Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Sport and Specialty Blog

“Again, when a car needs work, it needs work. It’s how the news is delivered that has a big impact. In person is best, with the broken bone exposed, so to speak.”

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars.

The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a car review and scope of work. The other, on the other hand, it was his first walk-around his new beauty without its clothes on.

As fair as we try to be, when a car needs work, it needs work. For those who have been through this before I try to simply point out what we found, and what out remedy will be, regardless of how extreme.

They usually get it and we move on and call them if there’s anything really bad. The experienced car geek is usually happy you were smart and diligent enough to find the issues and flaws before they either became cosmetically worse, or simply dangerous.

For the poor soul who bought a car without exercising due diligence, it becomes a bit more delicate. If it’s their first time, most had no idea that older cars had so many crappy parts. Welcome to the fifty-year-old mechanicals club, my friend.

Again, when a car needs work, it needs work. It’s how the news is delivered that has a big impact. In person is best, with the broken bone exposed, so to speak. We typically ask the customer out to the shop to review the work with us before dismantling anything. A solemn bedside manner and a bit of suicide prevention can help prevent a disaster.

Typically, both types of customers come out of the experience happy, but it sure helps to get their buy in up front. Everyone wants a nice car, right?


Read More of My Blog Posts


No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
High Quality Work Won’t Go Out of Style

High Quality Work Won’t Go Out of Style

High Quality Work Won’t Go Out of Style

Sport and Specialty - Tom YangI had the opportunity to spend time with my friend Tom Yang over the past few days. Tom is a considerably experienced Ferrari specialist and restorer who shares a common passion for doing things right. Tom has a great website you should check out.

We’ve shared ideas, issues, and cures with problem cars in the past, but finally got to spend some quality windshield time talking about the business side of the car hobby. Much of Tom’s thoughts centered around the Ferrari side of the market, while I tend to come from the more pedestrian European production cars, Healeys, Alfas, and Jaguars.

I came away still convinced that while vehicle values will always swing higher and lower, the demand for people and businesses to maintain them will most likely not wane. Mostly because many of the people currently able to perform work on these gems will be aging out of the business. My crew at Sport and Specialty is young by industry standards these days, averaging in the late 40s which is a planned blessing. We spend a fair amount of time cross training and coaching on both technical acumen and quality outcomes overall.

Our discussions focused more about how to produce higher quality work than how to do more work of just any quality. It was both interesting and fun to share time with someone as committed to providing high quality work and not bowing to lowering his standards. It made me feel better, plus it was fun to show off the shop. See you at Amelia Island!


Read More of My Blog Posts


No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

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

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.


Read More of My Blog Posts


No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
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?

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!!


Read More of My Blog Posts


No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

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

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!


Read More of My Blog Posts


No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
Public Service Announcement – Now’s the Time!

Public Service Announcement – Now’s the Time!

Hey, wake up! We’re here now! We’ve arrived! It’s 2016 and all of those car projects you were going to do this winter aren’t done. You know it and I know it. Why do I know it? Because my stuff isn’t done either!

Every fall I make a huge list of improvements and progress I want to make on my cars over the winter, and every spring nothing is running or looking quite the way I wanted because I think I have plenty of time. In my little cozy winter brain I see a few twenty-minute jobs with a few easily attainable parts. I’m old and experienced enough to know better, yet every year I do the same.[pullquote align=”right”]Then, on the first nice day, I immediately look at the salt residue on the street and think, “Crap, I didn’t put in the new fuel filter and I sure can’t get one at Auto Zone![/pullquote]There are no twenty-minute jobs with easily attainable parts! If there were I would have done them in the summer.

What I really did was put off lots of little things during the driving season to do over the winter. I put them on a list, and then moved the list out of sight while I enjoyed a little down time. Then, on the first nice day, I immediately look at the salt residue on the street and think, “Crap, I didn’t put in the new fuel filter and I sure can’t get one at Auto Zone!” So I pull out the carefully filed list, curse myself for not paying attention, again, and promise myself I will order the parts this week. Usually I don’t, because it snows again and I get depressed and angry that it won’t turn 70 degrees in Chicago by the second week in March. Yes, I do this every year!

Because the end of April is a bad time to try and begin your work. Everyone without ADD bought your parts, and your parts will be backordered until June. Many of the parts you do buy will be wrong, junk, or just won’t fit and need to be returned. The parts that are right will also need a companion part, that wasn’t mentioned in the repair book, which is also back ordered, junk, or forged from unobtainium. You lose a minimum of a week or so for every part issue keeping you from finishing your project and enjoying your car!

For my racing friends, here’s a good place to start:

  • Look at the expiration dates on your belts
  • Check the pressure in your fire system
  • Check the build date and foam in your fuel cell
  • Make sure there were no last minute tech issues on your log book
  • Buy new tires now, and get them mounted and balanced
  • How were your pads and rotors at the end of last season?
  • Do you have a current physical on file or in hand?

We all know the drill and somehow this year the stars will align and I can get everything ready in a few hours without any issues. That is hilarious!

So, find or create your list of to-dos for your car. Carefully review the anticipated parts needed, and get to it! Start today! Any day now the and emails will be coming in about Spring tours, drives and driving schools. This year, extend your season, and lets get ready and enjoy an early start this year.

Check this site for racing and driving events I hope to be participating in this year, they will be added soon. All are welcome – let’s have some fun!

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Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

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