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#101 Tony Matthews

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 10:29

More photos of the Packard plant on East Grand Avenue. It's quite an adventure visiting this place. When you walk though the ruins you can hear the bricks shifting around. There are giant holes in the floor that pass through into the basement, maybe a 20-foot fall -- better watch your step. Maybe once a month a section burns (arson, usually) or simply falls down.

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Like a post-apocalyptic film set! There is something fascinating about structural decay, very photogenic. Reminds me of the shoot-out in 'The French Connection'.

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#102 McGuire

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 12:12

Packard enthusiasts have debated for years about what killed the company. But really, the reason is pretty clear: a whole series of horrible management decisions from 1945 on. In the postwar boom there was a seller's market for automobiles and a window of opportunity for the independents to get themselves on the right path. Packard failed to make the right choices.


...As a kid I worked with a guy who did automatic transmissions... among the best transmission builders I ever saw. He could tear down and assemble a GM Hydramatic, any transmission really, blindfolded, in his sleep, or fall-down drunk (most often the latter) but his heart was always with the Packard Ultramatic. It was the the automatic he cut his teeth on and you know what they say: You love most what you love first. As he tore down transmissions, at every step he would say, "they didn't do it this way on the Ultramatic, they did it that way." Decades later, an exec who was having a Packard restored, without much luck, asked me if I knew of anyone who could do an Ultramatic properly. I thought for a second and said, "You know, I believe I can." I had never taken one apart in my life but I had sure heard all about it. Came apart and went together without a hitch and worked fine. Nice transmission with a number of unusual features for its time, including a lockup torque converter.

#103 McGuire

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 14:15

The PROC building reminds me of some buildings I worked in many years ago, though they were on a smaller scale. When I left school I did my apprenticeship with the district water supply authority and they had quite a number of pump stations and water treatment plants. Quite a few of these dated back to the 20s and 30s and were styled more like a Court House than a pump house. The pumps were inside these impressive buildings, on concrete plinths and maintained fastidiously with shining paint and polished brasswork. It was obvious that at one time this machinery was deemed to be Very Important stuff, to be grandly housed and proudly displayed.
All this changed over time of course, and now all this infrastructure seems to be regarded as just another expense, to be kept out of sight and built and maintained as cheaply as possible.


I love those handsome little service buildings -- built in brick and stone, almost like miniature banks or temples. As you say, there is a clear and unmistakable statement in their architecture: Look at this, people. In the distribution of water -- or natural gas, steam, electricity, telephone service -- we are providing something of real worth and permanence to the community; we are advancing civilization forward. And they were.


#104 WPT

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 16:39

McGuire,
Is that old Packard plant pictured above where the Merlin engine of WW-II fame was made? WPT

#105 McGuire

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 18:35

McGuire,
Is that old Packard plant pictured above where the Merlin engine of WW-II fame was made? WPT


Yes, it was... or to be perfectly accurate, right next door or adjacent to the passenger car plant. When Packard won the R-R Merlin contract, a new building was erected on the far north end of the complex, which runs roughly from NNW to SSE. Defense contracts such as these were generally run on a cost-plus, price-no-object basis, so Packard got a brand new plant, naturally. This first photo shows the facility in 1941-2 just as it was rushed to completion. The second and third photos, taken from Google Maps moments ago, shows the building as it exists today, in much better shape than the rest of the Packard complex -- at least in external appearance. As you can see, when the Edsel Ford Expressway (I-94) was cut through the neighborhood after the war, it just missed the Packard plant. I should mention the bottom photo is upside-down; that is, north is at the bottom, as is the corner of the building shown in the top two photos.

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Edited by McGuire, 04 October 2010 - 18:38.


#106 mariner

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 18:49

For Tony some more Detroit images ( there are thousands now, it has become almost a cult!)

http://www.urbanghos...of-a-lost-city/

If you lok down you wil see the famous Michigan Terminal station, I have never been to that one but I do remember wandering around the equivalent Buffalo terminal at the beginning of it's abandonment, Amtrack still stopped there and it was VERY surreal.

http://www.google.co...2...280&bih=818

BTW so as not to give too bad an image of Detroit I have been a couple of times and there are very nice bits too. The Woodward Cruise held ( I think- Mcguire?) in memory of the inter company drag races along the same road iin the 1960's is a fantastic event.

