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Su8overdrive

Whitewall overkill

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If the CCCA's judging is really about historical accuracy, when are we going to see an automatic point deduction for whitewalls on 1946-47 cars?

Meanwhile, what's with all the whitewalls on everything else? Most people with the money and taste for what we term full Classics considered whitewalls tacky. In prewar, big-city showrooms, Packard Twelves, Lincoln Ks and other fine cars, even open models, were often as not displayed with blackwalls.

On the streets of any big city in the nation, perhaps one car in 40 or 50 had whitewalls, regardless of price class.

When you page through the Classic Car quarterly, all you see are whitewalls. It's comical, tacky and historically incorrect.

With elegant, clean designs, whitewalls are a distraction. And on 1946-47 cars, they're incorrect, period. Unless you're restoring your 1946-47 car to be a used car, in which case it should have, instead of 7.00/15 tires, the 8.20/15 replacements that came out in 1948. The '48 Cad limo aside, the only '48 CCCA car which could correctly wear 8.20/15s, black or whitewall, would be a Lincoln Continental.

Let's not kid ourselves. Until the respected CCCA, which sets the judging bar and tone for so many other vintage and old car clubs, addresses this issue, the focus is on vanity and personal taste, or lack thereof, in Club leaders, n o t historical accuracy.

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You raise a good point. Let me explain why your point is so valid. When we formulated our judging rules, the idea of a post war car participating in the Classic Car Club of America, if proposed at all, would have been considered at best laughable. Our NATIONAL HANDBOOK was more specific - down thru the years, the idea of "dilluting" our Club with such cars was described as "tantamount to destroying the purpose of our Club". Over the years, whenever the idea of adding post-war cars to our Club was proposed, surveys by the National Board confirmed the overwhelming majority of our members rejected the idea. Therefore, the idea of taking off points for "authenticity" never developed for cars that were beyond our concern.

In later years, people who wanted to buy, sell, and operate post war cars under the auspices of the Classic Car Club of America correctly recognized the best way to do that, was go on a membership drive. A Club that did very well down thru the years with 1,500 to 2,500 members suddenly expanded to four, five, and now around SIX THOUSAND members. For the past several years, the people who now control the Club have even gone so far as to print under our traditional "National Policy Statements" (some of which I wrote personally !) that these "may no longer represent current Club policy".

I dont think you are being realistic about what the current car club scene is all about. In earlier times, the public was at best disinterested in Classic Car Club events. Our judging rules and events had no conception of the idea of pleasing a crowd. Our criteria, reduced to its simplest terms, was historical accuracy, i.e. is "how closely does the car represent its condition on delivery day as a new car". Of course even then we had to make compromises with what was available to re-condition our cars.

We most certainly DID take points off for "over restoration". It would not have occured to us to have "People's Choice" type awards, because the only people at our events were people interested in historical accuracy.

Of COURSE you are correct that most people during the REAL classic era shunned white walls and wild paint jobs. Anyone who has seen photographs of that era, or knows the actual production figures, knows most cars, especially the more expensive luxury cars of the upper classes, were ordered a solid dark color, typically black. Many of us have seen the old FORTUNE MAGAZINE ads of Packard and other manufacturers, and the wild color combinations. I have probably owned, or worked on, or driven, or monkeyed around with, or seen on the street when they were in service, as many REAL classic era automobiles as anyone who reads these forums. I NEVER saw one painted up like those FORTUNE ads, and I rarely saw white walls. And as you note, the immediate post war era saw NO NEW CARS WITH WHITEWALLS...NONE..ZIP !

But let's be fair. The Classic Car Club Of America has, along with other car groups, changed with the times. If you put on a car show for the public, you have a duty, and they have a right, to expect just that...a SHOW. Of COURSE a brightly colored car with the "shine" of the latest high tech "two" or "three part" paint, with white-walls is going to attract more interest and please more people, than a solid dark colored car restored and equipped the way they REALLY were when new. You can laugh or cry about this, but good manners and a respect for the fact that times have changed, suggests you accept it without making further fuss about it.

