State of the Hobby – March 2009

March 17, 2009 · Posted in News · Comments Off on State of the Hobby – March 2009 

A review of the Collector Car Market in light of the current Economic Situation

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Even considering the uncertainty of the current economic state antique and collector vehicles remain to be good investments.  Over the past year we’ve seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummet from a high of 13,136.69 to a low of 6,469.95 only a few days ago.  This is an evaporation of over 6,600 points or better stated, over 50% in less than one year’s time.  How does this translate to the collector car market?  The simple translation is BUY!!!

Current market indications are that while the wind may be out of the sails of the Dow Jones, the collector car market, viewed as a whole, is holding its own with bargains being reported from nearly every auction, which is a reiteration that we are in a buyer’s market.  Overall, the collector car market has not experienced the same dramatic, marked decline as the Dow Jones.  Collector cars remain a great place to park your money. Properly purchased collectible vehicles, if nothing else, continue to be an enjoyable savings account.

The collector car market, like any other free, open market, is driven purely by economics.  The premise is simple: supply and demand.  Given the current uncertainly of Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, collectively known, at least for the time being, as the “Big Three”, demand for stylish, desirable cars from their past will continue to be high, much higher than supply.  It was announced by General Motors on February 20, 2009, that, at least for the time being, all sixty engineers of the High Performance Vehicle Operations (H.P.V.O.) have been “temporarily” reassigned.  H.P.V.O. was the birthplace of high performance and specialty vehicles from GM. Therefore it is easy to predict that the future of desirable collectible vehicles from GM will be extremely limited.  Over the years, the group has developed vehicles such as the Cadillac CTS-V, STS-V and XLR-V, Chevy SSR, HHR SS, TrailBlazer SS, Colorado V8 and the Saturn Ion Red Line.

Over the past several years we were blessed to see some great vehicles come to life from the drawing boards and auto shows and into the dealerships.  These vehicles include the Ford GT, newly redesigned, Ford Mustang, the Dodge Charger and now the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro.  Other collectible offerings include the Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 and C6 ZR-1 and the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice roadsters.

To collectors’ detriment, the recent economic viability plans submitted to Congress on behalf of the Big Three, predict a paucity of desirable (i.e., collectible) vehicles from Detroit.  Instead of producing niche vehicles it seems that hybrids and alternative energy vehicles will be receiving all of the design dollars and energy in the coming years.  You should be admittedly suspicious of this choice to design cars around the strings attached to federal bailout monies … hopefully this won’t lead to the insipid vehicles that came from Detroit after the smog regulations were rolled out in the early 1970s.  Given the current unfortunate economic situation, headlined, by the Big Three’s struggle to survive, the collector car market stands to benefit exponentially by an increased demand for the past-produced models; especially the high-performance models. 

To the true collector, the economy does not necessarily play a role in whether to purchase a vehicle.  The true collector’s decision to purchase a vehicle is driven by price, desire to own the vehicle, and the hobby’s market…not the stock market.  Buying with this in mind will result in a good vehicle purchased at a good price and a safe investment; or in the very least a good savings account.  In contrast to the sharp decline of the stock market over the last year, to the best of my knowledge, we have not seen a single collectible vehicle decrease by 50% in value in less than one year’s time! 

Bid with knowledge. Buy with confidence.

This article was written by Bryan W. Shook, Esquire the founder of Vintage Automotive. Attorney Bryan W. Shook is a devoted automotive enthusiast, but is also an experience litigator who devotes a large portion of his law practice to helping other collectors and hobbyists understand today’s market.  Attorney Bryan Shook is available throughout the United States for consultation, advice, and information. If you’d like more information about this topic or would like to speak with Attorney Bryan W. Shook please email him at

Jury Verdict: Restamped Engine is not “original” “number’s matching” engine!!!

March 6, 2009 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Jury Verdict: Restamped Engine is not “original” “number’s matching” engine!!! 

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire


Des Moines, Iowa (1-29-2009) – Jury rules that seller breached contract when he did not disclose a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 (VIN 124379L524309) did not retain its original engine.  


The case began in June 2003 when the Defendant, David Reyes, acquired the Camaro from a co-worker for $15,000.00.  When the Defendant acquired the Camaro from his co-worker, he testified that it did not have its original engine and that another engine was given to him by his co-worker at the time of the sale.  This other engine was the crux of the case.  


The story goes that when the engine in the vehicle began to run poorly and smoke a little, the Defendant had the engine that his co-worker had given him rebuilt.  Apparently, his co-worker had located the other engine and choose it because it was date coded appropriately for this particular December 1969 built Camaro.  The story goes that the co-worker had the vehicle identification number of the Camaro stamped into this replacement engine, making the replacement engine look identical to the original engine, prior to the Defendant acquiring it.  


