The Dirty Side of the Hobby – Fake Pedigree & Provenance

May 1, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on The Dirty Side of the Hobby – Fake Pedigree & Provenance 

Forgeries and fakes have long been the scourge of the collector car hobby. This practice has continued thanks to many “entrepreneurs” who have established businesses selling “reproduction” tags and paperwork for older vehicles. Reproduction however would imply that it is a replica of the original but actually the term “reproduction” in this sense usually means counterfeit.

In the Corvette, Chevelle and Camaro market “aged” build sheets or tank sheets, made to order, to your specifications, have long been available. The number of counterfeiters who forge historical vehicle documents and paperwork is very concerning. Sham documents have been openly advertised for nearly two decades in Hemmings Motor News, eBay, Craigslist and on the internet. Some of this fake paperwork is so doctored that it actually smells old or in the case of Corvette tank sheets like gasoline. Of course if you interview any of the outfits that create these items you would quickly be told that they are novelty items. All too often, however, people are deceived by the very existence of this fake paperwork and lulled into a sense of security when viewing such a vehicle which may be for sale under the mistaken guise that it has pedigree and provenance, to wit, the counterfeit documentation.

An additional problem is that of “air cars” (cars created from “thin air” with nothing more than a VIN). With counterfeit documents, air cars are immediately given credence and pedigree. In additional to fake window stickers, build sheets, FMVSS stickers, Corvette Order Copy (“Tank Sticker”) there are also forgers out there that make new VIN tags, cowl tags, trim tags and others that offer the proper rivets or screws to affix the fake tags.

One method of outing some of the fakes in the hobby has been recently introduced.  A service of the National Corvette Restorer’s Society (NCRS) which tells owners when their cars were built and where they were delivered new has the potential for exposing several fraudulently presented classic Chevys. With the information provided by the NCRS, hobbyists will be able to verify their car’s paperwork, VIN number and cowl/trim tag to make sure that it all connects properly.

With the “birthday” of a car known, you can make sure that the VIN is consistent with that month of production and that the engine production stamping precedes the cars build date. Also with this information, you can determine if the assembly week code on the trim tag is consistent with the date given by the NCRS. Finally, if the vehicle has “paperwork” or a window sticker (or build sheet) the dealership should match that or be reasonably close in vicinity (e.g. same zone — dealer trades) to the dealership provided by the NCRS. If any of this information does not match or if the birthday of the car does not correlate to the VIN, engine stamping or cowl tag, then you have major problems. If the information does not match, it is wise to investigate the car carefully and, if necessary, hire and expert to examine the vehicle for signs of further molestation and restamping.

If you find that the vehicle you own is a clone or has doctored paperwork, a tampered VIN, restamped engine, transmission or replacement VIN tag, cowl tag or trim tag, you should immediately contact an attorney to learn about your legal rights and what recourse and options you may have.

 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.

 

Let’s Review: Barrett-Jackson – Palm Beach 2009 Collector Car Auction

April 12, 2009 · Posted in News · Comment 

Let’s Review:

Barrett-Jackson – Palm Beach 2009

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com 

Well, it’s hard to believe but the 7th Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction is behind us. 

How did the stars of the auction do?

The top seller of the weekend was Lot Number 369.1 the Super Chevy Magazine feature custom 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS titled “Project American Heroes”.  The Camaro, which included parts supplied by over twenty five major speed parts producers and a legendary LS-series GM 427cu GMMG supplied powerplant, hammered sold for $500,000.00!  The proceeds from the sale of the Camaro will go to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation, a truly worthy cause.

Two other stars of the auction with their proceeds going to charity were Lots Nos. 655 and 655.1 the 2004 Ford Mustang GT Convertible concept car and the 2004 Ford Mustang GT Coupe concept car, respectively.  These cars debuted in January 2003 at the North American Auto Show and arguably started the current muscle car frenzy amongst the big three.  Many people believe that these two concept Mustangs are what raised the ante for General Motors and Chrysler to go all in again and give the public what they want, FUN muscle or muscle-type cars.  Ford let these two ponies out of their livery for Charity.  Both concepts sold individually for $175,000.00, each, a bargain, any way you slice it.  The proceeds from the sale of these two pieces of current American automotive history went straight to the benefit of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  After the bidding for the coupe stalled around $150,000.00, Barrett-Jackson, CEO, Craig Jackson and Barrett-Jackson, President, Steve Davis, big against each other with Mr. Davis eventually taking home the concept car for the very reasonable price of $175,000.00. 

