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.

 

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.

 

Original Dealer Data Availible from NCRS

May 1, 2014 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Original Dealer Data Availible from NCRS 

http://www.chevymuscledocs.com is now live.  With permission granted by the General Motors Heritage Center, the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is now offering owners of 1965 through 1972 Chevrolet Camaro, Nova and Chevelle the opportunity to discover the exact date that their car was built (i.e. the cars birthday) and the dealer to which it was originally delivered.   This is not necessarily the selling dealer as dealer trades were common in the 1960s.  The NCRS is hopeful that the release of this information will lead to owners discovering new information and history regarding their cars.  This is a great thing for the hobby. The NCRS and the GM Heritage Center should be applauded for their efforts in presenting and opening this information to the hobby.

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.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

Fall Auctions – What Lies Ahead?

August 17, 2010 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Fall Auctions – What Lies Ahead? 

So now that Monterey is over, what lies ahead?

By all accounts Monterey was a success; collectors once again proved that no-nonsense cars still bring big money.  The collector car market is alive and well.  There were 14 cars alone that sold for more than $1,000,000.00 during RM’s Saturday night sale in Monterey.  Similarly other auctions around the peninsula reported big numbers and record bidders.

So, what lies ahead?  The fall is packed with great auctions which plan to offer something for everyone.   Here is a sampling:

  • September 2nd through 5th, 2010 – Auburn Collector Car Auction – Auctions America by RM
  • September 16th through 19th, 2010 – Mecum’s St. Charles Illinois sale
  • September 23rd through 25th, 2010 – Barrett Jackson – Las Vegas
  • September 30th through October 1st, 2010 – Carlisle, Pennsyvlanaia – Carlisle Auctions held in conjuctionw ith Fall Carlisle Swap Meet
  • October 7th through 8th, 2010 – RM Auctions – Vintage Motorcars of Hershey
  • November 5th through 6th, 2010 – The Bob McDorman Collection (featuring one of the world’s most complete collection of Corvettes) – Mecum Auctions

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 

Mid Atlantic Regional NCRS Meet – Gettysburg, PA – May 6-9-2010

April 27, 2010 · Posted in News · Comments Off on Mid Atlantic Regional NCRS Meet – Gettysburg, PA – May 6-9-2010 

NCRS REGIONAL MEET IN GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA SCHEDULED FOR MAY 6-8, 2010

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com

 

Call all Corvette enthusiasts, after a long winter’s wait, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Corvette Restorers Society is hosting the Gettysburg Regional NCRS Meet on May 6-8, 2010.  This is a can’t miss event for East Coast Corvette Enthusiasts.

Several special vehicles are scheduled to be on display including a low mileage, all original, Polo Green, 1994 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 formerly of the Chip Miller Collection.  The car’s current owner, Andrew Saft of Harrisburg, is proud to offer this important ZR1 for flight judging.  Corvettes released from the prized Chip Miller Collection have been known throughout the hobby for years for their quality, provenance and pedigree.  This NCRS appearance represents a coming out of sorts for the current Saft Collection ZR1.  While ANY ZR1 is exciting both to see and drive, this particular all original ZR1 is sure to please the spectators and enthusiasts that get an opportunity to view it at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet next week.

 The NCRS flight process is not a process to be taken lightly, only the best cars are awarded flight awards and any owner who leaves Gettysburg with such an award has surely added much deserved province to his or her beloved Corvette.  Best of Luck!

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 about this topic or would like to speak with Attorney Bryan W. Shook please email him at BShook@shooklegal.com.

 

NCRS # 51181

 

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

32nd Annual Spring Carlisle Swap Meet & Collector Car Auction – April 21-26, 2009

April 18, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

32nd Annual Spring Carlisle Swap Meet & Collector Car Auction

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com

 

The 32nd annual Spring Carlisle Swap Meet & Car Corral are about to get underway.  Officially the event runs from April 21 through April 26, 2009, but large vendors are starting to arrive today.   Carlisle’s swap meet offers what might be the best selection of automotive treasurers of any swap meet in the world.  For the automotive faithful that make their annual trek to Mecca, the weather for this year’s Spring Carlisle looks to be better than most years, with forecasted highs in the low to mid 70s and clear skies!  I know, the diehards will be depressed … “What no rain, how can it be Carlisle without rain???”

A change for this year’s event is that the Collector Car Auction will be held on Thursday and Friday nights, April 23 & 24, 2009 at the Carlisle Expo Center.  Also new for Spring Carlisle is a cruise-in to be held on Sunday at the grandstands.  This follows last fall’s successful Sunday cruise-in.  I look for several hundred cars to attend.

