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What is this thing worth?



  • texasestexases Posts: 7,650
    "They are only original once. "

    How much will that Chip Foose resto-rod with the two-tone paint and the 20" wheels be worth in 10 years? Not so much...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    At the car shows, I'll walk by the modified cars. Although I appreciate the work and expense that went into them, they don't appeal to me.

    I know most of the others don't agree with me here but I think a 1956 Chevy should be a 1956 Chevy. It sould have drum brakes and a 265 engine. It shouldn't have a 383 "Stroker" engine or even "vintage air".

    Please don't hang a hokey continental kit on it or fender skirts.

    I never saw "blue dot" tailights on one as a kid and they do nothing for me now.

    I don't care if all of the numbers match and I think modern seat belts and a battery disconnect are a good thing and I don't care if it has a "tar top" battery or the spring type hose clamps etc.

    I just want it to look like they did in my youth.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    Do you prefer bias ply tires? Some modern radials in a reasonable size are so much nicer.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 40,924
    I am the same way. I really appreciate untouched original cars. The paint may not be so perfect and it could have a bump here and there - but it is as it was, and it is real. I know more and more shows have preservation classes, so this idea must be more popular. Not to mention it is simply more fiscally responsible than doing some extreme restoration.

    I also don't have a problem with some modern driveability updates such as modern tires (they can look old) and electronic ignitions.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    I prefer bias ply tires but I suppose a set of radials that look original are OK.

    The car doesn't need a modern electronic ignition syster or yellow spark pug wires either. Points and condenser still work fine. besides, I can "load" the old condensor and hand it to someone.

    Our host knows what I'm talking about. :)

    Oh, and if it's an old Chevy with a 6 cylinder, it's just fine if it has a split manifold and a sweet set of Smittys on it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 40,924
    I am speaking only from MB experience. I know tires are now reproduced that are very good copies of originals. And I just know from my car, the points are really getting hard to find, and they can be sensitive, especially to the weather car got electronic ignition nearly 7 years ago, and I haven't had a need to touch it yet.
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,650
    I guess I'm in the middle on this. I have no problem with someone dumping a lot of money into a rusted out shell, 6 or V8, I just don't put the resulting resto rod in the same category as a well-maintained survivor. And as long as the modifications can be reversed, I have no problem with radials and electronic ignitions on those survivors to make day-to-day driving easier.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    It rather depends on what you intend on doing with the car. If you're going to drive it and enjoy it and take the family out in it, a 50s American car really needs better brakes, steering and mechanical upgrades.

    Some 50s domestic cars are truly awful to drive in stock form. And on the freeway, you'll never stop in time to avoid rear-ending someone.

    So if you plan to motor in it any distance, you have to do something. The foreign jobbies are actually pretty competent (most of them) for most modern roads, unless you get into the big heavy lumps like Jaguar Mark VIIs and other blivets like that.

    60s American cars handle "ok". They're just huge is the problem and weigh a lot, so you can't be too frisky.

    My view is that unless the car is rare--it's your car, do what you want to it. A '54 Chevy 4-door is not going to be a piece of history.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    If I still had my wonderful 54 Chevy (Bel Air 2 door Powerglide) I would keep it as stock as it was. I woudn't hesitate taking ion the freeway, BUT, I would make sure the brakes were in top shape and well adjusted. I would make sure my steering conponents were in good condition.

    And I leave lots of room between me and the car ahead of me. I would stay in the right hand lane and not exceed the speed limit.

    I know it would never be a peice of history, but a 54 Chevy just seems to represent all that was America in those years.

    I would get personalized plates.." IKE'S ERA"
  • fintailfintail Posts: 40,924
    Where on the other my fintail, which has dual circuit discs, radial tires, decent handling (even with the tamed swing axle) I will cruise at 75-80 on the highway and not be terribly worried - maybe only for the lap belts.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    There are many older domestic cars that are worth more as rods than as factory stock.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    And they have thier fans. I have no problem with that and I don't think these cars have been ruined forever.

