Wednesday, December 26, 2012

GM Brings Camaro Production Back To The United States

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

General Motors announced today that it plans on returning production of the extremely popular Chevrolet Camaro muscle car back to the U.S.A. Motorheads Performance is extremely pleased that American car makers are taking these steps to revitalize and renew our car manufacturing.

Photo Credit:
Hennessey Performance
Earlier this week, we learned that GM was buying back stock following the government's "bailout", repaying American citizens in the huge stock deal. Now we learn that production of the Camaro will be brought back from a Canadian plant in Ontario.

With news on the return of much needed manufacturing we can look forward to new jobs and a return of pride in manufacturing. The Lansing, Michigan factory will be the new home for the iconic Camaro.

Guy Algar and I hope the trend continues!

RESOURCES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Road Rage Can Affect Classic Car Owners - How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Road rage can affect just about anyone, at any time, anywhere. Once infrequent, random incidents, it seems that we're hearing more and more about road rage encounters. Should you, as a classic car or muscle car owner, be concerned?

Photo Credit:
San Antonio-Bexar County
Metropolitan Planning Organization
Yes. Unfortunately the trend seems to be spreading rapidly as more and more drivers are having anger management issues. Just today a story on the Internet surfaced about an extreme road rage incident in Queensland, Australia where the victim's dashcam recorded much of the action unleashed on the driver as he drove down an interstate. Another driver rear-ended him and made rude gestures to start the event. It can only be guessed at what sparked the outrage that ensued.

According to autos.aol.com, "the assailant pulls alongside Olsen's car and bumps him, retreats, pulls along the other side of Olsen while straddling a grassy median and, finally, veers in front of him and slams on his brakes, causing an accident. That was just the beginning of this dramatic road-rage episode. Next, the raging driver gets out of the car, climbs on Olsen's hood and shatters his windshield."

Also in the news today was an update from a case right here in San Antonio, Texas where in October of 2011 two men were caught up in an automobile dual that turned deadly. Fighting each other with their vehicles, one was sent careening into oncoming traffic when hit from behind by the other, resulting in a 2-year-old boy being paralyzed and his father with serious injures which leaves him still unable to work. According to the story in mysanantonio.com, both drivers were "indicted on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — their pickups — causing serious bodily injury. If convicted of the felony, each man could face up to 20 years in prison."

If vehicles are used in an assaultive manner to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury the actions of the drivers can be considered a criminal act. Road rage accounts for roughly 280 injuries on San Antonio-area roads from 2007 to 2011 according to a recent San Antonio Express-News analysis.

Part of the problem is that the very definition of "road rage" varies. Some states view road rage as driving aggressively, while others view it as violent confrontations between driver. Still others may see it as a combination of the two actions. Howstuffworks.com has a great article on road rage that I recommend reading. It is something all drivers should think about.

Road rage also costs drivers. Insurance premiums go up for those with road rage records, and cause costly claims for those victimized by the actions of those who've gone out of control at the wheel. One insurance industry blog states that road rage is not always covered by auto insurance, and there is evidence to back this up. What if another driver was the aggressor and caused you damage? What if you were not part of the road rage itself, but an innocent person caught up in one? Your insurance company may or may not cover it.

There was an interesting story of a Farmers Insurance claim that was initially denied because insurance felt that the road rage driver "deliberately caused" the crash, therefore it was not an "accident". Over time, the State Commissioner got involved and put pressure on Farmers to pay the claim. But clearly, there are few, if any, guidelines for insurance companies to follow, since the phenomenon is relatively new.

And classic car enthusiasts are not safe from becoming a target, or even an innocent victim of rage. In July 2012, the driver of a 1969 Triumph Spitfire was killed in Santa Rosa, California. The sport car driver was an innocent bystander who was caught up in what is being looked at as a road rage chase between two drivers. The Triumph was hit from behind, causing it to flip over and catch fire. The 55 year old driver was tragically burned alive. The driver who caused the crash, 28 year old Ann Howell, was arrested for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving causing great bodily injury.

Not so severe, but damaging was an episode experienced by Guy Algar years ago when a driver in another vehicle was driving very aggressively, waving his arms and swearing, perhaps feeling that Guy was slowing him down. The driver tried to force him off the road, bumping into the side of his vehicle. He luckily escaped serious harm, but the event left him surprised over the driver's quick flash of extreme anger. "The way you handle the aggressive driver can either help calm or escalate the other driver's agitation level, and his or her reactions to you. Don't return a rude gesture or swear at the other driver, as this will almost certainly make things worse," explains Guy. "Give them room to make their getaway. Hopefully if their temper goes unfueled, they'll feel satisfaction and will speed off leaving you with minimal damage."

