"The Relay" Online Newsletter
October 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.
I’ve had a number of people ask me about the Karb Kings Rockabilly Hot Rod Rumble that is in October in Fredericksburg. The club decided to pass on this year’s show: “Taking the year off to revamp and take some time off .. thanks to everyone who has supported this show and the VA Karb Kings”. I’ve attended many of the hot rod rumbles and enjoyed them all. It has become a favorite of many car hobbyists. Remember if you don’t see it in the calendar either the event is not on or someone has not sent it in. In fact I am now getting show info sent from car hobbyists along with the actual people putting on the event.
During September the media tried to scare us to death with the threat of a “category 5 hurricane” that was barely a 1 when it hit North Carolina. The media was so scary that a neighbor of mine cut down four trees because they were close to his house and he thought the big one was coming. On the calendar I marked in red the events that were either cancelled or moved to another date. If you send in an event be sure to contact me if the event is being cancelled or changed to another date. I get emails and phone calls from people asking if an event is still on because of weather. Be nice to everyone by contacting me if the event details change.
The inaugural Governor's Capitol Classic Car Show was held on Saturday, September 29 and it was a very interesting show held around Virginia's historic Capitol Square in downtown Richmond. What I heard from participants was that they hope this show continues after Governor Northam leaves office. October is here with some of the best shows in the show season. Hope to see you at them.
Our next meeting will be on Monday October 29th at 6:30 PM at River City Diner Southside, 11430 W Huguenot Rd, Midlothian, VA 23113 Phone (804) 897-9518. We will eat and meet in their meeting room.
Richmond Nationals Street Rod Cookout and
NSRA Appreciation and Safety Day
See all the photos
Car Hobbyist News
Last month I wrote about the Trump administration’s efforts to freeze the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The standard was set at 54.5 miles per gallon for 2025 by the previous administration. That is so high that automakers began working on lighter weight body parts along with multiple speed transmissions to help meet the standard. Now that the feds are looking at freezing the standard cars and light truck prices could not only stay the same but might also decrease. There are those who disagree. They believe that lowering the standard will stifle innovation – innovations such as multiple speed transmissions, turbocharging and variable value lift/timing. Those things are very complicated. I’ve rebuilt three-speed automatics before and I can’t image working on a 6, 7, 8 or even 11-speed automatic. In fact I’ve been told that some automakers just replace the entire transmission that fails under warranty instead of paying a technician to try and find what is wrong with it.
Those that are critical of freezing the standard are the people who are environmentalists and proponents of electric vehicles. If we take all the electric vehicles – which is tough to do because some sites include hybrids in with the all electrics – then electric vehicle sales are about one-fifth of Ford F-series truck sales. Yes, there are nearly 5 times as many Ford F-series sold as combined electric vehicle sales. While some electric cars brag about going 200 miles on a charge most of them struggle to get 60 miles out of a charge.
You may have seen the TV commercial put out by Volkswagen Group of America. It has a man in a gas car sitting at a stop light and then we hear the theme song from the Jetsons’ cartoon show. The Jetsons show was set in the future where people live in space and zoom around in space vehicles. Then a man and his dog pull up in an electric car beside the gas one and zoom off leaving the gas heap behind. As the electric cars zoom down the road they drive by an attractive woman putting the plug into her electric car. The announcer talks about electric cars quick acceleration and how they are the future.
A couple of things got left off like range and charging time along with the lack of charging stations. I saw a video of Jay Leno driving an electric car that was over 100 years old. It went longer on a charge that most of the electrics that are on sale today. If you want an electric that can go 150+ miles per charge you are going to pay around $100K for it. Yet I still hear people say that electric cars are the future. Keep in mind the US now produces more oil than Saudi Arabia.
Both electrics and hybrids can be hard to sell when used. The batteries for hybrids can cost in the thousands of dollars. I saw one hybrid battery that was $3600 (and you will have to install yourself or pay to have it installed). Compare that to about $150 for a gas car battery. Toyota says owners of the company’s hybrids should expect to replace them in about 8 years. The range is 5 to 10 years for a hybrid battery. I have a 6-year old car and I just replaced the battery. My truck went 7 years before battery replacement. So I’m guessing that hybrid batteries last about as long as gas vehicle batteries but cost more.
