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Engineering vs Esthetics in a first purchase of a CCCA Classic


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2 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

There is a thread going on the General Page - the car stood in line for ugly twice - I will not say it is un-interesting car, but wow - UUUUUUGGGGGGLLLLLYYY !!!

 

22424308-1937-detroit-electric-model-99c-srcset-retina-xxl-696x447.jpeg

 

 

I would take that at its original auction price every day.    Yes, ugly,  but very cool.  

 

 

 

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Actually.......I like the car. Thus, it’s a certainty that it isn’t ugly. It’s sort of a butterface situation. Her body is a ten, butterface isn’t! 😎

 

Here come the moderators!

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On 10/5/2020 at 6:26 PM, FLYER15015 said:

 

I'd chop the top 4" and I think I have a SBC laying around.

 

We're wandering again.

Our goal here is to find Mr. Bloom a CAR !

 

Mike in Colorado

I did some Google searching......

side.jpg

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9 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

I did some Google searching......

side.jpg

 

Quite good, but not enough. The back window should be 2" tall, max.

Saw a '40 Lincoln coupe at a car show last year with a 4" body section, and a 6" top chop, and 'slammed" to the ground on air bags.

Painted black, I offered to trade the '40 Buick LTD straight up, and really had him thinking, but no go, per his bride.

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:


that is the only 36 long wheelbase known to exist.  


It’s a great car.........as for the color.......not one that I would have chosen, and the metallic is a bit too much, and not fine enough. Remember, it’s as large as a SWB Duesenberg...........and almost as powerful. It’s one of the few pre war cars that can run with a J in most conditions. Also a factory overdrive. Only shortcoming is brake fade......the car is heavy, and you need to understand  and adjust for the mass and steel drums with mechanical brakes. They will lock up easily, and have plenty of power......but ride the pedal, and it’s going to get very exciting very quickly. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Brake fade is fun! NOT! About thirty years ago, the environmentalists banned asbestos for brake linings. And before compromises and alternate solutions were found, brake linings got really funky. I had replaced the brake shoes on my '65 Ford pickup I drove everyday for work (hey, I didn't consider it an antique!). A few times, on hot days, a single panic hard stop from 70 mph (a common occurrence on Bay Area freeways) would result in brake fade just about when I reached my short limit for stopping. (NOT fun!) One day, very hot, I had to run a service call to a failed system up in the Mount Hamilton hills East of San Jose Califunny. It was a steep winding barely two lane road. I did my temporary fix, figured what was needed for a permanent repair, and headed down the hill. Expecting trouble, I eased down in lower gears, in a few places my four speed was in "granny first". I still needed to use the brake pedal more than I wanted to, and by the time I got down the brake pedal would do NOTHING. Finally hitting level ground with a bit of a shoulder, I put it back into low low and and cut the ignition as I got under the shade of a tree. There I sat for awhile as the brakes cooled. Fifteen minutes later the brakes worked just fine again.

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side.jpg\

 

This car was originally a very dark green color.  It was in Florida and someone painted it white with a black beltline & put a tan naugahyde interior in it in the late 60's or early 70's.   You could see the original dark green paint where the white had flaked off in big chunks.  The long time owner bought it in FL and brought it up to Ohio around 1973 where it stayed until he sold it maybe 15 years ago and the new owner then had it "restored."  They left the tan naugahyde interior during the restoration.   It was a very low mileage car if I remember correctly.  After it was "restored" they were trying to get a ridiculous price for it.   The metallic maroon is too modern a color for that car.         

 

        

 

 

 

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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A question for those with lots of experience driving different platforms......  If I drive a well sorted 1930 Packard 733 sedan and an equally well sorted 1940 Packard 160, am I going to think that the driving experience is similar with minor differences, or will I think that the driving is radically different?

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7 hours ago, John Bloom said:

A question for those with lots of experience driving different platforms......  If I drive a well sorted 1930 Packard 733 sedan and an equally well sorted 1940 Packard 160, am I going to think that the driving experience is similar with minor differences, or will I think that the driving is radically different?

