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Advice that you'd give a guy that WANTED an early car


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11 minutes ago, trimacar said:

I had someone recently make a very fair offer on my Cord, I thought to myself that if I sold it, every time a magazine article talked about them it would hurt, so told him no.  Let’s say the offer was a tad over your current budget!  One day it will be for sale, not now though.

 

I have a ‘27 DB fast four cabriolet, Greg, if you ever want see it or drive it. Not currently for sale either.  Mine is mechanically excellent, and I can tell you 50 mph would be optimistic.   Don’t let the “fast” fool you, it’s just a little faster than a Dodge “slow” four....but it’s a delightful car to drive around town and has done a Glidden tour or two in the past....

Thanks for the offer on the '27 Dodge Cabriolet, I will take you up on that and might spring for lunch too if eating out ever becomes a thing again! 

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14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I don't have any advice as to what kind of car you should buy. My only advice is to buy quality. Don't set a hard limit, be prepared to spend a little extra on a high-quality car when it presents itself. You'll come out ahead in the end and you can enjoy it right away.

 

Buying based on price and trying to keep it as cheap as possible is the ideal recipe for buying a car that is both dissatisfying and unexpectedly expensive.

Give Matt a call and get on his list. He has had a number of reasonably priced cars recently meeting most of your criteria, there are a lot of non-full classic prewar bargains out there. The trick is to get one that is honest and mostly sorted. I have bought two cars from Matt and both have been as-advertised or better.

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14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I don't have any advice as to what kind of car you should buy. My only advice is to buy quality. Don't set a hard limit, be prepared to spend a little extra on a high-quality car when it presents itself. You'll come out ahead in the end and you can enjoy it right away.

 

Buying based on price and trying to keep it as cheap as possible is the ideal recipe for buying a car that is both dissatisfying and unexpectedly expensive.

Give Matt a call and get on his list. He has had a number of reasonably priced cars recently meeting most of your criteria, there are a lot of non-full classic prewar bargains out there. The trick is to get one that is honest and mostly sorted. I have bought two cars from Matt and both have been as-advertised or better.

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14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I don't have any advice as to what kind of car you should buy. My only advice is to buy quality. Don't set a hard limit, be prepared to spend a little extra on a high-quality car when it presents itself. You'll come out ahead in the end and you can enjoy it right away.

 

Buying based on price and trying to keep it as cheap as possible is the ideal recipe for buying a car that is both dissatisfying and unexpectedly expensive.

Give Matt a call and get on his list. He has had a number of reasonably priced cars recently meeting most of your criteria, there are a lot of non-full classic prewar bargains out there. The trick is to get one that is honest and mostly sorted. I have bought two cars from Matt and both have been as-advertised or better.

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 I'm sure there are many fine, up-standing dealers out there with good reputations that would be happy to help me find the right car. They provide a valuable service to many collectors. However I think FOR ME that would take some of the fun out of it. I enjoy looking, surfing the internet, meeting people. I want to be engaged in the hunt! I have this vision of perusing the offerings at a car corral and finding just the right car. There it is with the owner dusting it off. The owner, who restored it 30 years ago, has enjoyed the car for many years but is now elderly and had decided it's time to move it on to the next caretaker. We take a drive and he goes over all the points of the car and shows me his receipts. I like the owner and decide I love the car and he decides that I am the right guy to be the caretaker for the next 20 years. Sounds silly when I type it out but hey, that's the dream. maybe it'll happen as I walk the car corral at Charlotte this fall. Maybe I'll spot it on craigslist or see it in Hemmings. Who knows?

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Hello pkhammer, I am about your age (52) and are similarly interested in 1920s cars although I do not own one.  

 

I think the "nickel" era is a fascinating time in automotive history but the cars themselves have been overlooked for years due to often bland appearance compared with the earlier brass cars and the later classics.  BUT many 1920s cars were restored and driven by hobbyists in the 1960s and 1970s and an older restoration from an estate would be perfect for you and bargains can be found IMO.

 

Regarding what kind, I notice others keep mentioning 1920s Dodges and I would suggest also consider 1920s Chryslers and early Plymouths.  The 1920s Chryslers were said to have had superior performance for the day and 4 wheel hydraulic brakes from day one so they should be more drivable than many contemporaries.  There will be some out there in garages and sheds that were restored in the 1970s and could be mechanically and cosmetically freshened up to be good drivers for a reasonable price.  An open car would cost more than a sedan and I would also suggest if you find an open model make sure you can comfortably fit to drive since those 1920s roadsters and tourings can be tight in the front seat.  Good luck, Todd C     

Edited by poci1957 (see edit history)
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A make and model that should be high on your list of potential candidates would be a 1926 or 1927 Studebaker Big Six.   The engine is a 354 cu in L-Head six and four wheel brakes became optional in 1926, standard for 1927.   It would have the capability to maintain the cruising speed and four wheel brakes to better handle situations that might arise. The Antique Studebaker Club is focused on the pre-WWII models, would be a good source to discover available cars that might fit the bill.

