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Pete Phillips

1933 90-series sedan in Tx. near me

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Driven 75 miles in 42 years? Aside from the freaky interior scheme, it probably needs new tires and an extensive recommissioning. It's a handsome car, though.

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So many times we see otherwise nice cars made worse by incorrect and compromised interiors.  It must be hard to find qualified upholsterers. I'm sure it's expensive but like the 54 Century, the asking prices are high enough that getting it right should be a requirement.  

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3 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

So many times we see otherwise nice cars made worse by incorrect and compromised interiors.

 

I wasn't going to comment,  but the 80s destroyed a lot of decent cars.

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The number of people who have no idea what they're doing on old cars outnumber those who do by about 10,000,000 to 1. I just spent the whole day remedying flat-out idiotic mistakes on a fairly expensive car. I mean, dumb stuff like pulling power for the power windows from the ignition switch, welding the oil filler cap to the filler tube, and installing the exhaust pipe incorrectly so it hits the frame and all you had to do to fix it was rotate it 120 degrees to make it fit properly.

 

Almost everyone in this hobby is a hack. The fact that they also have bad taste no longer surprises me.

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Check our the hose clamp trying to close up the broken exhaust manifold.

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

The number of people who have no idea what they're doing on old cars outnumber those who do by about 10,000,000 to 1. I just spent the whole day remedying flat-out idiotic mistakes on a fairly expensive car. I mean, dumb stuff like pulling power for the power windows from the ignition switch, welding the oil filler cap to the filler tube, and installing the exhaust pipe incorrectly so it hits the frame and all you had to do to fix it was rotate it 120 degrees to make it fit properly.

 

Almost everyone in this hobby is a hack. The fact that they also have bad taste no longer surprises me.

 

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"Almost everyone in this hobby is a hack"?

 

Trying really hard not to be too indignant here . . . but, having been in this hobby for a long time, I do not consider such a disparaging generalization accurate or fair -- nor even remotely appropriate in a forum aimed at mutual support.  My sense is that many (most?) auto hobbyists are trying very hard to do the right thing by their projects and deserve far better than to be pilloried en masse.  If that were not true, then this forum would not be suffused with requests for expert advice -- which, incidentally, abounds here among the occasional hacks.

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Hey Buickborn, don't take it personally. I doubt he meant it that way. Of all the things I had to do to sort my Pontiac, the overwhelming majority of it of it was redoing really bad work done in fairly recent times. It isn't always the hobbyist either, I have old receipts for a lot of it I got with the car from the former owner. Some people, both hobbyist and professional, simply can't be bothered to read up and do the job right. It's something we all deal with, and it's frustrating.

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I certainly appreciate people trying to work on cars and understand that perfection isn't really a requirement for having fun. But now that I've had several thousand cars pass through my hands, I feel I have a pretty good cross-section for statistical analysis. Almost every one of them has had questionable work somewhere on it, done by someone who didn't really know what he was doing and was just making it up as he went along. Now, it's certainly possible that I stumbled onto the only 4000 cars with questionable hack workmanship and all the rest are gems restored and serviced by true craftsmen. I'll acknowledge that possibility.

 

But do you honestly think that's likely? 

 

Good enough is good enough for most folks. I understand that. Doing things that you think nobody will ever notice is fine. But sooner or later someone WILL notice and shoddy work WILL come back to cause problems for someone else. If your car has nothing on it that isn't kind of patched together or kind of creatively repaired, that's awesome. But I bet it does. Mine do. I'm working to erase it whenever possible, but I don't start a job until I can finish it and do it correctly. From what I see, most guys just have a "get in there and get it patched up" attitude instead.

 

For instance, I spent most of today working on a high-end car that was treated to an expensive restoration a few years ago, correcting stupid things that qualify as hack work. (the things I enumerated above) My 11-year-old son was actually injured while trying to help me because he burned his fingers when I told him to turn off the ignition--the key was so hot he burned his fingers to the point where Melanie wanted me to take him to the hospital. Someone who surely thought he was doing a good job pulled so much power through the ignition switch that simply putting down a window stalled the engine. Eventually it overheated the switch, including the key, which is what burned Riley. Someone just like us guys here on this board (or worse, someone who was being PAID to do it) looked at the problem of getting power to the hydraulic power window/power top/power seat motor and decided to just run a 14-gauge wire from the ignition switch using plastic crimp connectors until the insulation literally melted and dripped on the floor mats. Look at this crap, which was on a fairly high-end $80,000 restored car:

 

452844446_meltedwires.thumb.jpg.f9abfa464f3aa830a56ef751302e2c35.jpg

 

That kind of hack work isn't unique or rare. It's dangerously, frustratingly, and miserably common. That car isn't an anomaly, it's routine. And the problem is that most guys don't even seem to know they're doing a lousy job. That's not their fault, but it doesn't change the end result. Let me ask you: have you ever had an old car where you didn't start working on it and find something that made you shake your head? I haven't. Nothing surprises me anymore except a car that DOESN'T have issues from past workers. That's like finding a 4-leaf clover.

