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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Pierce Arrows were great America in the 20s & 30s, there were three cars that had as much prestige and reputation as a Rolls Royce...they were the "3 Ps"....Packard, Pierce Arrow and Peerless......very well made and tasteful cars. America didn't get another real prestige car until the Cadillac, but even in the 1930s the Cadillac was not regarded as the equal of the 3Ps. GM of course, ran the Cadillac name into the ground and so we don't have a prestige car that is respected around the world least not respected for quality. Maybe someday. Right now, Mercedes has that crown. It's ironic, too, since Cadillac really taught Mercedes a great lesson....that you CAN mass-produce a quality car...Mercedes are made in very large numbers but haven't suffered loss of quality.
  • When you mentioned Peerless (another Cleveland product) it jogged my memory of a visit to a junkyard with my Dad to scout up a taillight for his Hupmobile. We did find one, strangely enough, as the yard had several Hupps. Just before we left, the yard's wrecker came in with a '31 Peerless on the hook. The car had been taken in by a Buick dealer who couldn't sell it because it wouldn't start. The wrecker driver knew me and my Dad. Within 10 minutes had the Peerless running after priming the fuel pump with gas. The leather diaphragm had dried out. This was about 1949.
  • On another visit to the same yard for whatever reason, two senior ladies drove a 192? Maxwell in and sold it to the yard for $10.00. This yard is still in business today. Who wouldn't pay $10.00 right now for a 20's Maxwell? The Peerless Motor Car plant was used by the Carling Brewing Co for many years. Also, the Hupp, Chandler and Rausch & Lang factories are still being used by other companies.
  • Were they reliable: Up to about 40K Miles for most makes. Any car with a flathead engine needed to have the valves ground around 25K. Rings, valve stem seals at the same time. Decarbonizing as needed. Bearings were another common problem. Some cars used babbit rods (no bearings) so cars with a rod knocking was not unusual. Ford was hard on fuel pumps and rear ends. Chevy had bearing problems. Head gaskets on Chrysler products were very poor. Oil quality was awful, and oil burners were common. Buick Straight 8's had main and rod bearing problems. All needed piston rings at about 25-30K. Studebaker and Nash were normally oil burners at any mileage.
  • dranoeldranoel Posts: 79
    While you were growing up in Cleveland, I was doing the same down the road in Youngstown. Here's some of what I remember seeing in the area: 1939 Cadillac V-16 4 dr., 1928 Packard (don't know the model) 2-dr., 192- Marquette coupe, 1925 Grant roadster, 1938 Packard V-12 4 dr.,2-1930 Franklins, a coupe and a 4 dr.( owned by the same person)--I won't bother to mention the thousands of 1928 and later Chevies, Fords, etc.--oh-can't forget a hard rubber tired Indiana truck with acetylene head lights--must have been from the 1910-1920 era. I learned to drive in a 1936 Chevy Master 4-dr. and graduated to a used 1939 Packard Super 8(model 1703) 4 dr. Today kids learn to drive in mom's automatic Honda or worse yet mom's Explorer--how boring---
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I never thought I'd have again. Back in 1962, I talked my Dad out of buying a Rambler or a Valiant and into a brand 62 Chev Impala SS with the 250/327 and 3speed on the column. I told him at the time he'd get the same gas mileage with that Chevy than with the Rambler or Valiant sixes and automatic. Well, maybe a bit of a stretch there, but the old Impala 327 with stick did deliver 16 or so around town, and 20 on the road. At the time, that was considered good mileage for a big car-not to mention the power of that 327! I got my license on that car, and boy did I have fun with it cruising around in the So California area in the next couple years! I was lucky I didn't pile it up a couple times, bombing around with the air cleaner off, popping the clutch, burning rubber, and sucking air through that four barrel. Dad sold that car in 1967, with 73,000 miles it. Always did say he never should have sold it-not yet anyway. He hated the 68 Dodge Coronet 383 he bought to replace it. He used to call it the DD [the damn dodge!-everything went wrong with it for him]