What should you do if you are confronted by someone who is driving aggressively and perhaps experiencing road rage? Here are some hints offered by AOL Autos:
  • "If someone is shaking their fist and making threatening gestures, the best move you can make is pull over and let them get away from you, or turn off of your route to get away from the other car. The best way to avoid a fight is to leave it before it starts.
  • "If someone has left their vehicle and is confronting you on foot outside of your car, get your doors locked. Calm yourself and turn away. If you have your phone, dial 911 and let the responder know that the police are coming.
  • "Do not retaliate against a road rage instigator. You have no idea whether the person has a weapon. Be smart. Try to leave the area of the instigator as quickly and safely as possible."
Almost everyone agrees that it is best not to do anything to provoke him/her. It is a wise idea to call 911 to let them know of your situation and your location if you feel things are getting more heated or out of control. The most important thing to prevent a situation is to remain aware of your surroundings and of other drivers while you drive. Keeping alert and in-tune to what is happening around you can give you the advantage you need to get out of a sticky situation safely.

REFERENCES/RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
autos.aol.com - "He Was Going Berserk At Me Again"
esurance.com - How Road Rage Can Affect Car Insurance Rates
howstuffworks.com - Introduction To How Road Rage Works
jalopnik.com - Road Rage Chase Ends With Fiery Death For Vintage Sports Car Driver
komonews.com - Farmers Insurance Does About-Face In Road-Rage Crash Claim
mysanantonio.com - Pair Indicted In Road Rage Case
sametroplan.org - Safety Study Road Rage
smartshopyourcarinsurnace.com - Road Rage Not Covered By Auto Insurance

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Update to Theft Alert on Florida Car - Man Arrested For Fraud and Racketeering

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Distressing news has just hit the wires that concerns a story we reported on back in October of 2012 concerning a classic car reported stolen out of Florida.  The story made national news, and many car clubs, websites and enthusiasts did their part in trying to obtain information on where the vehicle may have been taken, and in apprehending the thieves.

David Gallentine
Photo Courtesy: WNDB
Sadly, today, it is being reported that the owner, David Gallentine, has been arrested for faking the reported theft!  According to cfnews13.com, "Deputies said Gallentine had pieced together an elaborate scheme around the car to defraud his insurance company out of $70,700. But skeptical, determined investigators followed the 43-year-old man’s paper trail, gathering enough evidence to put him in jail on six charges, including racketeering and insurance fraud."

Gallentine asked his insurance agent if he could buy back parts after he collected $70,000 if the car parts were found. This was found to be suspicious and detectives on the case began to dig deeper, discovering discrepancies in Gallentine's story.  Here are some they found:
  • Gallentine's lie detector test results indicated that his answers were deceptive.
  • An old friend recalled Gallentine said he thought about “fake stealing” the car to make money. off insurance The car’s paperwork revealed it was not an actual 1932 Ford and used parts from numerous vehicles
  • Gallentine titled the vehicle fraudulently and should have registered it as an “assembled from parts” vehicle.
  • He claimed that the car was stored in an “air tight garage” which was false.
  • Paperwork also indicated the car had a “new 302 Ford engine” which was false.
  • Gallentine had forged an engine bill of sale - the engine was reportedly one he himself had rebuilt.
  • Investigators determined he had engaged in a “pattern of racketeering activity.”
According to WNDB in Daytona Beach, Florida Gallentine is up on 6 charges stating, "Gallentine was taken into custody at his home Tuesday afternoon and charged with racketeering, passing a forged instrument, insurance fraud, filing a false statement with an insurance office, giving false information on a motor vehicle insurance application and fraudulently obtaining a motor vehicle title."

Guy Algar states, "It certainly is misfortunate that the world of classic cars has been tarnished by the actions of one man caught up in a scheme to rip off his insurance company. It makes it that much more difficult for honest and reliable owners and enthusiasts. We all suffer with higher premiums as well as tougher insurance company regulations when these wrong-doings happen. And it stings when so many good people came forward in an effort to help the guy."

For complete information on the story, I've included some links below that have more details.

REFERENCES/RESOURCES
cfnews13.com - DeLeon Springs Man Arrested for "Fake Stealing" Own Car
WNDB News 1150 - DeLeon Springs Man Arrested For Lying About Classic Car Theft

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Auto Theft Series - Alert to New Theft Method Being Used

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

In today's news from Houston, Texas, KHOU.com reports of a new method car thieves are using. Apparently seeing the value of departing from traditional car theft methods and moving a bit more high tech, thieves in the Houston area are combining identity theft with car theft in a strategy that allows for longer retention of cars which can be used for other illegal activities and perhaps smaller risk of getting caught.

Houston's KHOU reports on new form of car theft

The article unveils the clever process of a thief using stolen identification which may include driver's license and credit cards in order to secure a legitimate car rental from a car rental company such as Hertz, Budget, Enterprise and others. The thief can secure a car which can then be used to commit other crimes, or even be sold on the black market for instant cash.

Of course, thieves prefer to use legitimate identification which has been stolen or duplicated from the identity theft victim  because it can take car rental companies quite awhile to catch on to the fact that the car isn't being returned. The rental company then tries to go after the person who had their identity stolen, and the charge would be grand theft auto! They'll also use phony ID's if they can get away with that.

