Classic cars find their way back to Springfield for Cruise Night at Stearns Square

The Duryea Motor Wagon Company, the first American firm to build gasoline automobiles, had its beginnings in Springfield back in 1895. Now classic and antique cars are making their way back to Springfield for Cruise Night, occurring every Monday this summer. Monday, June 22, was the first night of Springfield’s Cruise Night; offering not only classic and antique cars, but also great music and delicious food.

The inaugural Cruise Night at Stearns Square in downtown Springfield had 14 classic car enthusiasts registering their vehicles. The antique cars lined the two parallel streets next to Stearns Square. No classic Duryea’s were showcased, however, a variety of other classic cars showed up, including the first car to register – the infamous “Mad Max,” a replica of the car used in two of the “Mad Max” films.

“I was thrilled that downtown could play host to Cruise Night,” said Chris Russell, executive director of the Springfield Business Improvement District. “With all the history of the automobile in Springfield we thought it only made sense to have a car show. If you love the classic automobiles as much as I do please join us next Monday night. And if you have a classic car of your own … don’t forget to register, too!”

While checking out amazing antique cars, attendees listened to classic music from the ’50s and ’60s and enjoyed food from two terrific downtown restaurants, Adolfo’s and Theodore’s.

Cruise Night at Stearns Square features classic and antique cars which are 20 years or older. If you would like to register a car you can do so beginning at 5pm. Registration is on Worthington Street across from Stearns Square. Registration fees are currently being waived! At the end of each night, there will be trophies awarded.

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Make sure you have proper insurance on your vehicle before attending any gathering of this type. Bump and scratches can and often do happen. Contact us today for a free quote at


Bill could launch new American classic car industry

There could be more classic cars hitting the road soon. Cars that look like classics, that is.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, introduced this month in the House of Representatives, would allow small companies to produce and sell ready-to-drive replicas of classic cars without subjecting them to the prohibitively expensive safety and emissions tests the major automakers’ vehicles must undergo.

Hobbyists build hundreds of Shelby Cobra, Ford “Deuce Coupes” and other vintage clones each year. State-by-state laws today allow the sale of component “kits” which must be assembled by the buyer or a third-party shop. Under the new rules, registered companies would be allowed to produce and sell up to 500 finished cars in the U.S. each year that would carry a federally issued Vehicle Identification Number.

The bill, H.R. 2675, co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Mullin (R-Okla.) and Gene Green (D-Texas), is supported by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which represents the kit car and aftermarket parts industry. It would require these cars to use modern engines that have already been certified by their suppliers to meet current emissions standards, but it would exempt them from the most stringent federal safety regulations.

Perhaps most importantly, the cars will have to be exact visual replicas of vehicles that are at least 25 years old, and their original manufacturers must license the designs. Stuart Gosswein, SEMA’s senior director of federal government affairs, said previous attempts to create this type of low volume classification were stymied in part by opposition from some major automakers. Allowing only classic, and not unique, designs should make it more palatable for the industry to accept, he said.

A spokesman for The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers said the group was reviewing the legislation and had no comment at this time.

“The current law does not take into account the unique challenges that small auto manufacturers face when it comes to recreating historic cars,” Mullin said in a press release accompanying the bill’s introduction. “We can’t expect these companies to be able to comply with a law that was established in the 1960s for automakers that mass-produce millions of vehicles every year. We need to encourage growth in our manufacturing market, not create unnecessary barriers.”

Gosswein predicts the impact on the auto industry will be small, eventually accounting for only about 1,500 cars a year, but even that number could create hundreds or thousands of jobs nationwide.

Lance Stander, whose company, Superperformance, sells Shelby Cobra, Ford GT40 and Chevrolet Corvette replicas without drive trains, expects his business will expand within a year from 20 to 100 people if the bill passes, and that it will make it easier to export its California-assembled products. He said a business like his would have to invest over $100 million under the current regulations to become a fully-fledged manufacturer, even at the low volumes being targeted. He said he’s excited by the prospect of potentially dozens of companies building new cars, likening it to the pre-World War II automotive industry before it consolidated into the Big Three.

