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"The Relay" Online Newsletter
June 2018 Issue

This is the monthly online newsletter for the car club council. All car hobbyist events are listed on this site under "Calendar." Just click on the link above to view the list of car shows and other activities.

President's Message

Now that the General Assembly session is over and the new laws passed go into effect on July 1 we should take a look at other items. First is H.R. 5855 introduced into the Congress by a House member from Georgia. This bill - if it gets passed into law - will change the labels on gas pumps for E15. The labels will be larger and point out which vehicles should not use E15 and a much better warning of what will happen if someone puts E15 into an engine that can't use it without damage. It's a good bill as people need to know this important info since gas prices are going up. E15 is usually cheaper than E10 and people might be tempted to try it. Of course engine damage can occur to some engines that simply cannot use E15.

Speaking about gas prices we all know they go up in the summer, hit a high near July 4th and then drop during the winter. The media acts as if this is something new and unheard of before. Gas prices go up when there is demand and go down when there is less demand, just like most everything else.

I'm sure you've heard about Bill Nye, the science guy and the star of Netflix's "Bill Nye Saves the World" has come out with some stuff about climate change. He's a big believer in climate change and now wants a tax on cow flatulence. Yes, you read that right. Take a look at this: Mr. Nye, who hosts the Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves the World,” said it would be a “fantastic thing for the world” to charge a fee on carbon emissions, including “exhaust from the animals,” which would increase the cost of beef.

“This is what we can do and it’s a win-win: to have a fee on carbon,” Mr. Nye told the Daily Beast in a Monday interview. “So if you are raising livestock and producing a lot of carbon dioxide with your farm equipment and the exhaust from the animals, then you would pay a fee on that and it would be reflected in the price of meat, reflected in the price of fish, reflected in the price of peanuts.”

He called it a “free-market way to reckon with the real cost of a meat diet to the world.”

These are the type of nut cases that want climate change legislation, more tax incentives for electric cars and other stuff that would have a profound effect on the car hobby. We'll keep track of them while you enjoy your special vehicles.

~ Fred

April Blackstone Cruise-In
April Blackstone Cruise-In
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Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Monday, August 27th at 6:30 PM at a location to be announced in the August newsletter.

Congress Introduces Bill to Help Prevent E15 (Ethanol) Misfuelling

Legislation (H.R. 5855) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require a larger and more detailed warning label on gas pumps dispensing E15 (gasoline that’s 15% ethanol) than is currently required, to help prevent misfuelling. The bill states that labels must provide an adequate warning to consumers about the damage E15 can cause, including images and text on a label that’s 5 x 7 or larger, and highlighting that E15 is incompatible with certain engines and equipment. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials.
You Can Shape the Course of This Proposal
Request support for this legislation by using the following SAN website link for an overview and lawmaker contact.

Mustang and T-Bird Exhibits Open at AACA Museum

The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is planning a special Opening Program on Friday, May 18, to kick off two new exhibits at the Museum that will run until fall of 2018. The first is “Mustangs: Six Generations of America’s Favorite Pony Car.” This exhibit caters to the serious Mustang hobbyist as well as the general public, including telling the story of how the Mustang concept was developed along with some unusual models. Original Mustang stylist Gale Halderman is scheduled as a special guest. One of the unique vehicles featured in the exhibit is the 1963 Mustang III Concept Show Car (otherwise known as the “Shorty Mustang.”) The other exhibit is a tribute to the International Thunderbird Club with a special T-Bird display in the Museum’s new Williams-Clyne Gallery. Check out the museum website, www.AACAMuseum.org, for details.

Car Hobbyist News

I got an email from a car hobbyist in Virginia Beach asking where do we go from here now that we have exhaust freedom for vehicles registered as antiques. He asked about one license plate and real enforcement of the antique vehicle registration law.

