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VW Emissions Scandal Sends Ripples Through Car Industry

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Ambition or Greed?

In September, the Volkswagen Group admitted having tampered with the emission software on a number of their diesel models. The company was well on its way to attaining its goal as the world’s largest car maker by 2018. Was it this aggressive mission that caused VW to blatantly alter emissions software on cars like the Jetta, Passat, Audi and even the Porsche Cayenne -as far back as 2009? Or is it just plain greed? Regardless, the fallout from this monumental industry scandal not only affects passenger and luxury cars and their owners, it may cause headaches for car collectors as well.



What Did They Do?

The problem isn’t a faulty wire but a deliberate attempt to fool EPA emissions tests. During a test, the VW software ran in “test mode,” which met all the emissions standards. Once on the road the car would revert back to a “normal” or non-compliant mode. Owners of these diesel cars -not to mention the EPA- could enjoy great gas mileage and increased power without any knowledge that emissions were actually 40 times higher than any legal limit.


Diesel Produces More Harmful Emissions Than Conventional Engines

Diesel does not burn clean. To filter out harmful particles, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel exhaust fluid (urea) must be combined with the exhaust. This process is not only expensive to manufacture, in 2007 VW abandoned pollution control technology in their internal software that was developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch. Obviously this deception has had a long time to develop.



11 Million Cars Worldwide Affected

Currently there are 500,000 models (2009-2016) affected in the U.S. and 10.5 million worldwide. Volkswagen has a lock on 70% of the U.S. diesel passenger car market. The number of vehicles affected may continue to rise as the investigation continues and more engines are tested.

(MikeDotta /

Emissions Tests Can Be Fooled

The U.S. has the toughest emissions standards in the world but testing methods are a little dodgy. Results can easily be skewed if the tests aren’t performed correctly. Which is why the EPA researchers decided to bring in help from the University of West Virginia to conduct the tests in real world situations. Road tests soon revealed the truth about the different emission operating modes in diesel cars.


No Official U.S. Recall Yet

With three generations of 2 Liter turbo-diesel 4 cylinder engines involved and all requiring different levels of repairs, this will not be an easy fix for consumers. VW promises to begin upgrades in January 2016; however, the U.S. has had no official recalls. The state of California just issued a formal demand for VW to compile a recall plan in the next 45 days.


To Fix or Not to Fix – That is the Question

The unspoken question – will consumers fix their recalled diesel cars? Are they willing to give up better gas mileage and peppier performance? The EPA cannot force consumers to have the recall fixes done. A 2012 NHTSA study found that 25% of all recall repairs are never done. That’s 36 million cars that are still on the road with some mechanical issue and many of these are filling up used car lots and want ads.

Luxury Brands May Be Affected

How does this affect a classic car collector? The VW Group just posted their first quarterly loss in 15 years. Between fines, lawsuits and future dealer incentives to promote new sales, this scandal may cost VW close to $80 billion when all is said and done. They secured loans for €21 billion by putting up some of their divisions as collateral (which ones are unknown). Bentley, Lamborghini and the motorcycle maker Ducati are three of their smaller divisions.


VW Says Top Tier Projects Still a Go

The VW Group says they have no plans to abandon any of their top tier projects like the Bugatti Hypercar. Still, between the internal corporate strife that occurred when Ferdinand Piéch resigned as VW Chairman in April and now with the emissions scandal, VW stock has taken a big tumble, down 30% since the scandal broke. You have to think, if the company begins to sell off assets, will some luxury models just disappear?


New Car Makers Can Make a Move Now

Consumer confidence in the traditional auto industry is shaken. Will a new breed of car makers rise up to take over where others have failed? Will Tesla, Google and possibly Apple make headway into fray? Are these the collectible cars of the future?


The Good News

For years the EPA emissions regulations have been a sore point for car collectors yet car manufacturers have made great strides improving gas mileage and eliminating harmful emissions. Innovations came out of these restrictions. Hopefully this scandal will bring about more advances that will help all car lovers. Diesel may be fading away but other alternative fuel source cars may be preparing to make their mark.


Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Prepare for the unexpected. The right insurance coverage can give you peace of mine and protection for your classic car. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 12/31/2015 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Drab, Dull Trim? Bring it Back to Life with Plastic Restorer

Trim Needs Detailing, Too

Showing a classic car means detailing every inch of it to perfection. After a long day of polishing, though -plastic, vinyl or rubber trim doesn’t always get the attention it needs. From door seals and bumpers to drive belts and tires, these polymers need protection to stay looking great and functioning properly.

