Vintage Car Thread - Discussion and Parts Requests

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by FedoraGent, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    It's unfair to say the Americar was the first American car designed from the ground up as an economy car. There were dozens of 1, 2, and 4 cylinder small cars made in America before 1910, the most popular of them was probably the 1 cylinder curved dash Oldsmobile. But there were many others like the Brush and Cartercar.

    It was the Model T that killed them. It was the ultimate economy car, cheap to buy, cheap to run, made with the least possible amount of parts, and if you needed repairs you could get them anywhere and even order parts from Sears Roebuck. Nobody could compete on price and value for money.

    In the twenties there were a number of small cars, just above the Ford in price, that tried to offer a little nicer economy car for a little more money. They knew they could never get down to the Ford price and make a profit but they came close, one being the Whippet but there were others like Star and Chevrolet 490 which cost $490.

    Willys continued making 4 cylinder economy cars even after competitors came out with small 6 cylinder cars like Studebaker Champion and Nash 600. All these companies had the same problem. The giants like Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth mass produced cars so efficiently that a smaller company making a smaller car, had to charge nearly as much for their cars and found it very difficult to get their sales up to an economical level.

    But there was never a time that American car makers did not offer a small economy car. The problem most of the time was getting enough people to buy them.
    vitanola likes this.
  2. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    Europe had a similar fuel shortage, but that was due to the demands of the military caused by two wars. One of the innovative ways around the problem was to use coal. The fuel obtained from coal became known as Coalene, the UK sits on vast reserves of coal so producing Coalene seems like the way to go. Problem was/is the cost of extraction far exceeds that of refining crude oil.
    BobHufford and vitanola like this.
  3. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    New York City
    I'm also guessing that Coalene was not the cleanest burning fuel.
  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    I'm no chemist, nor did I pay much attention in the chemistry class at school, but there are some things that are so patently obvious that even those who, like me are ignorant of the perils of toxic emissions caused by coal, cannot ignore. Look at any paintings that have buildings in 18th century Britain, then look at the same scene in the 19th century, look at the grime that coats the buildings and just to underline that, look at the 20th century copy of the buildings, once chemical fallout had been proven, and see the remarkable effect once a building had been cleaned up.

    As I said, I'm quite the ignoramus when it comes to chemistry, so I googled the effects of coalene, the page that came up scared me witless. Just as an example, mercury is one of the toxic emissions of coal, just one teaspoonful of mercury in a lake that covers 25 acres, makes the fish unsafe to eat. Read it for yourself.
    Fading Fast likes this.
  5. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    Zombie_61 and BobHufford like this.
  6. Talbot

    Talbot One Too Many

    Melbourne Australia
    Great movie. Everyone I know that has driven a 2CV grew to love it.
  7. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

    And they were very easy to maintain at low costs, often worked on these as a kid.
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There's a "pick-a-part" junkyard near here that uses a 2CV mounted on a tall pole as its sign. It's been up that pole for at least 25 years, and it's still in better shape than my 2013 Subaru.

    Meanwhile, I've finally put the Plodge to sleep for another winter, after logging 1851 miles in 2020, most of it hauling staff and equipment back and forth to our ad-hoc drive-in-theatre over the summer. That gives me over 15,000 miles on the rebuilt engine in the eight years I've owned it, for a total mileage of 108,501. This August, it will turn 80 years of age. I hope I've got as much mileage on me whan I reach that point.
  9. Studebaker Driver

    Studebaker Driver One of the Regulars

    This is going to be way too early for most of the denizens here, but after selling one years ago to make a down payment on my first house, I bought another 1914 Ford Model T runabout. It's very solid car, restored from a great original.

    One of the things, though, the gas headlights had been converted to electric light bulbs and this would never do. The taillight had been converted to electricity and I could live with that - the safety of the added brake light feature more than compensates for any loss of old timey-ness. The kerosene lamps on the dash had been left unmolested, but they were unused. I needed only to change the wicks and add kerosene to the fonts and they were in business.

    But the acetylene gas headlights were another matter. they had their original gas burners removed and replaced with electric lights and wired sockets.

    It was easy to sidestep the issue for a while, but eventually I held my nose and jumped in the deep end - I cut all the electric wires and ripped them out by the roots. Now the car had NO headlights. So I found a source for gas hose and replaced it in lieu of the wires. I ran new gas tubing up the frame rail. I sourced calcium carbide crystals and ordered a case. I unscrewed the bulb sockets and replaced them with original gas jets from an old pair of brass headlights I had been hoarding for just such a purpose.

