Bob Zetnick

Driving a '29 in today's traffic

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I have a '29 Dodge that is undergoing its 2nd restoration. I hope to have paint and body work done in a week or so and then can start reinstalling assemblies, upholstery, etc. so maybe by end of year it will be finished. I wanted the car to be a driver. After my first restoration of this car in the mid-70s I drove to college in it and left it sitting in parking lots for long periods of time. I'd drive it on country roads and heavily trafficked roads. Today's drivers seem much more impatient and vandalism seems much more rampant. I now am getting a little fearful taking it on errands and leaving it parked even for a short time.  The car has 4 wheel hydraulic brakes and will have turn signals and she always felt safe to drive before. I'd like to know people's experiences living in a large city (mine is Fort Worth, TX) and using a similar vintage car as a driver.

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Good luck Bob.  I do not live in a large city, so for me, living in a community of about 10,000, driving my Model A Ford is no problem.   That said, once you get off the expressways in Fort Worth, how fast are the side streets really?  Aren't they, as they all are in my nearest big city - Chicago - all backed up and going slow anyhow?  So perhaps the biggest risk is overheating.  

 

As I say - good luck, and enjoy. 

 

PS - I did not see mention of seat belts.  Installing them in my Model A has helped my confidence tremendously!  Whether or not they adequately protect us in the event of an accident, they sure did wonders for my and my passengers comfort level.

 

Cheers! 

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Hey Bob,

I live on Long Island about 25 miles east of NYC, I sold my 31 Chevy because I did not feel safe driving around here.I almost got broadsisded twice by a texters in a high end european cars blowing through stop signs

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In my 1931 DB, the scariest part is when someone tries to read my "DODGE" taillight and about runs up my exhaust pipe. VERY scary stuff, sometimes.

Picture 7320.jpg

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Thanks you all...LarryP I don't have seats belts, but will be getting safety glass....the side streets are normally a posted limit of 30-35 mph, but a lot of people will drive about 50 when in those zones...John348, I've almost been hit by people texting too....a new trend I'm seeing is people going halfway into oncoming, moving traffic from a stop sign in order to stop that lane of traffic, so they can go through..there are many new stunts trying to jockey through traffic here...John Keiser, people are on my butt now even without a neat taillight lens! :)

 

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Get caught texting up here while driving will cost you $490. plus three demerit points. Then when your insurance company sees the demerit points they raise your premium seeing you are a risk. But the people still text.  

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I live in a metropolitan area of about 300,000.  Not a Fort Worth but we have our share of dangerous drivers also.  In January I was hit from behind by a driver (texting I think) while waiting for 7 fire emergency vehicles to go through the intersection in front of me.  Fortunately I was in a modern car & not an antique.  I always worry about accidents in my old cars. 

 

Visibility is a major safety item.  I use a 6 volt positive ground 3rd brake led light in the back window.  People tend not to look for the brake light in the lower left corner.  My car has a yellow brake light.  I once had a cop stop me to say the stop lights were not working, actually my turn lights.  When driving around dusk, adding two flashing bicycle lights to the rear bumper corners will slow upcoming traffic.  You can also add white or yellow bicycle flashing lights to the front.  They maybe illegal but the police have never stopped me, maybe just lucky.

 

If you want to practice driving, try driving 35 in a 45 speed zone or drive 10 miles under the speed limit.  Almost no one seems to be willing to follow behind an 85 year old car.  Even when driving the speed limit, local drivers just have to get in front.  I get a large charge driving the old car and am willing to tolerate rude drivers. 

Edited by huptoy (see edit history)

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Bob, 

 

I live in Round Rock, just north of Austin. I drive my 1921 Franklin around town without problems, but I do take precautions. I wouldn't have any qualms about driving your Dodge in Fort Worth. However...

  • Stay in the right hand lane on the freeways (duh!) and anticipate idiots cutting in front of you. You'll be better off driving in rush hour, since the freeways are crowded and you'll blend in with traffic. P.S. I NEVER take my '21 on the freeway, given it's low top speed. 
  • Always let cars behind you anticipate your actions. I give plenty of notice before changing lanes or making turns. Slowing down before any turns waaaaaay in advance of the turn forces cars behind you to slow down, too, which lessens the danger of a rear-ender.  
  • My biggest problem and fear is when a car cuts in front of me and then brakes hard to make a right turn. I don't have adequate stopping power to cope with this. So I anticipate. You'll be surprised at how you can sense the stupid drivers.
  • One benefit of driving your antique: drivers around you slow down to view your car. They almost add a protective buffer. This happens to me all the time. It's kind of a good thing.
  • Avoiding really busy roads and taking alternate, lesser traveled routes always works. You also get to see hidden parts of the city and wave to lots of friendly people.

Fort Worth is a beautiful city, especially the older areas of town being re-gentrified. Those streets are build just for your Dodge. 

 

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Most of the fools who cut you off in their cars do not realize that you only have a few inches of rubber contacting to the road in the early cars. You can have EXCELLENT brakes on your car, but it could skid on those skinny tires.

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Thanks for all the new replies! I am going to tie my turn signals to the brake lights, so will have 3 lights on the rear. Ransom Eli; cool to know there's a '21 Franklin that travels in Round Rock! (there was a '29 Franklin in my hood, but he sold it several years ago)...I get so many comments to rod my car here in Texas (supposedly for better speed)...just the nature of the beast here...I do live in one of those gentrified neighborhoods south of downtown, but again people whiz by, go thru stop signs, etc., but the neighborhood streets are the best way to get to cross streets over the major roads. I may drive slower just to let them pass in places. .....anyone have issues w/ vandalism when parking your car? I know there are a lot of break-ins here on the streets in my hood, but my car will be parked in a garage...that said, I would like to do some errands or go out to eat in the car.

