January 2016


Welcome new ShopTalk subscribers! 
From Our Family to Yours,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Through the Windscreen

Philadelphia International Auto Show

January 30 – February 7

As I write, we here at Ragtops & Roadsters are again gearing up to support the vintage car exhibit at the Philadelphia International Auto Show. Come see the display of over a dozen classics in the Elegance at Hershey / AACA Exhibit in Hall D near the Broad Street entrance. AACA membership will be offered at auto show special discount rate. The auto show will open with a Black Tie-Gala on Friday night January 29 and will run through February 7, 2016. For more information visit www.phillyautoshow.com.

AACA National Meeting

February 11 – February 13

The AACA National Meeting is held in February every year at the Sheraton Hotel on 17th Street In Philadelphia. If you have yet to attend, I suggest you stop in as there are many seminars about our hobby including electrolysis metal finishing, interior cleaning and stain removal, and certification and judging of vintage race cars to name few. Check the AACA's Seminar Listing for complete offerings. We will have an exhibit set up the vendor room. Stop by and see our latest restoration projects.


Youngsters are introduced to the hobby by learning to scrutinize every detail at an AACA Junior Judging Seminar.

Ragtops & Roadsters Tech Tip

Just Dew It

by: David Jago, Shop Manager

With customers who are relatively new to the hobby, the questions about repair sometimes begin "Can you just...?" The intent is clearly to minimize the financial impact of the work needed. The result of quick fixes and patching problems is usually less than acceptable by Ragtops & Roadsters' standards, and our answer is, "We CAN, but we WON'T." We strive to do the job right, for the customer and the car.

Having work done correctly can preserve both your car and your budget in the long run. Shortcuts taken will undoubtedly surface, many at inopportune times, and will more often leave you with greater expense or damage than making the appropriate repairs. As an example, we recently had a client come in needing an exhaust system. The pipes and muffler on the car were likely the original parts. The question was asked about patching a cracked pipe to enable the car to pass inspection. After a discussion about the value of doing the job right, the decision was made to replace the entire exhaust system. The expense to do the job right may have cost more initially, but It was an investment to preserve the look of the car, and provided proper exhaust and noise control.
The alternative would have been to cover up the failing part or parts to enjoy the short-term gain. While the idea of a temporary fix is fine for an emergency to get a car to a place of safety, our technicians regularly encounter these "temporary fixes". Those systems have typically sustained more wear and damage, simply masking their true condition until a significant failure exposes the shortcut taken. Using the exhaust example again, to have patched the muffler would have delayed the proper repairs needed. Ultimately, the exhaust would fail, perhaps during a nice evening drive, during which the car would either lose part of the exhaust or, worse yet, drag it flopping under the car for a while. The potential for damage is fairly obvious. "Can you just patch it?" You CAN, but we WON'T.

British Car Calendar of Events

1/2   Morgan Club of Philadelphia Holiday Party, Ambler, PA
1/17   DVJC Annual Holiday Party & Awards Luncheon, Ambler, PA
1/16   Delaware Valley Chapter MG T Register Movie Night, Collegeville, PA
1/18   AHSTC Philly Region Meeting, North Whales, PA
1/23–1/31   Barrett Jackson Auction, Scottsdale, AZ
1/24   Delaware Valley Triumphs Winter Party, Lansdale, Pa
1/30   Lehigh Valley British Car Club Holiday Banquet, Bath, PA
1/30–2/7   Philadelphia Auto Show, Philadelphia, PA
1/31   LOTUS PALS Lehigh Valley Grand Prix Karting Event, Allentown, PA
2/11–2/13   AACA Annual Meeting  Philadelphia, PA

Check our upcoming newsletters for a complete 2016 calendar!


You agree to check the host/organizer website to confirm dates and times of events.
We agree to do our best to keep this calendar updated to reflect the most current information.

In the Shop Now

The Great Race 2016

by: Dave Hutchison, Operations Manager

Our technician, Ryan, carefully disassembles the original 3.4 Liter power-plant for this 1952 Jaguar Mark VII that will compete in the Great American Race in the spring of 2016. This motorcar will have thorough mechanical freshening from the radiator to the exhaust system so it can be ready to run this cross-country event from San Rafael CA on the old Lincoln Highway ending Moline, IL. 
This cross-  
country time speed distance rally first ran with pre-war cars in 1983 and has had a wonderful history over the years. Since the early days few things have changed in terms of the rules and how the event is run, but it’s still a classic car event with the same basic idea from years past. You’ll enjoy plenty of time behind the wheel of your classic car, and embrace the challenge of meeting specific timelines to try for a perfect score! Sometimes it’s tricky to get the timing just right, but one thing is for certain—you’ll have a great time, and meet up with many like-minded car nuts on your journey.

