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Driving a Prewar Car on a Modern Highway

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I was thinking about your basic 65 mph 6 lane highway. I haven't seen a non hot rod prewar car I years.

You haven't seen a non-hot rod prewar car in years? That's pitiful. You must live in south central Florida. It's like that here, but not up in Maryland and Virginia. I'd love to move back to Virginia but I just can't handle the snow and ice. I drive my '39 Buicks on the Interstate on occasion. The biggest problem is big trucks throwing stones as they roar by. The car will go 65, maybe 70, but it isn't fun to have the speed demons bearing down on your back bumper. It's not the car's fault, it's the public.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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I drive my 1925 Buick standard Touring on the local back roads in central Pa. Route 11 north and south usually has spots up to 55 mph. It is pretty wound out at 45mph. So to get to our Mason-Dixon June 20th car show up at Mechanicsburg Pa makes it a 1 1/2 hour drive on country roads. In 2013 I drove our 1937-41 Special to the Buick Nationals at South Bend Ind. 100 + degree heat most of the trip and it definitely did not like the mountains. Once we got to the flat land in Ohio it was happy at 55 all day. Whenever we edged up to 60 the temp also climbed up. There are times that I can not find a parallel side road and driving at 60+ on an interstate is quite unnerving. I have to start planning my route to Springfield Missouri for this years Buick Nationals. Driving the 1937.post-79073-143143005404_thumb.jpg

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You haven't seen a non-hot rod prewar car in years? That's pitiful. You must live in south central Florida. It's like that here, but not up in Maryland and Virginia. I'd love to move back to Virginia but I just can't handle the snow and ice. I drive my '39 Buicks on the Interstate on occasion. The biggest problem is big trucks throwing stones as they roar by. The car will go 65, maybe 70, but it isn't fun to have the speed demons bearing down on your back bumper. It's not the car's fault, it's the public.

I drove yesterday on I=75 from Ocala to Tampa and back for a baseball game, I was driving my 2012 Sierra and I was in the right lane and I was going slow at 82 MPH! I would not feel comfortable driving a vintage car on that road. I think my vintage cars can handle it much better then me! Tail gating while texting seems to be the norm, I don't like it when people drive 5 feet away from my new car, I really don't like it when I am in one of my old ones. Besides when we drive our toys why be in a hurry

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I build mid 50s and newer for my highway cruisers and keep the prewar stuff for local use only,my prewar experience has been light trucks only and they just do not feel right above 65 even with much modifications and there is no way I would ever take one on a trip to Florida like I do in my 55 Ford convertible. Prewar and slightly after cars might be better then the trucks but I have never really driven one much.

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I drive my 31 Cadillac 355A fairly often ( more often since I installed a heater!) locally, but do so only on 2 lane back roads, or 4 lanes where the speed limit is 55. It came from the factory with a 4:54 ratio rear, and although it rides, steers and stops well (yes, it has mechanical brakes) it is for all practical purposes a 45-50mph car. Above 50mph, the engine is really wound up. The car is great fun just motoring along on the 2 lane back roads - you get a real sense of what it was like back in the day - you guys know what I mean. Not long after acquiring the car, I pulled the pan to check the babbit bearings. The rods were nearly shot, the mains were ok. Typical, I think for a long stroke engine like this that was run too hard. I repaired that little problem, lol and have contemplated installing a gearvendors overdrive unit. I am lucky in that I also have a 66 corvette with a 427 that I can jump in if I want to go faster;).

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I just drove for a wedding in a 1939 Rolls Royce. It's all stock. Except for a Tail/Brake/tag light on the left rear bumper.

It even has operational semaphore turn signals

I drove 20 miles north on I 59 then back down I -59 to I-459 for about 30 miles.

I drove 55-60 mph

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Edited by bhambulldog (see edit history)

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I'm so happy that car was not painted white!

Right !!