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Maybe you should read the article published by Matt Sonfield, that he did several years ago. A in depth study of all makes of classics in the era, and made a chart showing percentages of cars when new that were shipped with white walls. I is a great article. But i think that then as now, people ordered their car the way they wanted it. You did not mention the colored walls sold by cadillac in many diffrent colors in 1932. They ave very neat option, and I have a green one still on a rim. Ed

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Su8OD--I hear you. One vexing thing in classics vs high production cheaper cars is the 'ol "you could have it any way you wanted it" catch-all. Bill Budding's Duesenberg roadster with black tires really stood out when he first brought it around. And yet there were cars right from the factory showroom with whitewalls

I give you exhibit "A"

8196packard_car.jpg

post-42387-143137926293_thumb.jpg

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Su8,

Where'd you get those numbers from? According to the only source I trust, the "Red Book" National Used Car Market Reports, all '42-'48 Continentals should ride on 15x7.00 tires, and the '48 Cadillac 75 rides on 16x7.50 rubber.

Here's why I rely on the Red Books: Some years ago, we bought a set of 15x8.20 tires for a '47 Buick Roadmaster (not a Classic, but bear with me) per the Buick Club Judging Manual. The tires were mounted, and all tightened up, when we discovered that the fender skirts wouldn't fit, and the trunk lid wouldn't close over the upright spare. The BCA Manual was based on info gleaned from the '48-'49 Buick Shop Manual, so it had to apply to '47's, right? <span style="font-style: italic">Wrong</span>!

In a panic, we looked high and low for the problem, but only after consulting the Red Book, were we able to get the right size for '47 Roadmasters...15x7.00. Luckily, the '48 Fleetwood needed new shoes, so the 8.20's were transferred to it, and new, correct tires acquired for for the '47. ('48 & '49 Roadmasters do, indeed, wear 15x8.20's).

Concerned that others would make the same mistake (and not have a spare 60 Special around) we forwarded the facts to the BCA, and they changed the Judging Manual and their specs to reflect the corrected data.

If the interest is truly in authenticity, then <span style="font-style: italic">everyone</span> should carry a cigar box with them to shows, tours, club events that contain about 7 or 8 of these "portable encyclopedias." They cover about seven year's info within each issue, and what's contained is really quite astonishing.

If anyone can contradict my "cigar box reference library," I'll happily acquiesce to their learned proof.

And if you want to do some homework, go to "The Making of Modern Michigan," MSU's Digital Photo Collection at:

http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/results.cfm? (Search for: Packard).

There you'll find the entire Classic Era of Packard press photos, clearly illustrating blackwalls & whitewalls, "back in the day." Start at about page 60 and work your way up to postwar cars; you'll find that you're right, and you're wrong.

Respectfully,

TG

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

post-43799-143137926305_thumb.jpg

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"Sherman, set the Way Back Machine" to 1996, to the Auto 100 Parade and Celebration in Detroit. Few cars are as drop-dead gorgeous as a Reo Royale, penned by the renowned Amos Northup. This example has haunted me ever since that day, and thanks to this thread, I now know why. It doesn't have whitewall tires; imagine that.

Some wars/battles can be won, others are a lost cause; just ask the folks at Kleenex, Xerox, and Kotex. Toss in the white flag on the Classic versus classic car skirmish, 'cause its today's version of the <span style="font-style: italic">Charge of the Light Brigade</span>. As late as 15 years ago, the battle may have been won, but the scales have tipped too far in the other direction, much to the detriment of the lexicon.

There's no blame to be allayed here, just the fact that we'll forever be assulted with classic Tri-5 Chevys and Mustangs. There are, in hearts and minds, a small but knowing cadre of like-minded individuals for whom the term Classic Car can mean only one thing. The question is, are they going to be perceived as expert aesthetes

or as elitist diletantes?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the energy should be focused.

TG

8196Reo_Royal-med.jpg

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

Classic Car-owner aspirant.

Drove this Buick from SC to Detroit

just to be in the Parade, and to get the

participant-only porcelain enamel license plate.

post-43799-143137926313_thumb.jpg

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c'mon - lets be honest. People today LIKE the words "antique" and "classic". People like these words because our culture has changed - as we've moved away from a manufacturing culture, where "precision of speech" had value, and gone downward towards being a third world country where educational standards dont matter, because the manufacturing jobs arent around any more, why BOTHER with accuracy.

