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The phone rang... and then the next car adventure starts


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Ben.......what told me it was a great car? An assortment of fifty years of collecting experiance including.............

 

 

Dave C telling me he thought it was "neat" and "might clean up and drive."

 

I have known Dave well for a long time, and we understand cars and collecting at the same level.........sort of two people who think as one. This was 50 percent of the decision.

 

I have known and driven White steam cars forty five years ago. I knew the brand and how fantastic their engineering was, none better, and I expected that it would still apply, it did. 10 percent.

 

I figured out quickly it has a 37 x 5 wheel size...........big boy toy! 20 percent. At this point....I was going to make an offer.

 

Quick research on everything I could fins in half and hour...not much to find or see........... 5 percent.

 

Willing to take a gamble......in this hobby...NOTHING VENTURED - NOTHING GAINED. I was willing to take a loss on the car if it was a disaster, or a toilet. 15 percent.

 

So in the total view of 100 percent, you can see my thought process. David has owned 200 pre war cars.........and his word that it was interesting perked me up fast. When I got the photos, even though they were poorly done, you could imeatatly tell it was with taking a shot at it. Remember........any car that has not run in fifty or more years MUST BE EXPECTED TO NEED A TOTAL ENGINE JOB. I was expecting a car that needed 50k of my out of pocket expenses.........IE- Rebuild the engine, install a new radiator, ect, ect, ect. In the old car hobby, if you don't gamble you will never end up with interesting cars........unless you have a limitless budget. Among the "great collector crowd of fine automobiles they have a saying........pull the trigger...."

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ALSO- Most people here watch American Pickers....which is how shall we say......scripted and fiction. But you can learn a few things from them.........Mike has a common saying that he not only preaches, but actually does. It is:

 

 

If I see something I have never seen before, I buy it. That is GREAT ADVICE when you have a lifetime of experience in the field of antiques of all types. I had learned this lesson from a coin dealer as a very young man.......and it ALWAYS paid back very well. You can overpay for a rare and terriffic item.....as the true hard core collector of the interesting and obscure. On certain items, you can buy them at retail.....and still and make a good profit, when you have the inside line on the collector base. 

 

PS- Never buy a car to flip if you can't live with the car forever..........you may or may not ever get an out on any car, at any price. Buy what you like.......you will never take a hit.

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In this hobby, a lot depends on your skill set and ability to fabricate, everyone has different skills. For instance my eyes cannot get near a welder but understand suspensions, things like kingpin angle and ackerman are second nature. Further nearly everything in modern electronics can be reduced to relay logic and table lookups. Couple of decades ago people who could reprogram a ECM/PCM were common. BCMs not so. Forums existed. Today this seems to be a lost art but for me GM cars of the ALDL era come under the heading of fun.

 

This is why am taking advantage of the really prices earlier this year for an Allante specifically the '89 (hardtop, larger engine, no airbag). I didn't think any American two-seater halo car was less appreciated than the Reatta. Was rong. Major issues for most are the complex electronics. No Big.

 

Point is we all have different strengths and abilities, many gathered over years of experience. These abilities, interests, and tools tend to cluster over different periods of cars. True, these interests are also quite catholic for many, thank to this thread I now know more about White automobiles than before, another thread for the Thomas. Did get my start with mags of the '50s and books mostly by Floyd Clymer so knew the names but not much about them.

 

Do appreciate this forum for all it teaches me. Thank you.

 

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19 hours ago, trimacar said:

"I called Ed and told him about the car.  He researched it, and realized it was special." 

David, You just said the secret woid!  An ordinary thing, found around any library...

 

Wonder if there is a Groucho Marx emoji?

Edited by 58L-Y8
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I  completely agree - DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Before the fact but also as well after the fact. Don't be shy of asking somewhat bizarre questions or requests! People may think you are crazy BUT there are a lot of us who have been doing this Look, see, find etc form some years. I have a tendency to think out of the box  as an artist and look at things from a different perspective , being a historian and writer just multiplies that . I recall asking a good friend who lived near Philadelphia if he could go to a cemetery to see if he could find the grave or more information on a designer that had passed away 50 years prior as it would answer a lot of questions about the fellows family back in the late 1920s when he passed away. My friend ( Charlie Betts) did that and it cleared up or confirmed a lot of things for me to tell the story of artist/designer J. Frank deCausse.  Charlie had no qualms about doing that for me and commented at the time " you do have a unique way of doing and approaching  research". 😔 My comment back was " And yes, I have a lot of tolerant friends too!".

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I tell people all the time that cars are very bad investments but they are also low risk purchases. It's rare to lose 100% on any car--they all have some value unless you've completely misjudged the situation. Guys quibble over single-digit percentages to avoid getting "taken" but the truth is even a bad car will repay you a good chunk of your up-front costs if/when you dump it. Hell, it's rare to lose 20% on an old car unless you're bankrolling a restoration.

