Graham Man

Pre War parts are drying up...

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One thing I find fascinating is that we have threads on here where people are bemoaning the lack of interest from young people then on the other hand there are people that expect to be making 1000% profit just because they held onto it (thankfully not so much here) and didnt' even really look after it. There is definitely a sense that there was a golden age where most parts were available for reasonable prices, but realistically how many buyers are there going to be for say a 1922 Cadillac engine part? There's only a handful of them running, yet you see parts on ebay where people expect to make huge amount of money and they sit their literally for years not selling and when you make an offer the price is "firm"  

 

Rare != valuable 

 

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Here is an example of what a Brass era restoration can involve. My Staver Chicago project came to me without the correct steering box. The parts book shows me what I need. A fellow restoring a Michigan 40 has a very similar if not identical box in his car. Not that surprising , they both are assembled cars from the same era. The rear axle is identical in both { Sheldon } so it is possible other bought in parts are the same as well. He thinks it is a circa 1910 design Gemmer.

The closest I have been able to come up with is a " correct box " for a much different application.  In this case I have concluded it was intended for a R.H.D cabover truck from about the same 1910 - 1912 era. { mounts the box in front of the front axle instead of behind the front axle}  It has all the correct internal parts but the main housing has weird mounting arms and is mirror image to what I need.

So what to do ? Make a conventional pattern based on the mirror image part, cast and machine a new housing ?  Do all the programing and 3D print a pattern, cast and machine a new housing ? Wait for the right box to show up ? 

So far as it is not the last part on my list I have been looking for the correct box. Anyone have a Staver Chicago or Michigan parts car ?  Or a huge pile of pre- war parts with a few R.H.D. medium sized steering boxes that they are about to scrap as they don't know exactly what they fit ? I would settle for something close as long as it is reasonably priced.

Anyone need the housing with the weird mounting arms for their restoration ? I expect it is a very rare part.

Greg in Canada

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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The nice thing about the Staver restoration is the fact that any steering box from that era would work, just don't use one that people can easily ID. Years later when you debut the restoration you don't want anyone pointing to the steering box saying "Look at the Overland steering box!" Bob 

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In 1914 at least { possibly 1913 as well } Staver used a Jaccox box, very similar to what the larger Buicks used. I have a spare 1918 Buick box { LHD}  , but Jaccox boxes are easy to switch from RHD to LHD.  What I don't have is a spare pitman arm . I am not sure if Jaccox ever used a square pitman arm attachment.

The 1918 one I have is splined.  And the 1918 Buick pitman arm with suitable splines are a bit on the short side. I hope to have a good look at a 1914 ,15,16 big series Buick some day. A Buick model 55 box could be a winner.

 

 

Greg

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14 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

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

Drove all the way from the Mass, N.Y. border all the way to Clear Lake, California a number of years back to get a 1915 Buick C-37 parts car. Glad I went  myself as some of the parts and original tools that were laying on and around it I'm sure would have been lost if I hired an open car hauler. Dandy Dave! 

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On 2/13/2020 at 10:32 AM, 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 couldn't agree more.  I plan on doing the same thing.  My wife and kids are not into it like I am.  I hope to get most of the cars roadworthy, and sell off the rest of the stuff over the next 20 years.

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On 2/13/2020 at 9:18 AM, Graham Man said:

20 years ago when I started looking for Graham parts they were rare...but now they don't seem to exist, my best source is other Graham collectors but they are now starting to hoard the spares they have.  Anybody else notice the same problem?

I am having a very hard time finding parts for my 1937 and 1938 Plymouth trucks.  I hope to find what I need someday soon.  

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7 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I hope to have a good look at a 1914 ,15,16 big series Buick some day. A Buick model 55 box could be a winner.

Contact me if you want info on a 1914 B55 or M55 Buick. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 10:54 PM, 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.

There are still ACD (at least the A and the C or ACD) parts available via Doug Prey in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma - the shiny stuff is mostly gone and so is the well marked stuff, but if you know what you are doing there is something for everyone A and C. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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6 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

There are still ACD (at least the A and the C or ACD) parts available via Doug Prey in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma - the shiny stuff is mostly gone and so is the well marked stuff, but if you know what you are doing there is something for everyone A and C. 


