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Automania/Repair & Maintenance
AUTO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR WEEK 38 YEAR 2000
by Bob Hagin
Q. I've had a question in my mind for a few years now. I have a customized '62 Chevrolet Corvette that I used to show in formal car shows with a local Corvette club. Most recently I just do "people's choice" (non-judged) shows around the area. But I have always wanted to have my car appear in a big screen movie, and hopefully get it back in one piece. How does one go about doing this?
A. I've only known two people who were ever involved it putting their cars into movies as "extras." One is my son-in-law who wanted to put his 1948 Pontiac Chieftain into the movie "Tucker." It was being shot in the San Francisco Bay Area and he simply showed up and nosed around until he found the right contact. He was turned down because his car was too new since it was produced after Tucker went belly-up. The other is a friend who was approached by the company that was making Tucker and her car was gratefully accepted since it is one of the 56 Tuckers ever made. Her dad had bought it in 1949. I searched the web under the search name "movie cars" and came up with a half-dozen "agencies" that would list your car for a fee. I guess they really do find gigs for client's cars but many of the jobs seem to be commercials, openings, etc. They all promote the prospect of being able write-off your car since it would be a source of income but a car owner interested in this had better consult a tax person before writing off a $100,000 restoration job.
Q. I have a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle. Before this one I had a '57 and a '63 Bug. At the time, I used to get parts catalogs from people like J.C. Whitney and others. Are those catalogs still around? How can I locate them?
A. Indeed, J.C. Whitney (at least the company) is still around and I recently received several press releases that announced that the ancient company (established in 1915) has an E-commerce website through which you can order not only the original comprehensive Whitney catalog but a specialized one for VWs. Wolfsburg West has also been in business for a long time supplying air-cooled VW Bug parts. You can call them at 714-620-9653 for more information. There's been a resurgence in interest in the original type of VW Bug and the internet has dozens of other sites that offer parts and service for them. If you don't have internet access, find a friend who does.
Q. Our '92 Plymouth Acclaim has a V6 engine and approximately 90,000 miles on it. We have had many problems with this car and have had to spend a great deal of money to keep it going. It is our only car and we are on a limited budget. Some of the work was paid for by the factory but we had to pay for most of it ourselves. Now the automatic transmission is beginning to act up. The problem is that the shifting is becoming very jerky. It shifts hard going into Drive and it also shifts hard when it goes into Reverse. It is also not very smooth when it shifts through the gears when I'm driving away from a complete stop. Is there some sort of adjustment that can be made to it, or are we facing a another major repair? I don't know if we want to spend much more on what seems to be a bottomless pit.
A. The transmissions in many Chrysler products of the early '90s had problems. Sometimes they are relatively easy to fix, but other times they require major repairs. According to factory service bulletins, if you have harsh shifting into Drive and Reverse, the repair is fairly simple and only involves a new and updated plate in the valve body. If the shift is harsh going into all the gears and during all the shifts, it more than likely requires a major overhaul with updated parts.
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