 

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On 6/7/2016 at 3:15 PM, Bob Zetnick said:

....a new trend I'm seeing is people going halfway into oncoming, moving traffic from a stop sign in order to stop that lane of traffic, so they can go through..:)

 

We use to call that a NY turn 45 years ago when we first moved to NY from the mid-west, I guess it has migrated. I have gotten so use to people doing it I had forgotten when it first started happening to me.

 

I drive my 50 Ford F1 pretty much anywhere but the Crosleys I get nervous in heavy traffic.

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On ‎6‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 3:15 PM, Bob Zetnick said:

a new trend I'm seeing is people going halfway into oncoming, moving traffic from a stop sign in order to stop that lane of traffic, so they can go through..there are many new stunts trying to jockey through traffic here... :)

 

 

That was part of my road test in the Bronx

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Bob, 

 

This may be a very small world. I purchased a 1929 Franklin sedan in Ft. Worth on the south side of town several years ago. Very nice, old neighborhood that was being re-gentrified one house at a time. 

 

Is this the car? The photo was taken just before we loaded it on the trailer. 

 

My '21 Franklin was getting lonely, so I bought a companion for it. 

 

 

IMG_0039.JPG

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You will be amazed at the number people who will pull up behind you at traffic lights (even with 2 other lanes empty) and expect you to accelerate  at their pace.

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I drive my 30 Plymouth around Des Moines regularly, it makes my commute much more enjoyable to just motor around at the posted speed limits. I did add a period correct accessory stoplight, not that it helps much when the drivers behind me are trying to figure out what I'm pointing up at when I hand signal a right turn. We've had a couple close calls but I just expect everyone to pull out in front of the car when they see it coming. 

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The largest danger to driving ANYTHING is cell phones........period....... :wacko:

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9 hours ago, RansomEli said:

Bob, 

 

This may be a very small world. I purchased a 1929 Franklin sedan in Ft. Worth on the south side of town several years ago. Very nice, old neighborhood that was being re-gentrified one house at a time. 

 

Is this the car? The photo was taken just before we loaded it on the trailer. 

 

My '21 Franklin was getting lonely, so I bought a companion for it. 

 

 

IMG_0039.JPG

RansomEli, yes, that's the car!...I think it was owned by a guy named Phil B....that is my neighborhood too; called Fairmount....I saw it sitting in his driveway while his house was on our annual home tour...glad your '21 has a companion too; it seemed like a very nice car.

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That makes me miss my 1929 Series 135 Franklin sedan. Looked like the very same model/configuration as yours.

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3 hours ago, keiser31 said:

That makes me miss my 1929 Series 135 Franklin sedan. Looked like the very same model/configuration as yours.

John, I didn't know you had a Franklin once...I always thought you were only a Dodge guy!

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Bob,

On my 1926 Buick I have been considering a rear spare tire cover or sign with the words something to the effect.  "I AM 90 YEARS OLD, AND I AM TRYING TO GO AS FAST AS I CAN! 

 

I live in a hilly region and starting out from stoplights going uphill has modern cars tail gating then impatiently whizzing around me as I am double clutching and trying to accelerate the best I can.

Edited by AzBob (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, Bob Zetnick said:

John, I didn't know you had a Franklin once...I always thought you were only a Dodge guy!

I have had a few different brand cars besides the Chrysler products that I gravitate to. I was out in my 1931 Dodge coupe one day cruising around 31 Mile Road north of Detroit when I spotted a BIG old car under a tarp in a farmer's side yard. I was 16 or maybe 17 at the time. I saw some tall wire wheels and HAD to stop and check it out. It was the aforementioned 1929 Franklin. It was solid, but worn. The farmer wanted $90.00 for it. I rushed home, got my Dad and went back to see it again. Soon, it was on the trailer and heading home. We gave the farmer an extra $10.00 for helping to load the car onto the trailer. Once home, it started to rain. I told my Dad that we should get it out of the rain and put it in the garage. He thought it was funny since the car sat out since 1956 or so. I wish I had photos of it. My Dad sold it to a guy in Texas after I had moved to California. A few years later, I was setting up my space at the San Diego Big Three swap meet and here comes a truck and trailer. On the trailer was MY Franklin. The guy told me that he bought it from a guy in Texas and that guy had gotten it from some guy (my Dad) in Michigan! I could tell it was the one I had owned by the broken front bumper bracket, the small rust hole on the passenger side cowl and just the overall look. The old car world can be VERY small. I would love to see if that car was restored. 

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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John 348,

should have kept the 31 and driven it ONLY in rush hour on the expressway. the traffic never goes over 5 mph!

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re: rush hour - if only drive during rush hour here you will get very good at replacing clutches.

 

 

 

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As a  wedding getaway chauffeur , I regularly drive a model 'A' Ford in all types of traffic

Just be careful . And use engine braking to save the brakes in case you need to panic stop. 

Does the Dodge have synchronized gears? 

That would make it much easier to drive than a model 'A' Ford

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I drive the 38 Studebaker around Lexington KY quite a bit.  The biggest problem is people cutting in front of me when I leave more space between cars for braking. They do not understand it takes a 3800 pound old car with drum brakes and small tires a lot more room to stop than their modern cars. I do enjoy driving it around all of the horse farms in the Blue Grass country that surrounds Lexington. Go for it and have fun.

38 SC 4MAY 16.JPG

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