Sharps45-70

Best Late 20's / Early 30's Car for Touring?

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Both those Lincoln’s are what I call .........a car collectors car. Interesting coach work and lines.......not fantastic, but very nice. Build quality is fantastic. Chassis is average, and the power plant is acceptable. Good driver for 40-45 mph without modifications and refinements. They are an excellent value on the dollar spent. They have always been a “hard sell” like Pierce Arrows and a few others, but the collectors in the know buy them and keep them.

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Bill, understood, hoping this is a rambling, meandering thread on different driving experiences, we just don't want too much order here.  😁😁

 

OP is smart to know what challenges await. 

 

A decent, older restoration that can be sorted to really nice road condition is about the best combination to me.  I don't want to look out of place at a local show, but beyond that if you intend to drive you have to expect wear and tear.

 

Maybe because we are mainly discussing Full Classics, but I think early 30s Buicks (mentioned early on) are value packed.  Well supported, another consideration for the person who tours a bit.  Parts will break at some point, and advice based on collective knowledge are also considerations, I think, as well as the driving experience.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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And this is why restomods are so popular, all of the style and modern drivability. Last few autions they are bring more than original cars, which indicates there are some original bargains out there.

 

However if Sharps is attracted to an $82k Lincoln then there are many opportunities out there.

 

But again starts with the MUSTS (Kepner-Tregoe). If 70 mph cruise for hours on end is a MUST then the options limit themselves. So start with what a candidate MUST have/be and that should limit the field to what you WANT to have.

 

With certain exceptions my MUSTs limit me to cars built after 1962. I just accept that and the field is wide.

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Personally I don't see a parallel driving experience.  Maybe just me but having had 5 prewar cars (6 counting a project, but only counting cars I drove) I wanted that experience, not a modern car underneath an earlier shell.  Restomod to me is for hot rodder who needs room, wants at, ac, pw, maybe self driving.. 🤗but less likely for someone looking at prewar options for AACA, CCCA type events.

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:

Both those Lincoln’s are what I call .........a car collectors car. Interesting coach work and lines.......not fantastic, but very nice. Build quality is fantastic. Chassis is average, and the power plant is acceptable. Good driver for 40-45 mph without modifications and refinements. They are an excellent value on the dollar spent. They have always been a “hard sell” like Pierce Arrows and a few others, but the collectors in the know buy them and keep them.

Would the chassis be capable of 55 mph touring after being sorted? I have heard they are great drivers, so I would be interested in details regarding their drive-ability and chassis. I would consider overdrive to any car a very possible modification. I too have noticed they are somewhat boring compared to the more extravagant cars of the era, but they have a sincere handsomeness to them that I really like, and seem to be drawn back time and time again, even after I get distracted by the prettier cars.

 

Regarding Packard 900's, I remember Matt Harwood had a sinister looking black 900 sedan for sale a while back. Really liked that car.

I have also looked into the Buicks, and the 1932/3 90 series cars are quite attractive to my eye. 

 

jrbartlett: I absolutely agree. :)

Edited by Sharps45-70 (see edit history)

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O.K. Sharps, your search is over !

THIS IS THE CAR FOR YOU !

 

A 1933 Buick series 90, that belonged to Mr. Sandy Jones in Ft. Collins, Colorado. HE had TWO of these !!!

Sandy passed away about a year ago and is now in the hands of smclassiccars.com

Sandy's handle on the Buick forums was OCM (outlaw car man) and I had the distinct pleasure of visiting his home a couple of years ago as I was sorting out my'40 Buick LTD.

Believe me when I tell you that this car is well sorted, as he was a perfectionist. So much so that this car was on the cover of the Buick Bugle awhile back.

I believe it came from one of the DuPont's originally.

I would not hesitate to drive this car cross country.

You got 80K, you get a perfect car............

If you are going to "tour", why not do it in style.............

 

Mike in Colorado

img230.jpg

Edited by FLYER15015 (see edit history)
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For the price range you are looking at you can pick up a very nice '34 or so Pierce Arrow and be extremely happy.

They drive fantastic and are very reliable.

Many members of the PAS tour these cars extensively.

I think it was a '32 Pierce or so that went coast to coast to attend a national PAS meet a few years ago.

