Tag Archives: classic car

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible Coupe

Walter P. Chrysler founded the Chrysler Corporation on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation. The Chrysler was initially a six-cylinder automobile, but Walter steered them towards a full line offering, including everything from trucks to luxury cars. This period of great success earned Chrysler a place at the table in Detroit known as the Big Three.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country  engine

 

  • 323.5 ci Inline 8 cylinder L-head engine,
  • 135 HP,
  • Fluid Drive automatic transmission,
  • independent front coil-spring suspension,
  • rear semi-elliptic leaf springs,
  • 127.5” wheelbase

 
Many of the cars that brought Chrysler through the war years and beyond were designed by Raymond H. Dietrich with the aid of Chrysler’s Art and Color Department. As swiftly as the production of civilian cars came to an abrupt halt at the onset of World War II, it was resumed at nearly twice the speed in 1946. The Big Three scrambled to meet the imminent demand of excited new car buyers; however, Chrysler did so with a bit more creative gusto that helped institute immediate demand for some of their new models. The height of luxury at the time was the Town and Country convertible.
 
One of the most memorable post-war Chryslers ever built, the Town and Country’s steel front end was all Town and the White Ash wooden-bodied rear was all Country, and these elegant automobiles were equally at home in Manhattan or on your country estate.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country front

This fine automobile is freshly finished in the correct Chrysler Blue, with excellent chrome and trim throughout. The presentation of the car is top shelf from any angle. The 1948 Town and Country is highly sought after for CCCA Tours, as it is one of the most elegant and easy to drive Full Classics you can find. This car will earn the lucky new owner an entrance into any of their events, and would be a hit at the National Woodie Club shows as well.

The car features lovely new blue and cream leather upholstery that complements the new cut-pile carpeting throughout the spacious cabin. The elegant interior includes the fully original dashboard, which is one of the great designs of the era, complete with the factory heater, clock and AM radio. It’s all topped off by a new matching Haartz cloth top that is beautifully fitted and power operated, and even the trunk is restored in the correct materials, with the factory jack and spare.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Conv  rear

The original woodwork is spectacular on this car, with ash slats that are neatly finger joined, and expertly refinished with just the right amount of gloss. All of the inserts are new, with the correct Di-Noc red mahogany being used, and the impact of the craftsmanship is immediate when you see the car.

The 323.5 ci L-head 8 cylinder engine readily finds a quiet idle upon starting and is very clean and nicely detailed, and mated to the innovative semi-automatic Fluid Drive transmission, the car runs and drives as new. The wide whitewall tires and hubcaps are all in fine condition, making it obvious to anyone that this is a beautifully sorted luxury car that is fully capable on modern roads.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country door

With only 8,368 built in 1948 and far fewer surviving, these big Chryslers have long been a top tier collector car, and that long history of increasing values is a testament to the Town and Country’s lasting appeal among enthusiasts who recognize post-war elegance at its best.

1952 Buick Super Estate Wagon

The 1952 Buick Estate Wagon was the most expensive of all the Buicks built that year, and with such a steep base price, only 1,830 customers were able to give one a home.  It was a desirable choice for affluent moms with growing families across the country. The Estate Wagons were sent to Ionia, Michigan partially completed for the fabrication of the wood components. The car would then be mounted on a jig and assembled on a small production line. When finished, they were shipped back to Buick in Flint for final assembly.  It was a slow process but those craftsmen were able to create some amazingly beautiful cars that remain incredibly desirable today.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon left side

A beautiful “woodie” such as this is not only a fine investment, but also an attention getting statement of quality and style wherever it is driven.  The 1952 Estate Wagon makes a wonderfully useful classic that harkens back to an era of fine craftsmanship, yet it is able to perform admirably on modern roads at highway speeds.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon engine

 

  • 263 ci inline eight cylinder Dynaflash engine,
  • 120 HP,
  • automatic transmission,
  • independent front coil spring suspension,
  • live rear axle,
  • four-wheel power assist hydraulic brakes,
  • 129” wheelbase

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon trunk

Buick began with a standard chassis and incorporated styling inspired by Harley Earl’s concept and Motorama cars, and the stylish Estate Wagons began as a limited production rolling tribute to all the design inspirations from General Motors that had transpired in the prior years.  Under the hood of this beauty is the original 263 cubic inch straight eight Dynaflash engine mated to a reliable Dynaflow automatic transmission. The engine was a proven power plant, which drove the horsepower to a sprightly 120.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon emblem

The end of the production of the Buick Estate Wagon in 1953 meant the end of the mass-produced wood-bodied station wagon in the United States for good.

