Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wait A Minute Mr. Postman! 1929 Mail Truck

What a great old truck! This 1929 Ford Model A has been owned by the seller for the last 43 years. It’s showing 23,192 miles but who knows how many times it’s been around–and who really cares? It’s now in Shawnee, Kansas. The seller has listed it here on eBay, with bidding starting pretty low but there’s a reserve. Let’s look a little closer.

31 MT 11515 Verna
image courtesy of Model A Ford Club of America

As it turns out, there were a lot of these Model A mail trucks made; you can read about them at this link, and there’s a video of a nice one here. Around 1400 of these “A” based trucks were produced by Ford for the USPS, along with some “AA” based larger vehicles as well. There was also a book written in 1999 specifically about these mail trucks, so if you want to restore this one or at least check it for originality, it won’t be difficult.
Unfortunately, we don’t know if this particular Model A runs from the auction. I contacted the seller and they say it runs very well! The seller tells us that the body is all original oak; I hope if someone restores it, it’s done sympathetically and all the wood that can be saved is preserved.

As you can see, the body is still relatively solid, although obviously there would need to be some careful conservation work done. In my dreams, it starts up first try–if it does, I’d leave this one alone and preserve it as-is once I made sure it was safe to drive.

Here’s where Mr. Postman spent his time. I’ll bet that steering wheel could tell some stories! The driving arrangement doesn’t look that comfortable, with other interior views revealing that there is no backrest cushion and doesn’t look like there ever was one.

It sure looks like it would start right up, doesn’t it. Even the pipe bolted to the exhaust manifold looks new. I know I’d like this truck, and I don’t even like Model A’s that much! How about you?


1966 Pontiac Grand Prix

Though this 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix for sale on didn’t originally come with a four-speed, a) it’s what the owner wanted, b) it’s probably what a good chunk of potential buyers would like as well, c) there’s probably plenty of automatic-equipped GP’s left in the world, and d) GP’s did come with four-speeds from the factory and this one was built using factory parts. Looks like a fun, needs-nothing, Saturday night bruiser. From the seller’s description:
Factory 421 4 bbl automatic car converted to 4 speed. Frame on restored 53,000 mile car in very nice condition. Very correct restoration with a few tasteful upgrades that do not detract from the originality of the car. It has the original engine with a conversion to the Muncie 4 speed transmission with console and 3.42 posi rear. This is not a “make it work” conversion but was done with factory 1966 parts and appears as new. The correct long tail transmission and rear are from another 1966 Grand Prix, and the 3.42 posi has been correctly rebuilt to be trouble free. Transmission shifts well without gear whine or popping out of gear. The correct factory reverese light switch was installed and they work correctly. Options include tilt wheel, amfm radio with reverb, power antenna, remote mirror, 4 way flashers, and the iconic 8 lug wheels. Repainted in gold color a little bit brighter than the original Martinique Bronze, it has a brilliant look, more gold less brown. A new vinyl top was installed. Original seats were in very good condition, but the driver seat has wear and damaged piping. A new carpet was installed with a factory console. New dash wood inlays were installed. The suspension was rebuilt with gas shocks and a large Addco front sway bar. The car handles quite well on radial tires. New clutch and brakes as well as Pypes 2.5 inch x flow exhaust system with correct long branch manifolds were added as well. The correct filter adapter was used. Muffflers are quiet at idle due to the x pipe, but when she opens up, it sounds as it should, without glasspack roar and no “flowmaster” resonance. It has an upgraded camshaft for a little more performance. It is fully detailed under the hood and in the trunk, and the underside was repainted but not detailed to the highest level. Simply, I drive it so I didn’t spend the time to do that. The car was a nice original to start with very minor rust issues. It did have some minimal frame repair done, and to transmission crossmember was modified for the exhaust. The radio does not work, nor does the clock. There are some widened gaps on the front sheet metal to avoid hood damage when closing. The pot metal rocker trim has the usual pitting. The bumpers were rechromed and look real nice

1966PontiacGrandPrix_03_1000 1966PontiacGrandPrix_02_1000 1966PontiacGrandPrix_04_1000 1966PontiacGrandPrix_05_1000 1966PontiacGrandPrix_06_1000

Heavy Hauler #2: 1953 Chevrolet COE Truck

00S0S_69TvQv1cgw8_600x450If you liked last week’s “Vintage Bow-Tie Hauler“, maybe you’ll appreciate this one too. This 1953 Chevrolet COE is listed for sale here on St. Louis’ craigslist, but is apparently located an hour or so west, in Mexico, Missouri.

22The asking price is $5,000 and my first thought was that the price is too high for an “old farm truck”, but upon closer inspection, I’m not so sure. It isn’t sitting in waist-high weeds, has air in the tires, it’s not in pieces, and looks like it could be in running condition, or at least close. So those of us here at Barn Finds have to ask our readers: What’s it worth?
The seller’s eleven-word description doesn’t mention whether it runs or not, so that would probably be one of the first questions. Although for many buyers, it actually may not matter. Besides cutting the frame down and finding a car carrier and some ’56 Chevys to pull around, this truck has a number of other possibilities which will enable to continue earning its keep for the next sixty years.
With the addition of a late-model drivetrain, it would make an awesome single-car hauler, either in ‘ramp’ configuration, or with a regular hydraulically operated roll-back tilt bed installed. A race car or show car hauler. The door jambs appear to be black, or brown, which would be common for a heavy truck of this vintage, but someone long ago has painted it blue. There’s no nice way to say this, so I’m going to just come right out and say it: it has an attractive patina! Some buyers would consider updating the drive train and interior, and not doing too much to the outside.