Driving a hybrid instead of a gas car can save you money if you keep the vehicle for years and get one that gets really good mileage. But they cost more when new and maintenance can be costly. I just can’t get excited about driving a hybrid or electric compared to a gas burning V-8 that has some real horsepower plus a transmission that you shift – electrics only need forward and reverse.
49th Annual Blackstone Festival
See all the photos
8 Cars to Grab Before They Take Off
by Andrew Newton and Eric Weiner at Hagerty
There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to pull the trigger on a beloved car you’ve tracked down, only to wait too long before the price balloons. While most movement in the collector car market is slow and steady, there are some cars that experience a faster price jump, and it’s very difficult to predict what cars will make moves and when.
We do have some resources at our disposal, however: insurance quote activity and the frequency a vehicle is being added to our insurance policies. Both of these figures are strong indicators of demand in the marketplace. We’ve identified eight cars that are showing these healthy signs of interest, but prices haven’t begun to climb in response.
1973–77 Pontiac Grand Prix
Median condition #3 (Good) value: $4200
The third-generation Grand Prix has the kind of face only a mother could love, and by 1973 the SJ performance variant was gone. But Pontiac people are an active bunch (even now when the brand is no more) and buyer interest in the Grand Prix is way up. With such a low value currently, prices don’t really have anywhere to go but up, and Mecum sold two low-mile examples this year for surprisingly high prices, signaling a trend. One sold for $19,250 at Mecum Houston in April, and a 1200-mile 1977 car sold in Kissimmee for a whopping $23,100.
1977–79 Ford Thunderbird
Median condition #3 (Good) value: $4650
With 130 horsepower on tap to push around more than two tons of weight, in this case the T in T-Bird might as well stand for Titan. Ford sold nearly a million of them over three years, so they’re not exactly rare, but then again, both base cars and the upscale Diamond Jubilee Edition Thunderbirds offer Malaise Era chic at prices that can’t realistically get much lower. With modest but noticeable growth in buyer interest as well as a larger number being added to insurance policies, the last of the ’70s T-Birds are getting some attention.
1996–2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK
Median #3 (Good) condition value: $8200
As a sports car, the original SLK just isn’t as driver-focused or nimble as the Porsche Boxster and BMW Z3, but it’s an attractive car with a roof that opens and a hardtop for when it rains. The Benz badge doesn’t hurt, either. It was a $40,000 car in the not-too distant past, so at current values the SLK seems like a sweet deal. Yes, service parts will always be expensive, but the car itself may not be quite so cheap in the near future. There has been a huge jump in buyer interest as well as a big increase in the number added to insurance policies. Values still have yet to rise accordingly, but the demand is definitely there. These once-pricey convertibles are tempting alternatives to the more spartan Miata and boy-racer Honda S2000.
1978–87 GMC Caballero
Median condition #3 (Good) value: $8700
Like a Chevy El Camino but with a different badge and a heck of a lot more rare, the Caballero has seen a massive spike in demand that corresponds with wider trends favoring trucks and SUVs. Given that the GMC version is hard to come by, it has a certain cachet for collectors over the equivalent El Camino, which is tracking fairly flat with the current market.
1995–99 BMW M3
Median #3 (Good) condition value: $14,700
Prices for the original 1985–92 E30-generation BMW M3 have long since gone wild and are no longer affordable, and prices for the later 2000–06 E46-generation M3s have been climbing steadily for the last couple of years, even making our 2018 Bull Market List. But there’s a sweet spot there for the somewhat unloved middle child in the M3 family—the 1992–99 E36 M3. While it won’t win any beauty contests, the E36 has 46-percent more horsepower than the old E30 and when it came out was one of the most widely praised performance cars in the automotive press. For some time it was dismissed for its paltry 240 horsepower in U.S.-spec, compared to Europe’s 286-hp model.
Attention is finally turning back to the E36, and it seems to be making that transition from used car to collectible. The special M3 Lightweight model can already be considered collectible with a few huge recent auction results under its belt, and a standard low-mile 1999 Coupe sold for a very strong $35,200 at Barrett-Jackson earlier in the year. Buyer interest is way up and more are being added to insurance policies, but prices are still well under the E30 that came before it and the E46 that came after it, so there’s quite a bit of room for growth.
