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Local car show observations


Den41Buick
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I just came home from a local car show that is one mile from my house. I haven’t gone there in years because the cars are generally 60’s to 90’s. I like the prewar stuff, but these are now antiques too. What I saw there was great. Not so much the cars but that young people with young families and single women driving them. Just when I thought the hobby was dying off, it is not. It is just being reinvented. That along with the AACA upcoming open house, things are looking up.

There was also a local celebrity, Tom Lafferiere there fresh from “The Great Race” in his award winning Packard 120.

I am glad I went. My 21 year old nephew was there looking for his next car too.

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I'm really glad that you posted this - local to me in the last week I've seen a fellow in his 30's that lives a block away from me, he used to have a bagged 53 Chev P/U, now he's driving a 28-29 Model A Roadster, last night it was a couple of young guys in a nice late 60's Ford 2 door hard top that look original (restored) driving the dig and then there was another couple late 20 or early 30 year olds running down the street in a T-bucket with a turtle deck - I know not really an AACA ride but it was really well done with a flat head and 3 97's on top - the young people are out there, you just have to have your eyes open to see them is all.  

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I was making the same point you made in your post to the guy parked next to me at a show recently.   We may think that the hobby is dying because kids today aren't interested in the same cars we're interested in.   But there are young kids out there who are interested in collector cars- just not Model A Fords, or '60s muscle cars, or classic Packards, etc.   They like more recent cars, like new Mustangs and Hondas with trick bodywork and hollow mufflers.   If you think about it, when car collecting and showing first became a thing, the cars being shown were from the brass era.   You hardly see these cars at shows any longer because they've been displaced by the guys who collect muscle cars.  The same thing is happening now as before.

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15 minutes ago, Pete O said:

I was making the same point you made in your post to the guy parked next to me at a show recently.   We may think that the hobby is dying because kids today aren't interested in the same cars we're interested in.   But there are young kids out there who are interested in collector cars- just not Model A Fords, or '60s muscle cars, or classic Packards, etc.   They like more recent cars, like new Mustangs and Hondas with trick bodywork and hollow mufflers.   If you think about it, when car collecting and showing first became a thing, the cars being shown were from the brass era.   You hardly see these cars at shows any longer because they've been displaced by the guys who collect muscle cars.  The same thing is happening now as before.

So, what has happened to all those brass era and prewar cars?

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I would say a good chunk of the  " better " brass cars are locked up in serious money collections.  So no soup for those of us in the cheap seats for at least a couple of decades yet. It will be too late for me , but hope springs eternal.

 Still might be able to swing a " better " 1920's car by the early 2030's if I play my cards right. With luck I might have most of my old age to enjoy it.

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I have stated and hinted at ( sometimes strongly) that the direction that car clubs have to take is to include all. Parents who like the cars need to bring their kids along , grand parents the same. The kids can sense that they are a part of something! They are participating, it is not someone else. Give them a soft clean rag and show them how to wipe off a fender - even if that is the bottom of the fender side because they aren't tall enough to reach the top!

Events by clubs have to have something to attract and interest the kids - be it a venue/place with things of interest to see or just an ice cream stand or shop so they can get something neat to eat. This bonding of families and generations is SO IMPORTANT. Introduce your kids, grand kids to the other car owners and have the car owners show the kids how similar or different the cars are - size of wheels, wire or pressed steel or wood etc.

Some of the costs to take a family on a tour for a few days is just prohibitive - one national club especially does not seem to recognize that or perhaps doesn't care?  I used to belong to it as well as contribute to it  for many decades and no longer do.

Cruise nights now seem to be the place to see a variety of cars ( most later model and post war) that has a relaxed more friendly attitude that the car shows all had at one time but that standard of "welcome" has now diminished.

I agree the AACA July open house seems to be a huge step in the right direction for a very broad welcome to everyone to see and take in some  great visual satisfaction by being there. Those memories will be long lasting and the "good will and spirit" conveyed will never be forgotten.

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34 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

So, what has happened to all those brass era and prewar cars?