UV Light Damages Vinyl and Plastics

Not only are polymers affected by oxygen, heat, oil, road tar grime and the ozone, the biggest culprit is UV light. It’s almost impossible to keep your classic car out of direct sunlight, which is why plastic restorers and protectants are so important.

Wash the Paint, Scrub the Trim

The best defense is a good offense. Keep plastic and vinyl trim looking good with regular maintenance. Washing your car is not just about getting the dirt off the paint. Be sure to thoroughly scrub the trim using a soft bristle brush, removing embedded contaminants as well as built-up layers of protectant, which can cause it to look dull. A couple times a year, remove all the old layers before applying a fresh coat. Exterior trim cleaners, which contain strong alkaline solutions, will remove old residue; just don’t get this on your paint. You can also use a diluted solution of vinegar or mineral spirits to strip them clean.

Traditional Dressings Vs Restorative Coatings

Traditional trim dressings will bring plastic and vinyl back to life but will only last through a few washings. They are usually water based solutions, which is why they don’t will last. Restorative coatings like SONAX Plastic Restorer form a protective bond to the surface and will last a couple of months.

Detailers Masking Tape Vs Painter’s Tape

Using low tac detailers masking tape (designed for delicate surfaces), tape off trim, gaps or emblems, which keeps wax and other detailing products away from your trim. Avoid areas with peeling or fading paint, overlays and pinstripes. Don’t use painter’s tape. The chemicals used on the edge to keep paint from getting underneath are too harsh for the clear coat. Remember - a little effort upfront will save you time in the long run.

Vegetable Oil Removes Wax Stains

While you’re detailing, avoid getting wax and other solutions on vinyl, rubber or plastic areas. These solvents will stain your trim and are very difficult to get off. A strong exterior trim cleaner can remove some of these. One DIY trick is to rub the stain with vegetable cooking oil and then wipe off. Use a soft brush to work it into the pores where wax loves to hide. Always follow up with a protectant.

Chase Away the Grays with Permanent Dyes

For severely discolored trim, try using permanent dyes. They can bring the trim back to a darker black condition. They are great for small areas but large areas like bumpers have a tendency to show streaks. It may take several coats to get the look you want. As is their nature, dyes will stain your paint, so keep them away.

Plastic Restorers – Sunscreen for Your Trim

Think of plastic restorers as sunscreen for your classic car’s trim. Keeping a good coat of a protectant on your trim will keep it looking clean and black the way it is supposed to. Your garage queen will appreciate your thoughtfulness and the show judges will reward you for it. Classic Auto Insurance is proud to partner with SONAX to bring their fine products to the attention of our classic car community. Learn more about the SONAX quality line of car care products at

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Your attention to every detail on your classic car is legendary but have you covered everything? Make sure you have the right insurance protecting your garage queen. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 12/28/2015 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Make the Right Buying Decision – Use a Classic Car Index

A Jolly Year for Classic Car Sales

Just in time for the festive holiday season, classic car sales seem to be having a jolly year, reportedly as the best performing alternative asset class in 2015 (even better than the S&P 500!). Before you tell your spouse you are buying a Ferrari with your 401K, though -do your research.

Simon Kidston’s New K500 Index

One of the key players on the collector car scene is Simon Kidston. The classic car broker and consultant has a client list that reads like a who’s who of classic car collectors. Born into that world, he went on to work for top auction houses like Brooks and Bonham’s. For him, starting his classic car index, K500, is a way to give enthusiasts an edge when buying a collector car.


Resource Guide for Buying Classic Cars

The K500 Index draws its information from the sales results of over 30,000 public transactions for 500 valuable vintage models. Kidston says the index gives a better gauge of a car’s true value. It allows you to see how cars are really performing in the market. Kidston feels his index is the equivalent of Robert Parker's Independent Consumer Guide to Fine Wine or Michelin’s Red Book. He wants it to be your go-to resource guide for buying classic cars.


Better Transparency for Classic Car Buyers

Kidston wants his index to bring better transparency to some of the misinformation and shady practices that he has witnessed over the years. The same car is often traded among different dealers to inflate the value, and some dealers try to pass cars off as similar, more valuable models. A car’s provenance is sometimes non-existent. Classic car buyers have to beware.


Realistic Value for a Classic Car

With all types of investors flooding the classic car market, it is difficult to determine a realistic value for any car. Indexes offer the consumer a chance to research a particular model first-hand. K500 offers a “collectability” rating as well as price guidelines. For example, on a scale of zero to 100, their top rated collectible car (at 97) is the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic. Only two exist, one of which is currently owned by Ralph Lauren.


