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The Monthly Newsletter ~ December 2017

The newsletter is a monthly collection of stuff of interest to car hobbyists. If you wish to submit an article or photo please go to the Submissions Page for info.

From Fred
Here is an update on the Chesterfield personal property tax for antiques. At our last meeting Tom Herman, who owns several antique fire trucks, came to the meeting with a personal property tax bill for an antique fire engine. Both Tom and I have contacted Supervisor Steve Elswick. Recently Tom heard from him and stated: "I spoke with Steve Elswick yesterday and he said he has spoken with everyone involved and there is no opposition to pushing through an ordnance correcting the county code. He is following up on that and will keep me posted on progress. It may take a little time and will require a public hearing. He feels that is the cleanest way to get it resolved." Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

I have sent letters to five members of the General Assembly asking them to sponsor an exhaust bill. I have not heard from anyone and will update you as soon as I hear from someone. Hopefully someone will sponsor a bill to correct this situation.

It's that special time of year where everyone wants to see the antique cars in parades decorated for Christmas time. I stopped doing parades years ago. You have to wait, wait and wait, then you take off at a speed slower than you can walk and watch the temperature gauge climb. Yes, the people and especially the kids seem to appreciate you putting your special vehicle in the parade but still it is a lot of waiting around for a few minutes of seeing their smiling faces.

I recall years ago I was asked to provide antique vehicles for the dignitaries. I was told to bring exactly 8 vehicles for parade rides for these special people. At the last minute I had a car cancel so I drove my old car just in case. After the usual long wait all the vehicles showed so mine was extra. I decided since I had waited so long that I might as well join the other old vehicles. Wrong move - one of many people who appeared to be in charge of the parade told me to get out and leave. Then another not so nice person told me to leave at once or he'd get the police to arrest me. This was the thanks I got for getting some old vehicles to carry officials. And it was the last time I did that. It certainly helped cure me of participating in parades.

I shouldn't be surprised because many of this government connected people only want to use you and me for what they need. These same people ignore us when we need something done. In fact after my parade experiences I can't imagine why anyone would want to take their old ride to participate.

I wish you and your family a merry holiday season and once again let's all hope 2018 is a better year.

Stop painting crap and start painting some vehicles

Photos this month are from Eggleston auction in Farmville - this is a 1915 Hudson

News You Can't Use ~ 100% True
South Carolina Senator Paul Campbell, 71, found himself in handcuffs after getting picked up for a DUI and struggling to stand when officers cuffed him. According to reports, Campbell's vehicle crashed into 21-year-old Michaela Caddin's car on Interstate 26, which is when authorities were called. Although when police arrived, Campbell was found in the passenger's seat with his wife, Vicki Campbell, behind the wheel. But after talking with Caddin, she told authorities the senator had switched with his wife after the crash, The Post and Courier reports. Police asked Campbell to exit the vehicle, and by this point, it became clear the senator was in rough shape. The incident, which was all caught on camera, depicts the senator being given a sobriety test, which he fails. However, Campbell stated one of the reasons he was unable to walk a straight line was that he is diabetic and “one of his legs is shorter than the other,” New York Daily News writes. That said, his excuses went out the door when his blood alcohol level came in at over the legal limit. As a result, the senator was arrested for driving under the influence. As he was being cuffed, he said: “This may cost me my job. You know that, I guess.” He later complained about the handcuffs, stating: “This is not fun. This kinda sucks. I'm going to change the law on this ... I'm not DUI. I wasn't driving the car anyway.”

An incident in which racist slurs were painted on a car near the Kansas State University campus last week was a hoax, and the man who painted the slurs has apologized. Riley County Police reported Monday afternoon that the owner of the car, Dauntarius Williams, 21, of Manhattan, admitted to investigators he was responsible for the graffiti. Law enforcement officials, however, decided not to file charges against Williams. Police said that after learning that Williams had defaced his own vehicle, Riley County Police Director Brad Schoen and the Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson held a series of conversations. The two law enforcement agencies concluded that despite having filed a false report, criminal charges against Williams would not be in the best interests of the citizens of Manhattan. In a news release, police said Williams expressed genuine remorse “and expressed sincere regret that his actions had resulted in the negative media attention that resulted.” “I would like to deeply apologize to the community,” Williams said in a statement released by police. “The whole situation got out of hand when it shouldn’t have even started. It was just a Halloween prank that got out of hand. I wish I could go back to that night but I can’t. I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain and news I have brought you all,” he said.

