Carry Your Weight: How We Keep a Healey Balanced During Restoration

Carry Your Weight: How We Keep a Healey Balanced During Restoration

Sport and Specialty - Carry Your WeightThere are sand bags hiding in these two Healeys.

We’re not waiting for a flood or storing for the sandblaster, we’re making sure that everything is in balance. To get the lines and gaps right you really need to weight a car’s chassis when you do a total body restoration.

Healeys are especially prone to sag a bit with age, making it even more challenging to get everything just right. Every spring I get calls from folks who install the engine and interior pieces of their car after the body has been restored, painted, or simply put back together. To their surprise, they find their doors don’t close, the style lines don’t match, or the body gaps have changed considerably.

What happened was as those pieces to the car were put back on, the extra weight of the engine or suspension has made the body flex just a little. That’s why you’ll see cars in our shop with sand bags strategically placed in our customer’s cars during restoration. It’s one of those things that years of experience have made the difference in how we prepare our classic cars.

Another quick tip for you do-it-yourselfers: Fit your chrome and trim when you are doing your bodywork and finishing. This too will save hours trying to make trim fit on a now altered (even if just a little) and painted bodywork. Send out those pieces out for chrome after you know it all fits properly.

Want to know more about some of the little lessons we’ve learned? Give me a call, drop me a line, or better yet schedule a time to take a tour of the shop.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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It’s Insurance Review Season: Do you even know what the limits are on your policy?

It’s Insurance Review Season: Do you even know what the limits are on your policy?

Write this down on your car’s to-do list: Check your classic car insurance coverage.

Today!

Do you even know what the limits are on your policy? Do you know what the current value of your vehicle is? If your car gets hit, will you be able to fix it or will it be a total because the entire amount will be used up?

Did you know that, depending upon the state, your insurance company can take possession of your car and sell it for parts or scrap when the payout exceeds a percentage of the limit of your policy?

Over the past five years we have taken in more than a few cars that have been underinsured. In a few cases, they have also had poorly repaired or restored work that must be re-done to fix a current issue. This typically puts me in the uncomfortable position of informing an owner that their beloved vehicle cannot be fixed for what it’s insured.

We don’t have an underinsured rate. It costs the same to properly fix a car regardless of the policy limits. We also don’t have a magic relationship with the insurance carrier where we can “work things out.” No winking and nodding goes on in my world.

A few other things to remember:

  • The policy will not pay to repaint the whole car if only a portion is damaged. You may get a decent color match, but you may end up with a half lacquer and half urethane finished car.
  • Be certain your carrier has adjusters on hand who are acquainted with, and the know how to properly fix your marque. Most don’t, and this will mean hours of time for your chosen repair facility in preparing addendums and correspondence. Most replacement body parts don’t “just bolt on”.
  • Pre-existing conditions don’t only apply to health insurance. New parts cannot be welded or bolted to filler and fiberglass repairs. Many times, this isn’t apparent until the job is underway. The repair for this is the responsibility of the car’s owner.
  • A super original collector car’s value will be significantly diminished once a significant collision repair has been performed. That is real money.

This isn’t an indictment of the insurance industry, simply a reminder that it’s our responsibility as owners and collectors to make sure that we are managing our investments wisely. It may certainly be worth a look!!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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A Fast Five – Learning to How Balance My Passion With My Livelihood

A Fast Five – Learning to How Balance My Passion With My Livelihood

Hurray! In a few days I will celebrate five years as a small business owner. I often believe I have made it over the hump, but I know enough to never become complacent when moving forward. I hear a lot about “Living the Dream,” but there are some days I wish I had a boss to dump stuff on, weekends and vacation days, and was back on a “Direct Deposit” plan. But yeah, mostly, things are working out the way I had hoped.

While the automobile restoration business may not move at the speeds of the high tech industry, it certainly doesn’t remain static. Marque values fluctuate, the economy ebbs and flows, projects explode, regulations change, and costs and taxes never go down. These are all things I found I needed to pay attention to in order to stay current.

Without a doubt, I have been blessed with talented employees and grateful customers which have allowed us to deliver exceptional cars and grow our reputation as a place to bring work to if you want it done properly. It would be far easier to provide “good enough” work, even when you know it should be superior quality. By delivering best quality, I have found few things more satisfying than having people comment in superlatives when they see our work in person.

“Good enough” wouldn’t get us the same reactions, and won’t be enough to sustain the future reputation of Sport and Specialty which began twenty plus years ago. Without any snide comments from my friends who may playfully disagree, the good news is I’m still young and enthusiastic enough to do this for quite a while.

