Tag Archives: collector 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.

1927 Stutz Vertical Eight Speedster

Harry C. Stutz is one of the great automotive pioneers of the last century, mentioned among notables like Bugatti, Miller and Duesenberg. One of his first forays into automobile manufacture was the design of an engine for the American Motor Car Company’s Underslung model.

  •  298.6-cu. in. SOHC inline eight-cylinder engine,
  • 95 HP,
  • three-speed manual transmission,
  • solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs
  • a 131” wheelbase.

AMIG 1927 Stutz 2 eng

Stutz formed the Ideal Motor Company in 1911 and immediately saw the importance of marketing his automobiles through racing. The very first car that left the Indianapolis plant was delivered straight to the track to compete in the Indianapolis 500, finishing 11th with no mechanical issues or failures and earning the slogan, “The Car That Made Good in a Day.”  One year later, the then-renamed Stutz Motor Company’s cars were seen as some of the finest money could buy.

AMIG 1927 Stutz 1
 

In 1926, engineer Frederic Moscovics developed the “Safety Stutz” chassis with a double drop that gave a low center of gravity, excellent handling and a rakish look. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes were fitted, as well as a worm-drive rear axle. The new “Vertical Eight” straight-8 engine had a single overhead camshaft driven by a link-belt chain and featured a twin-plug ignition. It was smooth, powerful and quiet.

 

In 1927, a Vertical Eight-equipped model AA set a 24-hour speed record, averaging 68 mph over 24 hours and Stutz backed that up in 1928 when its vehicle finished second to only to the Bentley Boys’ entry at the legendary 24 Hours of LeMans race.

 

This magnificent Stutz AA Black Hawk Vertical Eight featured a beautiful, sporting boat-tail speedster body — the first American car with that style of coachwork. This example still wears its original ID tag, displaying number AAS570575. It has been carefully restored to exacting standards and is ready for touring or show.

 

The body is finished in a subtle two-tone light beige / tan, which is set off by dark red painted wheels and a red cockpit.  Minimalist cycle fenders with fabric mud guards up front, simple alloy step plates and dual side mounts complete the look. The paint finishes and panel fit are excellent. Chrome trim and detailing highlight the quality of the car. The body is styled with drum headlights, wind wings, dual tail lights and, of course, the wonderful Stutz mascot on the radiator.

 

Inside the period cabin, newer red upholstery is in excellent condition with matching red carpeting. The simple dash features comprehensive instrumentation and a fantastic wood steering wheel mounted on a chrome column. For touring, luggage can be stowed either via the side mounted golf club door or the small trunk in the rear of the body.

Stutz 1
 

The Vertical Eight engine is a strong runner and has been very nicely detailed. It is striking, with a beige painted block and an evocative red cam cover. Thanks to the overhead cam and dual ignition, the 298-cubic inch mill is good for a strong 95 horsepower. This particular example also wears a period Wall Oil Rectifier — an early oil filtration device that heats the oil to rid it of unwanted moisture and fuel. The engine bay of this Stutz is a fascinating lesson in clever engineering and fine restoration work.

 
Stutz 2

Moscovics-era “Safety Stutz” cars are well-renowned for their robust performance and excellent handling. They remain highly collectible. The example we photographed today has been lovingly restored and invites regular use as a sporty touring companion for CCCA events, or as an entry to nearly any show field in the world.

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?

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!

Ami G – A Backdrop for the Network News

I could not have predicted what would happen at the 2015 Car Craft Summer Nationals.

After driving from Cincinnati to Milwaukee, I was backing the American Modern trailer into a spot at the hotel where I would be staying. Right after I parked, a woman came over to talk to me about our 1965 Chevy Malibu restomod – Ami G. She introduced herself as the head of event promotions for Car Craft Magazine.

“You are going to think I am crazy,” she said, “but I would like to have your car on 3 different local news channels tomorrow to help promote the Car Craft Summer Nationals.” Obviously I didn’t think she was crazy at all, and thought it would be great for people to see the car that makes us all so proud. And along with that, promote the car show we were attending.

Our first stop was at the main entrance of the Wisconsin State Fair grounds. That is where Milwaukee’s ABC and NBC news did their features – talking about the upcoming show and interviewing John McGann (Editor for Car Craft Magazine) while Ami G sat contently in the background.

65 Malibu State Fair grounds

Once the feature was completed, the sun began to rise. I loaded up Ami G. and drove half an hour to the Milwaukee Fox News Station. I unloaded Ami G. and Fox began to interview John McGann about the Car Craft Summer Nationals show and Ami G.

Car Craft Magazine feature

In summary, Ami G. made a grand appearance in Milwaukee! From the countless number of people that recognized her at the show proclaiming “That’s the car I saw on TV,” I would say she made her appearance well-known!

Car Craft Summer Nationals

The Car Craft Summer Nationals in Milwaukee turned out to be a great event with thousands of cool classic cars, great people that love to hot rod their rides, and love the collector car hobby! What more could you ask for!

If you aren’t familiar with Ami G.’s story you can view her video series here.

The Build – Connecting the Frame to the Chassis

Our team of collector car specialists continue to make the finishing touches on the 1965 Chevy Malibu SS. Watch as the team runs all the wires, including the battery cable, through the frame:

Rick will wrap it up and over the starter, to the solenoid. That way there is plenty of clearance from the header, because the headers can literally burn the coating off of the battery cable. Rick will then cut around the outside cover, in order to crimp in the end to pull it right up to the starter.

Capture

Capture2

The fuel hose and battery cable are now installed, everything is connected that needs to be connected, and it’s time to put the body on, and mount it to the frame for the final time. The crew will wheel the frame out, and lift the body up, then lower the body down onto the frame. In order to align it up exactly, it takes extreme attention to detail, along with exact measurements.

Capture4

The body bolts will be hand-tightened first, and then again will be tightened to the chassis and the frame with an impact wrench so it’s nice and snug.

Capture7

The body is now mounted to the frame, with the engine sitting pretty low. So luckily the coil-over shocks will allow for adjustments, in order to clear such things like speedbumps. Moving the springs on the adjustable shocks with the bottom knuckle lock blot, to the shock to the spring.
Capture8

Now that the frame has been bolted back onto the chassis, 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!

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