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Old 04-13-2020, 06:24 PM   #1
41panelmark
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Default Question on speed and safety....

Can you guys tell me what the average safe top speed would be for any of the 1936 model cars (stock condition)? Now I know mechanical brakes have their limits and there were options for rear end ratios but in general how do they do in modern day traffic, etc.?

I ask because I am considering buying something from 35-38 and would like to have feedback from those who have experience with them.

thanks in advance.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

I have both a 33 Fordor and a 34 3W
the 33 does heaps of miles, mostly towing our caravan,
see some of my older posts.
It has the stock wheels and tyres and mechanical brakes, it will run all day at 53 mph towing and both it(with out the caravan) and the 34 will run all day nicely at 55-60 mph, both have flathead Teds floaters and stop well,
the things that made them both easy and pleasurable to drive at speed on the hiway were good original shocks that I fixed and good steering with no play and the Teds floaters on the brakes. None have overdrives ,
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:20 AM   #3
JM 35 Sedan
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

Hi Lawrie, a couple questions.....approximately how many miles do you think you have put on your 33 fordor since you've been the owner? Also, which gear ratios are you running in the transmission (1st & 2nd) and the rear of both the '33 & '34? You may have mentioned this before in your previous posts, but I can't remember. I'm just curious and would like to compare notes with how my '35 fordor is presently set up. Thank you!
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

I have found most 36/35's have 4:11 ratio rear axles and that does limit speed. I installed 3:78 gears/Ted's floaters in a 36 sedan recently and it feels comfortable at 55/60. Did a 35 with 3:54 gears, hydraulic brake conversion (40 axles) and it runs @ 65 real easy but I think that is too fast for me
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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I have found most 36/35's have 4:11 ratio rear axles and that does limit speed. I installed 3:78 gears/Ted's floaters in a 36 sedan recently and it feels comfortable at 55/60. Did a 35 with 3:54 gears, hydraulic brake conversion (40 axles) and it runs @ 65 real easy but I think that is too fast for me
I agree... my '36 has a 4:11 and it "feels" very good at 50 - 55. It stops well from that speed too. After 55, the engine is "working". I am in the process of installing a Columbia that will reduce the RPM's significantly.
Safety? I doubt I'll go any faster than 55 even with the OD. Although the car stops well and steers very well (chassis is restored) there are still the idiots in their BMW's that have to pull directly in front of you and slam the brakes on to turn in 100'.
1936 technology, regardless of condition, can't steer around those guys or "lock em up" quickly enough.
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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I originally had 4.11, then changed to 3.78, and now have 3.54 gears in my '35 fordor sedan (Avatar pic), with ~ 75k original miles on the odometer, and mechanical brakes, using Mac's Antique Auto Parts floaters/equilizers with notched wheel adjusters, ( not Ted's) at each wheel. I can easily run @ 55-60 mph as long as I care to on the Highways/Interstates, and even higher if it becomes necessary to pass.
Crossing the desert on Rt 50 in Nevada, I had it up to between 75-80 mph just for a very short time, trying to determine top end speed, but definitely did not feel safe at that speed in an 80+ yo car, even though I feel it's well maintained. I usually like to keep my average speed @ 60 mph on main highways, with at least 20 car lengths difference, or more, between my car and the car in front of me.
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Old 04-14-2020, 11:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

I have a Brookville 32 roadster on original 32 frame and rear end ( 3:78) Stock 32 steering (15:1) Dropped front axle With Lincoln brakes in the front 40 Ford in the rear.
8Ba with 2 new 97's and Edelbrock heads. 39 Trans with L-Z gears. no fenders or hood sides. No seat belts or air bags or padded dash
Very light and pretty quick...in short bursts
I've had it up to 90 mph and it's scary. I'm comfortable at 55 60...It Handles OK ...in a straight line
It stops very well ...but...if you hit something at even a slow speed you'll be shot out of it like a jack in the box similar to a motorcycle....Basically a pretty little death trap'
If anyone is considering one of these cars and is concerned about safety...there's not much in that department..It's not Mom's new Lexus not by a very long shot.
I'd rather die with a smile on my face driving my roadster not like the folks in the back seat of her Lexus screamin' and yellin' cause she fell asleep at the wheel again
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Old 04-14-2020, 11:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

The 39 standard with 60 cruised good at 65 (4:44 rear)----but the model A with mechanical brakes would out stop it---the model a has cruised comfortably at 60+ all day for me--stock ----eventually I sold the 39, 46 because they had unreliable brakes, have the A and 36 because of the reliable mechanical brakes---the limiting factor with properly restored mechanical brakes is traction
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Old 04-14-2020, 11:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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It's not Mom's new Lexus not by a very long shot.
I'd rather die with a smile on my face driving my roadster not like the folks in the back seat of her Lexus screamin' and yellin' cause she fell asleep at the wheel again

Thanking you profusely for keeping "Mom's" Lexus away from my neighborhood. We already have our hands full dodging our own Lexuses (Lexi?) being "aimed" via questionable intent. DD
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Old 04-14-2020, 11:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

My buddy has a hopped up '35 5 window. Still has the mechanical brakes set up. We are both impressed how well it stops. He lives in a really hilly area and the biggest issue it suffers from is heat fade.

