Tag Archives: car show

Which are your favorite car shows?

I have been going to car shows for as long as I can remember. Not all car shows are created equal.  I like just about all types of shows and car related events, but for different reasons.

Let’s break it down into 5 categories:

  1. Your local community car show. These shows are put on by your local church, school, VFW, small town, etc. There is usually a charity or fundraiser tied to the event. They are smaller and a lot of people know each other. For me, the local show is about community, friends, people you know, and raising money for a charity or organization that is in your own backyard.

American Modern Summer Classic

  1. Local cruise-in. Not a show where you win an award, but an event where anyone and everyone can show up and show off their special car, truck, or motorcycle without worrying about being in a competition or being judged. These can be as small as a few cars and as big as several hundred. The cruise-in is just flat out fun! No stress, no cleaning if you don’t want to, just hanging out with a bunch of car guys talking cars for hours.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

  1. Major custom/hotrod show. Usually last several days with several thousand cars. These events take place at state fairgrounds and very large venues. Major car shows have a huge amount of cool customs and hot rods to look at. You can have just as much fun as a spectator as you do being a participant. I always walk away with some cool ideas and admiring all levels of custom work.

Ami G Car Show

  1. Concours. These are elite car shows where the best of the best are in attendance. Usually lasts one day, but there are numerous other car related events leading up to the show. Concours events are at the top of the spectrum. You will see cars you have never seen before. You will also see the highest quality restorations you have ever seen.

1949 Mercury

  1. Road Rally. Small or large, these events involve a group of people getting together to drive their cars to specific destinations. It is about the joy of driving your classic car and being with people that like to do the same. How could you not have fun driving your old car with fellow car people that share the same passion for “driving” vintage automobiles?

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

You should be able to find something you like from each type of show. Regardless of which event you participate in or attend, you will have fun, be with good friends both old and new, and be part of a hobby that is one of the greatest in the world!

 

 

Share with us your favorite show and why!

 

Ashley’s Austin Healey

It would be safe to say that the majority of the people reading this blog post are gearheads with a penchant for mechanical pieces whether they roll on the ground, skip across the water or fly through the air. While we get pulled in by the fascinating bits and pieces, giving hours of attention to care, recreation and research, most of us would agree that the people are what make certain events and activities more enjoyable and most memorable.

Austin Healey driverside

Every June, the second Sunday is reserved for the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, where I recruit two seat Sports Cars up to 1959 for the Sports Classic category. These cars bring a smile to everyone’s face, Porsche, MG, Jaguar, Corvette, Alfa, Morgan, Triumph, Lotus, Ferrari, Siata, Austin Healey, all the little cars that are big fun! For 2014, an Austin Healey 100 BN2 was scheduled to appear on the field, registered by Gary Feldman from northern Ohio; the car had undergone a thorough restoration including extensive work performed in the Feldman’s garage.

Austin Healey backend

At Ault Park the cars wind down the garden paths to get onto the show field. The Big Healey drew attention as it picked it way through the gardens to take up its position amongst the other sports cars on the show field. As the 100-4, black with deep red inserts, and matching deep red interior, rolled across the lawn with the hood up to keep the morning dew at bay, one couldn’t help but notice the young lady in the passenger seat sporting an enormous grin. Ashley Feldman beamed from the right seat as her Dad, Gary, put the car on its marks; she popped out of the right side and went for the detailing equipment before Gary could extract himself from under the raised top. After a brief introduction, the Feldman’s prepared the car for the judging and spectators as I took the opportunity to look over the decidedly luscious Healey.

Austin Healey grill

Both Gary and Linda, Ashley’s Mother, took time to explain the depth of Ashley’s involvement in the restoration of the 100-4. From the day it was brought home as a used sports car Ashley developed an affinity for the car and claimed it part and parcel as “Her Car.” When the restoration process began, Ashley delved into the project alongside Gary, handing tools, reading instructions, pushing cables and pulling wires – all the fun stuff of the restoration project. Ashley faces special challenges with learning daily, vintage sports car restoration is a challenge she enthusiastically accepts and enjoys.

