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I want a 1930s driver - is that impractical?

78rpm78rpm Member Posts: 2
Having just wrecked my beautiful 1990 Cutlass sierra yesterday, I am now in the market for a new' car. I could go with another generic rental company cast-off (the Oldsmobile served me well), or I could go for something fun.

I live in Houston, so there aren't many hills to contend with. I seldom drive downtown, so I don't need to hit the interstate very often. On average, I would say I drive 10K miles a year ax. I can live without an air-conditioned, and as long as I keep out of floods, rust shouldn't be a problem.

THE QUESTION:

Am I crazy in considering a Model A or similar vehicle to meet my transportation needs? It would sit in my driveway, since the garage is full. Would I face frequent servicing and maintenance issues? Are parts readily and cheaply available? Is there a risk to parking the car in the Walmart parking lot? (Model As didn't make the top 10 list for auto thefts.)

I've never owned a classic before, so any advice would be appreciated!
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Comments

  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Ford A Models were produced according to Henry's assembly line philosophy: Crank out as many as we can as fast as we can! So there are a lot out there, as far as cars from that era go, which means plenty of parts. And considering it has 1930's technology, then it rivals even the VW bug as far as automotive simplicity goes. You'll be giving up a lot of creature comforts, and you might want to upgrade the brakes, but I think an A Model would make a pretty good daily driver as far as a classic car goes. Think about this, what did people use for daily drivers in the 1930's? It worked for them, it should work now, so long as you can avoid I-10 like you say you can.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Well,

    Iguess it would have to be something like a Model A simply for the availability of parts.

    Understand that these cars have a heck of a time keeping up with modern traffic. ModelAs are very slow by modern standards. We're talking 0-60 in, what, 35 seconds if that?

    Mechanical, cable-activated non-hydraulic brakes..etc...

    Safety features? Ha!

    There some cars from the 30s that are quite capable of keeping up with modern traffic. However, the onesthat I can think of are all quite rare and valuable (Supercharged Cord, Duesenberg SJ, BMW 328, Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, Certain Cadillacs...etc..)

    I'd look a lot more carefully at a 50s or 60s 4-door sedan...

    Bill
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    I heard that the Model A was fine around 35-45 mph, but wasn't capable of much more. Another thing to consider is that, while mechanically simple, that doesn't mean they're low-maintenance. Just to even start the thing, don't you have to set the choke and spark manually? I'm sure there were other things, too, that we just take for granted in more modern cars.

    I also heard that if you got 30,000 miles out of an engine before a rebuild, consider yourself lucky. My grandfather had a Model A when he was a teenager, a 2-door sedan, I think he said it was. I know he flipped it over once, and it held up quite well. In fact, I think he was actually able to upright it himself!
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Yea, my great Aunt Et flipped a Model A delivering papers (it was her personal vehicle), got it upright herself and drove it home. They still have that thing in their basement...why is it that the people back then survived accidents without any safety features, yet people freak out if they don't have 6 airbags and a racing harness today?
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • blarg1blarg1 Member Posts: 59
    i think the v-8 is the way to go. the 4 cylinder only made 30 some hp. if you wanted an original car. keeping up in traffic is sometimes difficult in my 90 hp protege its a little pokey off the line with the a/c running...

    im sure there are some cool looking kit cars with modern parts, like power brakes power steering and reliable engines to propel you along life's highway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think, to answer your question, yes you are crazy to consider a Model A as a daily driver in the modern world. However, it is a charming thought, and I don't mean to be critical of the basic idea. But to make a Model A practical for modern day Houston would require basically turning it into something else. So why not just buy the something else to begin with?

    For the modern world, you need a minimum of:

    Decent brakes
    Decent suspension & steering
    Reasonable horsepower
    Good parts supply
    Reasonable reliability

    As you can see, the Model A can only provide one or two of these, and you need all 5. To get all 5, you'd almost have to consider a 50s/60s GM, or a 60s Ford or Mopar product.

    Having driven many Model As, and even being a very intrepid and tolerant driver when it comes to classics, I would never consider an A for my daily car--but it makes an excellent Sunday putter. My favorite is the 4-door town sedan.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I had a Model A.

    It was used strictly as a pleasure sunday driver. Believe me, that is all they are good for! 40 MPH is about it. They are crude and they can't stop either.