Guy Algar states, "Rental autos are plentiful, and it's a business that deals with out-of-town visitors all the time, especially through the airport rental locations. It's easy pickings for these thieves. And, it makes me think that it won't stop at traditional auto rental companies. Sooner or later, thieves will think it's a great idea to target exotic, vintage and classic rental car rental businesses as well."

According to the article, "Rental cars fetch thieves about $700 per car, according to KHOU-TV, which launched an investigation into the problem. Houston Police Department officer Jim Woods told the news outlet, 'Any stolen vehicle is going to be sold for less than $1,000.' The cars are also being used in the commission of other crimes. For example, a stolen Ford pickup was used in an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store last week in northeast Houston. Some of the cars are also being sold to unsuspecting used-car customers on sites like Craigslist."

I report on this because I think it drives home the point that car thieves will do just about anything to obtain their goal. If it is a classic car, muscle car, vintage truck or other collectible vehicle they want, they will not be stopped easily. My weekly series Keeping Our Rides Safe explores various ways classic car owners can avoid becoming a victim of car theft.

ARTICLE REFERENCES
Classic Car News - Increase in Classic Car and Muscle Car Thefts Have Owners Concerned - New Series Launches on Theft Prevention and Protection
KHOU.com - How Thieves Are Stealing Rental Cars In One U.S. City

RESOURCES FOR THEFT PREVENTION:
Classic Car News - Identifying The Potential Classic Car Thief - Know Who Your Friends Are
Classic Car News - How & Where To Park Your Classic or Muscle Car To Minimize The Threat of Theft
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
Classic Car News - At Home Theft Prevention for Your Classic Car or Muscle Car
Classic Car News - On The Road Theft Protection - How to Keep Your Car Safe While Traveling

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Performance Racing Trade Show in Full Swing

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

With the 25th Annual PRI Trade Show here, it again takes me away from writing and back into the mode of discovery and learning. It also means sharing news, as I've been invited to attend as a member of the press to cover PRI's great event in Orlando, and I look forward to bringing you info in upcoming weeks.

Admission Badge for 2013 PRI Trade Show
As a trade show geared to racing professionals from around the world, PRI offers a number of special training events that we're excited about. There is a special section of the trade show which is devoted to motorsports engineering services for instance (something that Guy, as a mechanical engineer is very interested in), as well as a variety of business and educational seminars, and of course the huge vendor-packed exhibition area where all types of products are being displayed and demonstrated. A fantastic event.

For instance, already underway is the great AETC (Advanced Engineering Technology Conference) meeting already underway. This is where professional race engine builders arrive early for the special conference. It is the oldest and most respected conference on new race engine technology in racing, and is the only conference in the US designed specifically for professional race engine builders. Hundreds of professional race engine builders attend the AETC, where they learn new speed secrets from the pro's; spend personal time with individual speakers and meet with other race engine builders from around the country.

Guy Algar and I have always been advocates for continuing education. We've both been in professional positions where being up-to-date with current technologies and trends is extremely useful. It is something we've continued in our quest for providing the very best in performance upgrades and restoration work on classic cars, muscle cars, street rods, hot rods and vintage trucks we work on for our customers.

There are all types of training that one can receive, whether it is through books, manuals, magazines, collaboration with other experts, seminars and conferences. We believe it is essential to keep your knowledge fresh. I look forward to reporting some of the great things discovered during our events.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wishing Our Readers The Best For The Holidays

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Guy Algar and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our customers, friends, family, readers and other supporters the very best during this holiday season. It's a very busy time here at Motorheads Performance, as we're wrapping up a number of projects all before the holidays.

I've been hit hard with a early season cold/flu over the last two weeks and submission of articles have had to be put on hold. Trying to rest up for the PRI Trade Show in a few days, and I should be able to resume full swing with more great articles and our series (on both license plates and on preventing car thefts) in early December. In the meantime, we hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with great food, great friends and family gatherings, and maybe even some time to work on the wish lists for our projects!

More soon...
Andrea & Guy

Monday, November 12, 2012

License Plate Fonts Do Make A Difference On Classic Cars, Vintage Trucks or Muscle Cars!

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

We've learned in past articles in this series that license plates have been in existence for over one hundred years. We know that license plates have been made out of wood, leather, porcelain and various metals, and that the paint itself has varied from oil-based paints to modern reflective formulas. But did you know that the typefaces, also referred to as fonts, themselves have a history?

Leeward Productions, a company that produces custom promotional license plates, has an extensive library of information on the history of American license plates, and in particular the fonts used on them! Yes, there is an abundance of information on this, and it's fascinating that someone has actually made such a detailed study of this! I've highlighted some of the more pertinent information below, but I certainly recommend you visit their site (listed below) for more detailed information:

Most of us are familiar with the term "fonts" due to how common computers have become in the last twenty years. Once referred to as a typeface, the expression "font" is often intermingled and freely exchanged. But did you know that there is actually a difference? Simply put, a typeface is the letters and symbols within a specific design such as Arial, Helvetica, Times, Verdana, Palatino, etc. A font is one single weight, width and style of a typeface, such as Arial, 10 pt, Bold. Technically, Arial, 14 pt, Bold, would be considered a separate "font".

