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What class would this 1925 car be in at an AACA event?


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I just joined the AACA last year and I have not had a chance to attend one of the shows yet.  I read the car classes and some of the judging documents, but I am a bit confused when it comes to an older unrestored car.  Would this just go in an HPOF class?  I also thought I saw that you could still get a jr or other award in the 400 point class with an original car, but I not sure how that would work if most of the cars are restored.  Thanks for the guidance in advance.

 

Now on to the car.  I acquired this car in January and it is a 1925 Cole Brouette with body by Willoughby.  The car has a lot of history as it was the personal chauffer driven car for Mrs. JJ Cole.  After JJ Cole's death in late 1925, Mrs. Cole used the car until about 1930 and then it was stored in the basement of the Cole factory with some other cars until 1990.  The Cole family maintained the cars while in the basement and took them out on occasion for family events and to drive.  The car was then moved to the Cole mansion in Indianapolis after a relative of the Cole family purchased the house and the car.  Both the house and the Brouette were placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1997.  The national park service inspected the property and the car and documented it as part of the process.  In 2007 the mansion was then sold as well as the car and a private collector purchased it.  I then acquired it from that person in January of this year.  The car is predominately all original exterior and interior and has only had parts replaced that would be expected to be replaced to maintain the car and to keep it running such as hoses, plugs, tires, etc.  The paint is original though has been cosmetically touched up over the years.  The body is aluminum except for the engine cover and that helped with preservation.  We believe that the top material was replaced at some point.  Also, after some engine work in 2008, the previous owner repainted the engine top with the original engine color that was on there.  There are some dings as you would expect, but nothing major.   Here are some pictures and a page from the park service report.  I also scanned an older photograph of the car at the Cole mansion.  

 

 

ColeToday.JPG

012 - back floor register.jpg

018 - Willoughby stamp.jpg

engine.JPG

scan0013.jpg

interior1.png

Cole25.png

hubcap.JPG

Cole at Cole Mansion.jpg

Edited by kfle (see edit history)
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HPOF would be great but if you wanted to compete with restored cars there is nothing to stop you.  Getting a second or third place award in those classes is still an accomplishment.  It looks like this is a four wheel brake car and I believe it is an 8 cylinder which would put it in class 18C if being judged. 

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3 minutes ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

HPOF would be great but if you wanted to compete with restored cars there is nothing to stop you.  Getting a second or third place award in those classes is still an accomplishment.  It looks like this is a four wheel brake car and I believe it is an 8 cylinder which would put it in class 18C if being judged. 

Steve,

 

Thanks and yes, you are correct.  It is a four wheel brake car and it has a V8.  So is 18C the 400 point judged class?  Is HPOF just one big class?

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24 minutes ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

Keith you have it correct.  Just remember that there can be multiple winners for either class judging or our evaluated cars (HPOF & DPC). 

Thanks, that is very helpful.  Now I just need to pick an event to bring it to.  I am outside of Detroit so the closest one is Auburn, however that event is a Grand National so this car would not qualify I believe.  

 

Kevin

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41 minutes ago, nzcarnerd said:

If it is mostly original, leave it as it is. It is only original once - you can never unrestore a car.

 

I have no plans to restore this car as my intention is to leave it as original as possible.  This car has been well preserved for so many  years, I am going to enjoy it that way. My goal is to get the car out in the public eye more as it has been hidden away for most of its life.  It is also the only 1925 Cole known to exist still.  

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2 hours ago, Phillip Cole said:

... Considering you have a car with such documented provenance,  you should seriously consider restoring it to be class judged. 

 

I'll have to heartily disagree with advice to restore it.

I'm happy to hear that the only known 1925 Cole will

be kept in its current original state.

 

Thank goodness this car was stored until modern times,

when original cars are very much appreciated.

How much better it is to see what the Cole Motor Car Company

made in 1925, and all the details of how they made it, painted it,

and upholstered it--rather than to see how Joe's Restoration Shop

did it in 2019!

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Another vote for strict preservation. Just put your efforts and whatever $$$ necessary to keep it up, and also running as close to 100% as possible. How many miles on your beautiful Cole(s)  ?      -     Carl 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

It would be a crime to restore that car, especially just to win a trophy.

I agree with you and as long as I am the caretaker of this car it will not be restored.  To me the car itself is the award and sharing the car and history with others is the fun part of the hobby.

