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Thread: 1950 Automobiles by Floyd Clymer

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    1950 Automobiles by Floyd Clymer

    I bought this book years ago shortly after I bought my 1950 Commander. It's a good book full of pictures and specs for all the American cars built in 1950.
    Yesterday I was going through the specs in the back of the book, and came across "Battery Ground", and of the 34 different car makes listed, 22 of them had positive ground. With almost twice as many with positive ground compared to negative ground, it seems strange that they all settled on negative ground when they went to 12 volts just a few years later.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-1950-Fl...wAAOSwc2FaCI5k

    Clymer 1950.jpg

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Floyd Clymer's publications were always interesting reading. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ll=1&styleid=1 I recall reading some of my dad's old copies several years ago, and only wished kept them.

    Craig

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    There are some good physics reasons for negative ground, but I think that the switch may also have been driven by a desire to standardize polarity industry-wide. I am so old that I was already driving when the switch occurred, and remember learning very early to check the polarity when jump-starting a vehicle. All my friends drove semi-clunkers, and we all carried jumper cables wherever we went. Jump starting a stranger's car in a parking lot was also common.

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    When I was a kid you could buy any early 50's car for around 50 bucks (the secret was coming up with 50 whole dollars).....they all had bald tires and bad batteries, but they ran. Agree that having jumper cables was a requirement (or friends to help push start).
    Mike Sal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    There are some good physics reasons for negative ground, but I think that the switch may also have been driven by a desire to standardize polarity industry-wide. I am so old that I was already driving when the switch occurred, and remember learning very early to check the polarity when jump-starting a vehicle. All my friends drove semi-clunkers, and we all carried jumper cables wherever we went. Jump starting a stranger's car in a parking lot was also common.
    I can remember doing the opposite (jump starting my car from a stranger's car) in the 1950s. One night I came out of a bar and my car wouldn't start. I simply opened the hood of my car and the car parked next to mine (I had no idea who owned it) and jump started my car. Not something that I would advise anyone to do.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    I can remember doing the opposite (jump starting my car from a stranger's car) in the 1950s.
    Yes, I did a lot of that, too -- shoulda included it in my post. I once drove for almost a year with a dead battery -- always parked on a hill or next to someone I knew.

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    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Sal View Post
    When I was a kid you could buy any early 50's car for around 50 bucks
    I could have had an early 20's touring for $75 when I was a kid. And turned down a Porsche 356 hardtop cabriolet for $50 when I was sixteen!

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Lackie View Post
    Yes, I did a lot of that, too -- shoulda included it in my post. I once drove for almost a year with a dead battery -- always parked on a hill or next to someone I knew.
    I thought two of my lawn tractor batteries were shot, as I had to jump start them all of July.
    One day I left the 6 amp battery charger on each one for a day, and both have worked great since then.
    I don't get that lucky with car batteries though, but that miracle juice in the blue bottle did bring my 52 Land Cruiser battery back to life until a neighbor punk stole it a month later.

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Here's another one for sale cheap on ebay right now. It's really amazing the amount of research Floyd did to be able to publish this book with so many specs on everything from wheel alignment to engine bearing sizes and materials. I was really surprised when I wrote a letter to Floyd Clymer in 1970 and was still able to buy the book for the cover price of only $2. In 1976 I was still able to buy my 1949 and 1952 books for $2 each. Every time I need a spec for my 1950 Studebaker, this is the book I look at first, because it has everything from fan belt size to battery cable size and length. There's even a spark plug chart comparing heat ranges of several brands of plugs.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Floyd-Clyme...IAAOSw9mpaRwQM

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    Here's another one for sale cheap on ebay right now.

    The book yes, but the shipping??!!! That's not Media Rate
    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

  11. #11
    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    I have seen them from 49 to 56.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  12. #12
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    I have his 1955 Automobiles book, and have enjoyed it a lot. I think I found it at a car show back in the '70s.

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