All posts by Rick Drewry

Rick Drewry is the senior claims specialist, Collector Vehicle & Motorcycle, at American Modern Insurance Group. He has been passionate about collector cars since he was a kid. He has owned and restored collector cars for 30 years.

The Build – Front Grille

The team gets ready to work on the trim of the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS. The front end of the restomod was damaged so bad that the team will have to replace the two pieces underneath the headlights. Aftermarket and used pieces, both, are very difficult to locate, so Rick Drewry, Sr. Claims Specialist, ended up creating some of his own to use. The primary use of these pieces is as a filler panel from the fender to the chassis, where the radiator is located.

After those are installed, the new front grille will be put onto the classic car. The grille is now buttoned up, bolts are installed, and the front end is coming back together. The team re-installs fresh trim, the Chevrolet letters, pretty much all the missing pieces and final steps before Ami G. is back to “fully” restomod.

The World of Rat Rods, Jalopies, and Patina Cars

For years now, Rat Rods have become a bigger and bigger part of the collector car hobby. While some people may not like them, I see them as being a great addition to the hobby.

Now let’s talk about Rat Rods. What really is a Rat Rod? Believe it or not, the term Rat Rod keeps expanding every year to the point now that there really isn’t a solid definition for them. It used to be a car that was assembled using scrap parts with very little fit or finish and with modifications that went to the extreme. Slammed roofs, channeled bodies, all rusted parts, and fabrication using anything you could find that would work to fit your needs.

These parts usually look like something that you would find in a metal scrap yard. Over the years, the Rat Rod has seemed to improve in quality. There are really talented metal fabricators constructing some really cool looking Rat Rods. Generally, the Rat Rod is becoming more refined. We are seeing cars that are built that may be a Rat Rod, but have less of an unfinished or aged look.

patina cadillac

Let’s fast forward several years. Now the term Rat Rod seems to be used for any car that is unfinished, but not being actively restored while being driven. I have heard people say that they “Rat Rodded their car out.” In my day, these types of cars were considered a Jalopy. So I still differentiate between the two.

rat rods

We also have the patina cars. These cars are very popular today. The cars basically look like an old car that has been around a long time with faded paint, some surface rust showing, and basically an all over weathered condition. However, the drivetrain, suspension and brakes have been upgraded for performance and drivability. You can even have brand new modern drive trains. It is relatively normal to see an old car like this with an LS, Coyote, or modern day Hemi engine in them.

1964 GTO jalopy

There are two ways to get a patina car:

1) Find an old car in this condition. This is easier said than done. You have to find one that is weathered but not a total rust bucket. If you do find one, you basically modify or replace the drive train and suspension and then drive the car as is after that.

2) Create your own patina. You can paint a car and wet sand it down so the primer is showing through in spots. Expose some bare metal so you get some surface rust. You can even paint signage on the door panels and then wet sand it down so it appears faded or has parts of the signage missing.

patina truck

Either way you do it, all of these are cool cars with some huge benefits. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours cleaning the car. The cost to build one is a lot less than a full blown show car. These cars get just as much attention and respect as does the 6 figure high-end show car. They also give the ability for people to get into the collector car hobby at a reasonable price.

Having fun is what it is all about. Now go out and buy or build an old car!

Detroit Autorama

The 2016 Detroit Autorama did not disappoint! It is everything it is cracked up to be. With the Great 8 and ultimately the Riddler Award being announced, there is no doubt some of the best customs in the world are on display.

Detroit Autorama Ridler Award Winner

If these automotive pieces of art aren’t your thing, there were plenty of custom cars and trucks that range from rat rods to drivers to trailer queens to look at and talk to the owners about. To me, an entry level hot rod is just as cool as one of the great eight.

Detroit Autorama Yellow Camaro

I want to know what has been done to the car and what the owner still wants to do. Most of us don’t have the time or money to build or have built a Riddler car.

Detroit Autorama hot rod 2

Don’t ever let that stop you. Car guys have a lot of respect for those getting in the hobby and building something on a budget. We have all been there and most of us stay there. Having the passion and enjoying the hobby is what it is all about!

Detroit Autorama collector car

Barrett Jackson Auction 2016

The collector cars that show up at the Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale each year can give you a good idea of what trends we will be seeing. It also, re-enforces my belief in the collector car hobby.

Barrett Jackson Auction hot rod

This year was big for the restomod Corvettes. I lost count of how many crossed the block this year. High end quality and style brought out some big money for these cars. However, compared to what is invested into building one of these cars, you could consider it a bargain. It is nothing to have $200,000 to $300,000 or more invested in one of these high-end builds. So buying a ’67 Corvette restomod for $125,000-$150,000 could be considered a steal! With the amount of restomod Corvettes on the market, prices should stay well below the cost to build one.