Ashley in her Austin Healey

A young lady proud of the car she put on the show field, as she well should be; Big Healey’s are quite the find with Concours recruiters. Few and far between, it is always an honor to have one on display. To have an exemplary Austin Healey adds immeasurably to any Concours. To have a Big Healey with such an exemplary story is very rare. A young lady restoring sports cars with her Dad and embracing the hobby is a refreshing twist from the daily grind.

Thanks to Ashley and the Feldmans for adding even more delight to our day.

Art of the Swap Meet

With car show season ramping up, a lot of us are looking forward to hitting a swap meet. The list of what you can find at a swap meet is endless. To the novice, here are a few tips that will help you at your first swap meet as a buyer:

1. Get there early (while they are setting up). You may not get the best deal but you may get the only grill for a ‘51 Hudson.

swap meet car parts

2. Prepare your wallet. Only take what you want to spend. You are dealing with cash transactions. Have enough to buy the things you’re looking for but don’t take too much. You might just end up with some junk you don’t need, and probably won’t be able to get rid of later.

sawp meet booth

3. Bring a vehicle with proper storing capacity. Don’t drive your Mustang or Firebird to a swap meet if you are looking for hoods, fenders, wheels, engine parts, etc.

swap meet fenders

4. Cart it. One of the best things you can do is pull a cart or wagon. When you end up buying something, it is easier to walk around and you don’t have to take repeated trips to the car.

swap meet classic car cart

5. Don’t be afraid to make an offer on something. It may have a price tag of $50, but you can offer $30. He may have been carrying that part around for years and is finally ready to cut it lose at any price. Or he may come back with a counter offer of $40. Then you can say, how about we split the difference and go $35?

swap meet transaction

6. Save impulse buys for the end of the swap meet. The worst thing you can do is buy something that you don’t really need, come across what you were actually looking for later and not have enough money to buy it!

large Chevy emblem - bow tie

7. Stay to the end! Some of the best deals happen at the end of a swap meet. People don’t want to load up all those parts, so they will cut a deal. Especially heavy parts. Make offers, you never know. Sometimes you can buy a bunch of parts at a bargain price. I don’t know how many times I have seen someone offer to buy everything that someone has left. That seller is usually ecstatic because that means they don’t have to load anything back up!

swap meet

Hopefully you will enjoy swap meets as much as I do. Haggling on price, searching for that long lost part for your classic car or that vintage sign for your garage, all while hanging out with car people. It doesn’t get much better than that!

swap meet engine valve covers

AARP Convention

Miami was a great experience! Not just because it’s Florida, but because of all the cool people I met too. From event coordinators and workers laying carpet and running electricity to the AARP members, we were all instant friends.

65 Malibu classic car

Ami G. worked her magic and made those friendships come to fruition. She inspired AARP Convention attendees to start working on that old car that’s been sitting in their garage for years. And she brought back great memories of the cars they use to have.

'65 Chevy Malibu

Whether you’re a car person or not, there’s no denying that classic cars and their stories bring people together. I heard many great tales during this awesome event. One guy I met, Richard, was a GM Autobody Tech for 40 years and remembers vividly working on the old Chevelles, like Ami G.

1965 Chevelle SS

So what was my single most important lesson from the trip? No matter how much times change, America’s passion for classic cars will continue to unite us.

65 Malibu restomod

Spring Start Up

Bring your ride up to speed after the winter.

Even though we have Sprung Ahead, the late winter weather in the northern climates is keeping enthusiasts indoors, classic and collector vehicles are still tucked away until the end of the Salt Season. Now is the time to dust off the classic and get ready for driving tours, car shows and cruise ins, and do the mechanical checks to ensure that you can have a good time in a few weeks.

My first task when putting a car/bike on the road after a period of inactivity is to make sure it will stop before I make it go. A quick trip through the braking system each spring can save a load of hassle later in the year when you want to enjoy the ride.

