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Which 1930's, 1940's, early 1950's AutoShite ?


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#1 OFFLINE   Bfg

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 07:48 PM

I've recently been watching the TV series All Creatures Great and Small, and was mightily impressed by the pre- and post-war cars featured.  So I'd like to ask if anyone here has experience of living with and frequently using a car of this sort of vintage ? 

 

Or if I were to pose the question another way - what sort is still affordable ..but also the most practical type to live with, repair etc. ? 

 

Although I love the sound and joy of the little pre-war Morris convertible Jame's Herriot drove,  I suspect the pre-war Rover (10 ?) Siegfried Farnon drove would be altogether more practical.  Before this, right at the start of the series he appeared driving an early 1930's Hillman Minx.

 

Your thoughts, opinions, comparison road tests, performance figures, etc, members club enthuse, and any such similar nonsense much appreciated  :mrgreen:

 

Daydreaming perhaps but I'd love a car with wings, running boards, and free-standing headlamps,

 

Bfg

 

Rover10CoupeGEV799showroom.jpg


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 ...its a bloody motor car  ..not a Fabergé egg. !

.

< Here > is a link to my former Sunbeam S7 / S8 motorcycle restoration business website.

And the story of my buying & now restoring a  1974 Yugoslavian Ami-Super  is < Here >

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#2 OFFLINE   UltraWomble

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 07:55 PM

Austin 7 or Morris 8

 

Parts are readily available and there is a HUGE following / owners group for support.

 

Be aware - Morris owners tend to be very snobby about counting rivets. Austin ones less so for some reason.


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#3 OFFLINE   Bfg

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 08:07 PM

.

Thanks, any personal experience of they types ?

 

Grandad was loyal to Austins, whereas m' dad always seemed to prefer Morris.   Excuse my ignorance but I assuming the Austin 7 and Morris 8 were in hard competition with each other.  Why might some say one were any better than t'other ? :?

 

Bfg

 

p.s. With my cars - I've stopped even counting dents :)


 ...its a bloody motor car  ..not a Fabergé egg. !

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< Here > is a link to my former Sunbeam S7 / S8 motorcycle restoration business website.

And the story of my buying & now restoring a  1974 Yugoslavian Ami-Super  is < Here >

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#4 OFFLINE   Bfg

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 08:12 PM

.

Just from a quick look at pictures and mention of a 7'-6" wheelbase for a four seater, and seeing as I'm 6'-5" tall and 230lb - I'm not sure I'd get in one of these :(


 ...its a bloody motor car  ..not a Fabergé egg. !

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< Here > is a link to my former Sunbeam S7 / S8 motorcycle restoration business website.

And the story of my buying & now restoring a  1974 Yugoslavian Ami-Super  is < Here >

.


#5 OFFLINE   somewhatfoolish

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:03 PM

Rovers were a class or two above Morris 8/Austin 7; Armstrong Siddeleys are perhaps worth a look too, the owners club seem reasonably on top of wearing spares.

post-9424-0-06631200-1530529320.jpg


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#6 OFFLINE   Skut

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:11 PM

I still dip into the books and although the motoring side of the practice is subordinate to the nags, cows & cats in some ways its the most interesting as it seems so alien now.

Emergency stops seem to be performed by simply driving into drystone walls. Obviously poor maintenance by Mr Farnon but it shows how marginal the technology was to begin with. Throw in bald tyres and regular drink driving and its gripping reading.

As for what car to buy I have no idea although Austin 7 seems a sensible choice. Also quite fancy a Jowett Bradford as they were supposedly quite tough and were made into the early 50s.
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#7 OFFLINE   Bfg

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 09:57 PM

.

