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OLD CARS -The truth .Owners tales.How they really were.



  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Mansfield didn't lose her head in that accident-just the blond wig she had on flew into the back seat. Also, her kids survived in the back seat (were sleeping so were down low). Until just before they were in front-funny how little actions can have long reaching results.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    thanks burdawg for reminding me that the decapitation story was just another smear by the press....but of course, she did in fact die in that wreck, as did Sam Brody I think his name was.
  • birtmicbirtmic Member Posts: 2
    Hank Sr. died in the backseat of his Cadillac somewhere between Montgomery, AL and points north(Nashville?). He was alone in the backseat and the driver of the Caddy had no idea he was dead until he stopped to get a Coke and turned around to ask Hank if he wanted one.
  • pierce118pierce118 Member Posts: 1
    An old remedy to "scuff up" cylinder walls and better seat rings was to put Bon Ami down the sparkplug holes. Tried this once with an old forklift - result was that when we started the engine, it seized, a piston broke through and the combustion blew into the crankcase. The point of least resistance was the dipstick, which flew out like a bullet, missed my head by about an inch, then out through our shop's roll-up door God knows how far - we never found it.CLOSE CALL!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I saw a guy do this to a Mercedes a few years ago...he simply could not be dissuaded that pouring an abrasive powder into an internal combustion engine was about the most gyro gearloose idea since coasting down steep mountain roads with the ignition off to "save gas".
    I suppose this idea of "seating rings" came from the days when egines had 20 horsepower and enough clearance between ring and bore to stick your finger through.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Few things were more fun then to drive thorugh the wino district. We would drive down the street in second gear about 40MPH. turn off the ignition and wait for awhile and turn it back on!

    We didn't save any gas this way but we sure scared the stuffing out of a few folks!

    Some cars would make a much louder explosion than others...

    The fun ended one night when my buddy didn't notice the car behind up was a cop!

    Somehow, he didn't swallow my friend's story that the car had never done that before, there must be a short in the distributor, etc...
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    We used to do that in highschool. A friend had a 53 Plymouth. Those old flatheads were great for that. Turn it off, then on, and WHAM! One night, though, the muffler blew apart after a big one, and we had to sneak it back home away from cops. After that, I decided not to try it anymore with my 55Chev.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    When I was in High School, this one clown decided that he need more power from his mother's
    6 cylinder 65 Bel Air. So he filled the windshield washer reservoir with gas and ran the hose directly to the carburetor. The only way he could keep it from stalling out was to wind the heck out of it in first gear while running the washer. Of course the gas running through the rubber hose rotted it out in a hurry and the car burned itself to a crisp one night.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Just a visionary before his time, that's all.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    It was a simpler time. Mufflers were cheap.

    With fuel injection, catalytic converters, and steering wheels that lock when the ignition is turned off, it's impossible to "key bang" a car today.

    Too bad...?
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Well, I could do it with my 55 Pontiac, come to think of it. Wonder if my new glasspac dual exhaust would hold up?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    carnut...back away from the car...give us your keys...good, now lie down, close your eyes, you're going to feel better in a few minutes....
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Yeah right. That Pontiac is a pampered, 130,000 original car in #2 condition. If I ever was talked in to trying that, please do take my keys...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    For some reason, we could never get a car with dual exhausts to backfire.

    Maybe they didn't build up enough gas fumes or something?

    Oh, BTW, an Army Ambulance (like on M*A*S*H) would let out an explosion that could be heard for miles! :)
  • emanueleemanuele Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Honda Accord, has anyone noticed that the noise level is a little on the high side in these cars? This is with the 4 cylinder engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Hi emanuele,

    Ooops! You're in the wrong conference. Let me link you to where you need to be, okay? Just click below:


    Host, Classics Conference
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    Years ago, a friend of mine used to drive his fathers Rambler 6cyl. wagon. This thing would do a key off backfire to raise the dead. One day we were going down his street to his house. We saw some girls we knew and thought it would be cool to scare the wits out of them. Off went the key, and blam!, off went the muffler too!! But the funniest part was that when we pulled up in front of his house, his dad was just standing there, glaring at us, pointing toward the local muffler shop! He had witnessed the whole affair. When we returned a while later and about $20 poorer, his only comment was "I guess that's what it takes for couple of loosers like you to get dates".