Went from Calif to NY and back with no issues.

 

I've had my original '29 Pierce on tours of over 100 miles with no issues.

It drives remarkably well for a 90 year old car that has never been apart.

I run about 60mph on the freeway very comfortably.

I've done a little faster with no problems but I don't want to push an old motor too much.

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13 hours ago, Sharps45-70 said:

 

 

Speaking of vehicles I like, I did want to include a link to these two 1931 Lincoln K's. They really caught my eye when I first saw the ads. They are by no means the only vehicles that have caught my eye over the past few years, but they have remained in my mind and seem like they would be good choices for tour cars. My only complaint might be that their interiors aren't as flashy as I might want, but that is really nitpicking. I would be curious to hear opinions about Lincoln K's, and their successors in the KA/KB lines. 

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/lincoln/k/2306346.html

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/lincoln/k/2230567.html

 

I have checked out that 1931 Lincoln K that Hyman's is selling, and in person it's really impressive.  It's a ton of car for the money.   I'm a Packard guy in the end; Lincolns are interesting to me but I'm less drawn to them than Packards.  But that '31 is a cool car.

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Lots of cars “can” do something........like go 65 on the highway. The question is should they. Certain cars that are bone stock except a gear change or overdrive added can be great open road car............the question is .........is the rest of the car up to safely operating at a higher speed than it was designed for. Some have no issues, others can do it with care and caution, and some just shouldn’t be forced faster than their original design limits. Early Cadillac eights are one example.........the 12 & 16 have power assisted mechanical brakes, the eight does not.....and thus should NOT be pushed over 45 mph. The steering, brakes, and chassis just can’t take it and your safety is compromised. Engine displacement also is a good indicator of modern open road ability..............in a perfect world you want 350 cid or better...............not alway available with many brands............many people don’t realize that many companies made different displacement engines in the same year back in the day..............Pierce had an eight that was 366 or 385 cid, Packard standard and super were also different. The little bit extra displacement usually cam with better carburetors, better ignitions, manifolds, ect. When going on modern highways today, the displacement really adds to the drivability.

 

 

Many people buy a car for some particular reason, then try to make it a good performer on the open road......when the car just doesn’t have “the right stuff”. Since most of us only have one toy, it’s important to do your homework before you pull the trigger and end up with a car that can’t do what you want it to, no matter how much you try. Usually the best deal is the most expensive car you will ever buy........making things right after poor workmanship and low cost restoration work is usually three times more expensive than starting off with thr right car to begin with. 
 

Also remember.....everyone has an opinion. That doesn’t necessarily make them correct. I’m a Pierce V-12 guy, and my closest friend in the hobby who is a restorer prefers the Pierce eight. For most people the twelve is an unnecessary complication and added expense...........far more difficult for the added advantage. Most of the cars mentioned here on this thread are good performers. Buy what you like, in the best condition you can afford......it’s the best way to enjoy the hobby.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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A lot of great advice here on this topic, I would pay attention and heed the comments of those that have obviously been in the old car interest ( I don't like the word hobby, makes me instantly think of the word horse - as in hobby horse) for many decades and actually DRIVE their cars in all kinds of temperatures . Those that have driven their cars or a variety of cars for hours on end .

Personally ( this will obviously irritate some reading this) I think cars that have more then 8 cylinders are interesting , but are to much work to keep in perfect running condition. Higher maintenance for more cylinders. As my late friend Artie Wider used to say " to many movin parts" One also has to take into account if you do get a really well sorted car and drive it what will be the cost for spare parts ? Ignition parts usually are good to have along as spares "just in case". Ever price the cost of distributor caps, rotor, points etc for a 12 or 16 cylinder car of any brand? You will need a second mortgage on your house to pay for it.

I love my 8 cylinder Packard, but for the 1931 Franklin I had ( all "side draft " engine Franklins of the 1930-34 era use basically the same motor) for 40+ years the cost of a complete ignition set up ( cap, rotor, points, condenser) were exactly the same Delco units as used in the 1950 thru 1954 Chevrolet ! Yes, exactly. The spark plugs were D-16 Champion , those plugs are also used in fork lifts , or were anyway for 40 years.

