Archives June 2024

Top Types of Unseen Car Damage Caused By a Collision

Car collisions can cause immense amounts of damage, both seen and unseen. While visible damage is often easier to spot and address, it’s the unseen damage that can be cause for concern—especially if you’ve avoided taking your car in for some collision auto repair.

Why Should You Identify Unseen Car Damage?

It’s essential to identify and address any unseen damage as soon as possible to ensure the longevity, safety, and value of your vehicle.

Unseen damage can compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle, making it more susceptible to further damage in case of another collision. It can also affect the performance and safety of your car, leading to costly collision auto repairs or even accidents in the future. 

Plus, if you plan on selling or trading your car, any undisclosed damage will significantly decrease its value and make it harder to find a buyer.

Types of Invisible Car Damage After a Collision

Here are some of the most common types of unseen car damage caused by a collision:

Front-End Collision

Front-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents, and they can require significant collision auto repairs.

  1. Frame Damage: Stress on the frame from the impact can cause structural issues that are not immediately visible.
  2. Alignment Issues: Any misalignment of the wheels or suspension components can lead to uneven tire wear and handling problems.
  3. Hidden Engine Damage: Damage to the radiator, engine mounts, or internal components may not be apparent without a thorough inspection.

Since front-end damage can impact critical safety features and engines, inspect this area for damage immediately after a collision.

Rear-End Collision

Rear-end collisions may seem minor, but they can still cause significant damage.

  1. Trunk and Rear Body Damage: Damage to the rear bumper, trunk, or frame can affect the vehicle’s structural integrity.
  2. Rear Axle Misalignment: The impact from a rear-end collision can cause misalignment of the rear axle, leading to handling issues.
  3. Electrical System Damage: The wiring harnesses and electrical components in the rear of the vehicle may be damaged and cause significant electrical problems.
  4. Transmission Damage: If the vehicle is rear-wheel drive, the transmission may have sustained damage from the impact and require repairs.

To properly inspect your rear-end damage, check the trunk and rear of the vehicle for any signs of misalignment or damage. You should always check for these damages before deciding whether to continue driving.

Side-Impact Collision

Side-impact collisions can result in severe damage to the vehicle’s doors, fender, and side panels.

  1. Door and Side Panel Damage: Dents or structural damage to the doors or side panels can compromise safety and structural integrity.
  2. Suspension Damage: The impact from a side collision can damage suspension components, leading to handling problems.
  3. Hidden Airbag Damage: Side-impact collisions can cause damage to airbag sensors or deployment systems, affecting your safety.
  4. Wheel Damage: The wheels or tires may sustain damage from a side-impact collision, affecting their balance and performance.
  5. Frame Damage: Similar to front-end collisions, side-impact collisions can also cause damage to the frame and structural components of the vehicle.

It’s easy to forget to assess all aspects of your car’s sides after a collision, but you should always thoroughly inspect the doors, panels, and suspension components for any signs of damage or misalignment.

Hidden Damage Detection Tips

Not all unseen car damage is immediately apparent, but there are some signs you can look out for to identify potential issues and take your car in for collision auto repairs:

  • Unexplained Noises: If your vehicle starts making strange noises after a collision, it could be a sign of internal damage.
  • Vibrations or Shimmying: Any unusual vibrations or shaking while driving could indicate underlying suspension or wheel damage.
  • Uneven Tire Wear: Misalignment or damaged suspension components can cause uneven tire wear, so check your tires for any unusual patterns.
  • Fluid Leaks: Any leaks under your vehicle could be a sign of damage to the engine, transmission, or other critical systems.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional inspect your vehicle for any potential damage after a collision.

Need Collision Auto Repair? Trust Valley Collision

If you’ve been in a collision and suspect your vehicle may have unseen damage, take it to Valley Collision for professional inspection and repair. Our certified technicians will thoroughly examine your car and provide any necessary collision auto repairs to ensure its safety, performance, and value.

Don’t let unseen damage go unnoticed—trust our team at Valley Collision to keep you safe on the road.


Creating The Perfect Paint Job, Step 6: Paint Prep & Masking

Hey all, welcome back to our “Creating The Perfect Paint Job” series. As promised, this month is all about the paint prep and masking. As all the hard work has been done, I always look at this step as a form of meditation. I usually take a few moments while I’m prepping to visualize the finished product.

Prepping Done Right

Before we get into prepping what do I mean by prepping exactly? Basically think of it as being admitted into the hospital: before they begin any of the treatment, they get you all cleaned up and ready to go. Same thing with your vehicle, you want the it so clean you can literally eat off the hood!

