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Flood Damaged Vehicles

November 18, 2009 Dealerships & Salvage 1 Comment

Flood Damaged Cars Are In The News

Submersion IllustrationThere have been a lot of floods lately. 

In reality there are always annual floods and these floods result in a lot of vehicles that have been damaged by partial or full immersion.

Flood Titles and Salvage Titles

Depending on the State, a post flood vehicle may end up with a Salvage Title or a Flood Title.  Each State has their own laws and regulations associated with flood damaged vehicles and quantification of associated damage.

The Simple Answer

If you are considering purchase of a flood damage vehicle then research your State’s laws and regulations associated with water damage.  You must know precisely what the title information means.

Not So Simple Answer

Water Damaged Corvette on Craigslist

Water Damaged Corvette on Craigslist

If the car you are considering has been water damaged then Please Exercise Extreme Care before you decide to buy the car.  Be sure and pull a CARFAX report.  Carfax is not the single answer but it may provide a history that will help you to get a better understanding of what happened to the vehicle.

Where Are The Problems

Flood damage vehicle restoration requires attention to detail.  Here is a link to a firm and their report concerning service of a Ford Focus in the UK that serviced the car.  This is very detailed and addresses their concerns and how they approached the problem.

Here are some key elements to consider:

  • total submersion to just the floor pan
  • fresh water or salt water
  • contaminates in water
  • was the car “dried out”
  • were the connectors corrosion protected

 The Real Problem

Water Damaged Corvette on Craigslist

Water Damaged Corvette on Craigslist

Electronics and connectors are the real problem.  Submersion of the chassis, engine, transmission, and drive train have historic repair procedures that absolutely work.

Electrical and electronic components, connectors, and wires are the real probmem.  Corrosion is defined as deterioration in metals by oxidation or chemical action.  Corrosion occurs because water gets into the wiring.  In a flood damaged car water will get into contact with the components and the wires.

If it is possible to disassemble the connectors, wires, and components and dry them out and then use a corrosion proofing product such as CorrosionX then corrosion will be reduced and possibly eliminated.

Water can migrate inside the wiring harness of a car.  If water gets into the wiring harness then the wiring harness may have to be replaced.  This is very expensive because some vehicle body wiring harnesses can approach $1,ooo and engine wiring harnesses in the range of $500.  If a vehicle requires harness replacement do not be surprised if you find that supplemental harnesses are required to connect to other parts and areas of the car.

Reality Check and Harsh Words

MSN Article has a very good assessment about flood damaged cars.  It is definitely worth review.

Personal Reality Check

Any vehicle that you are considering purchase should be considered suspect!  Flood damaged cars are not always identified as being flood and water damaged.  A very thorough inspection is essential.  A very thorough inspection by a vehicle technical inspection service or individual is essential.

Lots and Lots of Cars at Copart

1200+ Flood Vehicles (Medium)Automotive Tribune has previously discussed Copart and the fact that they have a very significant presence in the automotive industry.  On a recent visit to Copart I picked up the flier that indicated 1200+ flood damaged vehicles were available in Atlanta.  Flood damaged cars included a Ford GT, 2008 Corvette, a new Audi, and a 2007 550S Mercedes just to name a few.

Flood Damaged Motor Coaches

I have inspected flood damaged motor coaches.  These can be particularlly difficult, if not impossible, to fix. 

Craigslist Flood Damaged Corvette

CORVETTE 1998 TRIPLE BLACK CONVERTABLE – $12000  I bought this car for my wife in 2000, we are the 2nd owners, it was a prior GM Lease, in 2001 my wife drove it in a flooded intersection and sucked water in the air intake, the insurance company replaced the motor and transmission, it has only had 10k miles since then, call me for additional details.  This triple black Corvette showed 9,661 miles on the odometer.

Bottom Line

Flood damaged cars are very suspect.  These cars are not recommended for the consumer that expects dependability of a normal vehicle.  Any new or used vehicle purchase needs to be made carefully!  Owning a flood damaged car can cost you thousands of dollars to repair and it is unlikely that the car can or will every be fully repaired if the car was totally submerged!