 

If you have an interest in something, no matter how obscure, I always say to go for it. Worst case it's not right for you, but you can still eject and get most of your money back.

 

How many other hobbies will do that for you?

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UPDATE:

 

 

It was a great weekend with Dave C of Georgia here.......and then things keep getting better. Below is a letter hand delivered to me today at the shop. The gentleman who wrote it first saw the White in the early 70's.......and the rest of the history is fascinating. Since the owner of the car for 68 years married a much younger lady, she is still with us......and I have reached out to her. Hopefully she responds, and has more information and photos. The gentleman who wrote the letter was a true car guy, we hit it off immediately , and he has owned a beautiful White also. Along with a BUNCH of great stuff. Seems everyone involved with the White had great taste in cars.......enjoy the read.......its terrific.

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Scan 2.jpeg

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Here is the Bugatti he passed on in the early 70’s. Type 44 and the serial number was 44923. It sold last year for 400k...........ugly? Not too bad. I will find out the asking number when he went to look at it.

 

Also, here is a current photo of the Alco. The White had a bunch of FANTASTIC siblings in the carriage house.

 

And.....remember from the letter, the Type 44 was available in the “meager price range”..... If anyone today knows where there’s a Type 44 for meager money, please call, PM, or email me immediately! Times have changed!


 

Interstingly , with all the insanely cool stuff in the garage......the “Great White” was not for sale.......period.
 

 

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, edinmass said:

ALSO- Most people here watch American Pickers....which is how shall we say......scripted and fiction. But you can learn a few things from them.........Mike has a common saying that he not only preaches, but actually does. It is:

 

 

If I see something I have never seen before, I buy it. That is GREAT ADVICE 

I will second this and additionally quote a mentor and childhood friend of mine who has a stunning collection of prewar autos, as well as other things that are simply unbelievable.  He is a great guy and I won't mention his name or collection in detail because I'm uncomfortable listing them publicly, but Ed does know him personally and can vouch for the level of stunning cars.  We were visiting in the building that holds most of his collection and he is always gracious to mention his grandfather who was a giant in our home town and who started his grandson's interest and taste in autos (and other things).  Many of the stunning cars were initially bought by his grandfather and he now has those cars as well as others he has purchased.  Explaining how all of this happened to him and his grandfather he said "Most people buy a little of things they made a lot of, my grandfather bought a lot of things they made very little of"...............It is great advice.  

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UPDATE:

 

More from this weekend..........

 

Photo of David C from Georgia visiting.

 

Photo of the overnight post nasal drip on the White......sure likes to mark it's spot.

 

Photos from the show.........

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, padgett said:

Growing up mainly with English cars my meme is "if it's not leaking, it's out of oil". Triumph fixed it, they put a sponge under the crankcase seam.

If it's not leaking water through the top and oil out the bottom, it's not English.

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I could change the valve cover gaskets........but since they are 103 years old.......I rather have the bragging rights and some leakage. I’m not sure replacing them will even slow it down by half. 
 

The letter above from Kevin who has known the White for more than fifty years came over to the shop yesterday, and not only gave me that great letter, he told me about the second owner of the car in detail. He owned the car for 68 years, and refused all offers to sell......it only left the garage after the funeral. He owned countless cars and bikes, he truly was a prolific early collector buying his first Bugatti in the late 30’s. He had the White by 1939 or 1940. He actually drove it as a daily driver in 41 & 42. He parked it and never drove it from 42 to 52. He started to service the car in 51/52 and never finished. It ended up in the corner of the garage from 1952 to 2006. It was in good storage. Also, I was correct with the damage to the leather.......the car was fine in the early 70’s and 80’s. Kids playing chauffeur did the damage around the turn of the century.  Keith has owned a bunch of pre war cars, but his heart is in the speed cars from 1910-1915. He owned a White for quite a while and sung its praises. He was all smiles to get in and go for a drive. He instantly evaluated the car and it’s gearing, and commented how great it went down the road. There is an AACA tour in his neighborhood in April, and I was planning on attending. Kevin will now drive the White, and I will drive whatever he gives me......he’s thrilled to get a chance to finally get some windshield time in a car he has been chasing for over forty years. With luck, more information will come to light when I speak to the wife..........time will tell.

 

 

UPDATE: The asking price for the Type 44 was 3500.00 in 1973. It sold last year for 400 thousand at Amelia in Florida.

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More fun......with the Peerless special tap and die tool kit, I was able to make the bolts that were missing for the horn. Next time I will start with parkerized bolts. Felt good to put the horn in place, and get it done right. Look close at the photo, and the hood hinge where it attaches to the cowl.....see the pin sticking out? That’s a quick hood release to remove the hood off the car. Quick and easy, one person can get the hood off......very convenient! Interestingly......the hood is marked with a different body number than the rest of the car......it’s off by three............someone must have swapped them out back at Rubay when the cars were in primer.

