Judge Rules that disgruntled ex-wife can sell husband’s rare 1968 Camaro

October 26, 2015 · Posted in News, Uncategorized · Comments Off on Judge Rules that disgruntled ex-wife can sell husband’s rare 1968 Camaro 

Pottsville, Pennsylvania – Vintage Car Law and Bryan W. Shook, Esquire where recently successful in defending and proving the title to a rare 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport.  Bryan W. Shook, Esquire acted as lead trial counsel to the buyer of the rare 1968 Camaro.  The buyer purchased the Camaro from the ex-wife of the last titled owner.  When the husband found out his Camaro had been sold he sought to get the car back.  Attorney Shook petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County for an order declaring that his client was the sole lawful owner of the Camaro and to extinguish any claim the husband may have to the car.  The court ruled that the wife had the power to sell the car even though she did not have the Certificate of Title in her name.  The Court’s Opinion can be found here – Judge Rules that disgruntled ex-wife can sell husband’s 1968 Camaro.

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire is the principal of Vintage Car Law  Attorney Bryan Shook has helped hundreds of Pennsylvania residents properly title their antique and collector cars through petitioning the Courts.  If you would like information on how Attorney Shook can help you get a title to your antique or collector car please email him at bshook@shooklegal.com.

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 bshook@shooklegal.com.

Insist upon viewing the dossier when considering an antique or collector car

April 16, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Insist upon viewing the dossier when considering an antique or collector car 

Importance of Pedigree, Provenance and Continuous History

In our previous article, The Economics of Car Valuations, we discussed some of the factors, generally, that drive the values of antique and collector vehicles. The present article highlights the importance of establishing, maintaining and proving the pedigree, provenance and continuous history of your collector car and assembling such in the vehicle’s dossier (i.e. file of records concerning the vehicle).

If you look at the cars that sell at the top of the market, they all have one thing in common; a noted history that is clear and transparent. In the collector car market, investors and hobbyists have a choice as to what car they buy. While it is true that they will usually buy the prettiest and most correct example that they can afford, they will also weigh the vehicle’s history. A vehicle’s history has always played a role in the value of the vehicle, but it has only been as of late that the vehicle’s history has played a tremendous role in the value of antique and collector vehicles.

If you are looking to purchase an antique car or expensive collector car insist on viewing the dossier which should include records, names of previous owners and services and restorations that the vehicle received.

If you are looking to sell your antique or collector car then it is incumbent upon you to document your vehicle and create the type of dossier of records that the buyers today are insisting upon.

What should be in the dossier?

At a minimum, the dossier should include a sheet of paper listing all of the important production notes and numbers of the vehicle. Ideally, there would be a binder or computer file containing photographs and narrative decoding of the various components and numbers on the vehicle. The file may also include pre-restoration photographs as well as restoration photographs and photographs of the vehicle with awards it has earned or notable places where it has been invited or displayed. Receipts and notes concerning the service performed on the vehicle should be included as should any affidavits of former owners.

The area in which most dossiers are deficient is with respect to historical documents, previous ownership and service records and notes. Attention to this subject is most important. Every vehicle has a story to tell, it is your job as the vehicle’s current custodian/caretaker to preserve that story for future generations. That is, in a sense what the dossier is, is it not?

Continuous History

The notion of Continuous History was first announced by Mr. Justice Otton in the case of Old Bentley Number One (Hubbard vs. Middlebridge Scimitar Ltd.) in the High Court of Justice – Queen’s Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, London in 1990. From that day forth in 1990, it became clear to everyone involved with Bentley Speed Sixes, in order for a car offered for sale to be described as a Speed Six, it was now essential that the vehicle be accompanied by a continuous history.

What is continuous history when it comes to antique and collector vehicles?

Continuous history is, according to the Courts in London, a full, unbroken and authentic set of documents which identify in a reliable manner who has owned the car, the uses that it has been put to and a description of its service history and any restoration, rebuilding or reconstruction work that the car has experienced throughout its life since originally leaving the factory.

