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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selected Projects to Date:

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

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


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 or by phone at 717-884-9010.  More information can be found at Http://


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)


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

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


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