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This year has been almost a total loss as far as "car things" go.  When thinking of whether it was worth it to drive 700 miles down to Florida to look at an interesting car, I must admit that I had second thoughts.  No second thoughts anymore as it turned out to be a memorable weekend.  The car was worth seeing and driving and it was very much my kind of car, very original. The car show on Sunday was a real hodgepodge of all kinds of cars with the most common type was a late model Rolls of which there was probably about eight or ten of.  most people seemed to be impressed with  Ed's fabulous white.  Meeting a five time winner, Derek Bell, of Le Mans was also fun and I even got a signed book from him.   Ed was a delightful host and I believe a good time was had by all.  Some of you other guys should try to come see this car as it is well worth it!  I am sorry that I missed a working horn.  Maybe I will have to come again.

 

David

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Dave..... it was great fun having you down for the weekend. Dave and I have never met before this weekend. We found out we had many mutual friends, and many common interests. The highlight of the weekend was Dave driving the car. He also has a bunch of other interesting vehicles that we shared. It’s a great hobby when two strangers can meet,  and end up spending the weekend like they are long-lost friends. The White has been a fun project.  The best part of it is I now have about two dozen more car people in my life. Most of who, have gasoline in their veins. Dave was very gentle with the car, even though it is not yet free of defects. He respected it even though it was difficult to shift. While he was driving we were able to compare it to his 1915 V -8 Oldsmobile. Furthering both his and my education about early cars. I’m looking forward to new adventures and friends the White Motor Car brings into my life. I’m sure I’m gonna get out of it 25 times what I put into it. 👍

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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That has always been one of the best things about this hobby! I have never found anyplace in this world that I feel I belong as much as with the people passionate about their antique automobiles. As I have said for many years, antique automobiles seem to endow their caretakers with a genuine understanding of history, both general and personal. Antique automobile owners are much more likely to truly know their place in the world, and its history as well as future. 

Antique automobiles can beat you up, breakdown the day before the tour you have been looking forward to all year, and the people take it in stride. I have known many people, including ME, that worked all night through to repair that car and make it anyhow. I don't collect trophies, except for one that I am proud of. I pushed hard to get a car together in time to make an Endurance Run. By the time I got to the starting point, it had been driven less than a hundred yards! Nothing was tour ready. My son and I suffered one breakdown after another, fixed fuel line problems, vacuum tank problems, a short in the wiring, and the transmission shifter literally falling apart with pieces in the transmission oil. Except for a longtime good friend that followed us the last 75 miles, we were the last car to complete the Run! We got the "Hard Luck, but Completed the Run" trophy! It was one of the most fun Endurance Runs I ever went on!

I have known many people that did similar things. And I have been the fellow following the fellow having troubles a few times.  A lot of wonderful people in this hobby.

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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There were some of those miracle in a bottle spray and shine wax treatments going around to the cars on the field. I went over to them and said.......go to town boys! They passed.

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There is nothing in it. Checked it a few days ago. Remember we did back flush and evapo rust the block and radiator. Very little of material came out of either. I have no opinion on them yet.......I probably will not install one ever again. Ultimately, I think they are a bandaid for problems that haven’t been properly dealt with. It’s probably a useful tool to determine how bad of a rust problem you have in a block.

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6 minutes ago, edinmass said:

There is nothing in it. Checked it a few days ago. Remember we did back flush and evapo rust the block and radiator. Very little of material came out of either. I have no opinion on them yet.......I probably will not install one ever again. Ultimately, I think they are a bandaid for problems that haven’t been properly dealt with. It’s probably a useful tool to determine how bad of a rust problem you have in a block.

I use stocking filters in all my cooling systems.  For new acquisitions, filters are essential as the cleaning process continues, to prevent dislodged debris from entering the radiator.  Once the cooling system is all sparkly clean, I continue using a stocking filter but remove and check it only about every four years--to assure myself that the cooling system has remained clean.  I find this particularly important on cars whose cores are not visible under the radiator cap (1934-38 Pierces, for example).  Last year I changed the hoses on my 1930 Pierce after 10 years and was delighted to find absolutely no debris in the stocking.  I will continue to use them.

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If all the members here had a chance to see the unusual collection of medical devices you have in the garage, then they would understand that it’s not unusual for you to be using ladies pantyhose................on the car.🤫

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1 minute ago, edinmass said:

If all the members here had a chance to see the unusual collection of medical devices you have in the garage, then they would understand that it’s not unusual for you to be using ladies pantyhose................on the car.🤫

I can't post them here or the mods would ban me....  One of the pre-war 120V medical devices would probably jump-start your Pierce V-12....