The case of Brewer v. Mann ([2010] EWHC 2444 (QB)) demonstrated why continuous history documentation of a Bentley Speed Six is so important, however the importance was transportable to all other antique and collector cars. In Brewer v. Mann, the car had two significant features (or flaws) that made it essential for the description to be more detailed than simply stating that the car was a Speed Six car. These features (or flaws) were that the engine was not a Speed Six engine (i.e. non original engine) and the only surviving part of the original car was a small section of the chassis. There was also a lack of a continuous history for the years between 1930 and 1981 even though, during that period, the car had been completely reconstructed. Thus, there was no way that the car could be authenticated as a Speed Six or, indeed as a vintage Bentley.

In consequence, it was particularly important that the contractual description accurately described all the significant changes that occurred during the car’s lifetime and the seller found some way in which to authenticate those changes or stated in the description that they were not capable of being supported by a continuous history. The need for full documentary evidence of the relevant history of a Speed Six or any other collector vehicle is highlighted by the increased valuation placed upon the vehicle by auction goers and appraisers.

In sum, it is crucial that collector car owners establish dossiers for the cars they own and insist upon reviewing the dossier for cars that they are considering purchasing. Ultimately, the industry and all collectors should strive to have a documented continuous history for every collector car, no matter the importance or perceived value 0f that particular car.

Attorney Bryan W. Shook is not only 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 and protect their automotive investments. Attorney Bryan W. Shook is a seasoned automotive collector and restorer and as such brings real world experience and firsthand knowledge to the table for his clients throughout the world. Although Bryan Shook is headquartered in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania (close proximity to Carlisle and Hershey), Attorney Bryan Shook is available anywhere for consultation, advice, and information, most times, on as short as a day’s notice. If you’d like more information about this topic or would like to speak with Attorney Bryan W. Shook please email him at BShook@shooklegal.com or by phone at 717-884-9010.  More information can be found at Http://www.vintagecarlaw.com.

Vehicle Identification Numbers

October 2, 2013 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Vehicle Identification Numbers 

Vehicle Identification Numbers

(What are they; where are they found and why are they important?)

 What is a Vehicle Identification Number?

A Vehicle Identification Number also commonly known by its acronym “VIN” is the unique identifying serial number of a motor vehicle.  Manufacturers of vehicle have assigned unique identifying numbers to their vehicles since the dawn of the automobiles however early forms of vehicle identification numbers were usually very short (three of four numbers) and usually found stamped in the engine block or on a small brass plate on the frame of body of the vehicle.  The process of identifying vehicles by their engine numbers started early on but a problem quickly arose when an engine had to be replaced.  This problem however was not rectified until approximately 1954.  Starting in approximately 1955 US auto manufacturers began using unique Vehicle Identification Numbers to uniquely identify all US built automobiles.  The compelling force behind this change in practice was a desire to work with law enforcement and state’s DMVs to reduce the amount and opportunity for VIN fraud and stolen vehicle trafficking.   Prior to 1954, vehicles were identified by body number, chassis number, serial number or engine number.  One can imagine how confusing this would have been and how great the potential for fraud would have been.

A VIN is the DNA of a vehicle, that is to say it is the unique identifier of every vehicle.  The VIN is the number by which s vehicle is registered and titled.  Decoding a VIN can tell you many things including when the vehicle was built, the model of the vehicle, the assembly plant and possibly even the original engine displacement.  Since a VIN plays such an important role in the identity of a vehicle, much fraud has arisen over the years surrounding VINs.

Where are VINs located and how can I tell if the VIN on my car is the correct VIN?

Since the beginnings of automotive production the engines, bodies and usually the frames of vehicles have been assigned identification numbers usually in a serialized fashion.  Beginning with the 1970 model year, nearly all vehicles produced for sale in the United States have had the VIN placed in at least three distinct locations.

  • Public VIN (since January 1, 1968 visible through the windshield)

In the United States, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (effective January 1, 1968) mandated certain safety requirements on vehicles to be sold in the USA such as side marker lights, safety belts and Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) visible on the dash through the windshield.  This is VIN location has come to be known as the “public VIN” and is probably the VIN that you are most familiar with.

  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification Sticker (since August 31, 1969 found in the door jamb or on the door)

Starting with all vehicles manufactured after August 31, 1969, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (“FMVSS”) certification sticker was required to be affixed to the vehicle which also included the VIN of the vehicle.  Effective January 1, 1972, the sticker also had to include gross vehicle weight (“GVWR”) information on the certification label.  On Chevrolet models from the 1970s, this sticker is blue and is found on the driver’s door.