Of COURSE the words "classic" and "antique" are now tossed about with NO interest or concern for their meaning, other than the people who use them, have something to sell. Some months ago, I noted when I got off the freeway to get a bite, I had some "classic coke" with my "classic chicken". A "Caprice Classic" was parked outside, near the "Classic Upholstery" shop (which was next door to "Classic Plumbing".

Hey, if a guy has a used Chevrolet and wants to call it a "classic"...this IS a free country - after all, I just the other month I rented a NEW Chevrolet (believe it was a re-badged Toyota) that had the word "CLASSIC" on the trunk deck-lid.

Getting back to the question in the original "post" - the guy is RIGHT. New white walls were NOT available to a new car purchaser right after World War Two. But I have yet to see a post-war car that is now accepted by the Classic Car Club Of America without them.

Hell..I LIKE white-walls. Sure, my own NON CLASSIC (please dont call my '38 Packard V-12 a "classic" any more - please call it what it is..an old used car..!) (let the guys with the used Plymouths and Fords have the word "classic" now...) did NOT come with white-walls. Yes..a few of them did. But as we've noted in other discussions, the pre war era was a VERY conservative one. And as the 1930's drew to a close, car colors became even more somber. SOME did order their cars "flashy" with white walls and colors other than black, dark green, or dark blue. Most did not.

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Around 1946, my Uncle came home from the Pacific and pulled the 1936 Ford coupe w/ rumble seat, out of the garage, cleaned it up and headed out to drive it. When cleaning it, he realized the tires were too worn out and went to see if he could get white walls for it. No deal. GrandDad could have told him that... he had black walls on all his cars. WWs were too picky... you had to bleach and clean and scrup to get them to look good. Not something my Grandfather would be caught dead doing.

As it turned out, WW's were not available but you could get new BWs with a white applique to make them WWs. He bought the tires and the appliques and headed home. Washed the car, polished it to a fair thee well and then, after carefully drying the tires, applied the appliques. It was a long, painful process but eventually worked. The problem arose when they got very dirty and then started to peel. He would glue them on and white wash them, whatever it took... cause that little honey and its blown out flathead V-8 was going to have WWs.

1936 Ford coupe w/ rumble seat. Rare

1936 Ford coupe w/ rumble seat and black wall tires w/ white appliques - classic. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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TG57-I was at the Detroit 100th parade/show, I helped take 10 cars in the parade. Jay Leno was there, and was very friendly, just a guy who loves cars, at a great show.

I rode in the Parade in the rumble seat of a '30 Packard roadster. That was one for the books--so many great cars, the parade put some motion in it, it wasn't all people sitting behind their cars on lawn chairs. We all could have done without the business of driving the whole procession through the colliseum building for the local TV station--that bottlenecked the whole thing and tested a lot of cooling systems.

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mrp,

You're right, that was one for the books. My favorite was this '37 Lincoln Convertible Sedan that I shot in the huge lineup, waiting for the parade to begin. All dignified and elegant. Later that afternoon, while cruising down Woodward, what screams past but that same Model K Lincoln LeBaron, all smiles and hands waiving! Very cool, just as it should be.

TG

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

post-43799-143137926323_thumb.jpg

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thanks for posting the photos - great ! But...be suspicious. LOOK CLOSELY at that '34 Packard V-12. It has 1933 front door WINDOW VENTILATORS. That's a clue we are looking at "pre production car - a "factory promo" photo - not a car that was actually ordered and delivered !

Of COURSE the factory photos often show white-walls. They wanted the cars to look glamorous.

But again, MOST cars were delivered in those MUCH MORE CONSERVATIVE TIMES with black walls and dark somber paint jobs.

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mrp,

6686L knows his Packards; if there's any doubt, go to:

http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/imagedisplay.cfm?i=EB01d739

http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/imagedisplay.cfm?i=EB01d740

click on "View Full Description" and learn something about prototypes.

