Tag Archives: collector car

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.

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 – 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!

 

1936 Cord 810 Cabriolet

The 1936 Cord 810 was a sharp break from traditional automotive styling, with equally innovative mechanicals.  Envisioned as a sporty middle ground between the massive Duesenberg and the traditional Auburn, the debut of the “New Cord” at the November 1935 New York Auto Show was remarkable, with photos showing the joyful madness of the crowd. Many individuals reportedly stood on roofs of other cars, just to catch a glimpse.

  • 288-cu. in. L-head V-8 engine,
  • 125 HP,
  • four-speed pre-selector manual transmission,
  • independent front suspension,
  • rear semi-elliptic suspension with leaf springs and
  • four-wheel hydraulic brakes,
  • 125” wheelbase

AMIG 1936 Cord 810 2 eng
For an industry in which “totally new” was a worn-out catchphrase, the Cord 810 was truly radical. The Gordon Buehrig design boasted previously unheard-of advancements, such as unitary construction, an underslung floor, completely hidden door hinges and no running boards. Sleek and low, it was known as the “coffin nose” Cord because it lacked a traditional upright radiator. With front-wheel drive and a four-speed transmission (shifting was accomplished by pressing a European-style pre-selector switch on the steering column), it was a glimpse into the future of automotive design.

 

Cord ads sang the praises of the new car’s power, handling prowess and graceful beauty. Buyers initially responded in droves, but it was all for naught — production delays and the Depression doomed the Cord after only two short years of production. Of the four original body styles, the most treasured and sought-after is the two-passenger cabriolet, known to many enthusiasts as the “Sportsman.”

 

Cord 810 2

The Cabriolet photographed today was acquired in 1971 by its present owner — a long-term Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member — and it held the honor of being his first ACD antique car. The car was found behind an old gas station in North Portland.

 

It was restored over a period of several years with the assistance of respected Cord specialists in the Pacific Northwest including, most prominently, the late Wayne Weihermiller, whose skill with the Cord’s notoriously finicky transmission was legendary. Weihermiller carefully rebuilt the transmission and the instrumentation.

Cord 810 1
The car was also fitted with improved front axle U-joints that were developed by LeeRoy Richardson, allowing it to be comfortably and reliably driven for long distances. The Richardson conversion is fully accepted by Cord enthusiasts as a welcome improvement in safety and reliability and are a highly desirable feature.

 

The car’s details are authentic throughout. The older restoration holds up nicely. The vehicle features an original bronze windshield frame (which is highly preferable to later re-castings), a correct accessory ashtray and an original, working radio.
AMIG 1936 Cord 810 1

Although the original engine (FB 1742) was changed out years ago, the original serial number tag remains on the car. Most importantly, because a correct 810 engine was installed, the substitution does not affect the ability to submit it for ACD Club certification by the new owner. The car is listed as an authentic cabriolet in both of Josh B. Malks’ standard references on the model: Cord Complete and The Timeless Classic.

 

The owner notes that the car is a strong driver, still shifts well after some recent sorting and recently completed a 150-mile tour. This car has only been shown at a few local events and concours over the years, making it an ideal ACD Club or CCCA tour car.  A high-quality 810 like this would assuredly be welcomed into nearly any classic car event. It demonstrates the best of early design and engineering.

 

 

How did Heacock Classic begin?

Ford Heacock III’s passion for classic cars was destined to collide with his family’s insurance agency.  His grandfather — Ford Heacock, Sr. — established his family-owned agency in 1922. At the time, Heacock Insurance was the only insurance agency located along the Central Florida ridge — the next-nearest insurance agency was in Tampa, a two-day journey over unpaved roads in your Model A.

Ford Heacock car

Ford has always been a serious automobile enthusiast. When he was growing up in Sebring, Florida, Heacock’s family was involved in the early years of the international endurance races conducted at the local airport. His grandfather was the first chairman of the Sebring 12 Hours of Endurance and is now a member of the Sebring International Raceway Hall of Fame.

Ford Heacock III

Returning to Sebring after college, Ford renewed his interest in automobiles and began organizing vintage racing events, including the 1976 Sebring 12 Hour Endurance Race. In 1981, he founded the Southeast Vintage Racing Association.  And a year later, Ford started Vintage Motorsport magazine — the nation’s first publication devoted to vintage racing.

Ford Heacock

Today, Ford still finds time to do a little vintage racing himself, in addition to his duties as the chairman of the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival and his work with many civic and community organizations.  He is Heacock Classic Insurance‘s president and recently completed the restoration of a 1953 Jaguar XK120.  Is it any wonder why Heacock Classic has the DNA to be the leader in insuring all types of specialty automobiles?

1955 Chevrolet 3100 5-Window Pickup Truck

1955 was a pivotal and important year for Chevrolet. Not only did their passenger car lineup receive fresh styling that the public embraced immediately, their trucks received similar treatment as well. Series One trucks were actually introduced in the fall of 1954 and the new-look trucks set the pace for a great year for Chevrolet.