 

 

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible

Beginning in 1961, Elwood Engle’s striking modern design for the newly named Lincoln Continental began an immensely successful decade for the big Lincoln flagship.  It was one of the last vehicles to be completely designed by one man, and soon, every other car manufacturer was imitating its cohesive style.  Certain features like the distinctive grille and front opening rear doors became Lincoln trademarks throughout the entire decade.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible front

462 ci V-8 engine,
340 HP,
3-speed automatic transmission,
independent front suspension,
semi-elliptic rear suspension,
front disc and rear drum brakes,
126” wheelbase

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible engine

By 1964, the wheelbase was extended 3 inches, and in 1966, the first 2-door Lincoln since 1960 was launched.  The V-8 engine was pumped up from 430 to 462 cubic inches, and the car was also given all-new exterior sheet metal and a stylish new interior design. Parking lights and front turn signals went back into the front bumper, and tail lights were set inside the rear bumper for the first time.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible interior

The 1966 convertibles were improved with select technical changes related to lowering and raising the top. Lincoln engineers separated the hydraulics for the top and rear deck lid by adding a second pump and eliminating the hydraulic solenoids. A glass rear window replaced the previous years’ plastic windows. Sales increased to 54,755 units for the model year, but just 6% of those were the 4-door convertibles.  By 1967, the Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible was gone, the last 4-door fully open car available in the US.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible right side

The 1966 Lincoln Continentals were fresh, powerful, quiet, and smooth, and represent everything a luxury car buyer could have possibly wanted in 1966, and they remain just as popular among Lincoln enthusiasts and collectors today.

 

1940 Packard Super 8 One Sixty Convertible Coupe

Always built to the highest standards, the 1940 Packard Coupe was unquestionably one of the finest American cars of the pre-war era. In the 1930s, Packard controlled nearly 40 percent of the luxury car market, yet its traditional, labor-intensive, and low-volume production methods would soon contribute to a dire need to revise their approach. Forced to modernize or perish, Packard hired George T. Christopher, a retired GM production executive, to lead the development of an all -new automobile that was suitable for volume-production methods, yet retained Packard’s legendary build quality, engineering, and prestige. 1940 was a pivotal year for Packard, and is considered by many to be the last year of Packard’s Classic Era. A 1940 Packard is smooth, quiet and elegant, with enough modern technology to make them great touring cars on today’s highways.

40 Packard Super 8 convertible

Christopher devised a 4-year plan to introduce Junior Series cars to the market, and eventually, they dominated Packard’s bottom line. The market was changing, and all manufacturers were forced to respond with more standardized manufacturing techniques. Coachbuilt manufacturing became impractical, and efficiencies such as lighter aluminum pistons and the new Stromberg AAV-26 carburetor allowed the new 160 HP Super 8 engine to become the powerplant of choice for all upcoming Senior Packards. The Super 8 One Sixty Convertible Coupe sold for $1,797 when new.

40 Packard Super 8 coupe engine

  • Inline 8 cylinder 356 cubic inch engine
  • 160 HP
  • 3-speed all synchromesh transmission
  • independent parallelogram front suspension
  • rear semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension
  • 127” wheelbase

 

The unmistakable Packard look was subtly altered for 1940 with small side grilles flanking the iconic “oxbow” radiator shell, a styling touch that was already being used on other marques to make them appear wider when viewed from the front. Also, headlight pods now rested on the front-fender “catwalks,” a step toward the eventual integration of the lamps into the fenders that would take place in 1941. The headlight pods were now filled with brighter sealed-beam lamps, and the parking lights were shifted to slender nacelles atop the fenders. It was also the first year for fully covered dual sidemounts as optional equipment.

40 Packard Super 8 coupe

With just 401 Super 8 One Sixty Convertible Coupes built in 1940, this car is both rare and desirable, and is a CCCA “Full Classic” that easily runs down the highway at modern speeds. With legendary Packard reliability, smoothness, and classic styling, it will offer the option of open-air motoring always available at the push of a button.

40 Packard Super 8 steering wheel

Spring Start Up

Bring your ride up to speed after the winter.

Even though we have Sprung Ahead, the late winter weather in the northern climates is keeping enthusiasts indoors, classic and collector vehicles are still tucked away until the end of the Salt Season. Now is the time to dust off the classic and get ready for driving tours, car shows and cruise ins, and do the mechanical checks to ensure that you can have a good time in a few weeks.

My first task when putting a car/bike on the road after a period of inactivity is to make sure it will stop before I make it go. A quick trip through the braking system each spring can save a load of hassle later in the year when you want to enjoy the ride.

    • If you have drum brakes take the drums off if possible, clean and lubricate the mechanisms and inspect the linings for rivets showing through or other component failure such as coming loose from the shoe, broken springs or clips. Make sure the brakes are adjusted properly to avoid long pedal throws and unequal braking across the axle.

