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vulgalour

Advice Please: Kent, Cars, Pre-war stuff

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Hi Vulg.

 

I'm of no practical assistance whatsoever, just wanted to extend a warm southern welcome ;)  I'm in East Sussex but I used to live in Kent and Mrs H has family there so we're frequent visitors.  Hope to see you at a local meet sometime.

 

I lived in Canterbury when I was there and I absolutely bloody loved it.  Last time I went to visit the place seemed to have had a really good sprucing up so I reckon it's even better now.  Not cheap though.

 

Good luck with the buyage, I've just done it for the first time (literally last week).  The big number at the bottom of my banking app is a bit scary but believe me, it's outweighed by the idea that I live in this space now, no landlord can just chuck me out on a whim, and the monthly payment is going towards my retirement rather than someone else's.

 

Great to hear of things going so well with your Mr as well, it's a big step moving 300 miles so I hope you're both disgustingly happy.

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House hunting is hard.  Well it's not, it's quite easy because of the internet.  What's hard is finding something that ticks as many boxes as possible in budget.  To make things a little bit harder, I'm not allowed to pick any more houses without garages or individual driveways, even if it does make the other boxes easier to tick.  Wuv, twue wuv!

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Yeah, I'm trying not to think about that, especially since it's the sale of bf's previous property that's funding this one in part.  I'm hoping my work will get a bit better, there seems to be a stronger art and car community in Kent and environs so I'm hoping to do some actual real world sales, which would be nice.  Working online at funny hours is beginning to take its toll after nearly a decade of doing so and I'd like my hours to be a bit more regular.  That means getting a more local customer established, which I've not been able to do in the North East and had started doing in Derbyshire before I had to move (annoyingly).

 

Anyway, the actuals of house buying is drifting into non-car stuff so I don't want to do that.

 

What I'm wondering about is the thing we've barely touched on in here which is pre-war cars.  I know there's a huge amount of choice with what seems like hundreds of manufacturers, but what's safe and interesting as a first-timer and what's to be avoided at all costs?  I know we're looking at a mid-sized four door saloon ideally but not something sporty or overly luxurious.  For a rough idea of the size we're interested in, I'll demonstrate with Austins.

 

Too small

ebay1009098.jpg

 

Too big

Austin_Six_registered_December_1936_3377

 

Just right

ebay183940.jpg

 

We're not looking to modify or hot rod and we're not interested in a drophead of any variety, nor really even sunroofs (though I'm told pre-war sunroofs can be a bit of a nightmare for leaks and generally breaking so are best avoided).  I'm not particularly concerned about antiquated handling, power and brakes as these can all be got used to, and I'm not too concerned about driver comfort since being a joint project, if I can't drive it (or can't drive it very far) I can still be a passenger.  Having said that, the very few pre-1950 cars I've sat in haven't had any of the stupid offset pedel problems of post-1960 stuff, with things like massive steering wheels helping somewhat on the earlier stuff.  Seating position is another reason for going bigger, I don't think either of us would enjoy something so cramped as a Ruby and really big stuff has the issue of needing larger storage space and attendant costs if it can't be kept at home for whatever reason.

 

I imagine some parts are problematic too.  I know some items appear on eBay, but I expect joining a specific club, group, or forum is going to be more sensible if we want to drive something of this age on a semi-regular basis.  I don't intend for it to be solely a show car, because what is point, but neither will it be a daily driver.  It would get semi-regular use, perhaps once or twice a week or so.  I'll definitely be using it for thoroughly mundane things like going shopping because why wouldn't you?

 

It doesn't have to be an Austin, it can be just about anything, but the other half has expressed a reluctance to be the owner of a French car, so it might be best to avoid those sorts of things.

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I think most things for them as essentially unobtanium unless your buying something that's super popular for a pre-war car like a Seven.

 

Aren't they all mega pricey though? I seem to recall anything worth having of that age being £5k+...

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That's another aspect of this I need to learn.  Prices seem to vary a lot.  I'm more interested in usable oily rag than I am in pristine trailer queen, and that seems in general to keep the price down quite a bit.  I doubt I can get anything worth having for less than £2k and even then I expect it will need work *but* there's been a few cars turn up that didn't seem too horrendous for much less over the past few years.  If you go into the 1940s you can still seemingly get the pre-war experience on a newer car, because War Two caused car technology to basically stop for quite a while, so there's that option too.  Devons, Somersets, etc. never seem to command huge sums for scruffy examples, but other half wants a proper pre-war or during-war looking thing and isn't into 'blobby cars'.  He hates the Atlantic, which makes me sad, because even though they're apparently terrible, I'd quite like one.