First the one license plate issue is dead in Virginia. Yes other states have tried and without any real success to go to one rear plate. There are many problems in getting one plate in Virginia. First look at all the toll booths in the Richmond area and note that those booths have cameras set up to only photograph the front plate if a person runs the toll. In fact I know of one confused lady who drove through several of them without an EZ Pass and never got caught because she was from a state that only required a rear plate. Then there is the General Assembly in which I don’t think there are more than three or four members who are in favor of the one plate. It would save about two million bucks a year but unfortunately two million is not much money compared to the state budget. There are members of the Assembly who believe that having a front plate enables the police to catch not only bad guys but terrorists and other evil doers. Occasionally a dumb crook does get caught because he robs a bank or store and gets his front license plate caught on camera. In fact a bank I use was robbed a couple of Decembers ago and the police popped the robber less than a mile from the bank. His wife drove the getaway car which was clearly seen on the bank’s cameras. The police knew from the bank the front plate and make, color of car.

Next is enforcement of the antique vehicle registration law. There are some people who violate the law by using antiques as business vehicles and go to work vehicles. Both are against the law and both could be enforced. The council used to send photos of violators to the State Police for investigation and the police actually investigated. That no longer happens. When council members met with the State Police Safety Division in November 2016 we discovered that the State Police don’t believe the law is enforceable along with the texting law so they don’t enforce it. In fact the cadets aren’t trained in antique enforcement. The bottom line is the police (and government) enforce not all laws but the laws they want to enforce. Antique registration enforcement is something we’d like to see to weed out the people who violate the law and risk getting enough people upset that they want to change the law. But this kind of enforcement is apparently not important.

Another hot topic with car hobbyists is electric and self-driving vehicles. I’ve gotten into a number of discussions with people on these two topics. You can find hundreds of articles online stating that electric vehicles are ready to take off. The truth is that only 1% of car and light truck sales in 2017 were for electrics and by electric I mean electric vehicles not hybrids. But reading those articles predicting the future you’d think that electrics are going to rule the world soon.

Let me tell you how advanced those electric cars of today are – a 1909 Baker electric car owned by Jay Leno will go 110 miles on a single charge. Charge takes 4 to 5 hours. A Smart electric car gets 68 miles on a charge. A Chevy Spark EV gets 82 miles on a charge. Nissan Leaf gets 84 miles on a charge. Ford Focus electric goes 76 miles on a charge. Kia Soul electric goes 92 miles. But to beat the old Baker you can go to a Tesla Model 3 which the EPA says has a range of 220 miles. And when your battery dies keep in mind the car stops. You do not walk to a gas station and borrow a gallon can of gas to get it going again.

People won’t buy these electrics at all except the federal government offers thousands in tax incentives. The big question is why do they? A study I read (and it is in this month’s council newsletter) found that electrics produce more pollution than the modern gasoline engines. That electricity has to come from somewhere and producing it means burning natural gas or oil or coal or using nuclear power which has disposal problems. Again I’d like to know why the feds have spent millions on electric vehicle research and why they want us to buy them.

Self-driving cars are going to take over in 2020 – or so some claim. The problem is that we are at tops on level two – with level five being self-driving vehicles that do not require any human interaction. Today with level one and two self-drivers people have to pay attention and watch where they are going. I do know why companies are going hard for a level five vehicle – it would mean boat loads of money to the company that can make one.

There are some quirks with self-drivers that the media ignores (like other important news). One fun fact is that self-driving cars average an accident every 6000 miles. Today US drivers average an accident every 165,000 miles. What’s going on with self-drivers having so many accidents? The first thing is that people in them don’t pay attention like that should. Everyone seems to think things are more advanced than they really are. A second thing is that those self-driving vehicles don’t have to lift a foot and hit a brake – they spot something stopped in the road and they stand on the brakes causing the guy behind them to rear end that self-driver.

I do think we are going to see a lot of development in self-driving vehicles because there is a lot of money to be made. Electrics I’m not so positive about. The low sales figures for new ones, limited resale market and that range problem are going to be tough to overcome. New long range batteries are just not out there. A fun fact about Baker electrics is some came with Thomas Edison designed nickel-iron batteries that over 100 years later are still in use!