Barrett Jackson Auction 64 Corvette

Another trend that is continuing is the popularity of the cars from the 80’s and 90’s. They have found a place in the collector car market and continue to go up in value. So keep a lookout for a nice, fox body Mustang, Monte Carlo SS, Grand National, Iroc Z, GTA Trans Am, or Hurst Oldsmobile from the 80’s. It just might be worth more than what someone is willing to sell it for.

Barrett Jackson Auction Camaro

Lastly, the hot rod market is in transition. While the hobby is strong, it is aging rapidly. There will continue to be some high quality hot rods from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s come available in the near future and unless a younger generation embraces it, the prices will continue to go down. Watching the collector car hobby is like watching the stock market. Except for me, it is a lot more fun!

The Build – Exhaust Installation on 65 Malibu

In the last episode of The Build, the team from American Modern completed the installation of the tachometer, turn signals and switch panel of the gauge cluster back into the dash of the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS restomod. This episode concentrates on installation of the exhaust.

Rick Drewry, Senior Claims Specialist at American Modern, will begin to work on the exhaust of the ’65 Malibu. They have chosen to go with a simple design, going straight back from the header, then protruding at a 45 degree angle out in front of the rear tires. The collectors have been welded on, then tacked onto the three inch pipe. Measurements were made to figure out exactly where the muffler needed to be placed, so now the team will cut the pipe, fit it, then figure out the rest of the pipe once it is on the actual chassis.

exhaust pipe cut

Once they obtain the 45-degree angled’ pipe, they’ll attach it to the muffler to see where it will come in, and also to locate the hanger. In the initial measurements, it looks as though the pipe is too short, so what they’ll do is gain a little more length by butt welding the two pieces of pipe together, tack it in place, then slide the tip on to see how far to cut the pipe. When measuring, the team decides that four inches should be appropriate, this will give them some room to play.

butt welding

Next, they will look to take the pieces down, tack them in place, weld everything up and paint it, so the exhaust will be fully prepared for installation onto the car for the final time.

welding exhaust pipe

After they paint the exhaust, it is now ready to be bolted to the chassis. The chrome tips are the last piece to finish the exhaust. The tips slide right onto the pipes to be clamped down.

exhaust chrome tips

We continue to restore the ‘65 Malibu SS collector car on The Build. Be sure to  stay up with The Build on our YouTube Channel, to see what else is restored. Also,  continue to follow along with the  Ami G on our Facebook page.

Cavalcade of Customs 2016

It is time to start a new year of car shows. The 2016 Cavalcade of Customs in Cincinnati kicked off the season. For a lot of people that starts in the spring but with the inside shows it keeps us Northern States car guys engaged through the winter months.

Ami G 1965 Chevy Malibu SS at Cavalcade

This years’ Cavalcade of Customs in Cincinnati was a big success.

green collector car at Cavalcade

There were all segments of the collector car hobby represented. We had the high end customs, drag cars, rat rods, hot rods, and custom trucks. We also had the some cool things that will always enhance a car show.

DeLorean collector car

The show had builders with their cars on display, pin up girl contest, beard contest, and lots of vending booths with tools and car accessories.

Patina collector car truck

It feels great starting off the new year with this type of show. We teamed up with our partners Classic Auto Insurance Agency. Ami G was on display.

red collector car

We were talking cars and talking collector car insurance all weekend long. It was a great weekend!

purple collector car

The Build – Installing Gauges

Now that the hood has been installed and the wiring has been tucked in the classic 1965 Chevy, Rick and the team will begin to work on the gauges. The gauges will be removed from the dash. They will be converting the stock gauge panel first, as they will be replacing the clock with a tachometer. Also, the American Modern team will be replacing the idiot lights with gauges.

First, the new gauge will require cutting the metal of the original ’65 Malibu restomod gauge mounting brackets, where the new gauge will stick through. Then mark the places where the mounting holes will be placed. After the cutting, file the edges, drill the holes, and mount in place.

 

gauge cut out

Next, the replacement tachometer will be taking the place of where the clock was originally in place in the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS restomod. After the tach is set, clean up the areas that are covered with dust and residue from the installation, and get prepared to reinstall the updated mounting bracket.

gauge back

The next step in the process is to install the new lens on top of the three new gauges. The turn signal indicator lenses will be reinstalled next. Back in the day, they had to use a white bulb, then place a green tint, made of a glass circle, to be placed on the outside of the light.

gauges with turn signals

The gauge cluster is mounted to the back of the dash, along with the switch panel in place instead of the radio.

