Remembering Pearl Harbor on the 75th Anniversary

‘We are the Bearers of the Torch of Freedom’
This week shall include December 7th Two Thousand Sixteen, which marks the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. For many of our parents and grand parents, it truly was "a date that will live in infamy". Despite the event occurring seventy-five years ago, new details are changing the story.

An untold number of our readers will also remember how, although years later, we experienced "the War" through movies and shows on our B&W TV's. And a great many of our more youthful followers likely had their first exposure to the catastrophe via the Internet or the 2001 cinematic version of the story.
We came across the following videos which according to details, your viewing access will expire December 22, 2016. Therefore should you find these videos interesting and want to share, please forward links to this post ASAP. The following six videos are from the PBS Special "Pearl Harbor - Into the Arizona" a TV program about a scientific team that explored the USS Arizona below deck.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese military launched a surprise attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Since early 1941 the U.S. had been supplying Great Britain in its fight against the Nazis. It had also been pressuring Japan to halt its military expansion in Asia and the Pacific. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. could no longer avoid war. On December 8, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress for and received a declaration of war against Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy, allied with Japan, declared war on the U.S. The United States had entered World War II.
Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto conceived the Pearl Harbor attack and Captain Minoru Genda planned it. Two things inspired Yamamoto’s Pearl Harbor idea: a prophetic book and a historic attack. The book was The Great Pacific War, written in 1925 by Hector Bywater, a British naval authority. 

It was a realistic account of a clash between the United States and Japan that begins with the Japanese destruction of the U.S. fleet and proceeds to a Japanese attack on Guam and the Philippines. When Britain’s Royal Air Force successfully attacked the Italian fleet at harbor in Taranto, Italy on November 11, 1940, Yamamoto was convinced that Bywater’s fiction could become reality.
Armed with intelligence supplied by spy Takeo Yoshikawa (left), Japanese pilots decimated the American fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941. (Left: Library of Congress; Right: U.S. Navy/National Archives)
On December 6, 1941, the U.S. intercepted a Japanese message that inquired about ship movements and berthing positions at Pearl Harbor. The cryptologist gave the message to her superior who said he would get back to her on Monday, December 8. On Sunday, December 7, a radar operator on Oahu saw a large group of airplanes on his screen heading toward the island. He called his superior who told him it was probably a group of U.S. B-17 bombers that had been scheduled to arrive that day and not to worry about it.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor began at 7:55 that morning. The entire attack took only one hour and 15 minutes. Captain Mitsuo Fuchida sent the code message, “Tora, Tora, Tora,” to the Japanese fleet after flying over Oahu to indicate the Americans had been caught by surprise. 

The Japanese planned to give the U.S. a declaration of war before the attack began so they would not violate the first article of the Hague Convention of 1907. But the message was delayed and not relayed to U.S. officials in Washington until the attack was already in progress, turning Pearl Harbor into a sneak attack!
The Japanese strike force consisted of 353 aircraft launched from four heavy carriers. These included 40 torpedo planes, 103 level bombers, 131 dive-bombers, and 79 fighters. The attack also consisted of two heavy cruisers, 35 submarines, two light cruisers, nine oilers, two battleships, and 11 destroyers. The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers. The Japanese were unable to locate them and a planned 3rd wave of attack planes was never launched. The U.S. still had their carrier fleet intact.
The battleship USS Arizona remains sunken in Pearl Harbor with its crew onboard. Half of the dead at Pearl Harbor were on the Arizona. A United States flag flies above the sunken battleship, which serves as a memorial to all Americans who died in the attack.
Dorie Miller, a steward on the USS West Virginia, distinguished himself by courageous conduct and devotion to duty during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He first assisted his mortally wounded captain and then manned a machine gun, which he was not accustomed to operating, successfully destroying two Japanese aircraft. He was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s highest award, for his actions during the attack.
The Japanese lost 29 aircraft and 5 midget submarines in the attack. One Japanese soldier was taken prisoner and 129 Japanese sailors and airmen were killed. Out of all the Japanese ships that participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor only one, the Ushio, survived until the end of the war. It was surrendered to the U.S. at Yokosuka Naval Base. When Admiral Yamamoto learned that his forces had not destroyed the U.S. aircraft carriers or completely destroyed the U.S. fleet, he feared that the United States, with its enormous industrial potential, would soon recover and fight back.
The United States did recover—and quicker than Yamamoto could have imagined. After only six months, the U.S. carrier fleet dealt a decisive blow to Yamamoto’s navy in June 1942 at the Battle of Midway, sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers. After this victory came the three-year U.S. island-hopping campaign and the eventual defeat of the Japanese Empire in August 1945.

Holiday Shopping? Take a break to watch "Sure Wish I Could Find an Old Car"

Ozzie and Harriet - The Road Race
Season 6, Episode 14
Original Air Date: January 8, 1958

When you need a bit of relaxation from your holiday shopping, please enjoy this "Holiday Special" with your coffee or snack. It's a classic "rebroadcast" (now in the Public Domain) of an episode of Ozzie and Harriett, where a discussion about Hot Rods and turns into a newspaper interview Ozzie never had (thanks to a "trickster friend") and a road race challenge.

Show Me The Money - Are you Buying or Selling?