Classic Car Club of America Blue Ridge Parkway Caravan
Classic Car Club of America Blue Ridge Parkway Caravan
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Are electric cars worse for the environment?

By Jonathan Lesser Source: Politico The Agenda
Crunch the numbers, and it looks like all those subsidies might be counterproductive.

If you believe the headlines, traditional automobiles are speeding toward a dead end. All those V8s, V6s and turbocharged vehicles we’ve grown to love will soon be replaced by squadrons of clean, whisper-quiet, all-electric vehicles. And if you believe the headlines, the environment will be much better off.

Policymakers at every level have done their part to push electric vehicles by creating a tankful of subsidies. Thanks to laws signed by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, electric-vehicle buyers can feast on federal tax credits of up to $7,500 that reduce the initial purchase cost of their vehicles. Not to be outdone, many states also dangle their own mix of goodies for electric vehicle buyers, including purchase rebates as large as $5,000, additional rebates for vehicle chargers, and free use of public charging stations—which, of course, are only “free” because they’re subsidized by ratepayers and taxpayers. Some states even give electric vehicles preferential access to carpool lanes.

Then there are the electric vehicle mandates. In January, California Gov. Jerry Brown decreed that 5 million electric vehicles must be on his state’s roads by 2025, along with 250,000 charging stations. Eight other states are following California’s lead. One California lawmaker has even introduced legislation to ban all internal combustion vehicles by 2040.

All of this might make sense if electric vehicles, as their supporters claim, were truly likely to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change. But are they? To answer that question, I used the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s most recent long-term forecasts for the number of new electric vehicles through 2050, estimated how much electricity they’d use, and then figured out how much pollution that electricity would generate, looking at three key pollutants regulated under the U.S. Clean Air Act—sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and particulates—as well as CO2 emissions. I compared them to the emissions of new gasoline-powered vehicles, using the EIA’s “real world” miles-per-gallon forecast, rather than the higher CAFE standard values.

What I found is that widespread adoption of electric vehicles nationwide will likely increase air pollution compared with new internal combustion vehicles. You read that right: more electric cars and trucks will mean more pollution.

That might sound counterintuitive: After all, won’t replacing a 30-year old, smoke-belching Oldsmobile with a new electric vehicle reduce air pollution? Yes, of course. But that’s also where many electric vehicle proponents’ arguments run off the road: they fail to consider just how clean and efficient new internal combustion vehicles are. The appropriate comparison for evaluating the benefits of all those electric vehicle subsidies and mandates isn’t the difference between an electric vehicle and an old gas-guzzler; it’s the difference between an electric car and a new gas car. And new internal combustion engines are really clean. Today’s vehicles emit only about 1% of the pollution than they did in the 1960s, and new innovations continue to improve those engines’ efficiency and cleanliness.

And as for that electric car: The energy doesn’t come from nowhere. Cars are charged from the nation’s electrical grid, which means that they’re only as “clean” as America’s mix of power sources. Those are getting cleaner, but we still generate power mainly by burning fossil fuels: natural gas is our biggest source of electricity, and is projected to increase. And coal, while still declining, will remain the second largest source of electricity for some time. (Third is nuclear power, which doesn’t generate emissions but has other byproducts that worry some environmentalists.) Even with large increases in wind and solar generation, the EIA projects that the nation’s electric generating mix will be just 30% renewable by 2030. Based on that forecast, if the EIA’s projected number of electric vehicles were replaced with new internal combustion vehicles, air pollution would actually decrease—and this holds true even if you include the emissions from oil refineries that manufacture gasoline.