David Smith, owner of Massachusetts-based Factory Five Racing, the largest manufacturer of kits, said he will continue to focus on that end of the business, but he added that the law would open up new avenues of innovation by allowing small companies to develop cutting-edge automotive technologies by using these replica platforms.

Smith, who sells several products that feature modern, original designs, said he thinks the restriction to classics is unfortunate, but he added that they attract people to car shows and other events, so the more of them out there, the better.

H.R. 2675 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it awaits further action. To qualify, companies would have to sell fewer than 5,000 cars worldwide each year.

Vintage Clone Vehicle  insurance is a specialty form of  insurance coverage to protect a self assembled vehicle. Often called kit cars have similar needs, the pieces come packaged together and you can assemble them at your own convenience. Collectors/specialists in this field invest a great deal of money and time in both these types of vehicles. Insuring this sort of investment is unique. The task of purchasing specially parts from vintage, collector and classic automobiles is truly rewarding at the end of each project. Be sure to understand the insurance needs for these vehicles, before purchasing anything. Understanding the appraisal process will also go a long way into making your you are making a sound investment. Feel free to call our office with any questions you may have so that we can put you in touch with some of our reputable sources –


Tips to Avoid Classic Car Restoration Headaches

We’ve all heard the stories. “I bought this great new restored car and took it in for a minor improvement and it ended up costing me thousands.” Or, “this car looked great in the pictures but turned out to be nothing like what was suggested.” Well, Classic Restoration Enterprises President, Melvin Benzaquen has become many enthusiasts’ first call for restoration services or to assess a possible new purchase. Having been there, he offers the following tips mixed with examples from his real-life experiences to help keep the classic enthusiast aware and on the right track.

Check body panels to ensure dents have been fixed properly — magnets don’t necesssarily work

“One project we worked on was a 1967 Pontiac GTO,” says Benzaquen. “Once we stripped the body down to the bare metal, we found the quarter panels filled with literally pounds of body filler. The right quarter had been brazed together (not welded) in two separate sections. This is an example of one of the most common horrors we find; people just filling dents, instead of working the metal to the original shape and then using the filler as it was originally intended for.” But be aware, magnets aren’t foolproof.

“Another great project we had was on a 1970 Plymouth Superbird,” Benzaquen continues. “Purchased by the customer as a restored vehicle, the seller provided three photos of the restoration: One photo in the weeds, one photo in primer and one photo painted. The customer had the car for about six months when he noticed the paint was bubbling in several areas. At this point, he called us to look at the car. Upon arrival, we could see the body was absolutely straight and we could not see any evidence of anything wrong.”

“We thought that the prep job was not done properly and the paint would need to be stripped and repainted,” says Benzaquen. “When we stripped the body down to bare metal, we were absolutely horrified. The quarter panels had been rusted and filled with body filler. The body filler had metal shavings mixed in it, so magnets would stick when the buyer checked it. The roof had been filled in the same manner to cover an extensive amount of hail damage. The trunk lid and hood were in the same condition. The trunk floor had been completely rusted out and they had placed cardboard in the holes and then fiberglassed over it. They actually took the time to make all the unique grooves and lines in the floorpan to make it look original. We had to remove the hood skin and fabricate a new skin and weld it back on the hood frame since there was so much hail damage. The hood would not stay open when we originally looked at the car. Our thought was that the hood hinges were weak. It turned out the hood would not stay open from the extreme amount of body filler in the hood skin. When we installed the new skin, the hood stayed open as it was supposed to. The nose cone was made out of aluminum and had been the victim of several impacts throughout its life. They filled the dents with an aluminum-based filler. By the time we finished the car, the customer had spent $50,000 restoring it. This was after he had purchased it for $40,000. Definitely not what the customer had originally planned on.”

So, Benzaquen advises, when looking at photos, look for images that show the car sanded down to be bare metal. Sellers, when having a vehicle restored, take plenty of photos or have the shop doing the restoration take photos of every stage of the restoration process. The more photos, the better backup and support they provide to your claims.

