1970 Chevelle SS Muscle Car Barn Find – First Look Value and Diagnostic Costs

Every car enthusiast dreams of a barn find. An untouched piece of automotive history sitting in a run-down barn in an open field filed away 30 40 years earlier. The view obscured by a door overgrown by vines. A barely visible hub cap or hood ornament. There are hundreds of signs that there might be something of value behind that fence. It is a story that you hear behind every great restoration project. My question is where does it all begin and how does a person move forward once that car is located.

I recently came across a 1970 Chevelle SS sitting under a carport. Doing a little research I learned it had been sitting there untouched since 1993. Upon closer inspection it was sheltered from the weather, for the most part. Everything looked like it was there: bumpers, emblems, motor, and glass. This was a complete car with the letters SS and numbers 396 printed down the side. Did I just happen upon a car worth $100,000 sitting between home insulation and a fire wood pile? Knowing very little about anything I needed to check a few vital numbers before I could let myself become overcome with sweaty palms weak knees heart pounding out of my chest pupils dilated all the signs of desire. First, is it for sale? After the go ahead with an asking price I needed to find out if this car was what it looked like. Vin, check. engine number stamp, check. Protect O Plate Numbers, Check. Everything matches. This is a real SS 350 hp big block American made muscle car. Sitting in front of me was one of the last unregulated power houses to come off the assembly line from the era of torque and horsepower. I had established that is was complete, now I needed to figure out if this was a $100,000 car or a $300 scrap pile. A close look over the car showed signs of neglect. Leeks and surface rust were on or in every panel. Rust in the rear corner panel, leeks in both doors, and the interior was shot.

Motor had been sitting untouched for 19 years without being cared for. The rear window had rusted completely out no thanks to the vinyl top. It was obvious that there would need to be a complete restoration. Rear corner panels $400 per side, trunk panel $100, roof panel $250 and that is just to replace the rear window. Cow hood, oh what a work of art but broken $600. Interior completely gone, interior kit $2500. Just to make it roll Rims and tires $2000. Rebuild motor $5000 Transmission $3000 rear-end $1500 brakes $500. Fuel system flushed new lines, new tank, and new carb. Everywhere I looked was a dollar sign, not one but thousands of dollar signs. This barn find was starting to look like a money pit. Stepping back wiping off the dirt and cobwebs I had to do a quick cost analysis.

What I quickly found when I got back to the front of the barn was I didn’t care. This car still had life and it is my responsibility as a man to make her come back. Flush the engine and radiator, rebuild the carb, run a fuel line to a milk jug add a fresh battery and turn that baby over. Blown exhaust gasket, leeks everywhere but she is alive. Now the adventure starts one bolt at a time. Keep a look out for the next update to see how this story grows with each new article.

Will My Vehicle Warranty Still Be Valid If I Ship My Car Abroad?

If you are planning to ship your car overseas in areas that have facilities to provide automotive services, your car’s vehicle warranty issued by your car manufacturer and/or dealer in the United States may not be valid overseas. You should look into buying an extended auto warranty often called an international vehicle warranty before shipping your car overseas. Your automobile manufacturer or dealer can be contacted before you ship your car overseas to find a suitable extended vehicle warranty or an international car warranty.

Shipping your car abroad and hoping to use your U.S. auto manufacturer’s car warranty abroad would not be a wise course of action. Neither would be waiting until your car is abroad before finding an international warranty to buy overseas. You can locate an extended warranty seller online very easily and very economically. Of course, your car warranty should be valid in the United States or else you might want a more expensive vehicle warranty.

Vehicle warranties in the United States and abroad are time oriented. If your auto warranty has expired, you should buy an extended warranty to cover your costs in maintaining your auto before you buy an international vehicle warranty. There are some online sellers of international auto warranties that are very inexpensive. There might be a reason for the low cost of international vehicle warranties. Your best course to insure your overseas experience with your auto is to contact your car’s manufacturer either directly or through your auto dealer and get more detailed information.

Another point to remember is that your automobile warranty in the United States covers your car repairs, usually, only if a manufacturer approved mechanic or garage does the repairs. In many instances, if you use an unauthorized car repair garage, your warranty won’t be valid even here in the United States. Before spending more money on an international vehicle warranty, you might ask whether there are authorized mechanical service areas in the country where you will be shipping your car.

