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Open cars and rain


Tonz

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I've had my 1926 Chrysler 50 on the road for a couple of years and with the open sides I have carefully avoided driving in rain.

The side skirts will happen eventually. So with a fixed canvas roof and no sides, I am faced with a much looked forward to run with weather forecasts of rain.

Can anyone relate what to expect. I'm thinking of plastic seat covers and wearing my motorcycle wets.

I have adapted a stubby holder over the dizzy to keep it dry.

Looking forward to hearing your wet experiences ūüėÜ

 

IMG_20240122_150249.jpg

Edited by Tonz (see edit history)
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26 minutes ago, zeke01 said:

Consider installing a pair of wind wings.They redirect the rain away from the front seat passengers while the car is in motion. Zeke

Here in our city, one is only 'in motion' 20% of the time they are on the road.  Even then, one won't be travelling fast enough for wind wings to deflect any rain away from the passenger compartment.

 

Craig

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There are rubber boots you can but to put over your spark plugs to keep them dry. They were made for Chrysler flathead (L-head) engines.

Here is a link to some....https://www.ebay.com/itm/173597705004?chn=ps&mkevt=1&mkcid=28&srsltid=AfmBOoqVaqH4hUGUM05miECj_7LkxwJkNBAhvkkN064O3Cpwsst_ZwN6p_M

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

One older man told me that, when driving in a

touring car and rain came, you were usually wet

by the time you got the side curtains in place!

 

I enjoy hearing from people who were actually there

when history was being made. 

We drove our 1934 Ford Phaeton on the 1999 Glidden Tour out of Staunton VA.   During the stop a the Luray Caverns,

we left the car in the parking lot while we were underground.    When we came up and out it was pouring buckets. 

My back seat passenger and I went to the car and put in the borrowed side curtains and got drenched.    The drive

back to Staunton was COLD & WET, but memorable.    (I need to point out that the 34 Phaeton has front suicide 

doors and the rear view peep mirrors are in the wind wings attached to the windshield, which means to close the doors with the side curtains in the door, the wind wings have to be folded inside.)   That means no rear visability 

when driving in the rain.   Plus with 4 breathers inside the side curtains fog up.

Two years later in 2001 we took the Phaeton with a new set of our own side curtains to Michigan's Upper Peninsula

for the Glidden Tour.  That tour was 43 degrees with rain every day.  We had a different couple in the back seat and

had fun in the cold anyway.

All our national tours since then have been in closed cars.   Open cars are made for fair weather

 

 

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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You might want to do it as they did ‚Äúback in the day‚ÄĚ. ¬†Photos of Alice Ramsay starting her Lincoln Highway adventure her Maxwell in 1909. ¬†Three women traveling from NY to San Francisco. ¬†

 

B9A98BA5-3F18-43B1-B894-A4AAB1813EC8.jpeg

5C995018-1D43-4C74-8D81-45213391F84D.jpeg

Edited by TerryB (see edit history)
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In past 4+ decades I've driven countless miles, including long distance (1000+ mile) road trips, top down or off in variety of 30-90+ year old open cars, both in rain and snow, and see no reason why I shouldn't continue to enjoy that.

Only real suggestion I've always given to anyone who wants to do same: "Dress accordingly"

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If your Chrysler has external contracting band brakes (which I think it does?)? Be prepared for some stopping issues. When the drums and bands get wet, they don't work very well. They may do nothing at all for a bit, then grab unevenly causing handling troubles. Don't fear it, just be prepared, and allow double or even triple normal stopping distances for the car!

I highly recommend practicing for a bit under safe conditions, using the hand brake to stop your antique automobile. One should KNOW what to expect from it, and how it will react and handle emergency stops. I believe your Chrysler like the 1925 Studebaker I used to have has the hand brake behind the transmission. I drove that Studebaker in the rain "a few" times, and found the hand brake stayed dry enough to stop the car more reliably in the rain. A bit squirrely, but better stopping than the wet service brake.

Another thing about external contracting brakes, is that they get wet, but applying the brake a bit ahead of a planned stop can brush most of the water off, and after a few seconds begin to dry the linings. Again, allow extra distance to do that, and be prepared for uneven braking.

Internal expanding shoe brakes can have some stopping issues in the rain, especially if they do not have full backing plates. However, the drums afford some protection from water accumulation, so the effects are less dramatic.

 

The 1925 Studebaker I had was a two-door coach (sedan), so keeping passengers and the car's interior fairly dry was not difficult. My main worry driving antiques in the rain is getting parts of the car wet that could result in damage to the car. Another car I used to have was an open sport roadster, with no top. I only drove it in the rain on a few tours I was really looking forward to going onto. For it, I grabbed up a bunch of old towels, and a large plastic bag. At every stop, I would dry the "interior". When we went inside at stops, I would cover the seat and floor with towels. Then when we went to leave, I would gather up the towels and put them into the plastic bag. It wasn't raining hard that day, so the towels mostly absorbed the rain before it could get into the seat or floors. 