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38 minutes ago, C Carl said:

Another vote for strict preservation. Just put your efforts and whatever $$$ necessary to keep it up, and also running as close to 100% as possible. How many miles on your beautiful Cole(s)  ?      -     Carl 

Spot on Carl.  The car sat for a couple of years with the previous owner so it is in a shop right now having a mechanical go through and a cleaning/preservation of the surfaces.  They found a bent valve in cylinder 8 and the some gaskets needed replacing so a new valve had to be made and the engine is running great now.  When the previous owner got it in 2007, he was big on preservation as well.  He actually took out an electric fuel pump that was put in at some point and put back in the original vacuum system.  He also did some other mechanical conservation to keep it original and running smooth.  One thing he had to do was to fix the speedo unit and cable so the odometer mileage right now is not right, however he did document everything in great detail.  The log he kept is at the shop with the car, but the original miles on the odometer were about 31,000.  

 

My 1923 Cole Coupe is also a Cole family car and was built by JJ Cole for his son and it was the test car for balloon tires as Cole was the first auto company to have balloon tires on a production car.  It also tested other technology as well.  Anyway, that car was kept in the factory building and owned by the family until 1990.  It had 12,121 original miles at the time.  Unfortunately in the late 70's there was a river flood by the factory and the basement partially flooded.  Where the coupe was sitting got a lot of water so the owner that bought it from the Coles had to restore it, but they restored everything over a ten year restoration that was finished in 2008 and it was done the way it was.  The car currently has about 12,500 miles on it as the previous owner did not use it that much at all.  I just acquired this one last October.  

 

The 1913 Cole is fully restored and I bought it that way in April of 2018.   It has good documentation on it as well and has about 45,000 miles on it at this point.  It sat in a museum in Indiana for 12 years until I acquired it.  

 

Kevin

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Wow, would love to see that car-let us know where you will be taking it. 

I do recommend putting it into the HPOF class.  One thing not mentioned yet is you can also put it in it's proper class along with all the other cars being judged and choose the "do not judge" option for it.   That way you will be parked with similar cars.  I've done that before with my 1914 Model T.  It's an older restoration so has a few nicks and scrapes, but it loves to be parked with the other Model Ts.  Wherever it goes though, I'm sure it will draw a lot of attention. 

Terry

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4 minutes ago, Joe in Canada said:

You could always bring it on the AACA National Vintage tour in Kingston Ont. Aug. 4 to Aug. 9. For cars older than 1932 and not that far for you to come. Love to see it there.

I will have to look into that.  I have never taken one of these cars across the border.  Are there any considerations with that?

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4 minutes ago, kfle said:

I will have to look into that.  I have never taken one of these cars across the border.  Are there any considerations with that?

 

No issues as a tourist. Just like any other car. You will need your passport, however.

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I vote for Preservation-

They are only ORIGINAL ONCE,

and yes, please consider driving it on the AACA VINTAGE TOUR in Kingston, Ontario.

We'll be there with our 1930 Packard (or the '15 Hudson?)

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My disgustingly bad story here is that not quite thirty years ago I had one of the best unrestored cars I had EVER seen. Sadly, a few years later, financial necessity required me to sell it. Although I sold it to a friend and fellow hobbyist that also appreciated unrestored cars (he and I were both ahead of the curve on liking them kept that way), he also sold the car a couple years after that. About that time, the HPOF classes were getting a foothold and gaining recognition. Unfortunately, a subsequent owner decided to spend  (believe it or not!) over $50,000 to completely restore the car. Made me sick when I heard about it. I got a great deal of personal satisfaction however a few years later when that person tried to sell the car. The car he had paid $20,000 for, and then the $50K on restoration, he could not get a buyer for at $35,000.

 

Your '25 Cole is without a doubt one of a very small number of really original (pre 1930) cars that I have ever seen (even pictures of) that I can truly say is in better condition than the car I had!

I cannot adequately express how fantastic I think that Cole is.

I am pleased that you are its current (and hopefully for a long time to come) caretaker.

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9 hours ago, Terry Bond said:

Wow, would love to see that car-let us know where you will be taking it. 

I do recommend putting it into the HPOF class.  One thing not mentioned yet is you can also put it in it's proper class along with all the other cars being judged and choose the "do not judge" option for it.   That way you will be parked with similar cars.  I've done that before with my 1914 Model T.  It's an older restoration so has a few nicks and scrapes, but it loves to be parked with the other Model Ts.  Wherever it goes though, I'm sure it will draw a lot of attention. 

Terry

I will let you know when I figure it out.  Good tip on the do not judge and that sounds like a good idea!

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Beautiful car, kfle, and it sounds like the car is in good hands.  This car is a living piece of history as it sits.  I would encourage you to enter it as an HPOF vehicle and enjoy being a part of the Auburn meet.  The HPOF area is arguably the most interesting section of the show field.