Confirm the car being purchased is indeed as it says it is

“Purchased for $30,000 in 2004 as a “body-on restored” car from a dealer, this 1970 Corvette Convertible quickly became a nightmare for the customer,” says Benzaquen. “The chassis had literally 1/4-inch of rust throughout. The rear trailing arms (they hold the rear suspension in) were rusted so badly, the rust was breaking the welds and causing them to literally split apart. The transmission was worn out, the engine had varying degrees of compression, the rear axle third member was worn out, the windshield frame was rotted so bad it leaked. When we removed the windshield moldings, we found the entire windshield had been caulked with bathroom caulk in a poor attempt to stop the leaks.” “The braking system was a mess.” Benzaquen continues. “One caliper was spewing fluid onto the rotor every time the pedal was pushed. This was basically lubricating the rotor when trying to stop. The rear brake calipers did not work at all. The right front caliper was a rebuilt unit and was the only one stopping the car. The main brake line from the master cylinder was put together to what amounted to ice maker fittings. It’s very dangerous to have a low-pressure fitting holding a high-pressure line together. The heater box had such a large rats nest in it, almost consuming the entire box. The dash and console wiring had been eaten in many areas by the rats. The carpeting was laid over the bare floor without any insulation. The exhaust system was rotted and they painted it to make it look nice. The headlamps and wipers didn’t work. This car was an absolute nightmare. It did have a pretty red paint job, a new interior, and a new convertible top. They had also sprayed the engine orange but sprayed it over the grease and all over the engine compartment.” Keep in mind that classic beauty is more than skin deep. A good restoration goes beyond pretty paint and clean fabrics, but deep down underneath what is easily seen.

Road signs are for the road, not for your floor boards

“$12,000 and a trip from Ohio later, this 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible, literally left parts in every state on the trip home,” tells Benzaquen. “We found the whole front unibody clip had been tack welded instead of fully welded. The electrical system was shorted and caused the alternator to fail. The floors were riveted together with road signs (stop, yield, and RR Xing were the ones we found) and then a very healthy dose of filler was utilized to cover up the butchery. We had to remove the entire front end, engine, and suspension in order to properly repair the front unibody section and weld it to the body shell. The floors were removed and new pans were put in. The engine required rebuilding and the suspension required replacement of the bushings.” Benzaquin continues: “Many purchases are made without having the car examined by an expert. The common answer I receive when I ask them why, is that they thought it looked good in the pictures. We’ve always been told ‘a picture tells a thousand stories.’ Well, I say ‘a picture can also tell a thousand lies.’ ” An expert opinion can lend credence where photos may mislead.

Have the car inspected by an expert and check references for that expert

“The seller represented this 1973 Pontiac Trans Am as a numbers-matching car,” states Benzaquen. “The seller had no problem with the buyer having the car looked at. The inspector arrived and confirmed the car as numbers matching. The deal was cemented and $14,500 traded hands. This car needed to be restored but was a driver. We get the car in and within minutes, we could tell the numbers were not right. The motor had grind marks where the block code was supposed to be along with the engine sequence number. (This pad is located just below the right side cylinder head on the block.) The VIN and a new block code were stamped in this place. (The VIN does not go there.) It goes on a pad next to the lower pulley. We looked at that pad and there was a healthy build-up of grease. We knew it had never been looked at. The engine turned out to be a Bonneville 400 instead of a Trans Am 455. The buyer had no recourse, so he decided to dispose of the car, as numbers-matching was of utmost importance to him. So, this was a good example of a buyer that tried to do the right thing by having the car inspected, and still got shafted. It is almost unthinkable that the seller lucked out by having someone who knew less then he did come and look at the car. We can’t stress enough how important it is to not just use a name out of the phone book when choosing your inspector.”

It’s important to look around, check references, and get recommendations from previous clients to ensure you are getting just the expert you need.

Bottom line, no matter how prepared you are there is always the chance something can go wrong. It’s just Murphy’s Law. However by following these simple tips and remembering these horror stories, Benzaquen hopes you will be table to avoid unnecesssary headache or hassle.

Located near New York City, Classic Restoration Enterprises Inc. specializes in total restorations, modifications, and suspension or drivetrain upgrades for a wide range of vehicles.