An example : here on long island the two clubs for old cars ( ie mostly brass era) were the L.I. Region of the HCCA and the Long Island Old Car Club of the NY Region of the VMCCA ( when VMCCA meant Veteran Car Club of America not Vintage Car Club of America) The L.I. Old Car Club for years was for enthusiasts of 1932 and earlier cars! Most members had the space to keep a trailer and something to pull it with so their early car with 2 wheel brakes could go fairly long distances to be at car tours/events. Many members of the two clubs mentioned have passed away, so the cars were sold off or are stored away. the events they organized that were more kind to the needs of a 80+ year old car need people to do that, they are gone. One example was in 1988 for the 80th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Cup Races here on long island I was on a committee to organize a driving tour with a dinner at the conclusion. Austin Clark, and I plus about 4 others laid out a 25-30 mile tour on public roads ( got the County police to even block off intersections for us on state roads!) and got a souvenir  for the occasion, and the cut off date for entering a vehicle was 1942. The newest car we had on that event was a 1938 Packard conv coupe that the owner had driven 60 miles to attend , there were a total of 88 cars on the tour - in order to qualify for the souvenir at the end you had to drive the whole tour. There were over 120 people at the sit down diner after it was over. Jerry Helck even brought over Old 16 to participate from his home in N.J. , and we got most of the crowd of people attending to wear period attire as well.  Yes, I got a ride in Old 16 as well - gezzzzzzzzzzz white knuckle ride.

The old pre 1920 cars are out there but just need the willing owners to make the effort to drive and use them but I can well understand the reluctance because of the current drivers in newer everyday cars attitude and lack of ability to show courtesy.

 1988old16003.jpg

Edited by Walt G (see edit history)
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Yes, some "better" brass cars are in collections and never come out, as are many top notch cars from later eras.  But HCCA tours and AACA Snapper's tours bring out a lot of brass cars.  So do events like New London to New Brighton, and Lansing to Dearborn.  Those brass cars range from "bitsa" Model Ts that would be laughed off the field at Hershey, to very nice Model Ts, to Pierce-Arrows, Thomas Flyers, Columbias, big Stanleys, - - - .  One problem with brass cars is that, in a lot of the country, there are so few of us playing with them that a one-day tour isn't very practical.  I don't go on cruise nights; how, with gas lights, would I see to get home?  Cars and coffee events are fun; there's a pretty good one near me that's full of Porsches and Ferraris and my brass car du jour, and we all have a good chat and get home for lunch.  But once we have to hook up a trailer to get to the start of a tour, and then to get home, we're going to stay a while.  That means hotels, and the cost goes up pretty fast.  So that part of the hobby attracts mostly retirees who have unlimited vacation and, in the spring and fall, no kids still in school.  We're aging out, but other folks are aging in, so our cars get passed on to a new generation of drivers. 

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I am still building up my shop fund. A slower and slower process these days I must say. So the " running and driving and everything " brass car fund is still many , many years away from achiving its objective.

 For decades I would attend the starting point gathering of the early car runs in my area . For a decade or more with my father , then on my own as he got more and more interested in seniors sports and usually had a game on old car days. It was always great to see the cars, and pick up bits and pieces of old car knowledge along the way. But of course always as an observer.

Some day I really hope to change all of that, and have a drivable early car of my own.  Its been a 50 + year ambition now and most likely still quite a long way in the future. At least I now know a few of the people in my area who are active participants and am ocasionally able to tag along on a much appreciated, back seat ride!

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I went to the first bi-weekly (is bi-weekly every other week or twice a week? I mean every other week) cars-and-coffee get together at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum tonight. Driving through downtown Cleveland in 90 degree weather at rush hour wasn't my idea of fun in the '41 Buick so I took the Audi ute instead. Anyway, there was a modest turn-out, but it was incredibly boring. Lots of Porsches, a few Ferraris, a pair of McLarens, and a handful of Corvettes, but almost nothing older than 1970. So everyone brought what they thought were amazing cars and as you can see in the photos, nobody cared. Zero interest in the late-model hardware, no matter how exotic.

