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The Australian Continental Flyer build thread

Guest Flyer1

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Guest Flyer1

Just thought i would start a thread for those interested on an Australian bodied 1933 "Flyer"

I started on this project a while ago,was told at the time that Continental cars in general were quite thin on the ground.

Is very hard to get a great deal of information on these vehicles,we don't even know where the car was bought from.

Not many made it to Australia and those that did were bodied by a company T.J.Richards in Australia.

We did not have the option of the Ace,only the Flyer and Beacon made it to Australia and to the best of my knowledge 199 made their way

to Australia.

There are many pictures of this build but just for illustrations sake i will try and post a couple from start to not long ago.

In this picture basically looking at what we started out with.


a picture from the front after a little wood work "patience" :)


I have quite a few pictures of this car in various states and will update this thread from time to time.

From what i have been able to find from the internet is that there seems to be a pronounced difference in the shape of the front

bumper on these cars,i am not sure if they differed between models but the front bumper on this one is not "recessed" or "pushed in look" in the center.

Also this one has two rear bumpers or bumpets,one small bumper on each side.


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Sorry for the random pictures,with over 300 pictures to re-size the general idea is to illustrate :)

the beginning


the instrument panel after a bit of work as compared to the first picture.


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Guest Flyer1

This is what we had left of the hood ornament,seems like someone needed it more than us.post-108875-143143063033_thumb.jpg

A very big thank you to Don Summer for the "flying lady" ornament,the base was another story,unfortunately he did not have access to a mold so it was made from a picture.

Many thanks Don :)

:) this thread may get a a bit picture heavy later on :)

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Hahaha :),that 50cents was part of my allowance for a pie so it got spent !

The flying lady will do just fine,the base i thought i would "just" do the best with what was left and get it as close as possible from a picture and make a mold and pour a new one but after spending a bit of time on it and finding that nothing is ever as simple as first thought i think it can get resin dipped and chrome plated as it is?


This car had been in an accident at one stage on the drivers side (we drive on the wrong side of the over here :) )

The "B" pillars were replaced at one stage but only with a bit of rough cut 4x2,was fortunate enough to have a passenger side "B" pillar,(see above for what side of the car that is :)) and was able to mirror image and make a new drivers side pillar.


The piece that supports the cowl panel was broken at one end after the smash and never replaced,so it nearly did my head in sorting that bit out.


Then it came to trying to get everything to fit and line up with the pillars.Can see the new pillar and repaired end on cowl support.


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Some more random pictures.

The engine was not only a bit grubby but was also very tight to turn over by hand.

After some help from a local mechanic it turned out that the crank had a 2 thou. bend and was rectified.

The cam shaft was worse and it had 5 thou. bend towards the front journal,we don't know if the damage was caused by the accident or some other way?,but both the crankshaft and cam shaft are made from steel and not all that hard to straighten.The camshaft on these engines is bored right through and has a screw in bung at each end,the cam journals have a hole in them and the cam bearings are grooved to allow oil flow to the mains.

Engine before.


The carb. in this picture is not the original Marvel but manged to the original among some other bits.

Engine after a bit of work.


The following picture is what seems to be a damper of some description that the fan is connected to,unusual device,it has a cavity that gets some oil added when assembled.


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Just a random post,we were fortunate enough to receive a wiring diagram from some one from America,possibly a member here?

It turns out that the Australian version has a different set up than those from the "States",although the harness seems to fit to everything

needed there are some differences in the wiring set up.

The main difference is that this harness has an extra relay for the head lights,the other difference is that this particular vehicle did not have what we call "park lights"

in the headlights,whereas the American version did.

The brake light switch operated from the brake pedal appears that no wires were ever connected from day one,as does the number plate light?

The number plate light or park light is operated by a switch on the light itself and there was no evidence of wires that had been cut or ripped out as there are no signs

of any other wires that have been stripped or ripped from the harness.

The odd thing is that the lighting switch/dipper switch have the corresponding letters as to what wire goes where according to the diagram we have which to me would say

that the switchgear is as per what was used....very strange.

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A couple more random pictures.

setting up the tub frame/doors.


Trying to get things in line,sort of,front doors are not same,1/4inch difference between left/right.


trying to get a bit of shine on doors,still not happy with it but it will have to do.


the front end as it came out.


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Guest Flyer1

Just a couple of more pictures.

The tub timber looking down at where it was supposed to connect.


The drivers side (Australian) running board after the rubber was removed to reveal "previous repairs".


The passenger side running board after the rubber had been stripped.

The "outer edge" or radius looks like it was rolled in after a "mishap" ?


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Flyer1

Bit of a boring build thread i know !,does anyone know if the Continental cars came fitted with "suicide doors"...i.e ,the door handles at the front of the door (towards the front of car), or did they have a mechanism that would activate the door opening mechanism at the C pillar end of the the operation,i.e,where the door closed on the vertical upright

that also held the top of the front seat in place ?