    They just don't appeal to me.
  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    I agree and disagree with some observations. 50's cars were certainly lacking, by today's standards, with drum brakes, unsophisticated suspension systems - coils front and leaf rear - that also happened to carry over into the pony cars of the 60's and 70's too, and recirculating ball steering.. Does that make them inherently unsafe? No. They are perfectly safe to take the family out in - like they were then. As safe as today? No. But using using the logic that the 50's cars were unsafe, and the speed limits then were 65 on the NYS Thruway for example, should the speed limit now be 80+ because of fully independent suspensions, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering radial tires, and airbags? And 60's American cars? Well, my father's '61 Pontiac Ventura handled very well, the mid 60's Chryslers (Fury , Polara) handled well, the '64 Pontiac GTO went head to head with a Ferrari GTO in C&D, and basically stock cars raced in Trans Am races initially - the '67 Z28 and '69 Boss 302 being bilt in order to homologate them for racing. Full size Chevies with the heavy duty, sports or the F41 suspension were very good handling full size cars - and I am sure other full size Ford and Chrysler cars had similar suspension options. Not everyone wants or needs a car that handles and rides like a sports car just to go to work and the grocery store. And the '65 Corvair Corsa was a phenomenal handling car with oversize drum brakes from the Chevelle (reversed front/rear) with which I shamed many an MGB, TR4, Sunbeam Alpine, other sports cars of similar caliber. Have full size cars been improved since then? Yes, just like Mercedes and VW have improved by dropping the swing axle suspension so criticized on the early Corvairs.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    I don't mind the mild upgrades and even some of the heavy customs, but I am glad there are hardliners like you out there. Otherwise we might eventually end up without any original cars.
  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    I still remember my father's '55 Chevy Bel Air 2 door sedan with the 265 V8 - turquoise blue with white top. We traveled on the NYS Thruway at 65 MPH (speed limit) in that car. Were the brakes, suspension and steering comparable to today's standards? Of course not. Was the car "unsafe" - - sure if driven imprudently, as is ANY car - even today's. If the car were driven within its liimits and for its intended purpose - a family sedan - go visit relatives, to the grocery store, to work, using proper judgment for braking distances like you still have to today regardless of what you are driving, it was a perfectly safe vehicle. Did padded dashes, seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, collapsing steering columns, crush zones, etc. make cars safer? Of course. My then 45 year old parents were hit head on in their '66 Bonneville Convertible on Central Ave. in Albany, NY by a guy drag racing from the other direction who lost control. They were injured, thankfully not badly, and the car totaled. Just recently my now 81 year old parents were broadsided in their 2008 Camry Hybrid - and not a scratch. So yes many of today's cars are have better brakes, steering, more sophisticated suspension systems, and are engineered for the cars to absorb impact and the passengers kept safe within a non-crushable space, further cocooned with air bags galore so when the car IS hit the interior is like being inside a marshmallow.

    I agree with you about driving the '54 Chevy. Do it wisely, don't exceed the car's capabilities, and you will be fine. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    Since I get to drive quite a few 50s and 60s cars in my work, perhaps I am sensitive to their limitations. Their competence varies, but with many 50s cars, you'd have to drive so cautiously as to be a real hazard on a modern freeway.

    Sure, as long as the modifications are not irreversible, I'd have no problem modifying any car, rare or not. You can always change them back.

    You can't save everything. Most old cars are not worth saving in their original form. We have all the cars in all the museums we will ever need so as to remember what a '54 Chevy looked like. As well as all the stagecoaches, buggies, farm equipment and suits of armor we need.

    If a person wants to spend $50,000 restoring a '51 Packard 4-door sedan, that's their business---go have fun---but don't act hurt and disappointed when a) nobody notices it and b) you are offered $6,000 for it. You can't have it both ways.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 7,650
    "but with many 50s cars, you'd have to drive so cautiously as to be a real hazard on a modern freeway."

    The biggest problem - brakes. Sure, a '55 can stop as well as it ever did, but now everyone around you has vastly superior brakes, and are used to it. The car in front nails his, you can't, uh-oh :sick:
  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    "'d have to drive so cautiously as to be a real hazard on a modern freeway."

    So true! :) There is no question or argument - thank God we have come a long way. Remember vacuum operated windshield wipers! The faster you went the slower they moved! Brakes were horrible - but the worst car I ever drove for braking was my father's 1967 Eldorado - front wheel drive, DRUM brakes, 5500 pounds EMPTY. Want a real thrill - try stopping that thing in an emergency stop! The '68 had front discs. GM engineering never made sense to me - they put the '65 Chevelle brakes (reversed front/rear) in the Corvair giving it pretty decent stopping power for its time, 4 wheel discs in the Corvette in '65, but put a 5500 pound front wheel drive Cadillac(!?) on the street without discs???!!!! Why??? :confuse: That car, with a Pinto in front of it, would be a recipe for disaster!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    Sometimes when I drive the older cars, I forget how clumsy they are on twisty roads, and I really have to slow down (instead of doing a familiar turn at 50 mph I have to do it at 25), and man, the cars behind really pile up on you.