To that end, there are two major factors to look out for when prepping, the first is removing all dust and debris, and the second is oil. Oil causes fish eyes in the paint, and these imperfections in the paint/clear coat are going to require that you re-spray which you definitely don’t want.

Getting down to business, I start off by using an air gun to go over the car. Together with a clean cloth, I try blowing off as much of the dust/debris from the surface. Afterward, I wash the car with a mild dish soap, and use a leather chamois cloth to dry off the panels and the sections where the water tends to pool. I then come back with the air again to concentrate on the interior areas, nooks, and crannies – wiping with a clean cloth along the way.

Masking That Would Make The Lone Ranger Proud

Once the above phase has been completed, it’s time to play doctor by slipping on a pair of latex gloves. Most guys don’t like to use gloves with tape (for obvious reasons), but if you can get past the first few clumsy sections, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation later on. I’ll explain later, but for now you are ready to begin masking off the sections that you do not want to paint (glass, chrome, rubber, engine compartment, or elsewhere).

I use two widths of 3M automotive refinishing yellow tape: ¾ inch for the base, and 2 inch for the monster sections. I have two lengths of masking paper: 18 inch paper for side windows or smaller sections, and 36 inch paper for covering huge sections(i.e. trunk area, etc.)

When masking a car, I always begin from the bottom and move my way up. You can do whatever direction you like, or use the products you prefer; trust me there is one than one way to skin a rat! Yes I know it’s cat, but I like cats so I did a little substitution, ok? But back to the task at hand, you would want to lay down the base line.



This is the section that will divide your paint from the glass, rubber, chrome, and everything else. You want it to be straight, level, smooth, and on the money. Take your time, as the corners or rounded areas can be tricky. Keep your focus on the outer trim and let the inner gather like a ribbon.


Once the base line is laid down, it’s time to grab your masking paper.



The rear side window of a 47 Chevy coupe is 18 inches, so I tore off a sheet that is roughly the length of the window area.



I used two small pieces of tape to anchor the sheet, then I used my fingernail to run along the seam.



This is done to map out where I will lay down my tape on the masking paper. Now that I have the shape I’m looking for, I can use a razor blade to cut it out.



Alternatively, I can start in the corner and as I go along, I can fold the excess under and use my tape to tack it down.



Presto! The window is finished and now it’s time to move onto the next section. In no time you’ll have the car/truck masking completed. The last thing you do before you roll the vehicle into the paint booth is wiping the exposed areas down with a product called Prep All.



This will remove the remaining grease, wax, and debris so that the surface is ready to receive paint. With all of the above now complete, we move on to the next step, the paint process.


The Paint Process • DH Automotive, Inc.

Welcome back everyone! This month we’re finally getting down to the actual paint process. I know there’s much preparation, but if “80% of success is showing up” as Woody Allen stated and you want a paint job you can be proud of, it’s important to take each step and do the best you can.

Paint Options

Before we dive in, though, let’s talk little bit about paint. There are several options to choose from – single stage paint, water based paint, etc. For the purpose of this post we are going to stick with my favorite: the two stage base coat (which is the color) and clearcoat (which will give it that shine) I’ve done all three, but understand that I can control the process, which for a control freak like me works fantastic.

Now, after the car/truck has been masked and prepared, we will be using a paint booth. Yes, some guys have shot outdoors (not naming anyone!), but we want to be environmentally friendly. It’s also it’s a big no-no in the state of California. The last thing you need is a visit from the Environmental Protection Agency!

Prepare Your Supplies

Ok, so you’ve got to prepare all your supplies. The most important thing is to have several measuring cups; you can pick up a half dozen at your local automotive paint supplies. You want to stay away from eye balling it and stick to the formula – that what’s it for!

The first thing I do before I begin is a slow down – take a few minutes to get into the zone, and say a prayer to the creative gods. I then I head out over the vehicle with a tack rag using high pressure (55 psi) on my spray gun to make sure to pick up the last tiny specs of dust.

Getting Started

Now that the vehicle is clean, I’ve mixed the paint with reducer. There are three types of reducers slow, medium, & fast. The slow reducer is used when it is hot, medium for mild days, and fast for cold days. I’m wearing paper moon suit, gloves, and a face mask in order to avoid getting high from the fumes.