    My most embarrassing old car story, however, revolves around the 55 Chevy I had when I was 18.
    One of the cables on the wiper system broke. For those who don't know, cables and pulleys were used to operate the wipers instead of the levers we're used to on more modern cars. I went to a local junkyard and got a used part and installed it, not knowing the slightest what I was doing. I turned on the wipers, and they worked. My girlfriend called and said she was on her way to my house, walking. I thought "cool, I'll pick her up and surprise her with my mechanical ability". I headed off to the main street in town, and pretty soon saw her walking toward me. I flipped on the wipers and they went through a couple of cycles normally, then I heard a noise, and instead of going from the parking position, up to the top and then back, they started going from the top, out to the sides, and back to the top! My 55 looked like a seagull trying to take off! I immediately reached for the control to turn them off, then realized I had put my arm right through the center of the huge steering wheel, and I was headed right for the curb, with my arm keeping me from steering away! Needless to say, I ended up with the front of the car on the sidewalk, with the wipers flapping like wings! My girlfriend walked by like she didn't know me (couldn't blame her). It took years to live that one down.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    I also had a 55 Chev when I was 18, and the wipers broke like yours did. Don't even remember whether I fixed them or not. I do remember being at a drive in movie once, where it started to rain, and we had to reach out and do them by hand in order to see the movie screen. This got old after awhile. Actually, it could work to your advantage, depending on who you were with.......
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I once had a 55 Chevy - 6 cyl, stick. I had the car full of guys and decided to burn rubber from a stoplight. KA-BLAM!!!

    One of the rear leaf springs broke! "Wha Happened" yelled my front seat passenger!

    I tried to act cool.."Aw, that wasn't nothing"

    BU*****T!!! came a quick reply from the back seat!

    Looking in my rear view mirror, I couldn't see him, the car was leaning so bad!!

    Ah, the old days...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I picked up some hitchhikers once in my old /55 Studebaker, and after a short while I heard this scream from the back seat...seems the guy had rammed his foot through the rusty floor and ground the toe off his shoe. Some people are so rude.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Shiftright, there's another story of yours that's funny as hell. Reminds me of my 35 dollar, '42 Stude story I shared somewhere else here before. Have you ever considered[or have you] collecting all your car stories, like that one, plus other anecdotes, in a book? I'd buy it. Actually, one could make a pretty good book just collecting all the stories in these conferences. Jeez-what happened to the guy with the ground off toe?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, he yelled and carried on so much we let him out on the freeway. Big baby. These days I'd probably get sued, but back then people were actually allowed to accept the consequences of doing really dumb's not easy to push your foot through a car floor, seems to me.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I'll NEVER pick up another!

    The last time was probably 15 years ago. It was a HOT day in So. Calif and I felt sorry for the older "gentleman" who was standing in the hot sun with his thumb out. I stopped and let him in.

    Two seconds later, I realized I had make a terrible mistake! This old coot had BO so bad, I almost lost my lunch right there! I'm serious, it was unreal! I remember getting rid of him at the first intersection. I had to park the car outside with the doors and windows open for a few days and it still stunk!

    Never again!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Gee, the ONE time it would have paid to be driving an old diesel.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Trust me! I should have been driving James Bond's Aston Martin. I could have pushed the ejection seat button and dumped him earlier.

    I wouldn't have hesitated!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You should always carry a jerrycan filled with that cheap aftershave that used car salesman wear.
  • aeabsiaeabsi Member Posts: 1

    I was interested in buying a 1970 buick gs455. I'm wondering if anyone on the board has driven one of these (as a daily driver/fun car)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Off the subject again, but...