  • Hidden or Confidential VIN

VINs have been stamped into frames of vehicles for many years, however the process became more uniform starting approximately during the 1968 model year. The VIN was stamped into various metal objects on the vehicle, including the frame, the body, the engine, transmission and other places.  The VIN on the frame or the body became known as the Hidden VIN, the Confidential VIN or the Federal VIN.  This number is usually not a full, complete VIN but a derivative thereof.  The sequential production number of the hidden VIN should match the sequential production number (the last five or six digits) of the Public VIN and if the vehicle was produced after August 31, 1969, the FMVSS certification sticker.  The VIN on the engine and transmission would have also been a derivative of the VIN and it too should match the Public VIN provided that the engine and/or transmission is original.

Why are VINs so important?

A vehicle’s identification number is very important as it is the only unique identifier a vehicle possesses and accordingly its integrity and validity must be established and preserved.  This is especially true with collectible vehicles given their inherent and actual values.  When you look a vehicle for potential purchase, you must view the VIN in as many of the locations as you reasonable are able to view it.  Start with the public VIN and see if it is consistent with other examples of the year, make and model; ensure that it has not been tampered with or affixed in such a way as to make it not appear as original.  If the public VIN is missing, loose or appears tampered with in any way, contact a marque specialist and attempt to locate the hidden or confidential VIN for the vehicle to ensure the public VIN is the proper VIN.

What if the Confidential VIN and the Public VIN do not match?

If the confidential VIN and the public VIN do not match, you have a major problem which needs to be addressed professionally and legally.  In short, if the public and confidential VINs contradict one another, you have an unsalable vehicle with a title defect; specifically you have a vehicle which purports to have two identities.  Common reasons for the two not to match are that the vehicle itself is stolen or was stolen or salvaged in the past and another VIN (a good clean VIN) was affixed in the public location to make the vehicle appear as though it was “clean” when in reality it was not.  Another reason for the two VINs not to match is that the vehicle was rebuilt from several other vehicles.  If a vehicle has been rebuilt and bears two VINs that can be a problem as this is the usual excuse that is given when a vehicle has been “re-tagged” to disguise a title problem or a former theft; much scrutiny must be employed in this instance.   When the Confidential VIN and the Public VIN do not match it may also be an instance of a “rebody”.  A “rebody” is a vehicle which has had the body replaced and the VIN of the original vehicle affixed to the “donor” body.  The legal issues surrounding rebodied vehicles are explored in another article.

Many laws have been enacted to protect the integrity of the VIN.  Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 511, the alteration of a VIN, could be a federal criminal offense.  Further, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2321 whoever buys, receives, possesses, or obtains control of, with intent to sell or otherwise dispose of, a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, knowing that an identification number for such motor vehicle or part has been removed, obliterated, tampered with, or altered, could be fined or imprisoned for up to ten years.  Similarly, Pennsylvania’s statutes also address this matter.  Specifically, 18 P.S. § 1.4(a) states that a person who alters, counterfeits, defaces, destroys, disguises, falsifies, forges, obliterates or removes a vehicle identification number with the intent to conceal or misrepresent the identity or prevent the identification of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part commits a felony of the third degree and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or a fine of not more than $50,000.  Further, and most concerning is that pursuant to 18 P.S. § 1.4(b) any person who purchases, receives, disposes, sells, transfers or possesses a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part with knowledge that the vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part has been altered, counterfeited, defaced, destroyed, disguised, falsified, forged, obliterated or removed with the intent to conceal or misrepresent the identity or prevent the identification of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part commits a felony of the third degree and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or a fine of not more than $50,000, or both.

In laymen’s terms the VIN of a vehicle must be preserved and protected and if you are in possession of a vehicle with a VIN or VIN tag or VIN plate which has been altered, removed and replaced or otherwise tampered with you could face serious civil and criminal offenses.  The best advice is to contact an attorney at once who can analyze your situation and assist you with identifying your legal options.

Attorney Bryan W. Shook is not only 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 and protect their automotive investments. Attorney Bryan W. Shook is a seasoned automotive collector and restorer and as such brings real world experience and firsthand knowledge to the table for his clients throughout the world. Although Bryan Shook is headquartered in  central Pennsylvania (close proximity to Carlisle and Hershey), Attorney Bryan Shook is available anywhere for consultation, advice, and information, most times, on as short as a day’s notice. If you’d like more information about this topic or would like to speak with Attorney Bryan W. Shook please email him at BShook@shooklegal or by phone at 717-884-9010.  More information can be found at Http://www.vintagecarlaw.com.

