Graham Man

Pre War parts are drying up...

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If you have a relatively rare car, you mostly buy anything that comes your way.  I have a habit of not throwing any parts to cars that I am working on away.  I figure that fifty years from now they may not know what original parts went to these cars are.  even when I replace parts, I do not throw them away.  I try to keep the parts , however small and insignificant, with the car that they belong to.   When you have cars that are one  of the last examples that are left I figure that at some time the old parts may be useful.  There was a story about a train locomotive from the 1840s that was recovered from the ocean.  It was interesting because of the original type of safety pop off valves that it had.  these valves would wear out pretty quickly and were replaced with new ones.  This had happened so many times that nobody knew what the original valves actually looked like anymore.  By saving all the original parts I am hoping to avoid the loss of information on how the old cars were constructed.  Probably most of the things that I save will just be useless junk but there may be the occasional part that that will tell us something.   

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3 hours ago, keithb7 said:

. It's been awesome and I enjoy every minute that my any of my 5 senses interact with it. (yes you can taste that old upholstery when you get in it). 

 

There has to be a better way to clean the upholstery than with your tongue! 😛

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Even more difficult than the actual parts are drawings , fixtures , jigs, casting patterns etc.   Anyone who has been involved with producing new replacement parts will appreciate how much other stuff is necessary to make new , old parts. And this " tooling " and documentation can be even more mysterious than parts themselves in an estate situation. 

People invest large sums of money and huge amounts of time to reverse engineer and get set up to be able to reproduce parts.  But it is quite difficult  to pass on to someone else.

 

Greg in Canada

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Our club in Zimbabwe had access to a yard with a double garage, members could dump their unwanted spares at this facility for many years, and it was always a great place to rummage and look for something useful for your projects.

 Sadly the owner of the premises passed away, the premises were sold and the new owners were decent enough to allow us to continue for a few years, until eventually they needed the space. Some of the smaller items we managed to keep, but 20+ years later a lot of it has failed to be identified or passed on. I therefore understand why stuff gets dumped.

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 I got into buying collections like have been mentioned here about 10 years ago. I was looking for parts for a model A Ford and had an older friend that had a bunch of model A parts. When I went to him about what I needed he asked me "would you be interested in buying everything?". I have since bought numerous collections of parts, usually from families whose Father or Husband was a collector and had passed away and the family was just trying to deal with the "hoard". I have bought a diesel pickup and two enclosed trailers and me and a couple of good friends stay busy on the weekends. It's a lot of work but I try to save good parts from going to the dumpster and I enjoy the experience of getting needed parts back into the hands of people that need them. I have also made lots of friends along the way.

 I just bought a huge collection of mostly pre-war parts from a now defunct auto museum that many of you were probably familiar with. We have spent several weekends hauling the stuff home and trying to find a place to put it. I am going today to purchase a sea container because I have run out of storage space and my enclosed trailers are sitting in my driveway packed full. Over the next weeks and months I will be working on sorting, cleaning and identifying what all is here. Many parts will get posted on this site for sale or even for help identifying them. Much will be hauled to Carlisle and Hershey. Lots of small parts will get put on ebay. Any suggestions for how best to use this site to help get things back into the hands of collectors are welcome. 

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1 hour ago, pkhammer said:

 Any suggestions for how best to use this site to help get things back into the hands of collectors are welcome. 

 

 

Post PHOTOS, nothing better to get peoples attention. Set up a fake swap meet space with what you have if you have trailers full. Bob 

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1 hour ago, pkhammer said:

Any suggestions for how best to use this site to help get things back into the hands of collectors are welcome. 


I like Bobs idea above, set things up in a row and let people ask you about them. Another one is to take pictures of something for sale with a pile in the background, then when everyone asks about the stuff in the back you can say you hadn’t planned on selling it but...