When I start, I shoot the roof first, the highest point, and my gun pressure is around 20 psi. I’m in robot mode, I utilize long even strokes over one side then I’ll go to the other side and do the same. While doing this, I make sure that I keep watch on my paint hose, to make sure it doesn’t leave a trail over my fresh paint.

The coat is light, as I’m not trying to cover up the primer and I just want to get a base coat. Read on the paint can on flash times, which is the time between coats. This is where I always trip up, losing patience and wanting to be Mac daddy and laying down a heavy coat.


That is a recipe for sagging paint! 4 to 7 minute is the flash time I set on my phone. When the time is up, I apply a second coat, and then I wait again. I begin to look for any sand marks or any funkiness going on that comes up through the paint. If I find something, I fetch a bucket of water and 1000 grit sandpaper. I use a small rubber flexible block to sand using the cross hatch method until I’m satisfied that the marks are gone.

Clean up using the tack rag, then go back to painting. I’m working quickly because there’s no time to mess around. Time is of the essence, and I’m onto my third coat. By now, I can relax a little as the paint is going on smoothly as I hear “Street of Dreams“ by the Damned, one of my favorite songs to paint to.


The paint looks good, no tiger stripes, no runs, and just even coats. Now it’s time for the clear coat. I add the activator, and as a little magic, I add a small amount of fish eye remover and a touch of reducer. This allows the first coat of clear to bite into the base coat.


The pressure on my gun is 35-42 psi, and once again I start on the roof and work my way down. The first coat is again a base, so avoid getting too crazy. It’s just like fogging it on (very light coat).

After the first clear coat has been applied I empty out the gun and start anew with just clear and activator. The gun is full and I’m ready to get crazy in a controlled kind of way. The clear goes on smooth, so I come back half space lower and let the clear do its thing.


When it comes to the doors, fenders, or other sections of the vehicle that is vertical; I begin the application by starting at the bottom and work my way up.

I’ll lay on 3 or 4 thick coats of clear, not worried about issues I find.


This is because I know that I will sand off at least one coat which I will discuss in the following post. We will also talk about runs in the clear and how to take them out. Stay tuned for next spine tingling step, which focuses on sanding and buffing. Until then, hang loose.



Creating The Perfect Paint Job, Step 8: Sanding & Buffing

Welcome to this next post in our “Creating the Perfect Paint Job” series. If you haven’t been following along and want to get caught up, head back to the first post in the series, “Nine Steps to the Perfect Paint Job“. This month, we tackle the final phase of the paint which is coloring, sanding and buffing. With a little patience and technique you can take a good paint job to a master piece. Before we dive in though, I want to make a note that we will cover runs and paint repairs (in next blog entry after next month’s final entry on the 9 part series).

Getting Started with Sanding and Buffing

Ok, let’s begin! In the last post, we left off with the car/truck that has been freshly painted. You want to wait several days if not weeks to allow the clear coat to fully cure. My preference is the good old sun baked, now with special candies. Day-glow colors would not be a good idea, but for our set up we choose a solid color.

First thing to do is to remove all the masking, within 24 hours after the paint has been applied. Some guys like to keep all the paper, tape, etc. on to keep the polish, and debris from going inside the vehicle; however the longer you leave the take on the harder it will be to remove it and we do not want to tear the paint!

After the masking paper is off, we let the car sit out in the sun for 10 days. It’s been in the hundreds lately in Van Nuys, so I’ve taken full advantage of the weather; the first thing to do is prepare a bucket of clean water with dish soap this will allow the wet sanding to glide and not catch causing tears in the paint. Use sand paper starting off with 1000 grit, and working our way up to 2000 grit.

Quick Tip: you will need to stay away from using sanding by hand only. This will create waves which will show up after buffing and we don’t want that. A block, a small section of a paint stick is what I recommend. I like to use a section of radiator hose when hitting the couture spots of the fenders and rear quarter panels, or anything that has a flat surface which will help cut down on the orange peel (small ripples in the clear coat).

Use the cross hatch method of sanding (north to south then coming back and hitting east to west direction). Once you start to create a milky substance, you know you’re knocking down the clear coat. Between each sanding, you would want to stop and remove the sandpaper and allow the block to squeegee the water and debris off.

Sanding and Buffing


Inspecting Your Sanding Work

Afterward, check the surface; what you’re looking for is a soft matted finish void off any orange peel or runs. Start in the back of the vehicle – the trunk lid is my go to place. Every so often I’ll stop sanding, and using my block to clear away most of the water, I’ll go back over with a dry cloth, allowing the surface to be dry.

