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1937hd45

THE ACTIVE BRASS CAR Forum

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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,

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

 

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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)

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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)

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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.

 

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

 

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

 

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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.  

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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.

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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

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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

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I doubt it. In the 60's this car would have been a cream/yellow color. Came out of the west side of Canada several years back.

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Is there an ACTIVE website for BRASS ERA CAR people? Bob

Could we not get this site a little more active? Maybe a tech question and some answers.

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I'd be happy to contribute to an exchange of brass era mechanical and engineering information. I'm actually gratified to learn that there are other members here who share those interests.

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I agree with JV. I would also share any information that I have gathered over the last 45 years of research. My experience would be limited to one cylinder Cadillac ('04), one cylinder Brush ('12), 1920's Fords, and a solid axel Vette ('62) however.

A bit of trivia. Alanson Brush started out as Cadillac's one cylinder engine designer before starting his own company in 1907. The previous owner of both one cylinder auto also had many early books relating to the early auto era. The most informative books that I acquired were the three volume "Practical Treatise On Automobiles" published in 1909. "A complete and practical treatise on gasoline, steam, and electrical vehicles".  "Written expressly for the Owner, Chauffeur, Machinist, and Garage Man". The books include "a description of all their various parts, their principles of operation,, ignition systems, carburetors, Magnetos, etc., methods of setting valves and other valuable information pertaining to their operation, management and repair". The books are priceless for a Brass era owner. Check your library, I have not seen this volume set anywhere. Just sharing. Good luck.    

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OK, so I have read this thread from start and I will now ask a tech history question.  The ignition on my 1913 Stude is Splitdorf and many shops , people, etc. all say Splitdorf is junk, get rid of it for anything else, I will not work on it, wasting your money, etc.  Why does Splitdorf have such a bad rep? 

 

When I got my car it was an under 7K mile car, started on the second pull and ran like a top on the mag.  It would not run on mag in the spring of 2014 so I took it out and have been chasing my tail on getting it rebuilt since then.  It is presently with a resto guy for the second time but he is now sick enough that he is shutting down his shop for good, second time I have been told this.  So I am looking for a mag shop who will work on this but I have had some flat out refuse.  At 7000 miles and all original it is not an option to change it out for a Bosch or something.  It may only need recharge the magnets or replace the condenser/coil (inside the dome of the magnets) I do not know.

 

But again what is the history on Splitdorf that is soo bad?  Thanks,

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I have a 2 cylinder Maxwell with a Splitdorf mag, and it works fine, I had it checked by an expert who re-magnetised it checked the windings and fitted new modern sealed bearings.  However I have seen many Maxwell's that have had the original Splitdorf replaced with different types.  This could be because the base casting and timer body,  which are oten pot metal, may have cracked 

 

The other reason could be that the Splitdorf on the Maxwell is a low tension magneto, it simply generates 6 volts which works with a coil and condensor to create the spark.  This also works well but others may have considered it necessary to convert to high tension magnetos.

 

I don't know anything about your 1913 Stude magneto but I doubt very much that it cannot be made to work (unless it has cracked pot metal parts) however being in Australia I can't suggest an expert  but would expect you would have lots more to choose from that we do 

 

We should make this site our "Active Brass Era " Forum.

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I have a 1909 EMF which also runs a Splitdorf model D .I rebuilt the mag myself which was complete disassemble replace the ball bearing,check armature with an ohm meter for shorts to the shaft ,

assemble and recharge works great. However I believe that splitdorf mags get a bad rap because the end frames that hold the bearing races which is made from a zinc die cast ?? material 

will crumble and swell over time.Unlike the Bosch mags which have a brass or aluminum end frames depending on the year

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We should make this site our "Active Brass Era " Forum.

Thanks for everyone's interest, I just corrected the title, hope this attracts more interest, AND posts on all things related to Brass Era Cars.  Bob

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I agree with JV. I would also share any information that I have gathered over the last 45 years of research. My experience would be limited to one cylinder Cadillac ('04), one cylinder Brush ('12), 1920's Fords, and a solid axel Vette ('62) however.

A bit of trivia. Alanson Brush started out as Cadillac's one cylinder engine designer before starting his own company in 1907. The previous owner of both one cylinder auto also had many early books relating to the early auto era. The most informative books that I acquired were the three volume "Practical Treatise On Automobiles" published in 1909. "A complete and practical treatise on gasoline, steam, and electrical vehicles".  "Written expressly for the Owner, Chauffeur, Machinist, and Garage Man". The books include "a description of all their various parts, their principles of operation,, ignition systems, carburetors, Magnetos, etc., methods of setting valves and other valuable information pertaining to their operation, management and repair". The books are priceless for a Brass era owner. Check your library, I have not seen this volume set anywhere. Just sharing. Good luck.    

I have found the eighth edition of the Dyke's Automobile Encyclopedia copyright 1918 has the most info on ignition systems low/high tension magnetos etc. highly recommend .    Peter

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"...So I am looking for a mag shop who will work on this but I have had some flat out refuse.  At 7000 miles and all original it is not an option to change it out for a Bosch or something.  It may only need recharge the magnets or replace the condenser/coil (inside the dome of the magnets) I do not know..."

 

 

Have you tried Mark's Magneto in Connecticut?  Very easy to deal with and Great service.

 

Peter Findlay

1911 Cadillac

1912 REO

Edited by PFindlay (see edit history)

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I talked to Mark's at a local tractor show and he refused to work on it.  He rather rudely said  just forget that Splitdorf and go with something else.  I won't work on it.

 

And, yes, I need parts where the diecast is broken.  The distributor body has a broken ear that holds the stationary point but when I clamp down the metal cover it holds in place well.  When I was removing the mag from the car the arm that adjusts the spark broke around the threaded hole for the linkage.  I will probably have to have an arm made and use the body as is unless I get real lucky and find a donor mag in good condition.  It is a model X n the bottom, never seen another one for sale.

 

I have seen some articles on diecast and how they age (not well).  The carb guy in MO will hardly work on them anymore.  He says they are dangerous, an accident waiting to happen with the brittleness and the vibration of an engine.

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avantey  if you can get some end plates and the armature and condenser is ok, which it should be you did say that it started on mag,it is really quite easy to rebuild and recharge the magnets.I am in Ontario Canada and would be willing to help you.I have done 2 other Splitdorfs for myself

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