Theseus’ Paradox – Rebodies, Replicas & Tampered Numbers; an Automotive Identity Crisis

November 16, 2016 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Theseus’ Paradox – Rebodies, Replicas & Tampered Numbers; an Automotive Identity Crisis 

Greek historian and writer, Plutarch posed a question, over two thousand years ago, that has continued to confound philosophers.  “If the ship on which Theseus sailed has been so heavily repaired and nearly every part replaced, is it still the same ship — and, if not, at what point did it stop being the same ship?”  This same question can be posed differently and more succinctly; if one has an ax and replaces the handle and the head does he still have the same ax

This parable clearly presents a paradox that we collectors, restorers and enthusiasts of vintage and antique vehicles can well relate to.  At what point do our “restorations” become replicas of what the original is thought to have looked like?

Let us look for a moment at a fairly straightforward restoration of an otherwise solid car.  If a few body panels are replaced and others repaired and the drivetrain and chassis is otherwise original I think we can all agree that we have simply restored or rehabilitated the car; the majority remaining untouched and original.

But take the situation where  you replace the body but not the frame.  What about the situation where the frame and the body have been replaced?  What about just the frame? Does the authenticity of the engine change your opinion?  At some point the original car ceases to exist; its identity is destroyed and the resultant vehicle is a replica of what the original may have looked like.  True, to even the trained eye, a complete replica may well be indistinguishable from the original but it is clearly not the original.

As illustrated above, Theseus’ paradox continues to confound us in our hobby.  Cars today are being restored using many reproduction parts and it is unfortunately not uncommon to find that many of the rare cars have had their bodies, frames or had major components such as engines, transmissions or interiors replaced.    Other concerns regarding rebodied vehicles can be found in the article Rebodied Cars … what to do?.

Additionally, the removal and replacement of VIN and serial numbers can create an equally sticky situation 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 Pa. C.S.A. § 7703 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, or both.  Further, and most concerning is that pursuant to 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 7704  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.  Moreover consider, especially with the case of restamped engines that, in Pennsylvania, it is illegal knowingly buy, or sell an automotive part from which the manufacturer’s name plate, serial number or any other distinguishing number or identification mark has been removed, defaced, covered, altered or destroyed unless instructed or done by the manufacturer.  18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4104.

Often times Bryan W. Shook, Esquire, through his law firm Vintage Car Law, is contacted concerning misrepresentation of vehicles that have been rebodied or otherwise replicated to appear one way when they were not actually produced in that configuration.  There is well-settled Pennsylvania case law which holds that “the deliberate nondisclosure of a material fact is the same as culpable misrepresentation.  Even innocent misrepresentations are actionable if they relate to matters material to the transaction involved; while, if the misrepresentation is made knowingly … materiality is not a requisite to the action…. A misrepresentation is material when it is of such a character that if it had not been made, the agreement would not have been entered into.”  McClellan v. HMO of PA, 604 A.2d 1053, 1060 (citations omitted).

In closing, if the car has been substantially modified during the restoration (i.e. rebuilt using all non-original parts, a new body, frame, engine, etc. )this information must be disclosed prior to the sale of the vehicle to the new owner.  Failure to do so could create legal liability.  The use of half-truths and crafty expressions of terms could create even further liability.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

Collector Car Market Experiences Billion Dollar Growth over last 10 years

April 16, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Collector Car Market Experiences Billion Dollar Growth over last 10 years 

Choosing the Right Legal Counsel Makes All the Difference

The collector car insurance company Hagerty Insurance is reporting that the collector car auction business in the United States is now a billion dollar business.  Reports suggest that the total gross auction sales in 2013 eclipsed $1,300,000,000.00 ($1.3 Billion) according to Hagerty.  Hagerty comparatively notes that in 2004 the figure was around $282,000,000.00 ($282 Million).  This is a billion dollar growth in the United States collector car auction market in ten short years! As Hagerty and other news outlets note, this growth is not simply confined to the United States, but the world-wide collector car market has soared similarly over the same time-period.