 

And that's the problem. 

 

Everyone assumes that an exotic or high-dollar sports car will get them attention. But they're boring as hell in a parking lot. So there's this cognitive disconnect where they figure getting the most exotic, expensive car they can might generate some interest but in reality, it only gets more boring. There must be some kind of curve that shows interest going up to a certain point, then plateauing and falling off even as more money is shoveled into the MSRP. Check out how lethargic this crowd was while looking at the hardware:

 

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Note that they're almost all late-models and that exactly nobody is interested.

 

This guy showed up in a Ferrari, prowled through the lot so everyone could see him, then left without parking. Nobody cared. He probably spent a lot. Also note the garden-variety stuff in the background that largely populated the show:

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And just for grins, here's my little Audi ute parked in a corner behind a service trailer. Note the crowd around it which is, remarkably enough, completely ignoring the high-dollar brand-new Porsche pulling out next to them.

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So it's not just late-models that are boring. It's the SAME late models that are boring, and the SAME boring cars show up at every casual event. Guys spend a lot of money on a Porsche 911 or a Corvette C8 and show up acting like something special has happened, and guess what? Nobody cares. They could have shown up in a Honda Civic and the reaction would have been the same. Yet they'll keep buying the exotic stuff because it's expensive and it's prestigious and there's a prevailing belief that exotics are cool. It appears they are not.


Instead, they're boring. They're all the same, they're all shiny, they're all popped out of the same mold, they're all perfected and primped and pampered to preserve their value, and nobody cares. But those guys who don't see people looking at their car don't realize what's going on--they only think that they need to go more exotic next time. Not sure that's true. The near-constant crowd around my Audi strongly suggests people are interested in things that are unfamiliar, not merely expensive or fast or exotic.

 

In two weeks, I'm going to take the Buick and see what happens. I recon it'll stop the show given how bored everyone was with the same-old, same-old stuff.

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I understand your having been hesitant to drive the Buick in 90 degree weather. I am actually thinking of buying a 70's or 80's car so I will have an antique with air conditioning to enjoy in the Summer.

 

There are obviously a lot of differences in different parts of the country. In my area, southeastern North Carolina, we see a lot of variety at car shows, cars and coffee, and other antique car shows and other events. We have a lot of great older cars show up, especially in cooler months. The only problem I see here is that in the Summer, it is so hot that lots of owners of older cars tend to leave them home in their air conditioned garages rather than drive them in the extreme heat and humidity.

 

On Saturday, I intend to drive my 1937 Buick Roadmaster Convertible Phaeton to our local monthly Cars and Coffee. It always attracts lots of people and lots of comments. I typically get a chance to set up at least one photo opportunity for an interested young person in the car every month. Those seeds won't mature for many years, but those people are likely to be antique car owners in the future. 

 

From what I see here, the hobby is alive and well. If you want to see the hobby survive, we all need to remember to take those older cars out to events. When you do, you will find plenty of people who will appreciate them. 

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10 hours ago, Walt G said:

 One example was in 1988 for the 80th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Cup Races here on long island I was on a committee to organize a driving tour with a dinner at the conclusion. Austin Clark, and I plus about 4 others laid out a 25-30 mile tour on public roads ( got the County police to even block off intersections for us on state roads!) and got a souvenir  for the occasion, and the cut off date for entering a vehicle was 1942. The newest car we had on that event was a 1938 Packard conv coupe that the owner had driven 60 miles to attend , there were a total of 88 cars on the tour - in order to qualify for the souvenir at the end you had to drive the whole tour.

I was there that day...in fact, at the start my REO was parked next to Austin Clark's Simplex. Austin had a friend riding with him who, with his sister, were house guests at the time. The sister (who's name I've forgotten) asked if she could ride with me as there were only two seats on the Simplex. "Sure" I said. I found her very interesting...she was, of all things the first woman to graduate from MIT with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering...

 

I drove a lot more than 60 miles to get there too...from RI to Long Island on a 1910 REO. There was also a gentleman with an unrestored 1917 Locomobile 48 who had driven down from upstate NY...

