Jump to content

THE ACTIVE BRASS CAR Forum


Recommended Posts

1937hd45,

HCCA's web-site is a very good source of technical info and advertising of brass era autos. I am not a member, so I can't speak about their forum questions etc., but some of their members have helped me in the past. My brass era autos have specific sites (Brush Owners Association and Early Cadillac Group) so I use the HCCA as a back-up source of info. It gets kind of expensive to belong to every club out there. Just my $.02 worth. Good luck   

Link to post
Share on other sites

I often post on the HCCA Forum, but it's not as active as this one. It seems the more popular a forum is, the more popular it gets. The MTFCA Forum is very active, for example, while MTFCI Forum is slow. Not sure why, as both are successful Model T clubs (I belong to both). I'll sometimes sneak a brass-era car question into the MTFCA Forum to get a quick answer. 

 

Phil

Link to post
Share on other sites

I rejoined HCCA after dropping out 10 or so years ago, I just thought there would be active web users, but I guess there isn't hope for a Brass Car version of the HAMB. With all the talk about new and "young" members you would think the internet would be put to use. Then again  my 1912 T hasn't seen the outside of my garage in 15 years. Bob

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I rejoined HCCA after dropping out 10 or so years ago, I just thought there would be active web users, but I guess there isn't hope for a Brass Car version of the HAMB. With all the talk about new and "young" members you would think the internet would be put to use. Then again  my 1912 T hasn't seen to outside of my garage in 15 years. Bob

 

Bob,

 

If you are close, I will come drive with you.  IMO, there is nothing like driving the vehicles.  My wife and I drive our '15 truck to the grocery store, out to dinner, church, and to friends during the summer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm part of the reason Brass is Dead, after the '12 T was parked and sat for two years it was real easy for it to sit for 13 more. I really do like working on projects, and researching the history, but driving them isn't a big deal any more. You would think there would be others willing to talk on the internet about the Golden Years of the hobby 1950-1975. Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob, Having restored my first car in 1962 and  still at it I think you are short changing some of us

when you stop the "Golden Age at 1975" Granted the hobby will never be like it was in 1975 but neither will we.

When my daughter cam back from a drive in my 73 E Type Roadster a few weeks ago she thought this is

the golden age, when I drive my 1908 Stanley I think that was the golden age. I think it is all relative, the question is

weather we are willing to adapt.

No offense meant, just stating how I feel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

JAK,

Absolutely true.

I started out with the AACA in 1972 and purchased my first true brass era ("04 Cad) a short time later. I was curious about the early production of autos and the history was fascinating. Having grown up with muscle cars, and owning quite a few, I took them for granted. Little did I know how valuable they would become. To me they were fun and fast. The antiques on the other hand, were an unknown that needed research and documentation. The hobby has changed dramatically and I think we lived in the best of times. Just my opinion of course.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also like to find an active "brass era" forum but for a number of reasons I can see where it is unlikely.  Brass cars are so diverse that it isolates the owners to a degree. The Brass model T owners are a big and separate group, and tend to identify with other T owners regardless of year. One and two cylinder people tend to stick together and form a sub group. and other than Buick and Cadillac most other makes exist in pretty small numbers. 

  When you factor in age, location, people who tour, people who own brass era static show piece cars, people who are involved in multi decade restoration projects and so on there isn't a lot to draw people together to share common ground.

 I find that while there are a fair number of Brass era owners in my "local' area most have a driveable Brass car for events, something I do not have. That fact in itself seems to be a bit of an obstacle as far as being part of the brass era community. And it will likely be some years before my pile of rusty and battered parts becomes an intact machine. in the meantime forums like this one do their part in keeping my interest alive.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg, I've always had a ":Brass Era" project car, starting way back in the early 1960's. I'd sure enjoy sharing the project with fellow Brass Era people, and helping others with their projects. From what I see they either don't own a computer, or have no interest in socializing and helping others. Check out the HCCA website, the number of posts this year can fill one hand.  Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bob, I agree that the HCCA web site participation is disappointing. I have been a HCCA member for quite a few years but have rarely been in a position to actively be involved with club activities. 

 It is primarily a touring club, and I have up to this point not been in a position due to either time or finances {or vehicle } to join on a tour. Still I look forward to each Gazette, there is always something to keep my interest peaked.