 

There is a huge difference between those 2 cars.   The 1940 Packard is much more modern in every way possible.   356 ci 9 main bearing engine with R9 overdrive make it cruise effortlessly on the freeway.   It steers, shifts, accellerates and stops much better than the 1930 car.   The 1930 car has an updraft carburator with fuel delivery through a vacuum tank, an engine with all babbit bearings, mechanical brakes, and a crashbox transmission.   The 1940 car has all insert bearings, downdraft carb with automatic choke run through a traditional fuel pump, modern hydraulic brakes, and a synchromesh transmission with electric O/D.  The 1940 car also has an advanced heating system with vent and defroster.  The 1930 car has nothing, unless someone added a Tropic Aire heater.  633/733/833 Packards don't bring a lot of money.  They're the entry level Packard for those years and they build a lot of them.  The 160 is on the top of the line 160/180 chassis for that year.  160/180 Packards come up for sale quite often.  You can take your time and be picky.   If you buy one, do make sure it has overdrive.   They built some without it, which means the engine is laboring to keep up with traffic on the freeway.          

 

   

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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John, others here have more experience than me but this has been my experience.  Been lucky enough through friends to drive some big iron, 29 -34, so that, not my As is my frame of reference.  On the other end, my 39 Packard 120 shared platforms with Classic Packards of the era.  I found it comparable to later cars I have owned, driven through 50s.  In short, easier to shift, steer and stop in general.  Highway speeds, sustained 60, 65 mph wo OD were no problem, although my car had "highway gears", I understand some did, some didn't in the 120 of that year.  You still know it's an old car, but there is a noticeable difference.  Like you, I think, though, I prefer 29 -34 (pretty big leap in those 5 years alone) styling to say, 35 -39 but that stretch would be my second favorite.  It's definately a trade off of sorts.

 

You will get lots of opinions, get a car w juice brakes, get a car post wood framed body, go for all synchro gears , etc.  My advice, drive a couple and keep thinking.

 

On Packards, personal opinion but 33, 34 is the ideal combo of style and driveability.  I have driven a couple and the feeling was "yep the sweet spot" for this balance.

 

That said a big part of a prewar car is the driving experience.  It's fun to master driving techniques, and know you need to take x extra steps, etc. That 99% of the others on the road have no clue about.

 

Keep us posted on your journey!!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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39 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

 

You will get lots of opinions, get a car w juice brakes, get a car post wood framed body, go for all synchro gears , etc.  My advice, drive a couple and keep thinking.

 

 

What is the first year "post wood framing" on the senior Packards?  Pierce Arrow? Cadillac? Lincoln? 

John

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John, Packard in 38 went no no wood at all, and a turret top on jr. Cars, in 39 that shell was used on the 160, and is what a 40 160 would have.  I suspect, not unlike the Model A, different bodies relied on different amounts of wood.  GM bodies for example, are notorious for heavy reliance on wood which is a consideration.  You cannot just order a kit for a car like that beautiful but needy Franklin sport sedan we mentioned.  An A fordor sedan is typically loaded with wood.  Roadster, tudor has very little, none structural.  I wouldn't run from a wood framed body but would want someone knowedgeable to check it out and advise.  Wood, on the other hand, contributes to that bank vault feel a lot of Full Classics have.

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8 hours ago, John Bloom said:

A question for those with lots of experience driving different platforms......  If I drive a well sorted 1930 Packard 733 sedan and an equally well sorted 1940 Packard 160, am I going to think that the driving experience is similar with minor differences, or will I think that the driving is radically different?

 

A 1930 Packard is truly an antique and the 160 is a modern car...........so much so it doesn't give you the antique car experience. Apples and oranges is the correct comparison. 

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18 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

A 1930 Packard is truly an antique and the 160 is a modern car...........so much so it doesn't give you the antique car experience. Apples and oranges is the correct comparison. 

Ed your beating around the bush again with flowery words... 😁

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10 hours ago, John Bloom said:

A question for those with lots of experience driving different platforms......  If I drive a well sorted 1930 Packard 733 sedan and an equally well sorted 1940 Packard 160, am I going to think that the driving experience is similar with minor differences, or will I think that the driving is radically different?

If it is any help: When I bought the 1935 851 Auburn Sedan (same collection as the maroon metallic PA Coupe previously mentioned), it was a fluke, but quickly decided I liked the car to then sell it  to get a 1935 851 Phaeton.  The Auburn is a great car and it quickly replaced my 1941 Cadillac and all the earlier 30's cars have never matched up to it. The 41 Cadillac had another 10 mph upper end easily, but again I liked the Auburn better.  The Auburn is lighter than most cars its size so it handles nice - matched to nice poweplant, gearing, and etc. (aka it has more get up and go than its contemporaries and especially the larger classics).  Keep in mind too the Auburn has an obscene amount of money spent on its driveability - something most restored 30's cars never see.    Now, that I have the Auburn (and restoring another), I am asking around for an L-29 Cord (purely a looks purchase as they are pretty doggy in the gearing and certainly far from best handling) or perhaps an Auburn V-12 (also an advantage as lighter matched to an incredible poweplant - so you get fast matched to nice handling).  A group of friends also push for me to do a Cord 810/812 - as I have the skill set, friends, and .... (they are probably the finest driving pre 1953 cars made - but, only with a lot of dedication).   My point: I am getting back into earlier cars, but only because I have something else that I like to drive more.   