    So, a couple weeks ago, I find this gorgeous 62 Chev Impala SS, IDENTICAL to that one we had, in the same "Twilight Turquoise", in INCREDIBLE original condition. 40,000 documented miles-the car has been driven less than 1,000 miles since 1989, when it was stored, pretty much. Anyway, driving this car now, as a virtually new, tight, original 62, gives you a chance to really recall that era. This car has manual steering, where my Dad's car had power. You know what, the manual is so light, I can hardly tell-even in parking. The difference is in the ratio-which is slower. The brakes are also manual-like my Dad's was-and boy do you have to get use to them after being used to the modern power units of today! [I replaced all the original brake hoses before I drove the car much-I learned my lesson that way years ago with another car-but that's another story] Anyway, driving this car around, a virtually new, pampered original, a few observations:
    1. The Powerglide and 327 are amazingly reponsive! I never owned or drove much any Powerglide cars-but overall, it works fine.
    2.The steering-manual at 28 to one, is amazingly light and accurate-just slow.
    3.The brakes are the hardest thing to get used to-I remember brake jobs around 30,000 miles or so. But these work fine-you just have to press harder!
    4. The interior is-well-they just don't make 'em like that anymore. The so-called "bucket" seats are comfortable-but if you're used to the mdern seats we have now-where's the adjustable lumbar, tilt, etc? And no tilt wheel!
    5.The interior styling and appointments are the thing-topline Chevies like this had an edge in "luxury" I think even over the more expensive GM cars of the day. You know those flashy interiors of the time when American cars were doing the chrome and horsepower wars.
    6. The car has no smog controls at all-and no safety equipment either-not even seatbelts! The padded dash is mostly for looks-maybe a little cushion if you hit the front or something. The engine actually has one of the open road draft tubes-not even any PCV crankcase pipe from the oil filler cap to the carburetor. The automatic choke works like a watch, and the thing starts and runs like a watch-and it's incredibly smooth and quiet for a 38 year old car. And it handles pretty decent for its size-with the new radial tires.
    7. Even with the 10.5 to one compression, the thing runs fine on 92 octane unleaded. No pinging-I was surprised.
    Anyway, I wasn't even looking for this car, but I do keep my eye on all the ads all the time just to see what's out there. So when I saw this car, I just had to have it. I'm sure you know that one!These old SS Impalas seem to be holding their values from all the guides I've seen-so I won't lose a dime on the car for what I paid. I don't care about making money on it-it's just a fun car to own and drive. I Look at it this way-for the same money, I could have bought a new Daewoo or Hyundai-or maybe a strippo Toyota Echo or Corrolla-and then what would I have?? Well-never mind.
    I'm just going to drive it [along with my other 4 rigs] and enjoy it-like any car. No trailer queens in my garage. Who knows how long I'll keep it-but for a deja vu experience, it sure is fun!
  • I'm jealous. I always liked the convertible look of the
    62-64 Impala 2 door hardtops, probably since my first car
    was a 63 Impala. I did find with that car to keep that
    manual steering feeling light lube it frequently, I was always
    surprised how much easier it was to turn the steering wheel
    after I greased it.
    Enjoy your "new" Impala.
  • Enjoyed your post on your sightings in the Youngstown area. The Indiana truck was most interesting. There was a coal co. in Cleveland that used open cab, chain drive Macks into the 50's. These also had solid tires. Our streets were pretty much brick and these trucks would loosen the pavers and rattle windows when passing. The City still has a 1937 White tow truck for heavy duty jobs and it was used into the 80's. They used it to rescue broken down garbage trucks and busses. Since White's were built in Cleveland, the city had mostly that make of busses and trucks of all types. White Motors plant now bulldozed and vacant. Tragic.
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    Can anyone tell me if the 289 v-8 Ford preferably in the '62-'64 Ford Galaxie is a good choice? I'm really fond of this model and would be interested in looking for one as a daily driver. I'm sure I'd have to have some things worked on but hope to find one for a fair price that I could enjoy for many years. Also interested in any of the early '60's Ford trucks. Any suggestions here? Thanks to all!!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    That was always my favorite generation of big Ford, especially the '63. Did they have 289's that far back? I know they had 260's, which went in the Falcons, Comets, etc, but I thought the big Fords used something else.