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19 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

pk is your last name Hammer? 

It is. PK is for "Preacher's Kid". My Father was a Brethren Minister and I was always referred to as the "Preacher's Kid". LOL

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21 minutes ago, poci1957 said:

Hello pkhammer, I am about your age (52) and are similarly interested in 1920s cars although I do not own one.  

 

I think the "nickel" era is a fascinating time in automotive history but the cars themselves have been overlooked for years due to often bland appearance compared with the earlier brass cars and the later classics.  BUT many 1920s cars were restored and driven by hobbyists in the 1960s and 1970s and an older restoration from an estate would be perfect for you and bargains can be found IMO.

 

Regarding what kind, I notice others keep mentioning 1920s Dodges and I would suggest also consider 1920s Chryslers and early Plymouths.  The 1920s Chryslers were said to have had superior performance for the day and 4 wheel hydraulic brakes from day one so they should be more drivable than most contemporaries.  There will be some out there in garages and sheds that were restored in the 1970s and could be mechanically and cosmetically freshened up to be good drivers for a reasonable price.  An open car would cost more than a sedan and I would also suggest if you find an open model make sure you can comfortably fit to drive since those 1920s roadsters and tourings can be tight in the front seat.  Good luck, Todd C     

Yes, I am looking at those as well as the Dodges. The Dodges seem more plentiful though. Studebaker and Buick Six models from the mid-twenties are quickly rising to the top of list too. I am short (5'-7" so height is not an issue. Getting my pudgy middle behind the wheel is more of a concern. Maybe need to look at cars with fat-man wheels! 😁

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7 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

A make and model that should be high on your list of potential candidates would be a 1926 or 1927 Studebaker Big Six.   The engine is a 354 cu in L-Head six and four wheel brakes became optional in 1926, standard for 1927.   It would have the capability to maintain the cruising speed and four wheel brakes to better handle situations that might arise. The Antique Studebaker Club is focused on the pre-WWII models, would be a good source to discover available cars that might fit the bill.

 Yes and thanks. These models are VERY appealing to me.

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Are you from PA ?  If so we are likely related somehow.  Hammer is not the most common last name.  Mine is Hammers with an s but that's only because Mom thought the name sounded better as Hammers so that's what she put on my birth certificate.

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2 minutes ago, pkhammer said:

I am short (5'-7" so height is not an issue. Getting my pudgy middle behind the wheel is more of a concern. Maybe need to look at cars with fat-man wheels! 😁

 

It could be an issue for me and something we might not always think of

Edited by poci1957 (see edit history)
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6/10/2020 @ Indianapolis, Indiana Craigslist a Studebaker roadster Ad was inserted.  

Also in St Louis Craigslist a roadster was added.
take a look!

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3 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

Are you from PA ?  If so we are likely related somehow.  Hammer is not the most common last name.  Mine is Hammers with an s but that's only because Mom thought the name sounded better as Hammers so that's what she put on my birth certificate.

No, my family if from Virginia. I have traced my roots back eight generations to my ancestors from Germany that immigrated to the US and originally settle in PA. Two brothers (John and Balsor Hammer) moved south and settled in what is now Pendleton County West Virginia in the late 1700's. I am Balsor's great-great-great.........................................................Grandson. US 220 runs through what was his farm and the stream is still called "Hammer Run".

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34 minutes ago, pkhammer said:

There you go, proof they're out there! -Thanks! Dang! Why is it everything is 1000-3000 miles away?!

 

Pay the shipping if it's a car you want, no questions asked. It's not expensive and you get a car you want without worrying about limiting yourself to your neighborhood.

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17 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Pay the shipping if it's a car you want, no questions asked. It's not expensive and you get a car you want without worrying about limiting yourself to your neighborhood.

I may end up doing just that if I found the perfect car. I'd prefer to meet the owner in person, be able to look the car over and drive it before handing over the cash. We all know that lots of cars look good in photos but when checked out in person you find that the previous owner used 3 gallons of plastic filler to fill the dents and the frame has been poorly welded in four places and the steering is so loose it looks like the driver is swatting flies trying to maintain course in one lane. No substitute for checking things out in person. I'm including Virginia and the surrounding six or so states for now. That's a pretty big neighborhood.