^ I heartily agree.  I'm not much of a reader, however the pre-war series (on dvd) is quite wonderful light entertainment, and an insight into life in the Dales at that time.  But I was a little surprised to see blatant vehicle neglect and drunkenness being shown on TV.. Movies showing abuse and folk killing each other and some very obscure language seems to get by the censors ..but drink driving by popular characters and bald tyres and no brakes is VERBOTEN ! ..as it may set the wrong sort of example to our more impressionable.  Out of interest - do the books cover the war years. I ask because the TV series doesn't.

 

As an aside I was talking with a veterinary nurse the other day (presently working with Footman James Insurance) and she was saying that most of the veterinary bits are accurate ..as indeed are the long hours and arms up the rump.!  She now has young children and so cannot work the hours required to be on call, so she's reluctantly had to take a few years out.  

 

I don't know the Jowett Bradford - I'll look it up.

 

Thanks.


 ...its a bloody motor car  ..not a Fabergé egg. !

.

< Here > is a link to my former Sunbeam S7 / S8 motorcycle restoration business website.

And the story of my buying & now restoring a  1974 Yugoslavian Ami-Super  is < Here >

.


#8 OFFLINE   anonymous user

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 10:15 PM

I would still love an Austin 7, hasn't someone on here recently bought a Ruby? I did run a 1937 Morgan for a while, in the late 1980s, you really have to watch out for other traffic, the cable operated drum brakes did go out of adjustment quite quickly, things needed greasing every week, it had no synchromesh on 1st or 2nd and a reverse gate gear change, no heater and when I had it no hood. I wouldn't be able to get in and out of it now, so I'm glad I owned it when I did. It was my only car for a while, it was certainly not a motorway car, yes you could trundle along at about 50mph but if you havever any mechanical sympathy you know it wasn't built for thrashing and would give it regular rests on a long journey.

There were a huge variety of Austin 7s with many different body styles I'm sure you'd fit in a Top Hat saloon, ok there may not be much room for anyone else but so what.
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#9 OFFLINE   mercrocker

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:45 AM

An acquaintance of mine dailies a Morris Ten.   He used Marinas before he retired but he is now entirely Pre-War in his motoring.   When I idly broached the subject with him he told me unless I really HAD to have a 1930s car a 1940s Austin Sixteen would be his recommended choice.   Provided you can get the fuel coupons of course.....Finding one not in wedding white might prove more difficult.


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1963 Morry Thou

1955 Cowley

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#10 OFFLINE   Saabnut

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:05 AM

I have had and run pre war cars for many years. Current stock is a '33 BSA Peerless coupe project (for sale!), a '30 Morris Cowley flatnose special, a '35 RR 20-25 Limo and a '34 RR 20-25 Sports Saloon. Small cars are fine locally, but only the big ones are feasible for long distances. The longest trip I have done in the Cowley is about 200 miles in a day at 40mph ish. Both Royces have made repeated trips to Le Mans (2000 mile round trip) at 45-50 in the limo and 55-60 in the SS as I fitted that with an overdrive.

 

Beware of economy! It does not exist on pre war cars. The Cowley does high 20s, the limo 12-15 and the SS 15-17mpg. They take a lot of fettling, parts can be dear and take a long time to source/arrive. BUT Great Fun.

 

Your budget will determine what you buy. If you say how much you want to spend on a pre war car, based on that I will make my recommendations, which will probably be at total odds with your thoughts, such is the nature of these things.


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#11 OFFLINE   Justin Case

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:42 AM

Having driven a few prewar cars in my mis-spent youth when they were the equivalent of a 70s/80s car today, I can remember some highlights (and lowlights :( )  Most run of the mill cars were pretty dire, Austins were well screwed together but not very good otherwise, Morrises were marginally better and had hydraulic brakes from about 1934 which were a lot better than the cable bendix brakes on Hillmans (I think) which tended to twist the axle and so relaese the harder you pushed the pedal :o

 

Far better to get something sportier, a Riley 9 in any form is the ultimate small prewar car, but is now unfortunately outside the price range of most mere mortals. Any MG sports car is incredible to drive and leaves you with  a permanent grin for days after, but again price will rule it out for a completely impractical car, for all but a few.