Barrett Jackson Las Vegas 2009

October 26, 2009 Everything Else No Comments

Collector Cars Are Hot

October 8-9-10 the Mandalay Bay Resort was host to the Barrett Jackson Auction at Las Vegas.  This was broadcast on Speed Channel for 19 hours.

Auto auctions are always interesting to watch.  They provide a great deal of information about what the market currently is for collector cars.

This particular three day auction was no exception for market conditions.  Here is the “Official” Top Sales list.  Top seller was a 64 Shelby Cobra that went for $400,000 + a 10% buyer’s commission which brought the total to $440k.

It was interesting to note that two very nice Austin Healey 3000’s, a 65 and 67 sold for $77k and $79k respectively.  One of the best prices that I saw was a 2000 Ferrari 360 that went for $77k.

Custom Car Big Money

Top Sellers2Custom cars brought tremendous money at this auction. One thing is for sure, originality is not an absoulte requirement for big bucks.  Superb craftsmanship and appearance in the Custom Car category brings major money.

Budget Money

Spending some time with the auction results reveals that the lowest sale price was $2,200 for a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham 4 Door Sedan.  Maybe these details will excite you or put you to sleep:

Summary: Original and clean with 47,000 original miles. Equipped with a 500cid engine and automatic transmission. Air conditioning has been upgraded and works great, full power everything. Interior is excellent, with plush moist leather and working 8-track.

Top Sellers1Details: Original, clean Cadillac with 47,000 original miles. Equipped with the 500cid engine and automatic transmission. Air conditioning has been upgraded and works great, full power everything and even has the original working 8-track with the Beatles in, ready for play. New tires, hoses, new brake cylinders and new brakes. Reliable transportation and looks great. The interior is still moist leather, excellent and well above expected wear for a vehicle of this age. All stainless trim is intact and the fender skirts are also there on both sides.

Serious Money

At the other end of the sale spectrum was the 65 Shelby Cobra 289.  Here is the data, compliments of Barrett Jackson, for your review:

Shelby CobraSummary: CSX2568 has the original CA black plates and registration tags that expired in 1972. This is the first time CSX2568 has been in the public in about 40 years and the first time it has been offered for sale since 1968. Fresh complete, correct restoration.

Details: CSX2568 has the original California black license plates with the original registration tags that expired in 1972. This is the first time that CSX2568 has been in the public in almost 40 years, during which time it has been in dry and covered storage. This is the first time the car has been offered for sale since 1968. The original California title pink slip comes with the car. It has zero miles on a 2-year concours restoration of what was already a complete, unbent and not rusty car. Complete nut, bolt and rivet body-off restoration to bare metal with new top and upholstery. Extensive documentation of the restoration with photos, etc. conducted by one of the top restorers in California. Princess Blue with red leather interior that are the original colors. 32,831 original miles on a car that has never been more than 100 miles from San Francisco, until this auction. Never raced, never any rust whatsoever and never bent. Original owner was Jacuzzi of the hot tub fame. Completely redone 289cid High Performance engine with 306hp. When originally delivered to the California dealer, the original 271hp stock engine in the car received the dealer installed 306hp option which consisted of a Holley 715cfm center pivot carburetor, a Cobra high rise manifold, tubular Balanger headers and an aluminum Cobra 6-quart oil pan, all of which are still on this as-originally-equipped car. Original style Dunlop racing tires on chrome Borranis, original chrome wires come with the car. All numbers on chassis, engine, transmission and differential are correct and original. **VEHICLE IS TITLED WITH ENGINE NUMBER**

Ferrari 360If you happen to have a collector car or are interested then look through the complete sale list and prepare yourself!  This is very educational.  One car that caught my attention was a 1975 Bricklin SV-1.  All things considered the car sold for a very modest price.  I had an opportunity to drive a new Bricklin SV-1.  It was a memorable road test!  Not because of speed, that was never part of the road test.  Stopping at a major car dealership, opening the gull wing doors, and getting out was the most memorable!

