Heading Overseas: Ship, Store or Sell Your Car

Relocation due to a job or for school is always a major undertaking, especially if that move is taking you overseas.  If you have a beloved, or even just a useful, vehicle, it’s even more complicated.  Should you take your car overseas with you, store it somewhere safe until your return, or sell it and buy a replacement when/if you return.

Shipping Overseas

car shippingTake your car with you if you will 1) need to drive a lot in your new home and 2) will be living there for a considerable amount of time. Many of the large cities around the world have excellent public transportation and limited parking, much like New York.  You won’t want to go through the bureaucratic paperwork and expense of shipping your car — and then shipping it back — if you won’t be driving it. If driving will be part of your daily life, take into account the feasibility of driving your car at the location. Large SUVs are impractical on roads designed for small vehicles and American cars aren’t oriented for driving in Great Britain or other countries with left-side right of way.

The expense of shipping a car overseas includes inspections, import fees, and a load of other costs, on top of the actual price you pay to have the vehicle carried by boat or plane. You may also need to pay fees to license or register your vehicle once you arrive at your new country. If you can’t afford those costs, and remember you have to pay them both going and coming back to the US, you will find yourself considering one of the other options.

Storing Your Car

Finding a place to store your car is much easier than shipping it overseas. If you are lucky, you may have a family member with a garage or shed or even a barn who is willing to let you leave your vehicle with them.  Just make sure you trust that they won’t be taking it out for a spin while you’re gone.

Another option is to rent a storage unit while you are overseas.  This is feasible if you are only going to be gone for a few months or maybe even a year.  If your relocation is for multiple years or an indefinite time, the fees associated with long-term storage may exceed even the cost of shipping the car by air.

Whether you are storing the car privately or at a storage facility, be sure you know how to properly prepare the vehicle. Take care of the fluids, battery, tires, etc. and purchase a proper cover to protect it.

Selling Your Car

car for saleThis third option may be the best for you if you won’t have a use for the car overseas or if you can’t afford the fees associated with either shipping or storing the vehicle.  There are any number of outlets for selling your car — or truck or motorcycle.  It’s usually a good idea to check with family or friends first to see if anyone is looking for a vehicle. Local dealerships, online markets, and even good old classified ads still work. You can even try the old “put a sign on the car” and hope that someone sees it when you’re driving around town.

The advantage of this option is that you’ll have the cash from the sale to help with your relocation costs or to spend once you reach your destination.

Have you ever been faced with this situation? Which option did you choose?

October 26, 2015 at 3:09 pm Comments (0)

Restoring a Classic for Drag Racing

racing wheelsClassic drag racers offer a great combination of nostalgic good looks, and incredibly fast quarter mile action. Restoring a vintage drag racer is a bit different than restoring an everyday street driver. Let’s take a look at some specifics for your classic drag project.

Have a Plan

First, set your goals. Do you want a classic that can be a cruiser, as well as see double duty at the strip? Or do you want a flat-out trailered classic race car? A weekend strip warrior will be easier to build, but a “jack of all trades” compromise. The race car will be significantly faster, but not street legal.

Once you have a plan for the project, set a time frame and budget. Then add 20% to both to be realistic. For a weekend drag car, the engine, transmission, rear end, and safety features will need upgrades. Refer to a quality repair/rebuild manual to map out your project.

Make it Powerful

You have a lot of options when it comes to engine upgrades or swaps. The aftermarket support for performance parts and even turn-key engines is larger than it has ever been, and it’s all easy to find thanks to online catalogs.

If you are going to use the original engine, have it completely disassembled, hot tanked, “magnafluxed,” and blueprinted. This will insure you have the best possible starting point, and nothing catastrophic happens at wide open throttle. Yes, this will cost more than just a top-end rebuild, but if you can’t afford to do it right the first time, how can you afford to do it twice?

Next, take a look at the transmission and rear. A Powerglide is a great classic transmission that is readily available and can handle almost any amount of power. No matter your trans choice, modern or old, be sure to upgrade it to take the abuse of strip duty as most factory setups cannot. Even a Viper T56 isn’t rated for 1,200 horsepower.

Make it Reliable

The differential, axles, and carrier should all be replaced for better units. Classic factory stuff is great for stock power, but under high power levels, that carrier becomes a time bomb. An aftermarket rear is going to be cheaper and stronger than your upgraded factory hardware.

To hook up all that power, you’re going to need decent tires. Fortunately, Hoosier, Cooper, General Tire, and all the other brands you remember still exist. Some of them offer vintage drag tires that replicate the look of old, but offer modern levels of grip and safety. Go that route.

Keep it Beautiful

custom engineDon’t overdo it with the interior. Classic cars have a beautiful style all their own, and needlessly cutting and gutting makes it just another old car that was needlessly destroyed. You can work an NHRA certified cage around that classic interior, but it will take some planning. Tread lightly.