But, if your question is simply will your warranty be valid if you ship your car overseas, the answer is not if you repair your car overseas at an unauthorized dealer or repair shop. There are many expenses involved in shipping a car overseas. One of them is getting an international vehicle warranty. The reason why so many people choose to ship their car overseas is because the cost of buying a car overseas is astounding when compared to the cost of buying a car in the United States. Even with shipping costs and additional auto warranties, it is cheaper to buy a car in the United States than overseas.

Vehicle warranties when used appropriately can make what appears to be a costly repair situation an almost pleasant experience. There are parts of any auto that would cost thousands out of your pocket if they should need repairs. Auto warranties take that burden off of your shoulders or shall we say, your pocket book.

Classic Car Parts

When one is thinking of buying a classic car, the first question that comes to one’s mind is whether he or she could afford to get it repaired. This is because classic car parts are not easy to find, and one might have to pay a hefty price for even a small part, for a classic car.

Most of the classic car parts which one get from the market fall in the used category. One needs a great deal of effort to locate them, then make sure they will work with one’s car, and finally to negotiate a decent price. Not all mechanics are familiar with classic car parts. There are specialized repair shops for such cars, and one should consult with them before purchasing any classic car part. Some of these parts could cost you a few thousand dollars. Remember, when you are getting your classic car repaired, all of its parts should be carefully stored. There are certain classic car parts, such as steering wheels or brakes, which were made to suit the needs of a different time period. These parts may still be functional, but might not be suitable for today’s world.

And do not forget that classic cars did not come with safety devices, so there is always a chance that someone may steal a valuable car part off of your vintage car. You must take care of that before ordering a new part for your classic car. You can secure the parts of your classic car by speaking with an expert of your make and model.

Paintless Dent Repair: Myths and Facts About Car Dent Repair and Insurance

The long arm of car repair insurance doesn’t stop at extended warranties or tire road hazard insurance. Marketing gurus have found all sorts of knick knacks to insure. Among the top are ding and dent protection plans. Ding and dent insurance is growing steadily, and addresses those unsightly shopping cart and parking lot dings.

Dings and dents are fairly synonymous terms, although a ding is smaller than a dent. You’ll notice a dent. You’ll need to squint, or catch the vehicle in the right angle or sunlight to see a ding. Some dings are smaller than eraser heads.

Like extended warranties or tire insurance, dent and ding protection plans promise to pay for damages in part or in full for a specific period of time. These plans are primarily sold by new car dealerships and cost a few hundred dollars.

Ding and Dent Repair: Paintless Dent Repair

Ding and dent repair is called PDR, short for Paintless Dent Repair. There are many companies that perform this service: Ding Doctor, Ding King, No Dents, Dent Wizard…the list goes on. Some are better then others, although ultimately it’s up to the skill of the PDR technician. Prices are similar.

How is it done?

Most PDR techniques are non-intrusive. The PDR technicians use specially designed tools and gadgets to slip behind the damaged panels and manipulate and massage the damaged metal back to its original form.

Does it work?

Actually, it’s incredible! It works so well that in the majority of cases the dings and dents are completely removed. They’re invisible, gone, can’t-believe-your-eyes fixed.

I saw a soccer-ball-sized dent removed from the rear fender of a $120,000 car. The dent also had a large crease, which makes repairs even harder. After thirty minutes there was no visible detection that a dent was ever there. The repair cost the client $400. Traditional body shop estimates were hovering at $2700.

PDR positives

  • Very low cost compared to traditional body shops
  • Same day repairs–even while-you-wait service
  • No paint work, sanding, or traditional bodywork required
  • Original paint remains–helps retain vehicles looks and value
  • Body panels remain intact–maintaining structural integrity

PDR negatives

  • PDR does not address scratches or paint chips that are often associated with dings (Many PDR companies will address chips and scratches, but it’s not PDR technology)
  • Many areas of body panels are not accessible, so PDR is not an option
  • Plastic bumpers or any plastic components can’t be fixed with PDR techniques. Since the bumper is the most common area to get damaged, this is a significant downside of PDR technology.
  • Some damage can occur to door panels, paint, interiors, window glass and hardware, although damage of any kind is rare.