It’s been an interesting trip in making the move from hobbyist to professional. I am keenly aware of the slippery slope of losing your passion once your passion becomes your livelihood. I have found that an important part of staying passionate, is being passionate. You must also, work, race, and play with others who share your love of vintage sports and collector cars. Without the support of my circle of
long time car friends I might never have even tried this move. I have also been extremely fortunate to have developed new friendships with some of the nicest, most helpful, and sincerely genuine folks ever.

So, basically, I need my talented employees, valued customers, and wonderful friends and family to accept my profound thanks for your support and loyalty over these past five years. I’m looking forward to our new projects and next adventures! I can’t wait to see what the next five bring.

We’ll continue to grow, and I’ll continue to have fun…..All aboard!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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“Cars Yeah” Podcast Featuring Sport and Specialty

“Cars Yeah” Podcast Featuring Sport and Specialty

I was honored to be interviewed by Cars Yeah’s Mark Greene, “an incurable automotive enthusiast interviewing successful automotive entrepreneurs who live a lifestyle around their passion for automobiles” for his latest podcast.

You can find the full podcast on his Cars Yeah website where he asked me questions from how and why I bought Sport and Specialty, to what are my favorite cars, and finished with, “If you were a car, what would you be?” I’m pretty sure you won’t guess my answer on that one.

Full disclosure: Mark gave me some of the questions ahead of time so it made for a smooth discussion about classic cars, classic car business, and how I spend my time around all of these incredible machines. While you’re there check out some of his other podcasts, he’s had some really interesting interviews.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave – in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave – in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs.

Scroll through some of my pictures from the trip:

 


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

After spending some time studying my new Hammer Price app (a must-have) and going through some of my auction notes for the week, I have come to some of the same conclusions I did last year—some marques did well, and others lost a little ground in value. it also seemed like the general attendance for the whole week was up, starting with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate.

The Italians continue to march forward, although mostly in the “affordable” models. Really nice Ferrari 308s have moved into six -figure territory, with a slightly flawed but nonetheless lovely 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce bringing stellar money at $160,000+, and a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV hammering at $76,000+ at Bonham’s.

Overall, the whole Austin Healey market is down about 20% from highs of a few years ago. Even a fabled 100S—one of fifty—was well-bought at a bargain price of $490,000. I heard people tell of it’s flaws but I reminded them that, “It’s still a real 100S!” Only the really nice cars sold well with the so-so cars at street sales rates.

Except for the $6.7 million spent for the Lightweight, the Jaguar market has cooled a bit on the E Types. A really nice late Series 1 4.2  did sell for $160,000+ which isn’t too shabby, though. There were just a lot of E Types available, and it is a hot brand and model. I still predict the Series 2 cars will start filling up the demand for E Types overall in the next few years.

Trending up (still,) the air-cooled Porsches are the cars to have. Some lovely 356 Speedsters held their own, and a really nice 912—but still a 912—fetched $105,000 at Gooding on Saturday. Another 356 barn-find bewildered even the most faithful at $341,000. After $600,000 plus for a Speedster barn find in Hilton Head, I’m left smiling to myself.

In talking with Andy Reid and other auction watchers, the cars that came up slowly and steadily—like the Aston Martins—held their own. The rising prices on cars like the Sunbeam Tigers have steadied, and again, only the nice cars held their values. There was also a lot of talk also about money availability and people not wanting to touch other investments with a stock market and Dow that is surging towards 20,000.

I think I may have to attend the March Amelia Island event to continue my research and see if the trends continue. Poor, poor pitiful me.

Top image credit: Andy Reid – ClassicCars.com


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

Ever since I sold Mark Baker’s 100R Healey at Bonham’s Auction in Scottsdale four years ago I eagerly await coming back to Arizona for my now annual trip to the land of auctions and car shows. Once here, a common question I get from old and new friends alike is, “Are you out here buying and selling cars?”

When I typically reply “no” most figure I’m just goofing off in the sun. Which, since I do have family here, I sometimes do. But this has become a crucial week for me from a business strategy standpoint.

Arizona Car Week—as it has come to be known—is a place for me to focus my time, money, and energy to see first-hand what is going on in the vintage automobile market. What goes on at Arizona Auto week is what becomes knowledge that I can then share with friends and customers.

While the auction experience in and of itself is very exciting, the number of industry people and fellow enthusiasts I’ve met here has been invaluable. What I learn here— through a mix of social media, and being on the ground where the collectors and fans speak with their voices, minds, and checkbooks—sets my thinking for the year as a restorer and impassioned automotive devotee.

I mostly focus my attention on the Bonham’s, RM and Gooding’s auctions. I study the catalogues for sell estimates and then look at the cars critically. I do this for a variety of marques and models.