The pickle factory is well worth the visit.   Doug is always buying more parts to replenish the inventory,  so he is a good source.  But the (edit: useful) parts that were part of the original factory move from Auburn are long gone.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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On 2/13/2020 at 8:57 PM, Mark Wetherbee said:

 

Pre war parts drying up????       Yup, since the mid seventies. I still find the impossible stuff..........it just takes more work. In some ways, I think it’s getting easier with electronic and social media.

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18 minutes ago, edinmass said:

, I think it’s getting easier with electronic and social media.

 

I'm not too popular with a couple of local swap meet vendors when I tell them that I haven't been to a swap meet in years. Local swap meets feature almost entirely "modern" stuff and even Asian guys selling tee shirts and jewellery . Admittedly,I haven't tackled a major restoration in some time either. I do most of my parts and even car hunting electronically. Wish I had the technology when I was restoring my '21 Chevy back in the '70's. I think I wore out three driver cars going from one swap meet to the next.

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Not to throw a debate topic on the fire, but periodically someone will want to raise an Auburn or an X from the dead of as the dead can come and I am one of the first people to say "part it out" - the reason why is that the parts supply is already so taxed that not only will the person trying to resurrect face near insurmountable odds, but it is one less whatever part for all the rest of us too.   Is it regrettable, yes, but then again that one car that gets parted out gets another 10 plus done.  

 

The reality is that probably 50 plus "closed/sedan" Auburn's 1928-1936 have bit the dust so the World may see Boattail speedsters at shows and ....

 

As a sidenote:  when a part is missing on a 30's car i generally do a math calculation of say 300 to 1000 PLUS to fabricate something pretty simple - now lets say you car is missing 20 parts you cannot find ? 

And, then there are the things like 20K plus gasket and plus shipping RR PI cylindrical heads and ....

And, I have bought 10K fenders

1K wheels

5k grill shells

and ....

 

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On 2/13/2020 at 11:46 AM, Bloo said:

The trouble is you have to buy parts when they are available, not when you want them.

This is very true, but in my case I found something I needed after someone else has purchased it.  And sometimes I get the same part/car/truck offered to me from that new purchaser for up to 3+ times if what they paid for it, after the initial seller has told them about me.  It's seems to be the only way that I find anything for my vehicles.  Sadly my 1938 Plymouth truck is going to be close to 70K in parts.  I wish that I can find and buy a complete truck first.  Lesson learned...  But I am two deep and only a hood, tailgate, and a grill away from completion.  I will have a ton of extra parts from Dodge Trucks when I am done, so I can easily restore about 3 of those parts vehicles when the Plymouth is done. Does anyone else end up hoarding from the same circumstances?

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That all sounds very familiar.....

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Wonder how many parts are bought from hoarders, and put away as extras/spares, only to be sold later to some guy that thinks the second guy was a hoarder? Maybe some parts are destined for shelf storage, decoration forever. Bob 

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4 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Wonder how many parts are bought from hoarders, and put away as extras/spares, only to be sold later to some guy that thinks the second guy was a hoarder? Maybe some parts are destined for shelf storage, decoration forever. Bob 


I have a lot of decorations of that nature. My house wouldn’t feel like home without a du4 on the mantel and I know for a fact I can’t sleep without a westchester tail light on the shelf in the bedroom. I suppose if it got replaced by a Maxwell script tail light I might get some rest. I swear I am not a hoarder though.  

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A pair of DU 4's make great book ends

 

Greg in Canada

 

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One persons idea of hoarding is another’s idea of collecting. In my view there’s as many different ways to describe the hobby as opinions... 

 

I am  a hoarder, just ask anyone who doesn’t understand why I won’t sell an emblem out of my displays to help them with a restoration! I tend to field four or five questions about selling one each year, I cannot believe there are that many Dusenberg’s, Pierce Arrows, or Chalmer-Detroit Car’s being in need of an emblem... 

 

Well, there’s my opinion, and as the  old saying goes, opinions are like Bungholes, everyone has one and nobody wants to hear yours.

