This isn’t about Mick Jagger – it’s about what a car collector might say if someone sat on his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud during a car show. Or his Chevy or Harley. And don’t think that it doesn’t happen. A recent letter to Hagerty Classic Insurance cited an extreme case that unfolded recently in Georgia. A man wouldn’t stop laying on a collector car and authorities finally had to lead him away.
Things don’t usually get that bad, but dripping ice cream cones, paint-scratching belt buckles and kids throwing stones can cause real damage to a car that took thousands of dollars to restore.
The first line of defense against drippers, sitters, chafers and scrapers is your own vocal cords. Stay by your car at the show and if someone gets close, politely point out your concern. Try not to yell or sound “uppity,” because such reactions can cause immature people to return and do bad things out of spite. The best approach is a firm, but friendly reminder that paint, chrome, glass . . . and even sheet metal . . . can be damaged quite easily.
To back up your physical presence -- or fill in when you can’t be around -- you can hang signs on your car. There are any number of these “look but don’t touch” signs available from various old-car parts vendors. To tell you the truth, some of them are fun to read, but they may not be all that effective in protecting your vehicle. People just don’t stop to read before squeezing past your fender.
Some collectors go further and rope their cars off with thin metal stakes and binder cord. These items can be purchased at most garden centers or farm supply stores and they do a great job for a small investment. Four of the stakes can easily be carried in the trunk of most collector cars. They are designed with a triangular blade that you step on to push them into relatively soft dirt. Put one at each corner of the vehicle then, string the cord. A few strands of Blaze Orange safety ribbon can be added to call attention to the cord.
Since many car shows park vehicles on asphalt, push-in stakes can’t always be used. To accomplish the same kind of protection, some hobbyists buy plastic stanchions and chains to serve the same purpose. These cost a bit more, but they certainly look better and can even enhance the image of a car being special. These items come in black and white and a variety of colors.
A product called the Auto Spin Portable Automobile Display Turntable was advertised not too long ago. It was pictured supporting a small 1930s car and it seemed to do a good job of holding the car off the ground, while allowing it to be rotated. You got the impression that a “floating” car might cause people to stand back a few feet. This device may be worth checking out at www.Auto-Spin.com.
Another place to look for barrier type products is in catalogs aimed at factory and facility managers. I am on the mailing list to get one of these and I usually scan it for things I might be able to use in my storage building. The catalog is sent out by a company named Direct Safety. It includes such things as Dayglow Orange safety cones, “Polycade” plastic barriers and safety mats that could be used around or under a car to keep the public at a safe distance. Visit www.directsafety.com to request a copy.
Before spending a fortune on such items and buying a trailer to haul them around, it would be a good idea to check with the promoters of local shows to see if they are permitted. Some events have restrictions. It may turn out that your vocal cords are still the best way to keep “belt buckle” troubles at bay.