Then, for a production version of Model 1108, Body type 734, go to:

http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/imagedisplay.cfm?i=EB01d729

While you're at that excellent site, search for any year Packard that suits your fancy. You'll be amazed at what you'll find! A personal fave is the 1931 840 Dietrich Sedan, taken in the parking lot at Harrah's circa 1964...reminds me of our family trip there in '68.

TG

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

(Just for fun, look up 1946 Packard. Hmm, some whitewalls, some not).

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Interesting--the Image of the '34 I posted is an 8x10 glossy I bought at the Detroit public library "excess sale" in about 1982-3, I have had these photos squirrelled away since then. the first msu photo (which all came from the NAHC) is the same car, basically the same shot, but with black tires. My picture looks a tad over-exposed compared to the one retained in the collection. I have more that I bought that day. Now with the internet (and our fine hosts at the AACA) and scanners we can all share these things with each other.

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Guest BillP

About that 33-34 Packard sedan. In order for dealers to clear out stock before the new model year, Packard Motor Car Company offered a conversion kit to update '33's to the appearance of '34's. Among other things, this included the distinctive turned-down-in-front fenders of the '34.

The famous Dietrich designed Car of the Dome is a 33 that underwent this conversion in the middle of the night during a show, the schedule of which fell across model year change time.

Thus, it was not uncommon to find converted 33's (complete with the poorly designed vent windows) on the road. I presume that in those more casual times, they were even registered as '34's.

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Details, <span style="font-style: italic">details</span> mrp,

The subtle diffrences twixt the two photos reveal more than just WW vesus BW; note that in the MSU pic, the car has an inside rear view mirror. Also, the angle is ever-so-slightly different, the tire sidewalls aren't the same. That mule sure got its share of camera time!

How great to have been at that DPL sale 25 years ago. You can bet your bippy that such a sale wouldn't take place today. Have you seen the MSU photo of the Model 1108 leaving the Packard Proving Grounds? I've already made up my want list of pix by going thru the site, page-by-page, image-by-image. Woe that the rest of us will have to settle for high-res scans rather than the real 8x10 deal.

TG

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

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For the image of the '31 Packard 840 Dietrich All-weather Sport Sedan, go to:http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/imagedisplay.cfm?i=EB01d569

8196Dietrich_31-med.jpg

Compare it to the attached article from <span style="font-style: italic">Autobody</span>, November 1930, covering the autos from the 1931 Chicago Salon. That's from the <span style="font-style: italic">excellent</span> Book, "The Golden Age of the Luxury Car", published in 1980 by Dover Books, ISBN 0-486-23984-5.

And if you <span style="font-style: italic">really</span> want to do some backflips, go to www.coachbuilt.com

and contribute an image or backstory to their Herculean effort; an encyclopedia of American coachbuilt cars. Talk about something whose time has come!

TG

435461-57BuickStonehenge2.jpg

post-43799-143137926335_thumb.jpg

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Just fyi, that Dietrich sport sedan is now owned by the Nethercutt collection, in the same condition in which it was bought at the Harrah sale in 1987(?). It is painted in two sickly shades of baby blue. Would love to see that car in period colors. It is better looking than the car of the dome, IMO, if/when painted correctly.

In regards to white sidewalls, if I'm not mistaken, I believe the 1940 Series 180s were delivered standard with double-side white sidewall tires... though you still had the choice of ordering black if you wanted. When I opened my spare tire covers, I found two original double-side white underneath.

I can't wait to wear out the tires on my 1940 so that I can put blacks on it. I love plain-Jane. No extra lights up front, no spot lights, in fact, I've already removed the standard cormorant hood ornament and put the plain bale on it. It looks pretty sleek.

Tom...

We'll be riding "stealth" to the AACA show in Moline. Don't forget to mark your calendar!! <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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West,provided I get a few things completed, I'll see you in South Bend with my blackwalls and "spats."

(But I confess to liking the donut chaser)

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You're right, that Packard sold at the 1984 Harrah auction for well over $100,000 which was a ton of money at that time for a closed car like that. That picture was taken at Harrah's actually - remember the train tracks ran right past the one building.

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