    • If you have drum brakes take the drums off if possible, clean and lubricate the mechanisms and inspect the linings for rivets showing through or other component failure such as coming loose from the shoe, broken springs or clips. Make sure the brakes are adjusted properly to avoid long pedal throws and unequal braking across the axle.

 

    • If you have disc brakes check pad thickness, for uneven or excessive wear, that the pistons push back freely and easily; check the disc for grooves or gouges on the friction surface.

 

    • Check the brake fluid level and look at the color/clarity of the fluid, discoloration or cloudiness indicates contamination that hamper the effectiveness of the braking system: if the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir is contaminated flush the system completely and replace the fluid with fresh.

 

    • If the brake fluid is clear and the proper color, bleeding the brakes is always a good idea after sitting over the winter. Usually contaminated fluid will collect near the wheel cylinder/caliper and can readily be bled out to assure better braking performance.

 

    • Inspect the flexible brake hoses, check for cracking, fluid leaks, corrosion etc… The internal passage of these flexible hoses will fail and restrict the flow of the brake fluid out of the caliper/wheel cylinder, effectively keeping the brake applied or dragging. If you find abnormally heavy brake dust and excessive friction material wear, the cause may be a collapsed flexible brake line.

 

    • Inspect the solid steel lines while you are under the car, look for corrosion which can indicate leaking fluid, check all the junctions.

 

While bleeding the brakes, go ahead and bleed the clutch, if your vehicle is so equipped; it is easier to get all the bleed and brake fluid equipment out only once. Standard and hi-temperature brake fluids absorb moisture, try to keep all hydraulic fluids tightly capped and sealed, do not leave the container sitting open especially in humid conditions.

Drum-Brakes

In the collector car world much of the discussion revolves around fuel; in the past it was about octane levels and who had the cleanest fuel at the pump, today’s discussion centers on the amount of alcohol in the gas and the damage it causes. Alcohol in fuel, much like in brake fluid, absorbs water and leads to oxidization of the components throughout the fuel system wreaking havoc on the older components. During periods of inactivity the gasoline and alcohol separate, the water laden alcohol lies against the metallic surfaces and oxidizes the material, etching the surface and creating tiny pieces of debris that move through the system and create issues that cause poor performance.

SU-Bowl-with-fuel-residue

Today’s gasoline starts to break down chemically within thirty days, with many collector vehicles it may take quite a bit longer to run through a full load of fuel. Even with the addition of a fuel stabilizer and alcohol counter-acting agents the various chemicals within the system create a gelatinous solution that joins forces with the bits of debris and will clog fuel lines, filters, pumps, jets, capillaries and injectors. When the fuel evaporates dried flakes are left behind in the system adding to the gelatinous ooze that restricts flow; internal components become encrusted in a varnish like substance that will clean off with brushes, steel wool and solvent.

Installing a clear in-line fuel filter between the tank and the pump will capture bits of debris, rust and congealed petro chemicals before they reach the critical and expensive components such as fuel pumps, fuel injectors and carburetors.

SU-Carb-corroded-components

The corrosive nature of the alcohol universally damages the fuel system from the gas cap to the point of induction, including the rubber fuel lines. The rubber fuel lines harden, lose their flexibility and will fail causing fuel leaks, air leaks, poor running or the greatest fear amongst us, FIRE! Carefully inspect hoses and look for cracking at the junctions, or the ends where clamped around a metal line; if the hose is stiff or it is cracked on the ends replace it with an ethanol resistant component. The damage from the corrosive nature of the fuel can be widespread, inspect fuel line clamps and replace if corroded.