 

I also agree knowledge is an issue. I’ve been around the hobby since a very young age as it was dad’s thing... but even knowing a fair amount of early cars I recently tripped over a 2-cylinder timer I never knew what fit. I’ve had it forever and still couldn’t tell you what it fit  then within a couple days I tripped over a question in the Technical forum where a question was posted about this exact timer. I’m glad to get it into the hands of someone who needs it and I think he is pleased to get it. Much of this stuff has become so obscure that I am sure a lot of parts sitting in hoards are unidentified and may never be.

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I still see a fair bit of  later teen's. 1920's and 1930'sparts . But Brass era stuff is way more rare . Almost anything for a Brass "T " can be found with patience and $, but once you get away from Ford things really thin out.  Even for comparatively common Brass cars like Buicks swap meet parts are in my experience quite seldom found. Mind you due to distance  I have not ever been able to attend big meets like Hershey.

I have stumbled across a fair bit of stuff for the 1916 and up Buicks but only a small fraction for any of the earlier cars.  Take away brass lights and magneto's and the typical Swap meets I attend here in the Pacific North West has only relative handfuls of Brass era parts. Even at  the quite large Portland Swap meet, Brass era parts have had a real falling off over the last decade or so. I keep trying to attend the HCCA 

Meet at Bakersfield CA. but once again that is a long distance trek for those of us on a limited budget. Almost 1200 miles each way, the traveling costs really add up .

 

Greg in Canada

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20 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I think the problem (and the largest threat to the continuing maintenance of old cars) is that collectors amass stashes of parts "just in case." Then they die. Their families not only have no idea what the parts are, but they don't even have a clue what to do with the stuff or where to turn to get rid of it. Then Mom sells the house and all that "junk" needs to go so they throw it in the dumpster in order to vacate the house. And then it's all gone forever. I see it happen over and over and over. I am guilty of gathering unneeded parts myself and while my wife is far more learned and experienced in the hobby than most spouses, I guarantee she will just dumpster all of it, too. It's just too much work to deal with on top of everything else that comes with a dead person.

 

If you're old, sell your stash NOW while someone can still use it. It's not only selfish to force your family to deal with your junk but it's irresponsible towards the hobby to just assume someone will show up to help. Nobody cares, nobody will help, and the only guys who show up are going to be vultures who will make your widow's life a living hell--do you really want that? She honestly hasn't been paying attention all these years when you've been explaining the difference between a model 32-035263 and a 32-0356248 horn button. It's just junk and she (and likely your kids) don't know, don't have any way to find out, and don't care enough to do anything but dump it for whatever scrap value is. And then it's all gone forever.

 

If it's valuable to you, sell it now while it has value to someone and can be correctly identified and marketed, because I guarantee your family doesn't want to deal with it no matter how much you think it's worth.

I agree with Matt, I often get calls to pick up parts and that is great, but I also hear later that "I wish I had known - we just threw them away"  and that is not great.  I know of a recent local estate and they threw out a 2 car garage of Lincoln L parts (I mean a 2 car garage of shelving units packed to the gills), and on top of that another 1 car garage that was the whole parts inventory of the local Packard dealership - stuff had tumbled and you could no longer get into garage as it was so packed solid - when I asked when I saw the son out on the sidewalk his reply was unfortunate, but they had garage after garage  to deal with and they were just done.   Most people I know have at least extra starter, generator, water pump, distributor, transmission, and .. - and some of it is pretty rare and worth thousands.  Some people do not have in same garage as the car, it is rarely marked, some people hold back parts on a sale - particularly auctions, and ...

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By the way, it comes out of my mouth quite frequently when I see an X that is unrestored and missing parts that they should have been busy in the 70's and 80's when the other 3, 5, 10 or .. were being restored and now the reproduction and.. parts are not available.  

 

Most people do not know the math for 1930's cars - anytime a part is missing off a car (or all the broken die cast) it tends to be a 500 to 1000K to get the first one "made" problem - sometimes more money and rarely less - now multiply this by the 20 parts missing.  

 

I received a call around Thanskgiving  on an unrestored Rolls Royce Phantom I - needed a new cylinder head and the reproductions are not available currently and even if they were the price would be 20K plus shipping from England = the car is virtually unsellable at the money they wanted and even if near free I would not touch it with a 1000 foot pole as if they reproductions do not become available then I would be looking at like 50K plus to make the first one. 