1978–79 Dodge Lil’ Red Express
Median #3 (Good) condition value: $17,150
Demand for the Lil’ Red Express is rising after trailing the rest of the market for some time. This gain is largely driven by the growth in the number being added to insurance policies and a rise in their insured values. It makes sense given the amount of market activity among vintage trucks as a whole, although Lil’ Red Express prices haven’t moved as much as other special pickups. We have seen a handful of them at auction, but they were less than stellar examples—we’re still waiting for a breakout sale that’ll move the price needle.
1983–90 Land Rover Defender
Median #3 (Good) condition value: $25,500
Later North American Spec (NAS) Defenders from the ’90s can touch 100 grand, so while the earlier Defenders still aren’t cheap, they’re quite a bit more reasonable. That doesn’t seem to be lost on buyers, who have been showing increased interest in ’80s Defenders after being priced out from the later ones. Interest for classic off-roaders has been on the rise overall, and Land Rover Defender is one of the more respected names in that segment, so things look good for these in the longer term.
1999–2002 BMW M Coupe
Median #3 (Good) condition value: $27,500
The original “clown shoe” BMW M Coupe is an exception to that old rule of “when the top goes down, the price goes up.” It’s based on the M3-powered, Z3-based M Roadster, but the M Coupe is much rarer and BMW fans really dig its funky, thick-hipped styling, extra rigidity, and practicality so much that prices for the M Coupe are noticeably higher than the M Roadster. Because it is such a rare car (fewer than 3000 built for North America) and has a special place in the hearts of the BMW faithful, its future is bright in terms of collectability—prices for super-clean ones with the 320-hp, 3.2-liter S54 engine are long gone. We haven’t yet seen an M Coupe at any high-profile collector car auctions, though, so expect to see demand rise even higher as this car makes it onto more people’s radar.
Central Virginia Mustang Club 34th Annual Mustang and Ford Show
See all the photos
Automatically Replacing Maintenance Parts
Since the spring thaw, I have been trying to figure out why the engine (351 Windsor) in my '71 Ford LTD was hesitating when I pressed the gas pedal. The accelerator pump diaphragm on the carburetor is supposed to squirt in a little extra fuel when the gas pedal is first depressed. Fuel was slowly dripping out of the accelerator pump weep hole. I removed the accelerator pump diaphragm and discovered it was covered in fine cracks like an old bicycle tire tube. A new accelerator pump stopped the fuel leak but did not help with the hesitation. (Find Accelerator Pumps under "Fuel & Air" in "Tools & Universal Parts" and for specific vehicles in the RockAuto.com catalog.)
I got the Ford's Autolite 2100 carburetor's complex heat tube choke system working flawlessly with a new carburetor choke thermostat spring and gasket. I refreshed the ignition system with new spark plugs, wires, coil, distributor cap and rotor. The engine started cold and idled better after my tuning/tinkering, but it still hesitated when I pressed the gas pedal.
The hesitation worsened. The engine became reluctant to pull the car up hills. I began to suspect the carburetor was not getting enough gas. I replaced the fuel filter. I cut open the old fuel filter and did not find any significant dirt accumulation inside its strainer. I replaced the rubber fuel line/hose between the gas tank and the fuel pump. The hose was brittle and needing replacing, but it was not clogged. Fuel readily poured out of the gas tank's fuel line.
All that was left was the mechanical fuel pump. Ever since I was a teenager, I have automatically replaced mechanical fuel pumps, along with the belts, hoses, ignition parts, filters, etc. whenever I buy old cars. These maintenance parts are typically inexpensive and why not start fresh and prevent problems.
When I bought this car in San Diego a few years ago, I believed the previous owner's recollection that all the maintenance parts were relatively new. The engine compartment was very clean, the fluids had clearly been recently changed, and I was able to drive the long trip home north without any problems other than noticing the shock absorbers were worn out. Those tired shocks should have been a clue that time flies and recollecting when parts were replaced is hard for everybody. I frequently use my RockAuto account to remind myself when I last replaced parts on my old cars. (Accounts are available to all customers in the upper right corner of RockAuto.com.)
Nothing was clearly broken inside the pump.
Anyway, the fuel pump was still relatively shiny and it was fitted with non-OE hose clamps, but I really had no way of knowing if it was last replaced in 2012 or 1982. It took about 15 minutes to bolt on a new fuel pump. The engine no longer hesitates and the old Ford once again floats up hills effortlessly!
