, maybe more so today than fifty years ago, but even then wasn't common. It usually has a story and that story is often interesting and sometimes historically important.

The best example I know of was, sometime in the late 1980s, a 1940 or 1941 Packard that was found in a garage outside Kansas City when its owner died. The car had been fitted with a four cylinder Cummins diesel engine, because diesel fuel wasn't rationed in the war, and the car was to be used to take the owner's wife to the doctor or hospital when necessary. The husband was a Navy Captain at the time and the wife had a serious respiratory ailment which was why the car was bought in the first place, it being the only air conditioned car available at that time. The installation was done with Cummins factory assistance, and was a beautifully engineered affair that involved several custom castings of aluminum such as a bellhousing and oil pan. Back then, that engine was more expensive than the car itself and today would be an interesting collectible in and of itself (yes, there are old diesel engine collectors).

The wife died sometime right after the war and the car went into the back of a shed, on blocks. The owner, who survived the war, remarried and that was the end of that, until the owner died and the offspring sold the estate.

The car was bought by a Restorer. And Restore it he did, just the way it came out of the Packard factory. The Cummins engine and all the castings were unceremoniously hauled to the scrap yard and kicked out of the back of the truck. The factory documents including a letter signed by Clessie Cummins were thrown out too.

What had been a unique piece of history was just another moderately common Packard.

I don't know where that car is today, but if it's now a Street Rod with an LS6 under the hood, a nine inch Ford rear end and the suspension lowered to an inch off the pavement, I'd enjoy seeing it.

Less dramatic examples include the Fordillacs and Studillacs built in the 50s, most of which were not "hot rods" but intended for people who wanted a faster, inconspicuous car, ham radio operators' cars fitted with Leece Neville alternators and high voltage three phase tapoffs, the Wilcap diesel conversions in the 70s and Ak Miller's turbo and propane installs.

Many dealers in the pre-EPA days offered modified cars to buyers, too. Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago was one of the more famous ones. Sure, you can rip all that stuff off, but you are making something that was distinct and sought after in its day into something ordinary and common.

We need to cultivate judgment and an appreciation of real history (as opposed to the current narrative) when dealing with these important and fascinating cars.

What is showroom stock? I had a 1959 Pontiac Catalina that my dad special ordered as a "A" stock automatic drag car. From the factory it came with some Super Duty parts. It also came with a solid lifter cam and lifters in the trunk because Pontiac would not warranty a car with a solid lifter cam. Through the dealer we removed the vacuum control from the tri-power carbs and install factory mechanical progressive linkage. Cars built like that today bring big bucks. Was the car stock? Does the cam in the trunk compromise the car?

Another example would be the 1964 Pontiac GTO that was used in the Pontiac vs. Ferrari GTO shootout by Car & Driver magazine. Jim Wangers, who was a executive for Pontiac's advertisement agency handled almost all of Pontiac's press fleet through a Pontiac dealership called Royal Pontiac. Was that GTO modified? The engine received a 2nd stage Royal Bobcat engine treatment, and to top it off the engine wasn't a 389. Royal, under Wangers direction installed a 421 H-0 Bobcat. Is the car stock? Not on your life! Does it look stock? Absolutely, only a trained Pontiac eye can tell because dimensionally all Pontiac engines are the same and a 389 with 3-2bbl carbs uses 421 cylinder heads. That car is alive and well today, and is worth big bucks. Would it get past a AACA judge? Unless he knows Pontiac's very very well.......Probably. It certainly got by the editors of the magazine!

A little FYI here about a stock GTO....any GTO including Wangers ringer car. While a GTO is a fast car, a stock GTO even with headers and slicks will NOT pull the front wheels off the ground. With today's tire technology and some suspension work you might be able to get the left tire to come off the ground for a hundredth of a second on a stock, Bobcatted 421.

Where we did see some cars doing wheel stands was when the factory race teams were supplied with factory experimental race cars in A/FX, B/FX and C/FX in about 1963, which were a step above Super Stock. Why did we start seeing wheelies?? because the factory started altering the wheel base for better traction. Moving the rear wheels forward put a lot of weight on the rear end to almost a teetering point. Those cars began to look very FUNNY and out of this classification ( Factory Experimental ) came a new classification, when the factory support went away which has endured to this day known as FUNNY CAR. These old ex race cars are also very collectible and are worth big bucks. Even though these cars are modified, most all car clubs recognize them at their events, even the clubs that have a mission statement that says they are all about preservation, historical value, and restoration. Go figure.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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