Brooklyn Beer

Advice / input on buying a late 20's - early 30's car

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4 hours ago, C Carl said:

 

Hey Brooklyn'  : do you know how to double clutch 'em up and down smoothly ? Or even match revs shift without touching the clutch ? One more STRONG point in favor of the delightful Model A being an entry level car for the automotive period you would like to experience. Blow shifts, grind them cogs, break 2nd gear, no big deal. Easy repair, plenty of parts availability. I let people drive my old Cadillacs, love the view from the back seat ! Some of the guys who are good at shifting the crashboxes  and I put on a smug, superior attitude against synchromesh transmissions. However, the best way to begin learning how to double clutch a crashbox, is on a synchromesh trans. Call it crashbox 101, in which learning the "dance", the coordination of 4 limbs until it becomes routine, is the first step. You want to get to the point where you can double clutch a snap-quick 3-1 downshift as your car loses momentum on a grade.

 

O.K. Now having earned that "Gear Jammer" T-shirt on the Model A, you have really come to love that A. Hanging around and comparing other cars of the era, you have a baseline from which to select the next step. It will be easy to sell the A, quickly if you sell somewhat under market if need be. Consider your ownership to have been an inexpensive, fun learning experience. And, if you are really lucky, that A might have given you an opportunity to twist a wrench from time to time.

 

The larger cars from the late '20s to the early'30s have a very different road feel from the A. Try them out. But you can be sure your first Model A Ford will always hold a special place in your heart.    -   Cadillac Carl 

 

P.S. Lemmee see if I can find a picture of me riding shotgun, or in the back seat of one of my crashbox driver training cars (I have 2 spare transmissions for this one) ..................... Yup. Found a couple. This is "Doc Hawk" out of 'Vegas earning his T-shirt

 

 

F161307C-CA12-4D87-9BCC-A6F77AF08B5D.jpeg

14AF8B0C-4CD2-42A6-A724-091AF35BB69D.jpeg

My 40 ford ,  1 1/2 ton was double clutch and I used to drive a tank for a living. I can figure out much anything I hope !

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7 hours ago, Walt G said:

Christech - yes Franklin used wood in their frames/chassis but by 1929 all chassis were steel thru the end of their manufacture in 1934, The longer wheelbase 1928 Franklin's had a steel chassis.  Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of that fact. The Franklin club also has excellent technical support as to what parts are available, who fixes what and where etc. The 1932-34 Franklin Olympic series 18 were Reo Flying Clouds with Franklin providing the engine, trans., hubcaps, hood, and shell. The engine the Olympic used was the same as the engine in the larger Airman series but the Olympic was much lighter weight wise.

Walt, Yes, I was aware of the short chassis in 28' being their last but the OP did say late 20's to early 30's cars so a 28' would qualify in my book. I'm really just making a point that a ton of cars in those years had plenty of wood and they are all good cars. There's more than Fords and Budd bodied Dodges to consider. Actually steel was the abnorm, not the norm for those years. Wood always gets a bad rap because of the work to restore one with bad wood and many just can't handle working on them. Once one has been restored, there's literally no issue in most examples. When buying a restored car (wood restored or checked for soundness) there's not much to worry about.

    In the future, on sites like this, the talk will be about how steel is inferior and stay away from any steel bodied cars because polymer and carbon fiber is the way to go. LOL

Edited by chistech (see edit history)

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Man Brooklyn , you can teach me a few things. I've got a twin screw custom 1969 Gillig 743D with a Fuller RTO15 that trips me up. My professional friends go up and down that thing using the clutch for getting off the line only. Hat's off to you guys. You will be thrilled to put the miles on your next love, whatever you choose ! Going down the line in ancient cars is about as close to a time machine experience as a person can get, as far as I can tell.  -  CC 

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It would be stretching the budget too thin right now and I am supposed to only researching vehicles for the next 2-3 month but I find the color combination on the Dodge amazing.  This is basically what I will be in the market for..  Then i saw the motor swap.  grrrrrrrrrrrrr

 

https://www.allcollectorcars.com/for-sale/1928-Dodge-Victory-Six-/2144517/

Edited by Brooklyn Beer (see edit history)

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Brooklyn, that outfit that is advertising those cars

is one that has been discussed on this site once before.