#107 gruntguru

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 23:45

Nice transmission with a number of unusual features for its time, including a lockup torque converter.

I don't know anything about the history of lock-up converters in automobiles. I had no idea they went back that far - very impressed! What year are we talking here?

#108 McGuire

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:01

I don't know anything about the history of lock-up converters in automobiles. I had no idea they went back that far - very impressed! What year are we talking here?


Packard Ultramatic was offered 1949-56. Two-speed planetary gearset with a torque converter but started in high, with low gear user-selected. In that regard it was like the Buick Dynaflow, with no perceptible shift through the normal driving range... though the TCC could be felt locking out at times. For '54 it was changed to low-gear start. The '56 version was one of the first automatics to use an aluminum case and some models employed electric push-button shift control.

In 1951 Studebaker also had torque converter clutch in its automatic transmission, simply called Automatic Drive, which was a joint development of Studebaker and the Detroit Gear division of Borg-Warner. Packard and Studebaker were the only two independents to develop their own automatic transmissions.

When Studebaker and Packard merged, building models on the same chassis/body platform in '57-'58 (Studebaker's) these cars were equipped with the Borg-Warner Flight-O-Matic in order to reduce costs. (Different transmission than the Studebaker/Detroit Gear unit.) The Flight-O-Matic was also used by American Motors, Kaiser Jeep, and by Ford, where it was marketed as the Ford-O-Matic. This transmission evolved into the Ford FMX automatic that was produced until the '80s.

Torque converter clutches didn't return to American automatics until '78-80 when they were adopted for fuel economy. So in hindsight, if anything the lock-up torque converters surely hurt Packard and Studebaker. They represented additional manufacturing costs not reflected in increased sales, and/or increased cost to consumers with no perceived benefit.

#109 McGuire

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:32

BTW so as not to give too bad an image of Detroit I have been a couple of times and there are very nice bits too. The Woodward Cruise held ( I think- Mcguire?) in memory of the inter company drag races along the same road iin the 1960's is a fantastic event.


When network video crews come into town, they invariably ask to be taken on what locals call the "ruins tour." Outside these areas, Detroit looks pretty much like any large Midwestern American city, especially in the suburbs, which are beautiful, even the older ones closest to the city including Royal Oak, Dearborn, and Ferndale.

Meanwhile, less than one hour from the city in most any direction you will find the best hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, skiiing, etc to be encountered anywhere -- this is a sportsman's paradise. The standard of living and quality of life here are very high while the cost of living is very low. For $200,000 you can own a home that you couldn't touch in New England or California for less than a million. This is a great part of the world to live in. The Chamber of Commerce commercial is now concluded.




#110 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 21:10

Though I believe that Detroit can be bitterly cold in winter. A friend of mine went there for a automotive conference a couple of years back and froze his nuts off!! He reckons never again in winter. Other than that what you say is what his impressions were. He said seeing the older industrial areas was so sad.

#111 desmo

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 21:54

Michigan cold? Hah! That's just what they say to keep the place to themselves. I lived in Ann Arbor and I don't think I ever saw it dip below -7F or stay under freezing for more than a solid month. Maybe two months. And I'm sure with Global Climate Change it's even better now.

#112 Canuck

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 01:58

That's not cold. -40F - that's cold. They didn't send us home from school until -45C (-40F = -40C for reference). -7...

Edited to add: McGuire - a book of building photographs may not be the ticket, but your thorough knowledge of the industry and era, with photographs - that's a whole new ball game. If you don't put this down on paper (electrons), it'll go with you to your next life, and those left behind will be poorer for it (or the lack of it as the case may be). I'm not a huge "Big 3" fan, but I'd buy a book about the Detroit industry, with stories and photographs like yours, in a heartbeat.

Edited by Canuck, 06 October 2010 - 02:02.


#113 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:16

...I'd buy a book about the Detroit industry, with stories and photographs like yours, in a heartbeat.

Seconded!

#114 McGuire

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 19:25

Edited to add: McGuire - a book of building photographs may not be the ticket, but your thorough knowledge of the industry and era, with photographs - that's a whole new ball game. If you don't put this down on paper (electrons), it'll go with you to your next life, and those left behind will be poorer for it (or the lack of it as the case may be). I'm not a huge "Big 3" fan, but I'd buy a book about the Detroit industry, with stories and photographs like yours, in a heartbeat.