As for states like California with stringent mandates to use more renewable energy for their power grid, they also have the highest electric rates in the continental US, 50% higher than the US average. And electric rates in those states just keep increasing. So it’s a cleaner power mix, but makes recharging your car more expensive. The higher the electric rate, the lower the incentive for a new car buyer to purchase an electric vehicle. As for greenhouse-gas emissions, my analysis shows that electric vehicles will reduce them compared to new internal combustion vehicles. But based on the EIA’s projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate, and thus have no economic benefit.

So, if electric-vehicle subsidies don’t help the environment, what—or who—do they help? Most electric-vehicle buyers are far wealthier than average Americans. A nationwide survey in 2017 found that 56% had household incomes of at least $100,000 and 17% had household incomes of at least $200,000. (In 2016, median household income for the US as a whole was less than $58,000.) So it’s fair to say the subsidies disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor, who cannot afford to buy even subsidized electric vehicles or live in their own homes to take advantage of residential chargers or solar panels.

Not only that, the wires and charging stations needed to charge all those electric vehicles will be paid for by all ratepayers, further raising electric rates. And as more wealthy customers install solar panels to charge their electric vehicles, the costs to provide them back-up power will fall on those who cannot afford to do so.

In effect, the wealthy owners of electric vehicles will enjoy the benefits of their clean, silent cars, while passing on many of the costs of keeping their vehicles on the road to everyone else, especially the poor.

To be sure, electric cars are impressive. Some are quicker off the line than a Formula 1 race car. But there is no economic or environmental justification for the many billions of dollars in subsidies that America is already paying to speed their adoption.

So what to do? First, Congress should immediately terminate those electric-vehicle tax credits, which just benefit the wealthy. Congress should also eliminate zero-emissions credits, which electric-vehicle manufacturers have used to boost their bottom line – $860 million for Tesla alone in the last three years. And third, states should eliminate their various subsidies for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which are also paid for disproportionately by the poor and are contributing to rising electric rates.

Electric vehicle subsidies and mandates share an unfortunate, and all too common trait with other government policies: They’re based on “conventional wisdom” that turns out to be wrong. Wealthy consumers who have purchased Teslas and Chevy Bolts primarily to signal their green bona fides for their friends and neighbors, and who have socialized many of the costs of their purchases to those who are less well-off, might wish to take a closer look at the numbers. Their hands may not be quite so clean as they believe.

Jonathan Lesser is the President of Continental Economics, an economic and regulatory consulting firm. His new report, “Short Circuit: The High Cost of Electric Vehicle Subsidies” was published by the Manhattan Institute on May 15.

News From SEMA

Click the link for the story on the proposed legislation.

Province of British Columbia Proclaims “COLLECTOR CAR APPRECIATION DAY” in July 2018

Nebraska Bill to Ease Titling and Registration of Specially Constructed Vehicles Becomes Law

Maryland Bills Fail to Pass Before Legislative Deadline

Iowa Bills Fail to Pass Before Legislative Deadline

Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Funding Bill Becomes Law

Mississippi Legislature Proclaims July 13, 2018 as “COLLECTOR CAR APPRECIATION DAY”

Michigan Bill to Ease Towing Restrictions Passes House; Moves to Governor

Louisiana Bill to Allow Military Surplus Vehicle Registration Amended and Approved by Senate; Moves to House

Old School Street Cruisers Car Club 6th Annual Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show
Old School Street Cruisers Car Club 6th Annual Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show
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Modern Engine Design & Oil Consumption

Tom's Story
The owners manual for the 2011 Mercedes E-Class says, "Depending on the driving style, the vehicle consumes up to 0.9 US qt (0.8 l) of oil over a distance of 600 miles (1000 km)." The 2011 Audi A3 owners manual states, "Depending on the way the vehicle is driven and the operating conditions, oil consumption can be up to 1/2 quart per 600 miles (0.5 liter per 2000 km)." With no further explanation in the owners manuals, I might assume that neither Mercedes nor Audi has yet achieved the tight tolerances built into the cast iron V8 that powers my 1971 Ford LTD. Its old 351 does not burn a 1/2 quart of oil every 600 miles, at least with my gentle "driving style."