    If you ever get hit, you are probably dead.

    Still...lots of fun but NOT as sole transportation!
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    I'd go for a pre-1948 Chevrolet truck. It always seemed to me that early pickups are of superior construction to early cars. In addition there's lots of aftermarket stuff for practical (ie non-hotrod) modernization.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Also charming vehicles, but also pretty unrealistic for everyday use. The Chevy 216 is a splash lubricated engine (that is, little dippers on the con rods pick up oil and throw it toward the top of the engine), and oil pressure is pretty minimal. One good run on a freeway on a hot day should do that engine in for good....KABOOM!

    Some people improve the old GM trucks, too, with the better 235 or even 230 Chevy Six, or a V8 transplant, power steering, different differential, updated brakes, etc.

    I like these old trucks...my favorite is early 50s with a 235 engine and conversion to 12 volt electrics....no one would ever notice!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...a 1952 or '53 or so GMC pickup truck was a really nice looking beast. Had kind of a classy look to it, while most other pickups just had a cheap, utilitarian look to 'em.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    the more modern 6 of course (Patrick's sells a kit to make them an easy fit, perhaps just a short water pump?). Quick article reference:


    http://www.chevrolet.com.au/articles/engine_swap.htm


    Gotta love the web.


    Seems to me they also sell a higher geared ring and pinion, air conditioning, and a Saginaw four-speed kit. I like the idea of making older trucks easier to live with, without succumbing to the full blown hotrodder universe.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Surprisingly these actually held up pretty good. Tehy ran with about 14 pounds of oil pressure.

    Somehow, it was possible to machine the rods and install insert bearings. Sadly, the shops and old timers who knew how to do this as well as file and shim the old style bearnings are probably all gone by now.

    But...yeah, the 235's were MUCH better engines that could take a lot of abuse.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My daily driver for several months was a '54 6-window Chevy pick up. Minerva sure had character but it's hard to see her as daily transportation. I guess if I had to I'd put in a hot-rodded Jimmy 302, hydro and AC. A real suspension, steering and brakes wouldn't hurt either.

    Under the heading "some folks have more money than sense"...a few months ago I ran across one of these with a built small block and AT, lowered and painted red. Even I could tell it was pretty crude. Some local people had bought it sight unseen in Montana (Californians have to go to Montana to find good iron?) and had it shipped down as a surprise--and how--for their son when he turned 16.

    Yes he would have been surprised. In this area your average teenager lusts after a Bimmer, not Li'l Abner's dream machine and to top it off they had no idea it was a hot rod.

    They brought this piece of work to their mechanic who suggested it would probably end up upside down at the gentle hands of a 16-year-old male driver.

    So they sold the truck and bought him a Bimmer, adding years to his life and dodging the process of natural selection.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    I know a guy that has a 53 or 54 chevy 3/4 ton. He put a 5 speed od from a late model p/u in it. It bolts right up to the old 6 cyl.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Maybe he means with an adapter plate...I can't imagine bell housings from modern cars bolting up to an old Chevy 6...and a different pilot bushing in the crank end too.

    Oh, I think modern machine shops are more than capable of doing whatever you want to a Chevy 216, including substituting inserts for babbit bearings. The "old timers" did some pretty crude stuff because they were working on pretty crude pieces of iron. But for precision and finesse, a modern shop could do wonders (if you are willing to pay!). This is one reason why there are some 1 million Model A Fords still on the road. Modern machining, metallurgy, fuels and lubricants.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    The noisy Chev was a healthy Chev. Due to the tappet adjustments of .006 intake and .013 exhaust. JC Whitney sold an "oil soaker" with rivets that fit over the valve train. It helped, but never as quiet as the 235 with HL. Life magazine's ads for the car mentioned the "Turret Top", Vacuumatic Transmission, & it was the firs year with the 3 on the tree. After installing a spring on the tranny cables, it would shift to 3rd by itself. If we wanted more MPG, we'd disconnect the vacuum WS wipers. Factory air was the cowl vent. You could open a beer on the bumper & drink it in the shade, sitting on the running boards. Power steering was by Armstrong. Did I mention it was my first car?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    And now we all want the shifter BACK on the floor!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...throw a Chevy smallblock into it! He had an old Willys Jeep with a 350, a Model A (I think it was a sedan-delivery) with a 350 in it, and I don't think he EVER owned a '55-57 Chevy without a 350!

