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AUTOMOTIVE ARTICLES FOR AUGUST 2018 

The 6 Most Popular Cars on TV  

Cars get their reputations from being seen on TV. Some of the cars might have impossible capabilities and this is what makes them so interesting. 

Chevy Impala in Supernatural - this car was known as the Winchester vehicle. It is definitely a highlighted car on anyone's list. Although the car is incredibly heavy and slower than most cars today, it was still one of the most iconic cars that have been seen on television. 

The Batmobile in The Dark Knight - Can you imagine a car like this on the roads? It might be perfect for the crime fighters in our countries but imagine how much maintenance it would need after a good crime fighting session? The Batmobile was equipped with all sorts of features and we see that it had the ability to fly too. Was it jet fuel or regular petrol? 

The DeLorean in Back to the Future - This was the time travelling machine of the television world. At first, we saw that it could only drive but in the next two movies, the DeLorean could fly in and out of the future. It would be amazing if we could change the year we were in with a little bit of lightning and speed. 

The Cadillac Ecto-1 in Ghostbusters - When this car was seen on the streets of New York, it meant that the Ghostbusters were here to save the city from a problematic ghost. With all those devices attached, they were safe wherever they went. Until they had to recharge their equipment. 

The Mystery Machine in Scooby-Doo - Originally, Scooby-Doo was an animated TV series for children. With the live action reboot we were able to reimagine the van as a real car. The cartoon series always had a human behind the mask but in the first live action reboot we saw a small talking puppy as the bad guy controlling odd entities. 

Mutt Cutts Van in Dumb and Dumber - Although, it was quite a dumb movie with funny moments, one of the most noticeable features was the van that the two main characters drove. The whole car was covered in faux fur material. The sides had what looked like dog ears and legs that were moveable. The front of the car had the face of a dog. This van didn't look too stable and the brakes didn't seem entirely safe too. What a lot of money spent on something that is probably difficult to clean. 

Other famous cars that are popular includes the sports cars in The Transporter, Fast and Furious, and Iron Man. The most stunning cars in the movies made us feel like we could do anything. Their skills and braking abilities were excellent. But could you imagine how often these cars would have had to go for mechanical and brake repairs



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Classic Cars: Original, Restored, Restored and Modified

Not all owners of classic cars think in the same way. Some prefer to keep them original (patina and minor issues), some completely restore them and some restore them and also do modifications. All three require the love and attention to detail of a classic car collector. No matter his preference the commitment, effort and knowledge associated with this very involved hobby is admirable. 

Original Vehicles 

An original vehicle is one that has been maintained so well that it has all of its original factory specified parts. Their parts have been mostly fixed rather than replaced and if they had been replaced at one time it will have been with the original part intended for the model from the exact year of its introduction. To determine the originality of a classic, enthusiasts look for "matching numbers", serial numbers that are stamped on parts throughout the car that match each other and the number originally associated with the car in its year. 

Pros and Cons 

Original vehicles are extremely hard to come by. To produce one takes the most time and money because the original parts are as rare as or more rare than the car itself. Because of the lack of availability of models and their parts, many car owner's claiming "original" are actually restored. A true original and a restored vehicle should look the same and nearly operate the same, but because of the difference in original parts vs. re-manufactured parts, the prestige and value of a true original is significantly higher. The value of the three types of vehicles fluctuates based on the changing demand of collectors just like many consumables, but original vehicles, even in their shabbiest appearances can sell for 35% more than their perfectly restored opponent, a reason why you'll find a lot of speculation on which route to take. 

Restored Vehicles 

Restored vehicles are made to look and drive like they did the day they were introduced to consumers. Their owners however, choose to replace parts with factory refurbished remakes of original parts. Using the original as inspiration, a car restorer will match the interior, parts and paint as closely to its glory days as possible. 

Pros and Cons 

Because restoration parts are easier to obtain and the restoration route creates more of its kind, this vehicle is less rare and often less valuable than an original. This is also the reason a collector can achieve results faster and perhaps joyride in his car sooner and for longer, a pro that's hard to argue if you're familiar with the work required of an original. As previously stated, the monetary value of a restored is less than an original in many cases, but there is value in having the most fun in your car and if that's a high priority for an owner than this is a fine choice! 