With this type of unprecedented growth within the collector car market, hobbyists, collectors and car investors need to be more vigilant than ever to protect their investments and their collections.  The market is ripe for fraud, misrepresentations and other nefarious actions, including ownership disputes and estate or probate litigation.  If you, unfortunately, find yourself on the cusp of a dispute or hauled into court or other legal tribunal over the title, ownership, pedigree, provenance or history of an antique or classic car or collectible, you must be prepared to present your side of the story in an intelligible, persuasive and cogent manner.  You would be best served by employing an attorney who fully understands the issues you face and the collector car market and car auction industry.

The handling of a legal matter concerning an antique or collector car is markedly different than other types of legal matters.  In the collector car hobby there are “terms of art” (i.e. trim tag, restamp, NOS, NOM, matching numbers, etc.) that must be defined for the Court in order for your position to be argued effectively.  Furthermore, many times it will not simply be enough to define the term, but rather the term itself and its application to the facts of the case are what the case’s ultimate determination may turn upon.  This is where it pays to hire an attorney who not only “speaks your language” but also knows how the frauds are perpetrated and how to persuasively represent your position to the Court or Jury.

Ultimately, collectors must be hypervigilant in the current market and careful to employ the right legal counsel and other professionals with respect to their dealings, collections, and businesses.  The market is constantly changing, not only in its growth but also in its technicalities and breadth, a collector’s diligence is of paramount importance.

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire is an attorney in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania whose practice areas include vehicle fraud, dealership fraud, VIN matters, title fraud, VIN error, estate ownership questions and general collector car problem resolution.  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 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.

Rebodied Cars … what to do …

June 29, 2012 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Rebodied Cars … what to do … 

Rebodies:
What’s the big deal???

(By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire)

BShook@shooklegal.com

717-884-9010

I’ve been getting quite a few calls lately seeking information on re-bodied vehicles.  The term “rebody” is a term of art used throughout our hobby to denote a vehicle whose original factory body has been replaced with another “donor” body.  The donor body is then given the original body’s VIN, serial number, data card, trim tag, cowl tag, etc. and then usually and most unfortunately sold to an unsuspecting buyer as the original, real deal automobile.  This problem is complicated when the rebodied car is an “air car” which did not exist prior to the rebody.  Specifically what happens is someone dreams up a car or has the paperwork from a desirable car and makes it from “thin air” using the donor body as the starting point.  All of a sudden, the car has pedigree, provenance and history if the builder can dream up a good enough story.  This is problematic as you can plainly see.

There are several legal issues when it comes to a rebodied automobile.  The most important issue is whether or not the rebody was disclosed to you when you purchased the vehicle.  If the rebody was not disclosed to you how can it be said you negotiated with the seller on equal footing.  Another issue comes from the fact that rarely are rebodys done properly.  Were the police notified of the body replacement as required under some state laws?  Did the seller give you two Certificates of Titles?  (Remember the best bodies come from good cars and in today’s day and age, good cars get restored … was the body stolen and the subject vehicle the product of a “chop shop”)  Did the seller give you photographs of the original body to evidence the condition of the original body?  Do you have confirmation that the original body has been destroyed? (This is usually where the State Police come in as this is where the stories start about two cars registered under the same VIN)

Without the safeguards outlined above, you can never been shore that the vehicle you purchased truly belongs to you.  Under the law you would have a breach of the warranty of title claim if any third party were to ever come after you claiming you own the body to their car.  The problem is  that if you know the car has been rebodied and you can’t provide the above information to a new purchaser you could be just as liable as the seller who sold the car to you should you not disclose what you know to a prospective purchaser.

If you have a rebodied car or think you do, this is a serious matter.  Rebodied cars can be nearly unsaleable and always have questions.  There was way to rectify the situation and there are ways to unwind the transaction which unknowingly left you with the rebody.  In any event, please call me and we can discuss your options and to what extent your car may have been rebodied.