Collector Car Values Rise 500% in 5 Years

HAGI (Historic Automobile Group International) is an investment research group that specializes in the rare classic motorcar sector. They’ve determined that over the past five years, collector car values have risen 500%. Just this year a 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo sold for $275,000, up from $55,000. Some analysts worry that this type of appreciation is unsustainable and the bubble will burst.


Watch Out for Forgeries

As the value of classic cars soar, so does the number of forgeries flooding the market. Authenticating classic cars is not easy. Sophisticated crime rings go to elaborate measures to fool the automotive experts, like stripping old movie theater seats for worn leather or aging reproduced frames outside for years. Many times collectors have to prove their car is legit, which takes time, expertise and more money.


Ferraris Auction for Top Dollar

Currently Italian supercars like Ferraris are the ones bringing in top dollar. Prices for Enzo’s creations have jumped 430% in five years. An extremely rare 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold in 2014 for a mere $38,115,000. The previous record holder is a Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider, which sold in 2013 for $27.5 million.



Auction House Sales Decline Slightly

According to the Hagerty Market Rating scale of 0-100, classic car sales at auction have fallen slightly in the last month from 71.06 to 70.84. Several recent auctions had high priced cars left unsold. Kidston blames the auction houses for oversaturating the market at around the same time every year (usually September). Some of the most successful auctions are associated with well-attended collector events such as car shows.


3 Largest Event-Related Auctions



Buy a Car You Are Passionate About

If you are a first time classic car buyer, you have a ton of resources available to you to make a sound decision on what to buy. Do your homework, get the facts, and find reliable people to help you. Bottom line – buy a car you are passionate about. After all, this isn’t the stock market. (Stock shares don’t leak oil on your garage floor.) Your investment is one that will take you for the ride of your life -and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Happy Holidays from Everyone at Classic Auto Insurance

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours Happy Holidays! We're so glad to have you as clients and look forward to serving you in the New Year. May all your classic car wishes come true!

Posted: 12/24/2015 12:00:00 AM with 1 comments

Want a Perfect Finish and No Scratches? Try a Polishing Compound


Years of laboratory testing has gone into today’s car paints to help protect them from harsh UV rays and every day driving hazards like debris. While classic cars aren’t normally daily drivers, they can benefit from modern paint technology. Getting the show-ready shine on your car is easy if you understand your paint type.

5 Basic Car Paint Types

What type paint do you have? Is it a single stage or a two stage application? Acrylic or urethane? Knowing will inform you about the right product to use and avoid damaging your car’s appearance.

The five basic types of car paints:

  1. Undercoat primer – Helps the base paint adhere to the car better.

  2. Base coats – The color of the car. It is usually a matte finish and doesn’t have hardeners added to it. You have to spray a clear coat over it to give it a glossy shine.

  3. Acrylic lacquers – Popular with some classic car restorers but offers little UV protection. Lasts five to 10 years in regular driving conditions, longer if protected from sun.

  4. Clear coat finishes – Gives paint its high gloss shine and offers protection against UV light. Can last the life of the car if maintained properly.

  5. Specialty paints – Acrylic enamel, metallic finish paints and chameleon paints.

Restorers Moving to Urethane Clear Coat Paints

Just because a car is a classic that doesn’t mean the paint is from a bygone era. Many restorers now use urethane paints to give their cars a rich color with the protection of a clear coat. Some, like Corvette restorers, still use acrylic paints due to the high standards set by the NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Society). It depends on your views on restoration.

Single Stage vs Two Stage Paints

There are two types of paint applications – single stage and two stage (base coat/clear coat or BC/CC). A single stage urethane dries to a glossy shine but has little color protection. It will require regular maintenance to keep it scratch free. A two stage BC/CC paint gives you that high gloss shine as well as protection from scratches. Even though clear coats protect the base paint, they can still be scratch sensitive. Correcting paint and clear coat imperfections is done through detailing.

Garage Queens Love to be Pampered

The best way to preserve the integrity of your paint is by regular washing and waxing. Keep your car out of harsh sunlight (They don’t call them garage queens for nothing!). A good car cover will help you protect your paint as well as lighten your cleaning load.

A Good Finishing Polish Can Take Care of Scratches

You encounter scratches no matter how much you try to protect your car. That is when a good finishing polish comes in handy. Many scratches are in the clear coat of your paint and can be buffed out with an orbital polisher and a light to medium abrasive polish like SONAX Perfect Finish. Start with a mild solution and increase to a more abrasive one if your scratches are deeper than you first thought.

Test a Spot First

Before doing anything, wash your car. Test your polishing compound on a hidden spot on the car. With the polishing pad, coat the area before turning on the orbital polisher. Work the section, applying light pressure until the compound is completely worked in. Be sure to turn the polisher off before lifting it off the surface to avoid swirl marks. Buff to a nice shine.