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I do not know the details, but I remember that our 20 DB was faster than some newer/mid twenties DBs. It was relayed to me once that the two unit( starter / generator ) cars were slower. I doubt it actually had to do with the electrical part, so maybe it had to do with the tire diameter. The car designs generally plateaued around 1917, so some cars after were engineered to make available to more purchasers instead of engineered to improve the car’s performance. Road speed was not a big deal then. Some early nickel  cars may have been dumbed down both by poor gas around WWI time frame and plain making cheaper cars. That being said, it was not the case with all. Just don’t assume later date means better car for today’s needs. Also, modern gasoline goes to gas state easier and causes vapor lock in some old cars more than others. 

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That '25 Chevy touring sounds like a great deal.

 

But for me, the Franklin offered up is light years ahead in driveability and comfort.

I know OP wants an open car but for anyone looking for a great driving car on a budget, that Franklin is tough to beat.

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Good Luck with your search, and I am not trying to hijack your thread, but wasnt the name of the fellow whom wrote the Waltons, about a family living in the hills of VA also named Hammer. I believe the program was somewhat autobiographical.

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 Close! You're thinking of Earl Hamner (HamNER). I love that show! I have a pal in Mineral, Va that just finish restoring a '29 Model A Express just exactly like the truck on the Waltons. Do you remember that the Baldwin sisters that made "The Recipe" drove a Franklin?

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One thing you may know, Mr. Hammer:

 

In the early days, such as the era you seek, there was

a marked difference between the inexpensive cars and

the better cars--in speed, in smoothness, and other qualities.

Also, there were noticeable advances between 1915

(the first year of your range) and 1925.

 

Those differences gradually became less and less.

For example, a 1979 Chevrolet Caprice is not far behind

a 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood.  However, a 1925 Ford is

indeed much less refined than a 1925 Packard.

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 Yes, and the vast amount of information I have gleaned, at least partly thank to you guys, have me prepared to at least partially refine my criteria as follows:

  -Year range is shifting to 1920(ish) to 1927(ish) 

  -Studebaker and Buick sixes are on top of the list. Dodges and Chrysler models right on their heels.

  -Prefer the disc (solid) wheels that were available on some of these.

  -Prefer Roadster over Touring but only by a slight margin.

  -Still would like to be around $15k but that's just a number to shoot for and I'm flexible.

  -I'm not in a hurry and really would like to base my search on the east coast, no more than an 6 hour drive from Va. That'll get me North to about the NY border, Ohio, West well into Ky,  South into Tn, NC and SC or east a few hours into the Atlantic.

  -Hauling not an issue. I have my own 20' enclosed trailer and Dodge 2500 diesel truck.

 

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Let’s move up a year or three.  You’ve found a car that’s well sorted, fun to drive, and pushes all your good buttons.  What are you going to do with it? I presume you don’t intend to commute in it, except maybe once in a while on a long spring or summer day when you can be home before dark.  You may, or may not, enjoy giving rides to neighbors and curious strangers.  On a nice day, you’ll probably like to take it to the gym/the bank/ your yoga class/ whatever.  You’ll go for a long ride on back country roads and soak up Virginia’s wonderful scenery.  You’ll go out for a pizza with your spouse/significant other/prime squeeze.  You might take it to a local show, or Cars ‘n’ Coffee.

 

Then what?

 

If you’re an introverted, curmudgeonly hermit, that may be more than enough.  But many of us use our cars socially.  We find other nuts and tour with them.  It adds tremendously to the pleasure.  In my own case, I have 5 brass-era cars: a Model T, two single-cylinder cars, a small Buick touring car and a steam car.  But I go (in a normal year!) on five or six week-long tours a year, plus a bunch of weekend jaunts and one-day tours, plus the usual C&C, kids’ rides, and pizza.  If I didn’t have compatible groups to tour with, I wouldn’t maintain these time-and money-consuming toys.  

 

You might consider looking into the local clubs as part of your search procedure.  Where are the other people who enjoy their cars the way you want to enjoy yours?  When you find a group you like, do their activities fit in well with the kind of car you’d like to own?  Or might you discover that there’s a friendly group with wonderful activities that enjoys cars with a 35 mph cruising speed, even though that’s not what you initially thought you wanted?

 

If you buy an old car, you’re buying into a lifestyle.  Be sure the whole package, not just the car, is where you want to invest your time, money, and emotion.

 

(Unless you’re an introverted, curmudgeonly hermit.  In that case, ignore this post.)

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  I was into motorcycles about 20 years ago. I joined a group and we planned rides, tours, trips etc that were for the most part, a heck of a lot of fun. Most rides were fairly local (VA-WV) and once or twice a year we'd plan a longer run, like down the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway (470 miles) from Afton, Va to Cherokee, NC. I definitely envision joining in on similar activities with a local group/club but I can be perfectly content taking leisurely Sunday drives with just me and the Wifey. I would need to find a group that actually planned activities that a working man could participate in. I joined a local Model A club chapter a number of years back where 90% of the members were all retired and they planned most activities on weekdays so we rarely got to participate. Clubs need to take that into consideration if they want to appeal to younger enthusiasts or we might turn into introverted, curmudgeonly hermits.