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Learning to spray paint your classic car, truck or hot rod like the paint shops doesn’t need to take years to master.

In this short space, it is impossible to go into detail at any length, so the following is a brief guideline to ensure quality workmanship and minimal negative comebacks. Of course, guidelines must be established.

Setting the Expectations:

Good training is reflected in quality work, as bad training is reflected in bad work, and prohibitive costs result due to comebacks.

Contaminates that float around can ruin a paint job, and that applies to the surface, and the shop as well. To do this make sure, there is adequate filtration, and that it is frequently cleaned to the point of being almost sterile. Minute dust particles and hair are the worst offenders, making technicians walking dust magnets if the filtration system is inadequate.

Every day, and before each job, the shop must be thoroughly cleaned, top to bottom, as much as possible. Keep the spray booth clean always, and thoroughly wash it weekly. Check filter regularly and replace when necessary, as it affects health.

Before starting a job, make sure there is nothing like lamps mirrors, etc. around because they can cause cracking in the topcoat and the clear coat.

Before doing any surface prep, thoroughly wash the surface, all you need is plain old soap and water, because it removes all water- soluble material that can cause damage later. The vehicle must be scuffed with detergent and hot water to remove wax and sealants.

Prepping the Paint Surface:

You might want to try some fine waterproof sandpaper to scrub the surface. Some people like to
use the scuff pads, those gray nylon types. Removing the painted area that has become damaged
requires some grinding. Ideally, you will need sandpaper that is 80 grit and an orbital sander.

You will need to concentrate your grinding along the paint area that is damaged. In order to be
successful you will have to see at least a quarter of an inch of color coat as well as clear coat
and of course the undercoat as well. So the next step will be to featheredge the etching filler.
This can be done right over the body filler or even on the bare metal. The purpose here is to
provide protection both in adhesion and corrosion.

Once you have reached this stage then the next will be for the surface primer. It’s easy to see though that by setting and following guidelines and expectations that everyone knows what their job is and what they are responsible for. If there is a problem and a repair comeback shows up it becomes easier to determine where the breakdown occurred. This way you can go back to the drawing board so to speak and correct the problems where they are happening.

Checkout this 4 minute video on how to spray paint a hot rod:

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Among car owners, the 1967 Pontiac GTO holds a special place. There are many reasons for this stature. It was fondly known as the “Goat” and set the standard in performance cars for the era. Because of its emphasis on powerful performance, the auto held a highly regarded position in various road tests routinely performed by rating organizations such as Car Life, Hot Rod Magazine and Motor Trend Magazine. The GTO could reach 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. During one test, the vehicle made a 14.2 second quarter mile. The ’67 Pontiac is the last of the first generation GTOs.

Although some owners and collectors appreciate the looks, in fact, the car is large and heavy, making it a surprising entry into the performance field. The 1967 was available in three body styles: the hardtop, the convertible and the coupe. The convertible model with Ram Air is the rarest version, with a run of only 56 of these. This makes them particularly collectible at the time and even today.

The First Generation

The popularity of the first generation GTO reached a high point with the 1967 model. Other auto makers produced competitors which tried to emulate the features, but were not as successful. 1967 was the golden age of so-called “muscle cars”. This was the year that Mustang launched its muscle cars and the Shelby “Cobra” were competitors with well-recognized names. The GTO is still considered one of the most attractive of the muscles. There were older competitors as well. Oldsmobile’s Cutlass 4-4-2 offered a real challenge with its features and innovations.

In many ways, the vehicle was not that different from the 1966 version. Some of the changes in appearance are because the looks of the 66 were spectacular and the designers hoped to keep the positive aspects. Specifically, from the side profile, the GTO looks repeated 1966. The rear taillight panels were lightly revised. The grill insert replaced plastic with chrome wire mesh elements.

The interior of a 67 made no changes in leg and head room. There was a new steering wheel look and some minor changes in the seat patterns which were made. Otherwise, the inside had few differences from the model of 1967 models. One other change caused interest. This year was the first time that the Tri-Power option on the engine was no longer available. The ban on multiple carburetors was the underlying reason for this change. Instead, the 4-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor system was added to the winning features.