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.

Bid with Knowledge; Buy with Confidence – Vintage Car Law

Collector Car Market Stands to Gain from Latest Economic Meltdown

August 8, 2011 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Collector Car Market Stands to Gain from Latest Economic Meltdown 

Monterey and Beyond: 
A Prediction for the Collector Car Market

(By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire)

BShook@shooklegal.com

717-884-9010

With the Monterey Auctions only two weeks away, the eyes of the Collector Car Market are on Wall Street and other world markets.

Gold has surpassed Platinum, S&P has downgraded the United States credit rating from AAA to AA and the stock market is plummeting.  How could this possibly be beneficial to the collector car market, you ask … it’s simple.  The stock market, the bond market, the futures and other typical investment arenas are subject to the debt crisis.  While the Collector Car Market is, in a sense subject to the debt crisis, but not nearly to the extent that the traditional markets are.

This economy is somewhat of a double-edged sword.  On one hand, the current debt crisis has undoubtedly caused more than a few cars to come to market, but on the other hand as investors seek safe havens from the latest market crash the world of collector cars looks like a better and safer investment market every day.  Collectors invest in automobiles because of emotion, artistic adoration and quite simply, memories.  A tangible investment is much easier to quantify than a stock certificate and the same is not as susceptible to the tumultuous economic climate we live in today.

Last year’s $172,000,000.00 in sales will likely be eclipsed this year as investors clamor for the many of the blue chip collectible automobiles that the several major auction houses are going to parade across the block.

Don’t be surprised to see a plethora of domestic and foreign collectors alike flock to Monterey, cash in hand to buy up the consigned cars.  Monterey has, for years been THE PLACE to sell your high-dollar, blue chip car … this year the money will be there more than ever.

Thank you to Standard and Poor and all of the world’s economies responsible for this latest turmoil.

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.

Bid with Knowledge; Buy with Confidence – Vintage Car Law

Economics of Car Valuations

June 8, 2011 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Economics of Car Valuations 

 

The Economics of Vehicle Values

 

The value of an antique car or a collector vehicle is driven by three key factors: desirability, pedigree/provenance and condition.  These three factors fit into an equation which eventually leads to the value of the vehicle.  The weight to be assigned to any of the factors is subjectively based upon the influence any one factor has over another.

 

Let’s take a look at these three factors:

 

Desirability: Although this is a subjective measure, it is fairly easy to quantify.  A desirable vehicle is one that nearly anyone would love to own.  Also vehicles that were produced in limited quantities or with attributes or options not commonly found on contemporaneous models are desirable.  Exotic vehicles are usually desirable on their name alone.  Finally, some vehicles are desirable simply because they are cool.  While every vehicle is desirable to a collector on some level (yes, even the Yugo is desirable if you can find a complete and somewhat running example), it is the level of desirability which drives the value.  The more people who like the vehicle; the more desirable the vehicle is.  Specific years, specific models, or specific options can make an otherwise undesirable or not so desirable vehicle desirable for the purpose of valuation.   Keep in mind however, that although desirability drives just one aspect of the pricing structure it can sway the equation completely.  A fitting example is a Duesenberg.  In any condition, and even without any pedigree or provenance, a Duesenberg will ALWAYS command a relatively high value based purely upon its highly regarded desirability and relatively low production figures.  The weight to assign to desirability can also be dependent upon the year, model, options or scarcity of a model.

 

Pedigree/Provenance: This is where most vehicles are lacking.  Time has a way of erasing memories.  By and large, information about a vehicle’s origins was not something that was discussed when the vehicles were sold, “back in the day.”  Most vehicle owners do not have much information about the vehicle before they acquired it. Therefore, when you come across a vehicle with paperwork or history, dating from new, you are looking at a vehicle with pedigree.  Merriam-Webster defines “pedigree” as the origin or history of something.  Items that add pedigree are copies of old titles, registration paperwork, original sales forms, window stickers, build sheets, factory documentation, certification, etc.