I believe that they don't have the cars;  that they aren't

true dealers, but rather just advertisers.  They say they

are legitimate, but people have questioned whether they

advertise others' cars without their permission.  In any

event, those very cars may be advertised elsewhere,

even by the seller himself, for less money.  See this link:

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/270303-classic-car-deals-cadillac-michigan/

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8 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

...They say they are legitimate, but people have questioned whether they

advertise others' cars without their permission.  ...

 

That 1931 Dodge sedan you like, for $15,595 from

"Classic Car Deals," is also being currently

advertised by DP9 Motorsports in Long Island, New York

for $13,500.  See link  (their website mistakenly labels it

as a pick-up truck).  The pictures are the same:

 

http://www.dp9motorsports.com/detail-1931-dodge-d100_pickup-used-18293634.html

 

Now, if one dealer has the car for sale, why would he

have another dealer halfway across the country "help" him

sell it by advertising it for him?  This leads one to the discussion

where people think that "Classic Car Deals" is questionable.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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That is crazy.  I totally agree.  Wonder if DP9 is actually the original dealer as well !  at 13500 I would have it looked at but not knowing who has it or where it is, even who is the legit dealer, how can you get the car inspected ???  

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There are certainly some fine and hobby-enthusiast

dealers, but I appreciate buying cars directly from a sincere

and knowledgeable owner.  The owner may have had the car for

20 years, knows what has been done to it, may show you its

quirks and how to operate it, and should take pride that it's going to

a new home and an enthusiastic new owner.

 

In one interview, collector Jay Leno stated that he judged

the owner as much as the car, and liked to buy from an owner

who actually worked on the car himself.  Good advice!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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7 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

So can anyone explain to me how a vacuum fuel tank works and the updraft carb?

 

In the earliest cars there were typically no fuel pumps. The gas would have to gravity feed from the tank, and so the goal was to get the carb as low as possible. They could have designed downdraft carbs, they just didn't.

 

Updraft carbs have some peculiarities, like the fact that any excess gas usually runs out on the ground instead of into the engine, and the fact that there isn't much hope of getting fuel up into the engine if the gas is too cold to vaporize. Other than that, the theory and operation of an updraft carb is exactly the same as a downdraft carb.

 

In early cars the gas tank was usually under the seat or something like that, and it was possible to not have enough downward angle to keep the carb supplied with gas on a steep hill, and in those days there were some really steep hills on the main roads in some areas. Occasionally a motorist might have to back up a long steep hill (with switchbacks!) to keep the car from running out of gas partway up.

 

The next step was to put the gas tank up in the cowl right under the windshield. This works better because there is a steeper drop between the tank and the carb. It limits the fuel capacity because there is only so much room up there in the cowl. Also, not everyone wants to drive around with a gas tank almost in their lap.

 

What followed that was vacuum tanks. They use engine vacuum and keep sucking gas up into a tiny tank up high on the firewall. Now the main fuel tank can be located anywhere. The gas gravity feeds from the tiny tank to the updraft carb (just like it did when the main fuel tank was in the cowl).

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Vacuum tank uses 2 chambers and a couple of valves. When it is empty engine vacuum is applied to the upper chamber which is connected to the gas tank by a fuel line. The vacuum sucks gas into the chamber. When it is full a float valve shuts off the engine vacuum and opens a valve in the bottom. This allows the fuel to fall into the bottom chamber. From there it flows to the carburetor.

 

With the upper chamber empty the vacuum valve opens and it sucks gas again. There is also a float to prevent the bottom chamber from being filled too full.

 

There is a plug in the top that can be opened to pour gas in by hand, to get things started. This is handy if the vacuum tank stops working as you can keep filling it by hand and driving a few miles at a time.

 

On a long hard uphill pull you can run out of gas, as the engine is producing so little vacuum it can't suck the gas uphill from the fuel tank. When the vacuum tank runs dry you run out of gas. The cure is to pull over and let the engine idle for a minute to refill the vacuum tank.

 

On the whole they worked well and were pretty reliable and trouble free, and not hard to fix if they went on the fritz. But new designs of fuel pumps were better and cheaper.

 

Something else, carburetors made for vacuum tanks had bigger needle valves and were made for very low pressure, like 1 pound because they were fed by gravity. Carbs made for fuel pumps had to have smaller stronger needle valves.

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What Spinney said...no "piston."  Very reliable but must be thoroughly cleaned every 20 years or so--ask me how I know.

