Tag Archives: classic car

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!

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 – Starting the 396 Big Block

Our team of collector car experts at American Modern have the final pieces in place on the 396 Big block Chevy engine, and are ready to turn the ignition and let those headers roar.

The team starts out by installing their new Hooker Headers onto the 396 big block. The plug wires are organized from longest to shortest to diagnose which wire goes to which spark plug. With the wire looms, you can easily organize and route the plug wires so that they are flush with the engine. The tach, oil pressure gauge, temperature gauge, and ignition are all wired up on the test stand. When you fire up an engine for the first time, you need to make sure it is done correctly to help with the break-in process. To do this, you need to run the engine for 20 minutes at 2,000 RPMs. Idling is not good for the camshaft on the initial start-up on a fresh engine.

396 big block engine

Now that the 396 big block engine has fired up, 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!

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. ignites the new year at Cavalcade of Customs

Are you ready to start the new year off with a bang and admire Ami G. in-person, in her hometown? Well get ready! She’ll be strutting her stuff at the Cavalcade of Customs car show in the downtown Cincinnati Duke Energy Center, Friday, January 9th – 11th.

Ami G at Cavalcade of Customs 2015

We’ll be running a contest on our Facebook page! All you have to do enter is:

1. Take a photo of Ami G. at the Cavalcade of Customs
2. Upload it to our Facebook page with the hashtag #TheBuild
3. We’ll be picking 10 winners at random on Monday, January 12th

Winners will get a fabulous American Modern bumper cover!

This is the classic car’s first stop on her car show tour. Be sure to buy tickets for the Cavalcade of Customs now and visit Ami G. at her American Modern Insurance Group booth.

See official rules for contest terms and conditions.

Rick’s Collector Car Tips – Patina is an art form

Cars and trucks with patina continue to grow in popularity. Per Wikipedia, patina refers to accumulated changes in surface texture and color that result from normal use of an object.   Hot rodding adds style to the patina trend. Faded paint, surface rust, and exposed primer are all part of the allure.

Instead of having a $10,000-$20,000 custom paint job, the money is spent on performance, handling, and reliability.

photo courtesy of Car-from-UK.com

How do you find a classic car with the right amount of patina? Sometimes it’s not that easy. You need to find a car or truck that is weathered but not completely deteriorated.  If that can’t be found with the type of  vehicle you want, make your own patina. Creating it consists of sanding down and dulling the paint, creating weathered looking door lettering, and other tactics.   There are a lot of videos and articles out there to help you accomplish this look.

patina pick-up truck

Some of these patina cars and trucks are sold for a significant amount of money.   It’s all about what is cool.  And right now, a well-done patina hot rod is bringing the same passion as a full-blown custom car.

patina coupe

What is your take?   Do you like them?  Would you want to build or own one?   What is the coolest patina car you have seen? Share it on our Facebook page!

patina pickup truck

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.

Did SEMA glimpse into the future of classic cars?

I recently attended the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association. I define SEMA as the equivalent to the hot rodder’s paradise. The SEMA show fills the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as several other surrounding areas. According to SEMA, the show attracts over 60,000 buyers and over 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries.

Every SEMA Show exhibits new parts and tools on the market in the auto industry, and spells out what the collector vehicle and custom car market will become. In my opinion, this year has shown great trends in the hobby. The resto-mod and pro-touring segment of the collector car market has grown substantially over the past decade because of the intersection of new technology with old cars. Companies are creating better shop equipment to help both restorers and builders create award-winning show pieces at a new level of perfection.

There were two obvious trends that I noticed at this years’ SEMA show.

1 – Square-bodied C10 custom trucks.  Pro-touring, custom, and even stock C10 trucks from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s are picking up a lot of steam.  There is a demand for these trucks, both in stock trim and multiple modified stages.  As demand grows for these C10 trucks, so will the value.

C10 Custom Trucks at SEMA

2 – Hot rodding is alive and well with new cars.  From the Ford Mustang GT500, to the Chevy Camaro ZL1, the Dodge Charger & Challenger Hellcat, car manufacturers are taking performance to a whole new level.   This is happening because of demand.  A consumer is looking for both reliability and style, along with an extreme amount of horsepower. The muscle car craze of the 60’s era exploded because of these same interests. The aftermarket industry has embraced these cars and manufacture just about anything you could want to make these new cars faster, lighter, and better looking.

Camaro-Mustang-Challenger at SEMA

You can learn a lot by attending a show like SEMA.  This year I learned that the collector car hobby is alive and well. The future continues to look bright with all of the new cars coming to the market!


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.