As in the Indiana Jones movie "The Last Crusade" the ancient knight said " choose wisely" , do your homework , see if you can get a ride in or even drive one or more of the cars under discussion here, and then make your choice. Old cars are the best tonic you can have in life , not only for the pride of ownership and the  joy of going down the road , but for the everlasting friendships you will make. Your friends become your family.

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I'm a bit surprised that a Cadillac or Lincoln V8 from the twenties or early thirties is good for no more than a 45MPH cruising speed. A Model A will do that.

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Rarely, and for relatively brief periods, I have been forced to drive my '24 at 50, the'27 at 60. Of the three optional gear ratios available, I've got the stump pullers. Sure, with long legs, these cars could have been driven 60, and by testimony were. But I don't like it, and really enjoy 30-35 as was normal on most roads of the day. 40-45 was considered high speed cruise. Steady high speed cruise at 120 is very comfortable in my 400 HP Mercedes-Benz E550 and SL600. They have handling and braking commensurate with their velocity capabilities. But the old junk I drive is really "unsafe at any speed".    -     Carl 

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As a note related the Ed's comments. The straight eights of the Classic era held sway. We all love the multiple cylinder cars for their uniqueness, the straight eights do just as well on tours as the 12 and 16 cylinder cars, and at much less operating cost. As a matter of fact you might just as well cross the 16's off your list. They were made in such small numbers, and command such a premium in the market, as to be financially prohibitive  to most mortals. The senior straight eights of the era had all of the styling that the multi-cylinder cars had, an few of the drawbacks of the multi cylinder cars had.

 

I really understand why you have focused on the narrow time slot. To many of us the beauty of these cars just speaks for themselves. I love the overdrive for a tour car! I always thought that Warner overdrive arrive a year ,or two, too late to catch the classic styling of the Pierce Arrow. The styling of the 1936-37 Pierce Arrow, not withstanding, the combination of 8 or 12 cyl with that OD makes it a special tour car.  Auburn offered a Columbia, two speed rear end as early as 1932. The Auburn styling and the Columbia alone sets the car apart from everything else in the era. When a buyer, in the day, put the OD, together with the available V12, and the marque's low cost, WOW. Chrysler and Studebaker also used the Warner OD, but a bit late for your preferred formula. Someone would have to comment about Lincoln's use of the Columbia RE. I honestly don't know if it was ever used in the KA or KB.

 

Unless you are willing to undertake a restoration yourself, or even willing to do the sorting out of a tour car, I think condition should be paramount consideration. There are lots of cars out there, and with us old timers dyeing off, and with a little patience you should be able to get a really great Classic. I wish I was twenty years younger.

Bill  

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Great thread for sure. To add to Carl's insight, past 33, 34 higher sustained speeds seem less challenging.  An OD equipped A will zip along at 55, 60+, but handles, stops a lot better 45 or less.  I have driven mine on the highway for shorter runs, an exit or two, no OD. But light enough as the roadster is not loaded with wood, but its not easy cruising, you have to be on your toes...

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

Many people buy a car for some particular reason, then try to make it a good performer on the open road......when the car just doesn’t have “the right stuff”. Since most of us only have one toy, it’s important to do your homework before you pull the trigger and end up with a car that can’t do what you want it to, no matter how much you try. Usually the best deal is the most expensive car you will ever buy........making things right after poor workmanship and low cost restoration work is usually three times more expensive than starting off with thr right car to begin with. 

I like these points. Part of the reasoning behind this thread was the desire to have the research done all in one place. I wanted to discuss chassis advantages/disadvantages of particular cars. I also notice you don't refer to a general Marque, because like Cadillac, some are definitely better than others even within the same brand. I wanted to find out the details here, and hopefully be able to narrow it down to a selection of cars that have "the right stuff."

 

I do intend to purchase the best thing I can afford. I do not see the sense in redoing very expensive body work or paint work if I can find one done very well from the start. 

 

Walt: Thanks for your input. Even in this thread, and around the forum I have come to highly value the people and information about. The precise reason for this thread in particular, was to lure out the most experienced members of this forum and discover their views from behind the wheels and under the hoods of these great classics. I consider this my homework, and hopefully I will get a chance to test drive a few cars in the future.