I then start to look at it from every angle to see how I’m coming along. Once I’m satisfied with that section, I move on until the entire car has been sanded. Key note: stay away from any ridges or tight spots where the buffer cannot reach. Now don’t freak out if say you sanded the car down and began buffing only to discover that there is a section that still has orange peel. Stop immediately and bring back the sandpaper and sand that section again.

Don’t be afraid to go through the sandpaper, you want to allow the paper to do the work of cutting the clear coat. No need to push down too hard, doing that  will cause waves, and in some cases you’ll burn through the clear coat!

Buffing it Up

Now it’s time to use the rotary buffer, want to set it on the lowest speed, this process comes in three stages:

  1. A heavy polish for taking out scratches.
  2. A medium polish that will remove fine scratches and imperfections.
  3. Glazings polish to give you a mirror like finish.

Using a wool pad (you can use foam, although I prefer old school), apply the first phase of polish small amount; most polishes come in large bottles. I like to transfer each of the three polishes into small hand held bottles for easy application during polishing. I also apply the polish to the surface first then allow the wool pad to catch it moving in a left to right motion, all the while not stopping for fear of burning the paint.

Use a generous amount of each polish and take a small section of the car at a time between each polishing stages. I wipe down the paint with a clean rag, each phase of polish will need its own pad.

Sanding and Buffing

I like to use a double sided wool pad, then for the medium stage a black foam pad, and for the last part a light blue foam pad to finish up with the glaze. If you have removed the fenders, hood, and trunk for paint, you want to tackle each piece separately using a saw horse that will not allow the piece to slide around or chip the paint. Sanding and Buffing

Remember there are several ways to go about the sanding and buffing stage of creating the perfect paint job, and this is mine; however we can all agree that the end result should be a mirror finish we are looking for.

Sanding and Buffing

Next month we finish out this series with the final phase of fit and finish, so until then, Happy sanding!


Fit And Finish | Paint Job | Classic Cars

So  here we are ladies and gents, the final step in my nine part series on “Creating the Perfect Paint Job”: fit and finish. For those of you who’ve read each of the prior eight posts and you should be prepared to tackle this last step no problem. For those of you haven’t, you may want to go back to the first step and take it from there. You don’t want to cut any corners.

Get Your Fit and Finish On

It’s been a long road, a considerable amount of time and energy has been spent. Now it’s time to slow down and take your sweet time with assembly. This is the time to order the weather-stripping; a few of my favorites are Steele Rubber and Restoration Specialties. It’s so important to buy top quality weather stripping. This will save you the headache that comes with using aftermarket weather-stripping, so it pays to use the good stuff.

Round Up Your Hardware

Preparing for the final fit and finish – it’s important to get all your hardware ready. Quick tip: if you have any rusty old bolts, nuts, washers and the like, go to Home Depot and pick up a case of Muriatic Acid in the Pool section. Soak all your steel hardware overnight. For any aluminum pieces, I would only do a quick dip, as this stuff goes through it like butter.

Upon completion your hardware will come out clean and rust free. The minute I remove my hardware from the acid I rinse it off, then apply WD40 to protect them which also helps with installation. Any tools I use, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, you name it – I wrap the ends with masking tape to help prevent scratches from a quick slip, etc.

Get Soundproofed

The next step depends if you removed the interior; if you did I highly recommend installing sound proofing material.

Fit and Finish

There a several products to choose from and I myself, like Dynamat Xtreme, you can’t beat the quality. There are some less expensive products out there, but you get what you pay for.

Installing the Headliner

Once the soundproofing is in, it’s time to install the headliner before the front and rear windshields go in. Most vintage vehicles require the headliner first, this due to it being wrapped around the window frame as the windshield rubber keeps it tight and secure.

Fit and Finish

As for your chrome, it’s now time to bring drag it out and make sure you’ve got everything you need. Make sure you have your clips, fasteners everything ready before you begin. If you’ve decided to leave the old chrome or stainless alone, you can get some ultra-fine steel wool and a mild rubbing compound to go over those pieces to bring them back to life.

Fit and Finish

Those of you’ve who’ve followed this series know my mantra has always been to “take your time” and the fit and finish step is no exception. You’ve worked so hard to get here and it’s time to slow down and enjoy that last clip to the finish line.

Fit and Finish

And There You Have It

Assuming you’ve faithfully followed each of the nine steps I’ve outlined in this series, you should have something closely resembling perfection and I applaud you for having gone the distance. If not, you may want to go back and determine where you went wrong and apply that lesson the next time you tackle such a project.