I was happy to have finally solved the problem and eagerly took the old fuel pump into the "lab" section of my garage where I keep the vice and hacksaw. I was disappointed to find nothing that was clearly broken inside the pump. There were no debris. The mechanical arm, spring, rubber diaphragm, rubber check valves and check valve springs all appeared intact.
The fuel pump had likely worn out like a good hiking boot. I do not realize how worn out old boots are until I put on a fresh new pair. This mechanical fuel pump generates less than 8 psi (55 kPa) of pressure when it is new. All those rubber pieces and springs likely stretched/compressed/stiffened over time until the pump's meager output pressure dropped so low it could not keep enough fuel in the carburetor's bowl even after engine RPM increased and the pump's arm moved faster.
I took a convoluted repair path to replace the fuel pump, but now I know the maintenance parts I should have automatically replaced when I bought the car have indeed been replaced. I need to install some informative gauges too. Of course the '71 Ford did not come from the factory with a fuel pressure gauge. In fact, all it has is a fuel level gauge and speedometer! (Find gauges here)
The Governor's Capitol Classic Car Show
See all the photos
Shepherd Center of Chesterfield Car & Bike Show
See all the photos
Repair Mistakes & Blunders
From Rock Auto
I guess it is finally time for me to reveal this story. When I was twenty years old, I noticed a 1953 MG TD on the side of the road covered in snow. After weeks of negotiations, the owner parted with it. I towed it home, put floorboards in it, covered the non-existent seats, installed new plugs, etc., and got it running pretty well.
Then one night, the MG just stopped (shortly before it also had sparks coming out of the exhaust and the manifold was glowing red hot). The engine would turn over, but no amount of coaxing could make it start. I called a buddy for help, and we spent the entire next day tearing apart the carburetors, fuel pump, spark plugs, coils and distributor. But, by the end of the day, we still could not get the MG running. I decided to have the car towed to a mechanic to rebuild the engine.
While sorting through parts getting ready to put the car back together, I was cleaning the fuse block when I noticed a blown fuse. I looked at the wiring diagram and discovered it was part of the ignition circuit. I had installed an air horn on the firewall earlier, which apparently had come loose, hit the hot side of the battery and blown the fuse. That experience taught me to check the simple things first. On the up side, I had a newly painted and rewired MG with a rebuilt engine that I drove for another 43 years.
John in California
Helping Hybrids Stay Affordable
From RockAuto - check out the prices!
I used to be leery of buying pre-owned hybrid vehicles. My buy-and-hold vehicular investment strategy and my family's tendency to get sentimentally attached means we tend to keep cars for a long time. Today, my wife headed off to work in "Wall-E," the '93 Ford Tempo that we planned to only keep for a couple of years when we bought it in 2008. What if we bought a used hybrid, named it "Bess," and then in just a few short years its giant battery died? Would the kids tearfully watch old Bess get towed off to a junkyard or would we throw financial reason to the wind and send Bess, along with a blank check, to a car dealership?
The cost of owning a used hybrid is no longer such a mystery. RockAuto.com has carried replacement Prius batteries for years. Batteries have steadily become available for other popular hybrids as well. Battery prices typically rise as vehicle size increases, but some smaller vehicles have higher capacity battery designs that may cost more. Here are a few battery price examples: 2008 Toyota Prius ~$1,020, 2008 Nissan Altima ~$2,038, and 2008 Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner/ Mazda Tribute ~$3,581. Just look for "Hybrid Battery" under "Electrical" to see what a replacement battery for a specific hybrid model costs.
Chevy, Ford & Toyota Hybrid Batteries
I found further good news when I did some research on used car pricing sites. The future cost of replacing the hybrid battery is in most cases built into the purchase price. Buying a used hybrid and a battery might cost less than buying a conventionally powered used model that uses more fuel, is slower and might have come with less luxurious options.
For example, I found the "trade-in value" for a 2010 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid was $14,300, while the trade-in value for a 2010 Tahoe LTZ was $21,179. If it cost ~$6,000 less to buy the used hybrid, then that savings would be more than enough to buy a replacement battery (~$2,625 at RockAuto.com) if necessary.
The used hybrid model was always the least expensive choice for the handful of vehicles I randomly chose to research. Sometimes the price difference was not enough to completely cover the cost of a replacement battery, but it cut the potential expense down to the cost of a new set of tires or another fix-it-up cost that any individual used car could need.