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Flyer1

slowly getting things together,what a job, never again after this one,i concur with the Boss 100% on this :)

not the best size picture but for illustration purposes....


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G'day mate, looking pretty good. You clearly know what your doing. My old man has got a 33 flyer here in W.A. They were assembled by T.J. Richards in Adelaide I know that for certain. The one we have here has all four suicide doors with the handles toward the front of the door, its been restored since 84. It has spent the better part of the last 25 years in the shed, he doesn't drive it anymore. My brother put it up on blocks a few years back to save the tyres. I do have some photos of it in the shed if I get some time next week I'll put them up. I won't be back at the old mans probably till the end of the year but if you like I can take some photos of the article that restored car magazine did on the continental, they mentioned the old mans flyer in it. He also has a dealers poster advertising the continental when they were first for sale.

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Gday, that would be great if you could throw up some pictures on any info. , I do have a copy of the Restored Cars mag. that mentions a Flyer , will have to dig it up and find the article, was from the late 90's I think , unless they ran a couple of stories at different times ?

Would be good to compare notes.


I heard about one in WA that had been restored, there is also one in Unzud  (NZ) and it to has the suicide doors , the handles are a different shape to the ones on this car.


I am no expert on doing these things, just doing the best I can, and learning a lot along the way :)


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Just a bit of a "rant" of what people go through when sourcing parts for "projects" (don't know what it's like everywhere else?) , but this is just one story.


Needed some ball thrust bearings for this thing,so phoned the local bearing supply place.


"need some ball thrust bearings of "X" x "X"x "X" dimensions,can you help me out ?"


The reply from the counter jumper was "what are they ooorrf (off) mate?"


"eerr , if i told you the model and year of the car you would never have heard of it"


Counter jumper,"i need the model and year of the vehicle that they were fitted to"


"No worries mate....they fit a 33 Continental"


Counter jumper , "hang on, i will have a look"


two minutes later, "nah,sorry mate, never heard of them and don't have a listing for those bearings,do you have the dimensions of the bearings and i will have a look?"


"yeah mate,they are "X" x "X" x "X."


"hang on a sec." .... one minute later..."yeah mate we can get those no problems"..... aaaaargh...the joy of it all :)







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post-110465-0-99986000-1434856638_thumb.post-110465-0-36670400-1434856661_thumb.Hey Mate. Will see what I can do in regards to the fuel pickup. The fuel tank has been removed because it still had leaded fuel in it.(Super)

I'm curious about the flying lady badge you have, did you have that made ?. That's the one thing the old mans car does not have. Anyhow I'll try and attach a couple of photos. You can email me directly at  airfooler.atc84@yahoo.com.au

Edited by dannyboypc76 (see edit history)
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Guest Flyer1

Thanks mate,nice,well kept  car spoton.gif.

will be in touch later on :)


The "flying lady" ornament was "custom made" ...there are two sizes available,one is "large' the other is "small".


It is a two two piece set up,not sure on what models used the small/large but would hazard a guess that the Ace used the "large" ornament,(not sure),the base (winged shaped piece on grill) is a different piece that can be identified by the size of the model badge (eg. Ace,Flyer,Beacon) that fits to the base that fits on the grill,(i think,still working on that?)


These cars are not the most "popular" in the American car history,but they seem to be a bit thin on the ground,here in Oz anyway ?

 Rare as the proverbial :)


The TJ Richards bodies from Adelaide would be very thin on ground,and there is not a great deal of info. available.


Continental to the best of my knowledge made their "claim to fame" with the introduction of aircraft engines,then went on from there?






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Hey Mate, hope all is well. Just thought that I would throw a few more pics up. There's a schematic and some specs from an old auto novel.The poster upon closer inspection is for the Beacon when it was first for sale here in W.A.  Also note the view from inside the cab

of the flyer with 1933 style air conditioning. (a hinged windscreen) a feature I noticed was not on the U.S. model. Enjoy.






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Thanks mate for that,have been a bit busy (slack) to get more info.

I think you are right about the "aircon" models with the fold out screen.


The Continental i mentioned was a Beacon and was featured in the 1999 edition of Restored Cars,i believe it was from Adelaide?

Came across the "hand book" for a Flyer although it is the LHD version,there will be quite a few "differences" in versions,at least according to some one from the "States" who knows a little bit about these cars.....yes...not very popular in the car scene but i feel

play a "somewhat" important role in History from Detroit, i believe in Canada they were "marketed" as Frontenac...but not 100% on that?




Edited by Flyer1 (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Continental Engine Company, Detroit, made its name to fame one hundred years ago, supplying engines to all kinds of auto manufacturers,   Some of the more well known makes were Auburn, Case, Checker, Columbia, Davis, DuPont, Durant, Eagle, Flint, Graham-Paige, Jewett, Kaiser-Frazer, Moon, Paige, Peerless Roamer, Ruxton, Star, Velie, and Willys (8 cylinder).  Checker was the last car manufacturer to use Continental engines, switching to Chevrolet in the mid-1960's.  They also built engines for various agricultural and industrial uses.  Airplane engines came about with the shrinking auto market. 