As for the auction, there are several very appealing lots.  With more than 250 vehicles scheduled to cross the auction block, there is certain to be something that appeals to everyone!  See you in Carlisle! Http://www.carlisleevents.com.

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

2009 Barrett-Jackson – Palm Beach Auction – Cars to Watch “The Sleepers”

April 7, 2009 · Posted in News · Comment 

Barrett-Jackson – Palm Beach 2009 Auction

By: Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

Email: bshook@shooklegal.com 

 

It’s that time again in sunny south Florida.The trucks are arriving as I type this delivering one gorgeous car after another. All told, over 700 cars will be sold this week at the “lifestyle” event that is Barrett-Jackson’s 7th annual Palm Beach collector car auction. As has been the norm for Barrett-Jackson auctions over the past five years or so, this will be a “No-Reserve” auction which means all cars will sell to the highest bidder regardless of price

Speed TV will be broadcasting 22hrs of live high-definition coverage of the event.

Although we are technically in a recession, I look for several of the auction lots to sell for strong money.  Plenty has been written about the feature cars of the auction so I have chosen to focus this article on what I believe will be the best buys of the auction.

On Tuesday, April 07, 2009, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time “kicking the tires” and here is my list of vehicles to watch.

 

·         1920 Chevrolet Model T – 1 Ton (open cab) chassis truck (Lot # 678)

o   This truck is coming out of the GM Heritage Collection and is in very nice shape.  The truck shows some slight deterioration from sitting and appears to have been restored a number of years ago.  Although it’s only sold on a Bill-of-Sale, I believe this will be a great buy.  Where else are you going to find one?

·         1964 ½ Ford Mustang convertible (Lot #347)

o   This car is extremely well presented and appears to be over restored.  If you are looking for a rare color (Skylight Blue) and color keyed blue convertible top car this is the car for you.  Although this is an original D-Code (289cu 4bbl) car with 4spd manual transmission, the engine has supposedly been replaced with a circa 1965 Ford 289cu engine.  Bottom line is that this is a striking color combination on an extremely significant model year Mustang.

·         1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Short Bed pickup (Lot #32)

o   This truck is as clean as ANY you’ll find.  It supposedly features its original number’s matching 402cu big block engine and air conditioning.  To say this truck is restored to a high level is an understatement.  It is evident that true love went into this restoration and either this was an excellent original when the restoration was started or someone spend A LOT of money, not to mention time, during the restoration seeking out good quality original pieces.

·         1976 Chevrolet C10 Silverado Long Bed pickup (Lot #330.1)

o   This is allegedly a 17,000 mile truck.  The truck features a 454cu engine, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes and the optional gauge package. The cons on this particular truck are that it is a long bed model and it is painted, assumedly original, light saddle over neutral.

·         1994 Pontiac Trans Am 25th Anniversary Edition Convertible (Lot #58)

o   This is an extremely rare 1 of 250 convertible 25th Anniversary Edition Trans Ams that is in very good, original condition.  This car is officially 15 years old and looks great.  The TA is powered by the corporate 5.7 liter (350cu) 275hp small block Chevrolet engine which is backed by a very fun 6spd manual transmission.  The car is extremely clean with only minor road spray on the undercarriage and rear axle assembly.  Overall, this vehicle represents an amazing opportunity to purchase a historical vehicle directly from GM.  For more support please refer to my article below “‘Can’t Miss Investments, Even in this Economy’ 1982-1992 GM F-Bodys”

·         1999 Pontiac Trans Am 30th Anniversary Coupe – Daytona 500 Pace Car (Lot #616.1)

o   This vehicle has it all, the LS1 engine, the signature blue anodized wheels, the white leather seats, removable roof panels (i.e. T-tops) … not to mention provenance directly from GM as an officially 1999 Daytona 500 Pace Car.  Again, as stated above, this vehicle represents an amazing opportunity to purchase a historical vehicle directly from GM.  For more support please refer to my article below “‘Can’t Miss Investments, Even in this Economy’ 1982-1992 GM F-Bodys”  Did I mention this car is a WS6 optioned vehicle with the aggressively styled Ram Air hood and induction system?

The above list represents just a sampling of the vehicles offered at this year’s Barrett-Jackson, West Palm Beach, Florida Auction.  For more information, be sure to visit their website at http://www.barrett-jackson.com. 

Bid with knowledge. Buy with confidence.

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.

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

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

Bryan W. Shook, Esquire

717-884-9010

BShook@shooklegal.com 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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