Tag Archives: collector vehicle

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 – 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.

Rick’s Collector Car Tips – 6 Tips to Winterize your Classic Vehicle

Here are six great suggestions for preparing and adapting your classic vehicle for storage during the cold, winter months:


Fuel — Fill up your gas tank and mix fuel stabilizer in with the gas. Run or drive the car with the fuel stabilizer until it is up to temperature. This way the stabilized fuel has been distributed throughout your entire fuel system.


American Modern classic vehicle tire pictureTires — Check your tire pressure. Treat the tires on both the outside and the inside of your classic vehicle to prevent the tires from drying out. Jack up the car and put it on jack stands to avoid flat spots on the tires.


Paint — Protect your car from small scratches by applying a good coat of wax before you cover it up.


American Modern classic vehicle interior pictureInterior — Detail the interior so you start off the next season with a clean car. Treat the leather, vinyl, and dash.


Battery — Use a battery tender. Even if it holds a charge through the winter, if you do not use a battery tender, it will shorten the life of your battery significantly.


American Modern collector vehicle garage pictureGarage Area — Moisture is your enemy. Make sure the car is stored in a dry environment. A dehumidifier in the garage helps. Also, the heat from a light bulb or the air movement of a very small fan under the car will help reduce the moisture build up under the cover. Always use a breathable car cover to allow moisture to escape.


The Build – Patching the Quarter Panel of a 65 Malibu

As you continue to take notes from us on how to properly restore a wrecked classic vehicle, more specifically a ‘65 Chevy Malibu SS, we will take you step-by-step into the process of patching the quarter panel. This thorough process has been recorded, along with many other videos, on American Modern’s show, “The Build”, seen here:

Rick Drewry, senior claims specialist for American Modern Insurance Group and host of ‘The Build’ , has already obtained patch panels for the rear quarter panel, and is now marking and tracing the patch panel in order to figure out how much they actually need. As they cut away the metal, they find that spray foam was used in a previous repair to fill in the bondo. This is an improvisation that is not recommended when restoring your collector car.

Rick and his team use some tools to cut out pieces to spot weld and replace with the patch panel. As they cut away, they find some rust on the outer wheel well that they’ll need to use the patch panel to replace. When your metal is rusted, you are not able to weld on top of it, so using a patch panel is an absolute must. They will use an attachment point for their patch panel after cutting off the unwanted rust. Less is more in this case.

The 1965 Chevy Malibu SS continues to show improvements from its original, wrecked state. You need to make it one of your top priorities to continue to follow up on all of our progress, and see what else is restored on ‘The Build’! You can find a full list of ‘The Build’ episodes on our YouTube Channel.

The Build – Patch Panel Repair on ’65 Malibu SS

Have you ever seen a smashed classic car in the junk yard and thought to yourself: “That Chevy’s got potential, I wonder what I could do to bring that beauty back to its prime?” We also know that it’s difficult to part ways with your classic ride, so the associates here at American Modern have decided to document the collector car restomod process with a 1965 Chevy Malibu SS. We’ve started a weekly online show – The Build – with a Chevy that took a detour into a brick wall. The series takes you step-by-step into the complete resto-mod project of this American classic.
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