For example, the trade-in value for a 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid was $5,437. The trade-in value for a 4-cylinder 2010 Camry SE was $5,967. A replacement hybrid battery for the 2010 Camry costs ~$1,365 at RockAuto.com. A used hybrid Camry buyer saves ~$500 on the vehicle's purchase price now but has to pay ~$1,365 for a battery sometime in the future. Still not a bad deal considering the hybrid is faster, goes 10 more miles on a gallon of fuel in the city and any individual used car might eventually need $865 in random repairs/maintenance ($1,365 - $500= $865).
There is now no reason to lie awake at night wondering if ten-year-old hybrids are going to the junkyard or into limbo. What a waste of resources that would be. It is great that along with the other vehicles on the road, RockAuto is helping hybrids stay affordable, reliable and fun to drive!
When the going gets tough the tough get going - so when the hurricane came in September I headed to
the Swigart Antique Auto Museum in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. This is a 1936 Duesenberg Speedster.
5 Tips for Installing New Carpet in Your Vintage Car
Installing the carpet in your classic car seems like a simple task: just lay the woven material on the floor pans and then move on with your day. It's not, however, quite that easy. I know this because I recently tackled this project on my 1965 Chevy Corvair. Here are a few tips to make your carpet install less of a headache than what I experienced.
1. Organize your parts—outside of the car
This one seems obvious at first glance, but I promise you will fall into the trap of “I’ll just lay these screws out in order of how I removed them, then I’ll know where they go and how to put them back.” I promise you are wrong. Also, you probably lined those screws up in a place that’s ultimately in the way of something else you’re working on, so you’ll have to move them. Grab a sandwich bag and a notecard to tag and bag fasteners and other parts as they come off, then place them in a safe place. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. Buy the fitted carpet
If there is an option between molded carpet and standard flat carpet, buy the molded. It’s really tempting to be budget conscious and get the standard carpet, and then try to massage it to fit. It sounds good on the surface, but the fitted carpet will require significantly less work to make it fit correctly, and it often looks better once you’re finished.
3. Be sharp
Sharp tools are the best to work with. It sounds counterintuitive, but putting effort into forcing a dull blade to cut is dangerous. If the blade cuts easily you can focus more on controlling the cut rather than hoping it cuts where you want. Grab a new pair of shears or at least a pack of fresh razor blades. It’s cheap, and accurate cuts make for a better fit.
4. Start with small cuts
Using those sharp tools will allow small and more accurate cuts, so put them to work. If making a cut for a shifter or pedal, start with a small “X” cut. This will allow you to stick a finger or tool through and make sure the cut is properly located. If incorrect, a small crosscut can be patched on the backside with carpet seam tape. To locate some cuts, the old carpet can be used as a template, use painters tape (or another tape with low adhesion) to outline the placement on the new carpet before placing in the car, then confirm their location is correct once the new carpet is situated.
5. Don’t be afraid of heat
This one is scary the first time you try it, but done correctly it can make a real difference in final finish. There will inevitably be places where fasteners or other hardware will need to pass through the carpet. You could make a small cut and hope the bolt won’t create a pull on the woven material, or you can use a soldering iron or hot punch to melt an appropriately sized hole. With the edges melted, the woven fabric won’t pull or interfere with a fastener. Practice on a piece of scrap material first to know how the material reacts.
There are plenty of other tips, but these are the ones I wish I knew before this last project.
By Kyle Smith
1948 Tucker Torpedo
Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, 'Lillian, you should have
remained a virgin.'
- Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)
I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen.
I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.
- Mark Twain
The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending;
and to have the two as close together as possible.
- George Burns
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
- Victor Borge
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain
By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one,
you'll become a philosopher.
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
- Groucho Marx
My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
- Jimmy Durante
I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor
Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups:
alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
- Alex Levine
My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.
- Rodney Dangerfield
Money can't buy you happiness .... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
- Spike Milligan
Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP .
- Joe Namath
I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
- Bob Hope
I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.
- W. C. Fields
We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.
- Will Rogers
Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill
Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty, but everything else starts to wear out,
fall out, or spread out.
- Phyllis Diller
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.
- Billy Crystal
1961 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
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.
1952 Verrill Wolf Wagon
The 1952 Verrill Wolf Wagon is a custom built vehicle - note it's length
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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