    As I walked through our shop yesterday, One of the technicians yelled at me, " Hey! Craig, Catch!" As I reached to catch the thrown object, I saw it was a condenser! I let it fall to the ground!

    So, he laid it on the desk of a non ex-mechanic Service Advisor instead.

    Five minutes later, a loud scream,let the technician (and the rest of us) know that he had found a "mark"!

    I thought about you at that point, knowing that you wouldn't have tried to catch the thing either!

    I've been there...and done that!

    Sorry, it was getting quiet here and I thought I might "charge" things up a bit...
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    Gosh, I haven't thought about that old stunt in years. It was a great gotcha. I also remember those hollowed out book with a coil in it wrapped in metallic tape so that when you opened it you'd break the circuit and give yourself a good jolt.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I guess you can't play tricks with the new ignition systems, not only because it would be hard to rig up, but also because they pack a serious wallop these days.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yeah, these new systems can fire a spark three feet!

    If a person had a weak heart...

    I once worked with a guy who would find a miss in an engine by pulling off the plug wires one at a time. "Big John" wasn't bothered by the shocks he would recieve. I'm sure that today, he would fond another way.

    As a kid working in a gas station, I once loaded a condenser only to nail myself with it somehow...
  • OPSMDEVOPSMDEV Member Posts: 13
    AEABSI - I drove several Buick GS-455's when they were new. They were like most of the cars of the day; ran like a bat-out-of-hell in a straight line and handled like a wooden wagon (compared to our cars today). Actually, the GS-455 was a little better than most. They "tuned" the suspension so that it carried larger anti-roll bars and softer shocks/springs. The effect was flat and tight cornering combined with a ride that didn't require a kidney belt. Remember, I'm comparing them to other cars of the day. Like all 60's-70's cars, compared to todays cars they handled terribly.
  • OPSMDEVOPSMDEV Member Posts: 13
    It wasn't just the cars of the 60's and 70's that produced great stories. It was the styles as well.

    At my home during the late 60's it was the style to have your car "jacked up" so that it was some 3-4 inches higher than normal, presumably to accommodate larger tires.

    The was a guy at my father's service station who didn't have the money to buy all the shocks and springs to do this right, so he came up with his own "economy" solution. He put the car up on the lift and disconnected one end of his shocks and then extended them all the way. He then put a piece of galvanized pipe from the hardware store around the shock so that the top of the shock couldn't come down but an inch or so and then bolted it all together again.

    His car was about 4 inches higher in the air and he was so proud and happy. That was until he hit the first good bump. The pipe rammed up the shock and split the outside like a banana peel. After that the car swayed like a drunk on Saturday night whenever a good gust of wind hit it.

    Ahh... the innovation of youth!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Oh god-the innovation of youth? Reminds me of a friend who had put huge tires and wheels on his '65 El Camino. OK for street-but-one day he hauled his Bultaco Bike up to a hillclimb event at Hall's Ranch, CA.[close to the town of Hollister, where "The Wild One" was made] Anyway-as he was leaving, he noticed that the rear tires [expensive!] were scraping the wheel wells bigtime as he attempted to leave the rutted, almost impossible parking area. Wanting to preserve his huge expensive tires, he took out a hacksaw and cut out the wheel wells to accomodate his tires... the sight of that, even then, when values were MUCH less than now-stuck in my mind. Anyway-'nother story 'bout different times....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    On older Fords with rear leaf springs, it was possible to reverse the rear shackles.

    You had to put the car on a hoist, take a long prybar, slip the bar through the rear shackle and pull like hell. It usually took the strength of two guys. The Ford would then sit about 2" higher in the back end and ride like hell.

    Once, in my youthful gas station days, an old lady left her pristine 58 Ford for an oil change.

    You guessed it! We decided to "pop" her rear springs while the car was up in the air.

    The next week, she stopped for gas and the owner of the station spotted our prank!

    Guess who got to "unpop" her shackles during her next oil change?

