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Car Collector Chronicles ®

Volume II, Issue 10 Exploring:


 Car collecting today  Classic rides

Last month we talked about long-distance buying and inspections. This month, let’s review the realities of such activity.

 Reports from the field  Oldsmobile

begin arranging the inspection immediately upon your request. Most reports are completed and the results back in your hands within 72 hours!“ Ad-

The inspection did in fact transpire on the appointed day. The owner sent an email telling me the inspector spent more than 3 hrs. going over the car; hopefully, with a fine-toothed comb. That was both surprising, and good, news as far as I was concerned. I suspect it had to be an excruciating experience for the owner to have to spend hours watching the inspector ply his trade on his ride?

mittedly, this claim is bracketed with the weasel word “most.” Plus, I fully appreciate that scheduling and completion of any vehicle inspection is controlled by outside factors; such as availability of the car owner.

It is now the 2d of the month. As I write, the report has yet to be received. We are at 148 hrs. and counting. The lesson to be learned here, “Don’t believe the hype, and go for quality, not quick turnaround time?”

Having said that, here is my experience: I booked, and paid for the inspection on the 26th of the month. On the 28th the inspection was scheduled to take place on the 31st.

At least that is what I am saying to myself right now, repeatedly. Whenever the results are obtained, you may rest assured they shall be openly, and frankly, shared with you, the

The inspection service I hired ( m) touts on its web site a 72hour turnaround time. “We

 Cadillac  Corvair


Classic Car Inspection Services


GDYNets® On the Web


To Do Projects


Oldsmobile Firsts



Dave’s Den

The Gray Lady- 55 Cad de Ville

Finally, late night on the 2nd, the results were ready, online! Someone must have worked the 4-12 shift to make it available, as it sure was not there when I logged on at 5 p.m.?

GDYNets® on the Web

Saved 62 jeandaveyaros


readers of CCC®.



Coming Next Issue

October 2009

Car Collector Chronicles

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DAVE’S DEN: A website devoted to a myriad of interests. Foremost is extensive information on the “Steel City” of Gary, IN. There are also offerings on steel making, U.S. Steel-Gary Works, U.S. Marine Corps, M14 assault rifle, of course Oldsmobile, and the tragic story of the murder of Gary, IN Police Lt. Geo. Yaros.

SAVED 62: A website devoted to our 1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. The site also has a lot of information on Oldsmobiles and its founder, Ransom Eli Olds. THE GRAY LADY: This website features our 1955 Cadillac Coupé de Ville and Caddy information.

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CLASSIC CAR INSPECTION SERVICES—Cont’d. The report was a mere 18 pages in length. Attached to the report was a collection of 149 photographs! It also contained, because I specifically paid an extra 25 bucks for it, a written opinion of value. So, what did I get for my $404? I learned the windshield had a dime size rock chip in it (see pics on p. 5). I learned that both the windshield and rear window frames had been amateurishly re-sealed with clear silicone. That told me both must have been leaking in the past; never a good sign. Even more disturbing in this regard was the prospect of my paying a handsome sum just to acquire the right/privilege to remove this silicone myself, without doing any damage to the finish on the roof.

“Attached to the report was a collection of 149 photographs! It also contained … a written

Interior photographs showed serious chipping of paint on the steering column and dash. Paint chipping around the gauge cluster made me wonder if the panel had been removed in the past; again by an amateur. While the Cad looks very nice at street level, the inspector detected and photographed a growing rust condition on the door bottoms. He also commented on smoke coming from the engine. A particularly interesting conundrum is presented by the grille: Study these two photos carefully. Do you see it?

opinion of value. ”

You should note both show a gold Cadillac script on the grille. You should also detect that they are not in the same place. What is this all about? The cream colored Caddy, with the script positioned on the driver side of the grille, is correct. Why was the script placed on the passenger side on the green Caddy? What necessitated the grille being worked on in the first place? Who put the script there? What did they know about Cadillacs when placing it there? Strange? The inspection report narrative used terms like “driver, 20-footer and know that more checks may need to be written in the not too distant