 

    • If you have disc brakes check pad thickness, for uneven or excessive wear, that the pistons push back freely and easily; check the disc for grooves or gouges on the friction surface.

 

    • Check the brake fluid level and look at the color/clarity of the fluid, discoloration or cloudiness indicates contamination that hamper the effectiveness of the braking system: if the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir is contaminated flush the system completely and replace the fluid with fresh.

 

    • If the brake fluid is clear and the proper color, bleeding the brakes is always a good idea after sitting over the winter. Usually contaminated fluid will collect near the wheel cylinder/caliper and can readily be bled out to assure better braking performance.

 

    • Inspect the flexible brake hoses, check for cracking, fluid leaks, corrosion etc… The internal passage of these flexible hoses will fail and restrict the flow of the brake fluid out of the caliper/wheel cylinder, effectively keeping the brake applied or dragging. If you find abnormally heavy brake dust and excessive friction material wear, the cause may be a collapsed flexible brake line.

 

    • Inspect the solid steel lines while you are under the car, look for corrosion which can indicate leaking fluid, check all the junctions.

 

While bleeding the brakes, go ahead and bleed the clutch, if your vehicle is so equipped; it is easier to get all the bleed and brake fluid equipment out only once. Standard and hi-temperature brake fluids absorb moisture, try to keep all hydraulic fluids tightly capped and sealed, do not leave the container sitting open especially in humid conditions.

Drum-Brakes

In the collector car world much of the discussion revolves around fuel; in the past it was about octane levels and who had the cleanest fuel at the pump, today’s discussion centers on the amount of alcohol in the gas and the damage it causes. Alcohol in fuel, much like in brake fluid, absorbs water and leads to oxidization of the components throughout the fuel system wreaking havoc on the older components. During periods of inactivity the gasoline and alcohol separate, the water laden alcohol lies against the metallic surfaces and oxidizes the material, etching the surface and creating tiny pieces of debris that move through the system and create issues that cause poor performance.

SU-Bowl-with-fuel-residue

Today’s gasoline starts to break down chemically within thirty days, with many collector vehicles it may take quite a bit longer to run through a full load of fuel. Even with the addition of a fuel stabilizer and alcohol counter-acting agents the various chemicals within the system create a gelatinous solution that joins forces with the bits of debris and will clog fuel lines, filters, pumps, jets, capillaries and injectors. When the fuel evaporates dried flakes are left behind in the system adding to the gelatinous ooze that restricts flow; internal components become encrusted in a varnish like substance that will clean off with brushes, steel wool and solvent.

Installing a clear in-line fuel filter between the tank and the pump will capture bits of debris, rust and congealed petro chemicals before they reach the critical and expensive components such as fuel pumps, fuel injectors and carburetors.

SU-Carb-corroded-components

The corrosive nature of the alcohol universally damages the fuel system from the gas cap to the point of induction, including the rubber fuel lines. The rubber fuel lines harden, lose their flexibility and will fail causing fuel leaks, air leaks, poor running or the greatest fear amongst us, FIRE! Carefully inspect hoses and look for cracking at the junctions, or the ends where clamped around a metal line; if the hose is stiff or it is cracked on the ends replace it with an ethanol resistant component. The damage from the corrosive nature of the fuel can be widespread, inspect fuel line clamps and replace if corroded.

SU-Carb-filter-with-flakes

If you encounter difficulty starting, due to lack of fuel, work backwards from the jet or injector to find where the flow of fuel stops; frequently we find the fuel has congealed in the carburetor float chambers and is clogging the capillaries that feed fuel to the jets. Clean the chamber with shop towels and solvent removing the ooze in the bottom of the float bowl, pour carburetor cleaner into the bowl and allow it to soak through the chemical residue and oxidization in the passages that feed the jets, in some applications a thin wire can be used to help clear the passages in the carburetor. Most pumps work with a diaphragm action, the alcohol will deteriorate the rubber diaphragm and the pump will need service or replacement. If the fuel line between the tank and the pump is clogged the pump can fail. We have been successful using a hand operated brake bleed vacuum pump to clear clogged fuel pumps, using a low pressure suction on the outlet side often will pull the contaminated fuel from the pump and allow proper operation. Metal canister fuel filters can be the source of the clog, capturing debris and contamination is their job, regularly replacing it is a good practice. Fuel lines can be easily cleared with compressed air forced through the line, we usually back flush the lines to clear clogs; be aware that filters and pumps can be damaged by reversing the flow, work around these components when performing these tasks. Check the Cap on the tank, oxidation can hinder the operation especially of older ventilated gas caps and not allow the fuel to be drawn out of the tank through the fuel line.