Thanks, that is very nice of you. A friend of mine, the late Mike Kollins, wrote a well-illustrated history, in four full volumes, of the American auto industry that was published by the SAE. You may remember him from an earlier thread -- he was the builder of the phantom '59 Duesenberg. They're still available; in fact, I just picked up another set from the SAE website:

http://books.sae.org/author/1475076008

While this is the deal of the century and I highly recommend these books to you or anyone with an interest, the current selling price is a pretty fair indication of the commercial prospects for books of this nature. $15 for the entire set. That's not for each; that's for the entire set.

But I'll make a deal: If Tony can be persuaded to do a book about his cutaways and the stories behind them, I'll do a book as well.

#115 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 20:52

But I'll make a deal: If Tony can be persuaded to do a book about his cutaways and the stories behind them, I'll do a book as well.

:lol: I think my book would have to be handed out with $15 voucher for MacDonalds.

#116 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:22

:lol: I think my book would have to be handed out with $15 voucher for MacDonalds.

Tony, a book on your industry and McGuires book on Detroit would both be interesting reading. A few TNF types would be interested.
As commercially viable books I somewhat doubt it though unfortunatly.

#117 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:29

Michigan cold? Hah! That's just what they say to keep the place to themselves. I lived in Ann Arbor and I don't think I ever saw it dip below -7F or stay under freezing for more than a solid month. Maybe two months. And I'm sure with Global Climate Change it's even better now.

You need a nice week in Adelaide South Australia in Febuary where the maximum does not get below 40deg Celsius for over a week and mininums about 32 degrees. That will warm you up!!
But ofcourse if you want it warm go out bush in the same period and add about 4 degrees to that with plenty of flies! Though evenings are usually far cooler though

#118 pugfan

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:32

Requiem for Detroit was shown here (ostraya) on the telly last night.

I had mixed feelings about the damage to the old car manufacturing buildings done by illegal scrap collectors, at least it's recycling.

#119 McGuire

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 21:47

From Google Maps, here is an aerial view of the former Packard Proving Grounds on Van Dyke at 23 Mile Road in Utica, around 20 miles north of Detroit. If you squint only a little you can easily make out where the old banked, 2.5-mile oval track was. While the track has been pulled up, a section of the pavement was saved along with several of the beautiful service buildings, including the lodge (this was the wilderness when the facility was built in the '20s), the Packard water tower, and a small steel aircraft hanger. For this we can thank a preservation society, The Packard Motor Car Foundation, that was formed when residential development came along. Their facility is marked on the map by the letter and arrow. Their website: http://www.packardmo...n.org/index.htm

The factory building on the Northwest corner (upper left in the photo) was built to manufacture the Packard V-8. As such it was virtually the only modern plant with one-story floor plan in the company's possession. When Packard went bust, Curtiss-Wright became the owner. Today the facility is still in operation as a Ford trim plant.

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#120 McGuire

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 02:27

One of my pastimes is keeping track of all the old auto plants around the Detroit area. Shown here, the original Hudson plant on Mack Avenue circa 1910 and when I photographed it in 2008. The building is complete and intact, in pretty good shape, and is used mainly for warehousing, apparently.

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Today I was reading a copy of an old trade journal called The Motor Age from 1910 (catching up, I suppose) when I came across this real estate ad...

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#121 Catalina Park

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 02:53

Wow!

#122 McGuire

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 23:44

Today I was reading a copy of an old trade journal called The Motor Age from 1910 (catching up, I suppose) when I came across this real estate ad...

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When this real estate ad ran in 1910 this was a Hudson plant, as the brand-new company was already constructing a larger facility. But before Hudson took up its short residence here, this was the Aerocar plant. So what's an Aerocar? Henry Ford's chief investor in the Ford Motor Co. (Ford's third car company) was a coal broker named Alexander Malcomson, and the factory was based in a former coal yard and wagon shop Malcomson owned a few miles up Mack Avenue toward downtown. The building no longer exists and the site is now a medical center.