    My great-uncle gave him a rusted hulk of a '74 Impala that still had a good 400 sb, and he yanked that out and threw it in something else!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, as long as he upgrades the brakes and suspension for all that power--otherwise, it's just one scary thing to drive.
  • 78rpm78rpm Member Posts: 2
    OK, you guys have convinced me - driving a Model A around Houston on a regular basis is not such a great idea. My wife was right, so now I'm shopping for a Camry.

    Appreciate the input!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Wow! That's a big swing! You don't have to go that far ;-). You could always find yourself a nice 59 El Dorado or something.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...get a Dart, Valiant, Falcon, or Chevy II. Or a Rambler!
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Heck, a lot of classic cars are fully capable of daily use.

    Take as an example: Guy I know from the weekly cruises here in Orlando bought a beautiful 57 Chevy Bel-Air 4-door sedan. 283 4bbl, Powerglide, power steering, brakes..etc.. Nice car. Larkspur Blue/India Ivory (Lt Turquoise/White) with matchinginterior.

    Paid like $9,500 or so for it. Another $1,200 or so for AC.. ANother $900 or so for a decent radio and CD CHanger and speakers...

    I could live with a car like that...

    Bill
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Big difference from 1930s cars, of course. Well, actually, a 1957 isn't very different in technology from a 1930s car, but it way more refined. Having enough power and easier steering makes a world of difference. Sure, you could use a 1957 Chevy everyday no problem as long as you don't try and get frisky with it. Some folks need to get used to old drum brakes. But certainly modern tires would help a lot, as would modern shocks and maybe a good stout swaybar.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Too many modifications and it isn't a '57 Chevy anymore.

    Granted, these updates may make for a more drivable car but they sure detract from the originality of it.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Somewhere along the line I had a feeling we were doing this more for our benefit than 78rpm's. That's okay, it's a great topic.

    I'm more on Isell's side--after all, why have an old car unless the driving experience is at least somewhat "of the period"?--but even originality can be a moving target.

    There were significant differences in ride and handling between tri-year Chevies at least when they were new. The '57 was more biased toward ride quality than the '55-56 but after almost 50 years of wear and owner modifications I doubt that most "stock" tri-year Chevies ride and handle like the day they left the factory.

    There were 8 different front spring rates for '55-57 Chevies. While that doesn't mean a Chevy buyer could choose from 8 different suspensions, I know that Chevy offered a taxi or police package to the public that had stiffer suspension and better brakes. Recreating this package or something close to it might offer a good compromise between originality and better performance.

    There's also the possibility of period modifications. In '57 Chevy put out a pamphlet on how to turn your Chevy into a stock car, complete with factory part numbers. In 1971 I went down to my local Chevy dealer and with the help of a friendly parts man and "Bill Carroll's Chevrolet V8 Performance Guide" bought four HD springs and what I think is called a Panhard rod for my '61 Chevy.

    Back in the early '60s there was a mint black '57 Nomad usually parked in a driveway in my neighborhood. Actually it was nothing more than a very clean used car in those days, but I'd go out of my way to ride my bike past it. I think if there's one American sedan I'd commit larceny to own it's probably that one.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Who cares about originality? If you're using the car for a daily driver, and don't butcher it up doing drag-car modifications, nobody's gonna stop you on the street, look under the car, and then lambast you for not having a "real" 57 Chevy cause you changed the suspension. They're just going to see a cool car, and give you a thumbs-up or something and say they like the car. Of course, some people enjoy putting cars in concourse competitions, but they (usually) don't drive those vehicles. Since it's a daily driver, though, why not make a few changes to make the car more livable?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Newer cars (like newer houses) are much more livable and obviously an old car that's been updated is going to be a much better daily driver. I like seeing older cars on the road and sometimes wish I could trade places with their drivers for a few minutes but that doesn't make me want to give up a 2001 for a 1957.

    On the other hand, if you want a car that has the refinement and reliability of a Camry, why not buy a Camry? Why turn a '57 Chevy into a Camry? Why not make minor improvements that still let you appreciate the original driving experience (warts and all). That's as much a part of the car as the styling and nostalgia factor.

