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Hello to the ladies & gents of the A.A.C.A. I'm new here & was just checking in. I'm trying to purchase my first classic car, which will be my 2nd car. Pretty well made up my mind that I'm looking for something vintage, not sure why but I do sure like them. 

 

I work on windup phonographs from the 1900s to about 1930, manual typewriters, the occasional vacuum-tube radio and reed organ, and other miscellaneous fun things from about 1840 to 1950. Antique crank phonographs have been my favorite hobby for the last 6 years--I've rebuilt some complete garbage & made them into great pieces. Started with a 1914 Victrola upright but have done repairs and restorations on Edisons, Brunswicks, Columbias, and a couple other brands. I like to keep them sounding the way they did when they were first built, so performance is a must. Antiques are fun to buy cheap & fix up.

I'm a Southerner but I rode to my current home in Connecticut on my first fix-up automobile project--that was my first car, a handmedown as my parents used it for years & years. In fact it was the first automobile I ever saw, and they drove home from the hospital after I was born with me in the back seat. When I got it, it was around 2018 and the car had not been run very much since Mom & Dad found a newer car in 2016. So I had a mess on my hands, but now I have a fun little car that runs quite well and still gets around 35 miles to the gallon even with a quarter million miles. 

Some of my favorite classic cars are the Model T and Model A Fords, the Overland touring cars of the 1910s and early '20s, and the postwar Plymouth Deluxes. I also love the look of Packards and old Buicks, but not the price tags. Grew up reading Floyd Clymer's Those Wonderful Old Automobiles.

 

I don't have a prewar car yet but am negotiating a chance to go look at a 1940 Chevrolet four-door this weekend. It's not in great shape, been off the road 30 years. It has the old stovebolt six engine in there, (complete with the hole in the front for a crank handle, LOL) but if it's only kinda trash instead of really trash, I guess I can end up with a neat car. Failing that, I'll stick to saving up & finding a nice old car eventually.


Also, I'd like to be able to hang out with other car enthusiasts, learn more about the historical times when these things were built, figure out how they work and how to drive them, and eventually purchase my own classic and save a little more history. Might take me years but that is OK by me. 

 

So anyway that is that. I'm glad to be here & hope all of you are well. 

Charles

 

 

 

 

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Buy a turn key car, they cost the same as projects now. Take your time. There are more options today than there have been for thirty years. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap car that’s a good deal. Welcome to the club........

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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What Ed said.  Take your time and get a lay of the land.   There are subtleties is what things are called.  “Classic” is reserved for high end cars of the 20s, 30s and 40s as defined by the Classic car club.   If you want a Classic that’s great but take even more time looking and learning. 

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20 minutes ago, alsancle said:

“Classic” is reserved for high end cars of the 20s, 30s and 40s as defined

by the Classic [C]ar [C]lub [of America].  

 

Good point, but only "Classic" with a capital C.

Charles wouldn't want to tell people he's looking for a

1920's or 1930's Classic, because people would be

suggesting Packards, Cadillacs, etc. probably well above

his intended budget.

 

But Charles, welcome to the forum!  Your involvement 

with Victrolas and other old equipment sounds very interesting.

If you tell us what price range you'd like to be in, we could

recommend a few old cars for you.  If you post pictures or

links to cars you're pondering, we could give pricing opinions

or other advice.  All sorts of budgets are welcome.  I agree that

getting a nice example will save you a great deal of money in

the long run.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Welcome to the old car hobby. Ford or Chevrolet are good choices because they have the best supply of parts and information. There are nicer cars and better cars but none so practical to own especially for a beginner.

Just don't expect modern performance, and do expect to do more maintenance.

1940s Chevrolet, good choice, nice to drive as long as you don't go over 50MPH, the engine will not stand high speed for long. But get one in good shape and they are very reliable and pleasant to drive.

For fun here is a video about driving an unrestored, survivor 1948 Chev with 40 odd thousand miles on it.

 

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Welcome Charlie!  You've come to the right place    More knowledge, skilled advice and help, per square acre than anywhere else on-line.   Take your time, figure out what appeals to you most, what your price range is, what might fit that.  The advice to buy the best car you can find those fits spec's is spot-on correct.  Cheap projects turn very costly and discouraging very quickly.  Make your first experience a good one with a good car to start.  