There were some safety features and regulatory elements added, such as the padded instrument panel, energy-absorbing steering wheel, 4-way emergency flashers and non-protruding control knobs. California-based vehicles included emission controls. The 67 offered an option for disc brakes, as well.

Best Seller To The End

The GTO was a best seller throughout its life, largely because it remained affordable. The price of other muscle cars made them unaffordable for enthusiasts. This car offered power, style and performance with a reasonable price tag.

The 1967 Pontiac GTO offers design, power, and price for car enthusiasts. For those who remember the thrill of a muscle car, it is now a desirable collector’s item. A few can be found at auction sites and private party sales.

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Cobra Barn Find Could be Next Million Dollar Shelby

A little dust, a little dirt – eh, it isn’t so bad, especially when it’s covering an object as holy as this. In 1974, a trade between friends brought this incredible 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 into the hands of Vermont resident Sy Allen. He soon placed the car delicately on stands and locked it up in his barn, where it has slept – out of sight – for 40 years.
Now, the Cobra is out of its cage and it’s going up for sale at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale Auction, expected to bring a whole chunk of change. We could be looking at the world’s next million dollar Shelby.

And though we’ve all heard the Shelby story, it’s a tale worth retelling. With a desire to put his name on his own world-beating sports car, Carroll Shelby searched high and low for a potential donor – a sports car in which he could shoehorn a big, powerful, and reliable American V8. Given the strong racing performance of the little AC Ace, Shelby made the call, and thanks to a new compact Ford V8, Shelby had his sports car. He called it the ‘Cobra’, and we haven’t stopped talking about it since.

This particular 289 Cobra, numbered CSX 2436, is a later production example, and as such retains a whole host of upgrades that came with the breed’s evolution, including rack-and-pinion steering, a Ford alternator, dual-reservoir master cylinder, and Stewart-Warner gauges. The 289 shipped to Shelby in Los Angeles on May 26, 1964, then to Greenwich, Connecticut’s Town & Country Motors a few months later. Total cost with options included: $5,812.

CSX 2436 sold on December 9 and exchange hands a few times over the next decade, before ending up at the home of Sy Allen in 1974…now painted black instead of its original Rouge Iris coat. It’s a true time capsule on wheels, and is said to be in running condition. We’ll let you just daydream about that for a little while…

Click Here to Read the Original Article on BoldRide

Photo Credit: Mike Maez

How To Winterize Your Classic Car

It’s Almost Hibernation Season for Classic Cars.

As the days get shorter and cooler air presses south, snow will soon begin to fall. And with the snow comes the plow trucks to cover the roads with corrosive salt. This is no place for your classic car, so letting it hibernate for a few months is the best option to preserve its condition.

Before you throw the cover on and close the garage door behind you for a few months, you should consider taking a few preventative measures to ensure you’ll have a trouble-free start up in the spring. Below are some basic steps you should take prior to winter storage. For long-term storage, check out this how-to video or talk things over with a trusted mechanic.

Fuel: Modern day gasoline contains ethanol, sometimes more than 10% ethanol. Ethanol absorbs water, and this can contribute to the gas and ethanol mix separating. For you fuel sniffers, the technical term is called “phase separation.” Since internal combustion engines don’t really like water, use a fuel stabilizer. Run the engine to ensure the stabilized fuel has made it to all fuel filters and the carburetor(s).

Oil Change: As a rule of thumb, oil should be changed at least once a year even if you’ve only put 100 miles on the engine. If by chance you have water or other contaminants in the used oil, it could sit in the engine for a few months. Clean oil means no contaminants. And be sure to change the oil filter as well.

Clean It: Give the car a good wash and wax, and polish the chrome. Washing, waxing and polishing removes anything that could tarnish the finish and helps prevent corrosion. Be sure to get into the interior, too. Keep your storage area dry, because mold loves to grow in damp places like the interior of your car. You can use a desiccant, or moisture-absorbing product, in the interior

Tires: Flat spots are no fun, and one of the best ways to create them is parking your car for an extended period of time. Inflate your tires 10-15 psi higher than usual to stiffen them up. For the best protection, elevate and store the car safely on jack-stands.

