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American classic car that stands out from the rest of the world.


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The new cars also have some limitations to 'originality' from the production standpoint. Just a front or rear bumper on a '30's Pierce, Packard, Cadilac, Lincoln etc have about a dozen parts, and they need to be plated, assembled, aligned etc..

The average front bumper today is a plastic overlay, a plastic or metal backing or core, and two mounts.. They often are assembled by the parts supplier, and are installed as a single unit, and are auto-aligning to the grill or sheetmetal.

Look at just about any part from a prewar car, and what then took numerous machining processes. and usually several parts, fasteners, adjustments etc to create a part or device.

Today, an injection molded part with a single pass through a drilling and tapping machine will do the job..

Just look at a Startix.. a neat idea, but today could be replaced by a chip about the size of your thumbnail. and hooked to the existing starter solenoid.

When I'm working on some of my old cars. I just wonder what it would cost today, to use the old methods, materials and processes to make say 10,000 1931 ford coupes. Or 10,000 Pierce Arrow 1930 Model B coupes? Or 10,000 Auburn speedsters. ?? How about the V12 packards from 1935, and it's counterpart, a V12 Pierce. Of any body style..

I doubt that even with the 'economies' of scale [the production of 10,000 cars] that even the Ford would be more than $100,000. And the more complicated cars?? $500,000 at least.. Just making the complicated valve 'silencers', dual oil pressure/feed systems in the Packard V12 would be an expensive proposition.

And the early front wheel drive cars? superchargers ? etc.. Huge amounts of time, labor and materials

Greg L

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Heavybond if you want to know why cars are so important to some of us, try this.

Shut off every electronic device in the house. No cell phone, no texting, no ipad, no music, no video games, no Xbox, no nothing.

You are allowed to have 1, 12" TV set that gets 3 stations. You have one telephone screwed to the kitchen wall and two radios.

The oldest person in the house controls the TV. It is off most of the time. From 6 PM to 9PM you can watch what the oldest person in the house chooses.

You are allowed to use the telephone only with permission from an adult, for one 5 minute conversation per day. No long distance calls meaning you can't talk to anyone more than 10 miles away.

You have a tinny transistor radio you can listen to in your room.

Try that for a few days and see how long it takes before you want to leave the house and go where the action is.

If you lived in the country not having wheels was like a prison sentence.

Getting your driving license and a car of your own was a big deal.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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The new cars also have some limitations to 'originality' from the production standpoint. Just a front or rear bumper on a '30's Pierce, Packard, Cadilac, Lincoln etc have about a dozen parts, and they need to be plated, assembled, aligned etc..

The average front bumper today is a plastic overlay, a plastic or metal backing or core, and two mounts.. They often are assembled by the parts supplier, and are installed as a single unit, and are auto-aligning to the grill or sheetmetal.

Look at just about any part from a prewar car, and what then took numerous machining processes. and usually several parts, fasteners, adjustments etc to create a part or device.

Today, an injection molded part with a single pass through a drilling and tapping machine will do the job..

Just look at a Startix.. a neat idea, but today could be replaced by a chip about the size of your thumbnail. and hooked to the existing starter solenoid.

When I'm working on some of my old cars. I just wonder what it would cost today, to use the old methods, materials and processes to make say 10,000 1931 ford coupes. Or 10,000 Pierce Arrow 1930 Model B coupes? Or 10,000 Auburn speedsters. ?? How about the V12 packards from 1935, and it's counterpart, a V12 Pierce. Of any body style..

I doubt that even with the 'economies' of scale [the production of 10,000 cars] that even the Ford would be more than $100,000. And the more complicated cars?? $500,000 at least.. Just making the complicated valve 'silencers', dual oil pressure/feed systems in the Packard V12 would be an expensive proposition.

And the early front wheel drive cars? superchargers ? etc.. Huge amounts of time, labor and materials

Greg L

Jay Leno had a quote that I find endlessly useful in both old cars and old houses, which I love almost as much as old cars:

It used to be that labor was cheap and technology was expensive. Today, it's the other way around.

The quality of old things is often due to the lack of technology. They didn't know how many micro-grams of iron to put into an engine block to make it strong, they didn't have finite element analysis and computer simulations to tell them where to put the reinforcements, and as a result they just made everything big and heavy and strong so that it would DEFINITELY survive.

Then there are the craftsmen who did the work, who often took pride in their abilities to create something from nothing. Today, you have workers who do one semi-automated task. Think of the guy who had to not only invent a part, but draw it by hand on a piece of paper, then give it to a machinist who had to make it. I think there were a heck of a lot of very talented guys running mills and lathes who knew how to make something instinctively to interpret the drawings and get it right. Today, everything is done by computer and a human never touches it until it gets installed. There's definitely something to be said for the human element.

