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Someone has to get this Forum off the Muscle Car threads. If you could have your pick of one Brass Era car what would you pick, and why? I'd pick 1913-14 T head Mercer, saw my first in 1961, finally got a ride in one at Hershey in 2004.

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I have a friend who owned a 1913 Lozier 7-passenger touring that was about as big as a garage and could hammer down the highway at well over 80 MPH. Stopping it was another matter, but that was one <span style="font-style: italic">hell</span> of a car.

I'm also partial to the Thomas Flyers. Muscle cars indeed.

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This is sooooooo easy! An Oldsmobile Limited, officially made between 1910 and 1912 but two were made in '08 and several in 1909. Anyway, reasons are simple. 42x5 tires, 700 plus cubic inches of motor and it took a "real man" to crank! A monster of a car with double running boards and I have had the thrill of being involved in restoring one and getting to drive one.

Of course then there is a Curved Dash Olds, my old 1908 Model X, a Olds Defender, etc....

Where do you stop? Thomas Flyers, American Underslungs, Loziers, Simplexs, Locomobiles.....nothing like a brass car even when you get nailed by the crank! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Bob, you should go to the Miller event in Milwaukee in July. Buy a pit pass and stand by the pit wall. Look like you reallllly want to go for a ride and you will get rides at speed in a Mercer, Miller, and mny more early cars. Damn bugs in your teeth though! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This is sooooooo easy! An Oldsmobile Limited, officially made between 1910 and 1912 but two were made in '08 and several in 1909. Anyway, reasons are simple. 42x5 tires, 700 plus cubic inches of motor and it took a "real man" to crank! A monster of a car with double running boards and I have had the thrill of being involved in restoring one and getting to drive one.

</div></div>

I used to tour with a guy with one of those massive Oldsmobiles--a maroon one I believe. He was an <span style="font-style: italic">extremely</span> tall and thin fellow, a perfect match for those tall, thin wheels. I wish I could remember his name, but there can't be many of these cars around, and I'm guessing he still has his--he was quite passionate about it. Do you know him, Steve?

It was truly an impressive car. With those 42 inch wheels, I bet they were turning about 60 RPM at 60 MPH! You could really crank a lot of speed with those big wheels.

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I got into this one late.....the Mercer and Lozier were chosen. These are awesome automobiles; however, I would have to choose the last 45-90 Stearns or a Chadwick Great Six as, for that matter a 15-30 or 30-60 Stearns might do the trick if the other two were not available for a car that I would spend the money to own. One of the last remaining Simplexes would be a joy to get my hands on also. While at the last Hilton Head Concours I spoke to a gentleman from the Crawford Collection which was displaying a 50hp Simplex. He had tuned the car up , gotten it off the museum floor, and taken it out to the track where it was clocked at over 90mph!

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Model K Stanley Semi-Racer and/or a Stanley H5 Gentleman's Speedy Roadster. A 60 hp Thomas would be high on the list. They have fascinated me since reading George Schuster's book about the Around the World Race as a boy. Another favorite is the Series 3 48hp Pierce Arrow. 1913 Stutz Touring with the six cylinder Wisconsin T-head.

And pretty much all of the above already named!

ASW Charlottesville_Steam_Car_Tour_2002-55.JPG

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At great risk of getting all this dumped into the Rants & Raves section, I'm going to upset the apple cart here and give you my humble opinion - I like my 1914 Model T Ford!!! So far we've identified the biggest, fastest, most difficult to crank, most expensive, etc but for all around pleasure the T has got my vote. Easy to find, fix and run, cheap, easy to haul when needed, parts-no problem, everybody loves em, and their aint tooooo much brass to polish. Plus, you don't have much choice but to slow down and smell the flowers as you drive by. I'm taking my much road-worn '14 touring out to the Natl Meet in Roanoke Va. It was first shown there in 1965 and won a first.

Ok Bob-from a fellow T guy, I'll be looking for some support on this one!

Happy motoring.

Terry

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I will see that rant and add a rave. I like my 1913 Model T very much. Tom Reese wrote a great article several years ago about why the Model T was the best brass car to own if you could only own one collector car.

My contention is one of the mistakes that AACA makes is not promoting Model T's as a great way to get into the prewar side of the hobby without such a big initial investment. And they are great cars for learning and putting "sweat" equity into. Parts are available and there is plenty of information about the cars if you care to do a bit of research.

Tom graciously allowed me to use his article for a website some time back. It is still posted at the link below.