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Here’s the link to the 30 Cadillac you missed:

 

 

I think it’s one of those that will be on my mind for years to come.

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So mechanically,  what would differ on a caddy from this era say from a dodge brothers?  Is it a more complicated car ? One off features , etc?

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I think, and others can chime in with more knowledge, the big boys from that era differ from higher production volume, lower end cars more significantly than the postwar period or even late 30s.  It seems more components were shared as the 30s went on.  Consolidation in the auto industry itself is also a factor. On the plus side, Big wheelbase, more hp can make for more comfort and smooth power on big cars but they tend to have more complex mechanicals.  It has been said (I believe by knowledgeable poster Ed Minnie, who I would call an expert on many of the bigger cars) the avg. Classic from that period has 5,000 more parts overall than say a Ford A.  So, it stands to reason the $27k Caddy is a little more challenging to maintain than a sorted, tour ready A at the top of the range.  For this reason, if we move up as much as I would love a Classic, i personally might look at early v8 Fords in coupe or open bodys. Newer than your target era but maybe something to consider if you were to go to say, 1935.

 

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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One thought on this is advice i have been given when contemplating a couple of CCCA cars needing work.  Are you looking to tinker, sort, restore, or maintain, or drive and wax mainly?  That jolt of reality has kept me from buying say, a Classic for 20k needing 10, 15k in servicing to enjoy vs. A cheaper car with more predictable service costs.  But closed CCCA cars, and non Classic indepenents can be great cars for the right buyer.  

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No matter what car you buy or see on the internet DO NOT PURCHASE IT SIGHT UNSEEN!  Spend the dollars to go see the car for yourself.  I went back and forth on a Jag MK X in Washington state over a two month period. Numerous phone conversations and hundreds of pictures later my wife and I got on a plane form Lexington and made the trip to Seattle (my excuse was she could see the many gardens in the area as a vacation) a side trip to the car and we found it was sunk in the mud, interior shot &arusted non-running hulk.  The pics were 20+ years old and the conversations were bull!  A second Mk X & trip to New Jesrey was basically the same result. I finally found the Studebaker a short day trip away that was exactly as the seller said it was.  So there are honest seller out there but it's your responsibility to be sure they are. Don't trust anyone until you verify it yourself. It will save you dollars and agony in the long run. 

Have fun.

Dave S

 

ps - I know I am not the only one that this has happened too, it is all far to common.  

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

So mechanically,  what would differ on a caddy from this era say from a dodge brothers?  Is it a more complicated car ? One off features , etc?

 

I'm not an expert on high-end cars of this era, but others are.

"Edinmass" is a full-time collection manager and is very knowledgeable.

I hope he sees your question and can contribute here.

From what others have written (and a bit from my own experience too),

high-end cars can sometimes require tens of thousands of dollars to

get operating properly, even when a car looks beautiful outwardly.

 

Speaking of good-looking high-end cars, Ed has written (see thread below):

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/318980-1920s-cadillacs/?tab=comments#comment-1812980

 

"I think the true numbers of cars "sorted" and operating as they were

when new is less than three percent. Maybe 10 percent are adequate

to operate as intended with only a very few minor issues."

 

"The Cadillacs can be and are a handful.  Being a purist I won’t run a Caddy

on an electric pump, but I sure understand why people do it. I have a 16 right now

that runs perfect in the cool weather--when it gets over 85 though you

may as well bring a tow truck when you go for a ride... Never, Never, Never

buy a car without getting expert help, it’s the best return on investment you will

EVER spend on a purchase. I have been noticing that in today’s modern world

with instant gratification in most areas, people just don’t have the patience

to get the cars sorted...." 

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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John, exactly what I was looking for from Ed.  Not to discourage a Classic, but to use knowledge of the group.  He may be a good person to talk to about helping find a car that fits the bill ss well.

 

 

 

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It looks like I might have a 31’ Caddy coming in for some work so I had a couple short messages with Ed about it. He did mention some finicky things and said to contact him if I did end up getting the car. By what I’ve read, heard from Ed, and others, I don’t think the caddy would be a good entry into the 20s-30’s era for the OP. The average everyday man’s car sold back then would fit the bill better, no matter what the make is. Just my opinion.

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Yes. Sounds like getting my feet wet on something that could be less frustrating to start out with.  Plan to do some in depth reading on a 30 to 32 dodge

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Have you looked into series 70's (years 1928-30) Chrylsers? 

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