And with that, this series is a wrap. Thanks again for reading, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a line. Next month I’ll talk about tricks to save your paint job from drips, etc.




How To Recover From The Runs • DH Automotive, Inc.

This month I’d like to touch upon one of the common horrors that’s plagued many an automotive painter, I call it, quite literally: The Runs.

The Runs have happened to all of us at some point. They seem to show up long after the paint booth has been vacated.

Typically they occur when the wrong reducer is used or the air pressure in the gun isn’t right, but the most common cause is keeping the spray gun in one spot for too long.

Although there’s no failsafe cure I’m going  to show you how to recover from The Runs by sharing two different remedies that have worked well for me over the years

An Example of The Runs

A few years ago I had the privilege of restoring a 1967 Chevy Impala SS Convertible. When the car arrived it was painted Bolero Red, General Motors Color Code R.

The client expressed interest in going back to the original color which was Tahoe Turquoise GM Color Code L.

As you can see above I created The Runs using the Tahoe Turquoise color on a patch panel by holding the gun for 10 seconds with an air pressure of 20 PSI.

And though the result was entirely expected I experienced nothing less than an acute and unmistakable case of The Runs.

How to Avoid The Runs

The first step is the most difficult one of all: you have to wait and allow the clear coat to fully cure.

Although wait time varies depending upon the weather, in general I’d say from a week to 10 days in the sun, longer if you live in an area that’s often overcast.

If you don’t give it a decent amount of time the clear coat will tear like Jello once you begin to sand it down. Trust me you don’t want that.

Also one other thing I need to mention: these tricks of the trade are designed for you to sand down the high spots without sanding through to the color or base coat and damaging paint.

This is easier said than done of course, but with the right technique and a little luck you stand a chance of pulling it off.

I’ve come up with a couple of reliable methods that will help you avoid sanding too far down to the paint leaving little to no clear when it comes time to polish.

Before you attempt either method I strongly suggest that you get into a Zen state of mind so that you’re fully present as you begin the process.

The Dry Rub Method

Although there’s no water involved you’ll be using Wet/Dry 1000 Grit sandpaper. You can use a small flat block or a paint stick.

Use one that’s wide enough to see what you’re doing, and long enough to cut down to the size of the paper. Personally I like to use the whole stick which is easy enough to handle.

Using the cross hatch pattern I mentioned in the Perfect Paint Job series you’ll want to begin hitting the high spots.

The actual clear coat drops turning the paper and using a fresh section with few strokes. Like it or not you’ll go through a lot of paper as the clear coat builds up quickly.

Fortunately you can minimize this if you slap it against your knee to clear away some of the excess. You can then go back to sanding before having to replace the paper.

After about a dozen strokes flip the paper over and use a fresh section. At this point you’ll begin to see the pattern or waves in the clear.

The idea is to get to a place where there is a smooth matted surface. Once you do so you’ll want to periodically wipe away the excess clear coat to see the full picture.

This is very time consuming but it’s a surefire way to control the amount of layers you have to remove.

The Putty Rub Method

This method takes less time and material but takes a little more skill. You want to first apply a generous amount of spot putty over the areas that have The Runs.

Don’t worry about making it smooth, you just want to cover the area. Just channel your inner Julia Child spread it on like frosting and move on to the next section if you have multiple trouble spots.

You want to allow ample time for the putty to dry. When in doubt locate the cure times on the back of the putty label.

However don’t allow the putty to stay on the surface over night. This will cause a surface reaction which will stain your paint job.

Once the putty is dry get yourself a bucket of water and some mild dish soap. The soap acts as a lubricant and cleaning agent which will allow you to cut through the clear coat faster.

You’ll be using the same 1000 grit wet/dry paper. Before you begin allow the paper to soak in the bucket for about 10 minutes. Use the same crosshatch sanding pattern.

In a few minutes you’ll notice a pattern will appear. It should look very much like a Rorschach test. The high spots will bleed through the putty alerting you of the depth of the run.

Keep in mind you want stay away from the putty edges. Only concentrate on the clear coat patterns and let the putty be your guide.

Eventually you’ll have sanded off all the putty leaving a smooth flat surface ready to be polished. Remember to wipe frequently so you can get a clear picture.

As with so many other areas of vintage auto restoration this will take time and practice but it’s entirely possible to recover from the runs provided you apply the above steps.


Iconic Cars In Film, Part 1 • DH Automotive, Inc.