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Business was brisk; a second story was added to this building and Ford soon moved to the Piquette Ave. plant, pictured earlier in this thread. Decades later, Henry had a quarter-scale replica of the original Mack Ave. plant erected in Greenfield Village, his historical theme park, where you can see it today.

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Back to the Aerocar: To make a long story short, Malcomson wanted Ford to concentrate on large, expensive cars like the Model K, which in the short term were very profitable, while Henry was already intent on low-priced cars, resulting in a tug-of-war over the management of the company. At some point in this disagreement Malcomson started his own car company and built a new plant on Mack Ave. (top photo here) to build the Aerocar. (Offered in two models, 20 and 45 hp, both air-cooled, not successful.) However, this move gave Ford and the other investors (including James Couzens, Malcomson's former accountant) the leverage they needed to force Malcomson out of the Ford Motor Co, citing conflict of interest. Aerocar went bust in 1908 and Hudson moved into the plant, while Malcomsen went back to his lucrative coal business.

#123 Tony Matthews

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 23:57

A quarter scale almost anything is quite a project, but a quarter scale building, well...

#124 McGuire

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 11:38

A quarter scale almost anything is quite a project, but a quarter scale building, well...


As you can see, the replication isn't totally accurate, either. HF I had a rather broad concept of historicity, as did many in those days. It took some time for our standards of strict historical authenticity to evolve.

#125 Tony Matthews

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:17

But then a true quarter-scale building would be a little difficult to use, I suppose, a bit like me trying to cram into a quarter-scale Spitfire. However, it's the thought that counts.

#126 McGuire

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:38

Not an auto plant but a well-known Detroit area automotive landmark: the Uniroyal Giant Tire. Was originally constructed for the 1964 New York World's Fair as a ferris wheel, then was disassembled and moved to its present location on Interstate 94 near the Southfield Freeway, roughly midway between downtown and the airport. Allen Park, I suppose. Every decade or two it is updated with new wheel covers and tread; It was originally a whitewall and for a time it was dressed as a puncture-proof model with an enormous aluminum nail sticking out of the top. I took this photo around four years ago. Weird shutter artifacts seem to be in vogue so here's another one.

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#127 desmo

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 14:38

I've driven past that many times. I wonder if the aspect ratio has been tweaked along the way, it looks a little dated. Maybe they could remodel it as one of those silly super low aspect ratio tires currently in vogue and put it on a chrome spinner.

#128 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 22:58

Do they still make Uniroyal in the States? Bridgestone took them over here 20 plus years ago. Though tyre manufacturing ceased in the last few months. No tyres made in Australia now. All imported mainly from Asia.

#129 Ian G

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 00:08

I read where Michelin is the majority owner now via BF Goodrich but things may have changed. Sad to see Oz manufacturing being run into the ground,some expert was on the TV last week saying that the Oz $ at parity with the US $ will wipe out the Oz car industry in 10 years.

Uniroyal in Oz tried to diversify and at one stage made golf shoes(they were OK too) but it was always a struggle in SA.

#130 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 03:10

The Oz car industry is already fairly sick. In the 70s we were buying cars with over 90% Aussie content. probably closer to 60% now. That is on the models that we actually manufacture. The Commodore is often called the Chinadore though other are really little different.
Aussie assembled from ever increasing overseas components. Falcon and Holden still use Aussie made engines and differentials. Camrys and I think Corrollas are pressed and assembled here.
Most radiators, AC condensors, wiring harnesses, alloy castings, wheels, tyres, spings are made O/S now. And it will get worse unless there is some protection to the renmants of our manufacturing industry. That is before the dollar is taken into account.

#131 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 11:49

Originally posted by McGuire
Malcomson wanted Ford to concentrate on large, expensive cars like the Model K, which in the short term were very profitable, while Henry was already intent on low-priced cars.....


Would I be going off-topic if I expanded on this?

I've ridden in what appears to be K-Model No 2, one of the cars that was prepared for the New York Show in 1906...

The owner, Bob Trevan, has done an awful lot of research into the model. He owns several Fords dating from that decade (A, AC, C and N models as well as pre-production Ts), and at least one significant Ford from each decade since. Many of these cars were sold new by his father or himself, they being the two dealer principals of Trevan Ford from its inception until it was sold.