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To all-too common definition of "hoarding" is when somebody else owns something that you want and they won't sell it to you....

 

A lot of people get the Scarlet H hung on them by people that don't know how they came upon the stuff in the first place.  I could probably even be accused of it with some of the things I have that don't fit my collecting interests.  What people don't know is some of it I literally picked out of a trash pile at the conclusion of a swap meet.  Now, is that hoarding just because I put it away and haven't yet done anything with it or was that stuff given another 20 years that it probably wouldn't have had otherwise once the trash truck showed up?  A lot of so-called "hoarders" collected their stuff in an era when nobody had any interest in it and then later on times changed.  That's why context is so important.  

 

I think what people often mistakenly regard as "hoarding" is in reality being a pirate.  We still see people that dangle things out there for sale and it starts at $100, then next week it's $75, then it's $50, and last call is "If I don't get my $50 I'm going to scrap it".  Right, because the best financial option is to destroy a part that they're not making anymore to get 0.08 cents from a scrapper instead of taking $25 for it because they don't want to play by the rules of supply and demand. Like so many things it's not about how you start the deal -- it's about how you finish it. 

 

    

Edited by W_Higgins (see edit history)
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And here I thought that a good 3D printer could make anything now.

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I did not want to use the "hoarding" word, you are right, it is not a fair interpretation sometimes.  I find myself finding extremely rare parts, and not wanting to part with them, I will if you twist my arm, but I almost always regret selling them.  I do like it when they go to a car, not a display shelf, but that is only under my control when I own them. 

 

Longest time to find a part was 10 years looking for an original 1933 Graham trunk.  6 years for a rear bumper, had to make the bumper iron, never found one.

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My dad who will be turning 85 this year still owns and goes up everyday to the garage and body shop that he purchased from his dad who opened the garage doing mechanical work in the 30's. Dad is also an old car collector and has bought and sold 100's of cars and restored lots also.In the old stock rm there is still in their original boxes parts for 20's and 30's cars with dust on top of them 1"thick. To go along with that we have parts for cars the 20's thru the 80's to go along with 30 cars from 1911-1966 plus 20 more newer cars and trucks that he kept for parts for his Tow Trucks and or the beater cars my mom always got to drive.

 

I have been part of the old car hobby my whole life(47 yrs) and have 4 cars of my own, but there is so much stuff  at my parents that I can't identify and even know what stuff belongs to what cars. Mom and myself mostly have been pushing, to let just say lower the inventory and it is not any easy subject with Dad. Mom and Dad have not talked for days when the subject gets a little heated at times. We have sold off a few cars, some of you may remember the thread i started about pulling the 1920 Case from the barn at the house. I took a couple of weeks to locate some of the parts that were not with the car and that Dad had moved them a few time over the 50 yrs since he started to do a restoration on the car, but we did find most of the parts except for a few components for the rear tire carrier.

 

Some of the prewar parts, unless they are Model T or Model A I won't know what they are and how do you liquidate stuff if you can't identify things. I have pushed dad the last couple of yrs to grab some of that stuff in the old stock rm and identify it and we have been able to bring them to Hersey and sell but the motivation from Dad is not always there. I am afraid when dad is no longer around that my Brother and Sister are going to push the dumpster root to dispose of much of the stuff. I will admit there is lots of stuff that should go to scrap but there is stuff that should not.

 

We do have a plan this spring to get another car out that a restoration was started on 50+ yrs ago and try and get it pieced back together while dad is around and can help locate and identify parts and maybe get it sold off, it just is not as neat a car that the Case was. So hopefully in the spring or summer I will start another thread ....."Out from Long Term Storage 2"

Edited by coachJC (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, padgett said:

And here I thought that a good 3D printer could make anything now.

Actually, you would be surprised what can be made and equally unfortunately also disappointed in what cannot be made 

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John is right, and you also need to consider that the printer needs a program to print whatever you are trying to make. That programming is not cheap unless you do it yourself, and even then I don’t think you would just give it away when you get done since you will invest many hours and dollars getting it right in the first place.

