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Antique Reproduction Battery


AJFord54
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I was at Spring Carlisle and stopped at the booth that sells the antique batteries for our cars - you know - the one's that look exactly like the originals. The knock on them has always been that they don't last and need replacement often. Well, that day seems to be gone, as they now are just "cases" with Optima batteries on the inside (for the record - the lead on the top looked very fake to me).

Could we now compare this to the discussion on the new "radials" that look like "bias" tires? They have been deemed illegal with a 5 point deduction per tire - note: I do not disagree with that. But, to be consistent - this is exactly the same thing. They look like an original but are bogus on the inside.

AACA has been liberal on batteries, allowing any battery that looks to be acceptable due to the inability to obtain correct batteries and at least a modern manufactured battery has the old fashioned insides. But, we certainly know that an Optima battery in a classic is (gulp) ugly and unacceptable to say the least.

So, where do these "radial", err - "Optima" batteries fit in to the scheme of things?

Edited by AJFord54 (see edit history)
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If it looks correct, there is no deduction...

The specific quote from the Judging Guidelines is: "Batteries, headlights, belts, tires, hoses and clamps may be of modern manufacture, but must be visually of the era of the vehicle and of the type specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Specific brand is not important."

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as they now are just "cases" with Optima batteries on the inside (for the record - the lead on the top looked very fake to me).

I spoke to Antique Auto Battery today and according to them they do not use a Optima battery as the dimensions are larger than most car batteries of the day, plus the terminal posts are not in the same location. Optima uses a gel filled technology and their manufacture uses a AGN technology and they make batteries for military vehicles. There are manufactures who make a fake case and top for a Optima battery but it would be easy for judges to spot as it is larger and the posts are in a different location. I have bought a few of these AGN technology batteries from Antique Auto Battery and one is going on 7 years old and still has plenty of life leftand looks exactly period correct.

Edited by Ron Green (see edit history)
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For years I messed around with pouring acid in batteries and checking the level every few months hoping not to blow up when charging. I am up to 19 batteries am glad for the sealed units.

From their website: AGM Battery Technology was originally developed in 1985 for military aircraft where power, weight, safety, and reliability were vital considerations. This "next generation" technology delivers increased safety, performance, and service life over all other existing sealed battery types. AGM batteries deliver and absorb higher rates of amperage than other sealed batteries during discharging and charging.

Ted, sounds like you have my kind of luck. At least you got 4 years out of it. I have had decent battery life since using battery tenders. I did get 11 years out of one.

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The AGM technology used in these repro batteries is the same technology used in Optima batteries. The repro batteries don't have an exact Optima battery inside of them, but they DO have the same technology. The sales rep was likely somewhat oversimplifying the facts in his statement.

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I have one for my 39 Buick, and it is different from the one in my 71 Riviera. I don't like either one of them, but the long skinny one for the 39 Buick is the worst. It turns the car much slower than the lead acid battery. Also it has to be charged with a regular battery charger. The one for my 71 Riviera can be charged with the little 2amp trickle charger and it does start the car normally. However, I know somebody who burned their car up and their garage down while re-charging an Optima battery. The battery blew up and caught on fire, then everything else...car, garage and all. When a show is not involved I use a modern lead-acid battery. Once I have the cars to the final award levels, I will no longer use these hi-tech batteries. I don't like having them in the car. This is only based on what little I know and the fact that I am never sure the long skinny six volt is going to start the car. I carry the long skinny lead-acid battery in the trailer just in case. One good thing is the so-called hi-tech battery weighs half as much or less than the lead-acid battery and at my age it is getting hard to get a lead-acid battery in and out of a '39 Buick. The Oldsmobile had an Optima in it when I bought it. I took it out immediately and gave it to my neighbor and bought a long skinny 12-volt battery. That's not so great either, as the 12-volt long skinny has only 625 CCA and sometimes I wonder if it will start the car. As soon as it dies I'm going to reinstall the square case they made for the optima and buy a lead-acid square battery for this car...it is only a driver car anyway.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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I question using an AGM battery in an "older" vintage car.

I owned a 42 foot sailboat with an inboard diesel engine that I sold back in 2001. The Balmar alternator had a very hi-tech solid-state regulator that had specific switch settings for each type of battery; deep cycle flood, AGM, and Gel, etc. As I recall the AGM batteries were very sensitive to an accurate charging voltage, which was a lower voltage setting than other batteries.