In the Rearview

Before We Put 'em Away Run

Our annual tradition of the "Before We Put 'em Away Run" was again a fantastic success! On Sunday morning, November 22 a beautiful day helped turn out nearly 50 cars at Ragtops & Roadsters. This year we presented a check for the funds raised ($23,807) by the 2015 America's British Reliability Run benefiting St. Christopher's Hospital. Some of the entrants from the 32 teams that competed in the ABRR joined in the presentation. After a shop tour, coffee, tea and scones we started the run that consisted of about 40 cars. A rather spirited drive on the twisty roads of Bucks and Montgomery County left some participants smiling when we arrived at our sister shop Pollock Auto Restoration just before noon. There, everyone was treated to a buffet lunch and a tour of the projects at Pollock Auto Restoration. We hope to see you again in 2016!

Auction Report "Rolling Sculpture" & "Driven by Disruption"

by: Dave Hutchison, Operations Manager

"Rolling Sculpture" was the first Keno Brothers Classic Car Auction held in New York on Nov 19th. Their presentation was top shelf, museum quality, as all of the cars were displayed on pedestals and lit to show every beautiful line and curve. Their sale price estimates were strong but the way the market has been moving; who knew? The mood was good and but crowd was a little less than expected. I was later told that many potential overseas buyers did not attend just days after the Paris terrorist attacks. Once underway, the room was quiet and the auctioneer was not enthusiastic, to say the least. That's where it all went into slo-mo. Every lot was stretched out far beyond what time needed to engage bidders and soon the 'no sales' climbed higher and higher. One might ask, "Is the bubble popping?" When the dust settled only 50 % of the lots that crossed the block sold for a total of $8.3M. Many cars sold below the estimated ranges, however, a stand out lot was a superb 1968 Bizzarrini Strada 5300 that brought $1,010,000. As we headed out into the rain and I wondered if now is the time to sell?

Our friend Andy Reid from classiccars.com in this special PorscheLess than a month later, another New York auction aptly named "Driven by Disruption" by RM Sotheby's was held on December 10th. It still did not answer that question. Although I did not attend this auction, the total of $76.1 again fell far short of expectations and the sell thru was a disappointing as 10 of the 31 vehicles offered went home with their sellers. One car that did far exceed RM's expectations, that has been seen by the pubic for the last 20 years at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, was the 1964 Porsche once owned by Janis Joplin. RM estimated this celebrity car to sell between $400K and $600K. This treasure had seven bidders chasing and it finally hammered at a whopping $1.76M! Can the new owner sing' "Oh Lord, Won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?" Long live Rock & Roll!
terms of beauty, and one of my favorite shapes, was the 1962 Aston Martin DB4/GT, whose body was designed and built by the famed coach builder, Zagato. This British/Italian hybrid sold for $14.3 million (est. $15-17 million). It was the 14th of 19 iterations built and had been restored to the nines. Photos by Andy Reid.

Most of the cars at both of these auctions were extremely rare, the best of the best with significant provenance, and many have broken the price ceiling due to that fact. Most common vintage sports cars have appreciated well since the recession, and the leader of that pack is still held the Jaguar E-Type, as Lot # 114 sold for $380K. Still a respectable number! Although some say this iconic car's value has now flattened out, it still remains strong compared to their pricing only three years ago.  The high end auctions do indicate market confidence, but for me, I will continue to hold, not for financial concerns, but for the reward vintage car owners receive in two ways, pride in ownership and smiles per mile! Let's see what happens at Scottsdale and it’s still too early to judge whether the once booming classic car market has toned down a couple of notches. Most of the US sales take place on the West Coast and these New York sales venues are relatively new to the market so the question still remains. 

Simeone Spirit of Competition Honoring David Hobbs

,This annual fundraiser has always been a special night at the Simeone Foundation Museum. This year Dr. Simeone hosted David Hobbs as the evening's honoree. Introduced by Bill Warner, of the Amelia Island Concours, Mr Hobbs spoke at length about his long, sometimes less than successful, racing 30-year history of international driving experience at all levels of motor sports, including sports cars, Indy cars, IMSA, Can-Am and Formula 1.

Hobbs raced at LeMans for twenty years and won First in Class for both Lotus and Porsche. He raced in many of the greatest sports cars ever built, including the Jaguar E-Type, Lotus Elite, Lola T70, Ferrari 250 LM, Ford GT40, Porsche 917K, Ferrari 512M, McLaren M8D, McLaren M20, Ferrari 365 Daytona, BMW M1, Porsche 935, Porsche 956 and Porsche 962!  Mr. Hobbs was very appreciative of all that came his way over the years and as alway his talk was very entertaining. His talk was complimented with slide show of many of the cars and people he raced with over the years. The sit down dinner was the best we have ever had at this event and the music very good by the Gin Canaries. I recommend you visit www.simeonemuseum.org to subscrible to their newsletter. If you haven't, I suggest you attend the Spirit of Competition in November 2016!
Ragtops & Roadsters is here to help out over the winter and spring seasons. Maybe it's time to take care of those maintenance, restoration, preservation, and upgrade needs on your car's wish list? Click here to send an e-mail to dave@ragtops.com or call us 215-257-1202 to schedule an appointment. We are now scheduling appointments in Feb / March, so it's not too soon to think about the upcoming spring driving season!  Click to see our Works In Progress page on our website. Also, we have recently listed more of our client's British cars looking for new homes, see current listings on our For Sale page.

Happy Motoring!
Dave & the Staff at Ragtops & Roadsters.
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