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The whole of Medway is to be avoided. I've lived here for many years and can confirm it's an absolute shithole. In fact the whole of North Kent west of Faversham is best avoided. Over-populated, manic traffic, no obvious shite/classic interest (or indeed anything else much to recommend it). Stay south of Maidstone and you should be ok(ish).

 

 

Well that's written off Rochester Cathedral, Rochester Castle, Upnor Castle, Upper Upnor, Lower Upnor, St Mary's Island, the River Medway, Chatham Maritime and marina, Pembroke, the Royal Engineers Museum and three universities, The Copper Rivet Distillery, The Historic Dockyard, Rochester airport...

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Austin 8 (if you can find one). 10s in all flavours are lovely but seem very expensive these days. 

For genuine oily rag type projects it seems good old eBay still comes up trumps.

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I'm on the east side of Gillingham toward Rainham, having previously been in Margate and Gravesend. It's mostly ok with good and bad areas same as anywhere else. As I came from Manchester (via a few years in Chesham, Bucks) I love being near the coast and Kent downs. I really like the country and small towns and villages on the outskirts of Canterbury, Ashford and east Thanet. The locals love their Northern jokes which gets weary I have to say, which I didn't get in Bucks. Im also on an extended hiatus from cars so not much use to you. You will see a lot of shite kicking about east London.

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The Secret Life of Machines!   That was one of my favourite shows.  Pretty sure it's directly responsible for my desire to know how things, especially moving things, actually work.

 

Excellent program. Someone has uploaded them all to YouTube.

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I would be looking at 12 h.p. and over as the puny engines really do become tiresome. 50 MPH would be strained if you get there in the first place. Having said that, the Morris 8 Series E was a very long-lived car with many surviving  into the 1960s. Parts aren't a problem at all. The only items these old cars need are ignition parts and oil filters (if fitted) and the very occasional brake linings.

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How servicable are ignition components?  Everything seems much more robust and primitive and I've seen a few videos of people cleaning up components with moderate success rather than buying replacements.  I expect pretty much everything in this era will be mechanical brakes rather than hydraulic and it will all be on drums?  I'm not sure when the switch from wooden body to all steel construction happened, so there's that to consider too.  I don't mind having to get stuck in on welding, but woodwork would be the other half's domain as I'm rubbish at it.  Upholstery isn't an issue and I wouldn't mind having a go at doing a fabric roof if it was required. When it comes to fuel, what do you do?  Is it just a case of magic potions in with the unleaded, converting the head, or something else?

 

I expect motorways are off limits, my grandparents have told me plenty of stories of the M1 killing cars simply because the engines (something to do with bearings and prolonged high rev driving) weren't up to the task.  That said, I can't imagine driving on a modern motorway in something pre-war is that enjoyable anyway.

 

I wonder what there is that looks pre-war but is actually much newer.  I know the Riley RM is a prime example of this - a favourite of mine too, but quite pricey - looking like it's from the 30s but built into the 50s.  My knowledge is sketchy on what else might be available, I don't really know where to look to find out more because I'm not sure exactly what we want beyond the vague "pre-war 4 door saloon" mentioned earlier

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I wonder what there is that looks pre-war but is actually much newer. I know the Riley RM is a prime example of this - a favourite of mine too, but quite pricey - looking like it's from the 30s but built into the 50s.

Ford Popular would be the last pre-war design, all the way up to 1959.

But only two doors and perhaps too small.

 

Or at the other end of he scale, the Ford V8 Pilot was built until 1951 I think.

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I'm not that keen on Fords, in all honesty.  The Pilot ticks most of the boxes, but the prospect of owning one is a bit meh.  The Pop has more appeal but are remarkably narrow inside compared to what you expect they'll be like.  Didn't particularly like any of the seats in the Pop I had a sit in a few years ago, it all felt a bit claustrophobic.

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Original electrical components are strong and repairable, modern repros are made of cheese. Avoid.