 

Bill: I have basically eliminated anything past V12 from my mind. The extra complexity really doesn't lend itself any additional value in my mind. I haven't excluded V12 cars yet, since there are simply so many out there, and can be had in a wide variety of bodies, marques, and prices. I will admit however, the straight eight cars and the Lincoln V8 are the most appealing overall. Condition is very much so a key consideration to my eventual selection.

 

To everyone: Thank you again for the wonderful feedback and comments. The contributions here and in the PM's I have received are wonderful to read and definitely show the vast knowledge and kindness among this group.

Edited by Sharps45-70 (see edit history)
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The complexity between 8s and "multi cylinder Classics" is a great point.  I think it was Ed who made the point that a typical Classic has around 5,000 more parts than a lower end car.

 

Does this make a case for a non Ford, non Classic?  Parts and restoration costs, like with Classics, are tougher with these cars.

 

I think this is why a large contingent of early Fords are well sorted for touring.  More than 1% are as new mechanically, maybe 5% or so.  And one can pretty much go into an A and know what each major component will cost to restore, very hard to do with a Classic.  That said these are still 45 mph cars if you care about handling and stopping.  

 

Style wise I love 28 to 34, but might suggest 35 to 40 maybe to combine style and roadability.  

 

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20 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I'm a bit surprised that a Cadillac or Lincoln V8 from the twenties or early thirties is good for no more than a 45MPH cruising speed. A Model A will do that.


I don’t want to dump on anyone’s favorite brand of auto, and I mentioned Cadillac because I have owned a dozen of them and serviced a countless number. The problem isn’t the car, it’s the expectation of the owner.........recently a friend had a early Caddy that wouldn’t run correctly. I helped him out on the phone, email, and even had him send me a few things to sort out by ups. He assembled the car and I stopped by to check on it when I was in the area.(3000 miles away) He had never really driven the car over many years except around the block. We played with it a bit, and I drove it a few miles. The car was fine......the issue was a lack of knowledge of what a 1920’s Cadillac was capable of...........45 mph stock is the top end sweet spot without pushing it...........the same weekend he drove it 100 miles round trip to a show......and had a good time. It’s unrealistic expectations that often are the issue. 
 

Now.....one last final comment. MOST of the time price reflects overall drivability and difficulty maintaining a car. Many “BIG” cars are a handful by today’s standards. The guy who bought a car in 1930 expected to service it on a VERY REGULAR BASIS not once every five years. YES......old cars take time, upkeep, money, and effort. Pay attention to you pre war car like it should be, and you will never be disappointed. If you hand me your 100 point car, it’s a good bet that I can spend a minimum of forty hours dialing it in.......maybe as many as 100 hours, depending on the platform. As one restorer recently said to me, it’s nothing spending 40 hours getting a car to stop straight and have the breaks adjusted correctly. He was correct. When new, it was usually only a few hours, 90 years later with wear, different materials, and correcting everything in the entire system, it takes time. Whenever someone asks me how long any particular job will take servicing a car, the answer is always given in days, or weeks. Nothing ever goes as planned. You CAN’T fix a pre war car on a clock schedule........or a budget. You commit to fixing it correctly or not. The time, money, and effort are what they are. There are no short cuts. Just poor workmanship and disappointing results if you do it quick and cheap. Craftsmanship is a quickly disappearing talent, and the knowledge curve and countless hours spent learning skills on most pre war cars has mostly evaporated. The few left still doing it are mostly timing out and retiring. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, edinmass said:


I don’t want to dump on anyone’s favorite brand of auto, and I mentioned Cadillac because I have owned a dozen of them and serviced a countless number. The problem isn’t the car, it’s the expectation of the owner.........recently a friend had a early Caddy that wouldn’t run correctly. I helped him out on the phone, email, and even had him send me a few things to sort out by ups. He assembled the car and I stopped by to check on it when I was in the area.(3000 miles away) He had never really driven the car over many years except around the block. We played with it a bit, and I drove it a few miles. The car was fine......the issue was a lack of knowledge of what a 1920’s Cadillac was capable of...........45 mph stock is the top end sweet spot without pushing it...........the same weekend he drove it 100 miles round trip to a show......and had a good time. It’s unrealistic expectations that often are the issue. 
 

