Tag Archives: classic vehicle

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!

1933 Lincoln KB Convertible Victoria

If you talk to Lincoln historians, many feel that the 1933 Lincoln KB may have been the best Lincoln ever produced. With the introduction of Cadillac’s V-12 and V-16 luxury cars, it quickly became apparent to Henry Leland that the multi-cylinder race was on. He founded Lincoln on the premise of producing cars without compromise. This 1933 KB is a stellar example of Leland’s finest engineering.

  • 448-cu. in. L-head V-12 engine,
  • 150 HP, 3-speed manual transmission,
  • longitudinal leaf spring suspension,
  • power disc brakes,
  • 145” wheelbase

Lincoln offered true custom-built cars during this time period, but the company also placed stock orders — sometimes 50 at a time — to a multitude of premiere coach-builders like Judkins, Murphy, Dietrich and Brunn. This allowed customers the luxury of a coach-built auto with the option to customize their vehicles without a lengthy wait for delivery.

AMIG 1933 Lincoln pic 1

KB 2532 features what many consider the most attractive of all of those coach-built bodies: Brunn’s striking Convertible Victoria. With its low windshield, clean top lines and sweeping fenders, the car is a masterpiece of classic era design. Naturally, the paint exudes Wall Street swank, alternating between subdued burgundy and tan. The bodywork is excellent and the finishes have been buffed to the kind of liquid-smooth shine that’ll be right at home sitting on any show field.

AMIG 1933 Lincoln pic 2 int

KB 2532 was long owned by noted Lincoln collector Roy Warshawsky of J.C. Whitney fame. The big Victoria was one of his all-time favorite pieces, remaining in his personal collection until his death. Ohio collector Richard Scott then restored the car and completed a 1,000-mile CCCA CARavan through the Pacific Northwest. When Scott sold KB 2532, it had a stint in one of America’s preeminent Midwest automotive museums, where it earned a CCCA Senior 100 Point Award.

Lincoln 2

This Victoria’s 448-cubic inch V12 engine is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece with seven main bearings, fork and blade connecting rods and dual cylinder blocks. Hand-built and very expensive to produce, the 150-horsepower mill was so expensive to manufacture that it would be promptly replaced by a more conventional design, making 1933 the last year for the ultimate Lincoln.

Lincoln 1

The chassis is clean and correct. It features solid front and live rear axles, longitudinal leaf springs and 4-wheel vacuum servo-assisted drum brakes. The 1933 model also received a reinforced frame, an adjustable vacuum booster, thermostatic shock absorbers and a new 3-speed transmission.

Inside, lovely wood-topped door panels join the elegant burgundy carpet. Pleated and stainless-trimmed seats serve as the car’s soft points. The dash and steering wheel are restored original pieces with period-correct knobs, gauges and controls. Overall, this Lincoln emphasizes the kind of secure, luxurious coddling that most showroom-fresh metal lost a long time ago.

’32 and ‘33 Lincolns are regarded as some of the finest and most undervalued cars of their era. This Victoria is one of just 533 KBs assembled. It is an elegant, luxurious and exceptionally stylish reminder of the incredible engineering prowess of one of the world’s most storied automotive franchises.

The Build – Installing the windshield and back glass

The team prepares to work on the windshield and the back glass. In order to begin, they need to apply butyl tape to surround the area, along with pinch weld primer, which will enable the tape to stick. After the pinch weld sets in, the tape will be applied, and then the windshield and back glass will be re-installed into the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS restomod.

After installing the windshield, the trim can be re-installed as well, but not until after the car has been repainted. The back glass was also re-installed, and in the process, the team discovered some unwanted scratches. They will now attempt to buff out any of the scratches so that the glass is clean and easy to see out of.

back glass - restomod

The Chevy Malibu’s back glass will be taped and masked off before buffing to make sure they concentrate the area where they found the scratches. The attempt to buff out all of the scratches was a failure, so the team will now need to completely replace the window.

buff out scratches - restomod

Now that the windshield and back glass has been put back onto the classic car, watch as The Build team continues to put back together the 1965 Chevy Malibu. Make it your top 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 – Steering column installed

As the team continues on, they now have the firewall plate in for the flaming river steering column, which was slightly modified for the clutch rod. The brand-new steering column is ready to slide into the plate and attach to the dashboard with a single mount.