An Ohio teen facing road rage charges bolted from court as a judge sentenced him to jail, and then led police on a high-speed chase that ended with him slamming into a family's SUV, authorities said. Cyrus Mathews, 19, fled Wednesday after being ordered to spend 60 days behind bars, according to the Wadsworth Police Department. Accompanied by his girlfriend, the young man stomped into the parking lot and got behind the wheel of his car. Bailiff Sharon Ray chased after the couple, and pleaded with Mathews to go back and apologize to the judge. "You don't want to do this," Ray told them. "That's a felony escape ... I tried talking to the girlfriend and said, 'If you really love him, tell him he's making a poor decision,''' Ray recounted to The Chronicle-Telegram. Instead, Mathews sped off in a 1989 Buick, she said. Police gave chase as Mathews reached speeds of more than 90 mph, authorities said. But he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a SUV carrying a couple and their 10-month-old baby, police said. The family suffered minor injuries. But Mathews and his girlfriend were trapped in their mangled car and had to be cut out, authorities said. They are hospitalized with serious injuries. Municipal Judge Stephen McIlvaine said Mathews' misdemeanor road rage charges concerned "very aggressive" behavior during a June traffic incident. Mathews was cut off by another driver and then rammed his vehicle and ran him off the road, McIlvaine told the newspaper. "There was a confrontation afterwards and police said (Mathews) was very aggressive. He was acting very inappropriate," the judge said. In 20 years on the bench, McIlvaine said he's never seen a defendant bolt from the courtroom. There were no officers in the room because Mathews was facing misdemeanor charges and hadn't exhibited violent behavior to the court, he said.

What started as a road rage incident in Virginia turned into a terrifying crime involving armed suspects forcing their way into a home and attacking people who were inside, Prince William County police said. The violent home invasion happened Friday night after a 19-year-old man drove along Springwoods Drive in Woodbridge. As the teen was driving, police say he got involved in some type of altercation with three people who were in a car. The suspects started taunting the man and tailgating him. “What transpired there is still a little unclear, but he was being followed after that incident,” said Sgt. Jonathan Perok. They continued following the man until he reached his house on the 11700 block of Gascony Place. But the incident was far from over. The three suspects then left their vehicle, followed the man up to his house, forced their way in and started beating members of the man’s family. “Once inside, the suspects assaulted two occupants of the home, a 43-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman,” police said in a statement. One of the suspects, a woman, was armed with a handgun while the other two suspects, both men, were armed with a knife and a baseball bat. “The female victim was initially armed with the bat for self-defense when it was taken by one of the suspects and used on the male victim,” said police. The 43-year-old man told NBC Washington that he was stabbed multiple times and had to be taken to a hospital. “They pushed me on the couch and started hitting me,” said the man, who added that the female suspect told him “I’m going to kill you” when she took out her gun. He is expected to recover from his injuries. The suspects were able to escape and have not yet been arrested. Police say they were last seen driving a black Honda Civic with a yellow stripe on the side.