"Burning oil" has long been associated with heavily worn engines that blow clouds of blue exhaust smoke and need expensive engine rebuilds. It is no surprise that car manufacturers carefully avoid the words "burning oil," but it is odd that they make no effort to explain why some engines now come from the factory designed to "consume" oil. With a little clarification, a car manufacturer could avoid having an owner believe the engine in his/her new car was not as well built as the engine in the car he/she traded in.

Various oils of different viscosities

A description of modern engine/oil technology could also emphasize the increased importance of regularly checking/adding engine oil. The owners manual for the 2011 Honda Civic says, "Engine oil level - Check every time you fill the fuel tank." Is that a relic left over from 1950s era owners manuals, or do Honda owners really need to check their oil "every time" they stop at a gas station?

Modern engine designs have been achieving better fuel economy by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the internal pieces moving. This might mean making engine parts out of lighter weight metal alloys. It could also mean allowing pistons to move more freely in the cylinders, which unfortunately also lets more oil slip by the piston rings and be subsequently burned. The move to lower viscosity oils (ex. 0W-20 instead of 10W-30) and higher revving engines further encourages increased oil consumption.

But wait, I thought engines that burned oil wrecked catalytic converters. Zinc and phosphorous in engine oil are good for reducing valve train friction but bad for catalytic converters. Zinc and phosphorous levels in motor oil were quietly reduced as part of the new ILSAC GF-5 motor oil standard in 2010. The new oil standard meant new engine designs could send more oil residue out the exhaust without damaging catalytic converters.

Hopefully, the money spent on buying more engine oil is offset by less money spent on gasoline. Increased oil consumption is just one more reason owners of new cars need to be extra careful to use the correct oil for their engine. That old bottle of 10W-30 sitting on a garage shelf may not only clog various solenoids and orifices, but it could also damage the catalytic converters. Look under "Engine" in the RockAuto.com catalog to find the right "Motor Oil" for your specific car or truck.

One of these newer oil-consuming motors may still have problems (gasket leaks, etc.) if oil consumption increases over time. For example, it consumed 1.5 quarts between previous oil changes but now it is consuming 3 quarts.

I would follow those Honda owners manual instructions that say to check the engine oil level every time you stop for gas. Just ignore the dashing 1971 Ford owner using the neighboring gas pump. He may not bother to open his car's hood, but remember he has to stop at gas stations much more frequently than you do.

Tom Taylor,

May Blackstone Cruise-In
May Blackstone Cruise-In
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Good Guys
Grabber Blue Ford pickup

Losses and Lessons: Don’t trust those trusses

From Hagerty
VEHICLES INVOLVED: 38 cars, trucks, and trailers.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Do you trust your trusses? Depending on the age of the building in which you store your precious vehicles, it might be time to get up-close and personal with those very important support beams.

Roof collapses aren’t unheard of this time of year, and while heavy snow is often to blame, this one was in Texas and had everything to do with old age. The building in question was constructed in the 1940s, and when the trusses gave way its roof came crashing down on an extensive assortment of collector cars, trucks, and trailers—38 of them, in fact.

DAMAGE/LOSS: No one was injured, but damage to the building and its contents ranged from slight to severe. The most significant harm came to a 1938 Curtiss Aerocar trailer and a 1996 Chevy S10 truck, which were both total losses and carried a combined guaranteed value of $61,200. Other vehicles suffering significant damage included a 1949 Chrysler Imperial ($12,450), 1948 Silver Streak 18-foot trailer ($11,250), 1949 Packard Custom Clipper ($8750), 1947 Chrysler Town & Country ($5160), and 1948 GMC 1-ton panel delivery truck ($4880). Vehicle damage totaled $140,292, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: Hagerty Private Client Services’ Rick Worm has an extensive background in fire prevention and building safety. Unlike modern buildings, which are constructed on concrete blocks or a concrete slab, he says, “many older buildings were built directly on the soil or used existing stumps that were used as supports. This constant contact with ground moisture can lead to rotting sills and studs and can put stress on old trusses, causing weakening and failure of the trusses, walls, and roof.”