So what in the world does all this have to do with license plates? To answer this, we need to look back to the early days when license plates were first made. In the beginning, most plates were hand-drawn. Some were very crude renderings drawn by owners or shopkeepers who had no training, and sometimes little education in learning the alphabet! As license plates were mandated and began being prepared by states, draftsmen, engineers or others with training in mechanical drawing were selected to create blueprints for printing, and later for use in tool-and-die machinery. It's easy to see why, in the early years, there was not a lot of consistency in the creation of letters, other than the fact that they tended to consist of straight lines, circular arcs and/or ovals which could be created by the common drafting tools of the day: ruler and compass.

In fact, the United States does not regulate the appearance of license plates on a Federal level, but instead each state is responsible for determining the type style within the standardized size of the plates which is 12" x 6". License plate fonts used in North America tend to be narrower and taller than European license plates which are 20.5" x 4.5".

There are basically four typeface styles that have evolved and now make up the majority of plates used in North America. These are described as Semicircular Curves, Squarish, Oval Curves, and Mixtures/Hybrids. Apparently, many of the letters and numbers use lines that are exclusively straight (A,E,F,H,I,K,L,M,N,T,V,W,X,Y,Z and 1, 4 and 7). Others that contain curves are the ones that can appear quite different (B,C,D,G,J,O,P,Q,R,S, and the numbers 0,2,3,5,6,8,9).


Semicircular Curves have letters/numbers that have straight sides or diagonal lines with semicircular corners at the top and bottom: (Photo Credits following photos: Leeward Productions)









Squarish have letters/numbers that have straight sides, tops and bottoms with slight 90-degree arcs joining them:









Oval Curves use oval or elliptical bowls and arcs in the shaped letters and numbers, while they maintain straight lines only on those letters without curves.
 








Mixtures or Hybrids are inconsistent and may combine any of the above styles. You usually see the difference between letters and numbers, although the variation of styles can exist within either the numbers or within the letters, as seen here:







 

If you are looking to have a license plate replicated by a company such as Leeward Productions or some of the other custom plate manufacturers in the U.S., it's important to research your particular state and year of vehicle so that you can get the correct lettering for your plate. Some degree of consistency has led to better license plate recognition and readability. Other factors, such as embossment and the paint itself have changed and evolved over the years and are an equally important factor to consider when restoring an old license plate or having a new custom plate made for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holley Bought By Private Equity Fund

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

It's been announced that Holley (High Performance Industries, Inc), a leading manufacturer of high-performance products which include their world-famous Holley carburetors, has been acquired by a private equity firm called Monomoy Capital Partners II, LP. Details have not yet been disclosed regarding the financial terms of the deal. For over 100 years Holley products have been the undisputed leader in fuel systems so it's no wonder that the company is a very attractive investment.


As most classic car and muscle car enthusiasts know, Holley has long been known for not only carburetors, but electronic fuel injection kits, exhaust headers and fuel pumps. It distributes its products under a variety of well-known names including Holley, Hooker Headers, Flowtech, Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS) and Weiand. Headquarters for Holley are in Bowling Green, Kentucky.


Top Quality Headers &
Exhaust Manifolds for
Classic Cars & Muscle Cars
Weiand Air Systems include
Intake Manifolds & Blower Drives
For Superchargers

Guy Algar and I have used Holley products on our own projects as well as our customer rides for years. Guy has been working on Holley carburetors for over 30 years, and is considered an expert in rebuilds and tuning. "Holley carburetors have never failed to perform for me," he states.

"I've also used other Holley brands," Guy explains. "I've never had a single problem with an installation of Hooker Headers. Get the correct set for your vehicle and they install without a hitch. It's attention to detail that they engineer into their products that, unfortunately other manufacturers sometimes fall short on. I've installed other brands that customers have specifically requested because a friend has them or they read something, and they just don't line up right or don't fit right when they're being installed. It can be very frustrating. I like the quality and performance of these products."

We do not anticipate major changes to any of the products which have brought Holley so much recognition and success within the auto aftermarket industry. We will be watching.
 