 And I feel you are probably correct, many brass car people don't seem to have much internet involvement. I suppose it could be an age related trait. Brass car people definitely seem to be largely part of the older segment of the population.

 

Greg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish you all would post about your early cars on this forum or the HCCA Forum just to see what responses they bring. Photos are important to bring responses. Check out Bernie's latest series about his 1929 Renault restoration. This series has 399 posts. Bernie started posting in 2008, two years after joining the AACA, about his 1922 Dixie Flyer restoration. This series got 307 replies. This was not because people are into the Dixie Flyer or Renault, but because Bernie kept the series going and replied to every legitimate post. What I'm saying is: people will become interested in your brass-era project, so start posting!

 

Phil

Link to post
Share on other sites

 many brass car people don't seem to have much internet involvement. I suppose it could be an age related trait. Brass car people definitely seem to be largely part of the older segment of the population.

 

Greg

 

Greg is probably right about the internet involvement of the brass guys, but there are some of us who are active.  Still, I'd rather be driving my car than talking about it. 

 

GREG:  We're pretty active in the HCCA Vancouver Regional Group.  Why don't you join us for a few events this summer?  You could take a turn at driving my car.  In the fall, some of the A & T guys hold a "learn to drive a Model T" day - it's a fun event.  If your car is "in process" I'm sure some of the guys would enjoy a drive out to your place to see it.  These are good ways to get connected with brass era guys.

 

http://antique.vccc.com

 

Peter Findlay

1911 Cadillac

1912 REO

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Peter, thanks for the suggestions and kind offer. I have actually been meaning to join the local club for some time. My erratic work schedule is often at odds with social activities but retirement is only a few more years away so it's probably time to start taking in those events that I can .

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I follow the HCCA site every day. Lots of action on the For Sale site but little on the discussion group. I have four brass cars and wish their were more folks in the my area interested. Any others out their in Southwest Ohio?

Tom Muth

Cincinnati, Ohio

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Phil, I must agree. Restoration series article are always favorites of mine as well.  

 Unfortunately I don't think my Staver Chicago project is a good candidate. The pace has been glacial to say the least. The car started out as skeletal remains decades ago. The two prior owners found enough parts ; over a 25 + year time span, that it can at least be considered a "project" car. But it is still missing a lot !  I am not in a position to travel to the important "brass era " swap meets, so I am limited to what parts I can find in the Pacific N.W. and over the web. Over the last 15 years I have owned it I have filled in a few of the blanks, but to be truthfull not all that much.

 The car really needs an owner with greater resources and deeper pockets than I will ever have. But it keeps my toes in the Brass car world.  Due to space limitations the bulk of what I have for the car is stored away in a number of spots around my House and Garage.  In the reasonably near future I will be constructing a new shop. This should provide me with enough space to do a mock up assembly of the car as it currently exists. Once it at least looks like more than a bunch of scattered parts I probably will start to document the project.  If you follow the link to my  Staver Chicago album on Flickr  you will see what the car looked like 20 or so years ago when the previous owner had it pieced together.  There is also a fair bit of Staver Chicago historical material amongst my other non brass car pictures.https://www.flickr.com/photos/57244155@N07/sets/72157663559626600

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in pretty much the same boat as 1912 Staver. I have a 1910 Mitchell that is almost certainly someone's abandoned long-term project. I do have virtually all of the chassis and most of the engine, but quite a few bit are missing. I suspect the engine is from a different car, primarily because the engine number is stamped on one of the cross members and it appears that both parts have been changed... thus it matches, but the differences in condition suggest they were associated. Whether the rest of the chassis was a '10 as well is anyone's guess, but the model was only made in 10 and 11 so it must be close. I don't think the Mitchell was a particularly well-engineered automobile, so I find myself re-making many things I actually have, in addition to making things that are missing altogether.

 

I also don't have deep pockets, but I am an amateur machinist and have put together a reasonably good shop entirely equipped with antique machines, several of which are as old as the car. My newest (and most expensive) machine is a B&S Mill that probably dates from the late 30s. Everything else is much older. All of this is very time consuming. I started buying the machines with a project like this in mind but was only able to find the wreck of a car that I could afford about 4 years ago. That said, the entire shop probably has not cost as much as the dismantled, incomplete Mitchell did. Even where there is some discussion of brass cars, very little of it is any help from my point of view. When the late Harold Sharon was alive there was an occasional discussion related to the engineering of brass cars on the HCCA forum... but nothing since then. Overall, I've found the best place to discuss the problems I encounter in re-making many parts is the Practical Machinist Antique Machinery Forum.