 

As to Packard's, they do not stick around long - dad screams that he does not like the engineering (which he refers to as Engineering by Bulk or Mass) - what floats his boat in Packard engineering are the Brass Era cars, the first generation Twin Six (1915 to ?), the FWD Prototype (1931-ish), the second generation Twin Six (1932), the Twelve (1933-1939), the V-8 of (1955-1956), and the Torsion Bar Suspension (1955-1956) - otherwise he says Packard is a company that worked around GM patents always two steps behind. Dad's father was also not a Packard fan - his "puppy" was the Merlin project (something about a bunch of "old men" out of touch with the industry, but an understanding of manufacturing quality required in aircraft). 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

You cannot just order a kit for a car like that beautiful but needy Franklin sport sedan we mentioned.  

Correct, but a worthy car to do nevertheless (a 152 Series 1931 Franklin is an incredibly stylish car with very nice power and ...).

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3 hours ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

You will get lots of opinions, get a car w juice brakes, get a car post wood framed body, go for all synchro gears , etc.  My advice, drive a couple and keep thinking.

Nothing wrong with mechanical brakes if set up properly (I can throw you into the windshield generally and ....)  - the problem though is most people do not know what in the H _ _ _ they are doing when restoring/rebuilding.  

 

Wood framing is great - unless rotted and then you better know a really good carpenter (pain in the A _ _).

 

You have to master shifting anything pre-WWII - no matter syncro or not (I do not worry about this per se with John Bloom as he has a British car and if you master one without tearing it up then you can drive "most" anything). 

 

 

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This is a new one on me, thought "all synchro gears" came in during the 55-65 period and a non-synchro first was common before. 65 E-type was the first with an all synchro gearbox.

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John agree on all counts. Those bits of advice just sprung up as to what John B. May hear in terms of the earlier stuff.  Not meant as actual advice.

 

Proper sorting is the key, my mechanical brakes are new from the brake pedal bushing to the cast drum conversion, cost a ton relative to value of a common garden A roadster.  But the car stops like a champ, and I no longer fear hills in NW CT.

 

The one last thought for John is understand what the car is capable of from speaking with owners, and then decide if it fits the bill.  

 

As a long time TR owner I agree driving his MG is good training for a prewar car! 😁

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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The 1930s were probably the decade of the greatest advancements in the quality, usability, and reliability of the automobile. Cars built in 1930 in no way resemble the cars built in 1939 and if you were to drive a 1930 Packard against a 1940 Packard, you wouldn't even know they were made by the same company. Brakes, suspension, steering, they all got better year after year in a very tangible way.

 

For me, personally, the 1932-35 zone is the sweet spot--the cars are very road-worthy and reliable, brakes are still mechanical but effective if set up properly, and the big cars will typically cruise at 55-60 MPH. They still feel like "old cars" but aren't primitive or crude. Later than that and you get into independent suspensions, hydraulic brakes, and other changes that make them better road cars but take away some of that old car feeling. I love driving my 1941 Buick, but I also will admit that it's like driving a modern car. I never think twice about it and it will cut through modern traffic with ease. My 1929 Cadillac is primitive and slow and crude, but charming in its own way. I have only driven the '35 Lincoln once, but it was delightful: fast, powerful, comfortable, good brakes, but still making noises like an old machine and still feeling like an event rather than just commuting as in my '41. As I said, that's the sweet spot for me.

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On 10/8/2020 at 9:22 AM, padgett said:

Many smaller makes would use common drivetrains (e.g. Continental). Know A Lot used Delco ignitions and starters.

Not only that, you have the advantage of hydraulic brakes(example, the three Elcars for sale on Hemmings Motor News online and all the Peerlesses from 1924-1929) in the low-production marques, whereas relatively high-production marques(example, Cadillac and Packard) had mechanical brakes.

