Classic Car Restoration – Reputation Is King

I spend a lot of time talking about the restoration of your cars, and instructing you how to do it so you can save money, and not have to let your car rot in the elements of the weather, but in this article I’m going to turn the corner, and chat about how you can locate a good shop to do the work for you.

If you’d like to take your car to a shop to get it restored, but you just don’t know where to start, I’m going to try to help you with your hunt for a good shop, and with that we’ll start with the shop’s reputation in the industry, now obviously the shop owner will always brag up his own shop.

So now that you have located a shop, how do you know that they do the kind of high quality work that you want on your car, if your actually at the shop, one of the first things you should do is ask the owner for a list of references of customer that have had car worked on by them, most reputable shops will be glad to provide you with a list of references.

If the shop doesn’t want to provide you with the list of customer references, that should turn on a big giant red line for you, but references aren’t the whole picture, take a tour of the shop, and look at the work being done at that particular shop, ask the owner if they have ever restored your particular car.

Look at how they keep the shop, is it clean, neat, and tidy, a real shop should always look the part, obviously where their doing work on the cars, the shop will be dirty, and that just means that the shop is busy, this is a sign that they do good work also, usually good shops are always busy, with projects that re in the shop, and project that are waiting to get in the shop.

Have the owner of the shop show you some pictures of cars that his shop has restored in the past, an owner should be proud of his shop, he should love it, and he should let a potential customer know how proud he is of his shop, and the work that has been done there, but by all rights should not be cocky about it.

The owner should love old cars, and a restoration should not seem like a hardship for him, he should enjoy talking to you about your car, he should be in touch with the car community in his city, he should welcome your business, and love your car, as not just another job, but as if it were his own car, and should pour his shop’s heart and soul in to the car.

Most shops don’t do estimates on restoration work, because they are in business to make money, and promote their shops reputation, in most cases a shop would have you sign a contract to restore your car, and this contract would tell you how payment is expected to be done by you on your car, and what is expected of the shop as far as the restoration of your car.

The contract should cover timely completion of the restoration project, the quality of work that the shop is to perform, it should cover added time for parts locating, if your car is difficult to locate parts for, you should read any contract very carefully before you sign it, if you have questions about it, ask the owner to explain what that area of the contract means.

Remember the contract should cover every aspect of what’s expected of you, and what the shop’s responsibilities are, this will make the entire job go smoother, this way the shop won’t be trying to squeeze you for extra money, and you won’t try to pull the wool over the shop’s eyes, a contract is a good way to do business with respect to a classic car restoration.

It’s a Doozie – The History of the Duisenberg Automobile Classic Motor Car

It can be said that many of the greatest things in life start off with humble beginnings. So is it with the Duisenberg Motor car. You may have heard the expression off times – “That’s a Doozie” or “It’s a Doozie”. These are all references to a great car and car automaker of renown – the Duisenberg.

The Duisenberg began its life as the Auburn-Cord-Duisenberg. Ernest Lobban Cord began his career in the automobile industry in a most humble manner – as a simple repairer of model T Ford cars. It could be said that this start of the Duisenberg line met with even fairly mixed fortunes. – Mr. Cord said to have become a millionaire three separate times even before he reached the ripe and experienced age of 21 – losing his entire fortune fully each of the three times. Finally at the ripe old age of 30 years and with lasting and real wealth,, Mr. Cord joined the failing Auburn company as its “general manager”., bought a substantial share in the company and proceeded to bring Auburn back onto the path of financial security and wealth.

Aside from being obviously a clever engineer himself, Cord had the greatest ability and abilities to spot great talents and talents in others. As a result he spotted, hired and employed such classic notables and famous legends in the automobile trades as Gordon Buehrig, Harry Miller and Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Next Mr. Cord promptly bought control of the Lycoming engine plant and the Duisenberg Company itself.