    My father, who is a Chevy guy, had a '64 Galaxie with a 390 (I think) as his first car. He hated it at the time, simply because it was a Ford, but nowadays says it was a good car, and he should have kept it.

    When I was a kid, we also had a '64 Galaxie 4-door as a second car. I think my grandfather bought it for like $75.00 for us. Come to think of it, I hated that car when we had it, too, because it was a Ford! Like father like son, I guess ;-) Still, we had it for years, and it ultimately got given away to some friend's mother, who totaled it.

    I would think a 289 (or 292, or whatever they used for the base V-8) would be a bit overmatched in a car that size. I think the '64 we had when I was a kid had a 352 in it.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yes, 260s and 289s were available in those years, but the books I have aren't clear as to whether you could put them in a Galaxie....but they do show 6 cylinder Galaxies in 1962, so I guess you could get a 260 in there. Never have seen one, though.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Weren't those engines designed to be narrower than a normal V-8 so that they could fit in the engine bay of a Falcon/Comet? I heard that one major complaint about the early compact Falcon/Comet (which went to a larger, wider platform around 1966) was that most current V-block engines could not fit in the engine bay. The earlier Valiant/Lancer/Darts were the same way, which was why the 273 LA block was introduced for 1964, and the 318 and 340 variants for 1968, when the old 318 wideblock was relegated to truck and motorhome duty.

    Chevy was at an advantage back then, because its 283 was already small enough to stuff under the hood of a Chevy II.

    Didn't Ford have a smaller variant of the 260, as well. For some reason, the displacements of 221 and 244 come to mind. I used to enjoy looking over the old Consumer Reports and other magazines in college, and I remember at least 1 compact V-8 listed that was smaller in displacement than the Mopar 225 \6.

  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The first Ford small block, introduced with the '62 Fairlane, was 221 cubes. They bored it out later that year to 260 CID, then 289 in '64. There was also a 255 Indy engine in '63 which later got 4 cams. In the '80s they used a small displacement version; I forget the details but someone mentioned it recently in the trivia thread.

    According to my books the 292/170 was base V8 in the '62 Galaxie, then the small block 260/164 in '63 and 289/195 in '64. The 292 offered decent performance in the '50s but was detuned--smaller valves, milder cam--through '62, and had a problem with top end oiling. But if it was me I'd buy the cleanest one I could find regardless of engine.

    These are heavy cars, and it would take at least a 390 to haul one around with any kind of authority. My father had a '65, a lighter car, with the 352 and it was a slug.

    In the late '60s a friend and I got a "test ride" in a '63 Galaxie XL with 406/385-hp and 4 speed. Black on black, a gorgeous car that made really nice noises--that engine became the world-beating 427 later in '63. The salesman drove it maybe five blocks to warm it up, then leaned on it hard and--boom!--lost second gear. Probably not uncommon, since they still used the old Borg Warner T-10 then, not the top loader. Just another $500 car in those days.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The 289 engines were available in the full sized 1964 Fords. I remember they had TONS of room in the engine compartment!
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    Thanks to you all for your replies. I guess I just need to look in something like Hemmings Motor News to see what's out there. I mentioned the 289 because I've always heard it was a good engine. Thanks again!
  • was first available in '63. The only thing you want to be careful about is engine cooling. Ford used the same radiator for the 289 as they did for the I6, and it's really not adequate for hot climates or heavy loads. Swap in a larger radiator and you'll be fine -- otherwise, be sure to flush the system twice a year and keep your eye on the coolant level.

    As mentioned before, the 260/289 was a narrow-V design, and as such it was a very popular choice for transplants into Land Cruisers, AH3000s, etc. It's a great little motor, makes good power and is very reliable. It also has a sweet little engine note.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Oh, the timing chain stretches on that engine, watch for that....I think you can check it by removing the fuel pump and poking in there.

    Mr. Shiftright

  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    In 1974, I rented a place where the guy leaving owned a full-sized 63 Ford strippo [Custom??] with a shot 260 in it. It had the all-synchro 3-speed on the column. The guy was leaving town and just needed to get rid of the car, and signed the title over to me just for doing the honors. The thing burned a quart of oil about every 100 miles. It was really worn out in every way and had little value to anyone.
    At that time, I was taking a class in Auto Mechanics at OSU, and I ended up donating that car to the lab, where we went at it with cutting torches, and used the front end, steering, etc, for demos in the lab-and of course just to be able to tear apart a car like that had value in itself. The all-synchro 3-speed was OK, and I got some money for that. I remember looking at that little 260 in that huge engine bay and thinking "no wonder that engine is shot!" Heck, if I had to lug around a 300 pound woman on my shoulders, I'd be shot too!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yes, the timing chain is the weak link in the small block, just like the Pontiac and probably a number of other engines.