 

To help you see what is available, check the Automobiles for sale section and the 'Not Mine' for sale section.  Both will broaden your idea of what might fit your spec's and be affordable too.  Some of us participate in posting cars we find on Craigslist and other sources that represent what might potentially be a good deal for consideration.  There are more good cars available in all price ranges now than you can imagine, so be selective and picky before you buy.  Good luck with your search, ask all the questions that arise, ready answers are a posting away.

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Welcome to the affliction! I also have worked on a few wind-up phonographs, mostly Victrola. I collected 78 rpm records many years ago, have about 2000 of them. I love the music and styles of the era as much as I love the cars.

Take your time. Get to know a few people, belong to a local club or three or four. Listen to the stories, opinions, and get a few rides in era cars. You need to figure out what sort of collector car you want, and why. What do you want from the car? Antique automobiles have an almost unique ability to connect their caretakers to history, both history in general, and an individual's personal history and their own family. They can help connect one to a wider world of how lives were lived, and what really was important, or not.

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7 hours ago, CharlesFixesVictrolas said:

I don't have a prewar car yet but am negotiating a chance to go look at a 1940 Chevrolet four-door this weekend. It's not in great shape, been off the road 30 years....if it's only kinda trash instead of really trash, I guess I can end up with a neat car.

 

Charles, a 1940 Chevrolet 4-door sedan, even when

in excellent condition cosmetically and mechanically,

should be well within your budget.  Even if you got that

rougher example for free, you would be spending far more

in the long run to get it to be decent.  If you want a big

many-year project, we don't want to deter you, but 

it might not be best for a newcomer to the hobby.

 

A great many possibilities exist!  Be patient and

particular in your search.  And please tap into our experience

and advice so that you get the best possible outcome.

All the best to you in your first foray.

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Wow, that's a lot of people. Hey y'all! Thanks for all the advice! 
 

6 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Welcome! Those old Victrolas are so cool looking. 

You are right. Here is a pair from my collection--a 1917 Victrola IV & a 1909 Victor III horn talking-machine. The tiny Victrola was squashed in shipping and I had to graft new wood into the top. I restored & refinished it in shellac. The big one is all original except some mechanical repairs and a vintage horn that I painted black (the original color.) Both are fully functional and with the reproducers rebuilt, they have a nice clear sound with the old 1900s-1920s records. Lots of the older records are quite good actually, and the phonographs are reliable. I have a floor model Victrola that's been used six years and has given very little trouble. There's a declining interest in old phonographs so it's actually quite simple to get started in the hobby, and most phonograph collectors are very nice.

DSC00773.JPG.7f12147970559e15fc98c88eea3e6ec3.JPG

 

 

 

7 hours ago, edinmass said:

Buy a turn key car, they cost the same as projects now. Take your time. There are more options today than there have been for thirty years. Nothing is more expensive than a cheap car that’s a good deal. Welcome to the club........

I think you are right. I looked at parts for the 1940 Special Deluxe and--well, it needs a lot, not to mention busting loose the stuck engine. I think the cost of doing the floors & the appropriate cloth interiors would be the biggest dealbreaker. 

 

6 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Ford or Chevrolet are good choices because they have the best supply of parts and information. There are nicer cars and better cars but none so practical to own especially for a beginner.

Just don't expect modern performance, and do expect to do more maintenance.

1940s Chevrolet, good choice, nice to drive as long as you don't go over 50MPH, the engine will not stand high speed for long. But get one in good shape and they are very reliable and pleasant to drive.


Thanks for sharing that great video-- Yes, there are lots of parts for the old Fords too. I had originally been planning to buy a Model T. They're my favorite vintage car and Model T's aren't holding tons of monetary value here lately. The performance doesn't matter too much to me, and maintenance is fine. Slow can be a good thing, I think. Sometimes when I am driving home at night I will take a backroad and go slow, let the car lope along at 35 or 40 per hour, put the windows down and just listen to the motor and the birds and all that. Slow is peaceful.

 

6 hours ago, alsancle said:

There are subtleties is what things are called.  “Classic” is reserved for high end cars of the 20s, 30s and 40s as defined by the Classic car club.