 

Provenance is the history of ownership of the vehicle.  Vehicles that were once owned by movie stars or other public figures tend to be worth more than other similar vehicles.  These same vehicles also tend to have more options or unique features which make them more desirable (see above).  Vehicles that have a known, uninterrupted chain of ownership, from new can also be said to have provenance. Nevertheless, the weight assigned to this form of provenance is obviously not the same as the weight assigned to a chain of celebrity ownership or ownership within a large nationally recognized vehicle collection or museum.  For provenance to be given appropriate weight, it must be substantiated with documentation.

 

A vehicle with either pedigree or provenance is worth more than a similar vehicle without.  A vehicle with these attributes is sometimes referred to as a “no stories” vehicle.

 

Condition: This third and final factor is the “make it or break it” for most vehicles.  Even if a vehicle has good desirability and pedigree and/or provenance, it likely won’t influence the value of the vehicle as much as condition.  A vehicle with in superb original condition (i.e. extremely well-kept since new) or a vehicle which has been restored or built/rebuilt to an extremely high level is worth more than a similar vehicle needing restoration or a similar vehicle in a deteriorated condition.  In recent years we have seen a push for original vehicles.  As the appreciation for these examples has risen, so has the weight assigned to originality with respect to valuation.  (Note: An overwhelming public appreciation for a particular vehicle or vehicle trait tends to also weigh heavily on desirability).  The more original a vehicle or the better the restoration of the vehicle, the more the vehicle is worth; period.

 

Although the equation into which these three areas are plugged is somewhat objective on its face, the weight assigned to any one area is subjectively based upon the knowledge, expertise, and experience of the person assigning the value.

 

Any attempt to confidently assign a fixed weight to any of these three areas would be illogical.  There are far too many vehicles with far too many options, characteristics, stories, and degrees of condition to allow for such a rigid valuation method.  Each vehicle must be evaluated first on its own merits and then against similar vehicles with known sales to find a comparable sale.  Then the comparable sales must be evaluated to see how closely they match the subject vehicle.  The closer the comparable sale, the closer your estimate of value will be to the actual value of the subject vehicle.  You must however, keep in mind some principles of economics such as, market saturation versus scarcity, preferences, and rationality (i.e. marginal cost versus marginal benefit).

 

This theoretical approach to the economics of car valuation should provide you with an understanding of why one vehicle is worth so much more than another. The equation described here should be view as a template which along with the expertise of a seasoned professional will likely allow you to confidently arrive at a value for your particular automobile given the economics discussed herein.

 

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

 

Bid with Knowledge; Buy with Confidence – Vintage Automotive, LLC

The Sincere Definition of Numbers Matching

January 2, 2011 · Posted in News · Comments Off on The Sincere Definition of Numbers Matching 

Numbers Matching: From a Legal Standpoint

By:  Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Attorney-at-Law

BShook@shooklegal.com

A seller, an auction house, a broker, etc., all have express duties to not mislead buyers.  It is the presentation that entices and induces a prospective buyer to make an offer or bid on a car.  Often included within this presentation is the phrase “numbers matching”.  Rarely in any field does a single term mean so much; in the field of car collecting, the term “numbers matching” means everything; or does it?

The phrase “numbers matching” was coined an untold number of years ago to describe a vehicle which retained its original driveline (i.e. the driveline that was installed into the vehicle during its initial assembly at its manufacturer’s plant).  Specifically and most important in this definition is the engine; as this is the single most important aspect of a vehicle’s originality.  There are some in the hobby, however that would have you believe that the phrase “numbers matching” has parted ways with its original and understood definition.  These individuals would have you believe that the phrase “numbers matching” means that the driveline, has numbers appearing on its components, that look as though they could have been placed on there during the initial assembly process on the manufacturer’s line.  This is where the issue with restamped engines and transmissions becomes ever apparent.