AUTHOR'S NOTE:
Guy and I realize that selection of products on any build, restoration or performance upgrade project can vary according to the needs of the customer and the car itself. Motorheads Performance utilizes a wide range of high quality, well known performance parts which are custom ordered for each job. We do not stock parts that we need to move off our shelves. We prefer to obtain the parts that are desired for your specific project!  - Andrea L. Algar


REFERENCES / RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Classic Car News - Classic Car Repairs: Using The Right Tools and Equipment
Flowtech - Flowtech Exhaust Systems
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Protect Your Classic Car or Muscle Car From Theft With Specialty Insurance

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

In my series Keep Our Rides Safe, we're taking a systematic look at steps we can take as owners of classic cars, muscle cars, antique cars, street rods, hot rods and vintage trucks in order to keep our cars safe from theft.
Car Theft is just one reason
you need specialty insurance
We've looked at security when we're at home and on the road and even though more than one third of all car thefts occur from a home or residence, it is all too common for owners of classic cars or muscle cars to procrastinate about insurance that will not only provide needed protection, but a lot of peace of mind! Many fear high prices, poor coverage, or too many restrictions being placed on use of the vehicle.

Some enthusiasts think that these types of insurance are available only for vintage autos that only drive once a year in parades, and while this is available, there are in fact many other options. Purchasing a policy for a "less-than-perfect" car, or one needing a restoration is also often avoided, but you should know that they're not as expensive as you might imagine. Standard auto premiums can cost up to 500% more than specialty insurance policies! And, you can usually find a policy which is just right for your particular needs.

Specialty automotive insurance can help you recover from all types of loses including those from theft, fire, accidents and collision and other catastrophes that can happen when we least expect it, and certainly can occur when we're least prepared for them. We may insurance, but still have a policy that leaves us unprepared and poorly covered. How?

Some people rely on homeowner insurance to cover theft losses, especially when they have a project car needing restoration or a lot of repair before being put on the road. Most people have the notion that insurance is not needed unless they drive it, but this can result in costly losses. Not only can an insurance disallow a claim, but more than likely even if they do, a claim will result in far less than the vehicle's value. Homeowners insurance is not a good substitute for insurance designed especially for classic cars or trucks!

Many people select a policy from their traditional auto insurance carrier, not realizing that this can be robbing them of valuable coverage not offered by standard auto insurance, and perhaps even paying a premium for the privilege! Specialty insurance policies can be less expensive than those through your standard insurance carrier even taking into account multi-car discounts, alarm discounts, "clean driver" discounts and loyal customer discounts. Lumping your classic car coverage with your daily driver policy through Geico, Travelers, Progressive, Allstate or any of the other dozen automobile insurance carriers will usually end up costing you in the event of a claim. Why?

Standard auto insurance typically pays "Actual Cash Value" (ACV), also called "depreciated book" or "replacement cost minus depreciation." The older a car is under this type of policy, the less value it has - regardless of the premium you pay. It is usually not the best choice for classic cars, antique cars, muscle cars or vintage truck.

Some auto insurers offer a "Stated Value" policy. These are better than an ACV policy because they allow you to "state" a value greater than its depreciated "book" value. But, the Stated Value policy still depreciates vehicles. The best collector policy is called "Agreed Value" - meaning the full insured value of the vehicle is guaranteed - no depreciation and no hassling with an adjuster trying to prove your vehicle's value.

One example is a policy offered by Grundy Worldwide Insurance called Collector Car Insurance. This insurance is very affordable, and YOU have control over much of the cost because you actually work with Grundy to arrive at an "Agreed Value" when your policy is written. If an accident or theft occurs, you receive the agreed upon value - no questions asked! A car with $20,000 in restoration costs could be insured for about $120 per year. There are no restrictions on the number of miles you can drive, or how often you drive, as long as it is not your daily driver. (See other insurance options below for daily drivers.)

Another policy for collector cars offers coverage while your vehicle is in the process of being restored. What's unique about Restoration Coverage is that the policy value can increase as the restoration continues. So, as the value of your car (and the money you have invested into it) grows, so does the amount of coverage on your policy. We think this is a terrific "peace of mind" policy, and embraces the gift of classic car restoration - to get out on the road and enjoy your ride!

For more information on insurance for your classic car or street rod, try contacting the following insurance companies who specialize in these policies.

Grundy Worldwide Insurance
www.grundy.com 800-338-4005
* Grundy, a top pick for classic car insurance in Reviews.com's research

Hagerty Classic Insurance
www.hagerty.com 231-941-7477

J.C. Taylor Insurance
www.jctaylor.com 800-345-8290

Heacock Insurance Group
www.heacock.com 800-677-5171

Leland-West Insurance
www.lelandwest.com 800-237-4722

American Collectors Insurance
www.americancollectorsins.com 800-360-2277

Classic Auto Insurance
www.classicins.com 800-360-2277 or 800-397-0765

Rally Insurance
www.rallyinsurance.com 800-801-1823

Condon & Skelly
www.condonskelly.com/ 800-257-9496

Northeast Classic Auto Insurance
www.classiccarinsurance.com 800-866-6440

"Chrome" by American National
http://www.anpac.com/ 800-333-2860

American Hobbist
http://www.americanhobbist.com/ 800-395-4835

Collector Car Insurance Agency
http://www.collectorcarins.com/ 800-787-7637

Sneed Insurance
http://www.sneedinsurance.com/ 800-619-7827 

Motorsports Insurance Services
http://www.motorsports-insurance.com/ 310-301-0333