The third historic Mustang that Ford auctioned off, was lot number 665, a 2010 Shelby GT500 coupe, the very first available for public sale.  The hammer price was $150,000.00 and the proceeds above MSRP for the car went straight to the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation. 

So, how did my “sleeper” predictions go?  Pretty well, but judge for yourselves.

1920 Chevrolet Model T – 1 Ton (open cab) chassis truck (Lot # 678) – Sold $37,400.00

1964 ½ Ford Mustang convertible (Lot #347) – Sold $51,700.00

1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Short Bed pickup (Lot #32) – Sold $35,200.00

1976 Chevrolet C10 Silverado Long Bed pickup (Lot #330.1) – Sold $29,150.00

1994 Pontiac Trans Am 25th Anniversary Edition Convertible (Lot #58) – Sold $37,950.00

1999 Pontiac Trans Am 30th Anniversary Coupe – Daytona 500 Pace Car (Lot #616.1) – Sold $39,600.00

I think my sleepers performed very well considering that the lack of national publicity that other auction cars enjoyed and the current economic situation but they all sold at the high end of their respective value ranges, proving that good quality cars (and trucks) will always command higher prices. 

Closing Thought – I believe GM has sold over 200 or so of its Heritage Collection and I hope that this “garage sale” is over soon.  On the bright side, I hope that the new owners of these GM refugees allow the cars to see the light of day again and hopefully we can all enjoy them at an upcoming automotive event or car show.

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 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.  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 BShook@shooklegal.com.

Bid with knowledge. Buy with confidence – Vintage Car Law

GM F-Bodies – 1982-2002 – Can’t Miss Investments

April 6, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on GM F-Bodies – 1982-2002 – Can’t Miss Investments 

Can’t Miss Investments – Even in this Economy

GM F-Bodies 1982-2002 

As I recently stated during a seminar, and I continue to stress, we are in a buyer’s market. Given the market conditions, there are several cars that I forecast as “can’t miss investments.” These are vehicles which have hit their rock bottom price and have a tremendous opportunity to appreciate.  In this article I have chosen to look at the 3rd and 4th generation GM F-Bodies, better known as Camaros and Firebirds.

1982-1992 Chevrolet Camaro & Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am (a/k/a 3rd Generation F-Bodies)

These cars reached their bargain basement price structure during the first part of this century, good solid, low-mileage, well kept, examples trade anywhere from $3,000.00 to $8,000.00, with exceptional cars trading for much more.  While the 350cu optioned vehicles are always popular, the only way to get a 5spd manual transmission with a V8 engine was to order one of the 305cu engine offerings. 

·         Camaros poised to appreciate:

o   1982 Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replica

o   1983-1986 RPO L69 High Output 305cu 4bbl 190hp (especially rare, at least in decent condition is the 1983 variety, considering its late introduction)

o   1985-1990 IROC Camaros

o   1987-1992 convertibles

o   1989-1992 1LE Camaros (basically showroom ready SCCA prepared racers usually very sparsely equipped)

§  Of particular desirability is a 1992 1LE Camaro optioned with luxury or appearance options, such as a deluxe leather interior or the RPO Z03 Heritage Package – Extremely Rare

o   1991-1992 B4C Camaros (similar to the 1LE option but titled “service special” developed especially as pursuit vehicles for law enforcement.)

·         Firebirds poised to appreciate:

o   1982-1992 Trans Am (in general)

o   1982-1984 Recaro Edition Trans Am

o   1983 Trans Am Daytona 500 pace car replica

o   1984 15th Anniversary Edition Trans Am

o   1983-1986 RPL L69 High Output 305cu 4bbl 190hp

o   1989 Turbo Trans Am 20th Anniversary Edition – Indianapolis 500 pace car replica

§  Hardtop cars are especially desirable given their rarity

o   1989-1992 1LE Trans Am (no 1LE GTAs were produced)

o   1991-1992 Firebird/Trans Am/GTA Convertibles

§  Especially desirable when equipped with 5spd manual transmission

o   1991-1992 Firebird Firehawk

A detractor from the collection of these vehicles is an adequate supply of good quality examples are quickly disappearing.  With the recent spike in scrap prices, many of these cars failed to survive the high scrap prices. (Note: I witnessed scrap prices as high as $15.00 per every 100 pounds – read $300/ton.)  Another detractor is that GM has all but cut off this generation from its service parts support and has therefore shifted the burden of parts supplying to the aftermarket industry, although good New Old Stock (NOS) parts can still be found.  The viability of the automotive restoration parts suppliers in today’s economy remains to be seen.