 

Here's an idea of where I started and how its going... The engine on the day it arrived.

 

IMG_0017a.jpg

 

Castings I am making the new pistons from... I only had 1 of the original iron pistons.

 

IMG_0096_zps636c4e2f.jpg

 

New valve cages...  I only had one of these as well.

 

IMG_0011_zps59427313.jpg

 

This is very time consuming work and is not for everyone.

It will be years before its on the road. However, I have found that having a brass car, even in this condition, if essentially the "ticket of entry" into the that world. I've gotten, and am still getting, lots of useful help from other brass car enthusiasts, most of whom are not either elderly or well-heeled. The constant drum-beat of "judging" is a deterrent to me and I suspect to others as well. You can see from this photo, that my valve cages are not identical to the single original one I had. That would have required a casting and fixtures I was unprepared to make... mine will work just fine (probably better than the originals) but they won't be 100% authentic.

 

I'd be happy to exchange information with anyone else attempting this sort of project, but so far I haven't met many on any of the car-oriented web forums.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi JV, your work looks great.  It looks like you  and I are facing quite similar challenges. And you are right, Harold Sharon's Gazette articles and web post's were very informative .

  As a matter of interest Mitchell and Staver were involved with each other in the business world.  They both were in competition for the horse drawn vehicle market and later in the Automobile market.  Staver was a reasonably big manufacturer of horse drawn vehicles , but only dabbled in Automobiles.  They made a large miscalculation when they agreed to buy out Mitchell's horse drawn line. Staver soon was out of business , having over extended themselves to expand in the rapidly shrinking horse drawn market. Mitchell remained in business for more than a decade longer, and produced vastly more automobiles than Staver.  There was even a Mitchell family member employed in Stavers management team. And I believe an Oregon based farm equipment distributer ;  Mitchell , Lewis and Staver, had involvement with people related to both the Staver and Mitchell clans.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know anything about the Staver / Mitchell connection. Mitchell was probably badly undercapitalized. They had one really bad year and were unable to recover from it. Their advertising copy reminds me of one of my late father's expressions... "the man that writ the ad should've writ the book." The actual cars have a lot of changes from the published  factory information and I suspect they were regularly encountering problems and making running changes. I would be surprised if that wasn't common with nearly all of the early car makers. The Mitchell company became the Mitchell-Lewis company in 1910 so the Oregon firm you mention probably did have members of all the families involved. Its just too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.

 

In any case, I'll be glad to share any of what I've learned in this process if I can be of help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My 1912 McIntyre. This took 13 years. But it was very rewarding at the end ! Like the other cars I had to copy parts, make body parts, make engine parts. Got to know a lot of old time craftsmen.  It was a little at a time, a lot of wanting to give up but eventually I got there  

Sorry for the earlier post  I am better I think at old cars than attaching photos to web posts

post-129209-0-05037000-1454248669_thumb.

post-129209-0-21287100-1454248683_thumb.

post-129209-0-30278200-1454248699_thumb.

post-129209-0-42129500-1454248712_thumb.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Try. Www.ncrghcca.com

This is our web site for the Northern Calif. Group, we have a very active club that was one of the first in the nation to join the HCCA.

Our member range from mid 20s to late 90s and all are a wealth of information. Even have one member who is making repops of the Buffalo wheel reproduction parts,

Link to post
Share on other sites

My 1912 McIntyre. This took 13 years. But it was very rewarding at the end ! Like the other cars I had to copy parts, make body parts, make engine parts. Got to know a lot of old time craftsmen.  It was a little at a time, a lot of wanting to give up but eventually I got there  

Sorry for the earlier post  I am better I think at old cars than attaching photos to web posts

 

Great looking finished car.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is heartening to know that others share a real fascination with these early cars and are prepared to put in the time to being them back. I am struck by the three examples of brass cars "brought back from the dead" we now have here. In every case, had we shown pictures of these cars on this forum and asked for opinions, we would have been roundly discouraged, usually on the basis of "you'll never get your money back." Had this forum existed when I was starting out, I may well have been so discouraged that I'd have moved on to other things.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it has never been about the money, at least as far as selling the finished product. This assumes I actually complete a brass era restoration, which I admit is not a sure thing. The fact is I like these early cars ,particularly from about 1906 to about 1912.  They are not quite as basic as the really early "gas buggies", and are free of things like front doors and electric lights.  And I am not really in a position to shop for a finished product.  So a restoration project seemed a natural fit. I definitely underestimated the commitment  of everything a more or less unique , basket case, almost forgotten orphan  was going to require. But it's a learning process.  And yes, it's taking a lot more time than I first expected.