    After everything was in place and my heart pounding, I was ready to try out the de-converted headlights.

    I added the carbide to the carbide generator on the running board and filled the little water tank on top.
    Metered drips of water is dropped on the carbide and the resulting chemical action produces the needed acetylene gas. This is conducted to the burner jets and lit with a match.

    After the air is evacuated from the lines, the gas can be lit. Two little buds of flame popped to life.

    After a few more minutes, the flames from the two holes in the jets joined and spread out into a fan-shape. The acetylene flame is quite bright and it throws a good beam from the big, thick glass mirrors at the back of the headlights.

    In a couple of minutes more, the flames reached their peak brilliance and they were considerably brighter than the electric light bulbs I removed.

    All in all, they are an unqualified success. They are considerably more "fiddly" than just snapping on the switch, but they are period correct and they are just too cool to not use.
    Talbot, vitanola, BobHufford and 2 others like this.
  10. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

    Los Angeles
    Guys in the nuclear power industry used to say that there had been more radiation released into the atmosphere by burning coal than in all the reactor accidents in history. I don't know how true that is but it does give us something else to worry about!

    Freaking awesome!
  11. Studebaker Driver

    Studebaker Driver One of the Regulars

    I hope everyone, not just me, has moments in which you question your judgment if not your sanity.

    Last year I saw a car for sale and thought to myself, "I'd look pretty cute in that!" But the price was out of the question. As it was, the seller is a good friend of mine who was handling the sale for the estate of the deceased owner. He and I exchanged emails with each urging the other one to buy the car to "save" the other from buying it. This went on for a week or so before dying down. A week ago I got an email out of the blue from my friend, "BUY THIS STUPID THING!"

    I really wanted the car, but I need another project like a cat needs two... err... tails. I told him I might trade for it. This went a lot farther than I anticipated; he wanted to know what I was proposing to trade. "A 1925 Lincoln 4-pass sport sedan, body by LeBaron, designed by Raymond Dietrich." I sent him a picture of it.
    He responded positively.

    The Lincoln is a very low mileage car that spent 40 years in a dark basement. It is truly remarkable. It is smooth, fast, powerful - it is incredibly drivable. It flows around town or it charges down the highway like a freight locomotive. It is a brute.

    The car that put me in this state is a 1923 Stanley 20 hp Model 740D 7-pass sedan. It is unrestored, not running, some parts missing, it will be time consuming and expensive to made it road worthy again. The Lincoln is twice the car - no, make that 10 times the car - the Stanley is. It is, of course, a steamer which means it will be hot inside the car in the summer, it will be damp and swampy from the steam. Passengers' clothes will stink. There will be fumes from the burner that will likely give me a headache. It will be slow and its range short. The Lincoln could leave to be driven with confidence from California to Michigan with an hour's notice.

    But steam sings my siren song. As ridiculous a car as the Stanley is (and was when it was new), it is what it is. A Stanley Steamer. Boiler under the hood, two-cylinder engine under the car bolted rigidly to the rear axle. Instead of stepping on the German silver starter pedal and hearing the Lincoln 357 c.i. V8 rumble to life, the Stanley will require a half hour of tedious attention before it will have pressure enough to pull a hat off your head. I love the Lincoln and would love to keep it, but I need to downsize. I have a lifetime collection of old cars (the Lincoln is currently the newest, except for the Subaru) and I have lost my storage, I have until the end of the year to get out. This has slapped me awake and it is forcing me to reduce down to three or four cars. I have the 1913 Stanley Mountain Wagon that is still in sickbay after metal fatigue claimed the life of several components. Two steamers. I so feel I will live to regret this. Here is the culprit:
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    BobHufford and Big Man like this.
  12. 1930artdeco

    1930artdeco Practically Family

    You are preaching to the choir Driver. Just bought a 57 station wagon and it is more of a project than I thought it was. I probably had blinders on to be honest. I hate spending the money to fix it up, but I really enjoy the project aspect of it. It keeps me occupied and 'alive' while I tinker. You have a great car in the Lincoln and Stanley. I personally would stay with the Lincoln, but that is because I know nothing about Stanley's. Good luck, have fun and enjoy the project.

  13. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    Model T.jpg
    MikeKardec summed this up, perfectly.
    scottyrocks likes this.
  14. Big Man

    Big Man My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Nebo, NC

    After a much too long time, today I was able to install a new windscreen on my '27 Bugatti (replica). Installing the windscreen on the passenger side was easy, but figuring out how to do the same on the driver's side will take a bit of work.

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