Looking back, a huge part of why I love classic cars has to do with the impact of seeing stylish rides in movies.

As a result I’ve always wanted to pay homage to my favorite cars in films with a series for the blog.

That being said, this post marks the first of a series of posts I’ll be doing on some of the most memorable cars in the movies.

To that end I’m starting off with one of my favorites, a true diamond in the rough.

A vehicle that I had no idea would evoke so much emotion in these stark circumstances.

I was so caught off guard by the minimalistic little gem of a science fiction film that it appeared in.

Daft Punk’s Electroma, which was made in 2006 and directed by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk (the band members, played by Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich).

The story revolves around the quest of two robots who have a desire to become human; a form of self-expression you might say.

However, their quest utterly fails, with a society that surrounds them with their cruel intentions which leads to shock, acceptance, and ultimately the robot’s demise.

The film opens with a variety of still views of what seems to be cliff dwellings that have eroded over centuries.

The first thing I notice is how long they held the shots, and I must admit, I started to get nervous.

I’ve seen plenty of art films and was warned that there is absolutely no dialogue and no emotion – just robots doing their thing.

But then roughly two minutes into the film stood this impeccable glossy black coupe, stripped of any identifiable badges, just sitting there.

Moments later it was being entered by two robots, one with a chrome shape batters helmet; and the other, a gold phallus with a black onyx dome.

The second I saw the door handle I thought this is an Alfa Romeo, but no something more – much, much more.

The lustful obsession grew with every moment, and the next thing you know, you’re in the back seat.

You are being surrounded by creamy buttercup leather, looking out at a clear sunny desert sky, cruising at a good clip down the landscape.

The long silence is broken ever so slightly by a strange hum, which begins ever so softly.

You are introduced the open road Freedom, but my anxiety started to ratchet up a notch, and I braced myself for some kind of Kubrick/Lynch scenario – but nothing came.

Various continued shots of the car moving down the highway, and over time, the hum becomes louder and more ominous until this chaotic burst of synthesized thunder erupts.

Now I’ve never had that love at first sight with any car, it’s always been over time that I fall in love with a particular vehicle, but this car got to me.

The sun dancing off the door and rear quarter panel as it was floating by the blurred landscape.

The sleek luxurious lines silver star-like wheels rotating in a dream-like slow-motion movement.

And when it the perfect interlude into Todd Rundgren’s “International Feel” song began to play, I was smitten.

I felt a sense of hope and began to listen to the words searching for some hidden meaning something to give me a clue to what is to come.

“Here we are again, the start of the end,

But there’s more

I only want to see if you’ll give up on me

But there’s always more

There is more, International Feel

And there’s more, Interplanetary Deals

But there’s more, Interstellar Appeal

Still there’s more, Universal Ideal

Still there’s more, International Feel

I swear…”

I was
experiencing the hopeful ambition of these two machines I knew that familiar
feeling of being inside a sexy car heading to the promised destination. The
film is worth viewing.

The car is a
1987 Ferrari 412.

About The 1987 Ferrari 412

The Ferrari 412 is like no other designed four-seater coupé. Introduced in 1972 as 365 GT 2+2, it evolved into the 400 and finally the 412 – which was produced until 1989, bringing to an end Ferrari’s longest ever production series.

The 412 was the most sophisticated and luxurious model with a 5.0-liter V12 engine producing 340 hp.

Ferrari made 576 examples of the 412, making it one of the very rare models in existence.


Iconic Cars In Film, Part 2: 1938 Plymouth Deluxe Coupe

This month’s post in my “Iconic Cars of Cinema” series is none other than the 1938 Plymouth Deluxe Coupe from The Big Sleep.

This Film Noir classic directed by Howard Hawks was the first film version of the 1939 novel of the same name by Raymond Chandler.

The film stars Humphrey Bogart as the iconic private detective Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall as Vivian Sternwood Rutledge.

The story is all about how these two navigate the seedier side of Los Angeles in the 1930s.

The film itself is confusing and difficult to follow, as they had to work their way around such taboo subjects as pornography and homosexuality, etc.

It was originally finished in 1945 but was shelved by Warner brothers for another year, which is a whole other story I won’t get into.

The re-shot, re-edited, and revised The Big Sleep was finally released on the 23rd of August 1946.

The cinematic release of The Big Sleep is regarded as one of the more successful Noir films of its time.

This black and white film is one of my favorites. Wickedly clever, dripping with sexual innuendos, funny at times with quick hard-boiled lines.