Last May, a Kingston, New York, legislator was pulled over for speeding while driving her Prius on a major Ulster County road. Now, the video of Jennifer Schwartz Berky’s encounter with Officer Gary Short finally has been made public. And it’s hard to say which part of it is worse, Berky’s excuses or her bad acting. The almost-30-minute police stop was captured on video and shows the lawmaker, who makes $58,000 a year, admitting to the officer that she was on the phone and speeding. Then the dissembling began. Throughout the video, the patient and undoubtedly amused officer was treated to the biggest litany of excuses you’ve heard since you tried to explain to your parents why the party at your house was somebody else’s fault. Here’s just a partial list of Berky’s excuses and the ways she tried to throw her weight around to get out of the ticket:
On the phone with her son.
Going with the flow of traffic.
She’s a local lawmaker.
On her way to a job interview.
On her way to take her son to parties.
If she didn’t go with the flow of traffic, other drivers would honk at her.
She started crying.
She wailed that the fines were too expensive.
Said she suffered from PTSD.
Appeared to feign a panic attack while appearing to hyperventilate and then calmly answered her phone.
Accused officer of singling her out.
Said she missed the job interview.
Claimed cop was ruining her career.
Said the officer made her feel unsafe.
“I work 24 hours a day just to support my family."
Calls assistant during the call to see if her schedule is clear for court date.
In addition to trying to intimidate the officer by bringing up her elected official credentials, Berky, a member of the Democrat, Green, and Working Families political parties, also showed some Hollywood chops during the stop. Berky appeared to make sure the officer was watching when she started what she called a panic attack, which she said had something to do with PTSD: Short offered Berky medical help, which she didn’t take. But the legislator was quickly and miraculously healed.

Buckle up - 2018 could be a rough ride

Amiee Cagle, 25, still wears the engagement ring her fiancé gave her, days after she and their 5-year-old son, Kayden, had to bury him. "He was the love of my life. We had a special kind of something," Cagle said. "He was the best father. And I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But now I don't have that chance." She said she'll continue to wear the ring "for a long time," and hopes to help get justice for her fiancé. Kenneth White, 32, was killed just north of Flint, Michigan, on October 18 while riding in a car that was hit by a rock thrown from a highway overpass. Police say five teens threw a series of rocks from the overpass and then went to eat at a McDonald's. The five have been charged with second-degree murder, all accused of playing roles in throwing the deadly rock. Kyle Anger, 17; Alexzander Miller, 15; Mark Sekelsky, 16; Mikadyn Payne, 16; and Trevor Gray, 15, were arraigned Tuesday and pleaded not guilty, according to Gray's attorney, Erwin Meiers. Cagle said she plans to go to as many court dates as she can. "I want people to know about this," Cagle said. "I want people to know that there are consequences for your actions." But proving the five teens knew that hurling a 6-8 pound rock from a highway overpass at cars going about 70 mph could result in someone's death could be difficult for Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who is trying all five teens as adults. White was riding in the passenger side of a van, heading home from work, and died shortly after the rock came through the windshield and hit him in the chest and face. "The injuries are horrific. ... I gasped out (when I saw them.)" Leyton said. "I've seen a lot in four terms."

Last year, Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris signed a two-year contract worth $5.5 million. In addition to a $1 million signing bonus, Morris will earn a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.2 million this season and is eligible for up to $1 million more if he leads the league in rushing and runs for 1,500 yards. But Morris's spending habits don't reflect his paycheck. Case in point: He still drives a 26-year-old Mazda 626 sedan from 1991 that he bought for $2. Morris purchased the vehicle, affectionately known as "Bentley," from his pastor for just a couple bucks during his junior year at Florida Atlantic University. It garnered national attention in 2012 when he was drafted to the Washington Redskins and took Bentley with him. "It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point," said Morris in 2012 on the Redskins' website. Bentley did get bit of a makeover to help it continue shuttling Morris to and from practice. In 2013, Mazda offered to refurbish the car for Morris, and he readily accepted. The company gutted the sedan, stripping it down to its skeleton and installing a new engine, new interiors and a GPS. After making the move to Dallas in 2016 and signing an even more lucrative contract, Morris held on to Bentley. "It's always going to be my baby and I'm going to drive it 'til she dies," he told the Cowboys' blog 5 Points Blue. "Hard work and humility are Morris' family values," 5 Points Blueexplains. "Driving the old car is a way of reminding himself to stay humble."

Morris isn't the only wealthy athlete to live like he's broke. Despite earning nearly $20 million last year, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins chooses to live in his parents' basement with his wife during the summer and drive a dented GMC Savana passenger van that he bought from his grandma for $5,000. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, one of the highest-paid athletes in the NFL, still uses a flip phone, and free agent Ryan Broyles chooses to live on a modest $60,000 a year.