 

It was probably the most memorable old car event I ever attended although I never got the souvenir!

 

[EDIT] Larry Riker, the son of AL Riker was also there that day. I was introduced to him and I remember him saying that his father sold Old 16 just as he was getting his driver's license. Go figure!

 

[Further edit] Walt, was there a similar even in 1978...on the 70th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Cup? I ask because, while I know I attended such a gathering, the numbers don't add up for me. I was 27 in 1978...but I was 37 in 1988 and I'm pretty sure I was out of the old car world by then.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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On our car tours with the HCCA, VMCCA, and AACA we try to take our grandson on the tours with us.  He is currently 7 and we took him on a tour in Georgia in March.  That can be verified by Mr. Earl.  He and the rest of the persons on tour we believe enjoyed the younger company.  We try to take the grandsons every chance we can on tour.

 

My daughter and her husband are scheduled to drive one of our vehicles for the Old Car Festival in September at Greenfield Village for the two day tour.

 

As for the younger generation not too interested in the brass & nickel cars I believe that is because of two owners camps. 

 

One is "DON'T TOUCH" crowd.  Self explanatory. "If I can not touch, then I am not interested" offspring. I have talked to some of these people that plaster that sign on their vehicles.

 

The other issue is that with the younger crowd worrying about having a place to live, food on the table, kids, etc....life happening they do not have the disposable income for a brass car.  Unless they have a parent(s) that will share and let them drive their cars it is tough.

 

Look for me with my grandson at the Celebration of Brass at the Gilmore in July.  We will be there on Friday with our '15 Buick truck.  It will be just the two of us.  He will be riding "shot gun"

 

Just my opinion.

 

PS:  I need to change the tires on our "13 Buick as I wore the tires bald from driving the car that much.  New skins this month.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

Walt, was there a similar even in 1978...on the 70th anniversary of the Vanderbilt Cup? I ask because, while I know I attended such a gathering, the numbers don't add up for me. I was 27 in 1978...but I was 37 in 1988 and I'm pretty sure I was out of the old car world by then.

The Vanderbilt Cup Race anniversary events ( a driving tour , then at the end a dinner) were held every 5 years or so , someplace I have a list of what years. It depended upon the committee ( usually all the same people about 7 or 8 of us) run by the Long Island Old Car Club of the VMCCA . We started and finished at the Main Maid Inn that was located on Jericho Turnpike ( Rt.25) in Jericho, NY.  ( that building it was in was used in the Civil War as a place to hide escaped slaves in the basement with the 'Underground Railroad" ) the event usually took over the whole place except for one small area because it was so well attended. Car owners came from a long ways away to attend , a friend used to drive down from Norwich , NY in his 1937 Lincoln K series. I think I am the only one still around from the committee and the club disappeared as members passed away .

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It's my belief thet of the 3 major club magazines ( AACA, VMCCA and HCCA } the Bulb Horn circa 1950's to somewhere in the 1970's was the best. 

 Later years it is the HCCA , Gazette. Not sure what happened to the VMCCA, I suspect along with the AACA to a certain degree they lost their true early and pre war car focus and tried to be all things to all era's of collector cars and their owners.

 Just my personal bias. I can learn things about post war cars in many different places and formats. The early cars are very difficult to learn about unless you have the resources to actually  own them or they are the focus of a club with a good club magazine. Even the best commercial old car magazine or internet article really only just scratch the surface of a featured early car. A few books are also very good , but there are frustratingly few of them, with only a tiny number of makes covered.

 

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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57 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

The early cars are very difficult to learn about unless you have the resources to actually  own them or they are the focus of a club with a good club magazine.