    I guess it depends at least partly on the owner's situation. If a '57 was my daily driver then I'd want to bring it into this century. If it was my week-end car I'd leave it mostly original so I could appreciate the contrast with the very nice appliance I'm driving now.

    It also depends on the car. I think early Falcon coupes are pretty sharp but I had a full dose of original Falcon-ness and it's not something I'd want to repeat. On the other hand, I had a '57 Buick that was a competent driver (at least by my standards) although it sure wasn't a 3-series BMW let alone a Camry.

    And it depends on the needs and expectations of the owner. That's why there's no right or wrong answer.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Still, I hate to see a nice old car "Mickey Moused" up because disc brakes and a different engine will make it more drivable.

    But, that's me...
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Does a hotrod version of an old car = Mickey Mouse
    while bone stock != Mickey Mouse?

    I'd think on a '55 Chevy you'd at least want an oil filter.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    "if you want a car that has the refinement and reliability of a Camry, why not buy a Camry? Why turn a '57 Chevy into a Camry?"

    Hmm....Maybe because Camry's have all the excitement of cold oatmeal? A 57 Bel Aire is rock 'n' roll personified in a car. A Camry is a nap personified in a car. If you can have all the drop-dead gorgeous looks of a 57 Chevy, brakes that stop the car in a more reasonable distance, suspension that doesn't require slowing down to the numbers posted on the curve-in-the-road signs, then why not? You can get a TPI 350 and overdrive transmission, and bolt it in, and do wonders for the gas mileage. So long as someone is actually improving the car, and not doing oxy-acetelene and duck tape modifications, why not improve a good thing?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    There's no right or wrong answer to the question, at least for me. It just comes down to personal taste and intended usage, unless you're driving the automotive equivilent of the Mona Lisa--then you have a responsibility to keep it stock. Just like if you owned an historic house. (So maybe I'm just a little bit of a purist...)

    I think what fuels this debate is that so many "improvements" aren't improvements, they're just modifications so Mickey Mouse they should be wearing mouse ears. But if the idea and execution are good then I can admire the modification.

    Better handling and brakes aren't mouse and they won't turn a '57 Chevy into a Camry. Now that I think about it no one could ever Camry-ize a Chevy, so we can all relax. You couldn't approach that level of refinement unless you completely redesigned the car from the ground up, like someone just did with the Tucker.

    I don't mean to get heavy here but I think what we're really talking about are different personality types.

    Purists don't have a good rep and I used to get flack from them when I owned GTOs, but I have to admire them, at least up to the point where some of them cross into the Twilight Zone. Their goal is to recreate an idealized snapshot of the car at some point in its history, usually the point when the car rolled off the assembly line. The purist accepts the challenge of finding out exactly where the lines are and then coloring inside them. This means their playing field is a lot smaller than it is for most of us.

    On the other hand, most of us can't wait to color outside the lines. I can think of at least four cars that have non-matching number engines because of me if they're still on the road.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I hardly think that good tires, good shocks and a sway bar is going to "ruin" a 57 Chevy. This isn't a Ferrari or a Bugatti for gawd's sake...they made a gazillion of them and very few people are going to notice that your shocks and tires aren't OEM believe me. Why go squeeling around on bias ply baloney white walls and pogo stick shocks? For the authenticity of getting nauseous while driving on a twisty road?
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Shifty says it with I flare I can only dream of matching.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, rea, it's a subject close to my heart....old cars need to be driven and enjoyed!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I don't think anyone here is advocating that kind of authenticity and if they are they'd make an easy target to hit.

    I see some validity in both sides of the debate as long as both sides use some sense. I kind of admire the guys who charge head-first after authenticity but I know that old cars pretty much beg for modifications because by modern standards they're deficient in so many areas except "character".

    Carmakers used to leave plenty of room for modifications because even their high-performance cars were usually designed for a broad and not-so-discerning market. That left plenty of opportunities for gearheads to either work their magic or wreak their havoc, depending on how much sense they had.

    I think it's fair to say that not every modification is an improvement. Modifications that keep you from getting killed are improvements. Just hanging hardware on a car because it's the flavor of the month isn't always an improvement but hey it's their car and their money. I've done that myself like most gearheads.