And of course, to see Bogart and Bacall (only their second film together) go at it on-screen is nothing less than cinematic perfection.

Chandler’s dialogue with the help of Brackett, Furthman, and Faulkner screenwriting makes this Noir film go down in Legend history.

The Plymouth’s first appearance is when Marlowe drives up to through the hills.

It’s cold, dark, and raining like cats and dogs – we know he is trailing The blackmailer Gieger due to the headlights being not illuminated.

The Plymouth is slicked with rain, and the house is located on the corner of Crest Drive and Laverne Terrace.

The moment he stops the car and pulls the emergency brake, he crouches down in time to see another fancier convertible Plymouth pass him, only to pull into the driveway of the original tailer.

Marlowe jumps out, puts on his trench coat, and walks over to the 39 Plymouth.

He opens the door to check the registration (which is Carmen Sternwoods’ ride) before he saunters back to his Plymouth to hunker down for the late-night stakeout.

To keep him company are his trusty chesterfield cigarettes. This is not the first time we see Bogart in a Plymouth.

In one of his earlier heist films High Sierra, he drives a 38 Plymouth Deluxe coupe.

I’d kind of like to think Bogart had a preference for Plymouth’s, the salt of the earth, no pretentions here as your everyday shamus driver.

Among the notable items was the secret revolver compartment as well as the windshield sticker “B”, located on the lower ride side.

During the war era, commodities including fuel were rationed – the “B” sticker allowed only 8 gallons per week.

Can you imagine that? That’s hardly enough to get around town let alone get anything done!

Interestingly enough, law enforcement was allotted an “X” sticker which allowed them unlimited fuel consumption.

However, if you were truly undercover, it would be a dead giveaway that you were a copper given that it was common knowledge.

The real reason why I choose this particular car is because of a single scene that takes place inside the Plymouth 2/3rds of the way into the film.

Bogart offers to give Bacall a ride home in the Plymouth. From the tone of their conversation, it’s clear where things are headed.

At the decisive moment, Bogart kisses Bacall (and she is on board with the romance).

But more importantly, he finds out the truth about what’s really going on between the two of them.

I couldn’t help reflect back on important conversations I’ve had with friends, family, and lovers – while inside of a moving vehicle.

In that context, the car becomes a kind of moving truth chamber, inspiring intimacy that otherwise might not occur.

It provides quite a contrast with this day and age, where the truest intimate conversations are lost in the swift pace of technology.

This Plymouth was not considered a cool car back in 1938, not my any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, the previous year Plymouth experienced a record year of sales 566,128 vehicles but in 1938 they had dropped to 285,704 vehicles.

It was a milder version of the ’37 coupe, but people, including the dealers, were not happy with this car.

It was pudgy, the grill bloated, together with short headlamps that would protrude like bug eyes mounted high on the sides of the radiator shell.

But you wouldn’t know this Bogart behind the wheel, which made it as cool as can be and an ideal candidate for this series on iconic classic cars.


Iconic Cars In Film, Part 3 • DH Automotive, Inc.

In this month’s edition of my “Classic Cars of Film” series I decided to bring out one of my all time favorite films, The Blues Brothers, released in by Universal Pictures in 1980.

The film was directed by John Landis, who also co-wrote the script with Dan Aykroyd, who starts in the film along with John Belushi.

With a host of heavy hitters from the R&B & Soul realm, such as James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker, this is among my favorite films of all time.

It also features non-musical supporting performances by Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Charles Napier, and John Candy.


This film held the Guinness Book of World records for the most cars destroyed in a film, up until its sequel took the top slot in 1998.

The beloved Bluesmobile was described as a decommissioned Mount Prospect police car purchased by Elwood (Aykroyd) at an auction.

It’s a 1974 Dodge Monaco with a 440 magnum engine with the full police package. Director John Landis has claimed that the portion of the final chase sequence beneath the elevated train tracks (which briefly showed a reading of 118 miles per hour or 190 km/h on the car’s speedometer), was actually filmed at that speed; a testament to the Monaco’s police car heritage.


He has also stated that he re-shot some of the scenes with pedestrians on the sidewalks, so viewers could see that the film had not been sped up to create the effect of speed.

The film used a total of 13 different Monaco’s to portray the infamous Bluesmobile. Over 60 police cars were purchase for the film’s chase scenes and the production house kept a 24 hour body shop busy, which did the necessary repairs as they encounter them.