The owner of the Rolls also has a '52 Bentley. The Bentley was originally a stately grey and black. It now sports a solid white... :-(

The Brides love a white car for weddings.

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I drive a 1932 Packard 900 Light Eight which I restored. It has all new babbitt bearings and of course, mechanical brakes. The rear end is 4.36/1 and I cruise the car comfortably at 45-50 mph. Both me and the car are happiest at about 45 mph. After that the engine seems wound out although it will go faster if you want it to but is very uncomfortable feeling at higher speeds. First gear is all but superfluous in this car; my grandfather pulled stumps out of the ground with a '31 Packard. I tour the car with the VMCCA and all of our tours for these older pre-war cars seem to be designed around a 40-45 mph average speed. I agree with the poster that prefers to go slower and "smell the roses"; that is why I drive an old car. I have it because I want a 1932 driving experience, not a modern one which I can get every day in a modern car.

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I find adventure/nostalgia in driving these old beauties on the open road. I've made a few 1000-2000 mile trips in a classic. Although I have to admit negotiating cities is very taxing. My trips have usually been to fly from California to the midwest and attempt to drive home what usually boils down to a barn find that runs and stops. I try not to worry too much about speed...and I've found that the Interstate freeways are easier than the more picturesque blue highways. On the freeway, other folks can whip past you at their desired supersonic speeds. All the while honking and waving because, I assume, they are jealous.

I should admit though, that I've retired from the risky barn find, and only drive what I've fixed up and know that I can reasonably depend on, ie: safe tires, good brakes, and working lights. It really is enough adventure in a good running classic.

-Wishbone

couple of pics of my latest run: 1935 Nash

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I'll confess to be the driver behind the wheel of the 32 Packard that was the subject of this thread. While interstate driving is not a joy that I look forward to, it's great to have a stock pre war car that can handle all road contitions if necessary. The higher speeds on the big highways are not too difficult to deal with, it's the rush hour traffic that is most worrysome. I find short drives at 70 mph or so are a great way to prove the cars cooling system as well as the fuel delivery and ignition systems. If a car will run down the interstate at modern speeds for 30 miles with no issues, I declare the car bullet proof and just drive it from then on. I pride myself on cars that run well, as new and are so reliable that I don't carry a single tool. It takes a while to get the car to where you can depend on it and no longer worry about break down issues, but once it is properly sorted, there is nothing like driving a stock pre war CCCA Classic car. The Packard has a high speed rear in it, almost to long for my taste. It makes seconed gear useful while driving in town, otherwise it is the only modification the car has from new. Look for the car at Pebble Beach in 2017,as we have just started to do a total restoration to fix the 1980's restoration. The car was suffering from mechinical short cuts and some paint failure. But even then, it's a true American masterpiece of design and engineering.

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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I'll confess to be the driver behind the wheel of the 32 Packard that was the subject of this thread. While interstate driving is not a joy that I look forward to, it's great to have a stock pre war car that can handle all road contitions if necessary. The higher speeds on the big highways are not too difficult to deal with, it's the rush hour traffic that is most worrysome. I find short drives at 70 mph or so are a great way to prove the cars cooling system as well as the fuel delivery and ignition systems. If a car will run down the interstate at modern speeds for 30 miles with no issues, I declare the car bullet proof and just drive it from then on. I pride myself on cars that run well, as new and are so reliable that I don't carry a single tool. It takes a while to get the car to where you can depend on it and no longer worry about break down issues, but once it is properly sorted, there is nothing like driving a stock pre war CCCA Classic car. The Packard has a high speed rear in it, almost to long for my taste. It makes seconed gear useful while driving in town, otherwise it is the only modification the car has from new. Look for the car at Pebble Beach in 2017,as we have just started to do a total restoration to fix the 1980's restoration. The car was suffering from mechinical short cuts and some paint failure. But even then, it's a true American masterpiece of design and engineering.

Magnificent car !!! It was built to be driven !!

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Drive it like you stole it is our shop motto!

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