The Art of The Automobile Symposium

With insight from the expert panelists the automobile is appreciated, analyzed, and enjoyed as veritable artwork. Panelists include:
Leslie Keno, Senior International Specialist, Sotheby's.
Sam Mann, car collector & 4-time Best of Show at Pebble Beach
Miles Collier, car collector, artist, & noted authority on collector cars
Peter Mullin, founder of Mullin Automotive Museum, Chairman of Petersen Museum
Moray Callum, Executive Director of Americas Design at Ford Motor Company
Michael Furman, pre-eminent automotive photographer

It is not difficult to pick up on the level of passion each of the panelists have for Classic cars. In turn they have collectively invested millions upon millions of dollars to restore and be caretakers of numerous examples of restored and well preserved vehicles considered historically important works of automotive art. We are lucky to have such dedicated people, yet despite their obvious financial capability, they simply cannot support the entire family of Collector cars.

Pulling it Down a Few Notches
We are quite aware the same passion runs deep among the entire network of people who own Classics, but there is little available to this group to emulate similar activities. Instead of symposiums, small groups of owners meet under far more casual circumstances to discuss the details of their passion and their restorative or preservationist efforts. When was the last time you went to a Classic car show and never heard a story?

Once Lost, Permanently Gone
But that doesn't mean these owners should defer engaging in similar efforts to organize, record and protect the details of their Classics. 

Conversations are lost to time unless recorded and poorly managed records erode the bits and pieces of known details critical to the history of the car. 

Experts reflect the continued loss of these details will most definitely affect individual owners as well as the overall Collector Car Community if people don't put the brakes on.
The Old "If, But" Will Show Up at Your Door One Day
Should you currently be engaged in the Collector car market as an owner or enthusiast, you probably have a decent understanding of what "numbers matching" means. Similarly, it's likely you have come to understand the value of having records which go back to the day a Classic was built. If your "numbers match" or you have "original documentation", great. But if you don't, your unlikely to ever come across what you need to improve the desirability and value of your car.

Case in Point
After having conversation with one of our subscribers, the forensic details of dates, original parts and similar information reflects he probably owns a highly popular and very collectible 1970 Chevelle SS originally built with the 396-375 HP L78 or L89; one of approximately 2,000 (L78) or less (only 18 w/L89) built before GM cancelled the option in preparation for the release of the 454. 

Furthermore, based on the VIN his Chevelle is within a few digits of VIN sequence of three confirmed 396/375's built in the same plant and the build date is within a week of the day GM sent out the following notice.

"In conjunction with the release of LS6 450-hp engine, the 375-hp Engine Option L78 and the L78/L89 for use with SS 396 is in process of being cancelled, and further orders for these options should not be submitted."  (Note- Chevelles ordered with the L78/L89 engine already in the pipeline were allowed to proceed until engine stocks at plants were depleted)
But...the original engine is long gone and not a single shred of paperwork to validate the details. As GM long ago decided to "clean house" tossing all of the associated documentation into a landfill, it is impossible to retrieve any official record. 

That's a real disappointment as either version (L78 or L89) Chevelle would be worth two to three times that of a regular SS 396. Regardless, should you have any factory or dealer documentation for a 1970 Chevelle, paint code 25 25 and reflects "...1484..." in the VIN, please Contact Us at once.
Don't Become a Victim of Your Own Doing
We've repeatedly promoted the concept "No one really owns a Classic, we're just caretakers for a certain amount of time".  Regardless if you pass your Classic down to another family member or not, at some point in time, it's likely to be sold. When that day arrives, someone who is interested will review the available details and base their buying decision on those facts. This information, or lack of it, will impact the final price.

Click the pic to watch the video
You could tell every story about your Classic, discuss the details of the restoration and how much you invested, but at some point the buyer is going to want some proof. And the last thing you'll want to hear is, "Definitely worth the asking price if all of that is true, but as you have nothing to back up what you've told me, I'd have to be in at about half that price."

The Need for Documentation is Only Growing
The demand for records, photos and other similar items associated with your Classic has already moved beyond the tipping point of "nice to have" to "a minimum requirement" of owning, buying or selling a Classic. It's something you should definitely take note of. The alternative is accepting demand and value based on everyone else's Classic, not yours.

You might be asking yourself, "Why would I need that now?" "I'm not selling my car today." A prime example of why is something we mentioned dozens of times before, insurance.

Most Classic car insurance policies are known as "fixed value", meaning if you state a "reasonable" dollar amount to be covered (e.g. $25,000), you pay for $25,000 worth of coverage. Some proof is required to back up your estimated value and if the proof is inadequate (e.g. wanting to insure a Classic with an average value of $15,000 for $75,000) you need to supply additional proof or no deal. 
Destroyed while parked at a car show - Source unknown
It sure would be a shame if you should experience the loss of your Classic to a collision, fire or theft only to find out a replacement now costs far more than expected. By organizing all of the necessary information of your Classic, you can have an in depth discussion with your agent and insure your car for an amount equal to the cost to replace instead of your coin-toss estimate.

Be Wise, Garagistry-ize
It costs nothing to get started. The only investment is your time and the results could be significant. Don't delay.