I just want to know if this car will suck. British vacuum cleaner maker Dyson announced Tuesday that it is working on what it calls a “premium” electric car that will go on sale in 2020. This will be the first in a line of battery vehicles, it said. The company behind the Dyson vacuum cleaner and hand dryers has been working on electric battery technology for almost two decades. “We know this is a crowded market,” said Dyson founder Sir James Dyson as he announced the company would spend $2.7 billion on the car and battery technology, and predicted the automotive business would “quickly” outgrow the rest of the company. Half will be spent on the battery, and half on design and manufacturing.

Husband and wife Carmin and Alejandro Rivera Sr. were driving about an hour away from Manhattan when their lives flashed before their eyes. The Riveras were driving down the highway when a tire blew out on their car, causing them to lose control of their Subaru. It was then that they ended up swerving out of their lane and smashed underneath a tanker truck. Thankfully, there were onlookers present who, without thought, took action, risking their lives for their fellow man. Witness Jackie Welch told reporters at WABC: “Everybody just ran across the highway, even with flames coming out of the gas tank from the car. Nobody knew if it was going to blow up, or if it was a fuel tanker and nobody cared.” In a video taken by the witness, people are shown crawling under the truck in an attempt to rescue the couple, struggling to get to them before the car potentially blew up in flames. Welch added: “[They] ran over without even thinking, even with the flames. Nobody really knew what the tanker was carrying.” Despite this, the brave individuals got to the Riveras and pulled them to safety just in the nick of time, Welch noted: “They got the people out of the car and next thing you know somebody was screaming, ‘Get back, get back' and the gas tank just blew up on the car.” Following their rescue, the Riveras were taken to the hospital, where they were treated for serious injuries.

A Durant

1941 Ford coupe

Monthly Rant ~ Commissioners of the Revenue
Recently Chesterfield had a Commissioner of the Revenue race. I’d like to go over some things that I’ve seen commissioners do in the past that I don’t think they are legally allowed to do.

By state law commissioners have to use an approved price guide to determine the value of personal property such as cars and trucks. Usually they use KBB or the NADA guides to find that value. Then they use the low book value which is sometimes called the trade-in value. This is the right value because there should be no doubt the vehicle is worth that amount unless the vehicle is damaged, doesn’t run, has a major problem like it’s been in an accident, high mileage or has a transmission that doesn’t work.

If your vehicle has high mileage or damage the book value decreases – in fact the book value is partially determined by mileage. You want to have your vehicle devalued because of high mileage, damage or it just doesn’t run so you call the commissioner’s office and are told to bring it to the office for inspection. If it doesn’t run you will have to tow it.

There someone goes out and looks at your vehicle and determines that indeed the vehicle had higher mileage than it should for that model year or the person looks over the damage caused by an accident. There is absolutely no doubt the vehicle has damage or high mileage and you think you will get a break on the tax bill.

Next you go inside where the person who works in the office looks up the book value. Only this time instead of taking the low book and subtracting for high mileage or damage the person takes the high book and deducts so that you end up paying pretty much the same as if you hadn’t wasted your time coming in. And yes, I have witnessed this happen. Of course this “new” value is not fair market value that is supposed to be used to determine the property tax.

Another thing I’ve seen is the assigning of vehicles for business use. When Jim Gilmore ran for governor on the no car tax and won he only got a partial tax cut on vehicles that are only for private use. Business vehicles have no car tax relief and the owners must pay the full tax. If you have a business license and own vehicles expect the commissioner to determine that your most valuable vehicle is used for the business and will get no tax relief. The commissioner doesn’t pay any attention to the DMV info that says your old worthless truck is the business vehicle. Again you will have to call the office or come in and try to get the office to change the business vehicle to reduce your tax bill.

One time, about 15 years ago, I went to the commissioner’s office in Chesterfield to get an error corrected on a bill. The woman in the office was not happy to make a change that would have reduced my tax bill. They made the error not me. Then the woman started going through all my info on all the vehicles I owned and found a Chevy pickup truck. She asked was the truck an 8-foot or 6-foot bed. I thought the question strange but answered honestly that the truck had an 8-foot bed. She then told me to wait and came back 20 minutes later with a new and higher tax bill for the truck. She said that the 8-foot bed truck was worth more and was very happy to present me with a higher bill. A long bed truck worth more than a short bed – no way!