  Thanks for the thoughtful post.

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34 minutes ago, oldcarfudd said:

Let’s move up a year or three.  You’ve found a car that’s well sorted, fun to drive, and pushes all your good buttons.  What are you going to do with it? I presume you don’t intend to commute in it, except maybe once in a while on a long spring or summer day when you can be home before dark.  You may, or may not, enjoy giving rides to neighbors and curious strangers.  On a nice day, you’ll probably like to take it to the gym/the bank/ your yoga class/ whatever.  You’ll go for a long ride on back country roads and soak up Virginia’s wonderful scenery.  You’ll go out for a pizza with your spouse/significant other/prime squeeze.  You might take it to a local show, or Cars ‘n’ Coffee.

 

Then what?

 

If you’re an introverted, curmudgeonly hermit, that may be more than enough.  But many of us use our cars socially.  We find other nuts and tour with them.  It adds tremendously to the pleasure.  In my own case, I have 5 brass-era cars: a Model T, two single-cylinder cars, a small Buick touring car and a steam car.  But I go (in a normal year!) on five or six week-long tours a year, plus a bunch of weekend jaunts and one-day tours, plus the usual C&C, kids’ rides, and pizza.  If I didn’t have compatible groups to tour with, I wouldn’t maintain these time-and money-consuming toys.  

 

You might consider looking into the local clubs as part of your search procedure.  Where are the other people who enjoy their cars the way you want to enjoy yours?  When you find a group you like, do their activities fit in well with the kind of car you’d like to own?  Or might you discover that there’s a friendly group with wonderful activities that enjoys cars with a 35 mph cruising speed, even though that’s not what you initially thought you wanted?

 

If you buy an old car, you’re buying into a lifestyle.  Be sure the whole package, not just the car, is where you want to invest your time, money, and emotion.

 

(Unless you’re an introverted, curmudgeonly hermit.  In that case, ignore this post.)

Good advice. He has been around the block a few times and enjoys his cars. Listen to your Elders

Edited by gossjh
Missed a good line. (see edit history)
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PK... you mentioned Dodge 1925 touring... disc wheels.... east coast... under $10K ..... they are out there... for your enjoyment...                                                      .https://worcester.craigslist.org/for/d/paxton-1925-dodge-brothers-touring-car/7133764724.html

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Because of potentially serious internal engine water leaks, as yet undiagnosed, it might be time to break- out the Wahl clippers. Cardinal rule in purchasing projects like this is assume the worst unless proven otherwise.  Does that make sense in the case of this '25 Dodge ?     -     Carl 

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 Yes, perfect sense. I don't mind mounting new tires, changing fluids, fixing minor electrical issues. I can live with wear and tear on the upholstery or overlook some worn or weathered paint. When he mentioned water in the cylinders that statement made me want to move on. Not looking for a big fixer-upper. Thanks though for all the leads! Everything I look at gives me just a little more knowledge of what out there in the market and that is VERY helpful!

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I stand corrected, thank you. Yes I remember the sisters with 'the recipe'. I used to watch the show everyweek when it was new. Every once in a while I will catch a rerun. Still a good show. My family came from the hills of VA. so it has a bit of nostalgia for me.

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https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/buick/unspecified/2349088.html 

 

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/buick/e34/2385363.html (though is the other side of the country from you) 

 

These two would probably be my pick that look like reasonably safe bets, which don't look like they've been 'upgraded' or a pile o' parts 

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The 23 touring looks to be a much nicer car than the roadster if you look at the details and paint work,  plus they said it runs and drives very well.  Similar money as well. 

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5 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

The 23 touring looks to be a much nicer car than the roadster if you look at the details and paint work,  plus they said it runs and drives very well.  Similar money as well. 

I agree, though probably better off from a resale and investment protection perspective with the Roadster (even though it will need a lot more work - and make no mistake about it the Roadster needs and will demand plenty of work and money). 

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I'm really enjoying this thread, after 50 years in this hobby, I still enjoy cars.

Having had  Model T's and Model A's and settling on 1934 Fords a my favorite

driving car, I recently had a 37 mile ride in this 1913 Overland 640 Touring car.

This re-ignited my love of the early cars.  We drove at 50 MPH with 4 grown men

over the mountains and down dirt roads in the Smoky Mountains.   My concern was brakes!, but the car had a Corvette disk brake on the drive shaft and we stopped 

or slowed down with ease.  I'll continue to follow this thread and be ready when something good shows up.

 

IMG_0632[1].JPG

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