This dealership is now 100 years old, has been a Ford dealership that whole time and for 97 years was run by either Bob or his father!

One of the little facts about the K-Model was that Henry would not supply US dealers with any N-models unless they took a K-Model for each four (I think it was four) N-Models they ordered. Henry wasn't keen on being in the 'luxury car' market, but his backers were and he was keen to keep his backers whilever he needed them.

The earliest K-models, like Bob's car, had a very flexible front chassis section. This was because Henry was determined to keep the weight down. He knew the significance of weight, and the parasitic effect of weight. The alloy crankcase (on which the six individual cylinders were mounted) was attached to that front chassis section by four arms, one from each corner. As the chassis flexed over bumps, then, the crankcase was distorted. At low revs this was often enough to stop the engine!

I've mentioned before that Henry's passion for keeping the weight down on this car led to the unusual firing order, 1-2-3-6-5-4. He reckoned it was easier on a lightweight crank that way.

The chassis ended at the rear transverse leaf spring. But the body didn't... so the overhang was quite significant. To cope with this, the doors had latches that tied the rear of the body to the central section when the door was shut.

A very interesting car... even if it was a Ford.

#132 McGuire

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 15:39

One of the little facts about the K-Model was that Henry would not supply US dealers with any N-models unless they took a K-Model for each four (I think it was four) N-Models they ordered. Henry wasn't keen on being in the 'luxury car' market, but his backers were and he was keen to keep his backers whilever he needed them.


Yes, that is well-documented, for example in Vol I of the Nevins/Hill history of Ford: dealers had to take a quota of Model K cars to get the rest of the consignment. Common practice even today. If you want the red dresses you have to take a few yellow ones, no cherry-picking. The K was built in two production batches of 350 and 650, with engines and drivetrains supplied by the Dodge Bros. Unlike the other Fords, the K used longitudinal leaf springs front and rear.

By this time Ford was actively trying to push Malcomson out of the Ford Motor Co. One strategy was to set up a company called the Ford Manufacturing Co, which manufactured components for the Models N, R, and S, with the cost accounting manipulated so that Ford Manufacturing reaped the bulk of the profits from the manufacture and sales of Ford cars. This left Malcomson's stock in the Ford Motor Co potentially worthless, forcing him to sell out. Make no mistake, Henry was a tough and crafty operator.

The Fords N, R and S are absolutely the progenitor of the Model T -- in these cars you can see all the key features of the Model T taking shape. There were only a handful of Model T prototypes, none of which appear to have survived. (If there are any, some people want to know about them.) However, in the first few thousand production units there were many running changes. For example, the first 900 or so used two pedals and two levers to control the planetary transmission. From then on, the far more familiar three pedals and one lever were used. These very early models are known as "two-lever" cars and are extremely rare, partly because many of them were updated.

The 1926 Ford Model T shared by my pop and myself. Getting this car is one of the best things I ever did. 81 years old and he is out there working on it every day, and he put quite a tuneup on it. Warm, it will start every time without the crank or the starter simply by pulling on the spark lever. And it will run 45 mph, which is more terrifying than 180 mph in a Corvette.
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#133 Tony Matthews

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 16:17

And it will run 45 mph, which is more terrifying than 180 mph in a Corvette.
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For terrifying, I read fun. A bit of terror is essential for maximum fun.

#134 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:56

A friend of mine had a A model with similar body style that would cruise at 65mph on a decent road. Though it was a little 'tuned up' with a 2bbl carby and extractors and the V8 wires made the handling a little more friendly.

#135 McGuire

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:35

The Model T is rated at 20 hp and will do 40 mph. The Model A is rated at 40 hp and will do 60 mph.

#136 McGuire

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 13:21

Henry Ford speaking on 6-cylinder engines in a 1906 trade journal. Unfortunately, he doesn't address firing order but has some other interesting things to say. For one thing, clearly he is already obsessed with weight. Also included are the remarks of H.H. Franklin, America's prominent producer of air-cooled cars.