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CLASSIC CAR INSPECTION SERVICES – Cont’ d. from p. 2 future to keep it in ‘reliable driver’ condition.” Use of the phrases “signs of deferred maintenance” and “the appearance of an older cosmetic refurbishment that is degrading” also caught my attention. These were not things I was particularly pleased to learn! After all is said and done, the prospective buyer (me) wants, and needs, to know just how much is the car worth in the market of today. Because I shelled out the money for this opinion, I got it. The current value assessment was prefaced with the notation the ride falls in the condition rating category of “minus three (-3), leaning slightly perhaps to 3.” With that caveat, the value was assessed at $22K-$24K. Not unexpectedly, the opinion of value came in lower than the seller’s asking price of $24.9K. Based on all I now knew about the car from the inspection report, coupled with my prior email contacts with the seller, I concluded the seller was not exactly forthcoming when answering my questions about the condition of the Cad. Additionally, it was obvious his view of how much the car is worth differs significantly from mine. The question is whether this price gap will be able to be bridged by us? To be truthful, as of this moment in time, I have yet to decide whether or not to even make an offer on the car. I do not want to insult him with my offer. At the same time, I am not equipped to paint the dash and steering column. Yes, I can remove the steering wheel and column. But my idea of addressing the paint defects is not one of redoing it with a rattle can. What would be the cost of doing it right? Likewise, I do not know that I can remove the silicone sealant from around the front and back window frames without doing damage to the roof paint. If not, then what I have bought is the time and expense of having the roof refinished professionally. Then there is the matter of the engine smoking. At least here is a repair I am equipped, and able, to handle. However, doing so would be costly, both in terms of my time and dollars. Do I want to take that on, is the question? Given all of the above, my thinking is to offer $19K for the car. If it is rejected, c’est la vie. Whether I even make that offer is yet to be determined. Stay tuned! —

“After all is said and done, the prospective buyer (me) wants, and needs , to know just how much is the car worth in the market of today.”

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TO DO PROJECTS On my proverbial “To-Do List” is a safety upgrade for the Corvair. It relates to improving braking visibility. The Corvair taillights are pretty small, and the bulbs are not exactly blinding; especially during the daylight hours. To rectify this problem, it is my intent to replace the existing backup lights with brake lights. Doing so will give me two operating brake lights on each side of the car. At the same time, such a conversion will not drastically alter the stock appearance of the car. Additionally, should a subsequent owner so desire, it will be relatively simple to return the ride to stock appearance. I have already purchased the necessary set of extra NORS taillight lenses. I still need to acquire two of the proper taillight sockets and bulbs. These are readily available items at any local auto parts supplier. As envisioned, this project should not be exceedingly difficult. The first step is to remove and store the backup light lenses. Next, the backup light bulbs and sockets must be removed from the housings. Once removed, they should be left on the vehicle, by bagging, tagging and wire tying them in place inside the rear fenders. This will permit their reinstallation at a later date. New taillight sockets, with pigtails, will be wired into the existing brake light circuitry. Once wired in and tested, the new sockets go into the existing lamp housings. Then, the new brake light lenses are installed in place of the old backup lamps. As a precaution, I shall up the amperage of the fuse in the brake light circuit. I can’t imagine that adding two extra bulbs to the circuit will overload it, but better safe than sorry is the wiser course to follow here. It is at an inopportune moment, having the brake lights go out, no matter when it happens!

OLDSMOBILE FIRSTS The first speedometer to be offered on a car was on an a 1901 Oldsmobile. That same year, Olds became the first supplier of fleet vehicles (to the U.S. Post Office). Olds was the first auto manufacturer to use chrome plating on cars, in 1926. The first automatic choke on a car appeared on a 1932 Oldsmobile. Ok, I have had my say for this month. Now it is your turn! I invite/encourage submission of your comments, opinions and contributions, and ask that you help spread the word about our pub. Everything sent shall indeed be reviewed by me. Submissions should be sent to: _______________________________________


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COMING NEXT ISSUE:    

Winter Storage Lessons Learned Year 1 in Review Photos—Car Barn Projects

Car Collector Chronicles  

October '09 edition(10/2009, 5 pps.) of Car Collector Chronicles; a free, monthly, online, ad free newsletter for the classic/collector car...

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