It’s no wonder why people dislike commissioners of the revenue when they pull stunts like those above.

3 resto Shops Later Mustang is Restored
From Performance Ford - see photos at this link: Fan Spotlight

You can add Joe Parker’s name to the list of classic Mustang owners who’ve shared horror stories about trying to get family heirlooms restored via unscrupulous shops. Joe’s mom got a new Mustang GT for a Christmas gift from his dad back in 1965. Joe got it in 1971, drove the wheels off of it and decided to have it restored in 1990. To hear the bittersweet ending of the Parker’s 1966 Mustang GT restoration saga, read his email to us below:

“Hi, Ford Performance! My father bought a new Mustang GT for my mother's Christmas present in 1965. It was Emberglo red with a black interior. Mom eventually gave the car to me in 1971. I drove it for years until I left it in Texas to get it restored when I moved back to North Carolina in 1990.

“The Texas shop removed the engine and painted the engine compartment . . . then let it sit for seven years and did not get around to doing any more work on it. So I had it brought to North Carolina and left it with a restorer in Waxhaw, NC, who had the car until 2013. I kept in touch with him and he kept telling me he would do the work . . . but it never got done. My mom really didn't believe I would ever get it finished.

“When we picked it up four years ago to take it to a third restorer (Barry Stone), we found it sitting in the lot behind the Waxhaw shop with all of the car’s windows partially rolled down, and worse – many parts were missing off the car.

“My new restorer sent it out to get the bodywork done, and it took three people a total of 734 hours to complete the work. The engine and transmission were sent out to rebuilders. Then Barry went to work putting it all back together. He finished it in August this year.

“Sadly, mom died in July and did not get to see the completed restoration, but she did get to see over 100 pictures we took documenting the progress. It ended up costing me over $52,000 for the complete restoration.

“The engine is no longer stock (aluminum heads, new cam, new intake and carburetor) and I had the interior color-changed plus had a Shelby GT350 Cobra style hood installed to replace the stock Mustang hood. I also had the suspension beefed up. I just love the results and plan to drive it and show for many more years to come.”

Red Chevy coupe

Pontiac coupe

Mythbusting: Seasonal Storage
From Hagerty by Rob Siegel
s Thanksgiving nears, it’s time for those of us in cold weather areas to put our precious rides away before the white stuff (snow) falls and more white stuff (salt) is spread onto roads in quantities sufficient to cause bridge decks to collapse.

There’s quite a bit of calculus involved in “The Impending Winter Car Shuffle,” as I keep my cars in several different storage spaces during the winter months. So I need to decide which cars deserve “project” status and thus get one of the coveted spaces in my garage, and which cars can slumber peacefully off-site until their spring awakening.

Let me preface all this by saying that cars really don’t like to sit. All of the problems associated with winter storage can be ameliorated simply by driving a car as often as possible. A three-month slumber is a blip on the radar as long as you keep the battery charged, but the gas can go bad and tires can flat spot if the car sits much longer than that. As you move from “months” to “years,” the gas tank rusts (at least the metal tank on a vintage car does), the brake and clutch hydraulics begin to dissolve into the brake fluid, and the rings start to stick to the cylinder walls. So the shorter the stationary sojourn, the better. The problem is that for many people, “winter storage” means Thanksgiving to Memorial Day. That’s six months, not three, which pushes that “no worries” philosophy to the limit.

Here are my biggest storage concerns this time of year:

The space itself. I hope I’m preaching to the converted when I say that it is crucially important to keep a vintage car dry. That usually requires use of enclosed indoor storage. Not everyone is fortunate enough to own or rent a private building with 12,000 square feet of climate-controlled and air-filtered space. I certainly don’t have anything like that. Many of us make do with what we have—or have access to. Hopefully, that’s a fully-enclosed garage. If you absolutely must use an open carport (it’s better than nothing), avoid parking a car on dirt or grass at all costs. Both surfaces trap humidity and allow it circulate under the car. In an enclosed space, dryness is more important than cleanliness, provided that there aren’t rakes and paint cans poised to fall off the wall or shelves and smack your car. Electricity is helpful, as it allows you hook up a battery charger (discussed below), but it isn’t absolutely essential.

