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Custom 1976 Pontiac Trans Am 2017 Indy WOW - Classic Auto Insurance

A Classic Restoration for a Classic Love Story

Looking at this custom 1976 Pontiac Trans Am, it strikes us that few may realize this is not just another classic car build. The story behind its restoration brings to life one woman’s desire to revive her late husband’s forgotten muscle car. When she sees it, she sees him. Her determination helps fuel years of painstaking work to rekindle her memories and love, not to mention the muscle. We all have a car forever linked to a loved one. If money is no object, what car would you restore and for whom? Please share your stories with us in the comments. We would love to read them.

Parts Are a Tough Find

While the current owner of this beautiful custom Trans Am is a little camera shy, we do speak to the man behind the two-and-half-year restoration, Ron from Vail's Classic Cars in Greenfield, Indiana. Ron shares her story and talks about the difficulty of finding parts. “The’75 and ’77 parts just do not work on 1976 models,” he says. “The rubber products are the hardest to find.” After tracking down the bumpers, it takes over 200 hours to restore just the front one.

trans am engine

Taking a Ride Down Memory Lane

This Trans Am is an original owner car. It has never been restored or even repainted. “It is definitely barn-fresh,” says Ron. “It had about an inch of dust everywhere and only minor rust.” Restoring the car to its former glory is what the wife wants, so Ron has Jasper Engines rebuild the 455-engine to stock. She requests upgrades like a new AC/heating system and 17-inch wheels. She plans to drive it down memory lane as soon as possible.

The 70’s “It” Car

A silver Trans Am (much like Ron’s restoration) graces the cover of the September 1975 issue of Road Test magazine. The editors claim the Pontiac muscle car is “the fastest accelerating and best cornering American car you can buy.” Consumers, tired of sluggish cars, want power. In 1976 (Pontiac’s 50th anniversary), the Trans Am is well on its way to becoming the 70’s “It” car. It is already so popular; 46 percent of that year’s Firebird production is Trans Am models. Those numbers explode in 1977 (from 110,675 in ’76 to 155,736 in ’77) when a little film called Smokey and the Bandit hits theaters. Suddenly, everyone wants to own the black and gold 50th-anniversary limited edition Trans Am. Unfortunately, only 2,590 are produced in 1976.

classic trans am

Ready to Hit the Highway

The new owner loves the restoration so much she almost does not let Ron bring it to the 2017 Indianapolis World of Wheels. “I had to talk her into showing it!” he says. “She is ready to get it out on the road.” We all know people with classic cars that are sitting, rusting, waiting for restoration (heck, we ARE those people!). Garages and barns around the world are filled with them. It is nice to think that one day, our loved ones might finish what we could not. Hopefully, Mrs. Trans Am is enjoying her memories and the new ride.

1976 trans am

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Does your insurance cover your classic car during restoration? It should. These builds can take a long time and accidents in the garage can occur. Don’t let anything happen before you finish your custom car. Let Classic Auto Insurance put together a policy to fit your needs during your restoration. We offer affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Visit our website at or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream collection.
Posted: 1/26/2018 4:01:08 AM with 0 comments

Mark Your Calendars and Polish the Fenders – Car Show Time Has Arrived!

Great Classic Car Shows on the Horizon

The 2018 editions of popular classic car shows have begun (cue the Hallelujah choir in the garage and feel free to dance around, if you wish). Yes, fellow classic car collectors, it is decision time. How many car shows will you attend this year? Tempus fugit, gearheads – time flies and before you know it, you have not even taken the car cover off yet. Just thinking about the fabulous events on the horizon leaves this collector car enthusiast dizzy. What is the one show you look forward to the most? Let us know in the comments.

World of Wheels Pittsburgh, PA January 19-21

While we are digging out this winter, shows are already beginning. Cincinnati started things off January 5-7 and Pittsburgh is ready for a great weekend January 19-21. If it is too early for you to challenge the snowy roads, consider some of the other upcoming events. They give you more time to get your classic collection in shape for the judges.

Hot Rods, Customs and the Beaver Head to Indy February 9-11

The 59th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels Indianapolis, IN, presented by Ray Skillman, returns February 9-11 to the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It is a feast for the eyes! Customs, hotrods, trucks and motorcycles are everywhere you look. A fan favorite event, the Pinstriper Panel Jam & Charity Auction will again be benefitting the Indiana Youth Diabetes Foundation. Hey Wally! Come out and say hello to the one and only Jerry Mather, alias Beaver Cleaver on the Leave it to Beaver TV show. Ryan Evans from Count’s Kustoms and Dave Kindig of Kindig-It Design are also on hand to greet fans and sign a few autographs.

March Means the Detroit Autorama March 2-4

March is known for blowing in like a lion then spreading madness all around. For the classic car crowd, there is nothing better in March than America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show! On March 2-4 the 66th Annual Meguiar’s Autorama, presented by O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, rolls into the Cobo Center in Detroit. Some of the sweetest-looking custom cars and trucks are vying for a chance at the Ridler Award, the indoor custom car show industry’s equivalent of the Oscar®. Competition is fierce and begins when the Pirelli Great 8 candidates are announced. The award is presented at the Ridler Ball along with a trophy, jacket and a check for $10,000.