Estate Sale of Important Cars Nets Nearly $500,000.00

April 27, 2010 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Estate Sale of Important Cars Nets Nearly $500,000.00 

30+ Antique Cars Sell for $494,400.00 at Rural

 

Pennsylvania Sale

 

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com 

Estate Sale – Allen Shaffer, Esquire

April 24, 2010 – Millersburg, Pennsylvania

 

Allen Shaffer, a well respected local attorney recently passed away and this past Saturday the majority of his car collection came to sale.  Over thirty lots were offered with no reserve, no bidder registration charges and with no buyers premium.

 

By the mid afternoon, all of the vehicles had been sold and the proceeds realized were just about $500,000.00 from the sale of the vehicles.

 

Here are the results along with the comments of Bryan W. Shook who personally attended the sale.

 

Year

Make

Model/Type

Comments

Price

1931

Ford

Model T – 5 -Window Coupe

 

$19,000.00

1981

Delorean

   

$20,000.00

1923

Buick

Touring

bad water pump – lower hose disconnected & pump corroded

$18,000.00

1949

Studebaker

Commander convertible

Nicely Restored

$25,000.00

1917

Maxwell

Touring

Restored 10yrs ago – didn’t run at time of sale

$17,000.00

1925

Nash

2dr Sedan

Nicely Restored

$11,000.00

1915

Ford

Model T

 

$13,000.00

1925

Nash

Touring

Great Condition, very nice car

$20,000.00

1913

Buick

Touring

No Title – Yet

$28,000.00

1929

Lincoln

7 Passenger Phaeton

$65,000.00

1910

Buick

Run-a-bout Roadster

 

$20,000.00

1908

International

High-Wheeler

Nice Original – found in barn in New Bloomfield, Perry County, Pa in mid 1940s

$19,000.00

1953

Ford

F100

Titled as 1954 – OHV I6

$15,500.00

1906

Cadillac

Tulip Roadster

 

$54,000.00

1954

Ford

Crestline 4dr

Needed work & carpeting

$8,000.00

1917

Studebaker

Touring

Nice older restoration

$23,500.00

1962

Studebaker

Lark convertible

 

$7,500.00

1927

Ford

Coupe

 

$8,000.00

1972

Chevrolet

Impala convertible

Shoddy Repaint – overspray evident, poorly masked

$9,000.00

1918

Stanley

Steamer Touring

 

$46,000.00

1976

Lincoln

Continental

 

$1,600.00

1922

Dodge

Touring

3 owners from new, had side window curtains – very nice potential

$9,000.00

1976

Buick

LeSabre

 

$1,300.00

1922

Whippet

4dr sedan

 

$9,000.00

1999

Ford

F150 pickup truck

6cyl 4wd

$8,000.00

1951

Kaiser

4dr sedan

No Title

$5,000.00

1965

Chevrolet

Corvair

Possible missing VIN Plate??? Total Mess

$1,800.00

1951

Henry J

Corsair Deluxe

Cooling Issue

$8,500.00

1969

AMC

Rebel SST 4dr Sedan

6cyl – Very Nice Original

$1,200.00

1958

Mercedes

190D – 4dr

Project car with good parts, some trim, but hood wouldn’t open

$500.00

1991

Yugo

 

“Needs Fuel Pump”

$2,000.00

 

                                                                                                                                Total Sales:         $494,400.00                                                                                                      

 

       

As one can surmise from the results listed above, the sales prices were fairly reflective of the market today.   While the auction was largely under promoted, collectors, brokers and dealers showed up from several states including, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey to bid on and buy cars and automobilia from this great collection.

Most of the cars in the collection were operational and nearly all of them presented very well.  The cars purchased from this collection are sure to be coveted pieces in future collections.  While higher prices may have been realized had an auction house such as Carlisle Auctions, RM Auctions, Bonhams or Goodling offered the vehicles, this sale proves that not all collections must be sold through a large auction venue to achieve market value results.

Attorney Bryan W. Shook is not only 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 or would like to speak with Attorney Bryan W. Shook please email him at BShook@shooklegal.com.

Bid with knowledge. Buy with confidence. – Vintage Car Law