I agree, just to find the period information- there are fine major collections of material but they are located at places that people look at as not being convenient to where they reside. the library staff has to be paid, and they really have to know where to look to find an answer or a period photograph , no "blame" being placed on them . Some of us are very fortunate to be able to have access to collections of material owned by people who really knew what they had or where to look for what was needed. But today's world expects and instant answer because they are used to getting same at the tap of a button on a computer. Instant Education - with history of anything that is not the case, it takes diligent people with lots of time to find anything. There were people who helped this along in the antique and classic car world for so many years - Ralph Dunwoodie, Karl Zahm, Fred Roe to just mention a few . They are all gone. You need to know where to look and have publications ( ie Editors) that are willing to find space to publish that.

Magazines publish what they think most of the readers will want to see, this can be repetitive, but there are a few that will take the leap to offer something different , not totally obscure, but as mentioned "different".  These forums have been a tremendous asset for information and will continue to be as long as the enthusiasm remains.

Walt

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On 6/30/2022 at 8:17 PM, Matt Harwood said:

I went to the first bi-weekly (is bi-weekly every other week or twice a week? I mean every other week) cars-and-coffee get together at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum tonight. Driving through downtown Cleveland in 90 degree weather at rush hour wasn't my idea of fun in the '41 Buick so I took the Audi ute instead. Anyway, there was a modest turn-out, but it was incredibly boring. Lots of Porsches, a few Ferraris, a pair of McLarens, and a handful of Corvettes, but almost nothing older than 1970. So everyone brought what they thought were amazing cars and as you can see in the photos, nobody cared. Zero interest in the late-model hardware, no matter how exotic.

 

And that's the problem. 

 

Everyone assumes that an exotic or high-dollar sports car will get them attention. But they're boring as hell in a parking lot. So there's this cognitive disconnect where they figure getting the most exotic, expensive car they can might generate some interest but in reality, it only gets more boring. There must be some kind of curve that shows interest going up to a certain point, then plateauing and falling off even as more money is shoveled into the MSRP. Check out how lethargic this crowd was while looking at the hardware:

 

Ute2.jpg.a244d9793fb6639d4a9b2a7e36b60e83.jpg  Ute4.jpg.4d54a11832ad0f3bf04361cf3e4b5fba.jpg  Ute3.jpg.2c8045ee555e401780c564a0bf53682b.jpg

 

Note that they're almost all late-models and that exactly nobody is interested.

 

This guy showed up in a Ferrari, prowled through the lot so everyone could see him, then left without parking. Nobody cared. He probably spent a lot. Also note the garden-variety stuff in the background that largely populated the show:

Ute5.jpg.9132910b76857b8482f229cec2502fad.jpg

 

And just for grins, here's my little Audi ute parked in a corner behind a service trailer. Note the crowd around it which is, remarkably enough, completely ignoring the high-dollar brand-new Porsche pulling out next to them.

Ute1.jpg.f757f5750e1274f8d4e62a7201de023d.jpg

 

So it's not just late-models that are boring. It's the SAME late models that are boring, and the SAME boring cars show up at every casual event. Guys spend a lot of money on a Porsche 911 or a Corvette C8 and show up acting like something special has happened, and guess what? Nobody cares. They could have shown up in a Honda Civic and the reaction would have been the same. Yet they'll keep buying the exotic stuff because it's expensive and it's prestigious and there's a prevailing belief that exotics are cool. It appears they are not.


Instead, they're boring. They're all the same, they're all shiny, they're all popped out of the same mold, they're all perfected and primped and pampered to preserve their value, and nobody cares. But those guys who don't see people looking at their car don't realize what's going on--they only think that they need to go more exotic next time. Not sure that's true. The near-constant crowd around my Audi strongly suggests people are interested in things that are unfamiliar, not merely expensive or fast or exotic.

 

In two weeks, I'm going to take the Buick and see what happens. I recon it'll stop the show given how bored everyone was with the same-old, same-old stuff.

Our Cars and Coffee, every Sunday morning has a few "exotics" but mostly Street Rods and Resto Mods.  A few of us bring original cars but very few.  Still it is as much a social event as a car event, so it works.  The biggest amount of money spent in the hoby is on modified cars, that market is huge and growing.

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Avanti Bill, where is this cars and coffee?  I am located in Cecil co., 1/2 hr from Bel Air. I frequent the area often. I see there is one at the starbucks that I have been wanting to get to but havent pulled the plug yet. 