Universal Brass Car

ASW

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Terry,

Your post brings-up exactly the points I was inquiring about what qualifications we're basing our judgements on... wink.gif

It's probably fairly agreed that in the case of 1930's cars, the "best" or "ultimate" car would be something like a V-16 Caddy (452 OHV, please), V-12 Packard, Pierce Silver Arrow, any Duesenberg, Cord 812, etc.... but in terms of what is available, affordable, and driveable, it would be hard to beat a Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler Product of the same period....

So, I would also cast a vote in your direction too, the Model T is still perhaps fulfilling Old Henry's ideal of an affordable car that the average working man could buy and maintain...even as a Brass-Era antique...

I DON"T wish to descend into the rant & rave section with this thread either...

I first picked the Loco "48" mainly on the stregnth of what I've READ about the car...the model began sometime around 1908-1910, and was Loco's flagship until the mid '20s, still sporting the same (?) 574 cid T-head engine...

I've yet to actually see one in person, but I keep hoping...

I DID get to see a magnificent white Chadwick at Macungie in 2003; I think it was a 1910 ?

If not the "Best", I think the Model T is definitely one of the most significant of the brass cars...

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You are talking about Dick Neller who had a Model Z with the big wheels which preceeded the Limited although some ads called it a "limited" production. He passed away a few years ago and his wife Sue still has the car to my knowledge. </div></div>

That's him. I'm very sorry to hear that he's passed away. He was a fine gentleman and a lot of fun on tours. He and his car were hard to miss.

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Without a doubt, Ford's "T" 's and "A"'s were some of the best cars built to this day. They overshadow v-16's and luxury cars as far as dependability and service. Just check the percentage that have survived. Ford used the finest materials in his automobiles and designed them to be understood and repaired by the average mechanic. If you check the records, Ford dominated the global automotive market until the late twenties.

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I vote with you. Until a couple years ago a friend here in W. Va. had a stunning 1913 Brass Model T. Total frame off restoration. The body was midnight blue and the fenders were black. He had flannel lined covers for every piece of brass on it. I got to ride in it one day and was so thrilled. He sold it to a couple up north who are showing and enjoying it very much. My friend had to have both shoulders operated on so the car became too much for him to care for. He still has a 1923 T that he takes on local rides and T-Tours. But he equipt it with electric start since the surgeries on his shoulders.

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I once tried to buy a 1918 Pierce 66 roadster, but was outbid by a really deep pockets collector, but I did get to sit in it and look at that huge monster of an engine - over 800 cu in! and I wanted to have it just for a while to see what it was like to drive a fire breathing dragon like that. I have been told that the PA dual valve 48s were just as awesome, and were more refined and easier to drive than the Thomas Flyers, but have never driven any of them myself. Marshall Mathews had a wonderful big brass Packard roadster, an 06 or 07 that I thought was fantastic too, not sure where it is now. Maybe someday if I win the Lotto I can afford a brass car. Everyone says that the 50s - 70s cars are hot because people want cars of their youth - then why are brass cars so expensive when all those who remember them from their youth are gone now?

I have a friend who has 30s and 40s classics, but also has a great time on Model T and Model A tours and is even going to Italy for a month long Model T tour next year, and he gave me a ride in his brass T and it was big fun.

The best fun is in the friends you make though. Dave Mitchell

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Don't want to get into a p!!!!ing match here, but, the Europeans were ahead in car design. In 2003 I was on a driving type tour with a 1913 RR Silver Ghost that made a 1913 Cadillac look and sound like a rattle trap. The Caddy owner told me the RR was overly complicated but I felt it was fantastically smooth and QUIET. Further I saw a 1910 Mercedes that had more in comman with a twenties car than the teens car. Awesome machine. I do not own any foreign cars so don't hate me and I agree with the comments printed here. The T owned the market place for what it was and Loziers, Simplexes, White steamers are wonderful cars. Etc. Gary

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Dave Mitchell - "why are the Brass Cars so expensive today when those who enjoyed them in their youth are mostly gone?"

Because now they're "priceless antiques" and there's E-bay... smirk.gif

But seriously, I think part of it is due to the low numbers of manufacture of these cars, especially when compared against the prolific Model T, the numbers of surviving brass cars are pretty slim...

Also, I would think that these fall into the category of "invesment antiques" as far as the deep pockets are concerned; thus restored or nice survivor examples are pulling big bucks...I would think that the 1908 - 1915 era big brass that can still be viable tour vehicles are probably commanding higher $ than the horseless-carriages...

My own private speculation there...

