Frantz

Why I like orphan cars

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I got into orphan cars by accident. As a teenager in the 1990s I stumbled into AMC Eagles. Perfect for a fellow who wanted a cheap older car that could go camping. I really hadn't been aware of AMC and didn't grow up in a car loving family. From there I loved all things AMC and it started me looking at other brands that were no more. I love the history and the stories. And like most folks who own cars, I do enjoy sharing about them. Now what makes orphan cars so much MORE fun is that you don't have a whole lot of people telling you about your car (well sometimes you do, but it's often hearsay and incorrect information). In looking for a good affordable pre war car, I've mostly ignored the big three. Unfortunately I think the big three cars generally become little more than a year. Folks aren't as interested in the innovations seen and used. There is less wonder. When you get a company that hasn't been around since the depression then folks are more interested in hearing about the car. I enjoy trying to absorb what I can about a brand and helping to carry the information forward. Many of my friends are double my age because of my interest in old cars and they often ask me how I got into it. It started like many with performance, but the key to my passion is the history and the stories of the companies. All this came to mind as I read through the model A for sale. While I'm 36 and not a "young person" anymore, I read folks complaining about young people in the hobby and feel I'm part of that age group. I think folks are sorta on track with the "we don't relate with the car" because that's true. But for those of us still into old machines, just keep in mind, it just means we are in it for different reasons. For me they tell a story of a time, and I just prefer lesser read stories.

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+1 and has always been true. Would qualify a bit further and say I tend toward halo cars. Often oddball "exercises" produced in low volume and since I like two seaters with 6 cyl engines that reduces things further (or the market is finally coming around to my tastes).

 

This began when a college student in Michigan and I found that cars with AC also had better heaters and higher capacity electrical and cooling systems (may be why I never had a cooling problem with a Vega - AC cars got real radiators.

 

And then there is the social mix. It is a fact that from about 1973 to 1998 it was not PC to be a gearhead and people were being told that to modify a car was a federal offense. Mix in the NMSL (55) and the rise of the personal computer/gaming and was not a good time to enjoy turning a wrench. Since that generation is now in the 21 to 45 year old age group it is no surprise that interest seems to be declining.

 

Not all bad, there are some really interesting cars out there that were built in that period that are very low priced since there is no demand. Orphan and halo cars often since they did not sell well when new.

 

Add to that I really wonder about the designers today that do not seem capable of something as simple as a cooling system. True that job is more difficult when you must sesign for an engine that turns 600 to 7000 rpm and not 700 to 4800 rpm as before VVT. It is an interesting time.

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I too like orphan cars, especially early ones. We restored 2 Pullman autos, a 1908 and a 1910 as well as a 1917 Bell,  all built here in York, PA.  Interesting to see different approaches to design and engineering plus it's a challenge to get them on the road and keep them there. 

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I don't know much about orphan car. But interested in them. But I like the early one/old models. I found creativity there with stunning finishing. 

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21 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

I too like orphan cars, especially early ones. We restored 2 Pullman autos, a 1908 and a 1910 as well as a 1917 Bell,  all built here in York, PA.  Interesting to see different approaches to design and engineering plus it's a challenge to get them on the road and keep them there. 

I would have liked to purchase one of Paul Vaughn's Pullmans this year at auction as he had me over to his place several times to share his knowledge of Pullmans. Just not in the cards yet, but I think I'll be a custodian of one someday!

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Keep in mind that an orphan car is like a 1970 Honda 360, a few were imported, never provisioned, and then the dealers said it never exhisted.

 

Generally you will need two - one to enjoy and one for parts.

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First I think we all like the underdog story, seems to be an American thing.  Started chasing Graham-Paige cars about 20 years ago when I found out my Grandfather had one.  He always had impeccable taste so they must be good?  The orphan car clubs are tight knit, a lot of the members know my kids names.  Our meets are international, and just fun to attend, we all share our Graham-Paige stories.  We currently have about 1500 known remaining cars in the registry, so a pretty small numbers.

 

Image result for graham owners club international meet

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8 minutes ago, Graham Man said:

First I think we all like the underdog story, seems to be an American thing.  Started chasing Graham-Paige cars about 20 years ago when I found out my Grandfather had one.  He always had impeccable taste so they must be good?  The orphan car clubs are tight knit, a lot of the members know my kids names.  Our meets are international, and just fun to attend, we all share our Graham-Paige stories.  We currently have about 1500 known remaining cars in the registry, so a pretty small numbers.

 

Image result for graham owners club international meet

I'm going to look at a Jewett this weekend. We might end up friends if I can strike a deal.