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On our way to a C&C in Augusta GA, about a twenty mile drive.  My friends 65 GTO (stock) ahead of me and a 32 Ford hot rod behind me. About 300 cars showed up a 37 Plymouth and my 38 Studebaker were the only two stock prewar cars there. A lot of 32 Ford hot rods but only two steel ones we saw. A good time but I didn’t take pics. 
dave s 

C44A1D42-809F-4A19-AB0D-452817716974.jpeg

Edited by SC38dls (see edit history)
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I see the same issue with Model A's. My first year attending HERSHEY was 1968. I have the event program from '68 and there were over 225 Model A Ford's registered for the Meet. Last year there were about 10 or 12 Model A's in total. Where did they all go? Have many been turned into hot rod's, are they sitting on four flat tires in some garage? Most of the car show's in my area display car's that I could see in any retirement community. I can also see new Corvettes, Porsche's and Ferrari's at a dealer showroom if I choose. I guess if someone want's to exhibit his brand new Ferrari and let us know how rich he is, well so be it. I'm still attracted to the early cars!

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7 minutes ago, victorialynn2 said:

It won’t charge and the battery isn’t old. I guess it’s time to call the tow truck. 

For what its worth try cleaning the terminals first and see if that helps

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3 minutes ago, victorialynn2 said:

That number says they are closed. Does anyone have the number for the two department. I pay extra for that but it’s not on my card. 

I'm looking at their website for you and the only 24 hr number that I can find is the Claims one - are they saying that they are closed there too?

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3 minutes ago, victorialynn2 said:

What is the best way to do that?

If you have any tools with you - disconnect the battery and clean both the posts and the terminals with emery cloth or something similar since I am guessing that you don't have a terminal cleaner brush with you.  Sometimes you get a bit of corrosion that makes for poor contact. 

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3 minutes ago, 3macboys said:

If you have any tools with you - disconnect the battery and clean both the posts and the terminals with emery cloth or something similar since I am guessing that you don't have a terminal cleaner brush with you.  Sometimes you get a bit of corrosion that makes for poor contact. 

I have brushes, it’s around the corner from my home. They look clean but I think my truck battery is weird and not connecting. It’s an optima battery, just 3 years old or so and nothing but issues because I don’t drive a lot. So I keep it on a trickle charger, but that’s not real helpful. Time for a new battery. 

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Check your truck for a place to connect to jump the truck not at the battery. It usually has a red plastic cover often square with a plus (+) on it you will get a better connection. 

dave s 

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VL2 sorry I thought the optima was in the truck. Bummer it goes bad that quickly at the cost of those things. I’m glad I’ve stayed 6volt positive ground on my 38. I’ve had the battery 6 years but I drive the car 4 or 5 times a week. Good luck hope you get it home and back it it’s warm snug bed so you get to drive it again soon. 
dave s 

Edited by SC38dls (see edit history)
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3 minutes ago, victorialynn2 said:

Thanks everyone. The insurance company couldn’t get a company to pick up. A friend is bringing a new battery. Iv’e had nothing but issues since I bought the optima for the ‘57. She’s getting a new battery. What a waste of money that battery was. Never again. 

 

For what it is worth, an Optima battery is AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery and it takes a special type of charger.  Many newer chargers are set up for AGM batteries, but not all.   You need to check the charger.

 

An old style charger may not work, especially if it is discharged..

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Just now, SC38dls said:

VL2 sorry I thought the optima was in the truck. Bummer it goes bad that quickly at the cost of those things. I’m glad I’ve stayed 6volt positive ground on my 38. I’ve had the battery 6 years but I drive the car 4 or 5 times a week. Good luck hope you get it home in back it it’s warm snug bed so you get to drive it again soon. 
dave s 

I mean, granted I don’t drive her often, but every time, even with the trickle charger always on her, she has issues. I’ve been told those Optimas used to be good, but lots of issues now. It’s never worked right and it’s about 3 years old I think. 

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