This disingenuous play on words is polluting our hobby.

Numbers Matching means ORIGINAL; the phrase and the meaning of “numbers matching” have never parted company.  Numbers matching still means, as it always has, that the engine, transmission and rear axle are original to that particular vehicle.  For the phrase to have any other meaning would render it flawed and unnecessary.  The use of the phrase “numbers matching” in a disingenuous fashion opens the seller to a high level of legal exposure.  The buyer who learns after he purchases the vehicle that the vehicle, is not “as advertised”, has the right to revoke his acceptance of the vehicle and enjoys many protections that come along with legal revocation.  For example, these protections could include a statutorily created security interest in the vehicle up to the amount paid for the vehicle, plus certain expenses and other damages.

Any misleading use of the phrase “numbers matching” blackens the eye of the hobby.  The only reason one would use such a deceitful definition of “numbers matching” would be in a calculated attempt to mask the true nature of the vehicle for self-serving purposes.  This ultimately has a negative impact on the hobby. 

For more information on what your rights are in such a transaction, please call or email me, I would be more than happy to discuss this or any other matter concerning car collecting with you.

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire is a licensed Pennsylvania lawyer.  Attorney Shook’s office is headquartered in central Pennsylvania although his practice takes him across the country. During his career, Attorney Bryan Shook has become a powerful advocate for his clients and one of the foremost collector, antique and automotive fraud and misrepresentation attorneys in the country. He has successfully tried as well as amicably resolved cases throughout the United States.  Bryan Shook can be reached by e-mail at BShook@shooklegal.com or by phone at 717-884-9010. 

Bid with Knowledge; Buy with Confidence – Vintage Automotive

United States Congress sets National Collector Car Appreciation Day as July 9, 2010

May 8, 2010 · Posted in News · Comments Off on United States Congress sets National Collector Car Appreciation Day as July 9, 2010 

NATIONAL COLLECTOR CAR APPRECIATION DAY

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com

May 4, 2010 – At the persuasion of the SEMA Action network with assistance from automotive restoration manufacturers association (ARMO), the United States Senate approved Senate Resolution 213 on May 4, 2010.   The Resolution sets National Collector Car Appreciation Day as July 9, 2010.  Local, regional and national events to celebrate the newly enacted appreciation day are being developed across the country.  This marks a large step forward in collector car hobby. 

The resolution, which can be viewed online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.RES.513: states that:

 

Designating July 9, 2010, as `Collector Car Appreciation Day’ and recognizing that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.

Whereas many people in the United States maintain classic automobiles as a pastime and do so with great passion and as a means of individual expression;

Whereas the Senate recognizes the effect that the more than 100-year history of the automobile has had on the economic progress of the Nation and supports wholeheartedly all activities involved in the restoration and exhibition of classic automobiles;

Whereas collection, restoration, and preservation of automobiles is an activity shared across generations and across all segments of society;

Whereas thousands of local car clubs and related businesses have been instrumental in preserving a historic part of the heritage of this Nation by encouraging the restoration and exhibition of such vintage works of art;

Whereas automotive restoration provides well-paying, high-skilled jobs for people in all 50 States; and

Whereas automobiles have provided the inspiration for music, photography, cinema, fashion, and other artistic pursuits that have become part of the popular culture of the United States: Now therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate–

(1) designates July 9, 2010, as `Collector Car Appreciation Day’;

(2) recognizes that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States;

(3) encourages the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, and other Federal agencies to support events and commemorations of `Collector Car Appreciation Day’, including exhibitions and educational and cultural activities for young people; and

(4) encourages the people of the United States to engage in events and commemorations of `Collector Car Appreciation Day’ that create opportunities for collector car owners to educate young people on the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the United States, including through the collection and restoration of collector cars.

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 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

Bid with Knowledge; Buy with Confidence – Vintage Car Law

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