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1 hour ago, nickelroadster said:

They are a very unusual collection.  I bet nobody could guess what they are!


Only the well traveled and worldly amongst us have an idea..........the collection is so unusual, it would make a working girl blush.

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UPDATE:

 

Why is it every time I get involved with a car, after digging around looking for information and provenance, I find cars that no one knew existed. Add another 1917 White Duel Valve to the list! Photos will follow after proper ID and owner approval. It’s a VERY INTERESTING car. Another sleeper waiting to get back on the open road.......interesting body style.........I would sell Trimacar’s underwear just for a ride in it........while he is wearing them!😝
 

Maybe I should do this for a living?🤔

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Here is what I believe I located..........the owner, wasn’t sure. I think I am 85 percent certain........4600 in 1917. He is going to need help fixing it.........we will start working on making the parts he needs soon..........AJ won’t like it....not only does it have white walls....The whole thing is White.......some how, for a White, that seems reasonable. Look close double white walls.........AJ, you should buy this thing.

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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7 minutes ago, edinmass said:

I would sell Trimacar’s underwear just for a ride in it........while he is wearing them!😝
 

Maybe I should do this for a living?🤔

 

What, sell used underwear? I guess if that's your thing you should go for it. You're not quite too old for a career change.

 

I think you're probably better with cars, though.

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14 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

What, sell used underwear? I guess if that's your thing you should go for it. You're not quite too old for a career change.

 

I think you're probably better with cars, though.


 

Old car people are very cheap.......offer them a good deal on used underwear and most wont be able to resist. Delivered to you door, shipping included. Laundering is available for an additional fee.........yup. Crown Royal played a significant part in this post.

 

And now, a time out to sing Alice’s Restaurant while sitting at the bar, holding on to my seat.

 

Hold on tight, officer Obie wants to hear the “I don’t want a pickle, I just want to drive my motorcycle!” 🤪
 

No toilet seat or paper........”We don’t want no hangings!”

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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15 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

What, sell used underwear? I guess if that's your thing you should go for it. You're not quite too old for a career change.

Matt, how do you think Ed achieved his exalted status in life?  I'm just surprised that now he's admitting to it....

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8 minutes ago, Grimy said:

Matt, how do you think Ed achieved his exalted status in life?  I'm just surprised that now he's admitting to it....


George is just upset that I was unable to secure a buyer for his! Sure paid for a lot of Pierce Arrow’s........got to keep on topic.

 

 

A actual photo, of the restaurant. George’s friend Bob J enjoyed the tour I gave him back at thr PAS meet in thr Berkshires. We drove there in our Pierce Arrow’s. True story.......look it up. Also true.......you can watch the movie on pay per view.

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5 hours ago, Grimy said:

I use stocking filters in all my cooling systems.  For new acquisitions, filters are essential as the cleaning process continues, to prevent dislodged debris from entering the radiator.  Once the cooling system is all sparkly clean, I continue using a stocking filter but remove and check it only about every four years--to assure myself that the cooling system has remained clean.  I find this particularly important on cars whose cores are not visible under the radiator cap (1934-38 Pierces, for example).  Last year I changed the hoses on my 1930 Pierce after 10 years and was delighted to find absolutely no debris in the stocking.  I will continue to use them.

Mr. Grimy, Sir. The stocking filters certainly have much appeal. Unfortunately, the return hose on my beast (and most others) heads in an uphill direction. Wondering how the debris gets collected there without falling back to the head on shut-down. This why the cone 'fishtrap' element of Ed's unit caught my eye. I am probably missing something, here, or perhaps over-thinking it. Thoughts on this,please?

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Mr. Bush Mechanic, Your Worship 🙂 :  I use a blunt handle (screwdriver, ratchet) to stuff the closed toe of the stocking into the top tank of the radiator *through the upper radiator neck*, then fold the selvage (open end) over the outside of the upper radiator neck.  The upper hose secures the stocking in place.  The toe captures debris and remains in the top tank.  Use a razor blade to cut off the excess showing after the hose has been installed.

 

I use the rather coarse calf-high stockings women wear with slacks, which seem a bit more robust.  After 300 miles or so, drain and save for reinstallation about a gallon of coolant, then remove top hose and the stocking.  The amount of debris in the stocking tip will give you an idea of the next interval.  Rinse the stocking under a faucet and re-use it.  After the first check, you too will be a believer!  After about 2,000 miles or a couple of inspections with minimal debris, you're good for a couple of years.  Of course, anytime you've used a chemical flushing agent, replace the stocking after a thorough flush.

 

This is a finer screen than the Gano filters yet water will pass through the stocking tip even if quite occluded.  This will even catch sludge that beset my Paige after its life with mineral-besotted Iowa water.

 

Gee, this sounds kind of kinky....

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