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4 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

My disgustingly bad story here is that not quite thirty years ago I had one of the best unrestored cars I had EVER seen. Sadly, a few years later, financial necessity required me to sell it. Although I sold it to a friend and fellow hobbyist that also appreciated unrestored cars (he and I were both ahead of the curve on liking them kept that way), he also sold the car a couple years after that. About that time, the HPOF classes were getting a foothold and gaining recognition. Unfortunately, a subsequent owner decided to spend  (believe it or not!) over $50,000 to completely restore the car. Made me sick when I heard about it. I got a great deal of personal satisfaction however a few years later when that person tried to sell the car. The car he had paid $20,000 for, and then the $50K on restoration, he could not get a buyer for at $35,000.

 

Your '25 Cole is without a doubt one of a very small number of really original (pre 1930) cars that I have ever seen (even pictures of) that I can truly say is in better condition than the car I had!

I cannot adequately express how fantastic I think that Cole is.

I am pleased that you are its current (and hopefully for a long time to come) caretaker.

 

Wayne,

 

That is a heartbreaking story and I can't imagine how disappointing that must have been.  I had been looking for this car and I was able to track it down and fell in love with it even more when I saw it in person.  I absolutely plan on being the caretaker of this car for a long time and then my son after that.  He is 18 now and has a great love for pre war cars and especially Coles.  It is a great hobby and passion that we can share together.  

 

Here is a Cole family photo from the late 40's of them taking 4 of their Cole cars out for a local trip to a park.   The 1925 Cole is the last one in the photo.  I have been unbelievably fortunate to acquire three of the four cars in the picture.  The 1923 Coupe and 13 Touring car have both been restored by previous owners but were done right and with care.  Unfortunately both of those cars were affected by a flood that got part of the basement.  Luckily the Brouette was not hit by the flood!  Also here is a photo that appeared in the Indy Star paper in the 70's showing the 25 Brouette and a 24 Royal Sedan in the basement of the Cole factory with someone looking under the hood of the Brouette.  

 

Kevin

Cole Family at the park.jpg

Brouette and royal sedan.jpg

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Even as a restorer I have to encourage you not to restore your Cole. I always caution people though. The phrase "it's only original once" is true but that "once" is the day it left the factory. After that day it may have significant original features but they have deteriorated to a greater or lesser degree from "original". At best you can maintain and preserve the car in the state of deterioration it was in when you received the car. Again, please do not do any major restoration to your Cole.

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3 minutes ago, Roger Frazee said:

Beautiful car, kfle, and it sounds like the car is in good hands.  This car is a living piece of history as it sits.  I would encourage you to enter it as an HPOF vehicle and enjoy being a part of the Auburn meet.  The HPOF area is arguably the most interesting section of the show field.

Thanks Roger!  Isnt the Auburn meet this year a Grand National which I believe means only previous winners can attend?  For some reason I thought that a first timer could not enter a car unless the HPOF class is different.

 

Kevin

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5 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

Even as a restorer I have to encourage you not to restore your Cole. I always caution people though. The phrase "it's only original once" is true but that "once" is the day it left the factory. After that day it may have significant original features but they have deteriorated to a greater or lesser degree from "original". At best you can maintain and preserve the car in the state of deterioration it was in when you received the car. Again, please do not do any major restoration to your Cole.

Agreed and absolutely no plans to.  My only goal is to preserve it and do maintenance to keep it running.

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Kevin;  Lovely Cole.  I plan to attend the vintage tour and if this is your first it promises to be a good time.  Kingston, On has gently rolling terrain, some long grades up and down so your brakes should be in the best working order and the engine running cool and fine.  Expect to drive over five hundred miles during the five day meet, you will not need lawn chairs.  Generally we leave soon after breakfast and return to the hotel in time for refreshments before the evening meal with interesting places to see during the day.  Last tour had fifty cars ranging from 1913 to model A's, many Chryslers, RR, Hupmobile, etc.  A tour has so much to do, meet like minded folks, cars break down and are often repaired on the side of the road or overnight, catch a ride in a luxury car or a model T.  And Ontario roads are in much better condition than you will find at home in Michigan.

 

Hope you can make it, Gary

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17 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

Made me sick when I heard about it. I got a great deal of personal satisfaction however a few years later when that person tried to sell the car. The car he had paid $20,000 for, and then the $50K on restoration, he could not get a buyer for at $35,000.