Resto-mod Vehicles 

Resto-mod is short for restored and modified. These vehicles are the furthest from originals. They are restored and often "modernfied" if you will. Some owners choose to enhance the engine, make it more fuel efficient, or add modern luxuries like a preferred sound system or safety features. 

Pros and Cons 

The sky is the limit for an owner with the freedom of modifications. He can build his dream car! Resell for these cars is difficult though and the return could be even less than was put in it so this is the biggest pit fall. The reward is grand and the risk too, is grand, but for many this is the perfect fit for them. The value of a restored and modified vehicle is very unpredictable because the vehicle has been tailored to its owner's specific tastes and he'd have to find a similar buyer, something to consider when choosing this method and while choosing each modification as well, if reselling is an area of importance at all. 

The debate and judgment of this sector of cars will always be, keeping this art form alive and well, but one thing is certain; classic car owners love their cars and that's worthy of respect. After considerable research you'll find that each collector has to make their car collecting decisions based on his own lifestyle and what he plans to do with it, re-sell or enjoy. Judge a collector not by the category of his car, but how well it's been done and cared for. 



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Where to Find The Only Tucker Convertible in the World?

Preston Tucker, the man behind the Tucker automobile, was a charismatic rebel who was unfortunately possessed by his creativity and determined to do what many said couldn't be done. His cup of creativity bubbled with activity. As his career unfolded, it became clear his destiny was to shake off his contemporaries and to do what had never been done before. He was David looking for his Goliath. He was fearless and more than a bit of a gambler. Ready to risk his fame and fortune, he jumped head first into an inevitable collision with the establishment. He was determined to capture his dream and build a car that he believed America deserved - a safer, sportier and entirely unconventional sedan with baked-in engineering that his competitors could not match. 

Early in his career he and a partner worked to help Henry Ford with race car engineering and design. Tucker was the inventor of the Tucker Turret, a powered gun turret that was mounted to military vehicles in the Second World War. The Tucker Turret was an innovation that played a key role in the success of the allied armies. 

Tucker is most remembered for his attempt to challenge the big three American auto manufacturers by starting his own, ultra innovative car company, the Tucker Corporation. Tucker's goal was to apply his unconventional wisdom and common sense to build a car that excelled in areas such as styling, safety, performance, value, and engineering. If Tucker succeeded it would have taken the "Big Three" several years and hundreds of millions dollars to retrofit their cars in an attempt to compete. And as they did so they would have been relegated to the side of the road as they watched a Tucker drift by, eroding their domination of the American car industry. Tucker accomplished what he set out to do with what he called the Tucker 48. 

The Tucker 48 sedan was unlike any other car in the world when it was introduced. Some of its most unique features were a "Safety Windshield", a centered swiveling third headlight, a quick swap powertrain setup, and a rear mounted "flat six" aircraft engine that had been updated with water jackets for proper cooling. The Safety Windshield was anti-shard laminated and was designed to be easily removed in the case of an accident. The centered swiveling third headlight was synchronized to the movement of the steering wheel to help the driver see around bends in the road. Even today, synchronized headlights don't appear in any but the most expensive cars and their appearance is a relatively recent addition to what are supposed to be "state of the art" automobiles. 

The quick swap powertrain (engine and transmission) setup was designed to be easily be swapped within fifteen minutes of arriving at a Tucker service department. This system was developed so that customers could drop off the powertrain at the dealership and leave quickly with a "loaner powertrain." This would allow an owner to avoid waiting, sometimes for days, as their car was repaired, an inconvenience common among conventional cars. Imagine the advantage of such an option if you were on a long distance trip with a car full of kids. 



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Classic Cars of the Future - The Time To Buy Is Now!

Classic cars provide a unique investment opportunity for the long-term investor, but to really make the best of it, a bit of trend-watching can help increase the return on investment. It's an old saying that everything in life goes in cycles, and it is no different with the classic car market, though the cycles may be longer than the average investor is expecting. 

A Special Type of Investment 

First though, one thing that makes buying old cars a unique investment opportunity is, these stand-out vehicles are eye-catching and fun to drive. Owning one is more than just owning a valuable car, it is - or can be - a statement, and often part of a fond memory of a time that has passed in one's life. 

Bought It Because You Loved It...  