Now.....one last final comment. MOST of the time price reflects overall drivability and difficulty maintaining a car. Many “BIG” cars are a handful by today’s standards. The guy who bought a car in 1930 expected to service it on a VERY REGULAR BASIS not once every five years. YES......old cars take time, upkeep, money, and effort. Pay attention to you pre war car like it should be, and you will never be disappointed. I you hand me your 100 point car, it’s a good bet that I can spend a minimum of forty hours dialing it in.......maybe as many as 100 hours, depending on the platform. As one restorer recently said to me, it’s nothing spending 40 hours getting a car to stop straight and have the breaks adjusted correctly. He was correct. When new, it was usually only a few hours, 90 years later with wear, different materials, and correcting everything in the entire system, it takes time. Whenever someone asks me how long any particular job will take servicing a car, the answer is always given in days, or weeks. Nothing ever goes as planned. You CAN’T fix a pre war car on a clock schedule........or a budget. You commit to fixing it correctly or not. The time, money, and effort are what they are. There are no short cuts. Just poor workmanship and disappointing results if you do it quick and cheap. Craftsmanship is a quickly disappearing talent, and the knowledge curve and countless hours spent learning skills on most pre war cars has mostly evaporated. The few left still doing it are mostly timing out and retiring. 

 

Excellent points, all of them. Incorrect expectations are why many cars are frustrating for owners. We've been spoiled by today's cars that need nothing more than gas and oil to go 100,000 miles or more. When pre-war cars were new, there was a real need for "full service" gas stations and it wasn't because people didn't know how to pump their own gas. Even talking to "experienced" car guys today, you'd be shocked how few of them actually understand pre-war cars or the environment for which they were designed (Highways? High-speed travel? Pavement? LOL!). They pretend that since we're 80 years advanced that we're also smarter than the engineers who built the machines and embark on all kinds of wacky modifications and upgrades in the pursuit of "modern performance." That's kind of missing the point, isn't it?

 

If you want modern performance, buy a modern car. If you want a car that will start and run reliably, buy a modern car. If you want a car that doesn't need tinkering, buy a modern car. None of that comes standard with an old car. Check your expectations BEFORE you write the check, not after you're disappointed with the car.

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Well said, Ed and Matt !!!!!! 

 

That should be a printed hand-out to all who are considering buying a pre-war car.

 

Paul

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I ditto Paul's post, Well said Ed and Matt. thank you  Some of you may be skeptical about what they state,  and think they post a lot of opinions, sure they do , and I don't always agree with what they think or state, BUT 99% of the time they are "spot on" as the British are fond of saying. All of this gained from hands on experience or observing what had been done and then just came out wrong or poorly because of the inexperience of the person involved with the pre war car. My own experience is that once you get your car sorted correctly then it will stay that way ( with proper attention) if you keep using it. An occasional trip around the block doesn't do that, take it on a 50 mile drive at assorted speeds. I bought my first "old car" ( ie pre war WWII) in 1963 at age 13, finally got it roadworthy with the help of a lot of friends two years later. My profession was as an artist, I love the look of the cars but there is nothing better automotive wise for me then to drive/ride in an old car . In 1972 I got a teaching job 40 miles from home, so a friend sold me a 1941 Packard 120 station wagon and I used it as my daily transportation except in the winter as I didn't want the ice, snow and road salt to get to it. I commuted 80 miles+ round trip in dry and wet weather in it. The wet weather swelled the wood doors up so the body then was nice and rattle free!

Old cars as stated , need much more regular service and attention then your modern transportation, realize that, spend the time to care for it and you will have great pleasure in not only its use but the knowledge that you are also driving around in a 75+ year old piece of history . You take care of you so you don't fall apart and function properly so do the same with your old car.

 

Walt

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1 hour ago, PFitz said:

Well said, Ed and Matt !!!!!! 

 

That should be a printed hand-out to all who are considering buying a pre-war car.