 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Hope you started that collection years ago. Few people could amass that same collection today. Bob 

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I guess I am also a hoarder having put away spare parts for my 30 Cadillac over the past 35  years. From good transmissions to nos thermostats seeing my car is a driver. But in the past 10 years I have never had to switch a exhaust manifold or a starter or anything else for that matter. When I go my boys will just sell it all off as scrap metal I think them having no interest at all. 

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Bob, it’s been around 45 years since I bought my first one, and when I turned 13 I got a part time job. THAT is when it got serious... My high school buddy’s were smoking dope and I was hooked on cars, not a bad thing!

 

Nowadays, I might find one or two emblems or mascots a year that I would like, and the prices are frightening at times which keeps me in check. What I think is really funny is some of the really common emblems NOT in the collection. Mid 30’s Plymouth is one that I laugh about not having, but there were always better ones to buy at one point and that Plymouth would cost more now than a V12 Packard did in the day. 

 

Not overly relevant to the original conversation, but it is another place where pre-war automobillia is drying up... all because of hoarding it.

Edited by TheMoneyPit (see edit history)

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On 2/13/2020 at 1:32 PM, Matt Harwood said:

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.

  This is very true. A few years ago I helped clean out a stash of old Buick parts. The family wanted rid of the stuff but wanted reasonable prices. We bought the parts we needed at a fair price which we could use or possibly sell. But the problem is few want to pay anything reasonable to "hoard" spare parts anymore. In less they need the part they want the parts for 1960's prices if then. I hated to see it but in the end a 40 yarder was filled with body and mechanical parts from the 30's to the 60's. 

 

 Sell the parts?  Sell them to who? The friend who was with me goes to Hershey every year and brings back many of the parts. His prices are fair and he does sell enough to make a little but not enough that most of us would waste our time and storage space to hoard these parts. He's older and does it because he enjoys it. I'm afraid when something happens to him the same will happen to his hoard.

 

 I've tried selling some parts and I've actually had a restorer pay me more than I was asking because my price was to low. I've also tried to deal with hobbyists who are a pain in the ***  who are now on a blacklist. When I downsize I may well hope scrap price is higher and do the same as it's not worth dealing with some of the present so called hobbyists and much of my "hoard" obviously isn't worth the time or effort to bother moving it. Not really bitter, realistic.

 

 My point is don't blame it all on the hoarders who have stored the parts for 40 or 50 years.

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I made a pit stop on vacation one year and salvage a pile of Graham parts from a hot rod project, they sat in my shed for a few years.  A gentleman called me looking for parts for a 1934 Graham Coupe he was restoring, I offered up the parts I had saved, for a paltry sum, basically to cover my gas to get the parts.  He picked up the parts and gave me a lot more than what I wanted for the parts.  I was just glad they made it back to a Graham.  I sold him the front bumper assembly and the steering wheel/column, thought it turned out nice.  The car came out of a barn in TX that was being torn down.

 

Image result for 1934 Graham

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I used to follow up on local parts ads that led me to believe more parts might be available. It worked well. A lot of times I would ask "How much for everything in the garage? It will be cleared out by Saturday." I remember three times when I sold the contents of buildings I stored the non-sale items in a lump. Those were the parts I couldn't sell.

It has been a few years since I bought out a hoarder. Mainly, it costs too much to sell and space has become more valuable to me.

2019 was probably the year I have thrown out the most stuff ever. Twenty to forty pounds every Tuesday makes for an appreciable amount of free space in the garage. And I have been reading periodicals and throwing them out after reading, that's a big one.

 

I still sell some items, but I get weary of the buyer who imagines my parts are in a colorful tent beside a camel caravan route and needs to haggle over every nickel. They even use the same words their TV hero uses. They cry, plead poverty, demean themselves in all manners, and then brag to their friends about the deal they got. Seen it too many times. Tell them they are cheap and they get offended, pulling a roll of cash out of their pocket, wave it around, and ask "Who you calling cheap?". Then stick the roll back in their pocket without peeling off a dollar. (If you are smiling you know him. Three guesses and I bet I get his name).

 

Weary. The buyers have made me weary. And that's how my parts dried up.

I still say there are a lot of people in the old car hobby who pick their car like they would a costume.

 

Bernie

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