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Preventing theft and vandalism on you antique automobile


Mpgp1999
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Hello how would one prevent theft or vandalism and on their antique automobile I have a Dodge from 1926 and I am worried about parking in parking lots of people stealing it because it doesn't have a antitheft system or even a key to get in order start it (a toggle switch)

I have Heard of some methods to prevent this such as turning off the fuel changing out the distributer wires around or putting or a steering wheel lock not quite sure if there is any others that are better out there and how to potentially to keep away teenage kids because that is she will be parked for hours

matthew

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I have this style of battery disconnect on my model T.

Put it on originally as fire prevention when it's in the garage, but when I am at a show I back the green knob all the way out and put it in my pocket.

post-100370-143143108874_thumb.jpg

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I equipped my 48 Chevy with a battery disconnect. However, I seriously doubt if the vast majority of teen-age car thieves could figure out how to start my 48, much less drive it. The column stick shift, and, five pedals on the floor ( dimmer switch, clutch, brake, gas, and starter button) should befuddle them pretty good.

Regards:

Oldengineer

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I seriously doubt if the vast majority of teen-age car thieves could figure out how to start my 48, much less drive it. The column stick shift, and, five pedals on the floor ( dimmer switch, clutch, brake, gas, and starter button) should befuddle them pretty good.

LOL ... that sure is a good anti-theft device for the teenagers! Yet, I'd venture to guess that those stealing the older cars like your 1948 or Matthew's 1926 Dodge aren't your typical teenage thieves.

Several friends have a variation of the battery disconnect.

Cort :)www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve

"It's such a cold blow from out of the dark" __ Brooks and Dunn __ 'That Ain't No Way To Go'

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A 45 cal. works good.

That would solve alot of the theft problems in this country if they would make it legal and not side with the criminals.

I would suspect the original posters car would be low on the list of cars to steal and lots of eyes will see anyone horsing around with it as it draws alot of attention. A rollback or enclosed trailer would be the biggest worry. I second the rotor idea if you are worried about the roving gangs of guys out stealing old cars to go for a joy ride. You could also run a wire to a plain old toggle switch to kill the ignition unless the switch is on. You will be the only one that knows about it. I have an electric fuel pump on my hot rod as it's only pump and it's run to a switch. If I'm ever concerned I just turn the switch off. It won't get far with 3 carbs and no fuel supply.

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Do you REALLY have to worry about someone stealing a 1926 Dodge?

Do you live in a high-crime area? If you are driving it into local parking

lots, that implies that your town isn't dangerous.

Antique-car theft is rare, and for your model, would a would-be thief

even know how to start it?

It's wise to be alert, but don't let fear keep you from normal activities!

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Do you REALLY have to worry about someone stealing a 1926 Dodge?

Do you live in a high-crime area? If you are driving it into local parking

lots, that implies that your town isn't dangerous.

Antique-car theft is rare, and for your model, would a would-be thief

even know how to start it?

It's wise to be alert, but don't let fear keep you from normal activities!

That's my way of thinking about it too.

Insurance companies aren't worried about it. That's an indication that, while anything is possible, don't concern yourself too much with it. Easy for me to say. It's not my car, but that's the way I look at it.

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Do you REALLY have to worry about someone stealing a 1926 Dodge?

Do you live in a high-crime area? If you are driving it into local parking

lots, that implies that your town isn't dangerous.

Antique-car theft is rare, and for your model, would a would-be thief

even know how to start it?

It's wise to be alert, but don't let fear keep you from normal activities!

This. Old cars' starting procedures tend to be their own anti-theft devices.

I leave the keys in my '29 Cadillac whenever I park it. People look at me as if I'm an idiot, but I tell them if they can figure out how to start it, they can have it. Most folks don't have any clue how to start a car if it's more difficult than put the key in a slot and turn. That's actually the test I use for new hires at my shop, even 16-year-old kids who mop the floor. I put them in a pre-war car and tell them to start it. If they know how or get close, then that's a big plus. If they look at me stupidly, well, maybe I keep looking.

And as someone pointed out up above, nothing will stop a thief with a roll-back. On the other hand, I can't think of anything a thief would want less than a car like a 1926 Dodge. A friend of mine had his tow rig stolen with his 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost inside. A few miles down the road, they found the $350,000 Ghost unceremoniously dumped by the side of the highway while the 20-year-old Suburban and used trailer were long gone. There's no quick, easy profit in stealing old cars therefore thieves don't bother. They aren't known for their forward-thinking and long-term planning.

Why worry about something that doesn't happen often enough to even be a statistic?

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Lots of good advice on antitheft. 58 Mustang's suggestion brought a chuckle - a friends father started that practice when we were arond 14 - 15 and he suspected by buddy of taking one of the family cars for a joy ride during the afternoon when we were out of school but the parents were all at work. Happens he was right... :D

You comment on vandalism as well - is this when the car is in use or long term parked somewhere - i.e. outside storage? tough to protect if you have to leave it outside for an extended period. Regular parking is much less of an issue - although I have had a couple of cars I did not really ever like to leave unattended, they were the nicest in terms of condition. The rest were driver level - at the end of the day, much more fun when a stone chip, etc. does not bother you. If your car is restored, show it a bit and when you tire of that and just want to enjoy it you will be less worried about it.

