Claim #1 – A 1961 race car was restored and claimed for many years to have won a 1961 SCCA National Championship.
Counter-Claim: A cloud developed that this was a questionable claim and rumored not to be the actual car.
Effect: It became difficult for subsequent owner(s) to sell the vehicle due to the suspicion created by rumors, supposition and undocumented facts.
- Analysis of factory paperwork, VIN tag, race team records, owner paperwork, and detailed comparison of original race era photos with pre and post-restoration photos
- Intensive interviews with original race associates, previous owner history and matching the identification marks surfaced in these photos and interviews
- Interviews with counter-claimants to determine if factual contrary evidence could be produced
- All known counter-claimants based their information on the beliefs of one particular source
- That source was interviewed and retracted the counter claim and the cloud dissipated
- The photographic evidence and testimony of persons involved with both restoration and the original race team were compelling
Conclusion: The analysts reviewed the findings and concluded that the vehicle (or at least the VIN tag, paperwork, and majority of the vehicle) was highly probable to be the 1961 SCCA National Champion.
Time frame: 2 months
Claim #2 – A 1963 sports car was restored and claimed for many years to have been a famous Bonneville Salt Flats contender and a former NASCAR racer.
Counter-Claim: The car was confused with a different sports car of the same marquee and owned at the same time by the same owner. However, it was neither the Bonneville, nor NASCAR car.
Effect: It became difficult for subsequent owners to sell the vehicle due to the rumors and suspicion associated with the vehicle as to what was its true identity.
- Analysis of VIN tag, race team records, owner paperwork and adetailed comparison of original race era photos with pre and post-restoration photos
- Intensive interviews with counter-claimants to determine if factual evidence could be produced
- The claimants provided no compelling evidence (other than speculation) that linked the restored vehicle to the original Bonneville racer
- Counter-claimants produced significant amounts of very compelling historic Bonneville photographs that did not match up with the pre-restoration photos, nor configuration of the car
- The photographic evidence and testimony of the counter-claimants was compelling and clearly indicated the restored car was not the Bonneville car
- The interviews and evidence did confirm that the vehicle was indeed present at Bonneville at the time, however, it was the Bonneville driver’s personal sports car, but not used for racing
Conclusion: The analysts reviewed the findings and concluded that the vehicle was definitively not the Bonneville racer, but instead was definitively a highly desirable collector car in its own right and owned by a high profile race driver of the period.
Time frame: 2 months
Claim #3 – A 1973 muscle car VIN XYZ was restored and claimed to be the last make and model produced with an iconic breed of engines.
Counter-Claim: A different muscle car of the same brand with VIN ABC was claimed to be the last car produced with that iconic engine. In other words, two cars claimed the same unique title.
Effect: The conflicting claims impacted the status associated with each vehicle and created confusion within the marketplace.
- Analysis of VIN tags, fender tags, owners records, promotional video tapes, factory paperwork, and detailed comparison of photographs of both vehicles
- Intensive interviews were conducted with one of the owners, numerous factory employees, subject matter authorities and the evidence was compelling
- The other owner or restorer were always unavailable for comment, unproductive of any countervailing evidence, and unable or unwilling to refer any corroboration from marque authorities
- A third vehicle was surfaced that had a higher VIN than either of the original two vehicles around which the claim revolved
- The Monroney sticker of vehicle VIN ABC (factory window sticker) contained the printed date that matched the last day of production and was accompanied by an official letter from the manufacturer stating that Vehicle ABC was the last model of that make produced in 1971 and therefore the last of the breed
Conclusion: The analysts reviewed the findings and concluded that neither vehicle VIN ABC nor XYZ could definitively claim to be the last of the make and model. However, it was concluded that VIN ABC could be definitively claimed to be the last of the model produced and that VIN XYZ could definitively claim to be one of the last. Interestingly, the vehicle with the highest VIN was also one of the last produced, however, due to the production process, it was not officially the last one produced. Finally, although not definitive, it is highly probable that VIN ABC is actually the last of the make and model with an iconic breed of engines.
Time frame: 5 months