1955 Chevy  3100 Pickup

  •  235-cu. in. inline 6-cylinder engine,
  • 123hp,
  • 3-speed manual transmission,
  • independent front suspension with rear leaf springs,
  • 114” wheelbase

 

1955 Chevrolet engine

Attitudes about trucks were changing fast in the 1950s. Lots of people used them for double-duty – while it was tough enough to be a work truck during the day, the new Chevrolet was also stylish and comfortable enough for everyday personal transportation. Known as the Task Force Series, the 3100s proved that there was a market for slick pickups. Chevrolet was one of the first makers to take advantage of that demand.

 

The 1955 Series 3100‘s design was revolutionary from the cab forward. Truck buyers jumped at the chance to own one. Inspired by passenger car design, it had a streamlined, wrap-around, one-piece windshield. It featured full corner windows and a larger rear window.

1955 Chevy Pickup interior

The new trucks featured a lower hood and a chrome grille that emulated passenger cars. Jutting forward from the sculptured fenders and door surfaces, car-inspired headlamps with chrome rings helped to create an all-new, racy profile. The doors were wider and taller for easy entry. A new fresh-air heater / defroster system pulled air through the cabin and out vents at the rear of the cab. The dash design was beautiful and thoroughly modern, as was the sleek, car-like steering wheel.

 

In 2008, this fine example was restored in original two-tone green and white livery. It shows excellent panel fit and a lovely shine. It is decked out with the accessory chrome package, wide whitewalls, chrome wheel covers, a factory windshield visor, side-mounted spare and a correct, new oak bed with matching oak side rails.

 

The entire interior appears original, from the factory AM radio and original vinyl upholstery, right down to the original rubber floor covering. Even the original pedals are only lightly worn, indicating the fine and highly original nature of the truck. This and other 5-window cabs are highly desirable for their advanced styling with flawless visibility on all four corners.

 

Under the hood, the original inline six engine is clean and quiet, with a tidy engine bay and correct appearance. The truck starts easily, idles quietly, and pulls with surprising torque. The original 3-speed column shifter makes this truck very easy to drive.

 

Modern Chevy vehicles like the SSR and HHR both lean heavily on these redesigned 3100 trucks for their inspiration and it’s no wonder — ’50s-era pickup trucks have always had a loyal following. But they are often the subject of performance and cosmetic modifications, so today it can be difficult to find quality pickups of the era that are restored to their correct configuration.

 

Since only 5,220 were reportedly produced in the 1955 model year, this beautifully restored 5-window would make a fine addition to any Chevrolet collection.

What did the 2015 Monterey Auctions tell us this year? A lot!

The 2014 auction results were no fluke! The final auction result entries show that we are over the 400 million mark for the second year in a row, and not far off from the record-setting $428 million dollars in cars sold in 2014.

So far, 2015 has shown:

  • RM Auctions setting a new auction record at $172.9 million in sales
  • Gooding & Company setting a two-day sales company record with $128 million in sales, and
  • numerous records being set for many cars, creating many new benchmarks.

The overall results have more to do with what cars were on the auction block in 2015 and not the collector car market.

Ferrari is still king of the auction block. There were numerous record-setting prices for Ferrari when the hammer dropped last week. Out of the top 25 cars sold at the Monterey Auctions, 16 of them were Ferrari’s. In fact, the top two were the 1964 Ferrari 250LM ($17.6 million) and the 1961 Ferrari 250GT California SWB Spider ($16.83 million).

Next, values on Exotics from the 80’s through current day are growing at a rapid pace! This is great for the hobby. As long as there is a demand, automakers will continue to outdo themselves each model year.

As an example, here are the top 8 modern day exotics from the RM Auction:

1 – 1998 McLaren F1 ‘LM-Specification’- $13,750,000
2 – 2005 Ferrari Enzo – $6,050,000
3 – 1994 Ferrari F40 LM – $3,300,000
4 – 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO – $2,420,000
5 – 2012 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport “300” – $2,310,000
6 – 2005 Maserati MC12 – $2,090,000
7 – 2015 McLaren P1 – $1,980,000
8 – 1995 Ferrari F50 – $1,980,000

We also have big classic cars continuing to hold their own. From pre-war back to the Brass era, these cars steal the show at the Concours events. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a perfect example with a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A taking best-of-show this year.

The best-in-class Gold Ribbon winners were:

  • 1914 Rolls Royce,
  • 1937 Delahaye
  • 1953 Abarth 1100

 

New cars on the block! I loved seeing a couple examples of the 1967 Toyota 2000GT go across the block.   They were a unique and very rare sports car from Toyota that housed a Yamaha-influenced overhead cam in line 6-cylinder. Rick Cole Auctions and Mecum Auctions were both selling exceptional examples of these cars. These cars are making a statement for the Japanese automakers in the collector car hobby by selling in the million dollar range!

Lastly, one has to ask, is it the Gen Xers making their presence known in the hobby driving these prices?  The number of first time bidders and bidders in there 30’s and 40’s are at an all-time high. I am going to say they are definitely having an impact. And this is a very good sign for the collector car hobby!

Monterey week is the best of the best. You will see cars you have never seen before and you will see cars selling left and right that the normal person would have to win the lottery to even consider. It is a spectacle and it is fun! Here is hoping that my generation (gen x) can keep it going!