This film had such a huge impact on my life as a kid. Not only for the spectacular Bluesmobile, but for the incredibly realistic chase scenes.

It’s funny how I found myself purchasing a decommissioned P71 Crown Victoria a few years ago for $340 in which I later received a speeding ticket (doing 120 in a 65 mph zone).

I kept telling the cop that pulled me over that I had no idea how it happened – cars just kept getting out of my way until I had open road (they must have thought I was a CHP).

Up until that time when I first saw the film, I was listening to 70s rock and roll and had no idea what Rhythm and Blues/soul sounded like.

The music got to me in a way that I had never experienced before; my soul was moved in a visceral way that’s hard to describe to this day.


Iconic Cars In Cinema, Part 4 • DH Automotive, Inc.

This month’s film is sort of hard to watch. In fact, it’s actually my least favorite off any film I’ve previously covered.

That having been said, the uncertain times we find ourselves in make such a film worth discussing.

The fact that this film features iconic cars like the Lola T70 race car makes this discussion a little easier to have.

The film I dread discussing is THX 1138. THX 1138 was George Lucas’ first film, made in 1969 and released two years later, the same year my kid sister was born.

Lucas brought on his friend Francis Ford Coppola to produce the film while Lucas would direct.

American Zoetrope and Warner Bros were also involved in this thought-provoking film that still manages to remain relevant in these trying times.

THX 1138 is set in the far future, where humans toil away in service to chrome-faced robots who wear nothing more than leather jumpsuits and helmets.

We even see that the humans are all shaved bald and only allowed a white smock for clothing.

This is a very utilitarian society that affords its members no means of creativity, individuality nor any emotional or sexual outlet.

In fact, the only thing keeping the humans from revolting is a pharmacy’s worth of narcotics to keep them content.

All of this dehumanization is exactly what the robots want. Since the robots only desire optimal productivity, things like emotions just get in the way.

As to what the robots enslave humanity to produce, they use the human to make more robots.

Thus we have a world where humans endure endless toil to add more and more entities to the dominant force in the lives of humans like the titular THX 1138, played by Robert Duvall.

Duvall’s character has been rethinking his future with Magge McOmie’s LUH 3417, he decides to flee his circumstances.

He then runs into the suspicious duo of Donald Pleasence’s SEN 5241 and Don Pedro Colley’s hologram entity SRT 5752.

While THX 1138 and SRT 5752 flee on a pair of stolen iconic cars, specifically Lola T70s, SRT 5752 crashes his car into a pillar of concrete during his first time driving the vehicle.

Now on the run from robotic law enforcement, which are in nothing that even approaches the class of iconic cars like the Lola T70, THX changes course to escape the borders of the robot city.

After eventually discovering a ventilation shaft and seeing it as a true escape path, Central Command orders the pair of police robots to call off their pursuit.

CC’s reason for ending the reclamation efforts are strictly financial: capturing THX would cost more than an acceptable amount of money to carry out.

As the robots are still within speaking range, they caution THX that while the shaft will take him to the surface, the surface is not suitable for any living creature.

Choosing to take his chances in the wilderness, THX ignores the advice and continues his path through the air shaft.

THX eventually makes it to the surface, discovering that the robotic city happens to be entirely underground.

The first thing THX encounters upon surfacing is a sunset, followed by the glimpse of a living bird flying off in the distance that hints at how life can survive topside.

Considering just how gorgeous a vehicle like the Lola T70 is, it seems hilarious that their natural beauty would be uglied up with a bunch of kibble and junk to sell the illusion of being set in the future.

That said, the Lola T70 was considered a junk car by 1969 and Lucas was able to score these cars for a steal.

The most amazing thing to me about these particular Lolas would be their noise. Lolas used an American V8 engine but Lucas decided to use the audio of an F86 Sabre Fighter jets making a landing.

Another important factor to this sound would be the fact that Lucas filmed them within the San Francisco Tunnels.

Because the only way to get a closed shoot would be to film at night, the sound would be amplified by the natural acoustics of the tunnel, helping to sell the idea of a car that sounds like a spaceship.

The Lola T70 was a sports car developed by Lola Cars, a British company, in 1965. Lola built the chassis, which was usually powered by the previously mentioned American V8.

Lola T70’s remained a popular example of iconic cars until the late 1960s, with over a hundred examples existing in three varieties:

  • An open-roofed Mk II Spyder.
  • A Mk III Coupé.
  • The Mk IIIB

The Lola T70 was eventually replaced by the Lola T160, part of the Can-Am series.