 

My only recent experience of prewar motoring is in the passengers seat of the Museum's 1936 Guy Wolf ambulance. A 3 litre petrol engine  makes it quite nippy up to its realistic max of about 35mph. The vibration from the rigidly mounted engine will shake yor fillings out, you can hardly hear yourself think, and the seats are a thinly padded non-adjustable bench so you can't get a comfortable position no matter what your stature, but all this is outweighed by the wonderful character of it :). Ride is surprisingly good with large narrow wheels and the brakes actually work, so it is probably more car-like than most prewar commercials  To sum up  it is more fun than any other vehicle I have driven or been in this year. If you get the opportunity to get or at least drive something prewar, it is well worth it.


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I tried to deny the existence of Ohm's Law, but I met too much resistance.

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#12 OFFLINE   alcyonecorporation

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:48 AM

1. Horsey Horseless 

2. Horsey Horseless II 16v

3. Earnshaw Diamond

4. Yue Loong Feeling 2000 Turbo 


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Never give up


Burgess anything is shit, I have their engraver c1965, free, it will end up in the trash before long. Get an Earlex Jo, good bit of kit.


#13 OFFLINE   UltraWomble

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:48 AM

.

Just from a quick look at pictures and mention of a 7'-6" wheelbase for a four seater, and seeing as I'm 6'-5" tall and 230lb - I'm not sure I'd get in one of these :(

Im 6 foot and 22 stone and I fit in a Morris 8 without any problems.

The Ten- Four may be a better bet and easier to modify to take a more modern engine like the A series ( yes, the A series really is modern when you are talking about the 10-4 sidevave unit).

See the "Morris Ten-Four" thread on here somewhere.


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The Picasso is the future Morris Minor.

28241562828_2eb015f344_m.jpg


#14 OFFLINE   RayMK

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 07:37 PM

Dad had a 1933 Austin 7 which he bought for £15 in 1955.  He improved* it by pop riveting aluminium sheet over the bottom 3 or 4 inches of door skins, scrapped the leaking sunroof with a hardboard(!) patch and my Mum made a new headlining in grey felt fabric. Dad slapped black Valspar enamel on the exterior to cover the original but dull/matt dark red.  In this form, the car behaved tolerably well as a 1930s car trying its best to keep pace with the mid to late 1950s. I remember it well as it was a major part of my life from when I was 5 until I was 10. Its cruising speed was 30mph. It did not like the hill which goes up to Whipsnade zoo, always conking out from fuel vaporisation on the same corner. It did however manage several trips from Little Rissington to Hastings carrying my parents, me and my brother with his cot strapped to the back of the car over the spare wheel. Engine decokes were frequent and occasional deeper rebuilds often had the engine on the kitchen table by the time I was 10. Dad replaced it with a 1954 sidevalve Hillman Minx which had a boot, a heater and could cruise at 50mph.

 

In today's traffic, most 1930s cars will struggle to keep up and many will struggle to stop.  A 1950s Hillman would therefore be my recommendation. Not too pricey, not so rare that spares are impossible to find and overall performance which won't aggravate too many modern drivers.  


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#15 OFFLINE   somewhatfoolish

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 08:20 PM

A 1940s hybrid with a 1950s engine(as beloved of tractor enthusiasts, so tuning for speed possible!)? Do not paint!

img_2441.jpg

Or the same engine in a 1950s body but built in the 1960s? Also do not paint!

img_2457.jpg
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post-9424-0-06631200-1530529320.jpg


#16 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:02 AM

Vauxhall 10 / 12 is a decent choice for local pottering - yes they rot and spares availability isn't the best, but the driving experience is a generation ahead of the Austin 10 / Hillman Minx etc, with OHV engines, hydraulic brakes and independent front suspension.  Shit camshaft-driven wipers though.