Dodge Brothers (Senior Six), Erskine (1927-29) and Graham all had Continental supply engines made to their own specifications.  The British Morris used Continental engines in the first Cowley model.


Durant Motors was GM-founder William C Durant's third auto empire.  Cars built were Star, Durant, Flint, Eagle and Locomobile, and all used Continental engines.   The California and Canadian operations were not owned by Durant Motors, by the way.  When Durant Motors began to falter, the Canadian firm continued to offer Durant models and then Frontenac models based on the Durant.  


Norman DeVaux, who had set up Chevrolet and Durant operations in California, decided to offer a car under his own name, DeVaux, which was also built in Canada with the Frontenac name.  DeVaux was on the rocks within two years, and Continental Motors stepped in.  Apparently DeVaux owed Continental money.  Again, the Continental was built in Canada under the Frontenac name.


Within two years Continental abandoned building cars but continiued to build engines for other companies.  The Canadian firm stopped building Frontenacs, although the plant would be used by Reo Motor Company into the 1950's and part of the plant by Kaiser in 1950-51. 


Would be interesting to know if the Australian Continental chassis came from Detroit or Toronto.  The styling on the Australian Continental Flyer is very similar to the Continental/Frontenac Flyer, although with a Chrysler influence.  

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Flyer1

Interisting info.,thanks for sharing to all who have replied.


The 'rolling chassis" question is a good one,the only way to compare would be to have some pictures/measurements/info to compare!


This post is not really an update but more of a "what do think" about the "trim" that the "trimmer" did and should such workmanship be accepted as "she be right mate" on a unique vintage, or any other vintage for that matter?

Have a bit of a look at the picture and feel free to comment in any way!

This is looking at the back/top left corner of the front seat as if standing in back looking forward.


Was not my idea to use this particular "trimmer"....the "project manager" took it upon himself to "take over" from those who were involved.




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  • 10 months later...
Guest Flyer1

Thanks for the replies and comments on the finish on part of the trim :)

Almost 12 months has gone by and have found out that the rear doors won't close because too much "padding" was used in the top area where the compound tapering conical shape piece of formed metal that goes from the top of the shoulder/rib area of the front seat frame to floor.

The rear doors were starting to bind on the over padded section of metal near the C pillar even without the door trim card fitted to the door , which is an extra 4mm (160 thou).

This strain does not equate to a good  outcome considering the door frames are of wood construction given that wood regardless of it's nature will move around 

tending humidity and temp. 

It has all had to be ripped out to start again , although the existing cover can be used again and trimmed up to size as it was made over size from a fairly if not good

example from the original.

The expert that did the work had thought about getting a lawyer to consider "ruining reputation" , as most of us are well aware no names were mentioned so "defamation of character or slander " is of no consequence , the work speaks for it self ? and many pictures and statements have been recorded as well. 


I do realize that as a no one from down under undertaking the job probably does not mean too much to many people , but it means a bit to me and my boss.

And just to go " off topic" for bit , please , when  reps. come over for a visit , leave the black vans and balls stand out security at home and just 

turn up as a casual ,(we are quite capable of informing of what needs to be known if you ask?), we are not stupid and are quite aware of who is who and have no problems :)  

And as far as the request for the numbers as requested , (probably by interested people from this forum?) , they will be supplied at the most convenient time pending.

Would still like a picture of how the cover was fitted over the fuel pick up/sender pipes.













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  • 1 year later...

I believe I have the only running and roadworthy example of an American-bodied Continental Flyer 4-door Sedan in the western hemisphere. They are very rare in the US because they are all steel, except the actual floorboards. They brought a premium during the scrap drives of WWII over cars with wood-framed bodies.

Ours is a 3-owner example with 50,000 miles. The original owner was 6'9". I have plenty of room at 6'6". The only modifications are a 6-volt fuel pump on a momentary contact switch and a relay and wiring for fighter 50/50-watt headlamps. The original owner moved the seat back and up 4" and I did have to heat-bend the shift lever so it didn't have to be between my knees. :)

A little known fact is that this is the first US car with a wiper below the windscreen. They were able to do this as the windshield is fixed and doesn't tilt out at the bottom for airflow.



IMG_3847 2.jpg

Edited by Barry Wolk (see edit history)
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  • 4 years later...

Hi, I have just purchased a continental Beacon and have read a lot of your story, my flying lady has flown away to, I was wandering if Don would be interested in making another one. Any help would be muchly appreciated.  I only got it yesterday and did a lot of reading last night. Awesome little car.  Cheers Frank. 

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  • 4 months later...

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