Worm also says that roots from trees growing near a building can spread underneath its foundation, causing the structure to heave or crack. (He also warns that poor wiring in older buildings can spark a fire.)

“Some garages and barns have been neglected for too long or have suffered damage beyond repair (improper renovations, weather over time, etc). If someone is going to use an old building to store their collection, I’d certainly recommend hiring an independent inspector to look over the building. For a couple hundred dollars (this can vary), it will give the owner a good idea of whether to fix it, run away, or move in without worry.

“Private buildings do not require inspections unless a permit is pulled for a major renovation. In this case, back when this building was built in the ’40s, it’s likely that no inspections were required. Some towns do not require inspections to this day.”

Bottom line: Don’t assume a building is sound just because it looks good from where you’re standing. Bring in a pro who knows what to look for, and even if they give the building a clean bill of health, ask how often you should have it inspected in the future.

Good Guys
Buick convertible

DIY Tricks for removing stubborn or broken bolts

Losing your mind because the only thing holding up your project is a seized bolt? Davin Reckow is here to show you the DIY tools and techniques you’ll need to get those frustrating bolts out of the way. Whether you’re a practiced wrench in the garage or a newcomer, it’s always good to know how to push past those project roadblocks.

Davin starts out with two pesky bolts stuck in an aluminum timing cover. His tools include a wrench, vise grips, a metal brush, an oxyacetylene torch, safety glasses, a MIG welder, protective gloves, and a welding mask.

For the bolt that’s poking out a little more, it’s as straightforward as heating the area with the torch and working the bolt out. First he cleans the area with the brush, and then Davin puts on his safety gloves and glasses, proceeding to evenly heat the area with the torch. He then works it back and forth with the vise grips until it’s turning freely, at which point he can twist it out.

The other bolt is almost flush to the cover, so the grips will likely slip. So the plan of action is to weld a nut to the bolt, and then yank out the whole thing, nut first. After a quick weld job, it’s as simple as twisting off the nut/bolt combo with a wrench while everything is still warm.

How to modify your car without ruining its value

By Colin Comer of Hagerty
It’s yours. The car you’ve dreamed about, researched, obsessed over, found in superior original condition, or maybe even spent years restoring to make it perfect. Maybe it has even won awards recognize its originality, the way experts agree it should be, down to the number of threads on the valve stem caps that hold that de-ionized air inside correct one-year-only tires.

But then you drove it. And as perfect as any of our cars may be, we can’t ignore that time and technology march on. The best performance car of 1965 can likely get its clock cleaned in a race against an average modern family sedan. Not to mention you’d probably survive an evasive maneuver in the new car. Not to be grim, but the odds are a lot lower in a classic.

As a result of these inherent flaws, you might not like driving your old car as much as you like the idea of driving it. And while many of us don’t view our cars as investments, we certainly aren’t out to needlessly destroy their value with modifications, even if they could help solve this problem. You’d have to be a fool to start monkeying around with a bone-stock collector car, right? Any modification that could make it safer and perform better would ruin the car, right? Not necessarily.

Nothing that can’t be undone

The truth is there are usually a number of non-invasive, easily reversible modifications that can transform the driving experience without hurting the value of the car. (That excludes the cost of the procedure and reversing it, if need be.) This list also includes anything that bolts on—and therefore could also bolt off—that doesn’t require drilling new holes or other modifications to any original components.

For example, a friend recently bought a super original 1966 Chrysler. After a few weeks I asked him how it was doing and he said, “Great, except when I jam on the brakes at 100 mph they pull like crazy!” I should mention that he is a professional race car driver, so I’m giving the obligatory “don’t try this at home” disclaimer. But clearly he’d found the limitation of 1966 four-wheel drum brakes trying to slow 4500 pounds at a speed and rate of deceleration they were never designed for. I suggested doing a front disc brake conversion and an upgrade to a dual-circuit hydraulic system to cure the problem.