Finally, remember to aim for a classic look. Modern treatments can over-restore an old car, and while neo chrome is brilliant, it’s also not period correct. It’s fine to use modern paint systems, but use a color that was factory available on your ride. If you will use sponsored graphics, look at old pictures for inspiration on how to make them retro.

Restoring a classic car for drag racing can be an adventure of a lifetime, if you remember to take your time, have a plan and budget, and do it right the first time. The end result will be a fast beautiful car you love, and a fan favorite.

May 30, 2015 at 11:14 am Comments (0)

DIY Repairs & Free Advice

car engineThe digital age could easily be known as the “do it yourself” age.  DIY is a way of life for many and a source of income for others (there is, after all an entire cable network called “DIY”).  Whether you’re a DIY for home repairs, craft projects, sewing, or car maintenance, it is very likely that your main motivation is to save a few bucks.

You want to learn how to change the oil on your car or maybe tackle something bigger like replacing the brakes. You probably start of searching Google or maybe YouTube or you head straight to your favorite automotive forum or blog to get tips from other DIYers.

Maybe it’s time to rethink that strategy.  Haynes manuals did a study of the free car repair advice found in forums and you may be shocked at how INaccurate it is.  Read the details here, before you follow instructions that end up costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

May 27, 2015 at 12:52 am Comments (0)

Savannah: Birthplace of American Grand Prix

In the 21st century, Americans think of auto racing in terms of Daytona and Indianapolis, NASCAR and NHRA, but Savannah, GA is actually the birthplace of Grand Prix racing in the US.

1911 American Grand Prize, Savannah

1911 American Grand Prize, Savannah

The very first American Grand Prize was launched on November 26, 1908 in Savannah, GA.  It was the brainchild of the Automobile Club of America (ACA) which picked Savannah over cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, LA, and, yes, even Indianapolis. Savannah had previously held stock car events and the Savannah Automobile Club extended the 17 mile stock car track to the required 25.3 miles. The finished track, just southwest of the city limits at the time, was an engineering model for other tracks.

The Grand Prize Race of the Automobile Club of America was held on Thanksgiving Day in 1908 and featured 20 drivers from the US and Europe and drew over 250,000 spectators to the city, including the top names in the automotive world (Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford), industry (Vanderbilt), as well as thousands of soldiers. The winner of the first Prize? France’ Louis Wagner driving a FIAT.

Grand Prix racing continued in Savannah for several more years. The American Grand Prize was held in November 1910 and November 1911.  The Vanderbilt Cup Race was also held in November 1911. These races as well as all of the city’s racing history are chronicled at the Great Savannah Races Museum.

In October 2014 racing made a comeback in Savannah.  The first Savannah Speed Classic was held October 24-26 at the Grand Prize of America Track located on Hutchinson Island.  This newly minted event is part of the annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance.  The Speed Classic features test drives, lap rides, enduros, series races and offers visitors the pit access as well as an off road experience.

The 2015 Classic is scheduled for October 23rd-25th.

Read about some of the other history and attractions that make up the heart of Savannah on this blog.

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May 21, 2015 at 12:04 am Comments (0)

Sinkhole at Corvette Museum

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, a sinkhole opened up and caused part of the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky to collapse, destroying eight rare cars that were on location. The section of the museum has since been closed off to the public and opened later that day. Read on for a look at the incident and what this means for the National Corvette Museum.

What was Damaged?

The collapse damaged eight rare high ticket cars that were very valuable to the National Corvette Museum. The vehicles damaged include a 1993 ZR 1 Spyder, a 2009 ZR 1 Blue Devil, both of which were on loan to the museum from General Motors, as well as a 1962 black Corvette, a 1984 PPG Pace Car, a 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette, a 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette, a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette and a 2009 white 1.5 Millionth Corvette. Fortunately no one was in the museum at the time of the accident and museum officials cordoned off the damaged area off the museum and opened business as usual the same day.

The Reason for the Sinkhole

The National Corvette Museum is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky in one of the regions largest karst valleys where many deep caves run. This area is prone to sink holes and they can occur quite unexpectedly as in this case. The museum will block off the damaged area and keep the museum open for normal operation.

20th Anniversary of the Museum

In September, the Anniversary will be hosting the 20th Anniversary of the Museum. There is no word whether this accident will affect the festivities or not, however it is unlikely that the advent would be moved to another location since Bowling Green is so central to the Corvette name. Not only is Bowling Green home to the National Corvette Museum but also is the only place where General Motors builds Corvette.

