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barefootskater New Reader
11/22/17 5:07 p.m.

Ever since roadkill started, even before then actually, my dad has had dreams of buying an old car sight unseen and driving it across country to get it home. Well, a couple weeks ago while surfing classifieds he comes upon a car that fits his wants (old, original, preferably flathead, carburated, drum brakes) and its unusual enough and pretty enough that my mom was actually the one who insisted on buying it.

Enter the 1951 Kaiser Manhattan.   https://www.ksl.com/auto/listing/4224968?ad_cid=1

So. The rental car is booked one way, and we leave sunday morning early from St. George UT to Rock Springs Wyoming. Hopefully home on monday, cause its only 479 miles through the rockies in late november in a car with a 6v system and unpowered drum brakes. ABS? What is ABS?

I'll try to get some pictures along the way. This is gonna be fun.

Ovid_and_Flem Dork
11/22/17 5:12 p.m.

Sooooo.....Wyoming to Utah in late fall?  Has the makings of an epic adventure even if it is only 500 miles.  Pics please!

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
11/22/17 5:13 p.m.

I’ll be following along. I love these kind of adventures.

That’s a pretty car!

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
11/22/17 5:26 p.m.

Got tire chains?

barefootskater New Reader
11/22/17 5:32 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

We'll be bringing some. And some tools and I'm gonna push for a spare battery too. I'm not funding the trip though so we'll see. Also a tent, just in case. 

pheo New Reader
11/22/17 6:34 p.m.

I saw the title and started laughing, this is great, keep us posted!

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/22/17 6:39 p.m.

That thing's MINT! You're gonna be fine! What awesome way to spend time together.

sleepyhead HalfDork
11/22/17 9:21 p.m.

In for updates!

Is that a flathead 4 cylinder!?

barefootskater New Reader
11/24/17 9:20 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead :

Nope. It's a six.


My wife agreed to let me take her camera so I'll get pictures along the way. Weather is good according to current reports. The plan is to leave as soon as I get off work saturday and get three or four hours north and be that much closer sunday morning. Gonna change belts, fluids, spark plugs and possibly look at the front bearings sunday afternoon. Hopefully everything gets done and we can leave for home early monday morning. We're thinking the car should be able to do 60mph without too much trouble, which makes for 8.5 hours in a straight shot. Hopefully.

We're both getting pretty excited. We've been talking about a trip like this for years and neither of us has been east of SLC on the I80 so it'll be a new experience. Also I've never driven a column shift before. So that'll be fun.

Dave Reader
11/24/17 10:06 a.m.

Very cool car. Great price too. I just recently bought and drove my first column shift car as well. My first (and only so far) drive was off the trailer with no brakes.

11/24/17 11:41 a.m.

Check the date on the tires. I've seen too many times cars with really old tires that go bad quick. Car like that lives in shaded garage, rarely goes over 40, never driven long enough to get tires even get warm really, and the rubber has been drying out for 15-20-25 years. Then jump in car hit the highway and within a few hundred miles the tires start to go. You don't want a blowout in a car you're not familiar with at 60 MPH. Better to buy all new there before return trip home if it needs them even if it costs you a little more, call the price difference cheap insurance..

barefootskater New Reader
11/24/17 12:07 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Guy said the all the tires are new, even the spare. That was one of my first concerns. That being said, We will be going over those and every other wear item we can think of before leaving town in it.

I'm good with engines and carbs but not an expert on tires. I know there are date codes but I don't know what they look like or how to read them. Time for some homework.

11/24/17 1:49 p.m.

You can learn how to read the date code on Tire Racks website. There's a perfect example of what can happen in my own garage. Tire looks new, never seen pavement,  and still has the factory printing on it, however it's a 2010 date code. It's aged out already before I've even reassembled the car even though it looks perfect.  So when I get the car back together I'll need new tires again before heading for the track. They age out no matter how you store them and have a shelf life.


sleepyhead HalfDork
11/24/17 2:33 p.m.
barefootskater said:

In reply to sleepyhead :

Nope. It's a six.

