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A friendly bet


Jack Bennett
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Gambling is not, nor ever has been my forte. But I would wager that during a 15 mile drive in my 1927 Willys Knight Coach, with my Snauzer/Terrier mix dog's head sticking out the window, I get more horn honks with thumbs up, waves, and "nice car" compliments than a guy driving a tricked out 2021 Corvette.

Would anyone care to explain why anyone, who may be less than 50 years old themselves, is so taken with a 94 year old car, and why is it so enjoyable to be the one providing the source of joy?

When/If I ever finish my 1923 Dodge Roadster, which is a real head turner, I expect to stop a few folks in their tracks.....and be loving every minute of it.   

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4 hours ago, Jack Bennett said:

Snauzer/Terrier mix dog's head sticking out the window, I get more horn honks with thumbs up, waves, and "nice car" compliments than a guy driving a tricked out 2021 Corvette.

Sure makes all the noise, slow speeds, hard shifting and strange smells worthwhile doesn't it. When our dog Daisy and I drive June Bug to town the same thing happens and we are both lovin it. 

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My nephew owned a freshly restored '70 Charger R/T and wanted me to go with him to a local car show in my rusty '49 Studebaker Champion sedan. He was so disappointed when my Studebaker got 3 times as much attention as his shiny Mopar.

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14 hours ago, Fossil said:

Sure makes all the noise, slow speeds, hard shifting and strange smells worthwhile doesn't it. When our dog Daisy and I drive June Bug to town the same thing happens and we are both lovin it. 

The same drives in my newer KIA just aren’t the same. My cars have a collective population of countless people who have looked through those very windows for nearly 200 years. Imagine the joys they must have felt with this freedom to travel wherever their trusted car could take them.  I really enjoy the smell of the cars.....which linger even though the interior and complete roof structure has been replaced. The Willys has the “Silent Knight” sleeve valve engine and, at about 15 miles per hour, actually sounds like it is alive......thrum......thrum.....thrum.

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16 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

“You just don’t see that everyday”

Luckily, I live in a area near the Pacific coast, and there are a lot of scenic drives us old car nuts can take without getting on a freeway. It is more unusual that I do go for a Sunday drive in my Willys that I don’t meet a couple, or few other antique cars than not. Seems like Model A’s and Model T’s are the main choice among the folks here. But I did meet one young lady who drove a fully restored 1932 Chevy Roadster, and we did exchange rides in our old cars. It was a really expensive ride though because, I became so involved in checking out her rear end that I left my iPad Air on her trunk lid after taking some photos of her suspension. Somewhere during our drive it fell from the trunk a disappeared into oblivion. But, I was made familiar with steep hills, rear wheel only brakes, and a very cantankerous 3 speed, non-synchro transmission. Armed with this information I swore I’d never buy a old car with only rear wheel, external constricting brakes.....and that lasted until I bought the 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster with only rear wheel external constricting brakes, and a non-synchro 3 speed transmission, which requires me to learn a completely new shift pattern.

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2 minutes ago, caddyshack said:

That 2021 Corvette would be by you so fast that you wouldn't have time to react to a wave. 

The Corvette is a remarkable feat of automotive art. But, I am of the opinion that folks who drive a tricked out Corvette, just like us folks who drive our classic and antique cars, want to be seen in their machine. Perhaps, if a 2021 Corvette was sitting beside a parked, well restored 1965 Mustang, I may look at the Corvette first....and then the Mustang a bit more carefully.

But, if a 2021 Corvette is in the lane next to me on a 20 MPH limit stretch of road, and I honk my ooooooooooggggggggggaaaaaaaaa! horn, I get first dibs on bystanders oooohhhh’s and aaaahhhhh’s.

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It happens all the time and it belies the notion that the general public is indifferent to these old machines.

My 1910 Mitchell project was delivered on the back of an open truck almost 10 years ago. On the truck with it was a beautifully preserved - or maybe restored 1940s fire truck. The driver - a nice guy who didn't know anything about brass cars could not understand why, everywhere he stopped, all the questions were about the 1910 car which was, to say the least, a wreck that no one in their right mind would attempt to bring back. This is just as I saw it for the first time...while were were unloading it onto my trailer (the driver was hesitant to go down the narrow country road I live on) a lady - perhaps in her 40s, stopped and came over to ask us about it...she didn't know what it was but it was obviously interesting to her.

