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Checking body integrity on a 37 Cad Cabriolet


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Forgive me if my question seems a bit dumb.. while I’ve owned may cars I’ve never owned one before 1949.  I understand older cars were metal over wood frames, if I have it correctly.. I’m looking at maybe buying a car from this era. What do I look for to tell me if the body needs lots of expensive work prior to making any offer? 
My guess would be how snug the doors are, and if the  panels line up right ..any more information would be appreciated..


The second part to this question is how reliable are they (v8)?? So are parts to keep them running difficult to locate?  Are are they fairly bullet proof? She’s running right now.  

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Generally any metal-on-wood-frame car should be judged on how tightly the doors and trunk fit without any sagging or dragging. Inspect the car carefully, get underneath with a light and examine the exposed wood parts. If the car has a trunk see if the wood structure is exposed and check it out. Panel alignment is a good tipoff, narrow gap at the top of a door and wide gap at the bottom is not good.  I purchased an all-original 34 Packard sedan sight unseen and part of what sold me the car was video showing all four doors with even gaps, opening easily and closing with one-finger pressure.



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