 

The most usable pre-war car I've had was the Renault Novaquatre - that had an ancient sidevalve engine which could trace its roots back to the WW1 Marne taxis, but it was 2.4 litres so although it only had 48bhp it had loads of torque and could therefore pull quite high gearing - it'd cruise at 60, whereas the Vauxhall 10 sounded like it was about to put a rod through the block at anything above 45.  Bloody good brakes for a pre-war car too - cable-operated drums all round, but with a gearbox-driven "servo" which meant it'd stand on its nose if needed.  They do occasionally crop up on Leboncoin - they also did a Celtaquatre which looks very similar but has a much smaller engine.


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#17 OFFLINE   Datsuncog

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:07 AM

I know a fella locally who dailies this:

 

DSC_6517.JPG

 

DSC_6523.JPG

 

DSC_6518.JPG

 

DSC_6520.JPG

 

 

1938 Hillman. He does not intend to paint it.


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#18 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:44 AM

If you want to drive one regularly, the best thing is to buy one that has no structural wood, i.e. all steel construction.

The easiest to live with cars from that era are yanks. Simple fact. They chucked them out in such big numbers, that there still is an abundance to this day.

If you play it smart and don't mind to count a lot of doors, you can get a downright bargain. Stay with the mainstream makes for parts availability.

Although not impossible, spares just are more difficult to obtain for a car whose maker folded in 1957.

Non toff British chod is only interesting from 1948 onwards, when that stupid horsepower tax was abolished. Before that, the engines were shit and had no power.

Steer clear of laced wheels. They are total rubbish and put you off driving that ruddy thing.

If I were in the market for such a car, I wouldn't care too much what make and model it is, I'd simply buy the car in the right condition at the right price.

Since the bottom has dropped out of the immediate postwar saloon market here and there, I'd wait a bit. Prices are plummeting at the moment to a degree that these cars are sadly re-entering banger territory.

If you are into toff saloons from the era, tough shit, since the few remaining ones - and there never were many to begin with - have all been made into those cheesy wedding cars. Restoring one of those is prohibitively expensive, thus unrealistic.


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1967 Renault 16 Grand Luxe.......................Thanks to Weber now running well on regular gas

1993 Peugeot 405 2.0 auto Saloon..........................................A disappointment for many

1997 Peugeot 405 2.0 auto Estate..............................Is being regularly crashed into things


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#19 OFFLINE   cros

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:48 AM

I ran a 38 Morris 10/4 with an A series in it. I bought it like this and had it for about 8 years. It mostly did long journeys and was fine at 55-60, but this wouldn't have been practical on the original engine even though it was the first year of an OHV- old long strokes are hopelessly thrashy due to high piston speed as already mentioned. Fuel consumption was surprisingly good, mid 30s, and the car coped well in London traffic where most trips ended. The hydraulic brakes are marginal but kept in good nick just about coped. The car originally had a dual plate oil bath clutch, the standard minor box saw this ditched. The later '39 on unit construction 'xpag' engined Morris 10 lost something in looks but rides and handles better even though still on leaf springs. This engine is liveable with due to MG commonality. Spares availability surprisingly good too. I personally wouldn't entertain regular use of anything pre-war other than Austin/Morris due to finding parts.
The Vauxhall 10/12 is a revelation to drive in comparison to the aforementioned stuff, but previous comments about spares and long stroke engines are worth heeding. I will soon be finding the downside of the 'knee-trembler' front suspension which gives them such a good ride.

