Archive for April, 2011

Connecticut law could affect auto hobbyists nationwide

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Auto hobbyists nationwide should be aware of pending legislation in Connecticut. H.B. 5580 restricts access to antique vehicle registration and increase fees.

The bill increasing the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles” has been passed by the Connecticut Joint Committee on Planning and Development. The committee amended in Committee the bill to increase the age requirement for registration as an antique to 30 years old and increase the tax assessment amount on vehicles registered as antiques to $2,500.

H.B. 5580:

  • • Increases the tax assessment on antique vehicles from $500 to $2,500.
  • • Increases the age requirement for antique vehicles from 20 to 30 years. This mandating standard plate fees using the same calculations used to assess taxes on regular, daily driver vehicles.
  • • Ignores the fact that existing antique, collector, rare or special interest motor vehicles constitute a small portion of the vehicle fleet and are well-maintained and infrequently operated. It also ignores that collector cars are generally only used for club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and occasional pleasure driving.

Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for antique status. Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles are currently assessed at a rate of $500, and owners pay personal property taxes on that amount. The bill will next be considered by the full House of Representatives.

Connecticut residents are encouraged to contact their representatives to voice their opposition to H.B. 5580.

In these times of attempting to increase tax revenues, auto hobbyists nationwide are encouraged to review legislation in their respective states to ensure that similar “anti-hobby” bills, which negatively impact our hobby, are modified or not enacted.

I encourage you to monitor The Specialty Equipment Market Association Action Network (, to find about auto hobbyist legislation across the country.

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Spring Indiana Auto Auctions

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

The weather is now right for automotive events, and I think of the spring Indiana auto auctions. In May, two Indiana cities host premier events in the automotive universe the Auburn Spring Collector Car Auction and the Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction – 24th Year.

The Auburn Spring Collector Car Auction, presented by Auctions America by RM, will be at Auburn, Indiana, from May 12 – 15, 2011. This inaugural event builds upon the success of Auctions America’s recent Auburn Fall Collector Car Auction. The Spring Auction includes a Swap Meet & Car Corral presented by Carlisle Events.

An unrestored Futurliner bus from GM’s ‘Parade of Progress’ of the 1940s and 1950s is an early star consignment for the expected roster of 1,000 quality motor cars and motorcycles going up for bids. This Futurliner bus, one of 12 built and eight known to still exist, is going under the hammer in Auburn with an auction estimate of $450,000 to $600,000. In highly original condition, it has recently been equipped with eight new tires, a new plexiglass windshield and all-new rubber and metal siding.

To add to the weekend’s excitement, the park grounds will be buzzing with the hundreds of vendors who will set up shop on the swap meet field and in the car corral, coordinated by the respected Pennsylvania-based Carlisle Events. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, host of HD Theater’s Chasing Classic Cars, Wayne Carini, and well-known concept car expert, Joe Bortz, will participate in a panel discussion regarding their shared passion for the collector car hobby on Saturday, May 14th.

This new event should be an excellent addition to the Indiana Auction scene. It is expected to add to the prominence of Auburn’s interest in the collector car hobby.

Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction – 24th Year  will be in Indianapolis from May 17 – 22, 2011. This event is billed as The World’s Largest Collector Auction with 2,000 vehicles. Some of the cars offered are from the Zeb Morris Estate and the Paul Dehnert Collection, plus a memorabilia auction.

four 1953 General Motors classics
Four 1953 General Motors classics
Copyright © 2011 Mecum Auctions

Mecum will present four General Motors classics whose debut at the 1953 General Motors Motorama made automotive history. Today they are among America’s most revered vintage automobiles: the Buick Skylark Convertible, Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible, Cadillac Eldorado Convertible and the Corvette Roadster.

Other collector cars include a 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster known as the Shelby Demonstrator. Another special features the Classic Fin Trendsetters Collection, five Chrysler designs stimulated by America’s race to space. A 1957 Desoto Adventurer Convertible, 1957 Desoto Adventurer Hardtop, 1957 Chrysler Imperial Convertible, 1958 Desoto Firesweep Convertible, and 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible portray Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look” designs influenced by aircraft-inspired names and styling cues.

Mecum also will offer 2,000 pieces of gas and oil petroliana, rare porcelain, neon signs, 1950s Coca-Cola coolers and vending machines in the Thursday – Sunday memorabilia auctions.

Ahh,…spring in Indiana and the return of auto shows and auto auctions. I’m stoked about checking out some of the May auto events around the state. I hope to see you there.