A car cover. Unless your space has active air filtration, a cover is an absolute must for storage. After all, you might think you’re just putting a car away for the winter, but life is full of unexpected hurdles, and who knows—five years later, it might still be there. As I wrote in my first book, “I’m sure every car guy who ever found a cool car in a barn would give his eye teeth to go back in time, find the owner, hand him a car cover, and beat the crap out of him until he agrees to go out to the barn and put the cover on the damn car.” Covering your vehicle keeps particulate matter and stray UV light away from the paint. It also protects against the footprints of little critters that might find their way into the storage space.

Rodent repellant. Speaking of critters, the damage that mice can do is enormous. They chew wires, particularly on newer cars with biodegradable soy-based insulation. They rip up seating material and use it to make nests inside the heater box. And that’s not to mention the waste they leave behind. Make sure there’s no food or food-related trash in or around the car to attract them in the first place. You can read up on the pros and cons of using dryer sheets, D-Con, mothballs (naphthalene), sulphur, peppermint oil, and electronic repellents. All have their share of fans—and detractors.

Tires. The longer a car sits, the greater the danger the tires will get flat spots. I haven’t had a problem with cars that sit for three months over the winter, but I have definitely felt flat spots on tires/cars that have been sitting for six months. The good news is, those flat spots usually round out once the car is driven. But why take a chance of causing permanent damage? If you think your car is going to sit idle for longer than a season, it may behoove you to put it up on jack stands. A better solution is simply to drive it, or at least roll it a few feet, at regular intervals. Also make sure that the tires are fully inflated before putting a car to bed for the winter.

Battery storage and charging. What to do? It all depends on where the car is stored, if electricity is available, and how long you plan to store the car. Any time I leave a car for more than a week—summer or winter, even at my house—I disconnect the negative battery terminal so the battery won’t run down. My rule of thumb for storage is that if the battery is in good shape and fully charged, there’s rarely a problem with disconnecting it for a month or even two, even in cold weather, and simply hooking it back up and starting the car. But if I’m parking it for the entire winter, and if it’s sitting in an unheated garage, simply disconnecting the battery isn’t enough. I’m likely to come back in the spring and find a weak or dead battery.

Part of the problem for me is that one of the spaces where I store cars doesn’t have electricity, which means I can’t use a battery charger. If your garage has electricity, by all means leave the battery on charger. If you have a good three-stage battery charger, you can simply leave it hooked up, as the third stage is the maintainer charge. If you don’t have one, you can use a battery maintainer or a trickle charger, which performs only that final charging stage. Since I have more cars than I have battery chargers, when cars are wintering in unheated storage areas (that aren’t my garage), I wind up pulling the batteries out, bringing them home, and keeping them charged round-robin style.

I am a little squeamish about the risk of fire from leaving an unbranded $12 trickle charger plugged in, particularly in a far-flung storage space, and as such I have a thing for branded battery chargers, but you can read the reviews and make up your own mind.

There’s also the question of whether a charger should be used with the battery connected or disconnected from the car. When in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual, but I use the following guideline: If a battery is deeply discharged, lower than, say, 11.5 volts, I remove it from the car before charging it. There is some risk of acid leakage when recharging a discharged battery, and I’d rather have that on the garage floor than in the car. But if I’m just trickle-charging a battery, I leave it installed and connected. A reminder: When you charge a battery, it’s an opportunity to inspect and clean the battery posts and terminals on the ends of the cables with a post cleaner.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the myth that leaving a battery on a concrete garage floor discharges the battery due to contact with the moisture in the concrete, so the assertion that the battery should be elevated or placed on a block of wood. Not true. Many websites, including those of several battery manufacturers as well as the debunking site, confirm that it is indeed a myth. Modern batteries are encased in a well-insulated plastic case and suffer no discharge to ground while sitting on concrete.