 

You can be offended or you can take it to heart and use it as inspiration to help you do better work, because someone, someday, will notice when you don't. I curse hack mechanics on a daily basis and I think we all need to be aware of substandard work that we are seeing or even doing.You can say that it doesn't happen and take offense that I would imply that there are hacks here on this board, but the numbers suggest there are. 

 

Do better, that's all I'm saying. Don't pick ugly colors, don't install stupid interiors, don't use a hose clamp to hold an exhaust manifold together. Seems like common sense, yet there's a valuable and desirable Buick that is no longer valuable and desirable because of those very things which should have seemed like a mistake to the guy who did them but didn't. Someone obviously didn't have much sense, common or otherwise. I'm OK calling a guy like that a hack. 

 

All I want is for us to be better than we appear to be given the statistics. That's all.

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Almost everyone is this hobby is a hack.  A small percent can either do it right or afford to pay someone to do it right.  Most either try to do something right without really knowing how or having the ability, or they pay someone who isn’t much better.

 

Its an honor to be in the small percent, isn’t it?

 

 

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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I have found that learning to do something yourself is usually the best way. Nobody else cares about your car as much as you do. Do a job once and do it right.

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15 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Nothing surprises me anymore except a car that DOESN'T have issues from past workers. That's like finding a 4-leaf clover.

This would only be funny to me, but -

I owned a 1952 Studebaker for 30 years. Every part on that car was correct when I got it. Every part I ever had to replace was replaced with factory NOS. Mechanically that car was as correct as it could be (though that is easy with a ‘52 Studebaker — Studebaker was so broke they were still running many parts right back from the 1920’s! Even on the new V-8). The body - that’s another story, and being a Michigan climate exposed car it was never worth ‘restoring’. Plus it was built during the Korean War — don’t ever buy anything built during the Korean War. Especially not a house! Production was not controlled or curtailed by the government, but the materials were cheaper and THINNER. 

 

Eventually I gave it to a coworker who expressed an interest in it. As he got to know the car he’d call with questions. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, but I surprised myself by knowing exactly what he was asking about every time.

 

Until he called asking about (the ridiculous) steering-column mounted manual transmission shifter. “It hangs up and I have to play with it a lot. Do you remember ANYTHING going wrong with it?” I told him I had gotten stuck in reverse once — turned out it was a worn out 3 cent washer which I replaced.

 

He kept bugging me with it, texting pictures of the contraption, “There’s something wrong, I can’t find it.” Finally I said, “Bob, I just don't remember having any other problems with it. Obviously something has worn out. Get out the parts-book and shop manual and figure it out.”

 

Days later he texted a picture of 2 parts laid out on a paper towel labeled “shaft”, and “broken pin”. I thought he was asking a question and replied, “I don’t remember exactly what those parts are - I’d have to see the parts-book.” Then he texted a picture of a 2 bent finishing nails.

 

I thought, “Oh sh*t”, and asked, “Did I try to use a finishing nail as a cotter pin?” He texted back, “Yep.”

 

When I was 14 I was bombing around the cornfield with it and got stuck in reverse. There was a worn thin washer, which I later replaced, but to get back before Dad got home I crammed 2 nails through a hole in the shaft and bent them to shorten up the play. Apparently I never noticed the broken pin which was the real problem.

 

What I was doing with finishing nails in my pocket I have no idea. But I think that was a pretty ingenious fix for a 14 yr old!

It’s funny how the human memory takes leaps and shortcuts. Somehow it’s the real VIVID ones I just can’t trust. I’m sure there are many other, “Now I’ve got to think my way out of this one” fixes on that car too.

 

There are no perfect cars. Very very few ‘correct’ ones. That is a beautiful Full Classic Buick. It angered me to see it. I’d be too intimidated to try even if I had the time, cash, and SPACE.

 

This is a good and worthy car. I sure hope someone takes it up. That price can come down. A lot.

 

Ben P.

 

 

Edited by Ben Perfitt (see edit history)
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Generalizations and stereotypes wouldn't  exist if "they" just didn't keep doing those things over, and over, and over again.

