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Driving golden era cars in the modern era

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by StraightEight, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. I think I went thru three engines over the time I owned my '69 -- each one cost me about $150 installed. Ah, happy days.
  2. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    My Bug was the same. I would call the part stores and price Brazilian parts, then call a mechanic I new, and he would use German parts for not much more!
  3. The Gentleman

    The Gentleman New in Town

    Man, these cars are dang cool. I'd love to buy one, maybe one day when I have money enough - they are so much nicer and prettier than today's modern cars.

    Dunno if you know about Citroën 2cv, but those are also cars I love, although a bit more recent. My sister used to own one, before selling it away.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  4. Rathdown

    Rathdown Practically Family

    Deux-Chaveaux! a superb little car. We've had several over the years, including a Charleston which I used in Ireland as the backup for our old Rolls-Royce. I used to rent 2CVs from the appropriately named "Two Horse Hire" in London, and once drove one from Lands End to John O'Goats with my wife, our son, and a ton of luggage on board.
  5. They always remind me of Kurt on American Graffiti.

  6. Gregg Axley

    Gregg Axley I'll Lock Up

    He probably didn't have to fill up as much using that car.
    Then again, gas was dirt cheap back then (when the movie was supposedly set).
  7. Story

    Story I'll Lock Up

  8. GHT

    GHT My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I saw a french car in the States, it was at an Art Deco exhibition. Can't remember the manufacturer, but I wouldn't mind betting that there are those on here who can point me in the right direction. Here it is.
  9. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Delahaye, I believe

    Not quite a DeDion-Bouton Motorette, but quite nice enough.
  10. Drove my '72 Ford (not exactly golden era) today and of course on this cold, damp day, the carburetor was not liking the idea of an easy start. Everybody these days immediately thinks the car is problematic. It's just annoying that people don't understand the subtle nuances of having to pump the gas, and feather it once the car's running, and that sometimes they still kill out. I get tired of explaining how the car just needs to warm up.
  11. Big Man

    Big Man My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Explaining about choking a car gets the same blank stare as talking about using a slide rule.
  12. Yup. I was in the Pick 'n Save parking lot with the Squire today, and it was idling too low. Boy, do people think your car is a junker, if you pop the hood and start adjusting your idle with a screwdriver.

  13. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    If your car is in top shape with all original equipment intact and working it will start and run as well as a new fuel injection car. I have tuned up old cars like yours. In addition to the usual plugs, plug wires etc. there are often worn or missing parts like the heat stove on the exhaust, the hot air hose, thermostat valves on the air breather, choke pull off, and automatic choke. A rebuilt carb can work wonders too. Of course this all assumes the basic engine is in good shape with good compression in all cylinders. No special secrets, just put everything back the way the factory had it and you can have that motor eating out of your hand in a few hours. It does not have to cost a lot either, usually 2 or 3 small parts costing $10 or $15 each is all it takes.
  14. Carburetor is rebuilt, the radiator was replaced, as well as the wheel cylinders, brake lines, brake pads, all hoses, lines, plugs, wires, and just about anything shy of a rebuild. The car had sat all winter and had been on the road less than 24 hours. Anything sits, it needs the bugs worked out again. Any car guy with an ounce of knowledge can tell you that.

    I was heading up to the car show after I left the grocery store, and never made it. A guy bought the car from me before I made it out of town.

    They'll never start exactly like a fuel-injected car. Even in the manuals, heck as late as my '87 Caprice, I can say for sure, it says you have to pump the gas when you go to start the car. A fuel-injected car's owner's manual will tell you the exact opposite.
  15. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    You take me too literally. I know you have to set the choke, and that the starting routine is different for a carburetted car. What I mean is the engine will start instantly, idle down smoothly and pull away without bucking or hesitation just like a real car.
  16. skoty

    skoty New in Town

    i only drive old cars! i refuse to drive anything newer than the 60s. iv got a 1933 ford model Y that i drive literally everywhere! if im having any problems with that car i drive my modern car a 1950s Ford Zodiac haha... people think im crazy!! but i cant see the issue?? like has been said if a classic is maintained it will run just as well as a modern car, yeah it may not be as reliable but thats what the toolbox and box of spares in the back is for! people all ways say to me "you can't drive that car as your daily!!" i just reply with "well what do you think they did in the 30's??"
  17. micsteam

    micsteam New in Town

    I'm new here but maybe I can help. I'm a 20 plus year auto mechanic that, even though at my shop I specialize in muscle type cars, I am quite versitile about different eras in automobiles. Let me know, maybe I can help out !!
  18. The classics are real cars, the new ones are the fake, plastic jobs.

    Setting the choke, pumping the gas, etc are the subtle things that people don't understand. That was the point I was making.

    Also, not all of us have the financial means to have our vehicles in like-new condition. For us, the constant tinkering is part of the lifestyle, sorta like the 'built, not bought' people, but with less money.

  19. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    It doesn't have to cost a lot if you do your own work. Last car I tuned up this way was a slant six 1970 Dodge. I had to make a heat stove for the exhaust manifold, get a new flexible pipe to the air filter, a new vacuum valve for the air filter, and an automatic choke spring. All this cost less than $100 including a carburetor kit. It totally transformed the car, from being slightly hard to start, and taking a few minutes to warm up, to starting first turn of the key, hot or cold, and ready to drive right away. It also warmed up quicker and got better mileage.

    All this was after doing a regular tuneup, something older cars require as a matter of course.

    I wouldn't have believed it myself until I tried it but the car was transformed. I always thought smog era cars were prone to drivability problems, not necessarily so if they are in top shape and tuned to manufacturer's specs. Afterwards I kicked myself for putting up with a slightly bad running car for so long, when the fix was so easy and cheap.
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  20. Big Man

    Big Man My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Good point. Part of the fun is "messing with" an older car. I just wish I was a good enough mechanic to do more than just "mess with" my old cars. Should anything beyond simple arise, I have to take it to a mechanic, and that can cost a few bucks for sure.

    I think what a lot (if not most) people either don't know or have forgotten is "back in the day" cars took a lot of routine maintenance to keep them in good running condition. I'm lucky enough to have all my Dad's old tax records from 1949 to the last one he filed in 2007. In those early records, he saved every receipt he had for the year. They are a wealth of information on a lot of things, but for the point of this discussion I'll keep it to car repair.

    During the time of his early tax records, my Dad had a 1949 Chevy, a 1951 Chevy, a 1953 Olds 88, and a 1955 Olds 98. All were very sound automobiles, bought new, and on the upper end of the line for the day. In his old tax records are a ton of receipts from Tux Bowers Motors (where he bought the cars and had them serviced). I don't believe a month went by that there wasn't a receipt for something being done to those cars. Nothing major, but small things like "checking a rattle" or replacing a light. Of course there was the ever present routine maintenance of changing the oil, greasing, tune-ups, etc. My point is, there seemed to always be something to do to keep the car in top running condition. My Dad was a stickler for a good running car, so he may have been a little out of the norm for service, but it did take some work to keep the cars in good shape.

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