However, the myth does have two valid historical sources. Originally, lead acid batteries used glass cells in a wooden case, and the moisture from a cement floor could leech into the wood and warp it, which could cause the glass cells to crack. And before plastic cases became the norm, battery cases were made of hard-but-slightly-porous rubber that could absorb moisture from the concrete and provide a conductive path to ground that could discharge the battery’s cells. Since neither situation is relevant today, let’s put an end to that myth.

Gas. The use of oxygenated fuel (or E10) gas with 10-percent ethanol can be a problem for cars in storage, and the issue can be worse for vintage cars. The shelf-life of E10 is widely-quoted as being only 30 days, after which it can begin to deteriorate and take on a sour smell. Ethanol is hygroscopic—it attracts and absorbs water. On the one hand, the absorption of water is, oddly, a good thing—after all, if it isn’t absorbed, it separates, leaving a layer of water in the tank. Absorption can only go so far, however, and when gas sits in a humid climate, the amount of water can reach the point where the gas can no longer absorb it and it separates anyway. Both water and ethanol are bad for vintage cars with vented fuel systems that allow condensation, and metal gas tanks that rust when the corrosive water-ethanol mix sits at the bottom of the tank.

The time-worn advice for winter storage is to fill the tank with fresh gas (thereby minimizing the open area in which condensation can form), add the correct quantity of a fuel stabilizer, then run the car for a few minutes to distribute it throughout the fuel system.

With that said, there’s a difference between fuel stabilization and magic. I’m leery of any claim from any additive manufacturer that a gas stabilizer can remove water that has already separated out and is already sitting at the bottom of the tank. Unless your car is like a boat or a piece of industrial equipment, where the fuel filter has a drain cock which allows water to be drained off, the only way to remove water is to drain the tank. Also, be aware that fuel stabilizers typically contain strong solvents and cleaning agents. Cleaning your injectors may be a good thing, but be aware of what you’re pouring into your tank.

Although I have certainly had horrible problems with old, varnished, gummy fuel and rusty gas tanks in vintage cars that have sat for years, I have never had a problem with fuel in a car that sat over the winter. And I typically don’t use fuel stabilizer. When I fire up a car in April, if there is a problem, it will likely be the battery that I thought was charged and went bad, or a tire that went flat over the winter, or float bowls in the carburetors that are empty and require a lot of cranking to fill them.

Moisture in the exhaust. Lastly, when you start a car, a fair amount of moisture can condense out in the exhaust. You’ll see it dripping out the tailpipe. As you run the engine, the exhaust heats up and vaporizes the moisture. You want to be sure this happens before you lay a car up for months. You don’t want to start it, run it for five minutes, and then put it away, as that can leave moisture in the exhaust that could rot it out from the inside. So be sure to run the car for about 15 minutes before putting it away. If water is still dripping from the tailpipe, drive it a bit longer.

That’s about it. Tuck your baby in for the winter, visit it and drive it when you can, and it should be just fine. And don’t buy anything exotic while it’s away; it’s been said that classic cars can sense infidelity. Especially the Brits.

Oldsmobile "fastback"

I think this is a 1941 Chevy coupe

Ethanol’s Slow Burn in the Renewable Fuel Follies
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

Government “moonshine,” better known as ethanol, packs a powerful punch — especially when the forces that be on Capitol Hill threaten its reduction in the nation’s fuel supply.

Recently Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ethanol’s most forceful proponent, threatened to hold up nominees for top Environmental Protection Agency posts if the Trump administration supported an ethanol reduction in the Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s the mandate that determines the mix of ethanol and other biofuels in the nation’s gasoline and diesel fuel.

Just days later, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt assured the champions of this corny fuel that proposed blending volumes under the fuel standard won’t be cut and might even be increased. Moreover, the EPA will work with lawmakers to offer year-round E15 — gasoline with 15 percent ethanol instead of the standard 10 percent. Never mind any pedantic concerns over ozone pollution — which is why E15 is curtailed during the summer.

As it has been for years, ethanol’s mix is driven not by any public need but by purely political interests perpetuated by lawmakers whose states directly benefit from the fuel’s production. Pollution? Engine damage? Production efficiency? Such legitimate concerns take a distant back seat to the politics that sustain an antiquated fuel standard, which got dumped on consumers back in 2007.