Do you need PDR insurance?

God, no!

Should you get your dings fixed using PDR techniques?

Hell, yes!

Let me explain…

Insuring against dings and dents does not make economic sense. Ding repairs average around $50 per ding. Some dings cost $99 to $149 to repair. Two to four dings can run $100 to $450, depending on the size of the dent. Insurance at this level is just not necessary. Moreover, it’s a gamble you will lose.

To benefit from a $300, two-year plan, your vehicle would need to sustain multiple “PDR repairable” dings or dents. Despite your coverage, you may not even notice the dings, making a claim impossible. Also, despite the amazing PDR techniques, they can’t fix everything, especially the chips and scratches that so frequently accompany a ding–should dings even occur.

Yes, get your dings fixed with PDR (if they’re bothering you), but don’t buy an insurance plan.

Protection plan economics 101

An article by Terence O’Hara in the Washington Post is a wonderful piece on the insanity of protection plans, and is applicable here. He writes:

The decision to buy an extended warranty…defies the recommendations of economists, consumer advocates and product quality experts, who all warn that the plans rarely benefit consumers and are nearly always a waste of money.

‘[Extended warranties and protection plans] make no rational sense,’ Harvard economist David Cutler said. ‘The implied probability [of an issue] has to be substantially greater than the risk that you can’t afford to fix it or replace it. If you’re buying a $400 item, for the overwhelming number of consumers that level of spending is not a risk you need to insure under any circumstances.’

…extended warranties play upon a basic human trait to avoid loss, even if it means sacrificing a possible future gain. In this case, the gain is all the other things of value that a consumer could buy with the money that was spent on a warranty

Fix your dings

Fix your dings and dents (if you want) as they come–maybe every spring. Fixing dings keeps your car looking pristine, and increases its value. But don’t bother with a protection plan. Save your money.

Hold off on that paint job

Quality paintless dent repair is often a great substitute for those considering full paint jobs. Whenever possible, it’s best to keep the original paint. Good PDR combined with a professional detail can restore vehicles to show room condition for less than $500.

Go with the best

Since 1983 Dent Wizard has been pioneering PDR technology. Their PDR technicians undergo extensive and ongoing training. The rates are reasonable and the quality is excellent. Always request a master PDR technician, as there are various levels of abilities.

Check with local dealers

Dealerships in your area may offer Dent Wizard. Your vehicle does not have to be of the same make as the dealership. In other words, you can bring your Chevy to a Ford dealer for PDR work.

Myths

Do it yourself paintless dent repair is easy.

No it ‘s not. It requires training, skill, and experience. There are many who practice PDR techniques who crack or flake the paint, or who create ripples in the metal.

The PDR products sold on TV do the same thing.

No! Not even close. There’s no good substitute for the art of PDR.

Scratch and dent repair are the same thing.

No. A ding is a small dent, which can often be repaired via paintless dent repair procedures. A scratch is an actual break in the surface of the clear coat or paint, requiring traditional body shop techniques, or touch up paint.

It’s easy to learn how to repair dents on cars.

Maybe for some, but it’s a skill that few master. Dent Wizard offers a great training program. The management and staff are top notch.

What’s the best car dent removing protection plan?

Money in your bank account!

Why Rust is Like Cancer to Your Car

Rust can absolutely ruin the metal on a car. It is best to prevent the rust from ever taking hold on your car by washing it frequently. I recommend washing at least once a week, especially in areas that use salt on the road during the cold months. All that salt and dirt and grime that builds up tends to hold the moisture in and that leaves a perfect environment for rust to begin. It often will set up in a place that has been dented or the paint has chipped. Exam your car often for small spots of rust. It is much easier to repair the rusted area when it is just a small spot.

That’s really the key. You want to repair the area while it is only on the surface. Once the rust travels deeper into the metal it becomes a much bigger and more expensive repair job. My work restoring vintage muscle cars taught me early on that rust can be lurking underneath a shoddy patch job that has been painted over. You can do a check for this by simply going around the car and knocking on the metal.