Our local CCCA club has a big show each Father's Day at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio (you should come, it's an awesome show!) and the mansion, which was built by the founder of Goodyear Tire, is truly spectacular. There are hand-made details throughout the building that would be absolutely impossible to replicate today no matter how much money you have, simply because there's nobody left who knows how to do it. That's a truly monumental loss, but it's just too hard to make a living hand carving wood cornices for English Tudor mansions. But back then, you had guys working for $0.50/day who knew EXACTLY how to do it and you could easily keep them employed for a year.

I don't know what my point is except that I think by losing the idea of hand-crafting things of substance, we've cheapened our society as a whole and lost touch with the human element of objects, all in pursuit of efficiency and profit. Not necessarily a bad thing, but will anyone really seek out and want to live in a McMansion made of drywall and hollow-core doors and Home Depot light fixtures 120 years from now? Will anyone seek out the world's nicest 2014 Chevrolet Impala in 2114? Doubt it.

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post-31482-143142406347_thumb.jpgMatt, I agree with you, and in addition, the pattern makers and machinists had a sense of not only function but form (and yes, in this case form does follow function!)....

Last week I was having a truss rod added to the rear axle of my 1910 Buick at a local machine/metal fabrication shop. Loading it in my Suburban, the fellow commented how pretty it was, the nice shape to the reinforcements, they have a graceful, flowing shape to them.....I've attached a photo in which you can sort of see what I'm discussing....he also mentioned it was amazing that they were doing these things over 100 years ago....but there were engineers, and there were people who knew how to make things, and make them well....

Extra points to anyone who can identify the tank on the right, carrying for a friend! It's out of a 2 cylinder brass car, if that helps....

Edited by trimacar
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I will submit for consideration the humble Crosley. Americas's first post war Sportscar the Hotshot, first American 4 wheel disc brakes, overhead cam, slab side design, first car based all steel stationwagon, and a number of other considerations in addition to being a small car long before it was popular....plus 60 miles to the gallon in 1939!!

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As a five year old child I saw two cars, the moment that I saw each has been with me for sixty five years. One was a Cord convertible and I asked with my father, who was really not a car person, what it was. He said that it was a Cord or a LaSalle. He got it right but he also got it so wrong, it wasn't until years later that I was able to, definitively, put a name with one of the exciting cars that I have ever seen. The other was a Jaguar XK120, unmatched style and performance and as special now as it was then. Any list would be incomplete without one of the most beautiful cars ever produce, the Jaguar XKE.

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Bob, right year range, but 1909 Reo....

Interesting to see people agreeing somewhat with the Cord.....a lot of the other cars are interesting and may have great styling (such as the Packard Darrin), or great handling (not the Packard Darrin), or be desirable in other ways, but were not really innovative ......as was the Cord, both L-29 and, more so, the 810-812....

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As a five year old child I saw two cars, the moment that I saw each has been with me for sixty five years. One was a Cord convertible and I asked with my father, who was really not a car person, what it was. He said that it was a Cord or a LaSalle. He got it right but he also got it so wrong, it wasn't until years later that I was able to, definitively, put a name with one of the exciting cars that I have ever seen. The other was a Jaguar XK120, unmatched style and performance and as special now as it was then. Any list would be incomplete without one of the most beautiful cars ever produce, the Jaguar XKE.

The title of the post is: [h=3]American classic car that stands out from the rest of the world.[/h]

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Sorry Curti I guess that this old man lost his focus again! Maybe because more then half of those Jags were imported to the US they have been part of the American scene for over sixty years I just lost my sense of balance.

Another American car whose impact tends to be overlooked is the 1932 Graham. Overlooked, I am sure, because it's style was so widely copied by 1933 that most American cars looked like it to some degree. Another trend setting Classic is the 1932 REO Royale.

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Sorry MB49Caddy it did just happen IMO- With the 2010-15 Camaro. In 2007 at Carlisle it took me over an hour to get near the new Camaro concept. Now almost 5 years late I still get complements almost every time I take my 5 year old car out. Back in 1947-48 as a 6 year old off Belmont Av in the Bronx, NY, was a tan Cord conv abandoned with no tires/wheels, right door missing, etc. Funny how 65 years later I still remember that strange looking car.

Edited by myold88 (see edit history)
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Sorry MB49Caddy it did just happen IMO- With the 2010-15 Camaro. In 2007 at Carlisle it took me over an hour to get near the new Camaro concept. Now almost 5 years late I still get complements almost every time I take my 5 year old car out. Back in 1947-48 as a 6 year old off Belmont Av in the Bronx, NY, was a tan Cord conv abandoned with no tires/wheels, right door missing, etc. Funny how 65 years later I still remember that strange looking car.

It is a decent looking car and they have sold a ton of them, but in deference to what happened at Carlisle I wouldn't stand it line to look at one, but I am not trying to knock your car and I know we are talking what the masses like, not what I like. Amazing that we remember so much from our childhood. I was in 8th grade - in 1983 and a Doctor up the hill (Cardio surgeon) had a 911 Turbo with Whale Tale (black). That thing was awesome, and now apparently from the prices I see on them a few other people agree that they are great looking cars.

Regards,

MB

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