While this accident was a costly one with the loss of eight rare vehicles and property damage to the museum, fortunately no one was hurt in process. While the museum can be restored, it is very fortunate that no one, guest or employee, were on the scene when the accident occurred. Now the museum has seven months until they need it to be ready for the 20th anniversary. There is no word yet if the museum will be ready in time for the big event.

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March 1, 2014 at 6:43 am Comments (0)

What to Expect When Detoxing

If you are trying to kick a drug or alcohol addiction, then the first thing that you need to do is detox. Once you stop drinking or doing drugs, detoxing will start. This can be a scary and dangerous thing to go through and ideally shouldn’t be attempted on your own. The best place to detox is at a rehab center where they have drug detox services. Why? Because a lot can happen to you, both physically and psychologically while detoxing. And having a medical staff helping you out can be a life saver.

Delirium tremens (DTs)

When your body is used to a certain amount of alcohol or drugs and you quit cold turkey, the first thing you can experience is what is known as the DTs. You’ll become shaky, sweating and nauseous. You may also experience heart palpitations. Hallucinations can also occur, both visual and tactile. DTs are not to be taken lightly – they can, in some cases, cause death if the patient experiences autonomic instability, including tachycardia, fever and hypertension.

Digestive issues

While detoxing, you may also lose your appetite and feel nauseous. There can also be bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, sometimes severe, as your body gets used to not having any alcohol or drugs.

Mental anguish

Detoxing will also affect your mental state and some patients experience insomnia, anxiety and depression as their mind tries to not only deal with the lack of drugs or alcohol, but also tries to convince them to use again.

When you detox in a treatment center, you will still experience some of these symptoms. But you will be in an environment where there will be people who can help you through it and make the detox process as harmless as possible.

For more information on detoxing this is an excellent video:

For more information on treatment centers check out the treatment center directory at htttp:www.drugrehabcomparison/dir

February 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm Comments (2)

2013 Motorsports Year in Review

2013 was a mixed bag for motorsports, as the year had some surprise winners, while some of the usual suspects took home victories.

Jimmie Johnson walked away with an easy victory this year, winning the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship for the sixth time. Yes, while it is probably due in large part to crew chief Chad Knaus, let’s not forget Johnson also owes this victory to a large dose of his own talent and experience. You don’t get within spitting distance of Petty’s record seven (7) championships without being great at what you do. Sure, he has the personality of a wet blanket, but he certainly gives Lowe’s the screen time they pay for. Two things though Jimmie: no one is going to call you “six time”, and it is probably time to let someone else have a win or two. Danica maybe?

Speaking of winning, there’s a guy across the pond doing a decent job of it. That guy being Sebastian Vettel, who just picked up another Formula One Drivers’ Championship. If you’re counting, that’s his fourth one, and he’s all of 26 years old. Vettel is absolutely killing it in the apex form of motorsports. If his streak continues over the next 10 or 15 years of his career, he will be remembered as one of the greatest drivers of all time, in any form of racing.

Even faster than Vettel, John Force took home the 2013 NHRA Drag Racing title in Funny Car. The 300 mile per hour old man claimed his 16th (!) title, beating out pretty much everyone, including his daughter Courtney. On the Top Fuel side, relative newbie Shawn Langdon took the title in the premier series.

In the Old World, Sébastien Ogier beat down the competition, while beating up his car, to become the 2013 WRC champion. Along with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, the Frenchman claimed a fairly easy championship through his nine victories in 2013. Excluding Greece and Germany, he never finished outside the top two spots. Very impressive, mon ami.

There was also huge news for American road racing in 2013, with the announcement of the combined efforts of American Le Mans and Rolex Sports Car Series into the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship. This team up allowed similar series to share costs, lay down one set of rules, and decrease confusion among casual fans. The results should be exciting, and the cost savings should allow for decent promotions and more tracks. This is a series in transition, but it’s about to take off.

below is a fan video highlighting the best moments of F1 racing in 2013:

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December 31, 2013 at 9:41 am Comments (0)

The Business of Race Cars

When popular racers like Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. mingle with fans, they are signing autographs, giving high fives, and chumming it up like any celebrity. To the public it appears that the driver lives the good life of any celebrity.  Behind the scenes though, the auto racer is more like the beating heart of a giant enterprise. They are the product and capital of a massive business. Sure, the driver gets to experience an opulent life, complete with lines of adoring fans; but their work is intense, draining, and critical to the support of a brand.

Off The Track

Racers are the main focus because they are the face of the enterprise. They are the ones we cheer for, but there is so much more to it than winning the race. The complex organization behind the driver includes intricacies such as:

  • Pit Crews
  • Assistants
  • Business Administration
  • PR Agents
  • Marketing
  • Accountants
  • Sponsors
  • Endorsements
  • Logistics

The Role of the Race Driver

The main responsibility of the driver is to generate money for the business and act as the brand ambassador.

race carMoney is generated from winnings, sponsorships, and endorsements. Some sponsorship agreements also include endorsements, such as Danica Patrick’s relationship with GoDaddy. They sponsor her brand, and she endorses them.