My bad! Thank you! 
I get that mixed up and did not even know there WAS the difference there! Thanks for the clarification. I really enjoy looking at those cars but do not think I could justify spending Locomobile money on a jalopy budget.  I cannot afford a luxurious car but would love to buy a Packard one day. As John S in Penna. rightly assumed, I really do not have "classic" money and would probably rather have a more "average Joe" kind of car. That'd be closer to what most people years ago would have driven, and that in itself is just kinda cool. 

 

1 hour ago, wayne sheldon said:

Take your time. Get to know a few people, belong to a local club or three or four. Listen to the stories, opinions, and get a few rides in era cars. You need to figure out what sort of collector car you want, and why. What do you want from the car? Antique automobiles have an almost unique ability to connect their caretakers to history, both history in general, and an individual's personal history and their own family. They can help connect one to a wider world of how lives were lived, and what really was important, or not.

That's a great idea. I lurk the MTFCA a lot--those folks are cool too. A guy gave me a lift in a stock 1936 Ford Deluxe a few years ago & I was taken by the sound, the smell of the thing--it was original down to the upholstery, and riding along in that was absolutely magical. It smelled like my 1930s overcoat and spilled gasoline. I like to work on stuff and all that, but why do I even want an old car? I don't actually know. I got interested around age five, thought they were cool--then got the craving for a Model T when I was eight, and then just kept getting interested in them. I like prewar cars the best as they are simple and I think they are beautiful.

 

36 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

Even if you got that

rougher example for free, you would be spending far more

in the long run to get it to be decent.  If you want a big

many-year project, we don't want to deter you, but 

it might not be best for a newcomer to the hobby.

 


I quite agree with you sir. With what I would spend putting running boards, floors, and a bumper on the theoretical 1940, I could have my little white Toyota entirely repainted, redo the undercoating on the fenders, and put new tires on--maybe having money leftover for brakes! 

 

5 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Cheap projects turn very costly and discouraging very quickly.  Make your first experience a good one with a good car to start.  

 

To help you see what is available, check the Automobiles for sale section and the 'Not Mine' for sale section.

That I did do! I spoke over the telephone with a clubman here--A top-shelf gentleman. He had something quite cool up in the for-sale section that really caught my fancy, definitely pre-war with a great engine and a very cool body design. Eminently more suitable for what I'm looking for than the 1940 sedan and a lot smaller too, so that's pretty cool. We shall see. 

 

And this is me with a few of my other restoration projects. The typewriter exemplified what you guys were saying about junk cars. I started with a free 1929 Underwood No. 5 typewriter, put $300 worth of restoration into it and two months' labor, and ended up with a $80 machine. The lamp is vintage from the '50s I think, the inkwell is a 1930s Esterbrook fountain well commonly used in post-offices, and the telephone is a manual Kellogg that I plan to use but haven't got wired up yet. Oh, and that's my 1937 Hartmann Tourobe in the corner; those are the easiest way to haul clothes without wrinkling them, bar none. The desk itself is a 1920s-1940s one that I got cheaply. Never mind the cardboard; that's my OTHER luggage! :) 

I tend to use my antiques instead of put them on shelves & look at them. 

 

Anyway it's nice to hear from you all; thank you all so much for the advice (which I certainly will take!) and I'll definitely be around. 

 

Charles

 

DSC00952.JPG.834488d260ceecbdcdf046cb1bce0668.JPG

 

 

 




 



 

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If you are patient,  there are running drive interesting cars for 5k.    10K will get something more interesting,   15k etc.

 

Watch the "not mine for sale" forum as someone else already said.

 

I think picking the era you are most interested in is probably the first thing you need to do.   Hang around here and make friends.   There are lots of guys on here that will let you drive their cars,  or at a minimum ride in them.    See what you like.  It could surprise you after a drive.  

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In the immediate prewar period of the 1940 Chevy you considered, the comparable Chrysler products are often less expensive for equivalent cars.  Don't give up on the Packard idea - you might be surprised at how affordable a 37-42 six cylinder sedan is.