....In the history books, the Ford Model K is typically described as a "large, expensive luxury car" or suchlike, but that is not entirely accurate. At $2000/$2500, the Model K was one of the lowest-priced 6-cylinder cars on the market at that time, if not the lowest; also one of the lowest-priced 40 hp cars. In the established luxury class, Packard, Pope-Toledo, Columbia, Locomobile, etc, sold for $3500 to $6500 and up. The Model K was more of a medium-priced car, but with more cylinders and more power than other cars in its price bracket. A sort of muscle car, if you will.

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#137 McGuire

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 22:45

For terrifying, I read fun. A bit of terror is essential for maximum fun.


Learning how to drive a Model T is one of those things every enthusiast must do sooner or later. Big fun, like no other car. As with many vintage automobiles, there is no foot throttle; throttle and spark advance are controlled by two levers on the steering mast. There are three pedals on the floor, controlling, from left to right, low/high gear (low is down while high is up), reverse, and brake. A hand lever on the left sets the planetary transmission in high gear when pushed all the way forward, neutral in center position, and emergency brake when pulled all the way back. You have to discard all your learned driving skills and develop entirely new ones.

In many ways the Model T is easier to drive than other cars of its era -- for example, no shifting technique to learn, which before synchronizers was an actual skill. But it is very different. Many states issued two drivers' licenses back in the day: car and Ford. You can see how as the Model T was discontinued, there was a large owner base that had never driven anything but the Model T and didn't want to learn how to drive all over again.

In the case of this car, the old man has spent his time getting the engine to run strong, not so much on sorting the steering and brakes. The steering reduction gear, which is in the top of the column in a Model T, is worn out, while the brake pedal (which operates a band inside the transmission) doesn't do a whole lot. We are working on these items now. I would rather ride in a funny car with Stevie Wonder at the wheel than drive this car in traffic, but on a flat, straight country road it's a blast.

#138 Canuck

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 22:53

two extra pistons and rods complete, 17 pounds

Wow...

#139 Grumbles

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 20:05

The 1926 Ford Model T shared by my pop and myself. Getting this car is one of the best things I ever did. 81 years old and he is out there working on it every day, and he put quite a tuneup on it...
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There's a certain elegant simplicity to these old cars. Maybe not quite beautiful but to me there's something attractive and refreshing about the lightweight sparseness of them. And after looking at a car like this you realize how densely packed modern cars have become, with stuff jammed into every cubic inch of space.

It's great that you and your dad get so much pleasure from the car - the enthusiasm and fun generated by a project like this is what keeps these old fellas going, and makes them want to keep on going. My son and I share a love of 70's cars and we're doing up one of his at present. He's obviously much smarter than his old man though - it's his car yet somehow I seem to be paying for most of it..




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#140 Magoo

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:50

There's a certain elegant simplicity to these old cars. Maybe not quite beautiful but to me there's something attractive and refreshing about the lightweight sparseness of them. And after looking at a car like this you realize how densely packed modern cars have become, with stuff jammed into every cubic inch of space.

It's great that you and your dad get so much pleasure from the car - the enthusiasm and fun generated by a project like this is what keeps these old fellas going, and makes them want to keep on going. My son and I share a love of 70's cars and we're doing up one of his at present. He's obviously much smarter than his old man though - it's his car yet somehow I seem to be paying for most of it..


Yes, he's out in his barn wrenching on it most every day. So far he's torn down and rebuilt the starter, generator, carburetor, ignition system, transmission... they were working ok; he just wanted to see what they were about. He has the thing running like a mad ape. It will start hot on the spark lever, idle at about 150 rpm, and it goes like hell.


#141 Magoo

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 11:31

One of the little facts about the K-Model was that Henry would not supply US dealers with any N-models unless they took a K-Model for each four (I think it was four) N-Models they ordered. Henry wasn't keen on being in the 'luxury car' market, but his backers were and he was keen to keep his backers whilever he needed them.


While other manufacturers forced cars on the dealers in this fashion, Henry Ford developed it into an art. Whenever he got short on cash or sales started slipping, he would just cram more cars down the dealers' throats. A dealer might order 20 Model Ts and get 40, and it was cash on delivery. If the dealer couldn't pay, Ford could lift his franchise or open another one across the street. Factory reps were instructed to never answer in writing, always by phone or in person, in order to avoid the legal issues. Or he might just shut down the plants for months on end and leave the dealers high and dry, as he did in the T to A and A to '32 model changeovers. Ford did as he pleased and the dealers had to take it. Here in the USA over the years, comprehensive auto franchise laws were established to protect retail new car dealers from the manufacturers. Henry's tactics were the inspiration for many of them.