    THAT is hard to do!!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    I remember ell those flipped shackles. Almost everyone I knew with a 50's Ford in those days did it. A friend bought a 55 Ford 4dr for 25 bucks to drive while waiting for his newly ordered 65 GTO to come in. Wish I had a video of what we did to that car-starting with the flipped shackles. The 272 V8 was running on 7 cylinders, and the car owed nobody anything. Well, the multi-level parking garage at San Jose Stae had these huge round pillars at the point where you turned and went to the next level. One day, we opened the rear doors, peeled out, and slammed the doors shut by hitting those posts. No glass left in any of the doors. Of course, we laughed and laughed. This was a break between classes. That car ended up at a carnival, smashed with a huge sledge, for 50cents a blow. I'd forgotten about all that.....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I think we already figured out that we grew up in pretty much the same neck of the woods around the same time.

    Good thing we didn't know each other!

    Oh, the fun we would have had! We would have made a dangerous duo!

    I still crack up when I think of that blue haired old lady driving down the street in her 58 Ford with the rear end up in the air!
  • etagetag Member Posts: 14
    Hi from minnesota
    A story about my old buddy Skip
    He got himself about a 49' ford pickup in high school, one fine winter day he and 2 buddies rolled it and wound up in the ditch. Guy in the middle broke his collar bone everybody else was OK. Well the roll popped the windshield out.
    Rememeber the winters in Minnesota have windchill
    that can dip to -50F with a stiff wind.
    Well the money to put in a new windshield was not there so Skip wouild drive it as it was.
    He would put on a hooded parka a hat, and a couple scarves and drive.
    He got pulled over one night by a state trooper
    on the freeway. Somehow the trooper didn't notice
    or couldn't believe anybody would drive with no
    windshield in the winter.
    The trooper just ignored it.
    Would have made a good commercial for glass replacement company.
  • edmack1edmack1 Member Posts: 4
    the '55 chev.--it was a great car!!
    the following figures are taken from my original bill of sale. this was my demo at the time i was a salesman for chev. dealer.
    turquoise &white-model #2403 4 dr. 8cyl. bel air-
    key #8358.
    Accessories:direct. signals $16.75
    powerglide 180.60
    radio 91.50
    heater 88.50
    whitewalls 26.90
    tu-tone 12.95
    winterize 8.50
    base price of car $2280.00
    extras 425.20
    total $2705.20
    insurance (coll.) 51.75
    finance chg. 90.37
    total $2847.32
    Salesman discount 675.64
    cash deposit 100.00
    total bal.due $2071.68
    payable terms:11 payts. @ $41.00-1 payt. (12th) due-$1620.68

    this bill of sale is framed and mounted in my den.this figure of $2171.68, was the dealers true cost--!! something in the order of %20+ (twenty)percent-!!!! thought you all might enjoy this trip back in time! oh--the dealer was clay chevrolet-west roxbury-mass.
  • brianr4brianr4 Member Posts: 3
    I envy those of you who actually grew up in the best car era ever. The only thing $2,100 will buy you these days is a pretty good mountain bike. What ever happened to that 55 Chevy?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Remember, that 2100.00 was in 1955 dollars!

    Also, today's buyers demand EVERYTHING! Back in 1955, if the car had a radio and heater, it was pretty spiffy. This guy even had to pay extra for TURN SIGNALS!! I really thought they were standard equipment by 1955, but I guess not.

    Power steering and power windows were REALLY something to have, especially on a Chevy!

    You could even get factory A/C on a Chevy in 1955! I've seen two of them and one was, sadly, in a junkyard years ago.

    Today we "need" dual airbags, cupholders, cd players, rear spoilers, leather seats, etc...