It doesn't seem like the voltage control of an older auto regulator would fit the bill for an AGM battery.

Anyone use a normal flat top battery and add one of those Tar Topper? http://www.tartopper.com One issue is they are only made for Group 24 and Optima batteries. They appear to look good with a battery like the pictured Group 24 Exide, but I don't like the look with an Optima battery since the posts are in the wrong locations. Would it fit the bill for "may be of modern manufacture, but must be visually of the era of the vehicle" when used with something like the Exide battery?

Visit my new and improved personal website at: www.jakegingervila.wix.com/bobs-vintage-cars-

Vila

1933 Chevrolet

1962 Triumph TR4

1984 BMW 633 CSi

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  • 4 months later...

The show I was at was hosted by the local chapter so it may not of been an official event and the awards terminology might not be correct but I was told the cars were being judged by AACA guidelines.

They gave out 3 awards per class. 3rd, 2nd and 1st which they referred to as best or champion.

The 1st place car had halogen headlights, radial tires and aftermarket battery. I would think if the AACA was associated with this event the judging would be more stringent.

I don't want to seem like this is a sour grapes post. My car was not even entered in the show. Just was making an observation of the judging

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There was a Chevelle SS that was stunning and perfect and scored very high at a national AACA event. The chassis was just as detailed as the rest of the car. The bolts and hardware were all plated as original in zinc or phosphate, nothing painted with Eastwood junk to look like plating. He didn't even place and the judges looked at his car for a total of 2 minutes.

Not knocking the AACA at all but if you assign a judge to a certain class make sure he knows the cars in that class at least. The judge was asking him what model and make the car was and if the engine came in that car because he thought it should be no bigger then 350 cubic inches.

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There is no Best of Class in AACA Judging. A car could easily get a Senior award if the points were there. The maximum deduction for a battery is 5 points.

Restorer32: Quick response to your statement. Yes it does not sound like much (5 Points) but when you are judged and have to be within 5 points of the top

car at a Grand National and 10 Points at other meets it makes a world of difference. Been there; done that. That's been my biggest complaint on AACA judging:

eg: It not the points they take from my car it's the points they don't take off the top car when there

is obvious things that are not original. Larry

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Restorer32: Quick response to your statement. Yes it does not sound like much (5 Points) but when you are judged and have to be within 5 points of the top

car at a Grand National and 10 Points at other meets it makes a world of difference. Been there; done that. That's been my biggest complaint on AACA judging:

eg: It not the points they take from my car it's the points they don't take off the top car when there

is obvious things that are not original. Larry

In my years of judging I have judged maybe 4 or so 400 point cars so yes, sometimes those 5 points can be crucial. One that sticks out was a plain Jane British sports car with no bells or whistles but it was exquisitely restored.

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AJFord54:

"Also, one never "knows" his actual point score in AACA judging. It is never publically released. Please, BUY that Judging guideline."

No; not the exact point score. But don't think that after the scoring summary sheets are sent back that the class entries don't talk/compare the results

with each other. (Especially in the bigger entry classes) :D Larry

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No; not the exact point score. But don't think that after the scoring summary sheets are sent back that the class entries don't talk/compare the results

with each other. (Especially in the bigger entry classes) :D Larry

You will not get an evaluation sheet at an AACA National Meet until after you return home. You then have the opportunity to write a letter to the VP of Class Judging and he/she will mail back a summary sheet in a self-addressed stamped letter back to you. At that point finding all of these show field competitors would be an enormous feat.

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You would still not have point values to compare with, only which areas of your vehicle that were incorrect.

Thanks R.W. for input. Final comment is "It's not the area's of your vehicle that were incorrect" spotted by the judges. Its the area's of your vehicle that are incorrect but missed

by the judges.(Only the entries themselves would know) Its like looking at a 1/2 glass of water; is it half empty or half full. Larry

P.S. The evaluation sheets not only tell what areas your vehicle where incorrect; but it also tells what areas where overlooked and assumed correct.

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AJFord54:

Yes you are absolutely correct. This was a Sunday car show hosted by the local chapter of the AACA.

I am new to the AACA and judging guidelines. I have read AACA website and now know what I described happened at this show is not the norm for the AACA.

The Chevelle was an AACA winner and had the grille emblem.

Hopefully a AACA regional event will happen in NJ so I can have my car judged. I would be curious to know how the judges would rate my car.

I wasn't bad mouthing the AACA or making an insult. If it came across like that I am sorry.

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