 

21317738_Mitchellonthetruck.JPG.61ac1426e0ec70b17c8bd4d93c1f39c2.JPG

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Did the guy in the Corvette drive along side or behind you the whole way or just a short distance? Maybe all the people thought it was a parade.

 

I have been thinking about putting some of those Johari windows in my car just to see if things look different.

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2 hours ago, dalef62 said:

That is the same problem we Crosley guy have when we take out Crosley's out for a ride or take them to shows.  Corvette and Jaguar guys get very upset...

20160904_152638.jpg

Hully gee that's pank! 

6 hours ago, Jack Bennett said:

... It was a really expensive ride though because, I became so involved in checking out her rear end that I left my iPad Air on her trunk lid after taking some photos of her suspension. Somewhere during our drive it fell from the trunk a disappeared into oblivion...

Mmph. Boys never learn, do they?

 

😹

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9 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

It happens all the time and it belies the notion that the general public is indifferent to these old machines.

My 1910 Mitchell project was delivered on the back of an open truck almost 10 years ago. On the truck with it was a beautifully preserved - or maybe restored 1940s fire truck. The driver - a nice guy who didn't know anything about brass cars could not understand why, everywhere he stopped, all the questions were about the 1910 car which was, to say the least, a wreck that no one in their right mind would attempt to bring back. This is just as I saw it for the first time...while were were unloading it onto my trailer (the driver was hesitant to go down the narrow country road I live on) a lady - perhaps in her 40s, stopped and came over to ask us about it...she didn't know what it was but it was obviously interesting to her.

 

21317738_Mitchellonthetruck.JPG.61ac1426e0ec70b17c8bd4d93c1f39c2.JPG

Personally, I love it, and during a telephone conversation with another member a few hours ago, we got into a discussion regarding the effect our hobby had on younger people. We finally agreed that it is up to us to reinterest them in this fascinating hobby. I find your car infatuating, and sure hope you Prost your restoration progress on the forum.

2 hours ago, rocketraider said:

Hully gee that's pank! 

Mmph. Boys never learn, do they?

 

😹

I had never seen a rear end with external constricting bands and had to take a really close look. 

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5 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Did the guy in the Corvette drive along side or behind you the whole way or just a short distance? Maybe all the people thought it was a parade.

 

I have been thinking about putting some of those Johari windows in my car just to see if things look different.

The Corvette thing is just a quick pick of a much recognized diva car and not a real instance. But, had I said NEWER Mustang, NEWER BMW or other glamor car, I’ll still wager my old Willys gets the most gawks and thumbs up.

3 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

You'll find it on the "Restoration" sub forum as "My 1910 Mitchell parts car"

Checking it out now......thanks.

8 hours ago, JCHansen1 said:

I'm 41 and it would have caught my eye and appreciation. Nothing but respect for anyone who keeps a Willys with a slide valve enigne running down the road!

It is my “go-to” car, and I like it because it’s body and engine are easy to talk about. I am learning that the 212 CID, 4 cylinder engine in the 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster I’m working on has plenty of talking points too.....and, for me anyway, I enjoy the opportunity the cars give me to meet new people under non contentious conditions.

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On 4/25/2021 at 10:55 AM, Jack Bennett said:

The Corvette is a remarkable feat of automotive art. But, I am of the opinion that folks who drive a tricked out Corvette, just like us folks who drive our classic and antique cars, want to be seen in their machine. Perhaps, if a 2021 Corvette was sitting beside a parked, well restored 1965 Mustang, I may look at the Corvette first....and then the Mustang a bit more carefully.

But, if a 2021 Corvette is in the lane next to me on a 20 MPH limit stretch of road, and I honk my ooooooooooggggggggggaaaaaaaaa! horn, I get first dibs on bystanders oooohhhh’s and aaaahhhhh’s.

Another friendly wager. Come back in the year 2121, and see how many 2020 cars are still on the road......in the air......or whatever.

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I've had enough Corvettes, I prefer a DOHC-6 but make exceptions for a few V-8s. Allantes are both cheap and my kinda car (with hardtop). Also has a pretty engine and 273 lb-ft of torque. Adequate.

89psl3.jpg

 

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The Harley guys seem to really like my Model T. Majority wave with the “ peace sign” pointing down. Some one told me that signifies the v twin. 
I return the wave with four fingers pointing down, in-line four.