NCM Insurance Agency (specializing in collector insurance for Corvettes)
http://www.ncminsurance.com  877-678-7626

Other options exist as well, including policies for Daily Drivers which are usually far less than going through a traditional auto insurance company. Some companies do require that you own another vehicle for "daily use", but you do not need to have it insured through them. Some put restrictions on mileage while others do not (especially if you have another vehicle as your daily driver). And, just as some place mileage restrictions, some restrict what type of driving you do (i.e. parades or shows only), and age restrictions (most will not insurance drivers under 25 years of age...others 30!). Many companies offer all-in-one policies which insure all of your vehicles at significant savings.
A note to anyone who owns a street-strip car is to take the time to find an insurer who will issue a policy for that use. If you don't "come clean" up-front, and your car catches fire at the drag strip, many insurers will not pay out on a claim unless you had a rider for racing. It doesn't hurt to be honest about how you use your vehicle, and it's a lot better than having a zero payout when catastrophe strikes. You put yourself in a position of higher risk, so take the time to protect yourself. There are insurance plans for just about every type of enthusiast out there.

Appraisals are usually never necessary, although most require photos of your vehicle to help determine value. Some insurers may dig a little deeper into the mechanical and aesthetic modifications made to your car, its horsepower, suspension system, paint, etc, but this usually helps to give you a higher Agreed Value if desired. Guy Algar states, "Don't forget to contact your insurer once the restoration is complete so that new values can be determined and you can increase your coverages if needed, or if you started off with Restoration Coverage and want to change to a different type of policy. We advise you to keep all of your restoration records including the detailed lists of the work performed, photos, and receipts for all your parts and labor, as this will help greatly when establishing the new value of your vehicle."

I suggest comparison shopping. Check the agency's rating, their level of customer service, and details of the policies offered in addition to pricing. Research all programs before making a final decision. Guy Algar advises, "Insist that the information provided truly allows you to compare 'apples to apples', and that similar language is used to address deductibles, payout limits, covered events, how values are determined, and of course exclusions that will not be covered at all. It reminds me of a story a customer retold of a friend's experience when, following a total loss, the claim processor matter-of-factly asked why they didn't have a policy that covered all the work done to the classic car. Well, the person simply didn't know that there were other options, and it cost them thousands."

Guy Algar and I believe that for such a low cost, collectors insurance is a worthwhile investment. We recommend Restoration Coverage for anyone who is having partial or full restoration services performed on their classic car, muscle car, antique car, vintage truck, street rod or hot rod. It can help give you added protection if you're taking your car to a professional restoration shop, as well as if you are performing the restorations yourself! You don't want to be the victim of theft, fire, or other event that could jeopardize the time, money and energy you've put into finding your prized ride.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Continuing Education Provides Great Opportunities

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Guy Algar and I have always been advocates for continuing education. We've both been in professional positions where being up-to-date with current technologies and trends is extremely useful. It is something we've continued in our quest for providing the very best in performance upgrades and restoration work on classic cars, muscle cars, street rods, hot rods and vintage trucks we work on for our customers.

Design Engineers create CAD drawings
which detail exact measurements used
to accurately fabricate engine components
 and other automotive parts.


There are all types of training that one can receive, whether it is through books, manuals, magazines, collaboration with other experts, seminars and conferences. Even after initial training, it is essential to keep your knowledge fresh.

The past week I've been away from the shop at a training, and unfortunately, this has kept me from posting new articles. However, I look forward to sharing things I've learned in upcoming articles. With the PRI Trade Show coming up at the end of the month, it will once again take me away from writing and back into the mode of discovery and learning. It will also mean sharing the news, as I've been invited to attend as a member of the press to cover PRI's great event in Orlando.

As a trade show geared to racing professionals from around the world, PRI offers a number of special training events that both Guy and I are excited about. There is a special section of the trade show which is devoted to motorsports engineering services for instance (something that Guy, as a mechanical engineer is very interested in). There are a variety of business seminars, educational seminars, and of course the huge vendor-packed exhibition area where all types of products will be displayed and demonstrated. It should be a fantastic event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Friday, October 26, 2012

NY Daily News Reports Classic Car Market At All-Time High

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

We're asked constantly about the values of classic cars, and whether the current trend in popularity will be on-going or whether we're in for a bubble-burst. As much as I'd love to provide a definitive answer, there is really no way to accurately predict. The previous gas war we were in in the 1970's proved fatal to a thriving muscle car era.

Even following the downturn following the 1970's highs, there were always the true enthusiasts who not only kept their enthusiasm in tact, but helped to keep the cars themselves from extinction. I think that this will always be the case. And, if we are faced with another downturn in collector attention, it should drive up the prices when they once again surface because there would be fewer survivors. As we all know, rarity does drive up the values of collector cars.

That said, the news in the collector world is still good. It is being reported in the New York Daily News that, "The demand for classic cars is at an all-time high. If viewed as a class of commodity, they would seem like the only sure bet for investors."

