Forensic Vehicle Fraud Investigations Available by Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

July 8, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Forensic Vehicle Fraud Investigations Available by Bryan W. Shook, Esquire 

Forensic Vehicle Fraud Investigations conducted by Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

  • VIN Research (Numbers Matching, Rebodies, VIN swap, etc.)
  • Fraud/Misrepresentation
  • Breach of Contract
  • Auction Misrepresentation
  • Prior Owner Research
  • Title History
  • Acid Etching (macro-etching) to raise obliterated stampings
    • Engine Numbers
    • Confidential Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)
    • VIN derivatives
    • Serial Numbers
    • Chassis Numbers
  • Body Panel Date Codes/Run Numbers
  • Data Plate and Trim Tag/Cowl Tag Decoding
  • Pedigree/Provenance
  • Race History
  • Restoration Quality
  • Production Characteristics

Often times the true identity, authenticity, original options, RPO, VIN, production date, or assembly manner of a vehicle is unknown or perhaps it is called into question. Bryan W. Shook’s methodology and extensive network of resources assists with the accurate identification and authentication of vehicles. This same approach also aids in the identification of questionable vehicles and vehicle’s attributes, provenance, pedigree, options or characteristics.

To find the fakes and answer the questions raised by the vehicle takes time, diligence and most of all an extensive exploration of the vehicle itself and the supporting documentation, if any. Bryan Shook painstakingly researches the pedigree and provenance of the vehicles for which he is contracted to investigate or authenticate. If something is amiss, he will likely find it. Bryan Shook is available on short notice to forensically investigate or document your single car or entire collection. Many times Mr. Shook insists upon an in-person evaluation of the vehicle so that the nuances of the vehicle can be studied and recorded.

Authentication is proving (or disproving) what that the classic car is what the owner or seller says it is. To a layperson, the car’s body and presentation is what makes it recognizable. To successfully authenticate a vehicle the minutia must be evaluated such as aberrations in the font used to stamp vehicle identification numbers.

As a practicing licensed trial attorney and award winning vehicle restorer, Bryan W. Shook, relies upon his unique training in evaluating and weighing evidence when scrutinizing and interviewing locatable past owners. The final product and opinion of Bryan W. Shook is presented to the owner with all supporting documentation which can be merged into the vehicle’s dossier. If necessary and requested all communications and discoveries will be held with the strictest confidence.

Bryan W. Shook has also assembled what is believed to be the most complete database of information surrounding Pennsylvania Certificates of Title and historical title information. This knowledge base has proven invaluable in the research of historically important Pennsylvania vehicles.

Selected Projects to Date:

  • 1905 Thomas Model 27 60-horsepower (1st known U.S. produced 6cyl automobile)
  • 1912 Packard
  • 1913 Alco
  • 1913 Pierce Arrow
  • 1924 Rolls-Royce
  • 1929 Packard
  • 1930 duPont Model G (only known duPont with the optional aluminum cylinder head)
  • 1931 Chrysler
  • 1953 Corvette (sold for near world record price after research was completed)
  • 1961 Corvette
  • 1967 Camaro Z28 (proved early ownership history by Pennsylvania Title records)
  • 1967 Chevelle SS L78
  • 1967 Jaguar E-Type
  • 1967 Shelby GT500
  • 1969 Corvette L88
  • 1970 Chevelle LS6 convertible
  • 1972 El Camino
  • 1976 Corvette Stingray

For more information on how Bryan W. Shook, Esquire can assist you with your vehicle or collection, please call him at 717-884-9010 or email him for more information on Bryan W. Shook’s collector car practice, please visit


Importance of Choosing The Right Restoration Shop

May 7, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Importance of Choosing The Right Restoration Shop 

Recently we were reminded, by an Ohio Court of Appeals, of the importance of selecting the proper restoration shop when it comes time to have repairs made to your classic car. The case reminded us that restoration facilities are not always as they seem and not all are ethical, forthright and honest in their practices and actions.

The case of State of Ohio v. Keith Shellhouse, 2014-Ohio-1823 which was decided on April 23, 2014 is very illustrative of the need to vet the restoration shop you are considering before dropping off your car, parts and most importantly, money. In the aforementioned case, Keith Shellhouse owner of Independent Autobody and Pro Restorations in Richland County, Ohio, was found guilty by a jury and the Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict. The case reports that in one instance a 1967 Ford Mustang was brought to Shellhouse’s restoration shop in Richland County, Ohio for repair. Mr. Shellhouse, it was alleged, then sold the vehicle without the owner’s authorization to do so. Mr. Shellhouse sent notice of the sale to an address in Michigan when he knew that the owner resided in Florida. The appellate court also noted that multiple witnesses testified as to Mr. Shellhouses’s pattern of conduct of accepting cars for repair with their owners’ money and then failed to do the working, sometimes failing to even return the cars. Mr. Shellhouse was also found guilty of tampering with motor vehicle records, a felony of the third degree. Keith Shellhouse was sentenced to four years in jail for his actions.

When you are in searching for a restoration shop, do not go by advertisements and discussions with the shop alone. If you are considering sending your vehicle to a restoration shop the following items (at a minimum) should be considered:

  •  Visit the shop, in person (then visit another shop (or several) for comparisons)
  • Speak with customers of the shop (current and past) (if the shop won’t give out customer’s names to speak with that is an immediate red flag)
  • Demand a written restoration contract including a detailed scope of work, payment terms, set price or hourly estimates not to be exceeded without prior written change order authorizations signed by both the shop and you the owner. The contract should have a start date and a completion date. The contract should also require that the shop document the restoration with photographs (time-stamped, preferably) and provide them to you with written updates on a specific interval basis.

In the end having your car restored should be an enjoyable experience, not one wrought with fear that you will never see your car or money again. Most restoration shops are on the up and up and you will have nothing to worry about. Your best insurance however is a firm written car restoration contract.

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire is an attorney in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania who is not only a devoted automotive enthusiast, but is also an experience litigator who devotes a large portion of his law practice to helping collectors and hobbyists protect their automotive investments. Bryan Shook represents some of the most notable automotive restorers in the world and has been responsible for litigating and resolving some of the leading antique automobile cases in the United States. Attorney Shook is available to consult with you or your restoration shop concerning any aspect of automotive or Pennsylvania business law. If you own an old car restoration shop, are you in compliance with all of the consumer protection statutes, including the Pennsylvania Auto Industry Trade Regulations, the Lanham Act and the FTC regulations? If you have any questions regarding compliance or wish to have a restoration contract drafted or reviewed, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Bryan W. Shook. Bryan Shook can be reached at his Office at 717-884-9010 or by email at