 

I have had a few model T speedsters over the years. Most of them were driven in heavy rain a few times! Other than handling and braking issues which I always carefully planned for, I never had a problem with any of them.

 

As far as engine and ignition issues? I never had any significant trouble from any of them. With a hood and the engine's heat, everything usually stayed dry enough. Actually, the only "engine" issue I can recall offhand, was once in my first model T speedster, on the way home from the club's annual "rainy run to the snow" trip! It was raining buckets! And I was having a blast in the open wheel, no windshield, no doors, no top, car! As I often did with a car like that, I would zoom up ahead, then pull over to watch the other cars go by. Wait a couple minutes and then catch up to the line and follow them for awhile. Then repeat with a zoom ahead and stop again.

So there I was, doing a good 60mph in the pouring rain in a car that might as well been a motorcycle, and unseen ahead was a slight dip in the road, with the water almost a foot deep! (Nobody ahead of me to see a splash and the water lay nice and flat looking like pavement.) You could say the Bosch magneto the car had got a bit wet, and the car was running on about 2 1/2 cylinders, so I pulled over and parked. I was trying to keep the engine running enough to dry it out more quickly, but looked under the hood and discovered the splash had literally washed the fan belt off its pullies! So I shut the engine off (which was probably a better idea anyway?), and put the fan belt back where it belonged. I restarted the car just as the line caught up to me and we went along our merry way.

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Agree with Wayne. Brakes are the main point of attention in my experience. I frequently drive my cars under the rain, and the brakes performance is severely impacted in wet conditions. If the car has mechanical brakes, double the attention. My advice is to anticipate braking as much you can and drive slower than normal. I normally start braking much earlier in these conditions. We have also to remember we are driving cars with diagonal ply tires, so additional attention is needed when driving in rainy days.

For my open cars, the tops and wind wings do a good job. I have never bothered to take the side curtains out to use them, when the rain started. I only install the side curtains if I am in a covered space and plenty of time and patience! 
Vacuum windshield wipers are also an additional challenge during heavy rain, when you driving uphill, quite annoying!

Anyway, if you do well, at night, under the rain, in a open car, mechanical brakes, diagonal ply tires, with 6v headlights, you can be considered a good driver!

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We have driven our 1913 Buick Model 31 and our 1915 Buick truck lots and lots of miles in the rain.  Probably days if not weeks on tours.

 

Two items to basically fix the rain issue is to have a windshield and top.  With both of those not much rain comes into the car.  Just be sure that the top of the windshield to top is secured or you can get some water over the top of the windshield.  With our experience on the amount of driving in the rain with a windshield, I will not waste my money on side curtains.

 

As for Wayne Shelton's comment on external brakes, he is dead nuts correct. If you have external band brakes, do not expect to have very much braking action if any when they get wet.  Just expect to be using the park brake for stopping.  After a short while it becomes second nature in the rain.

 

The one time we will not drive in the rain is if we are touring is in very hilly or mountainous conditions.  With rear brakes only on our cars and truck and about 6 square inches of friction surface of tire to road x 2 rear tires, not a lot of stopping capabilities.  I once slid through an intersection coming down a steep grade and said never again in the hills and mountain areas.

 

Ideally, don't be afraid and go out and enjoy the car as they were driven "in the day"

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I notice a lot if not all of the big open (nickle/brass) cars seem to have a large overhang when the top is in the up position. They seem to be a foot wider than the body. Does this have anything to do with keeping the rain out of the car body in a moderate situation, or just a design element.

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3 hours ago, TAKerry said:

Does this have anything to do with keeping the rain out of the car body in a moderate situation, or just a design element.

Definitely yes.  Like Larry Schramm, we have done many miles in rain with only the windshield and top and disposable ponchos we keep in the car to protect us.  It is also important to keep the seats and other leather protected with Neatsfoot oil.

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This whole discussion is giving me PTSD from a drive I had on the Autobahn in an open Jeep in a freezing rain.  

5 hours from Karlsruhe to Bonn. Later I lived at 6500ft and once saw -25F, but I was never as cold as that day in Germany. 

I sold a TR3 I had while living in the mountains because I felt I was driving it too fast, trying to get where I was going before I froze. 

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20 hours ago, Tonz said:

...I'm thinking of plastic seat covers and wearing my motorcycle wets ... Looking forward to hearing your wet experiences ūüėÜ

 

 

I was committed to driving dignitaries (and their grandchildren) in the parade that kicks off our local summer fair a few years ago. This was an obligation I looked forward to every year for a couple decades until our parade was discontinued during the pandemic. Anyway, the forecast the day before was for rain the next morning, and they were not mistaken.