But rather than review and update that fuel standard, Washington consistently enables ethanol’s slow, interminable burn.

Bumper Sticker of the Month

Take those chances

Can't you wait until Christmas morning?

Kool Site of the Month
Vintage Hot Rod Magazines for Sale - Click to see the covers

Video of the Month
Christmas Lights on 1977 Ford Pickup Truck

Repair Mistakes & Blunders
From Rock Auto
My first car was a 1968 Ford Falcon that I bought used my second year in college (1972). It was a great car except that about every 10K miles, the water pump would start leaking, and I would have to change it. My dad was a machinist so I learned to work on cars (and everything else) from him at an early age. For a “shade tree mechanic,” I considered myself pretty good. So one Saturday morning, it was time to do my routine water pump replacement. Water pumps are usually not too bad to change EXCEPT on this car. To get to the water pump, I had to remove the battery, radiator, radiator hoses, heater hoses, fan and shroud, belts, alternator, A/C compressor and the alternator and A/C compressor mounting bracket; then I was finally able to remove the water pump. This process usually took me a couple of hours.

I completed the removal of everything, changed out the water pump and began putting everything back together. I had just completed filling the radiator with coolant and was putting the battery in place, when my dad walked up and asked how it was going. I said I would be finished as soon as I connected the battery terminals.

With a smirk, Dad reached down and picked up something out of the water pump box and said, “Wow, that’s nice, they usually don’t give you a spare.” Looking at what was in his hand gave me the same surprised/shocked feeling as when I learned that inflammable was NOT the opposite of flammable (that is another story for another time!) OH NO!...This could not be! I had forgotten to install the water pump gasket.

That mistake only cost me time (but like money, time was something that a college student had very little of), however; it taught me to always pay very close attention to details.

Steve in Texas

1958 Rambler

Gore Speaks
From the Washington Times - Al Gore Quotes
“Give them the gift of your attention and let them feel as if they’re being heard. Ask them ‘What part of the scientific consensus troubles you?’ and then try to zero in on that particular part,” Gore told a nearly packed Harris Theater, where he was a speaker at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

“With some, you get the feeling that they’re reading off an internal teleprompter from Fox News and maybe they’re not willing to listen to you, in which case, be kind and say ‘Well, I’ve enjoyed talking to you’ and try to direct your efforts on people who are willing to listen.”

“I tried to convince Donald Trump. I’ve had many conversations with him after the election, after he went into the White House, and I thought he would come to his senses, but I was wrong.”

He said of Trump and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt: “There’s zero chance, in my opinion, of changing their minds.”

But his message wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“We’re going to win this regardless of what he tweets,” Gore said of Trump and his support of the fossil fuels industry that contributes to global warming.

“Investors are shifting assets towards renewables,” he said. “This is now embedded in the business plans of the vast majority of companies.”

I do not know this neo-classic car's make

Creative Slogans
A sign in a shoe repair store in Vancouver reads:
We will heel you
We will save your sole
We will even dye for you.

A sign on a blinds and curtain truck:
“Blind man driving.”

Sign over a Gynecologist's office:
"Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”

In a Podiatrist's office:
"Time wounds all heels.”

On a septic tank truck:
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels

At an Optometrist's office:
"If you don't see what you're looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a plumber's truck:
"We repair what your husband fixed.”

On another plumber's truck:
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”

At a tire shop in Milwaukee:
"Invite us to your next blowout.”

On an electrician's truck:
"Let us remove your shorts.”

In a non-smoking area:
"If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and will take appropriate action.”

On a maternity room door:
"Push. Push. Push.”

At a car dealership:
"The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment.”

Outside a muffler shop:
"No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”

In a veterinarian's waiting room:
"Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

At the electric company:
"We would be delighted if you send in your payment on time.
However, if you don't, YOU will be de-lighted.”

In a restaurant window:
"Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”

In the front yard of a funeral home:
"Drive carefully. We'll wait.”

At a propane filling station:
"Thank Heaven for little grills.”

In a Chicago radiator shop:
"Best place in town to take a leak.”

And the best one for last…;

Sign on the back of another septic tank truck:
"Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises"

When the reindeer won't go the scooter will

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