 

Here's a simple one. Look on your desk for the last phone number that was given to you on a piece of paper. Now, is there really some imminent worldwide paper shortage looming on the horizon or is there some other reason that tiny scrap of paper was torn off. What do you think they did with the rest of that piece of paper?

 

My kids say I am way too easy to entertain.

Bernie

 

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14 hours ago, Bloo said:

I have found that learning to do something yourself is usually the best way. Nobody else cares about your car as much as you do. Do a job once and do it right.

 

Doing it yourself and not getting it right the first time is also a great lesson-

ask me how I know-

been there,

done that,

got the (torn, greasy, odoriferous) T-shirt,

and guess whom tells me to do my own laundry.

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Lots of interesting (and challenging) experiences related here.

 

But I'm wondering: given all the incorrectness that we have all encountered, at what point to what start labeling folks as hacks?  For example, I currently own a breathtaking black '54 76R, cosmetically restored by a fellow considerably younger than the car itself.  While it's a beauty, it came with deficiencies:  wrong engine color ('53 40-series aquamarine, with black spark plug covers); wrong rear ash trays (painted instead of chromed, a la 50-series); center crease ground off of front bumper and mustache during re-chroming; questionable body work; an expensively-restored '53 steering wheel.  Etc., etc.

 

But the PO was a young guy who had really busted his pick on this car and who explains most of his project's errors as reflecting advice he received at the time.  So, given that there was plenty wrong with this car (as well as plenty right -- such as the correct nubbly carpet and the oh-so-rare waffle-pattern Cordaveen backing the front seats), is this gent a hack?  

 

I'll leave that question to folks who are more comfortable making such judgements than I am. 

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Just to chime in here, I have to agree with Matt.

Having spent some time with OCM, Sandy Jones, (God rest his soul) who owned TWO  '33 series 90's, I pretty much know what a correctly done '33 series 90 should look like.

Like they say in Kansas, "this one ain't right !"

The car being in Texas, maybe it was done at "Gas Monkey" ?

In any case based on the current price / condition, I'm walking away from this one.

Some things are just unforgivable................

 

Mike in Colorado

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Incorrect interiors and pourly installed tops drive me crazier.

 

I wonder why.....

 

It really gets to me when I see a high point car with a top that was installed by someone with no clue how a top works....nor how to do one correctly....

 

Thus, there are some professionals out there that aren't. ......

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I get it for high-dollar and show cars, on drivers though as long as its safe and the driver loves it who cares what color or texture or other cosmetic hang up people have? How many of you live in an old house *raises hand*. I've not redone my kitchen to move it back outside nor put the outhouse back up 😋😜  anyone purposely put pink toilets and sinks back in to be period correct?

Edited by NC-car-guy (see edit history)

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34 minutes ago, trimacar said:

Incorrect interiors and pourly installed tops drive me crazier.

 

I wonder why.....

 

It really gets to me when I see a high point car with a top that was installed by someone with no clue how a top works....nor how to do one correctly....

 

Thus, there are some professionals out there that aren't. ......

David

 

Incorrect interiors are my issue.  Most here know I am a pathological Craigs List searcher and interiors are usually wrong.  WHY!?  Because 1. Cost to do it right is too expensive. 2.  The upholsterer does not know how to do it 3. Materials unavailable.  4. No qualified upholsterer available (kind of like #2, but #2 says he can do it, then screws it up) 

 

I inquired with Pete Phillips about 7 months ago how to learn to upholster because it seems there is a shortage of qualified craftsmen.  I'm 55, so I could probably learn 85% of what I need to know in 2 years.  Then apprentice, or get timely advice.   I could then upholster part time (which would actually be more like full time) for 20 years. 

 

But - I can't quit my day job.  I also can't apprentice at the master's shop too long.  I can't do more than a summer program at McPherson.  I think I have a couple areas around here to do it.  But then there is the issue of original upholstery and as far as I know, only a couple of places have the market on that including SMS.  So no matter how good a person is, they are beholden and waiting and orders would still stack up. 

 

Don't know the answer but if only some of these folks that put incorrect interiors in their cars had used LeBaron Bonney and Hampton Coach, they might still be in business.  This hobby is too focused on $$$, and the cars I see with incorrect interiors, and many others at festival shows, are still going to ask top dollar and generally pass along their incorrectness to the next guy.

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7 minutes ago, NC-car-guy said:

I get it for high-dollar and show cars, on drivers though as long as its safe and the driver loves it who cares what color or texture or other cosmetic hang up people have? How many of you live in an old house *raises hand*. I've not redone my kitchen to move it back outside nor put the outhouse back up 😋😜  anyone purposely put pink toilets and sinks back in to be period correct?