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Top five car culture web resources

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Over the years, I have discovered a number of car culture web resources while doing research for my writing and website development.  So, I would like to share my “Top five car culture web resources.”

Jay Leno’s Garage

 Jay Leno’s Garage has to be my number one source for all things about collectible cars.  I enjoy how Jay shares items from his vast antique car collection as well as other auto enthusiast topics.  Weekly he produces a video about the latest happenings around his shop.  Recent videos featured the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car, Lee Iacocca’s 45th Anniversary Ford Mustang, 1910 White Model O-O steam car, and 1914 Premier.  He also likes to interview other auto hobbyists on topics like all about gas, the perfect paint job, and other tips and tricks.  I visit this site weekly for my fix on Jay’s slant on car culture.

My second choice is  written by Peter M. De Lorenzo, a 30 plus year automotive advertising and marketing veteran.  I like his unbiased take on happenings in the American auto manufacturing industry and auto racing scene.  PMD pulls no-punches in analyzing how things like the rise in gas prices may affect auto manufacturing and the buying public.  He presents an interesting perspective on auto industry executive decisions and how they might pan out over time.  He has an interesting take on American auto racing and what might be done to improve the product on the track.  There are few other places to get this insider information.

eBay Motors Blog

The eBay Motors Blog  presents overviews of significant collectible cars currently offered on the popular eBay auction website.  Capsule summaries discuss the significant items regarding a particular car like current price range, plusses and minuses, and why this might be a good value.  Some recent cars have been a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster, 1977 Fiat 500, 1965 Shelby Cobra replica, and one of my dream cars, a 1971 Jaguar E-Type coupe.  This blog covers vintage cars across the automotive spectrum.  Where else can you find a 1968 Chevelle Nomad wagon that could be a collectible daily driver?


Jalopnik  offers a daily plethora of eclectic automotive items.  Recent unusual articles had topics like a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III Continenchero pick-up truck conversion, General Motors recent recall of Chevrolet Cruze models for steering problems, Microsoft and Toyota announcing a strategic partnership on next-generation auto telematics, 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Zo6 Centennial edition announcement, and auto centric wallpaper selections for your browser.  If it’s wild and wacky, you might find it on Jalopnik.

The New York Times Collectible Cars

The New York Times Collectible Cars  section covers a range of classic cars.  One story details a 1963 Buick Wildcat coupe that is still owned by the daughter of the original purchaser, who lives in her childhood home in Brooklyn, NY, almost 50 years later.  The daughter recounted how her father solicited her help in servicing the car many years ago.  She goes on to describe the car’s luxurious interior features and the documentation of all service in a diary.  These features paint pictures of collectible cars over the years.  Celebrating 50 years of the Jaguar E-Type is featured here also.

So, there you have my picks for the Top five car culture web resources.”  Check them out, and then share your picks of car culture web resources.

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Centennial Events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the Ultimate Winning Car exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which is one of the Centennial Events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This week I would like to share information on some other events of interest to auto enthusiasts.

The premier event for collectible car lovers is the 100th Anniversary Indy 500 Celebration of Automobiles on Saturday, May 14th. Race fans can view all of the cars on display as part of their gate admission.

Approximately 250 participants have been invited to display their vehicles in two divisions of automobiles manufactured between 1911-1961, the first 50 years of the Indianapolis 500. A good representation of automobiles representing the manufacturers that competed in the race during that time span is expected. This should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many unique cars such as the Mormon Meteor Duesenberg. Of course, I’ll be there documenting Indiana-built autos.

Saturday, May 28th, at the Speedway is chock-full of activities for the Indy 500 aficionados. The “World’s Largest Autograph Session” is comprised of two groups. The first is from 9-10 a.m. for all 33 drivers in the starting field of the Indianapolis 500 plus most of the 27 living winners of the “500”, and the other group from noon-4 p.m. for veteran drivers of the race. If the lines at the autograph session on March 20th are any indication, it is advisable to get in line early for your favorite driver’s autograph.

My friend Charles Leerhsen will be signing his latest book: Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500 ( along with other authors of new books about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its history. Other events include a racing memorabilia show, a display of vintage sprint and midget race cars. Plus, the Ultimate Winning Car exhibit continues at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

So, If you are obsessed with the Indy 500, I invite you to join me at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Centennial Events on May 14th and 28th. These activities should provide memories for a lifetime. Tell us your experiences.

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