That can tell you, based on the clear metal sound or the thud of putty work used to hide rust, if the car is solid or not. It is a test I do before purchasing any car, whether it is only a year old or is one of the vintage muscle cars that I will be restoring. You should also inspect underneath the car and check the wheel wells as well. Both are prime locations for rust to begin. Never buy a car that has been in an accident, even if it was just a small accident. They car likely received some sort of damage to the paint that will be a prime target for rust. Even if the person selling the car claims to have had the car repaired by an expert. Don’t purchase it. Even with an expert doing the repair, it is very likely that rust will take hold. Take the time to check out any car before you purchase. It could save you thousands of dollars in costly rust repairs, in the long run.

Learn Basic Car Maintenance

It’s amazing how many people get taken for a ride (ha ha) just by taking their car in for a basic service. A lot of people over think the modern technology of their car and believe everything the repair shop tells them. Modern cars really require way less maintenance, even though the basic concept is the same.

With all this power and amenities, most people forget or never knew that it is the same basic internal combustion engine used over a hundred years ago. And, electric and hybrid cars require even less maintenance than conventional automobiles! Learning basic maintenance about your vehicle can save you thousands of dollars over time and minimize potential breakdowns.

The three thousand mile oil change is a thing of past. If you’re still changing your car’s oil every three thousand miles, you’re wasting your money. You need to know what type of oil your car requires and the capacity. You need to know where the oil filter is located. Cheap oil filters will damage your car over time because they can take up to nine seconds longer to achieve maximum flow at startup. If you use one of those quick lube shops, make sure you know what type of oil they will use to refill the crankcase. Make sure you check the level on the dipstick before you leave the shop. Earlier I mentioned that you need to know where the oil filter is located, here’s why, some shops will not change the filter, but will charge you for one, if you mark the old one before you take the car for servicing, you’ll be able to verify that it has been replaced. Most of these shops lose money on the $29.99 oil change. A good quart of oil will set you back about five dollars, so if your car requires five, that’s twenty- five dollars, add the oil filter and you’re over the thirty dollar mark.

Now pay close attention. This is where you need to be up to date on your car’s maintenance schedule. The $29.99 oil change is a lure, it’s to bait you in and then double or triple charge you for a filter or drive belt or some other regular maintenance item you didn’t keep up with. We’re not trying to make everyone weekend mechanics, we just want car owners to read the owner’s manual so they’ll have an idea of what maintenance has to be done at the recommended mileage intervals. With that said, you tell me if it makes sense to take your new car in for the fifteen thousand mile service and be charged $400 to $600? What did they do to a car with only fifteen thousand miles besides change the oil?

You need to learn what maintenance items to consent to and what to say no to and still be assured your car is in optimum operating condition. A great benefit in learning how to properly maintain your car is also learning how to diagnose potential repair issues.

Does Your Car Engine Backfire?

Does your vehicle engine run ok?

Or does it cut-out on you sometimes when your are going to visit your in-laws?

Does it *spit* and *sputter* and *backfire*, then start running ok, again?

Symptoms of this nature can be several things.

o You could have a sparkplug wire shorting out.

o You could have an electrical wire shorting out.

o You may have some water in the fuel tank.

Let’s take the most common of these three mentioned.

Over the years you cannot keep they fuel tank full at all times.

With a fuel tank half full, the upper part can cause condensation.

This condensation will slowly build up and run down into the bottom of the tank.

When you start to pass another vehicle you call upon the fuel pump to give me more gasoline.

The fuel pump starts working overtime and picks up more fuel, then the water goes into the line along with the gasoline.

The fuel filter catches this water and since water is heavier than gasoline, it drops to the bottom of the filter.

After awhile though, you come up behind me, and I’m not driving quite as fast as you would like to go, so you floorboard it and go around me.

What happens when you floorboard it?

Right, you are asking for more fuel.

With the filter partially full of condensation, water, some of it gets picked up into the fuel line and goes to the carburetor or injector.

“Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug, Pow!”

Purr, purr, purr.

See what happens?

You can solve this problem, most of the time, by changing the fuel filter two or three times a year.

Now, if you have just filled up at the pump, and your car starts acting this way, you may have to take the fuel tank off and clean it out.

Or, pay someone else to do it!