His reaction was the same one I’ve heard a lot, and one we are trained to believe: “That would ruin the value,” of the car. I explained that there are kits that bolt onto factory components that don’t look out of place to the untrained eye. And should he ever wish to return the car to stock it would be a similarly simple process. I also may have mentioned that a 1966 Chrysler smashed, rolled, and on fire in the ditch would have a lower value than one with 1968 Chrysler front disc brakes bolted on. I do love to point out the obvious.

Other easily reversible upgrades are “drop-in” electronic ignition conversions to replace ignition points, modern Halogen headlight bulbs and plug-in relay kits to get them the voltage they need to shine brightly, radial tires in place of bias ply ones; upgraded suspension springs, shocks, and sway bars; and many other upgrades that are simple one-day projects. Some require no parts at all, such as having a professional properly tune the car on a chassis dyno or set up the chassis alignment to best take advantage of those radial tires and better underpinnings.

Take it from me

These are all things I have done to my own cars. For example, cruising in my 1968 Shelby GT500KR felt—to quote Lefty from Donnie Brasco—“like driving a waterbed” in its stock configuration. With a good alignment to more modern specs, a set of Koni shocks, Pirelli V-Rated tires, slightly stiffer (and shorter) front coil springs, and a larger-diameter power steering pump pulley from a 1967 GT350 to slow down the pump and calm down the over-assisted power steering, the car is now infinitely more enjoyable to drive.

Mind you it isn’t a new Ford GT, but now I have no concerns about throwing it around on a winding road. These few simple tweaks turned a car I didn’t want to drive into one I now enjoy using. And if I ever get the urge to return the car to its former life of a concours example, a couple of days swinging wrenches and it could be back to stock, no worse for the exercise.

Mods you can count on

Sometimes modifications have nothing to do with performance, but rather reliability. Because if your car won’t run it sure won’t make you want to drive it, especially if it has stranded you on the road enough times. My XK120 Jaguar was a notoriously poor starter when hot. The two, small, original 6V batteries that Jaguar placed behind the seat were wired in series to produce 12 volts for the electrical system. But by the time that power reached the front of the car, and that huge heat-soaked Lucas starter, there wasn’t always enough grunt to get things going.

After a little investigating I found that a first-gen Mazda Miata battery was roughly the same size as one original Lucas 6V battery. So I put one Miata battery in each 6V battery box, changed the wiring to run them in parallel to get double the cranking amps but not double the voltage, and added an additional ground strap to the chassis to make sure I would get all the juice available. Up front a modern gear reduction hi-torque starter replaced the Lucas unit. All told, for less than $500 I now have an old Jaguar that cranks over and starts like a modern car, with virtually no visual indication anything at all has been changed.

Modifying original parts

Of course, there is another level of more involved modifications that can still be done without negatively impacting the value of your car, but some may require modifying original parts in the process. For example, modern power steering can be added to many vintage cars, either by means of the new electronic systems that mount to the steering column or hydraulic systems that use modern steering boxes and pumps adapted to original mounting positions. If you ever want to switch them back you’ll be repairing or replacing that original steering column or shaft that had to be modified.

Some of my favorite modifications are completely hidden, done solely to increase performance: things like having manual transmission and differential gears micro-polished and/or lightened to reduce heat, noise, and friction. Similarly, a custom aluminum drive shaft takes many pounds of rotating mass out of the driveline for significantly less vibration and quicker acceleration, and when it is painted to look like the mild steel one it replaced, it’s pretty tough to notice. Relining brake pads and shoes with modern Carbon Kevlar material greatly increases stopping power, and having your brake rotors and drums precision balanced can often eliminate those annoying phantom vibrations and nibbling you feel through the steering wheel.