SU-Carb-filter-with-flakes

If you encounter difficulty starting, due to lack of fuel, work backwards from the jet or injector to find where the flow of fuel stops; frequently we find the fuel has congealed in the carburetor float chambers and is clogging the capillaries that feed fuel to the jets. Clean the chamber with shop towels and solvent removing the ooze in the bottom of the float bowl, pour carburetor cleaner into the bowl and allow it to soak through the chemical residue and oxidization in the passages that feed the jets, in some applications a thin wire can be used to help clear the passages in the carburetor. Most pumps work with a diaphragm action, the alcohol will deteriorate the rubber diaphragm and the pump will need service or replacement. If the fuel line between the tank and the pump is clogged the pump can fail. We have been successful using a hand operated brake bleed vacuum pump to clear clogged fuel pumps, using a low pressure suction on the outlet side often will pull the contaminated fuel from the pump and allow proper operation. Metal canister fuel filters can be the source of the clog, capturing debris and contamination is their job, regularly replacing it is a good practice. Fuel lines can be easily cleared with compressed air forced through the line, we usually back flush the lines to clear clogs; be aware that filters and pumps can be damaged by reversing the flow, work around these components when performing these tasks. Check the Cap on the tank, oxidation can hinder the operation especially of older ventilated gas caps and not allow the fuel to be drawn out of the tank through the fuel line.

More solutions to the fuel problem are becoming available; the most straightforward answer seems to be to buy gas with no ethanol; the Historic Vehicle Association offers a list and map of gas stations offering ethanol free fuel. Many fuel distributors offer ethanol free fuels, a little research in your local area can highlight where to get fuel that will perform better in your classic car or bike.

With both the brake fluid and the gasoline if you should spill some on the paint or finish of the vehicle wipe it off immediately and wash the area with plenty of water, the alcohol will remove wax from the finish and start etching into the paint very quickly, use appropriate fender covers and have a supply of towels handy in case of spills. Know where to find the fire extinguisher.

Other good maintenance procedures for spring include:

  1. Lubricating the chassis and suspension
  2. Oil and filter change, check the transmission fluid level
  3. Set the tire pressures and torque the wheels
  4. Check the lights, horn and other electrical items
  5. Check the charge in your onboard fire extinguisher

 

See you on the Road, in a Classic.

World of Wheels – Indianapolis 2015

We just wrapped up a great show, the World of Wheels in Indianapolis, where we worked with our partners at Classic Auto Insurance.

Classic Ford Mustang

Like most of the indoor shows over the winter, it gives car guys like us an outlet and provides a temporary fix until spring comes bouncing back.

Classic Chevy Corvette

World of Wheels showcased a lot of high-end customs, where the workmanship was simply exceptional. It was easy to be impressed with the cars that were on display. To complement, we also had the hardcore hot rodders with their gassers, hot rods, and customs. These guys love their cars and live for the hobby.

World of Wheels classic car

One thing is for sure, everyone who brought their car to the show (and every spectator) shares that same love for classic cars.

Ami G. received her share of attention too. Seeing the story of her rebuild brought smiles to many faces. We loved being part of the show and the people we met were great!

1965 Chevy Malibu - Ami G.

Stay tuned for the next Ami G. appearance. If she comes to a town near you, stop by and say hi!

Cavalcade of Customs collector car show wrap up

The inaugural collector car show for Ami G. went off without a hitch this past weekend. The classic car show – Cavalcade of Customs, downtown Cincinnati – provided a great avenue for the 1965 Chevy Malibu to jump start her touring career. With countless hot rods, muscle cars and customs, Ami G. felt right at home.

Cavalcade of Customs collector car show

Of course, the people are what make these events so special. We met a lot of new faces as well as some familiar ones at our American Modern booth. Most people could not believe it was the same classic car. They were impressed that 100% of the repairs and restoration were done by American Modern employees, with the exception of the machine work on the engine.

American Modern collector car show

Multiple times, visitors to the booth asked if American Modern specializes in the business of restoring cars as well as selling insurance. I will take that as a compliment! One attendee, while looking over Ami G, said: “American Modern obviously knows what they are doing and truly cares about these old, classic cars and the hobby”.

Ami G. attracted a large assortment of new collector car enthusiasts and admirers at the Cavalcade of Customs, especially after hearing her story and seeing what she looked like 2 years ago. The associates at American Modern Insurance Group provided her with this new-found life. Everyone that had a hand in bringing her back should be very proud of themselves for restoring her into a beautiful restomod classic car.

collector-car-before-and-after

Ami G. is looking forward to her next car show. Stay tuned for more details!

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.