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3 hours ago, padgett said:

And here I thought that a good 3D printer could make anything now.

 

Sadly no. Do you think you are really going to 3D print even one component of this early 1970's front suspension. It's all non 3D stuff. And it's all available new, but hold on to your wallet. { 1973 or so Lola } . My 1978 isn't all that much different. Not prewar I know , but parts are parts. There are way more post war parts that I am familiar with to illustrate this particular point.

Greg in Canada

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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5 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

 

 

Post PHOTOS, nothing better to get peoples attention. Set up a fake swap meet space with what you have if you have trailers full. Bob 

 By a fake swap meet space I assume you mean here in a forum? At the risk of having to field questions like "do you have a left handed widget for my 1906 Gogomobile?", I will start a thread under parts for sale with some photos of the hoard and if you wiser than me folks are kind enough to help me ID some of the items it sure would be helpful. I have many dozens of boxes to go thru and that will take a while but some of the larger parts, like grille shells I can post photos of now. Look for a thread called "museum parts collection". I can deliver larger parts to spring Carlisle and Hershey but shipping might be a challenge for some items.

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Just now, pkhammer said:

 By a fake swap meet space I assume you mean here in a forum? At the risk of having to field questions like "do you have a left handed widget for my 1906 Gogomobile?", I will start a thread under parts for sale with some photos of the hoard and if you wiser than me folks are kind enough to help me ID some of the items it sure would be helpful. I have many dozens of boxes to go thru and that will take a while but some of the larger parts, like grille shells I can post photos of now. Look for a thread called "museum parts collection". I can deliver larger parts to spring Carlisle and Hershey but shipping might be a challenge for some items.

 

 

Yes, a garage bay area of parts would be great, maybe in the Classified section, just in keeping with the new Forum Rules. I like the What Is It ? section too. Bob 

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Not prewar but a guy who was going to restore 60 plus cars which have now been sitting for over plus 30 years with half of them outside. I visited these last week. Most are in 4 and 5 condition. Parts are scattered everywhere and nothing is marked. Would take a year to figure out what is what. Fair amount of Buicks, some convertibles. Corvette is a 69 with a 427 and 390 HP. Young Amish guy bought the property which included everything and needs the buildings emptied. My friend is helping him out. Papers being signed for a June auction in York PA. Will post details when available. 

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I am posting photos in the "Parts for sale" section. Look for "Museum Collection".

  -thanks,

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32 minutes ago, pkhammer said:

I am posting photos in the "Parts for sale" section. Look for "Museum Collection".

  -thanks,

GREAT COLLECTION! Something for everyone. Bob 

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I have a lot of pre-war stuff no one can even identify.  I picked up a nice pair of doors for a late teens open car but never have come up with a positive ID.  Can't sell them to a guy who needs them if I don't know what they are. 

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7 minutes ago, Pontiac59 said:

I have a lot of pre-war stuff no one can even identify.  I picked up a nice pair of doors for a late teens open car but never have come up with a positive ID.  Can't sell them to a guy who needs them if I don't know what they are. 

I know, it can be very challenging. I put a lot of time searching the internet trying to identify some parts as well as ask for help from more knowledgeable persons than myself. I also have 4 doors that came off an early touring car that I've carried to Hershey a few times and nobody pays any attention to them. I know I won't ever be able to Identify it all and what I can't ID in a couple of years either gets sold super cheap or eventually goes to scrap. What else can you do?

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19 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

 

American Vintage Parts bought the parts from the family that ran the parts store. I bought lots of Graham Sharknose parts from them (American Vintage) when they first started selling their purchases.👍

 

https://www.ebay.com/str/americanvintageparts

 

GOCI* bought the drawings from the family, paid a dear price for them.

 

*Graham Owners Club International

 

 

As far as hording parts for cars I have, I've tried making tape, stickers, Sharpies, wired on tags, etc. All have issues.....  But I am trying to organize and sell excess stuff now.

Thanks for the tip on them, I just purchased a few Cole parts from them!

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