    It's been a while, but I think you can also check for slack by turning the crank with a socket attached to a breaker bar and watching how long it takes for the rotor to move--something like that.

    Got my first Cougar cheap because the chain was shot. Of course, I bought it without hearing the engine run, so it should have been cheap. Replaced the gears and chain--easy and cheap--and it ran great with 160k (260k?) on the clock and not much obvious maintenance. Made a believer out of me.
  • fclspatfclspat Posts: 61
    I'm the proud owner of a '63 Mercury Meteor 4dr with the 260 V-8. I've owned the car for about 10 years and only put able 4000 miles on in in all those years (it has about 85000 over all).

    The engine hasn't given me any problems at all. I think a fuel pump is the only replacement I've made in all ten years. I guess I should check the timing chain!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    You need a timing chain and gears! Not a really hard job. They used a plastic timing gear to reduce noise. Age and miles takes a toll. The replacement will be all metal.

    Don't wait until it breaks or you could bend some valves. Additionally, the plastic pieces will go into your oil pan.

    Those Meteors uses the STRANGEST front suspension!

    Tiny little springs in front that were unique to that model.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Boy, does this discussion topic bring back memories: Dad bought a new Galaxie 500 sedan every 3 years - 58, 61, 64, 67. I wished so much that he would trade for an Impala but he was FORD all the way, back then.

    My grandparents and aunt did buy Impalas and her 65 4 door hardtop became my first car upon high school graduation in 1973. How I loved that car - maroon with beige interior and the trunk we called 'the cave.' A 283 and power glide were economical and responsive enough for my driving habits.

    The Impala convertibles of the 60s were my favorites - particularly 63, 66 and 67 - just certain styling cues that I found most appealing and someday it would be nice to own one of those beauties.

    We have owned a 66 Mustang 'Sprint' convertible since 1986 that fills the bill for our fun car, but as a family we've outgrown it so it probably will be sold off this year. Lots of great times and memories with that car!

    Best to all

  • What I learned to drive in. I got my driver's license in 1974, so some of the cars that I drove quite a bit were of the 60's era, specifically: 1964 Chevy Bel Air, 1964 Chrysler Newport, 1969 Camaro, 1963 Olds Dynamic 88. A few general observations: I really liked the styling of 60's cars, more so than what's on the road today. Today's cars are more reliable, safer, last longer, don't rust out, run better, use less gas, but they just don't get my blood pumping like when I see a 1964XXXX in good shape going down the road. My favorite was my 63 Olds, lots of chrome, lots of power, rode like a dream, nice lines. All of these above mentioned cars had terrible brakes, 4 drums on all of them, one stop from high speed and they faded away, or a good water soaking and they were gone. The Bel Air was especially easy to work on, open the hood and all you had was the motor, battery, radiator, master cylinder and that's it. No power steering, no power brakes, no air conditioning, no smog controls, no mess of hoses, no electronics. And a sweet little 283, quiet as a sewing machine at idle.
  • was the combination of tasteful styling, great performance, mechanical simplicity and decent handling. A real high point in American car manufacturing. After '72, things went to hell in a handbasket.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I've had a few cars from the 50's/60's...a 1957 DeSoto, 1967 Newport, 1967 Catalina, 1968 Dart, 1969 Dart, and a 1969 Bonneville. Now I'm only 30, so obviously these were all very old, and sometimes very used cars by the time I got ahold of them! The only ones I really thought handled like crap are the DeSoto and the '67 Newport, and I think that's mainly because they had bias-ply tires. None of them have any road feel, but the DeSoto was the worst "Power steering so effortless, even a woman can handle it!" I think the sexist ads probably proclaimed back then.

    The two Darts were daily drivers, whereas the DeSoto and Catalina are "toys", I guess, cars I've always wanted to own. The '67 Newport had been given to me, and I bought the Bonneville cheap from my cousin. Both were in pretty sad shape, and I got rid of 'em both.