Scottsdale Arizona January 18-24

If you are into auctions, then be sure to schedule some time for the Scottsdale Arizona Auction coming up in January.  This show gets the real big bucks.

2009 Tokyo Motor Show

October 22, 2009 Auto Manufacturer No Comments

2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Shown to the left is a press release photograph for the new Prius Plug-In Hybrid courtesy of Toyota on display at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Currently press days for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show are underway. Doors open to the public on Saturday October 24 through November 4 and there is a great deal of initial press excitement about electric and hybrid vehicles.

Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show -- meida photo compliments of Toyota

Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show -- press photo compliments of Toyota

Announcements indicate that a number of the cars will be brought to the North American International Auto ShowJanuary 11-24, 2010 at Cobo Hall in Detroit.

The Tokyo Show is full of action and you will definitely see a lot of the cars on your TV Automotive shows in the upcoming months. Some of this may even make the nightly news, but this type of important journalism seems restricted to a few minutes on the 11 PM news as a filler or maybe a special on the Speed Channel. Anyway, this year’s Tokyo Show is very significant. There are new technologyies and cars incorporating these on display for the first time.

Attendance at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show

Also, it is important to recognize that this years show in Tokyo is almost entirely Japanese. Sales into Japan is restricted significantly so European, Korean, and North American manufacturers have opted to pretty much stay at home this year.

Fuel Prices Going Up

October 22, 2009 Automotive Topics No Comments

Fuel Prices Are Moving Up and Fuel Economy Is Moving Up

The fact that gas prices are going up is probably something that you have been noticing lately.  Certainly the current price of gas is under $3.00 per gallon.  This is certainly a lot a lot better than $4 per gallon last year.

Auto Implications

Car and truck purchase decisions are made on the basis of many factors and fuel price is one of them.  If you need a pickup truck or SUV then that is what you need.  If you need a simple car to get around with then lots of miles per gallon, and the associated lower total operational expense, is precisely what you are looking to achieve.

Vehicle Purchases

Car and truck sales have, at least in the years leading up to $4 per gallon gas, represented about a 50-50 share of sales between them.  When gas prices peaked truck and SUV sales dropped and car sales increased.  When gas prices dropped then truck and SUV sales went back up.  This information was on the nightly news and in the newspapers as everyone speculated on how high can fuel prices go.

Fuel Prices Collapse

Fuel prices did start going down, and down and down.  It was an absolute relief not to have to pay so much at the pump.  It was possible to look at the gallons and say “a few months ago I would have paid twice as much.”

Fuel Prices Rise

Fuel prices are going up.  Fuel prices are steadily going up and that has major significance for everyone.  This time increased fuel prices are likely to stay high because the general economic conditions around the world are on the mend so more money will be available to go to the oil producers.

Economic Vehicle Purchase Assessment

VW Jetta DieselIncreased mileage trucks & SUV’s, high mileage cars, hybrid cars-trucks-SUV’s, and electric cars are coming in a big way.  Yes hybrid vehiclesare here right now.  However, the real bulk of these new powertrain vehicles have not hit you dealership yet.

Diesel Power

VW, BMW, and Mercedes have diesel cars that are selling briskly.  It is interesting to note that at the EPA Fuel Mileage site that for the 2010 Jetta TDI the car’s test results are 30 city, 41 highway and 34 combined.  However, in the MPG Estimates from Drivers Like You report 47 MPG.

It is clear that we will all be watching fuel economy numbers very closely when it comes time to get a replacement car or truck.

Smokey Joe’s at the Munich Airport

October 20, 2009 Everything Else No Comments

Smokey Joe’s Restaurant

Munich Airport (Medium)Last year I had the opportunity to be walking in the pavilion between the Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at the Munich Airport and immediately on seeing Smokey Joe’s Restaurant it was clear that something eye catching was there.