The Ridler Award Guarantees Eye Candy Overload

The 2017 Ridler Award winner is a 1933 Ford Roadster owned by Buddy and Nancy Jordan of Portland, OR. This jewel-toned hot rod demonstrates the caliber of competition in Detroit. To win the Ridler Award, your design, execution and finished product must be spot-on. Witnessing the creativity that goes into these fantastic custom builds fills you with a thousand ideas to try in your home garage. Your brain is on overload from the massive amount of automotive eye candy filling the Cobo Center. Detroit is not just a car show, it’s a workshop on inspiration.

Dale Jr. Does Detroit March 3

Detroit has so much more going on. There are vendors, builder demonstrations, live music and of course, special guests. Saturday March 3, a recent NASCAR retiree will be signing autographs from 12-2p. Now that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has some free time on his hands, he may enter a car in the 2019 Ridler competition (we are starting this rumor)! Keep your fingers crossed, folks and make sure to come out and say hi.

Chicago Welcomes World of Wheels March 9-11

If you are showing your classic car during March, you are racking up the mileage. Chicago is immediately on the heels of Detroit, so rest up. The 56th Annual O’Reilly’s Auto Parts World of Wheels, presented by Danny Guest’s South Oak Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep is March 9-11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Like Indianapolis and Detroit, come prepared to see extraordinary customs and hot rods as well as classic trucks and cars.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

We are excited to have some great classic car shows coming up over the next few months. Like you, we are waiting for the day when warm weather allows us to roll our collector cars out of hibernation. If you are taking your collection on the road soon, review your insurance. Do you have the right kind of coverage? Let Classic Auto Insurance customize a policy to fit your needs. We offer affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Visit our website at or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream collection.

Posted: 1/18/2018 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

How the Ubiquitous Truck Grille Becomes a Work of Art

Shiny and Chrome, Truck Grille Art Rolls On

For some, looking at a Monet or Picasso painting is the epitome of fine art. For classic truck collectors, our artistic obsession sits on four wheels. From hoods to side panels, vintage pickups possess some of the best and most beloved designs in the automotive world. Nothing beats a beautiful truck with a shiny chrome grille. Which classic truck model/year has your favorite grille and why? Share your answer in our comments.

From Non-Descript to Art Deco

The purpose of a grille is to circulate air over the radiator. On early trucks it is a non-descript open metal grate. As automakers realize that the design of cars and trucks matters to consumers, things change. The grille and hood layout are no longer overlooked. They have become the face of the truck.

Concept Cars Influenced Truck Design

Automotive designers like Harley Earl, who created outrageous grille work on his concept cars, have a significant effect on truck bodies. Exaggerated chrome elements make their way into truck re-designs. The 1947 Chevrolet 3100 Advance Design truck series introduces the five-horizontal bar grille that would become a signature style of a Chevy truck. It is a favorite feature among classic truck customizers. An interpretation of this classic grille on the custom 1949 Chevy C-10 truck pictured below helps make it the Great 8 Winners Circle at the 2017 Detroit Autorama. Learn more about this amazing custom pickup on our previous blog and video.

Change is the Only Constant

As car makers experiment with aerodynamics and materials, truck designs evolve. Seeing the popularity of Chevy’s new grille, Ford establishes its prominent five-bar design with the introduction of the 1948 F-Series. The body styling includes a wrap-around front fascia, closer spaced headlights and a domed hood. Ford designers introduce a two-bar front with an argent-finish in 1951. They tweak this version by adding vertical guards and V8 emblems in 1954, and a V-shaped dip to the upper bar in 1955. It appears that change is the only constant when it comes to front grilles.

The Evolution of the Chevy Grille

Chevy changes their signature five-horizontal bar grille in 1954 to a crossbar design commonly known as a bullnose grille. In 1955, they toy with an egg crate style, which ends in 1956 (only to make a comeback in 1970). Nineteen-fifty-seven brings an open, forward-leaning front end and a grille that resembles a mouth with teeth. With the addition of a grid insert in 1958, the mouth gets braces. (If you are trying to keep up with the changes, you may need a cheat sheet!)

Aftermarket Parts Could Reach $722.8 Billion in Sales by 2020

The humble truck grille has given way to a blossoming industry. Owners are no longer stuck with the truck maker’s standard feature. Grilles are now a form of personal expression. There are LED, Mesh, Specialty, Punch Billet and Bar Billet Grilles. You can have a Batman emblem on your truck, if you desire. Computerized fabrication can create anything. Customized billets have become a million-dollar truck parts enterprise. Aftermarket auto parts and services are expected to reach $722.8 billion by the year 2020.