    I put about 27,000 miles on the '69 Dart, from 1990-92, until a fateful day when I got run off the road and hit a traffic light pole sideways. The next day, I saw a '68 Dart for sale, and ended up buying it within about 2 weeks. I drove that one for 85,000 miles...most of it on a broken power steering pump, which is probably bad enough with a slant six, but this sucker has a 318! Still, I got used to those cars, the way they felt, the way they handled, even got used to no power steering. Both Darts had 70-series tires on them, so they cornered relatively well, a far cry from the bias ply tires that they probably rolled off the showroom floor with. The '68 has 10" drums that are sometimes hard-pressed to haul down that 318, but I got used to that, too. The problem was, though, I got so used to the way a Dart felt, that when I'd try anything else out, I didn't like it!! I got a few newer cars over the years to try to move up to something more '82 Cutlass Supreme that shredded its tranny and later its 231, a '79 Newport that came from the junkyard, and ultimately returned, and my Mom's '86 Monte Carlo, that performed beautifully for the 3 months and 13K miles I got to enjoy it...a teenager in the parking lot took that away from me one night when she felt that stop signs didn't apply to her.

    The Dart actually did kind of get replaced as my daily driver in December 1997. I was running on 3 bald tires, spun out in the rain, and hopped a high curb on the median. Messed up a ball joint, bent one of the rear axles on the fairly rare 8.75 rear-end I had put in, and knocked some trim loose. After that it mainly sat, while I got a new axle shaft, finally bought a new used power steering pump and gearbox, and now all she needs is for me to take the new ball joints out of the trunk and put them on.

    After the Dart's being being relieved of daily driver status, I put another 8-10K on the Newport, 13K on the Monte, then got rid of both after the that time the Newport had about 248K on it, and I just wanted something newer with more power features, an A/C that would work, and a water pump that wouldn't leak. So I bought an '89 Gran Fury, put about 40K on that, and the 41K on my Intrepid. These newer cars have spoiled me, though, so I don't know if I could ever go back to that Dart as a daily driver. When I get replace the ball joints I may drive it occasionally, on nice days like I do my DeSoto and Catalina 'vert, but I don't think I could ever go back to depending on it for daily transportation. I mean, I would if I had to...if suddenly I couldn't afford the Intrepid's monthly payment or something.

    I guess I've finally come to my senses and joined the world of monthly car payments, but I do still get excited whenever I see a nice (or not so nice) old 50's, 60's, and even some 70's and 80's cars still driving around.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...why suspensions on old Chryslers didn't hold up. My co-worker has a 1966 Charger, and just got a window sticker for a 1966. It touts things such as 36,000 mile intervals between chassis lubrications! No wonder the ball joints on the things would be shot by 50,000 miles! I'd always lube mine every time I changed the oil. Okay, I might've missed once or twice, but I never went more than 6-9K miles without lubing all the suspension fittings.

    It also bragged about a "battery saving" alternator. Were other cars still using generators by 1966? I know Chrysler was one of the first to switch over to alternators in 1960.

    Another crock it boasts about is "self adjusting brakes". Yeah, if you get out yourself and and and adjust them (at least if a 66 Charger's brakes or anything like a '68 or '69 Dart's!)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The alternator works better at idle speeds, but the old-fashioned generators did a pretty good job once the car was moving. But as cars added more accessories, like power seats, windows, mirrors, sunroof, ashtray, whatever, generators just couldn't do the job at low rpm.

    Now cars may be going to 48 volt systems in the next few years. Watch for it.
  • gitarzangitarzan Posts: 66
    My least favorite feature in my old cars were the vacuum wipers. The drew vacuum off of the back side of the gas pump and if you accellerated the wipers would slow down or even stop. Man were they ever aggravating. I don't know how many times I had to lift from pedal just to clear the windshield. I remember most of the simplicity of my older cars fondly, but the vacuum wipers are a glaring exception.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, I had those on my Falcon. An early form of intermittant wipers. Makes you wonder about how traffic flowed in the old days in heavy rain--people alternately speeding up then slowing down so they could see where they were going. Well, life was slower then.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I get to drive quite a few old cars, and what amazes me most is how little control you had over them...I really have to remember that it's 1955 and not 2001 when I take an old car out on the hit that exit ramp and go EEEEEKKKK!

    I remember just last year driving a friend's 30s Ford with mechanical brakes. A van started pulling out from a driveway. I hit the brakes and just rolled right on past him...I felt I was trying to stop a cargo ship.
This discussion has been closed.