The initial appearance will definitely and absolutely catch your attention.  Add a Pratt and Whitney radial aircraft engine and some wings to an Airstream trailer and you have got a creation that will definitely catch your attention.

According to the Munich Airport WebsiteSmokey Joe’s:

Affectionately known as the coffee plane, Smokey Joe’s serves up the ever-popular curry sausage with its own specially blended sauces from classical or medium to smokin’ hot.

How neat is this place? 

Smokey Joe'sSmokey Joe's Right SideAnyone reading this article will absolutely enjoy the opportunity to check out the craftsmanship and step up to the window to place your order for something good to snack on!  Outside tables in the pavilion permit you to enjoy your order and take a close look at the creation.

If you are going to be travelling through the Munich airport then definitely take advantage of the opportunity to stop at Smokey’ Joe’s.

SuperBird Pace Car

October 18, 2009 Automotive Topics No Comments

SuperBird Convertible Paces The Race

SuperBird Pace CarThis SuperBird Convertible served as pace car at a recent SCCA event held at the Miami Homestead Speedway.

SuperBird Convertible

There never was an OE convertible SuperBird.  Research indicates that there are at least a dozen now.  This particular car was built from a Satellite convertible.

Resto-Mod Cars

Resto-Mod Muscle Cars are the rage today, as was clearly evident in the October 2009 Barrett-Jackson Auction from Las Vegas.  These high performance collectibles are highly desirable because original vehicles can be priced “off the scale” or original cars can be very difficult to drive and maintain.

SuperBird On Pit RowResto-Mod Muscle Cars are updated versions of originals that can be fitted with Original Equipment (OE) or fully modernized technology including anti-lock brakes, better seats and seat belts.  These modern parts can make the car much more enjoyable and safer to drive than if the car were fully built with all OE components.

Reproduction Cars

Reproduction cars are available in many different configurations.  It is possible to have a brand new old car.  Carroll Shelby through his Shelby Automobiles Company has, from time to time, come up with some old chassis and ends up delivering a new automobile with a new vehicle identification number.  The Shelby saga and legend has been the source of many books.  From a resto-mod and reproduction standpoint, Shelby products can definitely qualify.

Superbird Convertible

440 CIDIt has been a while since I have gotten the story about this unique SuperBird.  If memory is correct there were a lot of original Superbird parts and a fairly good convertible body.  Everything was combined and then painted with Plum Crazy purple.

Unique Front and Rear

Uniqueness associated with the front and rear of the SuperBird are documented and they are unique.  This wing car has a number of adjustment points in addition to the special support members to carry wing forces into the vehicle frame. 

Front and rear modifications are a great deal more than simple  bolt on parts.

OE Remembrance

Original 1970 Superbirds and 1969 Dodge Charger Daytonas were a tough sell back then.  These cars were unique and after the high performance cars of the 60’s there was simply a lot of big engine high performance iron.  I remember the first Superbird I saw on the dealer’s lot.  This car was very visible and going back and forth to college I would pass the car.  I am absolutely certain that the dealer had to substantially discount this car to sell it.

ZL-1 Camaro

From 1968 to 1971 I worked during time off from college at Rosenthal Chevrolet in Arlington, VA.  In 1969 Chevrolet produced 69 ZL-1’s.  Rosenthal had two of them.  One sold and one was parted out.  The parted out car had the all-aluminum 427 engine and special automatic transmission removed and the powertrain was replaced with something less exotic.  These unique cars will be the focus of a future article in the Automotive Tribune. 

However, the point is, that we simply did not know how fantastic these ultra high performance cars were to become going forward. 

SuperBird Convertible

This unique car was built by Jay Vitagliano.  It features a 440 CID feeding power to a torqeflight transmission.  The car is very drivable and is a total attention getter at parades, automobile events, and just going down the highway.

Every Superbird Gets Attention

SuperBirds always get attention.  They are a remarkable piece of history.  This unique SuperBird convertible is history.

Automotive Tribune would like to thank Jay Vitagliano for sharing these photos and information about his SuperBird Convertible.

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