 

 

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On 4/25/2021 at 1:35 PM, Jack Bennett said:

Luckily, I live in a area near the Pacific coast, and there are a lot of scenic drives us old car nuts can take without getting on a freeway. It is more unusual that I do go for a Sunday drive in my Willys that I don’t meet a couple, or few other antique cars than not. Seems like Model A’s and Model T’s are the main choice among the folks here. But I did meet one young lady who drove a fully restored 1932 Chevy Roadster, and we did exchange rides in our old cars. It was a really expensive ride though because, I became so involved in checking out her rear end that I left my iPad Air on her trunk lid after taking some photos of her suspension. Somewhere during our drive it fell from the trunk a disappeared into oblivion. But, I was made familiar with steep hills, rear wheel only brakes, and a very cantankerous 3 speed, non-synchro transmission. Armed with this information I swore I’d never buy a old car with only rear wheel, external constricting brakes.....and that lasted until I bought the 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster with only rear wheel external constricting brakes, and a non-synchro 3 speed transmission, which requires me to learn a completely new shift pattern.

Drive her like an old Mack truck. Best to double clutch. Lower RPM shifts than on modern cars built after the mid 1930's. That is the hardest thing to try to teach folks about driving these old low RPM and slow early autos. They always want to over rev the engine at first. Dandy Dave!  

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An older man was navigating his small horsepower open chauffeur compartment Rolls-Royce around a corner on an inner city street. Leaning low, he fiddled with the shifter of the right hand drive car. During the process the car slowed and attracted the attention of a local working girl. She hopped onto the passenger running board and both were thoroughly surprised when the driver sat upright after the shift.

 

You just can't make up these stories about driving old cars.

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Any time I take the '40 Packard coupe (in unrestored,as found condition) to a car show or a grocery store, it always draws attention. The paint was likely applied using one of those old vacuum cleaner attachments ! It bugs guys with those multi-thousand dollar show finishes to have people just walk by.

Trouble is, I overhear too many guys saying they'd drop in a big block Chevy, a Camaro front clip,and so ad nauseam . The old girl is whisper quiet driving in, to the point you have to sound the horns to get people to clear the way. That's more a sign of a quality build than many of the loud over-cammed beasts that haunt such events IMHO.

I once had a late night ride in a black '25 Willy's Knight 3 door sedan. People seeing it glide by out of the gloom must have thought it was an apparition !

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2 hours ago, Dandy Dave said:

Drive her like an old Mack truck. Best to double clutch. Lower RPM shifts than on modern cars built after the mid 1930's. That is the hardest thing to try to teach folks about driving these old low RPM and slow early autos. They always want to over rev the engine at first. Dandy Dave!  

Thanks for your nice comment Dave. I have not been able to drive the 1923 Dodge Brothers Roadster yet because it still has engine problems. And, I am working around it to get my Willys ready for some summer driving. But, I do anticipate a tad of a relearning experience so far as (smoothly) driving the Dodge goes. Not only does it not have a non-synchromesh transmission, the gear shift pattern is awkwardly different than that my Willys has. The Willys is a straight “H” pattern....Up/left-reverse.....Down/left-low.....Up/right-2nd......Down/right-3rd, which makes the distance between gears manageable when double clutching. But, the Dodge has more of a “U...I”pattern, Up/left-low......Up/right-2nd......Down/right-3rd....Down/left-reverse, and the brake pedal is so close to the accelerator my foot gets tangled up under the brake pedal as I release and press the accelerator during double shifts. And, the clutch is no better as it nearly touches the steering column, and is less than spitting distance from the brake pedal. But, one day I expect to jockey these shifts as smoothly as I am now able to do in the Willys, and that will add another level of awesomeness people feel when I give them a ride in my old cars.

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27 minutes ago, J.H.Boland said:

Any time I take the '40 Packard coupe (in unrestored,as found condition) to a car show or a grocery store, it always draws attention. The paint was likely applied using one of those old vacuum cleaner attachments ! It bugs guys with those multi-thousand dollar show finishes to have people just walk by.

Trouble is, I overhear too many guys saying they'd drop in a big block Chevy, a Camaro front clip,and so ad nauseam . The old girl is whisper quiet driving in, to the point you have to sound the horns to get people to clear the way. That's more a sign of a quality build than many of the loud over-cammed beasts that haunt such events IMHO.