    And we wonder why cars cost more....?
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    even adjusted for inflation? I just can't get used to the 35,000 dollar "bargain" pickup, and anything "under 30" being quite reasonable. is everyone really making 10-12 times what they would have made in 1955? Isell, whadya think?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, let's do it this 1965, my first job out of college paid $7,800 a year, which was not a great but not a bad salary...I think equal to around $35K-$40K...and a new Mustang convertible cost, in 1965, about $2,650. so roughly 1/3 of my yearly salary.

    compare to a 1999 Mustang Convertible, at $26, I would be needing to make today about $78,000 a year right out of college to have the same buying power for that Mustang. (1/3 of yearly salary).

    Seems to me that's not realistic for most college grads unless they're working as entrepreneurs and hit it big or in dad's law firm.

    So I'd say, based on my own numbers, that for 1999 to be just like 1965 for a new college grad, a new Mustang convertible should cost around $10-12K.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Again, look at the options these new cars have!

    That 65 Mustang as pretty primitive compared the the 99. Probably a 289, AM radio, heater, perhaps an automatic, maybe power steering.

    No airbags, complicated emission systems, power windows, leather, cupholders, ad nauseum...

    It would be interesting to compare as stripped down Mustang as possible with the 1965.

    So, I do think that even inflation adjusted that cars probably cost more today. Much of these costs are due to government required emission and safety equipment.

    And, no, few college grads fresh out school are making anywhere near that number.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    That's what I thought, and thanks Shifty and Isell for your thoughts. I grew up in the days when almost any guy right out of highschool could go wrestle grocery sacks or some other entry level job and make payments on some new car if he really wanted to. Today, I think that's impossible. And you're right-alot of the increased cost is because of government mandated safety and pollution controls-but still-even if you subtract those costs, I think cars are more expensive. AND-seems like labor costs should be less, with all the robots snapping plastic panels in place instead of all the assembly that used to take place. Sooooo-why should a Lincoln Navigator cost what it does??? [Not that I'd want one at any price]
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Because there is a lot of profit in SUVs--that's why they're building them and pushing them.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I'm old enough to remember when a truck was simply a truck! They were used as workhorses and had the most basic of equipment.

    Oh, but not now...! I just can't believe how posh our everyday pickup has become!

    And expensive!
  • burdawgburdawg Member Posts: 1,524
    My dad worked for GM in the old South Gate plant.
    It was BOP (Buick, Olds, Pontiac) but the Chevy assembly was probably the same. He worked the AC shop in the mid 50's era, and has told me that they could install AC in about 2 cars per shift, so about 4 cars a day! Besides the high cost of the option, they couldn't possibly equip too many cars with it! I've only seen one with a "factory" unit, but several with aftermarket units. Here's a question for all you mid 50's buffs-could you order factory AC in a wagon? Since the evaporator was in the trunk in the cars, where would it go in a wagon, if you get it at all?
    I've seen quite a few Buicks & Oldsmobiles from this era with AC, but mostly the upscale lines (like Super and Roadmaster in Buicks) which were higher priced cars to start with.
  • lweisslweiss Member Posts: 342
    Another aspect of the cost of the car is maintenance. The new cars of today need a lot less of it with tune ups that come at 100K, tires, and all sorts of other things that last a lot longer.
    However, when maintenance or especially repair is needed, not only is it more complicated than years ago, but normal people can hardly do it anymore because they don't have the special equipment, etc. I see many vehicles running over 100K miles these days, years ago 100K was the practicle limit.
  • moparmadmoparmad Member Posts: 197
    Thanks for the stories. I was born in 1970 and can vividly remember sitting around with my father and uncles as a little boy listening to endless stories of cars, trucks, and days gone by. I am now 29 and have owned and done extensive work on both a 1975 Plymouth Duster,and currently a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe. My Dad always says his greatest regret is parting with a 283 powered '57 Chevy convertible he once owned. It is my dream to someday give him the gift of a '57 chevy. I first need to satisfy my wife's passion for an in-violet '67 GTX. My father helped me build my first 360,and he overseen my building of the 343 dyno-proven horsepower 318 in my Cuda. I believe strongly that the passion my father instilled in me for anything automotive has kept me off the streets and out of trouble.
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