I then attend as many auctions—live—as I can, and study the results where I cannot. I talk to people as the cars move along, note which one failed to meet reserves, and which ones are beating the estimates. If I’ve seen the cars, many times I can tell you why it failed to meet the reserve, or why it took in some big cash. You can’t do that from the web, or watching Barrett Jackson on TV.

It’s a crazy busy week for me, there is so much activity all at once, but if you pay attention the trends become visible quickly. What marques and models are becoming more valuable? Which marques are losing strength or simply holding?

These hectic days help me guide customers and prospective customers into the light as to what cars are worth spending money on, and which ones to maybe wait on. If there are a lot of mediocre examples, you can bet the nice ones will shine.

When it’s over and I’m back in the Sport and Specialty shop, I’ll provide some insights as to what I have seen, heard and deduced. Come on back.

I need to get some more sunblock, so until I get home make sure to follow me on Facebook where you can see more of the beautiful cars below.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Touch It!!!

New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Touch It!!!

The majority of our restoration work at Sport and Specialty doesn’t drive or roll into the shop. Most of our work is pushed in on a transport dolly and unloaded unceremoniously in a variety of mismatched wood and cardboard boxes. Sometimes we even see parts loaded up in old laundry baskets.

The projects come to us in many shapes and forms

Sport and Specialty - Project Cars gone wrong

Sometimes, what starts out as a project car ends up as a parts car, sadly.

Mostly the parts are worn out, rusty and dusty. Occasionally, the pieces and portions were treated to some sort of amateur restoration, long lost its newly painted sheen, and was never tested for use afterwards in a running and driving automobile. Usually, if lucky, the original fasteners abound in discarded coffee and margarine containers. It takes more time and costs more to inspect and inventory all of these items when the car comes in this way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is our bread and butter, and I love seeing these pieces come in. What breaks my heart sometimes is that someone simply abandoned the project when they got in over their head, because this all looks kind of easy on TV.

Assessing the projects

One of my least favorites is going out and assessing cars that have been disassembled, yet have beautiful new wheels and tires. That’s restoration with a Visa card and just dumb. Many times, the new wheels are beginning to pit already and the tires show no wear – but expired two years ago. The last thing done in car restoration should be new wheels and tires.

My professional advice is simple on this topic – if you own or find a major restoration candidate, stop right now! Take a deep breath and think for a few minutes. Most projects start out with extreme enthusiasm and the best of intentions.

Getting some advice

Call someone who has done this before, amateur or professional, and discuss how to best go about this serious undertaking. A detailed budget, a plan, some working room, organizational skills, and patience are as essential as mechanical skills. Don’t explode the car and figure out the rest later, it’s a sure recipe for disaster unless you’ve done a few of these.

Before you start taking it apart…

Finally, I try to relate to the owners of new projects that once you take them apart, they’re worth even less than that great deal you negotiated. Remember, a car in a million pieces is called a project, and worth a small portion of the finished product. On the other hand, a car that’s really rough – but still assembled – is called a barn find and can somehow be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, take that deep breath, do a little homework, and leave the dust on until you’re ready!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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The New Sport & Specialty Website is Here!

The New Sport & Specialty Website is Here!

Last weekend we pulled the trigger and launched the latest iteration of the Sport and Specialty website. All of the digital switches fell into place and with a sigh of relief a year’s worth of effort came to fruition. We had put together a simpler site earlier this year, but we quickly became frustrated with the limitations we had to live with.

Over the summer we got really busy with basic business things and the racing season consumed much of our “free” time. Finally in October we got serious again and put our shoulders into getting the new site up and running.

With content strategist Bill Oakes at the keyboard and me looking at the big picture, I believe we came up with a really nice site. Our goal was to not only tell the story of Sport and Specialty, but to also allow for more individual and ongoing interactions with the classic sports car community. We will be posting my blogs, free classified ads, marque club events and schedules, racing events, offer interesting products, and who knows what else.

My goal is to also post an ongoing series of articles regarding assessing values, approaching restoration work (or not), and any interesting things I find in my travels. I will give a heads-up through Facebook on both my personal and the Sport and Specialty pages when new items are posted. I’m excited about the various fun, educational and interesting ways we can put this site to use.

I bought a ton of storage so we can publish new pictures and archive past events and features. So please, bookmark www.sportandspecialty.com and keep me on my toes.

Remember, we love to host club outings and show off our work! Simply reach out, our phone number (815-629-2717) and my email address is all over our new website. Hope to see you soon!!

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look through all of the sections:


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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Love to see these kind of smiles!!!

Love to see these kind of smiles!!!

We delivered this beautiful BJ8 Healey to David and Ellen with a mini mechanical restoration. Full engine and all accessories rebuild with a new wiring harness. Good for many more thousands of miles of fun!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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