After the installation, there’s a few loose ends to tie up. The steering shaft needs to connect from the firewall to just past the engine block. In order to do this, the team will need to mount and install a carrier bearing next to the headers and suspension. In order to install the carrier bearing, they’ll have to loosen the suspension and install a bolt long enough to handle the bracket.

steering column

The steering linkage from the steering column is now completely mocked up, and it’s time to mark the set screws, put a dimple in place so that when the screws are set in, they will be locked in place. After the steering linkage is completely where it needs to be, they will put the lock tight on the set screws.

steering linkages

They will then install the stock steering wheel so they have control of steering the car back-and-forth, but just wait until you see the custom steering wheel they had made.

Now that the steering column and linkage is installed, watch as The Build team continues to restore the’65  Malibu restomod.  Watch the other episodes on our YouTube channel, and stay up-to-date with the progress of our classic car on our Facebook page too!

1954 Jaguar XK 120

The Jaguar XK 120 was introduced at the October 1948 London Earls Court Motor Show as a design exercise and showpiece for the magnificent new XK engine. This was the first British auto show in nearly 10 years due to the intervention of war, and although money was still tight and rationing was still in force, public interest was high. Chief Jaguar stylist William Lyons talent was more than justified as his new roadster design was the sensation of the show and the press acclaim was overwhelming and immediate. Sensing the opportunity and the promotional value of competition, Lyons immediately set about promoting the prototype car through racing and speed events, even before he produced and printed sales brochures and announced immediate production plans.

1954 Jaguar XK 120

  • 3442cc in-line six-cylinder dual overhead cam engine,
  • 160 HP,
  • four-speed manual gearbox,
  • Torsion-bar independent front suspension with anti-roll bar,
  • rear live axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs,
  • 102” wheelbase

 

1954 Jaguar XK 120

The press pundits were skeptical that the new Jaguar could achieve the claimed top speed of 120 mph as the model name suggested, and they also were doubtful that the car could be sold successfully for the suggested $4,000. Lyons had enough orders on his books to start a limited production line, hand-building the cars in the classic tradition of alloy body over a wood frame, and in the meantime set about the business of convincing the world that his new car could do everything he said it could and more. He built another three pre-production cars, painted them red, white and blue, and sent them to Silverstone for the prestigious production car event, which they won in great style coming in First, Second, and Fourth.

1954 Jaguar XK 120

In May 1950, with the world motoring press watched a production XK 120 with a smaller windscreen hurtle down the motorway in Jabbeke, Belgium at over 132 mph, and history was in the making. The news went out and within weeks orders started to pour in. Just 240 Alloy bodied XKs were built before the sheer volume of the orders demanded that production change to pressed steel panels to speed up the assembly process. Lyons had justified his faith in his new XK engine and his engineers and staff had built a great car around it.

1954 Jaguar XK 120

1954 was the final year of XK 120 production, and this fine Roadster was long part of the esteemed John O’Quinn collection. The restoration was obviously performed on a straight, rust-free car, as the panel fit and gaps are excellent. Finished in classic white, this superb XK 120 Roadster sports the original dash panel with its correct brass plaque and period instruments. The seats are fine black leather, and with the correct carpets and door panels in place, everything looks clean and proper inside. Take a good look underneath as well, and you’ll see a clean and properly prepared undercarriage. The boot offers the correct mat, spare wheel, and has a full original tool roll and jack, and throughout, it’s a lovely presentation of a significant early Jaguar.

Sharonville Car Show 2015

It was a perfect Sunday. There was lots of sunshine and it hovered around 60 degrees all day.

For those of us in Cincinnati, the Sharonville Car Show, kicks off the car show season. It includes:

• several hundred cars,
• a swap meet area
• food vendors
• great songs playing from the 50’s and 60’s

This show kicked off the season for Ami G., too. The trailer’s new full vinyl wrap was the perfect backdrop for her and the American Modern Insurance Group booth.