Solid, well kept examples of the above referenced Camaros/Firebirds, will enjoy a marked appreciation, much like we are currently seeing with the second generation (1970-1981) Camaros and what we have already seen in the first generation Camaros (1967-1969) Camaros.

 1993-2002 Chevrolet Camaro & Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am (a/k/a 4th Generation F-Bodies)

 The 4th Generation of the General Motor’s F-body has been holding its own since the demise of the F-body in 2002.  As I type this article the first 5th generation Camaros are hitting the dealerships.  This changes everything, the demand of the 1993-2002 F-Bodies will shrink as potential buyers will be able to quench their thirst with the purchase of a new, more powerful 2010 model.  While it may seem that we are about to see a decline in the value of the 4th generation F-Bodies, the reality is that this generation has been out of production for nearly a decade, but from a performance standpoint, remains nearly as powerful and agile as its modern peers and successor.  Furthermore, from a nostalgic standpoint, with the discontinuance of the Pontiac motor division, the last rear wheel drive Pontiacs (1993-2002 Firebird/Trans Am) will be sought after by collectors.  

Convertibles are always a good buy (no convertibles for 1993), but look for the 1998-2002 Camaro SS and Trans Ams to lead the appreciation charge.  New for 1998 was the introduction of the LS1 all aluminum 5.7L engine that was introduced a year earlier in the Corvette C5.  Some late 2002 LS1 powered Camaros and Trans Ams were actually built with the stronger LS6 engine blocks, watch for these as they are a desirable oddity.  The V8 models will of course always be more desirable than the V6 models however, some appearance packages and the RS package was only available on V6 models.

·         Camaros poised to appreciate:

o   1993 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

o   1993-1999 1LE Camaros & 2001-2002 SLP 1LE Camaros (1LE option was no longer offered by General Motors after 1999 but in 2001 SLP stepped up and offered a modification to bring the 1LE package back)

o   1993-2002 B4C Camaros (similar to the 1LE option but titled “service special” developed especially as pursuit vehicles for law enforcement.)

o   1994-2002 convertibles especially with V8 engines

o   1996-2002 SLP modified vehicles

o   1996-2002 Camaro SS

o   1997 30th Anniversary Edition Camaro (white with Hugger orange stripes & orange hounds tooth interior – reminiscent of the 1969 Indianapolis 500 pace car replica)

o   1997 Chevrolet Camaro SLP Modified with Corvette LT4 engine

o   2002 35th Anniversary Edition Camaro

o   Dealer Modified Camaros such as:

§  Berger, Tom Henry, etc.

o   2002 GMMG, Inc. modified ZL1 Camaros – only 69 produced in commemoration of the 1969 Camaro ZL1

·         Firebird/Trans Ams poised to appreciate:

o   1993-1999 1LE Firebirds

o   1993-2002 Firebird Firehawk

o   1994 25th Anniversary Edition Trans Am

o   1994-2002 convertibles especially with V8 engines

§  Especially desirable are the 1997-2002 WS6 “Ram Air” convertibles

o   1999 30th Anniversary Edition Trans Am

o   2002 35th Anniversary “Collector’s Edition” Trans Am

o   1996-2000 Formula with “Ram Air” cold air induction system (RPO WS6)

o   1996-2002 Trans Am with “Ram Air” cold air induction system (RPO WS6)

As the aforementioned cars come to market over the next several years, I believe you will see several great buys at auction and throughout car corrals.  Look for the cars that are listed above, but don’t limit your search to just those cars.  A clean V8, otherwise standard issue Camaro/Firebird is a good investment, but look for the cars listed above to appreciate at a higher rate than the standard issue V8 examples.  Nonetheless, investment in a 1982-2002 General Motors F-Body will provide you with a drivable interest-bearing savings account.

 

 

 

 

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 BShook@shooklegal.com.