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Real Steel

Is Someone Using an After-Market Pines Winterfront or Similar?

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I've been tinkering with a very decent original Pines Winterfront radiator shutter assembly for my 1930 Ford pickup.  Its not ready for installation yet because I'm not a big fan of the massive mechanical hysteresis in this thing.  I've been toying a bit with springs and adjustments and I'm getting close to finishing it.

 

As I think about mounting it this winter season, I wonder who else is running a Winterfront type system.  Now, I'm not talking about the automatic or manual shutter systems that were installed at the factory on several prewar cars, but I am talking about the add-on systems typically made for just about all cars by Pines and other manufacturers.

 

Who is running an after-market Winterfront-type shutter system?

 

 

Pines 1.jpg

Pines 2.jpg

Edited by Real Steel (see edit history)

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Not sure why anyone would wear one of these on their car (especially an after-market one) these days, they are usually ugly and not in keeping with the original style of the car, usually hide the nice original grill, don't accomplish much from a performance viewpoint, and most people would never drive these old cars in deep sub-zero weather. Make a good wall-hanger for conversation IMHO.

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T

1 hour ago, Gunsmoke said:

Not sure why anyone would wear one of these on their car (especially an after-market one) these days, they are usually ugly and not in keeping with the original style of the car, usually hide the nice original grill, don't accomplish much from a performance viewpoint, and most people would never drive these old cars in deep sub-zero weather. Make a good wall-hanger for conversation IMHO.

Thanks for your almost unbelievable in-depth perspective.

I don't mind original period correct accessories, IMHO.

I like rare oddball antiques, both on and off a car, IMHO.

Ever meet a 1932 Ford owner with a Pines Winterfront...he likes it, IMHO.

You must have many wall-hangers, but I tend to finish and use my stuff, but thats just IMHO.

I would never, ever let someone else's opinion influence what I drive or what I like...otherwise I would drive a Prius, IMHO

 

Edited by Real Steel (see edit history)

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It's been decades since I have seen a winterfront installed on a collectible era car. My dad drove a stock Model A Ford pickup to work every day in all weather, including some very cold weather here in Ohio. He used a manifold heater to keep the cab warm enough, but found no need to make the engine run hotter, even in sub zero weather. 

 

The last time I can clearly recall seeing a winterfront installed on a vehicle was on some older bus, which used engine heat to keep the driver warm. 

 

I guess all this means that I suspect you may find it difficult to find many folks with experience using them on cars that were old enough to really need them. Good luck to you. 

 

Edited by lump (see edit history)
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44 minutes ago, lump said:

It's been decades since I have seen a winterfront installed on a collectible era car. My dad drove a stock Model A Ford pickup to work every day in all weather, including some very cold weather here in Ohio. He used a manifold heater to keep the cab warm enough, but found need to make the engine run hotter, even in sub zero weather. 

 

The last time I can clearly recall seeing a winterfront installed on a vehicle was on some older bus, which used engine heat to keep the driver warm. 

 

I guess all this means that I suspect you may find it difficult to find many folks with experience using them on cars that were old enough to really need them. Good luck to you. 

 

 

I agree with you Lump, its hard to even find any photos on the internet of cars with an after-market Winterfront (exept the 1932 Fords).  From what I can tell there are a few reasons for their scarcity.:

1.  They have terrible mechanical hysteresis.  Lack of oil on all those moving pivots makes it even worse.

2.  They were slow sellers, especially during the great depression.  Then they had poor survivability on top of that.

3.  Owners of vintage cars today want to keep their cars "pure" (despite the many non-factory restoration parts on their car).

4.  Some folks aggressively push their opinion that they're ugly and useless.  

 

I don't really 'need' a winterfront on my pickup, especially here in southern California, even though my truck always runs too cool (never higher than 160 on the hottest summer days).  In the winter, my pickup runs darn cold, which of course, is not so good for the motor.  Sometimes I have to use radiator air dams just to get anywhere near a decent temp.

 

However, I do like to tinker and fiddle with vintage tech and skills that are nearly lost.  The after-market winterfronts were not unusual in their day, yet today they are almost unknown, and as you pointed out, they're not really acknowledged by the collector car crowd.

 

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Personally, I like that you want to try to use one of these. I also like to use era accessories on some of my cars, and experience the variety of ideas tried back in the day.

One used to be able to find a bunch of the winter-fronts at swap meets.  Many of them appeared to be nearly new-old-stock.They were were manufactured to fit many specific makes and models of cars from around the early '20s. I did once see one on an early '20s Essex if I recall correctly. Essex had a heavy looking radiator shell and actually looked good with the winter-front on it. I have seen a couple other winter-fronts made to fit Essex's distinctive radiator shape. I have also seen them for '20s Overland cars as well as a number of other marques.

I suspect winter-fronts became obsolete after thermostats became more practical and reliable. I know the '29 Reo I had many years ago had a thermostat, as did many of the finer cars by the late '20s.

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I don't think I've ever seen one of these before. How odd and cool. I like the offbeat stuff...and this is a far cry better looking than the cardboard I used to see bungee corded to the fronts of some vehicles in the late 80s and early 90s. 

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My friend has a '23 Cadillac Victoria Coupe with a winter-front on it.  His works and I believe he has no plans on removing it.  It looks fine.

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I used to be able to find winterfronts cheap at swap meets...like a buck or two. Then I would remove all the vanes and the thermostatic unit, and use the frame as a picture frame. Then I filled the middle with cardboard, and covered the cardboard with fabric. Finally, I installed my enamel radiator badges in them, and hung them on the wall. Looked terrific. 

 

Today, however, whenever I find a winterfront at a swap meet, the seller tends to think it is rare gold or platinum, and prices it accordingly. Year after year i'll find that same vendor with that same winterfront, still for sale and still priced too high. I don't think I have ever seen a winterfront sell, by the way. 

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Having grown up and started driving in a climate similar to that in Alaska, I’ve used variety of manual radiator air flow controls, from cardboard to roll down/- up screens in variety of vintage cars from early ‘30s to ‘60s even in SoCal (mountains), but never experienced automatic, thermostatically controlled devices, aftermarket or OEM.

Although my PB Roadster doesn’t have a heater (or any other “creature comforts”) I do enjoy taking it up to the local mountains, even during winter season and carry/use chains along with cardboard when necessary.

 

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I have seen them on a variety of 20's cars and they generally look pretty nice.  What does one look like though for a 1930 Ford ? 

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