Still happens all the time - very unfortunate too as a lot of things just need a little car and maintenance, as well as staying original to be the pattern for cars not as fortunate.

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Kevin, 

   Great motorcar. Not a car, not a 20 HP Tin Lizzie, not a GM from the Sears of Motordom, not a Dodge. Good as those were...this one has a lot more style and distinction, plus the panache of low-volume and high price. Many of the V-8s sold for $2,750-$4,450 during the company's 18 production years. In the Twenties, a Cole was the Indianapolis Pace Car(1924). Like an Elcar or a DuPont, not an everyman's car & not something everyone's heard of. Here are a couple of richly-illustrated ads...something we've lost along the way on anything cheaper than a Bentley these days:

image.jpeg.83c7ae7d5f23a7aaeba829a01cab5642.jpeg     Image result for Cole Sportcoupe

   I think the AACA class 19a would be a good class for your Cole 8 at a meet (if you were not in HPOF).  Appropriate for vehicles recognized by the CCCA as Full Classics, 1915-1931. The CCCA's listing says about Cole All 1916-1925, 8-cylinder are Classics. Just because you don't want to have a Pebble-Beach-level resto done doesn't mean you can't enter it in that class.

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19 hours ago, cxgvd said:

Kevin;  Lovely Cole.  I plan to attend the vintage tour and if this is your first it promises to be a good time.  Kingston, On has gently rolling terrain, some long grades up and down so your brakes should be in the best working order and the engine running cool and fine.  Expect to drive over five hundred miles during the five day meet, you will not need lawn chairs.  Generally we leave soon after breakfast and return to the hotel in time for refreshments before the evening meal with interesting places to see during the day.  Last tour had fifty cars ranging from 1913 to model A's, many Chryslers, RR, Hupmobile, etc.  A tour has so much to do, meet like minded folks, cars break down and are often repaired on the side of the road or overnight, catch a ride in a luxury car or a model T.  And Ontario roads are in much better condition than you will find at home in Michigan.

 

Hope you can make it, Gary

 

Gary - It doesn't take much to have better roads than metro Detroit!  This sounds like a good and interesting tour.  Is there a link to information about the event?

 

Kevin

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12 hours ago, jeff_a said:

Kevin, 

   Great motorcar. Not a car, not a 20 HP Tin Lizzie, not a GM from the Sears of Motordom, not a Dodge. Good as those were...this one has a lot more style and distinction, plus the panache of low-volume and high price. Many of the V-8s sold for $2,750-$4,450 during the company's 18 production years. In the Twenties, a Cole was the Indianapolis Pace Car(1924). Like an Elcar or a DuPont, not an everyman's car & not something everyone's heard of. Here are a couple of richly-illustrated ads...something we've lost along the way on anything cheaper than a Bentley these days:

image.jpeg.83c7ae7d5f23a7aaeba829a01cab5642.jpeg     Image result for Cole Sportcoupe

   I think the AACA class 19a would be a good class for your Cole 8 at a meet (if you were not in HPOF).  Appropriate for vehicles recognized by the CCCA as Full Classics, 1915-1931. The CCCA's listing says about Cole All 1916-1925, 8-cylinder are Classics. Just because you don't want to have a Pebble-Beach-level resto done doesn't mean you can't enter it in that class.

 

Jeff,

 

Thanks and agree with you.  The Cole ads were wonderful and the dealer prestige catalogs were even better.  Here is the ad for this particular car that I have.  ad.thumb.jpg.a03d25e3c48d8e0f334d1c4cfb5bcea1.jpg

 

I was aware that the Cole is a CCCA full classic and in fact this very 1925 Cole was the specific car that was submitted to the CCCA board in 2011.  Based on that process the board voted to designate this car as a Full Classic.  A few years later the CCCA opened up entry down to 1916 so all Cole V8's back to that date were designated full classics.  I will be showing this car at the Michigan CCCA Grand Classic event on June 1st and 2nd of this year.  

 

Kevin

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Kfle, I think by now the consensus is to leave your car alone and simply enjoy the heck out of it. You have a rare and beautiful car that most of us would love to own. I personally think most people are shying away from full blown, multi dollar restorations. Whenever I enter a car show with ether of my cars, I put a small card right under the windshield, event, card that states "Please do not judge". Too much nit picking and too much jealousy when awards are given out. 

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Kevin;  For the AACA Vintage Tour please contact Joe at Joe from Canada on page 1 of this thread, he is the host this summer.  Hotel info is available now for reservations, haven't seen registration forms yet and you need to contact the office in Hershey to tell them you are going because it is a national event.

Regards, Gary

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