In April 2004, Defendant placed the newly rebuilt, but non-original, restamped engine in the Camaro and placed the Camaro for sale through the internet auction website,  The Defendant placed the vehicle up for auction with a “Buy it Now®” price of $35,000.00, over twice what he paid for the vehicle less than a year earlier.  This may not seem to be a big deal, but in this case, the numbers on the non-original engine were stamped so well, that even the Defendant’s own expert witness on cross examination by Attorney Shook, at the trial could not tell they were restamped.  No where in the description did the Defendant ever say the vehicle did not have its original engine and he never disclosed this fact.  


Specifically, the Defendant advertised the car has being “Numbers Matching DZ302 Original,” “unmolested,” “low mileage,” and “as close to being a true survivor as any you’ll find.”  The auction ended with the Plaintiff, Daryl Hansmeier of Davenport, Iowa buying the Camaro for $25,200.00.


 It was never disclosed to Plaintiff that the engine in the vehicle was not the original engine, as a matter of fact, the engine restamping was not disclosed to Mr. Hansmeier until February 27, 2007 nearly three years after the sale of the vehicle.  


In March 2007, the buyer, Mr. Hansmeier contacted noted classic car fraud attorney, Bryan W. Shook (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania) to help him resolve this matter.  An inspection of the Camaro was performed by world-renowned Camaro guru, Jerry MacNeish (Eldersburg, Maryland).  Upon inspection, Mr. MacNeish confirmed that while the Camaro was a genuine Z/28 model, it did have a restamped, non-original engine.  Mr. MacNeish valued the car at $19,500.00 at the time of purchase, meaning that Mr. Hansmeier paid too much for the vehicle when he purchased it.


Local counsel, David Hellstern of the Kreamer Law Firm in West Des Moines, Iowa and Attorney Shook subsequently filed suit on behalf of the Plaintiff, Daryl Hansmeier and his wife for Breach of Contract, Fraud, Material Misrepresentation and Breach of Warranties.  


A three day trial was held at the Polk County Iowa Courthouse on January 26-28, 2009 with the Honorable Chief Judge Arthur Gamble presiding..  The Defendant, Mr. Reyes’, defense was that he and the Plaintiff, Mr. Hansmeier, had different meanings of the terms of the contract, namely the term, “Numbers Matching DZ 302 Original.”  The Plaintiff put on the testimony of noted Camaro historian and chief judge of concours judging at the Camaro Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jerry MacNeish, who testified that the phrase, “Numbers Matching DZ 302 Original,” means, to someone in the market for a 1969 Camaro Z/28 that they are looking at a vehicle with its original 302 cubic inch engine with it’s original stampings.  Mr. MacNeish stated unequivocally that a person without specialized knowledge would not be able to tell that the engine had been restamped and accordingly wouldn’t know that he had been deceived until someone told him.  


The jury retired to the deliberation room early in the afternoon of Wednesday, January 28, 2009 and quickly returned a unanimous verdict finding that the seller, David Reyes was liable for breach of contract for failing to deliver to Mr. Hansmeier the 1969 Camaro he promised him, specifically, a 1969 Camaro Z/28 retaining its original, correct, numbers matching engine.

 Attorney Bryan W. Shook, is a true car guy, in every sense of the work, he is not only an collector, restorer and hobbyist, but is also and attorney who devotes a large portion of his practice to helping other collectors and hobbyists when they find themselves the victim of receiving something other than how it was advertised.  Currently Attorney Shook is involved in automotive deception cases and represents clients in nearly a dozen states.   Attorney Shook had this to say about the case, “Let it be known, that misrepresentations in the collector car hobby will not be dealt with lightly, the court system proved this today by a unanimous jury verdict in favor of full disclosure and truthful dealings.”

Welcome to Vintage Car Law

March 1, 2009 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Welcome to Vintage Car Law 

Attorney Bryan W. Shook through his firm of Vintage Car Law serves the niche market of the collector car hobby.  The goal of Vintage Car Law is the preservation of all aspects of the collector car market. 

Founder, Bryan W. Shook, is a true car guy, in every sense of the word.  He is not only a collector, restorer and hobbyist, but is also an attorney who devotes a large portion of his practice to helping other collectors and hobbyists understand today’s market.  Currently, Attorney Shook is litigating several automotive deception cases and represents clients in nearly a dozen states. 

Through many years of collector-vehicle restoration and overall market analyzation, Attorney Shook is able to accurately and confidently advise his clients as to which vehicles to purchase and which vehicles to stay away from.  Further Attorney Shook has been invited to give his insight into the collector car market by several venues including the Ocean City, Maryland Collector Car Auction held annually in February.

Attorney Shook is available at all major automobile events within the United States for consultation, advice, and information.

For more information, please call 717-884-9010 or email