Classic Grille Design Still Seen Today

All classic truck collectors have their favorite period grille designs. Some are dedicated to the original Chevy five-bar front while others want the stylish vertical grilles found on the 1938 Chevy Half-ton. Whatever classic grille design you prefer, you see their continued influence on today’s truck and car designs. Guess there is a reason they call them classics!

Coming Soon from Classic Auto – Project C-10

Once a truck fan, always a truck fan. At Classic Auto Insurance, we love all kinds of trucks and we are devoting the entire year to restoring a 1965 Chevy C-10. Stay tuned for video updates on Project C-10, powered by American Modern. It will be a classic! We also know accidents will happen so leave nothing to chance. Even before you finish your masterpiece, protect it during its restoration. Classic Auto Insurance offers affordable coverage for a variety of collector cars. Let our knowledgeable staff answer all your questions and customize a policy to meet your needs. Visit our website at or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
Posted: 1/11/2018 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

Finding the Right Classic Car Carrier – What to Know Before Shipping

Expert Advice for Booking Car Transport

Are you making plans to attend classic car shows in 2018? Are you shipping classics or part of your collection long distance? If you do not own a trailer, a classic car carrier is the ticket. We have expert advice you should know before shipping. What recommendation would you give a collector using a carrier for the first time? Leave your answer in the comments.

Closed Carriers Offer Security for a Price

Collectors typically choose from two types of carriers: owner/operator companies and transport brokers. Established carriers own enclosed trucks and have a staff of drivers. Closed transports offer more protection and security, and the cost for booking one is about 50% more than open trailers. Most owner/operators are car enthusiasts like Ed Dalton of Classic Car Carrier in Zionsville, IN. A collector for over 50 years, he knows what it takes to transport a classic car collection and how to keep nervous collectors relaxed. “We want the collector to feel confident in our ability to deliver their vehicles in perfect condition,” he says. “We understand the responsibility we have.”

Transport Brokers Use Independent Carriers

Many of the online car shipping companies are transport brokers. They typically cost less than established carriers due to working with a large pool of independent trucks. Most of these drivers operate open air carriers. Do not let price be your determining factor in selecting a carrier. Though an open transport is less expensive, you run the risk of road debris chipping paint or cracking a windshield. Weigh your options.

7 Things to Do Before Booking a Carrier

1. Research – In addition to looking online, talk to others to learn from their experiences. Check with major auction companies, museums, restorers and local car club members for recommendations. Classic car owner online forums are an excellent source of information. Also, read reviews on or the Better Business Bureau.

2. Ask Questions – When you narrow your selection, call and ask questions. Are they licensed and bonded? How long have they been hauling cars? Do they offer door-to-door service? What are their additional fees?

3. Check Their Record – Once you have picked a company, use the DOT number listed on their website to check their safety record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If they do not display this number, select another company.

4. Compare Rates – Most reliable companies have competitive pricing. Beware of low-ball quotes. They often come with hidden fees such as charges for loading (and unloading) non-working cars or shipping spare parts in the trunk.

5. Review the Contract – Be sure to get your contract in writing beforehand. Go over additional charges and ask any questions you have before signing.

6. Check Your Insurance – Most carriers are only responsible for losses caused by their negligent actions. They will not cover damage to your classic car in the event of a natural occurrence like hail or fire. Be sure you have Agreed Value coverage on your insurance.

7. Book Early – Car carriers do not run on a regular schedule. If you are heading to a big Concours event, book early. The truck will not depart until fully booked. It can take days or weeks.

How to Prepare Classic Cars for Transport

Perform Maintenance – Take care of minor repair work like leaky hoses, low tire pressure and dead batteries. Check your antifreeze and adjust accordingly for the car’s destination. If you are selling the car as is, list all broken items on the inspection sheet.

Clean Your Car – Both you and the driver will do a pre-shipment inspection. A clean car allows you to do a proper walk-around.

Remove Valuables – Do not leave original owner manuals in the glove box. Detach any removable emblems. Take loose items out of the truck to avoid damage.

Disconnect Alarms – If you have an alarm on your collector car, disconnect it or discuss it with the driver.

Empty the Gas Tank – The maximum limit of fuel is a quarter of a tank.

Take Photos – Document the condition of your car before departure.

A Reliable Classic Car Carrier Puts You in the Fast Lane

Shipping a beloved classic car could be a stressful undertaking for many collectors. Our expert advice will hopefully save you any further frustration. In addition to checking on Ed Dalton’s Classic Car Carrier, research other car carrier companies for good deals, such as Intercity Lines, Reliable Carriers, uShip and Ship-a-Car Direct. Once you find a reliable classic car carrier, concentrate on enjoying the upcoming car show season. Let the biggest weight on your mind be where to celebrate all the awards you win.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Before you load your favorite classic car on a transport truck, make sure you have the insurance you need. Classic Auto Insurance offers affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom cars. Let our knowledgeable staff answer all your questions and put together a policy with the complete coverage you need. Visit our website at or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream collection.

Posted: 1/4/2018 12:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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