Battery: The cold air and a lack of use can kill a battery. In fact, in extreme cold, a battery can freeze, which creates a big problem if the plastic case cracks. Disconnect and remove the battery. Keep it warm and keep it charged. Read all manufacturer’s guidelines for storage and charging.

These are some of the basics of winter storage. This will likely be a hotly discussed topic among your fellow car enthusiasts, who will likely have their own ideas about storing cars for the winter. You may choose to adopt some of their ideas and also use some of ours. Ultimately you’ll develop a plan that works for you and help make sure your classic
car is ready when spring comes around.

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The 1948 Indian Chief

A look at the ins and outs of the 1948 Indian Chief.

If you wanted to buy a new Indian motorcycle in early 1948, you only had one choice: the 74ci Indian Chief. 1948 may have been a good year for the Cleveland Indians baseball team — they won the World Series — but it was not so good for the Indian Motocycle Company in Springfield, Mass. Harley-Davidson had just introduced its new Panhead, which featured hydraulically adjusted overhead valves, while Indian was making do with a flathead engine that had first seen the light of day back in the early 1920s.

Of course, if you liked sidevalve engines, still common in American cars following World War II, then Indian was your choice. The 42-degree V-twin had a bore of 3.25 inches and a stroke of 4.4375 inches, with a compression ratio around 6:1. A big Linkert carburetor fed the fuel.

Standard ignition was via a battery and an automotive-type distributor, with a manual spark retard/advance lever on the handlebar. Two separate pieces made up the gas tank, the left holding more than 2 gallons of gas, the right a further gallon of gas as well as the 2.5 quart oil reservoir for the dry sump engine. There are three caps on the tank, one on the left and two on the right, with the forward cap marked “OIL” — that’s where the oil goes. Stories from the era of Prohibition tell of riders carrying moonshine in the left tank and running on the right.

A four-row primary chain bathed in oil drove a wet multi-plate foot clutch. Here we should clarify the difference between a foot clutch and a “suicide” clutch. A foot clutch is not spring-loaded. Engagement takes place using the rider’s left foot to rotate the clutch pedal backward. If he disengaged the clutch and then put his foot on the ground, the clutch stayed disengaged. That’s different from a spring-loaded “suicide” clutch, which would leap into engagement with no foot to hold it. The Indian Chief used a 3-speed (or optional 3-speed and reverse), sliding-gear transmission, with a hand-shift mechanism on the side of the gas tank.

Indian offered the option of a left- or right-hand throttle, with appropriate gearshift placement. Legend has it that the police, a major market for Indians, liked the left-hand throttle so they could pull out their pistol and fire away at the likes of John Dillinger. Larry’s bike has the sensible right-hand throttle, as did mine.

Wheels were 16-inchers with 5-inch wide tires, with 18-inchers an option. Brakes were basic single-leading-shoe with narrow drums. A weight of 550 pounds, plus the rider(s), meant a little forethought was in order to pull the bike down from speed.

The front suspension used a hydraulically damped girder and coil fork. Plunger-style shock absorbers suspended the back of the “Double Action” Spring Frame. Each shock had two springs, the top cushioning the bumps and the lower providing a damping effect.

They had minimal travel, but considering Harley’s rigid frame and more basic girder fork, the Indian’s suspension was a cut above the Milwaukee product.

Styling was enhanced by the famous Indian skirted fenders, which worked extremely well in keeping road grime off the rider. Rider comfort was enhanced by the sprung post on the saddle, and if you had the Buddy seat, it came with an auxiliary pair of springs that could be used traveling two-up. A Stewart-Warner speedometer sat on the two gas tanks, marked to 120mph. Not that a stock Indian Chief would even see three figures, but optimism is always good. The dash also included the ignition/light switch and a “battery discharge light” that lit up when the generator was not generating.

Indian only built some 3,000 Chiefs in 1948, a quarter of the 12,000 that came out of the factory in 1947. Ralph Rogers, the head of Indian since 1945, was trying to introduce new models based on British-style motorcycles (think lighter and smaller), but setting up production lines was taking longer than anticipated.