Henry was a folk hero but he could also be a world-class chiseler, and as he got older the worse he got. The "champion of the common man" stuff was mainly PR.

#142 Canuck

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 17:43

Magoo - you sound an awful lot like our friend McGuire. Odd that.

#143 NTSOS

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 14:50

Several photos out of an South African GM Assembly Plant booklet:

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#144 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 01:53

It seems that South Africa got better model 57s than what we did in Oz. All our cars were 6 cylinder base models, No Belairs.
Though if you went on an American cruise these days in Oz you would never believe that as most are V8 Belairs!!

#145 NTSOS

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 02:39

It seems that South Africa got better model 57s than what we did in Oz. All our cars were 6 cylinder base models, No Belairs.
Though if you went on an American cruise these days in Oz you would never believe that as most are V8 Belairs!!


I wonder why you guys only got the base model 6's?

Did the Oz cars have the same cowl/door tags as the US models?

John

#146 Magoo

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:35

Cool photos, John.

For a time (late '60s-early '70s) GM in South Africa had its own brand/division -- Ranger, based on Vauxhall/Opel/Holden bits. One model was essentially an Opel Rekord with a Chevy II 153ci engine. Later the Ranger brand was dropped and the cars were badged as Chevrolets. There were also some Vauxuall Vivas badged as Chevrolets with 302 V8s crammed in them for homologation in a local sedan racing series.

#147 mariner

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 12:05

Back in the '60's (IIRC) Opel fitted the small block chevy and a two speed auto into the Commodore shell and called it the Diplomat. Reportly it scared all the M-B drivers as it was seriously quick down the Autobahns for the time. I do not know if any still survive.

From an enginering perspective it is interesting what local engineers could do with the big company parts bin. BL Australia even managed to build a 4.4 litre engine out of the Rover ( nee Buick ) 3.5 litre engine. It was maybe wasted in the P76 but at least the local BL people understood that OZ wanted big, simple V-8's and not just super efficeint Issigonis-mobiles. I think it even made its way back to the UK as the basis of a Range Rover engine at some point.

I read somewhere that Ford Turkey got the Transit Connect van project not just because Turkey is a low cost mfg. location but because they impressed the Ford top brass by succesfully turning a petrol engine into a Diesel.

BTW nerd of the week question - what diesel was converted into petrol/gasoline engine by a well known consultancy and what is the connection with Insurance and prison?

#148 Magoo

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 12:23

The Opel Diplomat V8 almost became the basis for the '76 Cadillac Seville but at some point they decided to use the domestic X-body (Chevrolet Nova) platform instead.

#149 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 01:16

I wonder why you guys only got the base model 6's?

Did the Oz cars have the same cowl/door tags as the US models?

John

Hi, I dont think so. Our cars were imported CKD and assembled, trimmed and glazed locally, as were Pontiacs which were also 6s until about 1960.
Aussie cars were often a little different to the US models, most were sourced out of Canada and we tended to make things more generic so the same parts were used on several models.
Ford and Chysler were similar also. Royals were Oz assembled with both Q engines and V8s as were Customlines and tank Fairlanes though they were all V8s.
Other US models were assembled here too in small numbers, Dodge Phoinex plus a few Mustangs in the mid 60s, Ford Galaxies and I believe a few Caddys too.
Probably the last cars were 71-73 Galaxies apart from F Trucks and at times some Chev trucks too

#150 mariner

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 11:33

Way back in the 1950's to 1970's there was a thing called Comonwealth Preference across all the countires of, basically, the old British Empire. It gave Australian/Canadian/Indian farmers preferential access to the Uk food market in exchange for high tariffs on non Commonwealth goods ( to help British industrial exports).

This limited what the US Big three could do economically with assembly in South Africa/Oz etc so they tended to try to use any cars/parts that could be labelled as " Canadian" as Canada was also in the Commonwealth. How Canadian the parts/cars really were may be debatable but in led to, for example, GM selling Pontiacs in the UK as they were Canada assembly.

That may be part of the reason for the odd make up of some US based cars in SA/OZ etc.