 

My 1912 KisselKar has lovely leather upholstery c/w proper horsehair stuffing so something had to be done... two hours work and multiple large heavy black 'contractors clean-up' garage bags, duct tape and assorted bits of twine and bungees yielded a very passable set of water-impervious plastic seat covers and the upholstery came through unscathed.

 

Other times and other cars, one just has to dress for the weather. It's remarkable what some people do for fun...

 

 

K12 & Crew rainy parade.jpeg

24T Chris Jerry rain at speed.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Leif in Calif said:

This whole discussion is giving me PTSD from a drive I had on the Autobahn in an open Jeep in a freezing rain.  

5 hours from Karlsruhe to Bonn. Later I lived at 6500ft and once saw -25F, but I was never as cold as that day in Germany. 

I sold a TR3 I had while living in the mountains because I felt I was driving it too fast, trying to get where I was going before I froze. 

I got caught in a blinding snowstorm on I95 N VA whilst driving my motorcycle. The fuse blew to my heated gloves and I all but had frostbite. The final straw was sliding across the frozen metal grate of the Wilson Bridge. Bit of ptsd from that trip as well!!

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2 hours ago, Leif in Calif said:

This whole discussion is giving me PTSD from a drive I had on the Autobahn in an open Jeep in a freezing rain. 

The Autobahn did not shed water very well when I was stationed in Germany in the Military Police.   We had many calls for accidents due to hydroplaning through puddles. 

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You get wet, the car gets wet. You get to where you are going and you are wet and cranky. The car is still wet. You dry off the car and then you dry yourself off. I have been there many times. It is probably going to happen again. 

 

The worst was a trip to the L.A. Roadster's Show. I left Ohio in my 1932 Ford Roadster Hot Rod. The rain started in Kentucky and continued into Oklahoma. The top was up and rain jackets were on. We had a "drying towel" we used this to wipe excess water off of the dash, gauges, etc... But once the rain stopped it was a great trip except for the snow in Colorado and Wyoming on the way home. 

Edited by Brass is Best (see edit history)
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Guy. since deceased, in our Packard Club, had this '24 Single Eight Packard Tourer since the 60's and said when it rained he never put the side curtains up. Claimed with the top up and with the wind wings in place he remained dry. 

 

Maybe, because we're "downunder",¬†the rain falls upwards?ūüėČūüėĀ

 

24 Single Eight.JPG

Edited by Ozstatman
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I owned a 28 Chrysler 52 touring and drove it many times in the rain.

 As pointed out the brakes in the wet are awful but do work given enough space. distributor and ignition were never an issue even in torrential rain.

 With the top up and no side curtains, the amount of rain coming inside was minimal unless you got a really heavy storm with strong cross winds, even the two piece windshield let very little rain thru the join. The only issue driving in the rain is when a vehicle passes you and the spray can come in sideways, not so much a problem for front seat people but those in the back might get a bit wet.

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1 hour ago, oldcarfudd said:

Look up the pictures of the 2022 London-to-Brighton.  And then qwitcherbitchin.

I do hate to keep bringing up 2 wheel motion (I have logged many more miles on one of those as compared to the 4 wheel version) but I read a blip in a brit cycle magazine (referring to England) once that stated, if you dont want to ride in the rain, dont get a bike!

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2 hours ago, Mark Shaw said:

The Autobahn did not shed water very well when I was stationed in Germany in the Military Police.   We had many calls for accidents due to hydroplaning through puddles. 

The speedometer only went to 60MPH but on a long hill, we got up to the E in MILES PER HOUR at the bottom...starting to send the needle around for a second time...very spooky at that speed in the rain! (This was 1974)

new Speedometer MPH KM/H Jeep M151 A1 A2 M38 M-Series MS39021-2 | eBay

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35 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

I do hate to keep bringing up 2 wheel motion (I have logged many more miles on one of those as compared to the 4 wheel version) but I read a blip in a brit cycle magazine (referring to England) once that stated, if you dont want to ride in the rain, dont get a bike!

As a fellow motorcyclist I can second your comments about riding in rain, hail, snow showers and whatever else Mother Nature would throw at us. ¬†Add in some tent camping and you get some of the most memorable events in traveling anyone can imagine. ¬†One time I rode in a tremendous downpour from Bennington VT to Scranton PA where I stopped for gas and coffee. ¬†With my feet squishing as I walked up to pay for the gas, I told the attendant to take out for a large coffee too. ¬†He looked at me and said ‚Äúit‚Äôs free, you look like you‚Äôve earned it‚ÄĚ. ¬†I think I did too. ¬†There are many more stories to tell, but I did what I did by motorcycle and tent camping to escape the modern creature comforts and do a little self examination of determination and will to go on in less than perfect conditions certainly strengthens the soul.