Looking inside, I see an added-on turn signal lever, and even more interesting, what must be a factory-installed radio. How rare is that in a heavy truck of this vintage? The interior obviously needs some deep cleaning, for starters, and probably some seat cushion and cover work.

They’re only original once, as the saying goes, and it looks like this truck has probably never been apart. As the value on these COE trucks climb, the “correct”, frame-off restoration is not out of the question for it as one possible future. But again, what’s it worth, and what would you do with it?


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fiesta Wagon: 1958 Oldsmobile Super 88

1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 Fiesta Wagon
One thing is for sure, Oldsmobile went all out when they designed the Super 88 Fiesta Wagon! This example isn’t exactly stock, but its body is uncut and wears its original trim. And boy is there a lot of trim on this thing! Someone has lowered this exceptionally rare and cool wagon, but I actually don’t mind it. I do have to admit though that a vehicle as rare and special as this really deserves to be restored back to original. If you haven’t ever heard of the Super 88 Fiesta, that’s because they only built 8k or so! This one can be found here on eBay in Dade City, Florida with a current bid of $2,750 and no reserve!

1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 Engine
The Fiesta really was meant to be a fun wagon, with the option to equip it with a six pack of carbs for 312 horsepower it was actually one quick family hauler. This car appears to be equipped with the more mundane 4 barrel setup, which was only good for 305 horse. Oh wait, that’s still an impressive amount of power for a 1958 station wagon! I bet there were more than a few teenagers who had too much fun in the family’s Fiesta wagon and ended up running it into a pole or ditch.
1958 Oldsmobile Fiesta Wagon
These things really were impressive, but there isn’t much information about them out there. I think they are often overlooked because they came as a 4 door, but I think in this case the extra set of doors just increases the cool factor! I’d love to have one of these, but I’m a bit nervous about buying this one. I get that way anytime rare and customized are in the same sentence, as it usually means you are going to have a hard time finding the correct parts and trim. As long as all the hard to find bits are here and unmodified, it might be alright. What do you think? Is it worth taking on this lowered party wagon?


1958 MG Magnette ZB

1958 MG Magnette ZB
Some of my favorite cars have the MG badge on them. Family responsibilities necessitate a back seat though. The padded board in the back of my MGB GT just didn’t cut it when it came time to transport junior around so this Magnette looks tempting. It’s nothing like a MGA, but I bet with a few tweaks, it could be fun to drive. It’s too far away for me though, so if any of you are interested, it’s located in Bedford, New York and is listed here on craigslist for $4,500.

1500 B-Series

The 1500 B-Series engine found here is the same as that fitted to our MGA. Sure, it may be detuned a little, but with a free-flowing head and exhuast it should be able to keep up. Heck, if you are going to go to all that work, you might as well drop a 1800 from an MGB in there and call it a day. Actually, I wonder if the engine and tranny would fit in there…

Magnette Interior
Those seats look a lot like the ones in our A too, but they are most likely the same ones found inside the Wolseley 15/50. That’s because this car was basically a rebadged BMC sedan. The MG version had some nice upgrades such as dual SU carbs, but most sports car guys probably wouldn’t consider it the real deal.

MG Grill
Then again, almost every MG sports car used parts from other mass-produced vehicles in order to benefit from economies of scale. That’s not always a bad thing, but I doubt this car has the magic that “real” MGs enjoyed. A grill and badge does not an MG make. Still, it would be fun to see what you could do with a Moss Motors catalog and some ingenuity. What do you think – could this make a good roadster replacement for a family guy?


1955 Buick Super Convertable

This project listed on eBay is just like building an airplane. When it looks like you’re almost done, there’s still the other half of the project to complete. For example, that’s either the cleanest windshield ever or, well, it isn’t there! This is a no reserve auction, but with an opening bit set at $15,500, it may not be a bargain at that price. It was painted 8 years ago, but there’s already rust bubbling up on the rockers so the quality of the bodywork and paint is an issue. The chrome looks pretty nice, but there are rusty bits on the front bumper so it will need a rechrome. Many of the necessary parts are included, so there is a chance this could be a reasonably priced driver, especially if you can go topless. It needs not only the top but also the hydraulic pump and lines. It does have a new battery, though! It will take a close inspection to understand what state this car is really in. For example, you have to wonder what’s under all the POR 15 he coated the underside with. One might also wonder why he’s wanting to sell it to a foreign buyer. He says we Americans have no money, implying the Europeans have more.

The upholstery and interior look nice. The carpet and kick panels (for a Roadmaster) are included.

It’s missing tail lights and trunk lock, but the chrome is OK with only minor pitting.

Things look complete under the hood. It’s not pristine, but it is clean enough to be a driver. It’s had a recent tuneup, so it runs. The hood bumpers are painted red and the paint was masked across the top of the firewall. Perhaps this points to less professional paint work.


It is pretty and shiny, but what will someone be willing to pay for it? Will they pay more than it’s worth? To make it a show car, the buyer would likely have to start over, but perhaps it might make a good driver if it’s as nice as it appears. What do you think it would take to complete this project? What would you do with it? Could it be a driver and an ongoing driver if the paint and body work aren’t too bad?


Saturday, September 3, 2016