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8 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 "but still making noises like an old machine and still feeling like an event rather than just commuting"

I am ok with this, I appreciate the feedback that a 1930 Packard will feel like a totally different experience than a 1940 will.  That isn't at all a deal breaker.  I have a 65 corvette.  It has no resemblance to driving a modern one, and I love it.  My 66 MGB and 73 Midget are nothing like a Miata in feel, and I enjoy that.  I have two early 50's full size cars, they are floating boats.....love it.  

 

Some of the engineering things mentioned do make me pause, the difference in carbs, fuel delivery, wood frames, braking and suspension, etc....but at the end of the day, I feel like as long as I get a good example that has been maintained and is sorted, I'd embrace some of the vintage feel/ride.

 

 

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Driving MOST pre 1932 Packards is like walking with a limp. Driving a 1932 to 1934 is like jogging, and 1935 and later is like a marathon runner. Some of the pre 32 cars are ok........but lots of work to get dialed in perfect. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Driving MOST pre 1932 Packards is like walking with a limp. Driving a 1932 to 1934 is like jogging, and 1935 and later is like a marathon runner.

About 1964 or 1965, I helped my late friend Jim Weston drive two of his cars to and from the (then) Peacock Gap Concours, later the Silverado Concours which I ran for four years beginning in 2001.  The route was about 25-30 miles each way from downtown San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County.  I drove TO the Concours his 1929 Packard 640 town car--a real truck.  I drove back from the Concours his 1932 Chrysler Custom Imperial CL LeBaron convertible coupe.  What an incredible difference!  At the time I remarked that the Chrysler was like driving a 1955 Chrysler with a floor shift but without the no-feel power steering.

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Jim was a great guy and lots of fun. We didn’t exchange phone calls......we exchanged letters. He was still using a typewriter into the last few years of his life. Although many years age difference was between us, we spoke the same language. A true car guy. We traded parts and accessories with no money exchanged between us. We didn’t keep track of what went where or when and for how much. The joy of custom coachwork and great running cars was the cement that kept the friendship together. His eccentricities melted away when we talked cars.........I’m sure glad I don’t have any! ....I certainly miss my old friend. While he seldom smiled, he always had a twinkle in his eye. We could exchange a thousand words with just a glance when looking over cars. He KNEW cars.........

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

Jim was a great guy and lots of fun. We didn’t exchange phone calls......we exchanged letters.

Before Jim retired, he had a phone availability window of 7:00 to 7:20 AM, and you would be competing with many others for his available time.  The only thing he ever allowed me to pay for was a 1948 DeSoto Suburban with a dead battery, for which I had to part with $75--but that was 1963 or so.

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On 10/8/2020 at 11:59 PM, John Bloom said:

A question for those with lots of experience driving different platforms......  If I drive a well sorted 1930 Packard 733 sedan and an equally well sorted 1940 Packard 160, am I going to think that the driving experience is similar with minor differences, or will I think that the driving is radically different?

 

Every 5 years prior to WWII was an eternity in terms of engineering and road improvements.  The road improvements meant the new cars could or needed to go faster.  

 

A 40 super eight Packard on a tour is not that much different than driving a post war car,  I assume the same is true for the model 62 caddy.

 

But there are tradeoffs the other way.   Many Classic 1930-1932 cars were custom built to order,   by 1940 they were almost all mass produced.    What you gain in comfort you lose in coolness.

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

But there are tradeoffs the other way.   Many Classic 1930-1932 cars were custom built to order,   by 1940 they were almost all mass produced.    What you gain in comfort you lose in coolness.

This speaks to me!  For every hour of driving, I spend ten hours drinking coffee or other beverages looking at, tinkering, or admiring the creation.   I just love that early thirties look. In my heart in know the solution.......  buy both!

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On 10/9/2020 at 10:51 AM, padgett said:

This is a new one on me, thought "all synchro gears" came in during the 55-65 period and a non-synchro first was common before. 65 E-type was the first with an all synchro gearbox.

1928 Cadillac I believe was the first offering of Syncromesh 

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1 hour ago, John Bloom said:

This speaks to me!  For every hour of driving, I spend ten hours drinking coffee or other beverages looking at, tinkering, or admiring the creation.   I just love that early thirties look. In my heart in know the solution.......  buy both!

I think it is just what your intention is with the car.  It is a shame a lot of things just sit as they are handfuls, beasts, or ..., but then plenty are driven to.  If you are just looking for local fun then by all means go early.  If you need a highway cruiser then you best look more mid to late 30's.  If you want to dazzle at Concours evens then i would seriously consider 18-33-ish.  If you want the both Worlds, you can kind of do it with some 34-36 stuff.  And ....

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