With most drivers, placing in the top five means more money. Not only are there winnings, but there are often bonuses from sponsors involved. Then the money is used to pay the driver, pit crews, and all others who work for the organization.

Accountants Make it Happen

In addition, the driver’s organization foots the bill for the logistics of moving the team from track to track. This involves mobile garages, race cars, RVs, hotels and airfare, meals, and more. All of these expenses are tracked and managed by accountants that specialize in the business or racing.

Without accountants to keep all the money in line and the bills paid, drivers would go broke and the racing industry would vanish. It would be an unfortunate because in addition to providing entertainment to the masses, race car enterprises are a valuable source of innovation in engineering.

Keeping the finances in order is necessary for keeping our favorite racing drivers doing what they do best…winning and being celebrities. We all reap the benefits one way or another thanks to stimulated economy and advances in engineering.

Trent Bakker is a financial professional who loves sports — especially racing.  In addition to following the industry behind motorsports, he has written blog posts and news features about subjects like forensic accounting.

August 11, 2013 at 8:25 am Comments (2)

Sometimes Smaller is Better

small carIn recent years there’s been a return to the early idea of “bigger is better” when it comes to cars. This was the overriding belief through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Then came the oil crisis and suddenly smaller was better. That lasted for awhile and then minivans, SUVs, and Hummers convinced Americans that once again bigger was better. That idea lasted until gas prices rose again and then the economy crashed and now, once again, smaller seems to be better.

A big advantage that small cars like the honda fit have over larger vehicles is gas mileage. In a tough economy, anything that reduces monthly expenses is a big plus, so cars that don’t guzzle gas are much more attractive. Although lots of people argue that the appeal of the hybrid cars in the last decade was about environmental-consciousness, many people invested in them in anticipation of the next gas crisis.

In the past, buying a small car meant that sacrificing seating, hauling capacity and other features of big cars. While a fit can’t compete with a full-sized SUV, it does have adjustable seats that can be reconfigured to increase cargo area and is engineered to provide the maximum head and leg space for its size. Smaller cars are also much more maneuverable than larger vehicles, able to park, turn, and fit into spots that larger cars couldn’t dream of.

Carl Ericksen is a writer who provided guest posts to a number of automotive blogs and sites.  He has written online motorcycle repair manuals, new car reivews, and countless “how to” posts.

July 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm Comments (0)

What Makes a Popular Race Car?

Auto racing has become one of the most popular sports today.  It has the second highest television ratings of sport in the US.  Today, more drivers get offers to endorse products and be on television commercials, print advertisements, and TV specials.  Names like Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson are recognized by people who aren’t fans of the sport.

In the 1980s, NASCAR began to be sponsored by Fortune 500 companies, bringing a new prestige to the sport.  Over 18 million viewers tune into the Daytona 500 race.

What Makes a Race Car?

While a race car may look like a street car, there are very little similarities between the two.  In fact, the differences make the race car unable to be treated like a regular car.

Power management

The race car is powerful but it requires the driver to work to maintain control.  Unlike a street car, there are no mechanisms to help the car be manageable.  The driver is responsible for controlling the car to keep it on the track at fast speeds.


The suspension system on a race car would not make for a comfortable ride out on the street.  However, this is ideal for a race driver because it allows them to feel the road conditions to determine the level of traction for the surface and keep from spinning out of control.


Most people expect their cars to last for several years.  With a race car, durability is the last thing engine builders think about.  They want power and speed and build a strong, lightweight engine that often barely makes it through a single race.  They are constantly rebuilding engines for the next race.

Popular Car Models

Sterling Marlin Miccosukee Chevy Impala

Chevy has won the most manufacturers’ championships with 27.  They relied on the Monte Carlo for many years, but replaced it with the Impala after the Monte Carol was discontinued.  They have the best horsepower and performance especially with a Hendricks engine under the hood.

Ford has changed models over the years and used popular choices such as the Thunderbird, Taurus, and the Fusion.  Ford race cars are known for their fuel mileage, which means they need to stop and refuel less often than other cars and can give drivers that needed edge.

The Dodge Charger has been a popular choice for drivers for many years.  It unveiled a sleek 2013 model with features that allow it stand out from the crowd on the track.  Unfortunately, Dodge has announced that it won’t racing with NASCAR next year so fans will just have to remember the old Chargers in their glory days.

Race car drivers would all agree that the race car is the most important component to their ability to win.  Choosing the right car make the difference between first place and coming in second.  And since much of the design gets translated into the new street models in the future, fans also get excited to see new models unveiled.

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June 14, 2013 at 5:09 am Comments (3)

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