The Deisenberg brothers, Fred and August had originally begun by actually making bicycles in their adopted “home town” of Des Moines Iowa, before going into the sport of motor racing, building their first racing car in 1903. The Duisenberg Company itself was formed in 1912 to build race cars, and their success led inevitably to the manufacture of standard road cars. The first of the Duisenberg line of standard motor cars for the road and non-racing a driver was the Model A tourer. The Model A “Tourer” has been dated for the year 1920. It can be rightly said with truthfulness as well as knowledge that the Duisenberg road cars were more than heavily based on the knowledge and expertise gained from auto racing itself and were excellent examples of advanced engineering and automotive mechanical technologies of the time. The Duisenberg automotive product line quickly established a more than solid and well earned reputation on the roads just as the Duisenberg racing cars had collected a bevy of speed and racing records. Amazingly the Duisenberg racing group had taken the venerable race wins of Indianapolis in the years 1924, 1925 and 1927.

It can be said that Mr. Cord’s tough leadership and empire-building ambitions had brought a most vital had brought a most effective combine into being and Auburn-Cord -Duisenberg proceeded to flourish in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately Cord’s timing was particularly bad and all of his projects reached fruition in the same fateful year – 1929, the same year as the great stock market “crash”. Miller, himself, patented his version of “Front Wheel Drive”

The following year – 1929 – in which for the first time the Cord nameplate itself was used – the L29 was introduced and released for sale. Designed by Carl van Ranst , it carried Miller’s front axle setup. Next in line were such speedy and flighty cars as the Auburn Speedster which was had the distinction of being the first car line that stated and guaranteed that each car had been individually been speed tested to 100 miles per hour.

Hence the Duisenberg reputation as fine motor cars of great speed as well as beauty was born, cultured and maintained. It’s no accident that the name Duisenberg carries such a reputation and notoriety among car aficionados.

The expression “It’s a Doozie” has been well earned.

Antique Car Museum Guide – Virginia Car Museums

You don’t have to go far in the state of Virginia to find an antique car museum. Virginia is home to at least eight (or nine, if you stretch your definition of “car” to include tanks!). Here is a listing of all the vintage car collections I can find information on in Virginia.

The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum at the Luray Caverns traces the history of transportation in America. Items on display include horse-drawn carriages, coaches, wagons, and early automobiles. The automotive collection includes an 1892 Benz, a 1908 Baker Electric, a 1913 Stanley Steamer, and Rudolph Valentino’s 1925 Rolls Royce. You must purchase an admission to the Luray Caverns to get in to the museum. (540) 743 – 6551

The Roaring Twenties Antique Car Museum in Hood features 32 vintage cars on display, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s. The collection includes examples from Carter, Star, Stephen, Cleveland, Hupmobile, Paige, Nash, Essex, Packard and Cadillac. There are also horse-drawn carriages, old farm implements, and period advertising on display. (540) 948 – 6290

The Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke has cars and other vehicles from nearly every decade of the twentieth century. The museum focuses primarily on the railroad industry, but also has an aviation and aerospace section. (540) 342 – 5670

Fred’s Car Museum in Appomattox holds more than sixty five antique cars, dating from 1906 up to 1980. Highlights of the collection include a 1906 Schacht, a 1914 Saxton, a 1920 Piano Box Buggy, a 1936 Packard, and a very rare 1939 Lincoln V-12 limo. (434) 352-0606

The Accomack-Northampton Antique Car Museum in Parksley features a 1922 Durant, a 1935 Auburn, a 1956 Thunderbird, and lots of automobilia. (757) 665 – 6161

Eavers Classic Cars and Collectibles Museum in Staunton has over twenty classic cars on display, including a genuine 1965 Shelby AC Cobra, Elvis Presley’s last Cadillac, and a 1959 Devin sports car. (540) 337 – 1126

Old Cranks Motor Car Museum in Galax has a unique assortment of antique cars including a one-cylinder Orient Buckboard, a Detroit Electric and a Stanley Steamer. (276) 236 – 5114.

The Wood Brothers Racing Museum in Stuart covers 58 years of racing history. You can view the 1971 Purolator Mercury Cyclone, a 1989 Neil Bonnet Thunderbird, and a 1937 Glen Wood Ford Coach. There are also trophies, racing suits and helmets, and tons of other racing memorabilia. (276) 694 – 2121

The AAF Tank Museum in Danville doesn’t have antique cars, but I couldn’t leave them out! Their collection includes 117 tanks and artillery pieces, plus over twenty thousand other military related artifacts dating all the way back to 1509! (434) 836-5323

Quite a variety for the automotive enthusiast to choose from if you are passing through Virginia, or live nearby. As always, call ahead for information on hours and holiday schedules before making the trip.