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Orphan cars are interesting, and full of great history. I have owned Studebakers, Hudsons, and  a Henry J. The Hudsons that i have owned were very well built, and great running cars. Studebakers with overdrive are also wonderful running cars. I have owned Fords and Chevrolets of the same era, and orphan cars had to do things a little different to compete, and that is what made them unique and very enjoyable. Now it is hard to think that popular cars like Oldsmobile, Mercury, Plymouth, and Pontiac are now orphans. 

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One of my favorite orphans is Franklin,particularly 1929 (steel frame instead of wood.same style "radiator"as '25-28) and especially a close coupled sedan. Not likely going to happen, having settled on a 1929 McLaughlin-Buick club sedan. My only orphan is my '40 Packard coupe.

Good luck with acquiring the Jewett.

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)

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padgett said "Don't forget the Honda 360".  I never had one of those, but a Subaru 360 brought out the laughter in our neigborhood

when I brought one home.

Subaru360.thumb.jpg.126960a55edeb5516e32cb795360e6ad.jpg


 

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I, too, always liked the AMC Eagle. An idea 40 years ahead of its time.

 

714cb2d7e4fd8a8cdd0c2aa77eaa48c6.jpg

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Don't forget that without the Subaru 360 we would never have had the Bricklin.

 

Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Saturn are all orphan cars now. Cadillac is trying to make Pontiacs but is failing.

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Orphan cars have been a staple in my family since the 50's.

That is when one of my uncles picked up a '29 Franklin Victoria.

After that came our '26 Rickenbacker and '29 Pierce Arrow in the early 60's.

That same uncle with the '29 Franklin has since owned various late 20's and early 30's Franklins over the years.

In the past few years another Rickenbacker, a '25, has been added to the family but it needs a little work before it will be road worthy.

 

If you want an orphan car with a real low number of surviving cars I suggest you hunt down a Rickenbacker.  😁

Less than 40 known to exist from all production years.

Plus, the history of the man behind the car, Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, is the stuff of legends and tales that are larger than life.

He was an absolutely amazing and fascinating man.

What other car can boast the slogan, 'A Car Worthy of its Name'?

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I don't know what  you mean by Orphan cars, I just own mainstream stuff, like:

Graham, Studebaker, Corvairs, Subaru 360, Willlys, Packard,   😁

 

Hard to go anywhere in a Corvair without people talking to you and telling you many hearsay stories that are not true/they always know someone who owned one , etc.

Hard to go anywhere in a Graham without people asking "what is it?"😉

 

Honda 600 was the car sold in the US for several years. Used to see several in Richmond when I was driving my Subaru 360. 

 

And that is right, without Malcolm Bricklin importing the Subaru 360 and forming Subaru of America dealer network, there would not have been Bricklins, or Subarus for that matter!

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A few of my favorites are - 'Rickenbacker? Is that a foreign car?' My response is, 'Nope, made in Detroit.'

And, 'Pierce Arrow? Don't they make motor homes now?' No, you're thinking of Pace Arrow.

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My first car purchase was a 1974 AMC Javelin back in 1982..... I think I paid $700 for it. Great car with the 304 V8 and a three speed on the floor ! I think the styling of the Javelin was a head of it's time...  and it was the only AMC in the High School parking lot !

 

Steve

 

 

 

image.png.200b543263802a0471f3d3bd62e445ce.png

 

 

 

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orphan cars are wonderful, till you need parts.

 

you better be a machinist or have a big wallet..............

 

why I now spend so much time on model A Fords.

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2 hours ago, mercer09 said:

orphan cars are wonderful, till you need parts.

 

you better be a machinist or have a big wallet..............

 

why I now spend so much time on model A Fords.

I'd like to get machining tools... hence the generator thread last month!

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And let’s not forget Ransom Eli Olds and REO’s attempt to survive the depression with the Model S. The coupe has the Self Shifter transmission which reportedly cost so much to develop that REO never fully recovered financially. 

 

2204F3C2-6DA9-42F7-A833-063713146F1C.thumb.jpeg.d0909f21531748ad0fbc432fa3f912b2.jpeg 

 

1B2F04B7-EB46-401E-A20D-507C87196B12.thumb.jpeg.13505ac40e5f6f5af0ecfbaf4e97b74d.jpeg

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Which brings up fun trivia: people who lost the right to use their own names.

Oldsmobile - REO

AC Spark Plugs - Champion

???

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

Which brings up fun trivia: people who lost the right to use their own names.

Oldsmobile - REO

AC Spark Plugs - Champion

???

Out here, Xander Wildeisen!:lol:

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