Guest contributor: Bryan Shook
As longtime readers know, values for classic cars continues to rise. And while 98%+ of all classic cars available today will likely never break the multi-million dollar price point, even the basic daily driver we cherish increased in value yet remains "affordable". And when buying or selling a classic automobile, both parties have the goal of achieving the best possible price point they can - and that is how is should be.  
Due to his experience and devotion to the automotive enthusiast, we sought Garagistry Advisor, Bryan Shook's qualified opinion on what are the key factors determining optimum value for a classic car. The following is a composite of the details. 
The value of a Classic car or a collector vehicle is currently driven by three key factors: 
  • Desirability
  • Pedigree and Provenance
  • Condition 
The one missing is "quality". Therefore only three of the four factors create an equation which supposedly and eventually leads to the value of a vehicle. The weight to be assigned to any of the factors is subjectively based upon the influence of any one factor has over another. Therefore, there are numerous variables. Let's take a closer look them.

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 could be desirable to a collector on some level (yes, even a Yugo could desirable if you can find a complete, unrestored running example...), the level of desirability will impact the value. The more people who like the vehicle; the more desirable the vehicle is. Specific years, models, or options can also make an otherwise not so desirable vehicle desirable for the purpose of valuation.
Pedigree and Provenance:
This is what most Classic vehicles lack and although pedigree and provenance have similar definitions, they are different.

While desirability drives one aspect of the pricing structure pedigree can completely sway the equation. Webster's defines pedigree as "a distinguished ancestry". A fitting example is a Duesenberg. In almost any condition or level of provenance (see below), a Duesenberg will ALWAYS command a relatively high value based purely on its highly regarded desirability and relatively low production numbers. There are numerous other examples, regardless of age or origin.

Webster's defines provenance as "the history of ownership". Vehicles with a fully recorded and uninterrupted chain of ownership meet Webster's tight definition of provenance. By and large, information about a vehicle's origin was not something well recorded when the vehicles were sold, "back in the day", so it is rare to come across a vehicle with these records

But provenance has many varying degrees. It is also defined as "the earliest known history of something" and "the beginning of something's existence". Therefore a Classic with some provenance is better than none. Owners who take the time to gather, organize and protect items regarding the partial provenance of their Classic can increase the desirability of their car.

Items that add provenance include copies of old titles, registration paperwork, original sales forms, window stickers, build sheets, factory documentation and other certification. It also includes photos and stories associated with the car and its owners. Time has a way of erasing memories. Stories are more important than most owners realize. They add "color" to the history of the car to personalize the otherwise sterile pile of records and potentially increase desirability.

Vehicles once owned by movie stars, other public figures or are/were part of a highly regarded collection tend to be worth more than other similar vehicles even if they otherwise fall miserably short regarding pedigree and provenance. These same vehicles also tend to have more options or unique features which make them more desirable. 
Bottom line, a vehicle with either pedigree or provenance is worth more than a similar vehicle without either. For provenance to be given appropriate weight, it must be substantiated with documentation.

This third and final factor is the "make it or break it" for most vehicles. Even if a vehicle has good desirability, and pedigree/provenance, it likely won't influence the value of the vehicle as much as the condition. A vehicle in superb original condition (i.e. extremely well-kept since new) or a vehicle which as been restored or built/rebuilt to an extremely high level is more more than a vehicle needing restoration or a similar vehicle in a deteriorated condition.

In recent years there has been a push to recognize vehicles in unrestored condition, yet relatively original. 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 logical 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 it's own merits then against similar vehicles with known sales to find a comparable sale. Then the comparable sale must be evaluated to see how closely they match the subject vehicle. The closer to the comparable sale, the closer our estimate of value 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) are at work.
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 viewed as a template which along with the expertise of an seasoned professional, will likely allow you to confidently arrive at a value for your particular automobile.

The Missing Component
Is quality. Every owner, seller and buyer needs to define the quality component of their Classic in order to set value, but this component is grossly overlooked. The result is thousands of Classics become valued and sold far below actual replacement value. Why, remains the question all should ask. Are you really ready to pass on your Classic for 50% of what it cost to restore it, simply because "the market" is unwilling to recognize quality?   

So, What Can You Do?
That your classic car is influenced by each of these four factors is your reality. As Bryan described, the question of desirability may be beyond your ability to have a major influence upon. But don't think you don't have the possibility of having a major impact on the condition or pedigree / provenance of your classic - you can!
Condition is a reflection on how well we maintain and care for our classic vehicles. No one can force you to perform needed or preventive maintenance or a restoration on your vehicle, but the future value of your investment is yours to grow.  
A phrase often heard is "each generation believes history started on the day of their birth". And while it has some individual truth, it also shows how easily some can disregard the knowledge of what happened the day before their birth. Even if you have limited (or no) pedigree information or provenance for your classic vehicle, today is the day you can create one for your vehicle's forever future.
If you have already created your personal Garagistry account, use it to record each and every bit of information you can for your classic. Remember, you and only you have access to your personal vehicle data. Aside from a basic vehicle overview, shared photos and published entries, no personal information or detailed vehicles records are accessible by anyone else.
Our next installment from Bryan will have him explain the importance of having documentation. Whether looking to buy or sell a car, it is critical to provide a comprehensive record of your vehicle (at least since you have owned it).

Safe driving - enjoy your classic every day and every way....

Bryan W. Shook is an attorney who has devoted a large portion of his legal practice to helping other collectors and hobbyists understand today's market and protect their automotive investment. He is available anywhere for consultation, advice and information pertaining to automotive collectible litigation. he can be reached at or 717-975-9446.