Shine a Little Light on Your Work

Take a close look at the section you worked by shining a light on it. Are there any scratches remaining? Were you able to eliminate them with the finishing polish? If yes, then move on to the rest of the car, working in small sections. Different areas of the car may vary in the hardness of the paint (especially if sections have been repainted at different times). The pressure used on one section may not work on another so check your results as you go.

Eliminate Swirl Marks

For tough scratches you may need to progress up to a more abrasive polish. Check out our blog, Restore Your Garage Queen’s Glow with Rubbing Compound, for more helpful tips on removing tough scratches. The right detailing product can help you eliminate swirl marks in your clear coat finish.

Follow Up with a Good Waxing

Since polishing also removes paint in its quest to remove your scratches, it is always a good rule of thumb to apply a fresh coat of wax after polishing. Sure, after polishing your car looks shiny and new but it doesn’t have the added protection a layer of carnauba wax will give. Classic Auto Insurance is proud to partner with SONAX to bring their fine products to the attention of our classic car community. Learn more about the SONAX quality line of car care products at

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Your garage queen is your pride and joy. Make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect it. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 12/21/2015 12:18:44 AM with 0 comments

2013 Camaro COPO – A Race Car with Muscle


In 1966 a legendary rivalry began between the Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang. The war has now spilled over onto the drag strip. The Camaro COPO rolled out in 2011 to challenge Ford’s Cobrajet and the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak on the NHRA circuit. Our friends at Elite Autos in Jonesboro, AR have one of these rare racers chomping at the bit for someone to take it to the track. We, of course, have to oblige.


Special Order Race Car

As a reminder about Chevy speak, the word COPO is short for “Central Office Production Order”. It was used when dealers requested special orders on cars. In 1969, Fred Gibb (a former AHRA racer) and owner of Fred Gibb Chevrolet in La Harpe, IL, ordered a total of 50 factory built Camaros equipped with the all-aluminum 427 cubic inch big block engine (the ZL-1), which was specifically designed for drag racing. The Camaro COPO drag racer was born and other dealers soon joined in to bring the production total to 69.


Create Your Own Camaro

Another Chevy dealer and racing enthusiast, Don Yenko, also took advantage of COPO special orders to build his now famous Yenko Camaros with dealer installed solid lifter L72 big block engines. Seeing the popularity of these enhanced street cars, Chevy started offering the engine option to dealers. Close to 1,000 of these Camaros were created and are highly prized by collectors today.


A Way to Beat the System

The COPO loop hole skirted a Chevy corporate mandate stating that no production car (midsize or smaller) could have an engine larger than 400 cubic inches other than the Corvette. They wanted to protect their marquee model that was their most popular and (at the time) powerful car. Dealers like Gibb and Yenko wanted bigger engines and the COPO work around is how they achieved it.


The 2011 Return of the Camaro COPO

The Camaro COPO drag racer was re-introduced in 2011 with a limited production release of 69 cars to honor the original production run. Built to race NHRA Super Stock and Stock Eliminator class competitions, these cars cannot be registered, titled, licensed or driven on public roads. Rather than VIN numbers, these cars have serial numbers, which are matched to the engine and chassis. Chevy issues documentation on the car’s production and specifications.


Built to Racing Standards

The COPO is designed to meet NHRA specifications including a solid axle and a full chrome-molly roll cage. They are 100% hand built and come with a choice of one of three naturally aspirating V8 engines. This Camaro has a top speed of 175 mph and can go from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. Chevy’s goal is to create a racer that could swap superchargers or even engines easily in order to race in multiple classes.


The Lucky 69

Each year Chevy randomly selects 69 lucky buyers from thousands of interested racers and collectors. Not all of the cars sold will make it to the track. Of the 69 COPOs produced in 2012 only 10 of them saw track time. The rest were snapped up by collectors.


Chevy Named 2015 NHRA Manufacturers Cup Winner

For the second year in a row and the 21st time in NHRA history, Chevrolet wins the 2015 NHRA Manufacturers Cup. The award goes to the car manufacturer whose current model year race cars earn the most points for qualifying and victories. Dan Fletcher, Jeff Strickland and Ryan Montford all have wins in their Camaro COPO cars. The 2016 NHRA Season begins on February 11th with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA.


Leaving the Competition in the Dust

If blasting down 1,320 feet of asphalt toward the checkered flag is your heart’s desire, then the Camaro COPO is the car for you. It is bred with a single purpose, to leave the competition in the dust, and it does just that.


Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Whether you intend to race it or collect it, your Camaro COPO has special needs. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your collection. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 12/17/2015 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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