  I might even put a basic Model T speedster together so I will be able to have a running car for brass era activities.  I already have gathered up quite a bit of the basic components needed for a  circa 1915 T .  It should be possible to get a basic but sound operating T together without diverting too much of my energy from the Staver.

Every swap meet I go to reinforces how much support is available for the T. And how little of anything is out there for the Staver.

  I can see being concerned about the cost of restoring many of the less desirable post war cars, and even many from the later teens- early 20's . They can definitely become money pits. But I think the rarity and dedicated following the brass era cars have will make them at least a break even proposition  for quite some time

 

Greg

Link to post
Share on other sites

This was project no 2  We have a basic back split two car garage  home  the biggest problem in this restoration was not damaging the other car  I think you need to move away from valuing everything   My wife has never told me what these restorations cost  She just says that she thinks it is cheaper than me playing golf  all hobbies cost you something and the return is the achievement not the value of the final product

 

post-129209-0-81835400-1454277536_thumb.

post-129209-0-26791400-1454277560_thumb.

post-129209-0-91185100-1454277583_thumb.

post-129209-0-79051200-1454277598_thumb.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This was project no 2  We have a basic back split two car garage  home  the biggest problem in this restoration was not damaging the other car  I think you need to move away from valuing everything   My wife has never told me what these restorations cost  She just says that she thinks it is cheaper than me playing golf  all hobbies cost you something and the return is the achievement not the value of the final product

 

Your comment about playing golf is similar to what I tell my wife.  

 

I don't smoke, drink rarely, no girl friends, no boats, no snowmobiles, no four wheelers, no airplanes, and do not go to professional sports games. 

 

I just have the trucks and cars and you know where I am.  Usually in the garage, at a swap meet, out driving the truck, or at a car show with friends. 

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I truly empathize with all the above. As a director of our local BCA chapter I believe I have the oldest car in our chapter (The 1925-25 Buick in my avatar). That does not mean to say I am not somewhat obsessed with finding a Brass Era car to tour with. I have wanted one since I was very young in the early 1960s. All the older cars I have purchased since 1971 have been bought to capture some of the thrill I wanted to experience from the early cars. I have not gotten there yet.

 By the mid 1960s the local parades that would include antique cars no longer had any brass cars and usually only had later 20s Ts and Model As. All the Brass cars disappeared? I remember my poor mother driving me to check on a lead of any Brass cars. Not to buy, since at age 10 we had no money for "big boy toys" . I just wanted to look! If we could get some one to share what they had, it was usually pushed into a corner of a garage covered with boxes and household stuff. My, some of the adults were indulgent of me. When speaking to the people that owned the cars at the time the usual story was that they" fixed up" the car (the word restoration was not used by them) in the late 1940s to the mid 1950s.and drove them in parades. When I would ask, Why aren't you still driving it? Most would answer they needed a part or just did not have the time. Would they ever consider selling it? The answer was usually an emphatic NO! Then there would usually be a story about all the people who offered all kinds of money for their "rare Gem". Sometimes there was the one about the local Ford. Chevy, or Buick dealer offering a brand new car in trade. So at the time many saw these "Rare Gems" as money in the bank gaining interest. Even though they were not doing anything to maintain their "investment".

 A good friend from the Pittsburg area (Bob)had restored a 1916 Model T touring in the mid 1950s. He did a lot of local touring and also did the 1959 Glidden tour in it.  By 1965 he had sold it for $2250. He felt that he had "made out like a bandit". Justifying the sale because the one daughter was in college and it had become too scary to drive the car around the Pittsburgh area any more. Just before Bob passed in 2012 he criticized me for wasting money on the purchase of my1937 Buick in 1987 and later the 1925 Buick in 2011 and said that they will become "money pits." (He was right about that)! That I should have gotten an earlier Brass car with character instead of the "used cars" I bought.