When still some what cool, they stop real well.
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Old 04-14-2020, 12:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

Down here in southern Florida, it's hot outside .

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Old 04-14-2020, 12:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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Down here in southern Florida, it's not really how fast safely the car will go , it's the other people on the road!
Braking distance is completely different than new cars and most on the road just don't get it .

No politics intended, but maybe we should best not advertise some of this info. I could see the wisdom of a Nancy or a Chuck legislating these things right off the road to "fix" that little problem. DD
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Old 04-14-2020, 03:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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No politics intended, but maybe we should best not advertise some of this info. I could see the wisdom of a Nancy or a Chuck legislating these things right off the road to "fix" that little problem. DD
Dang , great point I never thought of !
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Old 04-14-2020, 04:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

Brakes and steering / lights .On the customers request we just removed stock cable brakes from a 38 and fitted Lockheed came up with a different M/c mount .Cant say its better than cables at this stage ,his complaint was the balancing of the cables ,I think due to the lack of new springs ect contributed to it ,We did not opt to my Floaters due to trying to get the stock stuff working but I wonder if the ducking and diving may have been solved if we did .I intend to get the lockheed ones working better ,not sure what we will do yet but will keep you posted ,
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

JM,
since we have had the 33 we have done over 100K miles,Since jan 2014 it has towed the caravan around 50K miles,
The 34 has the original early 3 speed trans with the straight low and rev gears and 3.34 rear, the 33 has the guts from a 48 sideshift trans and a 3.78 rear, both on 17 in wheels and crossply tyres and mech brakes.
Both great to drive,
I have two 35 columbia,s in my shop and thought about one for the 33 ,but for towing the caravan thought the 3.78 best.
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

I have a 35 Roadster with a stock LB engine with the lip off the flywheel and a 97 carb, 1940 brakes, 3.54 rear and 6.00x16 tires. It easily will run from 30mph to 65mph in 3rd gear with no problems and been into the 90mph range so far seeing what it'll do (ran out of road trying to do 100)
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:33 PM   #17
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

I've told this story before, but it may bear repeating. Someone said earlier in this thread that it's usually not the car that's the limiting factor, but traffic and other drivers. Last summer, I took my '51 with a modified Merc engine, 3.55 gears, 2.25/75-15 radials on the rear, and no O/D to my 59th class reunion. It was in a suburb of Minneapolis, about 180 miles one way. The first 60 miles or so were great; newly paved four lane highway and minimal traffic. I found myself "keeping up with traffic", going 70-75, no problem.

Once I got to Interstate 94, everything changed; heavy traffic and the general flow of traffic was 75 and above. Between this and "gawkers" trying to get a good look at "the old car", even in those conditions, it quickly turned into a real "white-knuckle" affair. I made it to my destination OK, but I had two close calls, one with a member of the aforementioned "changing lanes at the last minute to make a turn" crowd (the other involved a semi doing about 85).

On the way back, I did some planning and left after rush hour and stuck to state roads, and everything was fine, traffic-wise. There was a problem with the car, though. I was about an hour from home when it got dark. I turned on the headlights and it was OK as long as I had them on high beams. Low beams were totally useless. It seemed that I had installed a set of Aerostar springs and 185/75-15 tires and forgot to re-aim the head lights. About 1/2 hour from home, first one high beam burnt out, and quickly followed by the other. I did have low beams and was able to make it home, It wasn't too bad most of the time, as I could pick up the "fog-line" at the edge of the road, but when one of those new cars with halogen headlights approached, they almost blinded me until I was past them. It was another "white-knuckle" session for that last half hour.

Bottom line? Make sure your headlights are working properly. This includes proper aiming, especially if you have done any front suspension work.

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Old 04-14-2020, 09:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

Thanks for all of the responses. I have one more question. It has been years since I had a 37 but I seem to remember that the 36-38's had "wide five" wheels. Is this correct?

thanks
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

Yes
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:43 PM   #20
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Default Re: Question on speed and safety....

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Originally Posted by 41panelmark View Post
Thanks for all of the responses. I have one more question. It has been years since I had a 37 but I seem to remember that the 36-38's had "wide five" wheels. Is this correct?

thanks
Actually, '36 - '39 had the wide five wheels.
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