Watch as The Build team continues to put back together the 1965 Chevy Malibu restomod. Make it a priority to watch the other episodes on our YouTube channel, and follow the progress of our collector vehicle on our Facebook page too!

gauges in dash complete

The Build – Front End Hood Installation

Now that the seats have been covered and are waiting to be installed by The Build team, it’s time to move back to the exterior. The wiring of the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS is almost completely finished, with everything done from the fuse box all the way to the front of the collector car. The engine is dialed in, and now it’s time to connect and run the wiring to the headlights and the turn signals. The wires will be hidden behind the fenders for a cleaner look.

Once the body panels get mounted to the front of the classic vehicle, like the headlight mounting brackets, then they’ll finish up the front wiring and tuck the wires up and hide them for a smooth look.

front grille 65 Malibu

The wires are run and tucked out of the way so they are hidden well from the naked eye. After installing the hood stoppers, Rick Drewry, American Modern’s Sr. Claims Specialist, will install the hood striker and latch assembly onto the hood. They’ll check to make sure the hood is flush with the side fenders and then move onto the next phase in the process of restoring the ’65 Chevy restomod.

Hood latch 65 Malibu

The latch needs to be locked in tight to remove any movement of the hood when it’s latched. There’s no reason to slam shut a hood, especially a classic car. They should be lowered slowly and then clicked when the latch is in the proper place.

front hood latched 65 Malibu

Now that the front hood has been installed and the wiring has been tucked, watch as The Build team continues to put back together the 1965 Chevy Malibu restomod. Make it a priority to watch the other episodes on our YouTube channel, and follow the progress of our collector vehicle on our Facebook page too!

 

The Build – Installing new seat covers

As Rick Drewry, Sr Claims Specialist at American Modern, prepares to install the new covers onto the ’65 Chevy Malibu restomod, there’s only a few things that they are required to do before installation.

First, they will take a premade rod, and slide it directly into place. Then, the back part of the seat is a little easier. The back part fits over the back bracket, where it should be, then you’ll locate the rod, and tuck it in between the cushion. Then you’ll take a set of hog ring pliers, clamp around the hog ring, and squeeze.

Make sure that the clamp is securely fastened by tugging on the cloth. The next step is to pull the cloth out and over the foam. This process will be a tedious process, so make sure you are thorough before turning it over to clamp underneath.

Seat frame - 65 Malibu

After stretching the fabric over the pivots for the upper part of the seat, you’ll need to make sure the top is fastened first. Then, pull it over, mark where the pivots are for future cutting. After this, stretch the seat cover over the frame.

65 Malibu seat rod

When doing the other half of the seat cover, turn it inside out in order to install the hog rings into the seam to give it that fit. If you do not do this, it lays out over the foam giving you an unnecessary air pocket. Another tip to have a nice form-fitting seat, is to leave it out in the sun or warm them up, they will become a little bit easier to maneuver.

Hog clamp 65 Malibu seat

Make sure to clamp the hog ring to the bar that is outside the material to fasten it, then onto the frame of the seat. Now that the bottom half is fastened, you can focus on aligning the top half. When you hog ring it into the edge of the seat, the rod will make it nice and tucked in.

Bottom seat 65 Malibu

After installing the hog rings to the sides to seal the cover, the side trim is installed. Locate the mounting holes with the screws, then screw it to the seat. Attach the top part of the seat to the bottom, and finally it’s ready to be put back in the car.

65 Malibu Seat Cover

We continue to restore the ‘65 Malibu SS collector car on The Build. Be sure to  stay up with The Build on our YouTube Channel, to see what else is restored. Also,  continue to follow along with the  Ami G on our Facebook page.

Influence your kids and the younger generation!

It is ok to share your passion about the cars you love and your personal history with those cars. Those stories will be remembered. Without the stories, it is hard for the kids nowadays to see why we are so passionate about cars.
 
For example, when I was a kid, my mom drove a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. It was a green 2-door, with a white vinyl top. It was a huge car. My mom being 4’11” tall only added to the size of the car.  This car was awesome. It had a Rocket 350 engine with a 4-barrel, quadra-jet carburetor. With a full size bench seat in the front, I use to sit in the middle and shift gears from 1st to 2nd and then into drive whenever we went anywhere. If we were ever next to a car at a light that I thought we should hole shot when the light turned green, I also could talk my mom into flooring it on occasion.
 
Delta 88 collector car
 
These memories will be with me forever.
 
To this day, when I see a ‘73 Oldsmobile Delta 88, I immediately go back to that time in my life and think about my mom, who is no longer with us. I absolutely love those cars. So much so that I will probably own one eventually.
 
Your kids should know about these memories, and you should be creating new “car” memories for them. Get out and enjoy your old cars, and bring the family into the mix. They don’t know it now, but they will have those memories for the rest of their lives!