I once had a late night ride in a black '25 Willy's Knight 3 door sedan. People seeing it glide by out of the gloom must have thought it was an apparition !

Willys had to do something innovative to stay n competition with the more well known companies like Ford, Packard and General Motors. So they came up with the sleeve valve engine which, in the case of my 1927 Willys Coach was called a “Silent Knight” engine because it eliminated the tappet valve clatter normally associate with other engines of that time period. I initially believed that engines of this sort was limited to use in passenger cars, and for only a short period of time. As I learned more about the engine I learned it was used in aircraft, and I believe, combat tanks. I was under the impression the absence of a valve train, in the commonly used sense, would make the engine more simple to repair in the event of a parts failure. Was I ever wrong there. A major plus of owning the sleeve valve engine is that it was advertised as being capable of doing 98000 miles without a major repair....and I have no doubt that (was) is true. It is a very dependable engine. But, this isn’t 1927, and some parts for the engines are scarce, if not impossible to find. And, the bulk of the major parts available seem to be found in Australia and New Zealand, which makes shipping more expensive than the part purchased. But, the car is a keeper, and sure turns more heads than the fiberglass T bucket replica with the 327 Chevy engine and huge chrome wheels.

1 hour ago, Fossil said:

I agree that short shifting unsynchronized transmissions really smooths things out. 

I have never heard the term “short shifting”. And, as a old car fan, I probably should know what it means. Probably what I call “double clutching” but I’d like to hear its meaning from another person who uses it regularly.

Edited by Jack Bennett (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, kuhner said:

The Harley guys seem to really like my Model T. Majority wave with the “ peace sign” pointing down. Some one told me that signifies the v twin. 
I return the wave with four fingers pointing down, in-line four.

 

 

I have not seen the inverted peace sign hand signal being given yet. It does make more sense, considering that we are a civilized society, and only spread good will through our non-verbal communications, that the people giving the single raised middle finger wave must be telling me they also have a four cylinder engine......three of which must be misfiring most of the time.

Edited by Jack Bennett (see edit history)
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Another major user of the Knight engine was the Yellow Cab company (1923-27). They were used extensively in major cities. The problem was, as they aged, they smoked rather badly, causing a lot of smog.

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2 minutes ago, J.H.Boland said:

Another major user of the Knight engine was the Yellow Cab company (1923-27). They were used extensively in major cities. The problem was, as they aged, they smoked rather badly, causing a lot of smog.

 

Convention wisdom is that a sleeve valve engine smokes less the more miles are put on it.

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26 minutes ago, JACK M said:

Shift soon, Like as soon as you get moving.

Thanks Jack. I have to continually tell the folks that the low gear ratio of the Willys transmission, and I expect the Dodge transmission also, makes most moves normally made in a more modern stick shift, impractical, if not down right impossible in these old cars. Using low gear as a take off gear is acceptable if the road is inclined, and it is possible to do a smooth up shift within the first five MPH. Using anything other than 2nd gear, in situations where low gear would be required in a more modern car is a no brained. And, in the Willys anyway, downshifting is a move which the transmission simply refuses to acknowledge unless the car is well below the top speed normally expected of the next lower gear. Again, in the Willys, the real skill of the driver is brought to full bloom when making a turn, without stopping, which would normally require a down shift prior turning, and blowing through the turn in 3rd gear with the 52 HP engine only slightly loading.

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17 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Convention wisdom is that a sleeve valve engine smokes less the more miles are put on it.

No contention intended, and convention wisdom does dictate that a engine with seated rings and valves SHOULD smoke less than a newer engine. But that is not the case with a sleeve valve engine. Because the valves are actually two additional sleeves which slide up and down, powered by their own auxiliary crankshaft, much more lubrication is required than a engine using a in block camshaft and tappet valves. I cannot go into detail here but my Willys (the speedometer shows 31000 miles) will start fogging up the neighborhood if I let it idle too long or don’t start and drive it regularly. The sleeve valve engines have a ring called the “junk ring” which plays into this, but that is a different posting. Here, I may sound a bit sarcastic, but sarcasm isn’t intended, nor is it meant to lessen the fact I do appreciate your comment. But, because of the amount of time they spend idling, and the relatively small amount of time they are spent at speeds above back street, it is not too uncommon to see taxi cabs made in the past decade smoking like a chimney fire.

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