With regard to European autos being more advanced than American cars of the Brass Era, okay...I'll go along with that...however, I personally saw a 1951 Mercedes (small model) at Macungie the other year with an L-head four cylinder engine, gas tank in the cowl, and gravity fuel feed to an updraft carburetor...

I wonder if it had mechanical brakes too... shocked.gif

(Guess all those Allied bombs on Stuttgart set their production back a few years...)

So, once again, what aspects make it the "Best" brass car ?

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Let me take a crack at the value question of Brass cars. The Pre 16's have a great club following, the Horseless Carriage club limits their national tours to that vintage. The AACA has inside groups such as the Snappers of Ohio area and the VMCCA has early tour as well. So that makes demand, a 1918 vintage car has not as much demand and a pre 1905 qualifies for the London to Brighton run, so even more demand. No one remembers these autos when they were.

Second, these groups organize great driving tours, like New England Brass and Gas, to name but one. A rebellion to the park in the park, car show. I bought my car, a 1913 Buick, in 1997 because I wanted to go with these guys to different parts of the country and really look at it.

Finally, sure the big, powerful double chain drives cars are very expensive and perhaps should be, but what about the CCCA cars or what about a Packard Caribbean or early Eldorado. A fellow I know has a 1910 Pierce Arrow, he told me he took it to a Pierce Arrow meet. I suggested they must have been impressed with his car, I was. He told me they like the classics more and he felt pretty well ignored?

If you are happy in a Ford, or Buick, or other mid size or smaller Brass era car, they are not that much more expensive. You pretty well have to have a truck and trailer, that is more expensive. There are no parts available, except for Ford, that is more expensive. Regards, Gary

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Am I the only one old enough to remember the Peerless Green Dragon? It could snort with the best of them. I saw it several times year ago in Chicago car shows when it was owned by a gentleman that lived in the area. About 8 years ago I saw a more recent owner terrorizing the Hershey stadium parking lot with it. A big brute car that could handle any hill in high gear. Stude8

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> "why are the Brass Cars so expensive today when those who enjoyed them in their youth are mostly gone?"

</div></div>

Let me take yet another swipe at this question: <span style="font-style: italic">aesthetics!</span>

Car values across the 20th century can be positively correlated (in my view, no scientific study has been done that I know of) with a ranking of popular aesthetic conventions. In other words: <span style="font-style: italic">The more people find a type of car physically attractive, the more desirable it becomes. Ipso facto, </span> the more aesthetic value placed on the car (by any measure), the more financial value is placed on the same.

You can look at almost any dichotomy of car values this way. The relative rankings of Ford/Chevy/Plymouth in value (within a given era) correlates exactly to both the relative emphasis of each company on styling in that era <span style="font-style: italic">and</span> to the current appreciation of those stylists' work.

Brass era cars in general are gorgeous. There was an age where beauty mattered to the purchaser, often because they were of a well-heeled nature and used to beauty. (And because the cars at the time were less a practical item than hitherto and <span style="font-style: italic">had</span> to be appealing on that level!) How many 1922, 1938 or 1952 cars could be scraped together to make such a broad statement plausible for those eras? You can make the same general statement for nearly all valuable car groupings; Full Classics/muscle cars/sports cars/convertibles/pony cars/exotic cars/etc. etc. etc. are <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">all</span></span> (in general) beautiful creations.

What's more those that aren't beautiful (in any one group) are less valuable than the rest. One has to <span style="font-style: italic">really</span> stretch one's imagination to come up with a valuable homely car!

Looks <span style="font-style: italic">always</span> matter! cool.gif

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I agree with all the statements my brass era friends have made about the best this, that or the other but in purely subjective terms and having been lucky enough to either ride or drive in several of the cars mentioned, I have to nominate a 1914 Chalmers for the honor. Four speed tranny that shifts like a modern car and a 50 horse engine that pulls like a train. Steering that is lighter than the Locos of the era but road presence that is almost the same. I have the good fortune to own one I am currently restoring and I have been absolutely amazed at the engineering in this car. I have also worked on foreign and domestic vehicles of this and more current eras and the Chalmers gives up nothing to any of them.

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I agree with you guys that the brass cars are wonderful, and have great designs. I am just sort of tired of hearing that muscle cars are popular because people want the cars of their youth and all the Barret Jackson hype - the popularity of brass cars can't be explained that way anymore. There are some great cars out there made before 1957.

I'd love to see the Chalmers - the people who owned my parents (1870s) house had a Chalmers in the teens. I have seen a couple and think they are awesome. I hope I can catch a ride in it someday. I'd also like to have a big brass Mitchell someday, but have only seen a couple.