65 Malibu restomod side trailer

A lot went into designing the trailer. We wanted it to be an attention grabber. Judging from the reaction of people, we accomplished that! It’s going to be hard to miss, with life-sized side views of Ami G. on each side. You will even be able to spot her going down the highway in the opposite direction. The back is a great rear view of Ami G., and the front shows her with some of the people who had a hand in bringing her back to life.

65 Chevy Malibu rear trailer

Ami G. will be traveling all around the country in her new trailer. Keep an eye out, you just might see her heading down the road.

65 Malibu SS front trailer

Which do you prefer, stock or modified classic cars?

There’s an age-old argument about classic cars, keep them stock or modify them. Today, loads of different modified classic cars exist. From stock to modified, here are a number of different roads you can take. You can go with some slight modifications to make a collector car drive efficiently and more reliable, or go fairly extreme like we did with Ami G from The Build.

65 Chevy Malibu SS restomod

My advice is that if you find a “matching numbers” classic car, do what you can to keep it that way, by maintaining it as a survivor, or restoring it back to original specs. As far as long-term investment is concerned, you cannot go wrong with a documented original collector car. In most cases, the value will continue to increase over the years.

stock collector car

On the other hand, if you find a collector vehicle that does not have the original drive train or documentation, all rules are off. I suggest you build it into a custom hot rod:

• there are plenty of these types of cars available,
• it allows a lot of us to have fun in the collector car hobby and
• transform a classic into what we feel is ‘cool’!

modified classic cars

There are pros and cons to either direction you take, stock or modified. Are you someone who wants to own (and show off) a documented piece of history? Or do you want to own (and show off) a hot rod that is an extension of your personality?

Both ways are rewarding and fun. Which road do you take?

Would you go to Cuba to look for a collector car?

Open trading between Cuba and the United States has never been much of an interest to collector car enthusiasts, until now. The recent possibility of open trade between the two countries has become a treasure hunting opportunity for all classic vehicle fans.

Currently, the majority of the old classics in Cuba have been cheaply pieced together to be used as taxis, and barely kept running with old diesel engines, but there are still a couple diamonds in the rough to be found.

Frankenstein Collector Car

You will find a lot of cars in Cuba that are defined as “Frankenstein Cars.” Because of the very limited resources for parts, Cubans did whatever was necessary to keep the cars running. It is not unusual to find a car like a 1955 Chevy with a diesel engine under the hood because that was the only engine available. You can also find:

interiors may be handmade,
suspension and steering parts are welded together,
paint jobs applied with a paint roller

These “Frankenstein Cars” may be collectible themselves. Some people may find it intriguing to own a car with that type of history. Only time will tell.

Frankenstein Classic Car

Also, there’s the possibility that a vintage car could be tucked away in a shed, covered by a couple tarps or blankets. It’s not just about the car either, it’s also about the treasure hunt. A barn find is defined as a classic car or motorcycle that has been discovered, often in derelict condition.

The term originates from the tendency that the classic has been located in an outbuilding or barn where they have been stowed away for years on end. Discovering a barn find that has a substantial value will always be a crowning achievement for a car guy!

You never know, that one barn find you want could be in Cuba.

The Build – Assembling A 396 Big Block Chevy

Have you been wanting to see the final assembly of a Chevy big block engine before it goes into a car?  You’re in luck. At American Modern, we have a 1965 Malibu SS 396 big block Chevy in its final stages of assembly. Watch it now:

Senior Collector Car Claims Specialist of American Modern Insurance Group, and host of  The Build, Rick Drewry, will install and seal the intake plugs to prevent leakage. With the gaskets in place, the team will be installing the water pump, oil filter mount and  oil filter onto the engine block of the ’65 Chevelle.

Rick points out that before you are going to put the fuel pump onto the block, you should make sure that the fuel pump push rod is up and out of the way, so you can avoid any problems with installation. Using a low mount alternator bracket, the alternator is mounted on the left hand side of the engine block.  Once your street avenger carburetor is placed, you can begin to line up your fuel lines. The high-torque mini starter is bolted up and ready to crank over the newly crafted, freshly restored Chevy big block engine.

396 big block Chevy engine

If you’ve been staying up to date with The Build, you probably know, the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS, named Ami G., has made huge strides to become the restomod she is today. Join our mailing list so you can stay current with all of her updates. Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Like us on Facebook to get the complete list of episodes of The Build.