    I think what made me a little sceptical of modifications is what I saw when I was buying and selling in the '70s and '80s. Like a lot of people I was chasing high-performance cars and these were the ones that suffered especially when they were $500 used cars and just about anyone could afford one.

    That reminds me of a '62 Impala SS I had that some wannabe street racer had put 4.11s into. The car didn't need 4.11s and didn't like 4.11s but the magazines said it was a good street/strip gear so I bought a car that couldn't get out of the freeway slow lane.

    Some of the most enjoyable cars I owned were relatively ordinary cars, like a '66 Charger 318 and a '67 GTO automatic, that their owners had done nothing to except maintain religiously.

    On the other hand the last old car I owned started out as a very stock and boring Cougar and ended up as something the guys at San Jose's Mustang Ranch called "the beast" (although I'm not sure it was meant as a compliment).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    But I do think a 57 Chevy should have the right engine in it even if the dumb numbers don't match.

    So, yes, to me, anyway, a 350 engine with a TH 350 is Micky Mouse. The car came with, and should have a 283 under the hood.

    Better shocks and modern brake linings, by all means.

    Again, we all have our different ideas and there isn't a "wrong" way.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    "There isn't a wrong way"
    I can accept that. I feel, however, if someone puts their hard earned cash down on a car, they have earned the right to do whatever they want with the car. (Unless it's something rare/irreplacable. Then they technically cans till do what they want, but common decency should prevail and the car left untouched)
    Putting a modern engine in a 57 Chevy? As long as you do a good job, and don't get out the cutting torch or duck tape (two tools 95% of "home mechanics" would be crippled without), then I don't see anything wrong with it. Some people do (why, I'm not sure), but for them, they can keep the 283. As for me, praise the Lord and pass the 350!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    Chances are that a good deal of '57 Chevies stopped being original about 3 years down the road when it puked out its transmission or shredded the crankshaft.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't think these cars are the Mona Lisa, and, again, as long as they are not "butchered" I have no problem with modern power plants, etc. These were mass produced cars, not art objects, and I believe they could be modified (within reason)so that they can be enjoyed safely and be seen by the next generation. I don't think an owner should be punished for having common sense.

    Having a Chevrolet trailered to events with "tire muffs" wrapped around the wheels, and then seeing 8 Chevrolet scholars debating the authenticity of a bolt head is, IMO, approaching near madness.

    Now, of course, were this '57 Chevy a rare fuelie I might reconsider my opinion, just so we would have an original FI car to look at, but other than those rare exceptions I don't believe the cars need be original and they don't all have to be overestored either. Overestoring a car like a Chevrolet robs it of its dignity I think, as if to say "oh, no, you can't wear workclothes IN HERE, you need to pretend you were a prince in order for us to love you".
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Maybe none of us are purists but I think we might owe them something. They're the reason I can go to a concours and not find a chromed Chevy small block under the hood of everything from a Bugatti to a '55 Buick.

    Isell I hear you about keeping the 283--a '57 Chevy is one of the few old cars that doesn't really need help in the engine compartment--but I bet both of us wouldn't mind having one with a 327/4-speed. Of course that involves cutting a hole in the floorpan but at least it seems more "period"--in other words, something we boomers can relate to ;-). My first ride in a hotrod was in a car like that, as a 13-year-old hitchhiker, and from then on I was a believer.

    Where I live we have this debate about the earliest houses built here. One side says their owners have a responsibility to at least keep the exterior original because these houses are a big part of the quality of life that makes the area special for everyone. You want a Taco Bell mansion? Then buy in a community that doesn't have a heritage.

    The other side says "hey houses are meant to be lived in and if I spend $2M for a house I have the right to change it anyway I want".

    So far the purists are losing that battle too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Exactly...a good analogy...keep the exterior looking authentic but put in real plumbing and central heating. And don't chrome the doorknobs!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    We all have different thoughts. I hate to see a car butchered and I think we all agree on that.

    I also hate "trailer queens". I would want my 57 Bel Air to look and be as original as possible. If my 283 was tired I would have it rebuilt along with the Powerglide. I wouldn't care about the color of the windshield washer fluid.

    I would want people to look at it and smile, perhaps remembering a happy time in their childhood.

    A hood scoop, flared rear wheelwells or even a later model chromed engine wouldn't accomplish that.