I would agree that in the early days some of the great cars were European, but the Americans caught up pretty well in some cases and did some things better too. Sometimes the Europeans held onto the old ways too long and kept the overcomplicated systems when they were out of date. The Silver Ghost was ahead of its time, as were big Mercedes and Hispanos, but like Locomobile, they were slow to redesign, and sometimes cheaper cars were more advanced by the time these great lines were replaced. Even the mighty Duesenberg was suffering from a lack of developement by the end of the Model Js, which were so far ahead when introduced in 28. It is tough to make a design last for 10 years. The late Ghost was a great car, but wasn't exactly the most user friendly compared with its contemporaries from 1925. The early post war MBs were basic cars as were the early Porsches, but they later leapfrogged the Americans when they went to sleep in the 70s and rested on their laurels not seeing that the public might actually buy cars from overseas.

DM

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great American brass cars:

Lozier, Matheson, Simplex, Speedwell, Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, Stearns-Knight, American (Underslung), Knox (huge cars), Oldsmobile Limited, Locomobile, Packard, Cadillac, Cole, KisselKar, Marmon, Stevens-Dureya...

Too many to list!

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I could talk about the brass era hobby all day. To get a ride in a brass era car you must be there. Every old car driver I know will give rides to interested bystanders. In my region of Southern Ontario, HCCA, I have been in everyone car, for a trip to get something, like pizza, or just to go for a drive. At last years Old Car Festival in Dearborn I was invited to go with a guy in his 1912 McIntyre while his 16 year old son drove.

May 13 and 14 at Wallaceburg, Ontario, we are hosting a joint tour between Southern Mi. Motorists and our region and I have already found four backseats for local couples who are equally excited with early motoring.

So my advice to you folks is to find a meet in your part of the country and make yourself known as interested and dollars to donuts you can get a ride in an old car. Regards, Gary

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Gary,

I was VERY fortunate not only to get a ride in, but even a chance to DRIVE grin.gif a 1924 Chrysler B-70 Touring car that came to a MoPar show in Scranton the other year...(no, I was not bold enough to ask to drive it; the owner pulled over to the shoulder after a few miles and insisted that I take the wheel...)

What a thrill!

I'm sure that asking many questions of the owner and looking very interested as we gravitated back & forth between his Chrysler and my De Soto didn't hurt...

I have found that most Brass owners are very congenial towards towards folks who seem genuinely interested.

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Brass cars are great. I grew up around cars from the 20's and 30's that my dad collected. But I always went straight for the brass cars whenever one was around. Was lucky enough to spend a day or two with Bill Harrah in 1976 on the bi-centenial trans con tour. He drove a Thomas Flyer. Invited me to ride with him, I was 14, and dad came and picked me up in the next city! Mr. Harrah told me I could come and do brass cars with him anytime. Unfortunatly, he passed away before I ever got the chance.

I now have a 1906 Buick F. Drove it 350 plus miles on a cross Washington State tour this summer. I'll take it anywhere. Figure it was broke when I got it, and probably will break again. Heck, that's more than half the fun of it!

Additionally, Brass car folks are great. Met some of the finest people in my life talking brass cars!

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According to my records Oldsmobile made approximately 250 limiteds each of the three years 1910 1911 and 1912. There are I believe 10 existing today, one 1910, one 1912, and 8 1911 models. The Resnick car is a 1912 and lives in L.A. What is surprising is that 3 of the 1911 models are in the L.A. area at this time, all in large collections. I had the pleasure once of riding in the 1910 of Harrahs. Quite a large car, never got to take it out on the highway so it was a rather subdued ride but exciting non the less to be able to ride in one.

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One of the great pictures I have is in front of Meadowbrook Hall in 1997 with the 5 Limiteds together! Interesting as it included the Limousine and the "race car".

The 1908 Limited which is not written about anywhere is for real and is being restored at present. I have the documentation proving its existence and its history direct from Olds Motor Works. The only made two as company cars but there is even a surviving picture. I can not wait until the day it is finished!

CAF, I'd sure like to compare your list with mine!

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This is a very popular thread, isn't it. Seems to evolve, has a life of its own. A beautifully restored Olds Limited was at the Old Car Festival a few years ago after a professional restoration, I think it was owned by Oldsmobile and is presently in the Olds Museum in Lansing, Mi.??? Cars and Parts magazine featured it soon after that.

I recall thinking and telling some friends of mine I could not understand how people could steal a famous work of art. But I could steal that Limited. Brick it up in a room without windows and take it a apart, put it back together, sit in it, polish it, etc. I can now understand art theft.

Regards, Gary

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