We'll continue to monitor demand and valuations of classic cars, but for us, it's more than the monetary value. Guy Algar states, "I have always believed that the fun of owning a classic car or truck is NOT in the financial gain you might get from owning one. It is in the joy that owning and driving one brings, even if the costs outweigh the value. It has the ability to take us back to our youth when life was delightfully simpler, and cars were something that you actually enjoyed!" As one person commented online, "treating old cars as an investment would suck the fun out of owning them." We agree!

RESOURCES FOR CLASSIC CAR INVESTMENT:
Classic Car News - Buying Classic Cars As Investments - What Are Your Chances of Making Money? 
Classic Car News - Don't Let The Thrill Of Driving Die - Traditional Ritual In Danger
Classic Car News - Future of Cars May Be Incredible, But Will They Be As Fun To Drive?
NYDailyNews.com - Demand for Classic Cars Reaches New Heights

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Theft Alert: 1932 Ford Coupe Stolen While Florida Man On Vacation

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

News broke today of a DeLeon Springs, Florida man who returned home from vacation to find that his 1932 Ford Coupe had been stolen from his garage. As our regular readers are aware, we've been running a weekly series, Keep Our Rides Safe, on classic car and muscle car theft prevention and protection. We had just written about the need to take active steps to protect your rides even in your own garage, and this is heartbreaking proof that these types of thefts DO occur where you feel most safe...your home.


Stolen Car: 1932 Ford 3-window Coupe
Estimated Date of Theft: Sunday 10-21-12 from DeLeon Springs, FL

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that David Gallentine discovered the theft when he "went to his garage to put some fishing poles and other equipment away Monday night when he noticed some items out of place. And completely missing was his restored 1932 Ford three-window coupe." Upon closer inspection he discovered that the thieves had pried the metal on the side of his shop to gain access. "They knew it was there, they knew I wasn't here, and they knew how to get into the shop," he said. And the car was the only thing missing. Nothing in the home was touched.

Gallentine estimates that he spent about 3,000 hours building the coupe over a three year period.  The car is estimated to be worth approximately $90,000. One neighbor reported hearing activity on Sunday, thinking it sounded like the car leaving the residence.

If you have any information, please contact the DeLeon Police Department at 386-734-1711.

RESOURCES FOR REPORTING:
DeLeon Police Department - DeLeon Police Dept Website

RESOURCES FOR THEFT PREVENTION:
Classic Car News - Identifying The Potential Classic Car Thief - Know Who Your Friends Are
Classic Car News - How & Where To Park Your Classic or Muscle Car To Minimize The Threat of Theft
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
Classic Car News - At Home Theft Prevention for Your Classic Car or Muscle Car
Classic Car News - On The Road Theft Protection - How to Keep Your Car Safe While Traveling

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On-The-Road Theft Protection - How to Keep Your Classic Car or Muscle Car Safe While Traveling

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Last week, we looked at security when we're at home. It's our sanctuary and a place we keep our most cherished items (classic car, muscle car, antique, street rod, vintage truck, or our project car of course). Even though more than one third of all car thefts occur from a home or residence, we're very vulnerable when we travel, especially when far from home on a road trip. But, bad things can happen even when on the road not all that far from home as well!

Keeping Your Classic Car Safe On Road Trips
When you're traveling, you'll need to change priorities a bit. You'll be out of your element and will need to have take reasonable precautions. How far from home and for how long will play a big part in the types of things you'll need to consider, and the steps you may need to take to maximize your safety strategies.

Some steps are obvious while others are easy to overlook when it comes to preventing car theft when you're away from home!

Prepare With Accurate, Up-To-Date Records


In addition to the maps, hotel reservations and activity list, make sure you take the time to prepare a list of information you might just need if you get into any trouble on the road. Make, model and VIN numbers are a good start. Adding identifying numbers of your engine, paint and interior colors, rim and tire information, and any other identifiers which are unique or can help identify your car should be listed. When you're in crisis mode, it's easy to forget to list obvious ones that can aid officials in locating your ride. The more information they have the better.

In addition to making sure you have a way of reaching your insurance company 24/7, you might also want to write contact information of your repair or restoration shop, and bring along photos of your car (front, side, rear). These can aid in getting bulletins out quickly. Jot down the e-mail address for Hemmings Daily so you can notify them of a theft by simply filling out a brief form (see link below). They've been instrumental in getting the word out, as we do, to fellow enthusiasts who can keep an eye out!

Make Sure You Have Adequate Classic Car Insurance


Make sure you've got active insurance in place. If not, take a look at purchasing a classic car insurance policy, and make sure that it is active before any long trip. Talk with an agent who can help advise about potential loop-holes in coverage. If you're considering a long trip or cruise, make sure that it will cover the mileage and the possibility you may be out of state. The cost is low compared to auto insurance for your modern daily driver, and it can mean the difference of losing your cherished ride forever, or the possibility of being able to begin again with another without losing your shirt. And remember, the use of deterrents and active anti-theft devices can save you money on your premiums. Read the full article on insurance in the resources link below, and don't procrastinate in getting it.