In July of 1948, Rogers got his first new bike in the Indian showrooms. Called the Arrow, it was an English-looking 220cc overhead valve single and was soon followed by the 440cc vertical twin Scout. Unfortunately, the rush into production showed that these machines had not been properly tested, and were not very reliable. Compounding problems, in September of that year Britain devalued the Pound by 25 percent, and the cost of English motorcycles in the U.S. dropped by 25 percent. The writing was on the wall; production of American-made Indians would cease within five years.

Read about touring U.S. 101 on this classic bike:

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Sacramento Man Reunited With His 1964 T-Bird 33 Years After It Was Stolen

Sacramento Man Reunited With His 1964 T-Bird 33 Years After It Was Stolen

A Sacramento man says he feels like he has won the lottery, now that his beloved 1964 Ford Thunderbird is back at home in his driveway after it was stolen decades ago.

‘Wow. Thirty-three years, huh?” said Gary Chartrand, the owner. “Man, look how clean
that is. Wahoo!”

Sweaty palms, knotty stomach, and stuttering: all symptoms of being reunited with a long-lost love. Those were the symptoms Chartrand had Tuesday as he waited for his long-lost car to be delivered.

“Beautiful. Just a few bumps and bruises, but, boy, not much has changed,” said

The last time Chartrand saw his 1964 T-Bird was in 1981, about a year after he paid $1,600 for it as a gift to himself when his 10-year marriage ended in divorce.

“I don’t even remember how to get into the glove box,” he said.

On one of what he calls the worst nights of his life, his blue beauty was stolen from under his nose — possibly by another classics admirer — while he was bartending in Old Sacramento at Fanny Ann’s Saloon./

Fast forward 33 years, and Chartrand got a call recently he never thought would come.

“It’s just nice to have it back,” he said.

Sacramento police told him his missing Ford was found 750 miles north of Sacramento in Washington, and it was in surprisingly good condition.

“Considering it’s a 50-year-old car; it’s been gone for 33 years; you have no idea where
it’s been,” he said.

So where has his love been? Who stole it? What where they doing with it?

“Looks like somebody’s had it and was getting it registered or ready for the road,” he

Perhaps as the former lovers get reacquainted, clues from the last lonely decades will continue to unravel.

Since the case is so old, and it took police so long to track Chartrand down, they are still trying to locate the initial police report from when the vehicle was recovered.

As of now, there’s no word on any suspects or arrests in the case.

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London emissions rules could ban classic cars from city center

Did you know a London emissions rules could ban classic cars from city center?

The United Kingdom is a land of tradition, and that includes traditional classic cars.

There are 800,000 of them in the country — largely well-loved by owners and the public, and they are big business. Firms and events dealing in historic cars generate about $7.5 billion a year and employ 30,000 people nationwide.

Now there are fears these cars will be blocked from the roads of the UK’s capital city, London.

It’s all about a proposed ban on all but zero or ultra-low emission cars and vehicles. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson wants to put it in place by 2020 in order to bring down pollution levels in the city.

Mayor Johnson says, “vehicles will not be allowed in, or new ones will not be allowed in, unless they have, or confirm to very, very, very stringent environmental standards.”

The new restrictions would apply to many older cars, but especially classics built well before environmental controls were even dreamed of.

Vintage Car Dealer David Clark says, “customers come to London from all over the world to see classic cars, they won’t be able to drive them. Won’t be able to do anything.”

Car buffs say they’re willing to work with the Mayor on the new restrictions, as long as they don’t take all the air out of their historic cars’ tires.

According to Ben Cussons of the Royal Automobile Club, “it is going to be a question of finding balance, about usage, whether it is a full-time exemption, or whether, for example, older vehicles will pay an enhanced charge to enter the [London ultra low emissions] zone.”

In fact, Mayor Johnson’s office tells Fox News it thinks some sort of exemptions can be put in place to keep the classics on the road, but a deal still needs to be struck to clear the air — in more ways than one.

For more visit