I had a 2.2 l Sunbeam 90 until a couple of years ago. These are relatively cheap, have a decent cruising speed with overdrive and are not too bad on fuel. Downside is their pokey interior, fiddly construction and the stupidity of hooking this engine to the gearbox from a sidevalve Hillman of half the capacity. Quite a few have received 'modern' Rootes gearboxes to good effect, not an easy conversion though.
It's noticeable that the desirable attributes for useful cars was readily available on American stuff which is probably why the P4 Rover got so much right, having been inspired by a Studebaker.
I like mine, but if there was no LPG to reduce the cost of running it I'd have a Wolseley 15/50. I've never actually even driven one, but it's a much cheaper alternative to a Magnette which I've used lots, and which has to be one of the nicest 50's cars for day to day driving. Precise rack and pinion steering, ready availability and upgradeable 'b' series engine, the only other car to offer all this is the Morris Oxford, back to the marque I started with.
IMG_20180414_092525.jpg

IMG_20140502_162440.jpg rover towing.jpg

Just found this picture of my old P4, sold on here to a shiter a few years back. It sometimes took a mate with it on the 110 mile trip to the capital. No failures to proceed.


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#20 OFFLINE   xkjagnz

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 07:02 AM

Wasn't the Jowett Bradford a van? Do you mean the Jowett Javelin instead (saloon) or Jupiter (2 seater)



#21 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:32 AM

Good shout on the Sunbeam Talbot 90 - they are a great steer for a car of that era and with plenty of poke for modern traffic, although as said they do need overdrive.  Don't confuse them with the earlier 80, which looks much the same but has a weedy little engine and beam axles.

 

Daimler Conquest Century is another decent 1950s drive - bit more room than a Sunbeam and the pre-selector 'box is surprisingly easy to get used to.  They do rot like a bastard though.



#22 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:42 AM



.
^ Out of interest - do the books cover the war years. I ask because the TV series doesn't.


I don't think anyone answered this bit - yes they do, Herriot (Alf White) was called up to the RAF and there's a book about his experiences.

They're well worth a read, funny and easy to read but an absolutely fascinating insight into a totally lost world. The motoring content is good, too - and the drink-driving and zero maintenance was very much a thing.

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#23 OFFLINE   Skut

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:49 AM

Wasn't the Jowett Bradford a van? Do you mean the Jowett Javelin instead (saloon) or Jupiter (2 seater)


Yeah its a small van, truck and minibus version of van.

#24 OFFLINE   lesapandre

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:55 AM

I will put in a word for the Austin A30. Very charming - more so than the 35, which is more up to date (slightly). The '30 is full of design quirks but quite usable. I ran one for about three years - you don't get anywhere fast but quite a stylish little thing. Not crazy expensive and easy to repair. They rust but not too badly. Good spares availability and club. Surprisingly roomy in front because of the high scuttle.


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#25 OFFLINE   MrSchwifty

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:35 AM

I'd also suggest an A30 or Moggy Minor- because A series.  Some of the 50's Ford stuff such as the Pop would also be a good shout but you pay Ferrrrrrrd scene tax on them - plus the sidevalve engine is pants. Yes, they are not as distinctive or stylish as the pre-war stuff but are just that little bit more bearable as a daily. Hydraulic brakes, some sort of heater and an amount of weather proofing just make them that little bit better without losing the charm of "classic" motoring. Moggy's have gone up a lot in price in the past few years, but the abundance of spares and possibility of raiding the BMC/BL parts bin for excellent upgrades shouldn't be ignored. If you want something a bit less run of the mill, a Wolseley 1500 and its badge engineered relatives is also an excellent vehicle, and quite nippy with the 1500 B-series!


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At least its not on fire. 


#26 OFFLINE   cros

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:36 AM

Good shout on the Sunbeam Talbot 90 - they are a great steer for a car of that era and with plenty of poke for modern traffic, although as said they do need overdrive. Don't confuse them with the earlier 80, which looks much the same but has a weedy little engine and beam axles.

Daimler Conquest Century is another decent 1950s drive - bit more room than a Sunbeam and the pre-selector 'box is surprisingly easy to get used to. They do rot like a bastard though.

