Rick’s Collector Car Tips – Patina is an art form

Cars and trucks with patina continue to grow in popularity. Per Wikipedia, patina refers to accumulated changes in surface texture and color that result from normal use of an object.   Hot rodding adds style to the patina trend. Faded paint, surface rust, and exposed primer are all part of the allure.

Instead of having a $10,000-$20,000 custom paint job, the money is spent on performance, handling, and reliability.

photo courtesy of Car-from-UK.com

How do you find a classic car with the right amount of patina? Sometimes it’s not that easy. You need to find a car or truck that is weathered but not completely deteriorated.  If that can’t be found with the type of  vehicle you want, make your own patina. Creating it consists of sanding down and dulling the paint, creating weathered looking door lettering, and other tactics.   There are a lot of videos and articles out there to help you accomplish this look.

patina pick-up truck

Some of these patina cars and trucks are sold for a significant amount of money.   It’s all about what is cool.  And right now, a well-done patina hot rod is bringing the same passion as a full-blown custom car.

patina coupe

What is your take?   Do you like them?  Would you want to build or own one?   What is the coolest patina car you have seen? Share it on our Facebook page!

patina pickup truck

Rick’s Collector Car Tips – What is your winter project?

While winter may not be the ideal time for cruising, it does offer a 5-month window of time to really get things done. But as you know, a classic car or hot rod is never officially “done.” Even if it looks complete, there’s always something to tweak, improve, or rebuild.

Firewall repair on 65 Malibu

Here are a few projects I’ll be working on in my garage this winter:

  •  a ‘53 Chevy that I am transitioning into my daily drive
  •  two cars that I am working on with my kids
  •  and I’m always doing things with my ‘64 and ‘69 GTOs


To me, a project car is just as cool to admire as one that’s been fully restored. I know it’s tough to find the time and energy, but let’s see if we can get some stuff done this winter!  

 Rear fender body work 65 Malibu

What projects do you have going on and what are some of your goals for winter? We want to hear from you! And if you have a picture of your project, share it with us on our Facebook page.

Ami G is coming to town

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Cincinnati will be receiving a wonderful gift this holiday season. If you’ve been following American Modern’s The Build  on YouTube, you’re already aware that the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS restomod is ready to tour. Appropriately named Ami G. (American Modern Insurance Group), the collector car’s first stop will be  the 55th annual Cavalcade of Customs in Cincinnati, OH from January 9-11, 2015.

Cincinnati Car Show 2015 Cavalcade of Customs

We will officially unveil the beautiful restomod at the downtown Cincinnati Duke Energy Center on Friday, January 9th at 3pm.

If you are unfamiliar with the story of Ami G., here’s a quick recap:

  • The ’65 Chevy Malibu comes face-to-face with a brick wall
  • American Modern adopts her and brings her in for a restoration/makeover
  • 110 employees and insurance agent partners provide all the repairs and modifications
  • 22-months of blood, sweat and tears later…


American Modern #TheBuild

Make sure you get your tickets for the Cavalcade of Customs show today and remember to visit Ami G. at her American Modern Insurance Group booth. Plus, stay tuned, as we’ll be announcing a fun, interactive contest we’ll be running during the Cavalcade show. Remember to also follow our Facebook page for more information  about #TheBuild.

The Build – Installing a Distributor into a 396 Big Block

Are you in the midst of installing a distributor into a big block Chevy engine? The team at American Modern currently has the 396 big block bolted up and almost ready to turn over. Watch the episode now:

Rick Drewry and the American Modern team begin by turning the crankshaft in order to get the engine to Top Dead Center (TDC). Initially, the block will be set to 10 degrees advanced when they install the distributor. Rick uses the oil prime tool to spin the oil pump shaft and get the oil flowing.

The team chose to go with an HEI setup for the distributor, which includes an electronic ignition with a coil pack mounted on the distributor. It is one of the easiest and most popular distributors to use on older GM V8 engines. With the engine set to 10 degrees advanced of Top Dead Center, they line up the rotor button so it is pointing at the #1 cylinder.

HEI distributor setup

If you find that there’s a gap between the distributor and the engine block, here’s the solution on how to make it flush:

1.   You can detach the distributor and turn the oil pump shaft a bit until it falls into place and locks in flush with the block.

2.   Or, you can rotate the engine until it drops completely into place. With the rotor button in place, the electrode is pointing at the #1 cylinder. Now you can install the distributor cap and align the distributor so the rotor button is touching the #1 cylinder contact on the cap.

You need to gap your spark plugs to 40 thousands before you install them into the engine block.

spark plug

Meticulously we continue to restore the 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS classic 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 collector vehicle on our Facebook page.