 

Paul

No kidding! It would save a lot of people frustration and disappointment when their car doesn't work right after they haven't serviced it for 10 years. I find it somewhat amusing that just because it is a pre-war car, many people say "how hard could it be?" with the assumption it is easily understood technology. It would keep many people from purchasing, but the ones who do would be likely fully dedicated going in.

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Sorta. The owner's manual for my first Jag included how to do a valve job. The owner's manual for an '11 CTS has 64 pages on the seat belts (restraints). Is a matter of priorities.

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On 10/31/2019 at 11:05 PM, edinmass said:

I don’t want to dump on anyone’s favorite brand of auto, and I mentioned Cadillac because I have owned a dozen of them and serviced a countless number. The problem isn’t the car, it’s the expectation of the owner.........recently a friend had a early Caddy that wouldn’t run correctly. I helped him out on the phone, email, and even had him send me a few things to sort out by ups. He assembled the car and I stopped by to check on it when I was in the area.(3000 miles away) He had never really driven the car over many years except around the block. We played with it a bit, and I drove it a few miles. The car was fine......the issue was a lack of knowledge of what a 1920’s Cadillac was capable of...........45 mph stock is the top end sweet spot without pushing it...........the same weekend he drove it 100 miles round trip to a show......and had a good time. It’s unrealistic expectations that often are the issue. 

 

I've recently finished overhauling my 1922 Cadillac, and I can believe it would reach something in the vicinity of 60mph (they claimed 75mph top speed but I very much doubt that) but there is absolutely zero need to push it that hard. Around the local streets, I wouldn't be able to accelerate much faster in my modern car owing to the amount of parked cars and other stuff going on. Given the very limited data most people have, it's very hard to know what normal sounds or feels like as well - we've seen plenty of cars on tours that look fancy but don't run right.

 

I think the other thing to think about is what body style is the most practical,  open cars can be good but not as practical (or affordable) as the closed cars. The caddy has plenty of lockable storage built in, which should make it good for rallys. 

 

What I wasn't expecting is that my 1922 Cadillac feels quite different from the 26 Buick, so again benchmarking what's normal is quite challenging.  Buick made some great cars in that time period and are typically much more affordable than the cad's and other luxury marques, so they're also worth looking at. Australian cars have Holden manufactured bodies which seemed to have a higher grade interior (e.g blackwood dashes), I suspect it's because Cadillac's were so expensive at the time so they were positioned as a luxury brand. 

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I read an article about Peerless cars that had some insights into pre-WWII luxury car driveability. It was in the April 1984 Issue, #80, of Special Interest Autos, 1932 Peerless Eight Drive Report by Arch Brown. The same issue had a comparison between the 1941 Packard & Cadillac. In the 8 pp story "Last of the Line", a remarkably original Master Eight Sedan was tested. Specs were compared with the Franklin Airman, LaSalle 345B, Packard Standard 8 and Reo Royale Custom. The Peerless sales department felt the Master Eight was aimed at purchasers who might otherwise get a Packard 726, LaSalle, Marmon 8, Studebaker 125, or Graham.

 

Some reports from test driver George Hamlin:

---- "Peerless is imposing in appearance, but actually smaller than it's competition."

---- "Everything does what it is supposed to. The big Continental eight lights off right now, and provides the proper sound that buyers of large cars were looking for. It also has the feel of a large car of the era, that is to say, just enough like a truck to make the buyer feel that he had gotten his money's worth and hadn't been sold some lightweight imposter."

---- "...it seems bulky and stiff-steering at low speeds...it becomes light on it's feet once the traffic thins out."

---- "Most surprising are the brakes. We're used to cars in the '747' class which can't stop well. But Peerless, which had shown as early as 1924 that it was quite interested in better brakes, put an outstanding set of shoes on this car. They are four-wheel mechanical brakes, but we had to look underneath to be certain they weren't hydraulics. The brakes are a good companion-piece to the free-wheeling, it might be added: cars with that device need such brakes as these to minimize the thrill!"

---- "...little interference from road and engine noises."

 

One's chances of finding a car similar to what was tested(a Peerless straight eight with less than 40,000 miles) are low, there being few survivors in comparison to the other Three P's, but I thought the observations interesting. There are six Pierce-Arrows and twelve Packards for every Peerless.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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