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Wire up the Kellogg while you still can! I used to exclusively use a '48 Bell which had the real heavy black bakelite case and receiver. If you slipped and the receiver hit you in the head it really hurt. Some (probably most) people don't realize that you can "dial" without a dial. As long as the local system is still using traditional methods you can take the receiver off the hook and then tap out the numbers like morse code with a one second space between. Welcome!

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Welcome, one thing to keep in mind. It’s a hobby meant to be fun. Don’t get so hung up on a project or getting the absolute right “classic” it’s not fun anymore. 
Enjoy the people as much as the cars. 
dave s 

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Welcome to the insanity.  This is a GREAT source of help, education and friendship.  There are no strangers here.  Join the national AACA ,  For what you get it is cheap.  Join a local club in your area, check AACA and VMCCA for clubs near you.  One or the greatest pleasures for many of us is touring with a group of like minded car nuts.  You will find tours all over the country along with local day tours put on by a local club.  It's a great way to get to know locals and a source for reliable old car services in your area,  Stay active

Edited by Robert G. Smits
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Welcome, I meet people who say they want to get into the old car hobby and they don't know how to cut their own grass or change a light bulb.  Unless they are a hedge fund manager or have a substantial trust fund.....that usually ends poorly.  Seeing your hobbies and proven interest in fixing up old mechanical things, I'm sure you have the type of brain to jump into collectible cars.  those Victrolas are beautiful and interesting.  Get a running/driving car for your first experience in this hobby.  it will still give you plenty of opportunities for wrenching and learning basic auto repair skills.  If you still love it, then a project might be fun for your second experience.  

 

Cars are what brought all of us here, but I love learning about the "other interests and hobbies" this group of people have.....it seems limitless, and impressive.  

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15 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

You need a prewar delivery vehicle like this to advertise your gramophone business:

 

Excellent picture, Craig.  That ties together the

two hobbies perfectly!

 

22 minutes ago, Robert G. Smits said:

Join a local club in your area, check AACA and VMCCA for clubs near you. 

 

And the advice to join a club is right, too.

The AACA is nationwide, but especially active in

the East.  So you would join the national club,

then find an AACA "region" (local group) near you,

and join that too.  (The VMCCA, I understand, is

most active in the West.)  Actively participating with

other car fans near you--not being merely an unseen

member on a roster--will tremendously enhance your

interest. The AACA website lists the regions, and there

are 5 in Connecticut.  A region might have 25 members;

it might have 250 members or more:

 

https://www.aaca.org/Community/regions-a-chapters.html

 

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I agree with everything said on this post. If I were to purchase my car again, before I made the purchase I would investigate the availability of aftermarket parts and used parts that may still be available. Beware of the model year that is only one year and parts are scarce for that car and if you do find the part the seller thinks it is made of gold. Best of luck with your search. 

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9 hours ago, CharlesFixesVictrolas said:

Wow, that's a lot of people. Hey y'all! Thanks for all the advice! 
 

You are right. Here is a pair from my collection--a 1917 Victrola IV & a 1909 Victor III horn talking-machine. The tiny Victrola was squashed in shipping and I had to graft new wood into the top. I restored & refinished it in shellac. The big one is all original except some mechanical repairs and a vintage horn that I painted black (the original color.) Both are fully functional and with the reproducers rebuilt, they have a nice clear sound with the old 1900s-1920s records. Lots of the older records are quite good actually, and the phonographs are reliable. I have a floor model Victrola that's been used six years and has given very little trouble. There's a declining interest in old phonographs so it's actually quite simple to get started in the hobby, and most phonograph collectors are very nice.

DSC00773.JPG.7f12147970559e15fc98c88eea3e6ec3.JPG

 

 

 

I think you are right. I looked at parts for the 1940 Special Deluxe and--well, it needs a lot, not to mention busting loose the stuck engine. I think the cost of doing the floors & the appropriate cloth interiors would be the biggest dealbreaker. 

 


Thanks for sharing that great video-- Yes, there are lots of parts for the old Fords too. I had originally been planning to buy a Model T. They're my favorite vintage car and Model T's aren't holding tons of monetary value here lately. The performance doesn't matter too much to me, and maintenance is fine. Slow can be a good thing, I think. Sometimes when I am driving home at night I will take a backroad and go slow, let the car lope along at 35 or 40 per hour, put the windows down and just listen to the motor and the birds and all that. Slow is peaceful.