Use An Alarm System


Today's assortment of alarms can seem overwhelming, and we'll be covering them in detail in a future installment in this series of theft prevention articles. There are passive alarms that signal a monitoring device, those that will page you, those that sound an audible alarm, those that will activate hidden cameras, and those that will trigger active GPS monitoring. We will take a look at each of these in detail, but for now remember that all the theft deterrents and alarms in the world won't help keep your ride safe unless you actively use them. Remember to activate them whenever you're not in your car, and especially when you are away from home and/or on a road trip.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings - Take Care Where You Park


The point here is to be aware of your surroundings, including where you park your car. Don't take it for granted that just because you're at a national show or event with fellow enthusiasts or on a popular cruise or road trip that something bad can't happen. Take preventive action by checking out your intended destination and taking the time to secure your old car or truck while on the road.

Guy Algar states, "Don't forget to take precautions even during short trips or visits to popular places. You may feel safe parking your ride because you've been there before or know people where you're going, but remember, that thieves can take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, and will sometimes create their own opportunities as well! They can follow you from a cruise, a show, an event or even from a restaurant and plan a theft after watching you entering your hotel. If you have a ride that catches other people's attention, remember that it will also catch the wrong attention!" Keep these things in mind:

  • Never park behind buildings. This tends to provide cover for thieves.
  • If you can, park in plain sight of windows, doors, and areas with good foot traffic.
  • Do not park next to thick bushes or shrubbery.
  • Do not park next to alcoves, walls and areas where a person can hide. 
  • Avoid extremely remote areas.
  • Avoid unattended parking lots. Parking garages are safer choices.
  • Select parking garages that are fenced in and secure. Preferably with good visibility into the lot.
  • When parking on the street, select busy well-lit areas.
  • Be especially cautious at night, which is a thief's preferred time.
  • Check on your vehicle regularly.
  • Never leave a spare set of keys in the car.
  • Don't leave hotel keys in car.
  • Don't leave travel plans, maps, hotel or travel pamphlets in plain sight.
  • Do not leave personal items and baggage in plain sight whenever possible.
  • Remove your GPS device or hide it.
  • Never hide keys in/or about your car.
  • Never leave your title in the vehicle.
  • Never move valuables after you've arrived.
  • Don't park in two spaces. This only brings attention to your car.
  • Arm your car with your anti-theft measures and your multi-layered security system.

Use All Your Self Deterrents


Don't forget the basics in theft prevention. We'll take a closer look at each of these, and many more, in upcoming weeks:
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Use hood locks.
  • Use steering wheel and/or brake locks.
  • Use a kill switch.
  • Disconnect the car's battery.
  • Use a fuel cut-off switch.
  • Remove the Distributor Cap and/or Ignition Rotor.
  • Remove Fuel Pump Fuse.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: 
Guy and I realize that the safety of your classic car or muscle car is extremely important to most owners. Everyone wants to protect their ride with methods that work, and that won't bust the bank. Guy Algar was an Installation Technician for LoJack at one point in his career, and served as a troubleshooter for difficult installations. A complete list of links for Theft Prevention and Theft Protection will appear in my upcoming article. Have a story you'd like to share? Leave a comment and we may publish your story! - Andrea L. Algar


REFERENCES / RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Classic Car News - Identifying The Potential Classic Car Thief - Know Who Your Friends Are
Classic Car News - How & Where To Park Your Classic or Muscle Car To Minimize The Threat of Theft
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
Hemmings - Hemmings Daily Blog Report a Theft Form
No Nonsense Self Defense - Car Theft Prevention

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ownership Changes in Companies that Provide Classic Car Insurance

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

Major news that could impact classic car and muscle car owners across the country is an announcement from Nasdaq last Wednesday, October 17th, that the Markel Corp. will purchase Essentia Insurance Co. from current owner OneBeacon Insurance Group LLC. 

Stock Market Announces News
that could Affect Classic Car Owners
Why would this type of stock market news concern classic car owners? Well, anyone who is interested in purchasing classic car insurance may be interested because Essentia Insurance is the exclusive underwriter for policies issued to Hagerty Insurance Agency, one of the world's leading providers of insurance for classic car and trucks. Hagerty offers insurance for a variety of collectibles such as classic cars, boats and motorcycles, and is one that we've mentioned as a resource in past articles. As you know, we encourage owners to take a look at classic car insurance, whether you've got a project car, a daily driver, a show car, race car or a collector car.

While the deal should close in January 2013, terms were not disclosed, and it remains to be seen what, if any, changes may occur following Markel's acquisition. Hagerty Insurance Agency will remain a privately-owned family business.

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
Nasdaq - http://www.nasdaq.com/article/markel-to-buy-essentia-insurance-20121017-00872

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.