Home » Forget Pre-Smog, How About Pre-War? 1928 Dodge Victory Six vs 1930 Ford Model A

Forget Pre-Smog, How About Pre-War? 1928 Dodge Victory Six vs 1930 Ford Model A

Sbsd 3 1 2024
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Happy Friday, Autopians! Since we’ve been looking at older cars all week, I thought it would be fun to finish up with some really old rides, in as close to original condition as I could find. No hot rods here, not today. I had to raise the price ceiling a fair bit to find these, so the “shitbox” epithet doesn’t really apply, but we’re certainly gonna have a showdown.

Yesterday, we looked at two generations of ’60s Volvos, and I really wasn’t sure how the voting was going to go. I know I would have a hard time deciding between them; they’re both cool cars and both worthy projects. Apparently you all had a hard time deciding, too – as of this writing, just one vote separates the two.

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So let’s look at a few pros and cons, and see if we can’t sort this out. Both of them run and drive, so that’s off the table. The 544 looks better from the outside but probably needs a complete front-to-rear rewire. That’s a big job. The Amazon is a more iconic car, and a more pleasing style, to me anyway, but it needs paint badly. On the other hand, it’s $1500 cheaper. Nope, still can’t decide. I guess this one is going to remain a tie.

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So let’s move on. I haven’t had the opportunity to drive nearly as many different cars as most people here have; I’ve never had press credentials, so I can’t just ask a manufacturer to borrow a car for a week. I have, however, traveled in some really interesting car circles throughout my driving life, and that has gotten me behind the wheel of a wide variety of vehicles. At this point, there are really only three types of car that are still on my must-drive-someday bucket list: a gated-shift manual Ferrari or Lamborghini, a Citroën 2CV or one of its variants, and an original pre-World War II car of any description. That last one is our focus today, as we look at two fairly typical four-door sedans from nearly a hundred years ago.

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1928 Dodge Victory Six – $15,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 208 cubic inch flathead inline 6, three-speed manual, RWD

Location: Lancaster, CA

Odometer reading: unknown

Operational status: Runs and drives well

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Brothers Horace and John Dodge began building cars in 1914. Their cars were innovative and well-made, and they sold very well. Tragically, both Dodge brothers died in 1921, and their widows sold the company to an investment group. The firm then purchased Graham, a maker of trucks, in 1926, changed the name to Graham-Paige, then sold the whole lot to Chrysler in 1928 – the year this car was built. And you thought changes of ownership for Chrysler brands was a new thing.

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The Victory Six was Dodge’s fancy model, a step up from the aptly-named Standard Six. It was a pretty advanced car for the time: It has an all-steel body, and hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels. It does look like it still uses wooden wheel spokes, however. It’s powered by a flathead inline-six engine making 58 horsepower, driving the rear wheels through a three-speed sliding-mesh gearbox. No synchronizers here; if you can’t find ’em, grind ’em. The seller says it runs very well, and the tires are only about 2 years old.

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Minimalism in car interiors is back in vogue, but there’s minimalism and then there’s minimalism. The instrument panel of this Dodge is simplicity itself, with only a few gauges set into a piece of wood that looks like it belongs in a museum. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It reminds me of the polished wood cabinetry aboard the Queen Mary. Even the headliner of this car is a work of art. I mean, look at this.

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You see a car like this, and you start thinking the invention of plastic was a really bad idea.

1930 Ford Model A Deluxe – $10,950

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Engine/drivetrain: 201 cubic inch flathead inline 4, three-speed manual, RWD

Location: Camas, WA

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Odometer reading: unknown

Operational status: “Hop in and drive home”

A bit lower on the price spectrum was Ford’s Model A, a replacement for the long-lived but hopelessly outdated Model T in 1927. It was available in approximately seven hundred thousand bodystyles and configurations, and this one is a Deluxe Fordor Sedan. Under the skin, all Model As were the same, powered by a flathead four-cylinder engine and a three-speed manual gearbox, with three pedals and a gearshift lever in the pattern you would expect, instead of the Model T’s weird configuration. It was one of very few concessions to the market made by Henry Ford; he wouldn’t budge on mechanically-operated brakes, though.

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Simplicity was the name of the game for Ford in these days, and automobile engines don’t get much simpler than an inline four with the valves in the block. You can’t really do a four-cylinder four-cycle engine with fewer moving parts than this. It doesn’t even have a fuel pump; the carburetor is gravity-fed from a fuel tank behind the dashboard. The seller says it runs and drives well, and is ready for a new owner to jump in and go.

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It’s not perfect, however; it’s an older restoration, and it wasn’t done very well. The interior materials are wrong, and the wood framing of the body isn’t square. The seller says the doors are crooked and need some adjustment to fit properly. But it’s also not as expensive as a perfect restoration would be; this is a car you could enjoy puttering around in on weekends and no one would notice the crooked doors.

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Ever wonder why it’s called a “trunk”? Because that’s what it used to be, a literal actual trunk on a bracket bolted to the back of the car.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed reading about these old beauties as much as I enjoyed researching and writing about them. Next week, we’ll be back to more normal fare. But for today, it’s Dodge versus Ford, ninety-some years ago. Who ya got?

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 month ago

Every time I see a Model A, I think of that crazy Finnish tuner that crossed a Model A and a Ford Escot rally car. They have a ton of pictures and beautiful drawings.

https://www.mat.fi/video/ford-model-a

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