 

My bad! Thank you! 
I get that mixed up and did not even know there WAS the difference there! Thanks for the clarification. I really enjoy looking at those cars but do not think I could justify spending Locomobile money on a jalopy budget.  I cannot afford a luxurious car but would love to buy a Packard one day. As John S in Penna. rightly assumed, I really do not have "classic" money and would probably rather have a more "average Joe" kind of car. That'd be closer to what most people years ago would have driven, and that in itself is just kinda cool. 

 

That's a great idea. I lurk the MTFCA a lot--those folks are cool too. A guy gave me a lift in a stock 1936 Ford Deluxe a few years ago & I was taken by the sound, the smell of the thing--it was original down to the upholstery, and riding along in that was absolutely magical. It smelled like my 1930s overcoat and spilled gasoline. I like to work on stuff and all that, but why do I even want an old car? I don't actually know. I got interested around age five, thought they were cool--then got the craving for a Model T when I was eight, and then just kept getting interested in them. I like prewar cars the best as they are simple and I think they are beautiful.

 


I quite agree with you sir. With what I would spend putting running boards, floors, and a bumper on the theoretical 1940, I could have my little white Toyota entirely repainted, redo the undercoating on the fenders, and put new tires on--maybe having money leftover for brakes! 

 

That I did do! I spoke over the telephone with a clubman here--A top-shelf gentleman. He had something quite cool up in the for-sale section that really caught my fancy, definitely pre-war with a great engine and a very cool body design. Eminently more suitable for what I'm looking for than the 1940 sedan and a lot smaller too, so that's pretty cool. We shall see. 

 

And this is me with a few of my other restoration projects. The typewriter exemplified what you guys were saying about junk cars. I started with a free 1929 Underwood No. 5 typewriter, put $300 worth of restoration into it and two months' labor, and ended up with a $80 machine. The lamp is vintage from the '50s I think, the inkwell is a 1930s Esterbrook fountain well commonly used in post-offices, and the telephone is a manual Kellogg that I plan to use but haven't got wired up yet. Oh, and that's my 1937 Hartmann Tourobe in the corner; those are the easiest way to haul clothes without wrinkling them, bar none. The desk itself is a 1920s-1940s one that I got cheaply. Never mind the cardboard; that's my OTHER luggage! :) 

I tend to use my antiques instead of put them on shelves & look at them. 

 

Anyway it's nice to hear from you all; thank you all so much for the advice (which I certainly will take!) and I'll definitely be around. 

 

Charles

 

DSC00952.JPG.834488d260ceecbdcdf046cb1bce0668.JPG

 

 

 




 



 

Dang, young'un. All you need is to take on old mechanical clocks and old tools and your obsessions would nearly duplicate mine. Though you've gotten started way earlier than I did...

 

Start with a simple and reasonably common car that has good club and parts support, and as you go further in the hobby you can sell/trade/otherwise move up to more complex and higher-end cars.  Kingrudy has given excellent advice on one-year cars, and unscrupulous people for whom the hobby is not about the cars and history, but how much profit can be made.

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Welcome.  I have a Victrola VV-IV, an Edison Model A cylinder phonograph, and two others.  I think the vintage phonograph group and the vintage car group have a lot in common.  Although phonographs are a lot cheaper to buy and keep running!

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Charles, welcome to the forum and to coming prewar car ownership. Take your time, do lots of research, try to drive some cars to get a feel, and buy the absolute best example of whatever you decide on. Personally inspect the car and drive it, don't buy a non-running car. From my experience an original car that has never been apart is superior to many "restored" examples as long as it is mechanically sound. Don't worry about getting involved in working on the car, with any prewar there is always lots to do just maintaining and driving. Good luck!

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Another point, too, Charles:  Never rely on

people's ASKING prices.  Sometimes they are

realistic;  many times, especially with dealers,

they are actually double a car's worth.  ( A dealer

may have just bought a car for $10,000 and 

marked it up to $19,950, but will be very unlikely

to sell it for that.)

 

My point is always that antique cars are more

affordable than many people realize.  It's a hobby

that more might pursue if they realized that.

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