Matthew, no issues at all with an $8000 1955 Special that has a close proximity of a correct interior.  I know of several cars I would have purchased without correct interiors, but ones I can live with - the prices were $3500 to no more than $8500.   Once you start getting into the "rare air" of $15,000 to $80,000, and (big and here) the seller makes statements about restoring the vehicle correctly and as original!  - then you catch our attention.

 

 

Edited by B Jake Moran (see edit history)
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57 minutes ago, NC-car-guy said:

I get it for high-dollar and show cars, on drivers though as long as its safe and the driver loves it who cares what color or texture or other cosmetic hang up people have? How many of you live in an old house *raises hand*. I've not redone my kitchen to move it back outside nor put the outhouse back up 😋😜  anyone purposely put pink toilets and sinks back in to be period correct?

 

No, but I don't use a garden hose and hose clamps instead of copper pipes to run my bathroom. THAT is the kind of hack work I'm talking about. Just do it right, whatever the car is. Cheap or not.

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My supposedly inside information tells me that the collapse of LeBaron Bonney was due to poor management, not a lack of demand.

 

There are still sources for original fabrics.  Hirsch of course, Jenkins in the Carolinas carries some stuff, never dealt with SMS but they have to have some happy customers.......you just have to dig a little deeper now.

 

I'm routinely getting contacted for work, but I'm turning jobs down, I need to work on my stuff.  For someone who learns the trade correctly, there's good money to be made....

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8 hours ago, Buickborn said:

But the PO was a young guy who had really busted his pick on this car and who explains most of his project's errors as reflecting advice he received at the time.  So, given that there was plenty wrong with this car (as well as plenty right -- such as the correct nubbly carpet and the oh-so-rare waffle-pattern Cordaveen backing the front seats), is this gent a hack?  

 

Not in my view. Bad information about colors and so on cannot really be helped when the information is not available. That doesn't make the car unreliable, and doesn't nearly burn it down (as in Matt Harwood's post). This is why I am a huge fan of the showcar/judging crowd, even though I have no plans of going down that path myself from this point forward. So much information is lost if no one records the little details for future restorations. And of course, if you know how it should be you can do it right, if you want to (and aren't changing it on purpose). Getting the information seems to be the hardest part.

 

7 hours ago, trimacar said:

Incorrect interiors and pourly installed tops drive me crazier.

 

I wonder why.....

 

It really gets to me when I see a high point car with a top that was installed by someone with no clue how a top works....nor how to do one correctly....

 

Thus, there are some professionals out there that aren't. ......

 

I know what you mean. I have a 1913 Studebaker with a top I made as a teenager working in an upholstery and trim shop a long time ago. It was my dad's car then. The top had never been on it since the car was in my family, because it was in shreds (and the cloth would crumble). The bows weren't quite symmetrical. I duplicated exactly what was there, warts and all, believing that it was probably original. I remember having trouble getting some black hidem, and a local model T restorer gave me some. He also told me it couldn't be original because there wasn't hidem available yet in 1913. He was in his mid 90s at the time, and probably knew. He gave me the hidem.

 

I look at that top today, and wow... there are a ton of things I would do differently, and I STILL don't really know enough....

 

6 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

Incorrect interiors are my issue.  Most here know I am a pathological Craigs List searcher and interiors are usually wrong.  WHY!?  Because 1. Cost to do it right is too expensive. 2.  The upholsterer does not know how to do it 3. Materials unavailable.  4. No qualified upholsterer available (kind of like #2, but #2 says he can do it, then screws it up) 

 

In my day the customer would almost always pick cheap stuff. Mohair was $125 a yard and up. Leather was similar cost or more (but of course was not sold by the "yard"). Authentic 1950s fabrics, when available, were even more. Vinyl was probably $17 a yard, "closeout" cloth even less. I did a few jobs with authentic materials and methods, but most people just weren't willing to spend the money. I doubt much has changed.

 

My Pontiac has a wrong interior, bit at least it isn't a completely tasteless choice of fabric. People on the street assume it is original, but it sure wouldn't fool any of you, and it doesn't fool me.  When I take something in that interior apart, I try to put it back a little more period correct, but for now, for a driver, it will do. I am collecting information to re-do it correctly when it finally wears out. Information seems to be thin on the ground, but not as thin as it would have been 40 years ago.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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When my '31 Pierce phaeton was first restored in 1960,  the owner chose a heavy vinyl for the interior, and told me that, at the time, he could have bought leather cheaper than the vinyl, but he wanted durability.

 

I was thrilled when I could rip that stuff off and replace it with leather, as it should be....

 

 

IMG_0365.JPG

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