Sweet!  In hindsight semi-obvious... otherwise that would've probably been a large capacity four.  Good luck!

barefootskater New Reader
11/25/17 8:46 a.m.

In reply to sleepyhead :



We have all the fluids and filters, a new belt, new plugs, a cap and rotor set, new points and condenser just in case. I even packed some brake clean and a can of pb blaster. Just waiting for 5pm and we'll be on our way.

barefootskater New Reader
11/27/17 7:54 p.m.

We made it. The car is really something special. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll try to post them tomorrow.

barefootskater New Reader
12/1/17 1:11 p.m.

As plans do, ours changed slightly. The original Idea was to drive up sunday, wrench in the evening and monday morning and drive home monday afternoon.

We decided to get up to Salt Lake City saturday night to get 4 hours of driving out of the way. After breakfast we headed east on I80 and made our way into Wyoming. Pulled in to Rock Springs around 11 am I think.


Here are some of the pictures I took when we pulled up.


Edit:  I see I still don't quite get how to properly upload images. But these should work for now.

barefootskater New Reader
12/1/17 1:31 p.m.

So we gave the car a good look over. Straight, clean, zero rust.


The owner, Gary, came out and told us what he knew of the car. It was his dad's, he got it when his father passed and had only driven it about 400 miles. We went for a short test ride and it seemed to run perfectly so the purchase was made.


Thats my dad. Happy new owner.

We had asked Gary what the car might need and he didn't think it needed anything. We looked at the oil and it certainly looked new, and the car ran so smoothly we didn't want to chance messing anything up. So we decided to keep all the spare parts we brought with us and if anything acted up we could change it along the way. We did get permission to change the trans and diff fluid in the driveway because those were unknown.

 There is so much about the car that was new and interesting to my 29 year old self. Things I had never seen before. Like wings in the rear windows, a pull handle labeled "overdrive", wires with woven insulation... Just a really neat car.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/1/17 1:57 p.m.

Very cool.  I've done a few long trips. WHen I bought my Spitfire back in 2014 I drove it home from Jackson, MI to Philadelphia, PA - over 600 miles in an old British car I just bought.  But in my defense, the seller is a fellow GRM'er and I felt confident he wasn't selling a turd - and it's actually turned out to be one of the most reliable cars I've owned (save a tendency to not like hot weather).

Some day I want to drive something old and weird home from California (another classic Mini, perhaps), but it'll be a number of years before I have the time and space to do that.

sleepyhead HalfDork
12/1/17 4:04 p.m.


So, I'd guess that you've got the image link correct, but you're using the button just to the left of the emoticon (smiley) button, and you want to click on the button two to the left of the emoticon button?

barefootskater New Reader
12/1/17 4:28 p.m.

In reply to sleepyhead :

I did that but no image showed up... I have more story to tell and more pictures to post so I'll get lots of practice.

sleepyhead HalfDork
12/1/17 6:37 p.m.

as an fyi, this is the link I used to drop that picture above:

I tried it again, and I'd guess that you yanked the "share" code straight from flicker.  I pulled the .jpg link out of the BBCode section (can also be pulled out the Embed).  If you're using the "image" button I suggested, it has to have a link to a .jpg file to work... not a "webshortcut".  Pulling that .jpg link out might be a PITA, whereas grabbing this:

is a whole lot easier.

YMMV.  If it's a hassle to yank out the .jpg (or unless someone else provides a better way to access it), it's probably fine to "roll with what you're doing right now".

noddaz SuperDork
12/18/17 7:20 p.m.

Interesting looking car...  Should be a fun trip.

Motozy New Reader
2/5/18 10:19 p.m.

In reply to barefootskater:

Nice looking car. It's a big plus that it has no rust

loosecannon Dork
2/5/18 10:46 p.m.

I am also influenced by the Roadkill guys and have been trying to convince my wife to do a road trip like this. I want to fly from Canada to Las Vegas and buy a car off CL and drive it back home

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