Brakes were usually cable or rod operated, drums all round until WW2. There were some cars that used hydraulic brakes, most commonly thirties Morrises and Singers. Chryslers and some other American brands had hydraulic brakes in the late twenties. Generally the cylinders are unobtanium, but my work can resleeve and rebuild them, and do batches for a lot of specialists in fact. Having driven a Morris Eight S1 I can't understand why anyone would pay the premium for an A7. The Morris drives better, stops better and has a nicer clutch and (synchro) gearbox.

I think most prewar cars used some kind of wooden body frame, whether it had alloy panels fitted to it or was used to support a steel body. My 1935 Standard 12 still has a complete wooden floor, as well as most of the body including door frames, with steel exterior panels.

Fuel is not a problem as lead was only introduced into petrol around 1937-38 and so most prewar cars are designed for use without it.

I'd be looking at Singers, Standards and Jowetts. I was lucky that all the woodwork, interior, engine, transmission, and wiring had already been done on mine, and, it came in a shade under £2k including delivery from 't north.

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Jowetts I like, especially considering how well supported they are, and Standards I like too though mostly the post-war models.  Other half isn't as keen on Jowetts and only seems to like the very last of the Standards when they were getting fins.  I've only ever seen Singers as roadsters in pre-war guise, I didn't realise they did saloons.  The late 40s Talbot Sunbeam 10 is appealing too, I just have no idea about those beyond liking the styling.

 

If I were allowed to go for bigger stuff I'd probably be all over something like an Armstrong Siddeley which are weird looking, cheap, and apparently not much fun to get stuff for. Sounds right up my street.

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Just got an APPROVE on the Jowett Ten, so that's another candidate to add to the list of potential candidates.

1936_jowett_10_4dr_f_8084086336.jpg

 

 

Lanchester popped up when I was trying to remember which pre-war things had interested me and then I was reminded of the Lanchester LD which seems to have had a very long production run, making it into the 1950s with a decidedly old fashioned body style.  LDs also seem to be very cheap even for good examples, possibly because they're rubbish and/or people don't know what they are.  Other half not as keen on the LD, it's a bit new and a bit dumpy, so it's on the maybe pile.

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Well that's written off Rochester Cathedral, Rochester Castle, Upnor Castle, Upper Upnor, Lower Upnor, St Mary's Island, the River Medway, Chatham Maritime and marina, Pembroke, the Royal Engineers Museum and three universities, The Copper Rivet Distillery, The Historic Dockyard, Rochester airport...

I had been toying with simply posting "Yep" in reply to this. Having had a bloody good night out on the raz in Chatham last night I take it all back. Fickle, moi?

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It is a bit early to buy since I'm still in research phase and finding out just what other half would like since I have to satisfy both of us.  That Rover is a bit nice and a bit modern, plus it has a sunroof, which I'd like to avoid.  It's also a bit new, the styling is heading more towards the curvy 40s look where other half is more interested in the boxier 20s look.  I'm unfussed either way on the styling, my tastes are considerably wider than his in this regard.

 

That's why something like this Nash 400 isn't suitable too.  For me, it's the perfect condition for a joint project, it's rough and ready but looks to mostly have been left alone.  However, it's also just a bit too big, could be problematic getting items for being American and a long dead company, and the other half would probably panic about how rusty it is (meh, it's mostly surface rust and dust, steel on stuff this age can tolerate it).  If I had £4k lying around I would have been stupid and bought this already, without viewing it or doing any research, it's the sort of thing that gets me excited for no reason I can put my finger on.  I'm an idiot like that.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1936-Nash-400-Deluxe-sedan-TRUE-BARNFIND/173270221254

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

At the moment I've been trying to track down any pre-war online info that isn't... well... rubbish.  I feel like I'm asking the wrong questions when hunting online and getting the impression from what little I have found that pre-war car ownership is geared much more to real world interactions than online.  That's not terribly surprising, but it is a little frustrating.  The other problem is the more I look the more I find, I get the impression it's a period of motoring when quite a lot was happening with seemingly hundreds of new manufacturers popping up and making cars and trying to figure out what cars should be and do.  When you get into the post-war years it seems manufacturers had a bit of an accord as to what worked and what didn't on the whole and the number of manufacturers reduces quite a bit.  Looks like many didn't survive the war as car manufacturers, for quite a wide variety of reasons.

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