Installing a peel and stick sound-deadening product such as Dynamat under the carpet, inside the doors, and under the headliner allows you to enjoy the soundtrack from the exhaust and not the resonance of the big snare drum you’re riding in. Because if you can’t hear yourself think while driving along, it won’t be a fun ride.

These are just some of the tricks I’ve found that greatly improve the safety and enjoyment of old cars, and, when applied thoughtfully they offer no downside to value beyond the cost of doing them. After all, what is the point of having the car of your dreams if you don’t enjoy driving it?

Win A 1957 Thunderbird
Win A 1957 Thunderbird - info below

Win A 1957 Thunderbird

Proceeds will help restore a rare Lockheed 12A

The Spirit of Flight museum recently received the gift of a fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird. The museum now plans to give it away to a lucky winner!

“We are incredibly grateful that a 1957 Thunderbird was gifted to the museum,” said Gordon Page, President of the Spirit of Flight Center. “The donor saw our Lockheed 12A aircraft project and wanted to do something to help get it back into the air. We had no idea they would give us a collector car to raffle off to help the process.”

The Starmist Blue Thunderbird has only 35,000 miles and was fully restored in 2006. It has a 312 cubic inch V-8 engine and automatic transmission, and it is loaded with features including hard and soft tops.

“We plan to hand over the keys to the car at our 10th Annual Spirit of Flight Day event on July 14, 2018,” said Gordon Page. “I can’t wait to see the look on the winners face,” added Page.

People can enter to win the car by making a donation to the non-profit Spirit of Flight Foundation at spiritofflight.tapkat.org/wina1957fordthunderbird.

You can also enter by mailing in the attached form.

All proceeds help restore the 1936 Lockheed 12A Electra Jr. that the museum acquired earlier this year.

Good luck, and thanks for your support!

Good Guys
Aqua Buick Riviera

Good Guys
Model A sedan

Support the RPM Act

Sign at this link: www.votervoice.net/SEMA/campaigns/45394/respond

2017 marks a new session of Congress. Bills that did not become law at the end of 2016 must be reintroduced for consideration.

UPDATE TO THE RPM ACT - click link below

Protect Your Right to Buy Ethanol Free Fuel

Below is a link to Fuel Testers - a website that is opposed to more ethanol in gasoline and would like to preserve our ability to purchase gasoline free of ethanol.

Good Guys
The smooth body on this pickup was an eye catcher

Good Guys
You never know what you will see at a car show

DMV Titling Information

As promised I have a document about titling antique vehicles posted below for download. This contains information from the DMV speakers at the August 2015 meeting and some other information that I hope you will find useful. If in doubt about anything email or call the DMV administrators in the document; I have their contact information listed. And for the millionth time be sure to check to see if the VIN matches the VIN on the vehicle before buying it. This can save you a lot of trouble - just ask anyone who has purchased a vehicle without a matching VIN. There is also valuable info on purchasing an older vehicle from a non-title state. If you are thinking about buying a vehicle from a non-title state be sure to read it. Link to the document: Antique Vehicle Titling and Registration. I also have a bill of sale for use in buying or selling an antique vehicle: Bill of Sale; and a bill of sale for use if the signatures need to be notarized: Bill of Sale.

You may also find these links useful. The following link goes to the National Insurance Crime Bureau where you can put in a VIN that will be checked for fraud and theft at no cost. The link is www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck. You should do some research on the vehicle you are thinking about buying, check the VIN to make sure it matches the vehicle and of course make sure the VIN on the vehicle and title match.

The next link goes to Stolen Car Reports, another free service. At this site you can register a stolen vehicle. You can also search a zip code, city or area for the vehicles that were stolen from that area. The link is www.stolencarreports.com/report/Search.

Antique Plate Info Flyer Online

The council delegates have approved the flyer with information on antique plates and a link to it is online here: flyer opens to a new window. Council members and antique owners may print the flyer for their own reference or distribute it to those who own or are considering registering a vehicle as an antique. It will remain on the site for an undetermined time. Council delegates will review the effectiveness of the flyer at a later date.

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