    Also brake fade is treacherous when you forget to "nurse" them, say in the hills of San Francisco. You can lose brakes on a 50s car (snap!) just like that and go cruisin' right through an intersection.

    But if you can nurse 'em through the turns and really soft-pedal the brakes, you can get by all right in a 50s car.

    It's best to drive them in convoy on tours, on less-traveled roads and with a support vehicle.

    There's no reason why you can't take a well-maintained 50s car all across the country--it's just going to take you a while.

    This is why (to sorta get back on topic) the interest in old cars has shifted to a) the 60s cars and b) modifying the 50s cars.

    People nowadays want to DRIVE and ENJOY their cars, and the 50s just doesn't cut it in stock form.

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  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    While I think you can still drive a stock '50's car and enjoy it for what it is, as long as you stay within its limits, your remarks are otherwise well stated. A nice relaxing drive in the country in a '53 Buick Skylark, '57 Eldorado Biarritz, '57 Chevy Bel Air, or '57 DeSoto Convertible with the top down, temp in the 70's, in no hurry can be very cathartic.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    Exactly. If I buy another 1954 Chevy I probably wouldn't even take it on the freeway especially in heavy traffic.

    Once when I was at an Army Summer Camp at Fort Chronkhite, a bunch of us piled in a 1959 Chevy Station Wagon and drove all through San Francisco.

    After decending several STEEP hills, the brakes overheated and faded to the point that we slid through a red light. Luckilly the coast was clear but it scared the hell out of us.

    For those who don't know, San Francisco has some hills so steep that the sidewalks have stairs and railings!

    Today, I would know better and I wouldn't have pushed that old Chevy past it's limits. as long as you don't do that, you'll be fine.
  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    Re: San Francisco driving

    Stopped at a stop sign in Pacific Heights in our 1998 Mercury Marquis rental 4 door sedan. The hill was so steep and the hood so long, I could not see over it whether the way was clear! You have to experience it to believe it, though the race scense and camera work in Bullitt do a pretty good job. Coudn't even see over the hood of that Mustang sometimes! Could not imagine drum brakes there.

    I have experienced disc brake fade with only one car - the '68 Camaro. Was in a rally and got lost - had to make up time and really worked the car hard - even those dual piston front brakes heated up enough to fade on me. At least they did not get flooded with water the way the old drum brakes did when you went through a deep enough puddle.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    I was once driving through San Francisco when I came to an intersection with that had a sign that said " HILL". I thought, what the heck, this whole city is nothing but hills?

    As I started to decend this hill, I realized this was the Mother Superior of all hills!

    This was a HILL like I had never seen in my life!

    Maybe the same hill you went down? I can't remember where in The City that hill was but it was something else!

    Another time, I was driving up a very steep hill in my brand new Toyota Celica when I noticed there were street car tracks! I hoped I didn't run into one going down the hill but, sure enough, I heard the familiar bells!

    In case anyone doesn't know, those things can't stop!

    I had to throw the Celica in reverse and get out of there FAST!

    Try backing down a steep, narrow hill with cars on both sides!

    Luckilly, there was a small alley I was able to back into before the trolly clanged past me! I was sweating!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,730
    There is the famous story oft told in San Francisco about the cable car banging its bell furiously for a car in front to get out of the way, and the driver casually lowered the window and attempted to wave the cable car around.

    Actually the cable cars CAN stop really well, but that usually dumps all the passengers into the street, so they don't do that.

    I once had to drive an old Bugatti through San Francisco with CABLE brakes. Luckily I knew the city well and went only on the flats.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    "Wave the cable car around"...Now THAT is funny!

    I wonder how they managed in the days of the Model A's?
  • ljgbjgljgbjg Posts: 374
    I was stopped facing uphill. The car was literally pointing at the sky - that was all I could see out the windshield, the angle was so steep!

    Well, back to subject. We got way off!
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,650
    "I wonder how they managed in the days of the Model A's? "

    You might be surprised at what some of those old cars could handle - rutted, rough roads were often the only roads, and they had pretty low gearing to deal with it.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,464
    I had a Model A.

    Totally original and unrestored.

    Mine actually stopped fairly well. If I slammed on the brakes one or two of the wheels would actually lock up and skid. Of course, 40 MPH was about it.

    They were geared very low. I have no isea what the rear end ratio was.

    I suppose people just put them in low gear and creeped down those steep hills.

    In a Model A, it doesn't take much of an accident to get the occupants killed.
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,650
    The movies of the Model Ts on the dirt (mud) roads are good to watch. I grew up with a 1911 Regal, family went on tours frequently, some of my best memories.
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