I often regret selling the Sunbeam, its just that gearbox. The cruciform chassis makes it hard to go down the type 9 route though its been done. The big let down with many old cars (P4 particularly) is a horrible gear change, the Daimler gets round that nicely, though overall gearing isn't very tall for motorways. Both my P4's got 3.54 Disco diffs, Minors and A35's can be swapped to 3.9's easily and cheaply which is a big help. I've driven quite a few pre-war Austins and always found them great, but have never owned one. I wouldn't be put off by beam front axles, some work very well, the Range-Rover managed with them for years. The only car I had with rod brakes was a Ford Popular and they were fine unlike some other aspects of these primitive devices. The FX3 taxi stuck with them and stopped quite a few times, and its civilian brother, the post war ohv 16 has always been a car I'd like to own.
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#27 OFFLINE   alcyonecorporation

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:45 AM

I would daily the shit out of a Packard Six if I had the money. 75mph in second? Yes please. 
Before the war, the Yanks were ahead of the game by some considerable margin, Traction Avant excepted - and it showed. 

I couldn't believe how easy the '38 Six I borrowed was to drive. It was a Golden Mile Brentford car, so was RHD. It cruised happily at 60, stopped well and was pretty comfortable. 


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Never give up


Burgess anything is shit, I have their engraver c1965, free, it will end up in the trash before long. Get an Earlex Jo, good bit of kit.


#28 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:50 PM

I wouldn't be put off by beam front axles, some work very well

Indeed, the Novaquatre had beam axles on leaves at both ends and that rode and handled beautifully for a car of its era - probably better overall even than the Vauxhall 10, if perhaps a bit more thumpy over bumps.  Decent turning circle too - that seems to be a common bugbear of pre-war cars, the sit-up-and-beg Fords being some of the worst culprits (Austin 7 is shite too but is so small it can get away with it).


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#29 OFFLINE   barrett

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:57 PM

As usual, Junkman is pretty much correct on all counts. Unless you're actively looking for a car that's a bit rubbish, most 1930s British stuff won't be for you. The reason, which he touched on, is the total lack of engine development throughout the late 1920s until post-ww2 due to the Horsepower tax. These cars mostly used Vintage technology but, while most Vintage cars had lightweight bodywork and minimal equipment to lug around, the 1930s cars grew larger, heavier and consequently slower. There are also very few really attractive cars from 1937 (and much earlier, in a lot of cases) onwards as car styling in this country was at an all-time low. 

 

I would suggest a Riley is probably the most usable prewar car today. In 1928 they were an absolute revolution - free revving, twin camshaft engine, nice gearbox, easy to drive and easy to maintain. People still drive Vintage Nines as their only cars, and the post-Vintage 1500cc 12/4 had enough extra grunt to cope with the added weight (plus they make a really nice sound). They were also good looking right to the end. This one looks like a perfect example - 

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

https://www.ebay.co....5.c100008.m2219

 

It's a Briggs body, so no wood frame, and condition wise it's fantastic. Just needs cleaning up a bit and a good service and you'll be good to go. Riley parts are just as accessible as Austin or Morris, and this thing will cruise at 55mph all day with no bother. It's also got a pre-selector gearbox, so you don't need to master double-declutching (although the Riley 'box is one of the easiest out there). Downside is the vendor seems to be a cunt - anyone who suggests turning a car into a 'special' in 2018 is, by definition - and it's not pocket money, but then it's hardly loads of cash in the grand scheme of things, is it.


  • wuvvum, garethj, Angrydicky and 6 others like this

1923 Palladium Sports Model
1938-ish / 1967-ish Heron Austin special (half)
1955 Panhard Dyna Z1 (half)
1965 Citroen Ami Break
1965 Morris Minor 1000
1965 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet (half)
1966 Humber Sceptre 'Grey Haggie'
1985 Citroen BX 16TRS
1997 Peugeot 406 TD


#30 OFFLINE   lesapandre

lesapandre

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 02:22 PM

Odd one that. Mentions wont pass a MoT...doesn't need one as its pre-war. Looks a lovely oily rag car that doesn't need restoring just conserving and caring for and driving. 






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