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Other than our 1995 Grand Marquis and 1995 Caddy Fleetwood, I don't have any closed cars. The entire world is different from an open car. I'll deal with the issues, and some of y'all know how much we've toured, going back to the 1960s (even '50s).

 

Having two much older ladies in the back seat of the '30 Packard on the 1999 Vintage tour in Fuquay-Varina, NC, we had a rain day . I installed the curtains for the rear, only. Our wind wings kept us dry in the front, and our riders were cozy in the rear.

 

Similar situation driving the same car on the Kingston, Ontario, Canada Sentimental. Two AACA National Board members in the back and we had a CLOUD-BURST !!

I ducked into a "Do It Yourself" CAR WASH for temporary cover and installed the rear curtains. Same result. All stayed dry, other than one mis-attached Common Sense fastener allowed a drip onto one rear occupant's shoulder. 

 

I only added the front curtains when the car had to sit out in the rain, and they worked properly.

 

We've had the same result even with our '12 Oakland and '14 Buick.

 

The one time I installed full curtains on the 1912 Oakland was for a frigid and rainy day around the turn of the century, and with a ten (10) year old navigator smiling ear to ear. We departed Mackinaw City, Michigan, driving across the open-grate BIG-MAC" Bridge which separates Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. We dealt with the cold and rain, and headed north to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, continuing all the way to Sault Ste Marie, and into Canada. As conditions allowed, I removed the driver-side front curtain to eliminate the fogged windshield and curtains, and later removed the rest of the curtains. Of course the car had no wipers, but Rain-X is effective.

 

Enjoy driving the way it was when your car first hit the road  --  We Do !

Edited by Marty Roth
typo, and additional note (see edit history)
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 I drove my 32 Ford roadster in bad weather three times.

 Once I set out for a 1/2-hour drive to a car show and first encountered rain, then sleet. then hail and finally snow.

 I had to stop 1/2 way to warm my hands around a cup of coffee, but I did enjoy the day.

 

 The next time, I hit rain I had the windshield tilted on an angle and at 65mph, the rain went right over my head for about an hour. The people passing me thought I was nuts. This was ok, but... I had to stop for city traffic when entering the show.

 But that was ok as the president of the show awarded me a trophy for all my trouble.

 

 The third time was going to a funeral for a fellow car nut as requested by his brother. I entered the funeral parlor like a drowned rat but was warmly greeted by all present. Another good day

 

 Ps, I don't have a top.

Edited by R Walling (see edit history)
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31 minutes ago, R Walling said:

 I drove my 32 Ford roadster in bad weather three times.

 Once I set out for a 1/2-hour drive to a car show and first encountered rain, then sleet. then hail and finally snow.

 I had to stop 1/2 way to warm my hands around a cup of coffee, but I did enjoy the day.

 

 The next time, I hit rain I had the windshield tilted on an angle and at 65mph, the rain went right over my head for about an hour. The people passing me thought I was nuts. This was ok, but... I had to stop for city traffic when entering the show.

 But that was ok as the president of the show awarded me a trophy for all my trouble.

 

 The third time was going to a funeral for a fellow car nut as requested by his brother. I entered the funeral parlor like a drowned rat but was warmly greeted by all present. Another good day

Rain at speed in a 32 is no issue. But when you stop...

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Thanks for all the replies, so it seems I was pretty well on the ball with just wear my motorcycing gear and temporary plastic seat cover and enjoy the experience.

Footnote, had a great weekend and did avoid the rain by a few hours.

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A lot of hardy souls here, but driving in an open car in the rain when it's COLD outside is asking for a winter case of a Head Cold, which I don't want.

I still think this is a fair weather car.

PhaetonFalls-Copy.jpg.0bbc5afff4e1a02b747bf87f14abd583.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

A lot of hardy souls here, but driving in an open car in the rain when it's COLD outside is asking for a winter case of a Head Cold, which I don't want.

I still think this is a fair weather car.

PhaetonFalls-Copy.jpg.0bbc5afff4e1a02b747bf87f14abd583.jpg

Nice Car whatever the weather

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On 1/26/2024 at 2:23 PM, Leif in Calif said:

This whole discussion is giving me PTSD from a drive I had on the Autobahn in an open Jeep in a freezing rain.  

5 hours from Karlsruhe to Bonn. Later I lived at 6500ft and once saw -25F, but I was never as cold as that day in Germany. 

I sold a TR3 I had while living in the mountains because I felt I was driving it too fast, trying to get where I was going before I froze. 

My 1954 Willys Jeep has no top, as it came from factory. Once a while I am completely washed with summer rain storms, when I am driving the car here in Brazil. I have already learned how to behave on these conditions! Part of the experience on this amazing hobby!

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