More solutions to the fuel problem are becoming available; the most straightforward answer seems to be to buy gas with no ethanol; the Historic Vehicle Association offers a list and map of gas stations offering ethanol free fuel. Many fuel distributors offer ethanol free fuels, a little research in your local area can highlight where to get fuel that will perform better in your classic car or bike.

With both the brake fluid and the gasoline if you should spill some on the paint or finish of the vehicle wipe it off immediately and wash the area with plenty of water, the alcohol will remove wax from the finish and start etching into the paint very quickly, use appropriate fender covers and have a supply of towels handy in case of spills. Know where to find the fire extinguisher.

Other good maintenance procedures for spring include:

  1. Lubricating the chassis and suspension
  2. Oil and filter change, check the transmission fluid level
  3. Set the tire pressures and torque the wheels
  4. Check the lights, horn and other electrical items
  5. Check the charge in your onboard fire extinguisher

 

See you on the Road, in a Classic.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible

The story of the genesis of the Pontiac GTO is well known, and several of the players went on to become quite famous in their own right. The brainchild of Russell Gee, an engine specialist, Bill Collins, a chassis engineer, and Chief Engineer John Z. DeLorean, they basically figured out a way to keep a performance image for Pontiac despite the GM ban on factory supported racing. All the pieces were there – a great 389 V8 from the full-sized Catalina, a sporty Tempest platform, and permission from Pete Estes to proceed on a limited basis. Even the name screamed performance, a moniker boldly chosen by DeLorean himself. His team skirted the GM powertrain directives by making the GTO package merely an option for the Tempest, and the results speak for themselves. By 1966, Pontiac sold 96,946 GTOs, and Pontiac ruled the new muscle car segment.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible1

1968 saw a major redesign of the A body platform, creating a more fastback profile and featuring the first of the unique Endura bumpers. With sales success by all of the GM divisions with muscle cars in ’68, Pontiac first began to plan a budget GTO muscle car for 1969. Fortunately for us, those plans changed to create “The Judge” as a full on street rocket. The name was inspired by the huge popularity of Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In” television show, and the “Here comes the Judge” skit popularized by the popular song and dance entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. The Judge became the ultimate powerful street machine that fueled the new performance image for Pontiac. Jim Wanger’s innovative marketing appealed to a hip, young audience, and the GTO Judge was the king of the street and the strip.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible2

In 1970, the styling of the Judge was cutting edge, with four rounded headlamps horizontally inset into the Endura bumper without bezels. Of the 40,149 GTO’s sold, 3,197 were Judge models, and just 168 of those were convertibles. The options list for The Judge continued to grow, but for 1970, rear anti-roll bars and variable ratio power steering became standard equipment. For the 1970 production year, the Ram Air III, 400 ci engines were the largest available, and with 366 bhp, the ’70 Ram Air III cars were every bit as fast as the 1971 455 ci powered cars. Today, the ’69 and ’70 Judges are far more desirable to collectors, due to GM’s lowering of the compression ratios on all their cars in 1971 in preparation for the unleaded fuels mandated in the US.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible engine

In many ways, the 1970 GTO Judge represents the last of the true muscle car era, while incorporating some of the luxury features that the buying public was obviously demanding. Soon, emission controls and the oil embargos would limit the demand for true performance cars, and as insurance companies began to surcharge the owners of performance cars, buyer demand shifted from brute power to a more luxurious style of vehicle. As quickly as it arrived, the muscle car era was on its way out.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible interior

GTOs are fast, powerful, and fun. In particular, the 4-speed convertible Judge models lead the way in value appreciation among all muscle cars. Their wild paint schemes and aggressive styling represent the best of the era, and owning a great Judge convertible should be on every car guy’s bucket list.

 

The Build – Painting the body panels

In the latest episode of American Modern Insurance Group’s The Build, the car has been sanded and the team is applying primer to the outside of the body of Ami G. (Named after after American Modern Insurance Group)

So now it’s time to get all of the edges on all of the body panels primed and ready to be painted in order for the restomod to be reassembled. The team will begin by painting the body panels silver.

primered-body-panels

They need to cut and paint in the body panels that are getting bolted onto the main body. So they’ll start by painting the silver first, then come back and paint the blue.

body-panels-painted-silver

After painting silver and cutting in all the parts, they’ll continue by painting what needs to be blue and cutting them in from that point.

silver-painted-body-panels

Taking the fine line across the body panels and cutting the blue line to split the line between the silver and the blue, the American Modern team will apply the blue paint before they finalize the clear coat between the two panels.

blue-cut-line-door-panel

We continue to thoroughly restore the 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS classic car on The Build. Be sure to stay up with The Build on our YouTube Channel, to see what else is restored. Also, continue to follow along with the collector car on our Facebook page.