    But..again, that's me.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...because I've never driven one. But, say a typical 283 2-bbl with a 2-speed Powerglide, how would that handle in modern driving conditions? I've only driven two 2-speed cars, a '58 DeSoto Firesweep with a (Mopar) 350 2-bbl and a '60 Olds with a (I think) a 394 4-bbl. It felt weird only having 2 gears, but those engines were strong enough that it wasn't really a problem.

    I'll tell ya what I think is really tacky...seems like the most common seats to swap into any old car are those thick leather seats with the little buttons that were in the M-body Chrysler 5th Avenue!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    '57 Chevies drive fine on modern roads as long as you remember you aren't in a sports car. Certainly better than 30s cars (the original point of this discussion!).

    As an appraiser I never deduct value for, say, adding hydraulic brakes to a Model A Ford, as long as the owner keeps all the old parts. For a '57 Chevy with a modern engine in it, I may deduct depending on the rest of the car....if it has been much modified internally, one could almost put it in a street rod category. I have seen much modified '57 chevys sell in the $50K range, which is about what you'd pay for a decent, nice #3 '57 Chev convertible anyway.

    So modification per se need not devalue a car, but it has to be very careful, tasteful, extremely well done and must appeal to the market place.

    This is why heavy cosmetic modifications often do not please the marketplace, since the modifications are too personal for the new buyer....like trying to sell someone your jewelry or your clothes. But a basically stock '57 with a beautifully installed very hot modern engine, well, there is a lot of appeal in that I think.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The 283/Powerglide combination is fine at least in the '66 Chevy I learned to drive on and that car was maybe 500 pounds heavier than a '57. With the Powerglide you lose a little off the line but the real problem is that you run out of passing gear more quickly than if you had a three speed automatic. But the 283 is such a flexible engine, especially the later 195-hp version.

    That '60 Olds should have had a four speed Hydro but maybe it was missing a few gears. In '61 they came out with a 3 speed Roto Hydramatic that we've kicked around quite a bit here so I won't get into that. The '64 88 had the Cutlass 330 and a two-speed auto. I know, more than you wanted to know...
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    trust me, with all the useless 70's and 80's trivia in my mind, I can always use some more 50's and 60's and such! Anyway, for some reason, I want to say that '60 had something called a Jetaway 2-speed. This was about 8 years ago now, so my mind could be kind of fuzzy. Or was the Jetaway the 2-speed you mentioned...the one behind the 330?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I looked in a few books and I can't confirm this but I'm 99% sure the two-speed behind the 330 in the '64 Jetstar I was called a Jetaway. A friend had one of these and I've got the owner's manual around here somewhere but I can't find it. The reason I checked the books is that I think Olds used the Jetaway name for years and it's not specific to any one year or transmission.

    Then again my '63 Olds shop manual calls both the full-size and F-85 AT "Hydra-Matic".

    Maybe Isell would know.
  • netranger4netranger4 Member Posts: 149
    This may sound a bit off the wall, but one of the fastest medium priced production cars in the late 1920's and 1930's was the 8-cylinder Hupmobile. These cars were favorites of bank robbers and other shady characters because of their speed and stamina. Two years ago, it was a retro pleasure to take a trip (via the Interstates) from Seattle to Chicago in a '29 Hupp 8 sedan. A friend of long standing had purchased the car from a retired machinist who maintained it to the teeth. The car had been well cared for when he purchased it from the original owner in 1947. All that was needed was a set of spark plugs (Mopar), an oil change and a carburetor cleaning before we started from Seattle. The trip was made with us cruising about an indicated sixty mph. We did develop a radiator hose leak, broke a fan belt and had one flat, but none of these events was to cause any great inconvenience. The second owner (84 y/o)opted to keep his '40 LaSalle coupe and that car was also in great original condition. The heater was adequate for October weather and the ride was smooth in spite of the primitive shock absorbers and leaf springs. Everywhere we stopped, the car drew some attention to say the least. We rolled into DesPlaines, IL 5 days after we left Seattle. The car did not offer all the modern conveniences but had the quality to live up to it's historical reputation. My friend has since relocated to warmer climes and still has the car. If you can find something like that or a V8 from the late 30's or early 40's, have it rebuilt and chances are you'll be more than pleased with it.
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