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Old Cars Q&A 2020 No. 3

Kit Foster answers all of your old cars questions
Answer Man

Q. I am trying to find a Y-pipe for my 1965 Plymouth with a 318-cid V-8 engine. I would like to keep it original with single exhaust, since my dad bought it new. I have tried Rock Auto, NPD, Summit and others with no success. Can you please help me locate one? 

— Ron Patyski, Valier, Ill.

A. Off-hand, no, but we have a resourceful readership and some of them might have hints. No doubt there are some NOS parts lurking somewhere in the country. Actually, a good exhaust shop should be able to replicate almost anything if you’ve got a pattern.

Q. I’d like to find out if you can identify this touring car. 

—Mary Davis, via Facebook


A.Cars of this era can be difficult to identify by sight, as many of them look alike. In this case, however, the radiator is quite distinctive. It’s a Flanders 20, built in 1911 or 1912. Walter Flanders (1871-1923) is one of the long-forgotten pioneers of the auto industry. From 1906 to 1908, as Henry Ford’s production manager, he helped give birth to the Model T. In 1908, with William Metzger and Barney Everitt, he co-founded the E-M-F Company, its name taken from the principals’ initials. The car they conceived was intended as a mass-market moderately priced vehicle, but by the time it came to market, Ford had really taken charge of the whole industry. It didn’t help that E-M-F cars had many teething problems, and Metzger and Everitt left. Studebaker ended up taking over E-M-F in 1912, but Walter Flanders had embarked on a low-priced car of his own, the Flanders 20, in 1910. A four-cylinder car priced at $750, it sold barely 30,000 cars in three years. Ironically, Walter Flanders was a victim of his own success, as the production processes he had put in place for Ford ensured that his former boss could underprice and out-sell his own car. The Flanders 20 was history by 1913.

Q. Shortly before LeBaron Bonney closed its doors, I purchased material to re-do the lower seat of my 1948 Nash Ambassador. I would now like to do the back. Does anyone know who purchased their inventory? I still have the sample card with material and number from LeBaron Bonney. 

— Mark Bartow, Waupun, Wis.

A. We delved into the LeBaron Bonney closure in the Feb. 20 Q&A without unearthing new information. You’re the first person to write in since then. I don’t see any internet intelligence dated more recently than 2019. Anyone have anything to offer? Alternative suppliers?

QYou are doing your readers a great disservice by ever recommending using a trickle charger. I think you meant a battery maintainer (self-regulating). A trickle charger will over-charge (it never shuts off) and ruin a lead-acid battery. Otherwise, I agree with your answer. 

Three years ago, I replaced a 26-year-old Delco battery in my 1962 Corvette. Of course, I “had” to buy another Delco. When I told the counter guy of my experience, his reply was “[i]f more people knew about that, we’d sell a lot fewer batteries.” I currently have six cars with battery maintainers (float chargers) on them anytime they are sitting for more than a month.
My opinion: keep a battery at full charge and it will last a long, long time. I don’t always expect 26 years. My 1975 El Camino has the same battery that was in it when I bought it in 2000. I rarely drive it, but I can depend on it to start every time. Trickle chargers and battery maintainers (float chargers) are totally different “animals”!
— Chuck Garber, Omaha, Neb.

A. I think you’re referring to the Jan. 30 Q&A, in which a reader was worried about his battery freezing in an unheated garage. I used the description “self-regulating trickle charger,” which is perhaps a contradiction in terms. For prolonged use you should certainly use a so-called battery minder, battery tender or, as you describe it, battery maintainer. My own experience is limited to old-school “dumb chargers” that must be monitored to determine when the battery has received a full charge. My current charger is a dual-voltage six- or 12-volt unit I’ve had for 50-plus years. 

To submit questions to this column: E-mail or mail to: Q&A, Old Cars,
5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point, WI 54481.

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