If purchased as part of a fond memory or because of a special affinity for a certain car, it may be hard to let go of when it's time to turn it over for sale. This is not an ideal situation when buying these machines for investment value, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It just makes it a bit harder to let go, but at least owning it for a time is enjoyable. 

Buying Purely as Investment 

This is where trend-watching comes into play as a valuable tool for an investor. Classic cars are only going to increase in value as they become more and more scarce, but there are still going to be ups and downs in the prices. Adding seasonal trends and long-term trends to your understanding of this market will let you earn the highest return on your investment dollars. 

Seasonal Trends 

Watching seasonal trends will give you an idea of the best time to buy or sell for short-term investing, and it's fairly basic. Warm weather means summer vacation, car shows, and road trips for many people, so warm months are when demand is the highest - and prices are highest then, too. 

While there are always exceptions to every rule, you are most likely to get the lowest prices during cold months. So, typically, you would want to buy when it's cold and unpleasant outside and sell when demand is high in summer months. 

Long-Term Trends 

Long-term trends are harder to identify when it comes to cars, but you can use a web tool, like Google Trends, or another analytic tool to use Internet searches as a guideline. If you set the tool to show searches for a specific type of classic car, for example, you can see if it is presenting as a downtrend, an uptrend, or if it has flatlined. 

Nothing Is Written in Stone, but...  

Ideally, if you see a downtrend of about fifteen or twenty years when you look at the long-term history for a specific type of vehicle, it should be due to begin an upward trend, so buying at a low point in the trend gives you the greatest likelihood of making a profit when you are ready to turn over your long-term investment in a piece of vintage iron. 

The American Pie Rat Rods Of Yesterday's Youth Are Just A Past Memory Now

Old men and old times that have thoughts only being kept alive in the minds of our elderly men whom grab up of the dwindling supply of old car bodies to build the vehicle that were the idols of their youth. A "Rat Rod" painted up to look nice or left with the body rust was the in thing. The Hot Rod and Rat Rod are two separate vehicles. The Hot Rod is any car fixed up to look great and go fast but the Rat Rod always has a custom exposed super engine dumped into an old car body. The Hot Rods can still be created today because all you need is to build up the existing stock factory engine with existing installed smog. The Rat Rods always have the stock engines taken out and huge horsepower custom built engines put into them built for drag racing ventures with the engine exposed and chromed for visual candy that can't conform to today's smog standards. 

Building a "Rat Rod" from today's high bread messes manufactured isn't impossible but difficult if you are not up on smog systems and D.C. electrical systems on cars. "It's The Law" that cars nowadays are equipped with smog systems and you "Cannot" get your vehicle registered if that years smog system isn't hooked up. Older cars pre 1968's don't fall under the smog laws and can be easily sooped up with a big horsepower engine with no smog. The smog systems after the 1968 were easily removed and altered until smog tests came to be. In the 1970's some states implemented various smog mandates but in 1984 you couldn't swap engines unless the engines were smog compatible with the year model the engine was being put into. It's "Illegal" to swap engines from one car to another. 

In the days of now complex DC computerized electrical systems control the smog systems and taking out the stock engine and swapping it out for an engine that produces a huge pullback when you stomp on the gas peddle is really difficult to do. With some vehicles if you disconnect any part of the engine wiring the whole car's electrical system will shut down so putting in a high performance engine would be difficult without changing the whole cars wiring system then you couldn't get the vehicle smog checked and registered if the new high performance engine didn't have all the wiring connection points. 

Used to be in the 1940's, 1950's and early 1960's you would be able to grab an old car body and dump a huge engine in it and go to the beach and do some cruz'in in a trashy looking rat rod that was cool. The days of ever building a "Rat Rod" out of your garage has come to a close or is coming to a close unless you have the cash to engineer a high H.P. custom engine to today's smog standards. 

I see some painted up rat rods cruising the city I live in once in awhile that are 1920's and 1930's car bodies with massive exposed fully customized chromed engines. There's still some old junk car bodies around to do this but over the next 20 years or so the ability to find these old car bodies or even take a present day car body and create the "Rat Rod" will be impossible. Best you can do is take an existing model year car and remove the fenders and chrome the stock engine but I'm not up on the vehicle safety standards as of yet and most likely it will be illegal to compromise a vehicle's engineered crash safety. 

If you have an article you'd like to share with the fans,  drop me an email with your article to:

davy@newtondowntowncarshow.com