Edited by dibarlaw (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in pretty much the same boat as 1912 Staver. I have a 1910 Mitchell that is almost certainly someone's abandoned long-term project. I do have virtually all of the chassis and most of the engine, but quite a few bit are missing. I suspect the engine is from a different car, primarily because the engine number is stamped on one of the cross members and it appears that both parts have been changed... thus it matches, but the differences in condition suggest they were associated. Whether the rest of the chassis was a '10 as well is anyone's guess, but the model was only made in 10 and 11 so it must be close. I don't think the Mitchell was a particularly well-engineered automobile, so I find myself re-making many things I actually have, in addition to making things that are missing altogether.

 

I also don't have deep pockets, but I am an amateur machinist and have put together a reasonably good shop entirely equipped with antique machines, several of which are as old as the car. My newest (and most expensive) machine is a B&S Mill that probably dates from the late 30s. Everything else is much older. All of this is very time consuming. I started buying the machines with a project like this in mind but was only able to find the wreck of a car that I could afford about 4 years ago. That said, the entire shop probably has not cost as much as the dismantled, incomplete Mitchell did. Even where there is some discussion of brass cars, very little of it is any help from my point of view. When the late Harold Sharon was alive there was an occasional discussion related to the engineering of brass cars on the HCCA forum... but nothing since then. Overall, I've found the best place to discuss the problems I encounter in re-making many parts is the Practical Machinist Antique Machinery Forum.

 

Here's an idea of where I started and how its going... The engine on the day it arrived.

 

IMG_0017a.jpg

 

Castings I am making the new pistons from... I only had 1 of the original iron pistons.

 

IMG_0096_zps636c4e2f.jpg

 

New valve cages...  I only had one of these as well.

 

IMG_0011_zps59427313.jpg

 

This is very time consuming work and is not for everyone.

It will be years before its on the road. However, I have found that having a brass car, even in this condition, if essentially the "ticket of entry" into the that world. I've gotten, and am still getting, lots of useful help from other brass car enthusiasts, most of whom are not either elderly or well-heeled. The constant drum-beat of "judging" is a deterrent to me and I suspect to others as well. You can see from this photo, that my valve cages are not identical to the single original one I had. That would have required a casting and fixtures I was unprepared to make... mine will work just fine (probably better than the originals) but they won't be 100% authentic.

 

I'd be happy to exchange information with anyone else attempting this sort of project, but so far I haven't met many on any of the car-oriented web forums.

JV

Your work is truly outstanding. I feel that my situation is similar. I also am an amateur machinist with some early line shaft equipment. I do tend to get caught up in solving problems for others hobbyist's parts fabrication problems. Also the deep pockets thing as I am a newly retired Industrial Arts teacher after 30 years. Just finding out about monetary limitations. So when we were looking for an early Brass Buick project we had saved a given amount for purchase.

Most what we had found was previously very old restoration and needed a complete redo. Or, an incomplete basket case. Either way the price of admission was about the same.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the pictures of projects showing up here!  I'm still wrapping my head around the scope of my recently acquired project. Like has been mentioned by others, I don't really think of myself as being in the financial position to be a brass car guy.... but I don't understand wanting to be anything but a brass car guy.  I am very slowly figuring out how to proceed on a 1910 Maxwell model G. It is close, rebuilt (but not yet run) motor, great brass in boxes, virtually all there with spare parts enough to build a speedster when this one is done. Some of you may have seen this car when it was at the Gilmore museum in a diorama about Alice Ramsey.

post-87301-0-98411300-1454513217_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was away all  last week, sure is nice to see all the new Brass Car posts with photos. If you are in LA be sure to tour the Petersen Collection. If you think it is all Hot Rods, it isn't. T Head Mercer, Regal Underslung , 03 Cadillac, just to name a few. I has a few Kelsey Motorette ads and drive chain  waiting for me when I got home. I think collection the bits of a Brass Car is the real fun part, restoring and making the missing bits is the next step. Bob

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I only took a couple. Yesterday was the most cleared out it has been since I acquired it from my father, so I made sure to get a couple.  Cannot believe I failed to get them while it was outside as we were moving things around. post-87301-0-83213500-1454538226_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...