One thing though, these things do attract people that for some reason want to touch as well as look, so keep that in mind when you do leave it places. I am usually more woried about inquisitive people who do not know their boundaries than thieves or vandals, as the % of those people is higher than the vandal or thief.

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Thank you everybody for the great advice

I have to say my biggest worry is I will be parking it during the day in places where I will not be able to see it at a high school. The main thing I'm concerned with is just kids screwing with it for example keying door or breaking window or whatever

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RP1967 - I'm curious how disconnecting the battery of a Model T, with a properly functioning factory ignition system, going to stop it from being started and driven away :)

 

I'm with Matt and Oldengineer on this one, first they have to figure out how to start it and , in the case of a Model T,  they have to figure out how to DRIVE it.

Now that would make an interesting bait car video!!

 

 

 

Brad

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Back in the 70's I had my '64 Malibu SS convertible parked at work.  You couldn't see the rear parking lot from inside and when I finished work I went to my car and noticed the windshield wipers were on.  When I got to the car the ignition was yanked out and thrown on the floor.  The hidden kill switch I installed saved my car.  I still use them today.

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On my '55 Chev Bel Air I used to remove the steering wheel and lock it in the turnk.  Pretty effective?

That's exactly what I was going to suggest. That was the most effective anti-theft device my dad used to tell me about back in the day.

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Brad, As most High Schools have a designated teacher's lot, I am assuming you are a student.  If it is in driver shape, best to leave the exterior as is and be sure it is locked securely.  Not sure cars are as big a deal as they were back in the "old days" - but I now understand your concern.

 

I can recall a few instances from HS but nothing involving any real damage.  A popular thing us car guys used to do with a manual shift car would be to reposition it elsewhere in the parking lot.  We had a gym teacher who insisted on parking her MG Midget in the student lot, which was moved, wheelbarrow style a few times.

 

My HS car was a Camaro with an external hood latch through the grille, I rigged a chain and padlock from under the front of the hood to the front valance panel to keep anyone from messing with the engine - that is a precaution you might take.

 

The only othe ruseful advice I would offer is to try to park it in a very visible spot to lessen the chance of the wrong person having an oppotrunity to do something stupid for no good reason. 

 

Good luck and good for you for driving something different!

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I drove a '76 Cadillac Eldorado convertible thoughout high school and always worried about it. I would lock it up, secure it, installed security systems, but none of those stopped the mischief. Someone eventually slashed the top to get in and go through the glove box (yeah, a high school student is hiding a fortune in there) and it took me a summer of working full time to earn enough to replace it. Eventually I just started parking it with the top down and nothing in it. If someone wants in, they're going in, and I figured if they could get in without doing any damage, I'd be ahead of the game. People would throw pop cans or McDonald's bags in it sometimes as they walked by, but nobody ever really vandalized it. I wasn't happy, but I could at least manage that.

 

It's also important to remember that only a tiny fraction of the world is made of a$$holes. Most people, teenagers included, won't mess with your car. The advice everyone else has given you about parking it someplace visible is probably best. Nobody's going to steal it, but if you want to minimize mischief, park it where it can be easily seen. Other than that, perhaps reconsider driving it when you can't supervise it, it might be too much of a distraction to make it worthwhile.

 

And yes, we used to take my friend's Volkswagen and hang the bumper on a fireplug. Not malevolent but mischievious. It happens in high school. Kids will be kids, but I don't think many will have anything mean in mind.

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A few years ago my wife's QX4 and my Silverado were unlocked in the driveway as always. Someone went through them and we found CD's thrown all over, glove boxes and compartments opened, and nothing stolen. You know, some people would have felt violated. We felt rejected. I mean, there were the soundtracks from The Music Man and House of 1,000 Corpses lying right there in the morning. Kids, must have been kids.

Bernie

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A few years ago my wife's QX4 and my Silverado were unlocked in the driveway as always. Someone went through them and we found CD's thrown all over, glove boxes and compartments opened, and nothing stolen. You know, some people would have felt violated. We felt rejected. I mean, there were the soundtracks from The Music Man and House of 1,000 Corpses lying right there in the morning. Kids, must have been kids.

Bernie

I suspect that if it had been locked you could be dealing with a broken window or the likes.

But you are right, kids may have simply checked the doors. But there was something in there, if your glove box was empty there would be no mess.

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The true story I always tell is that one year the Mrs. & I decided to serve T-giving Day meals the local homeless shelter.  While doing so someone broke the side window of the locked parked car and broke the dash bezel in an unsuccessful effort to get the in-dash AM/FM/CD player.  I had installed the unit myself and there was no way anyone was going to get it out without removing the dash, shifter console and floor!

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And as someone pointed out up above, nothing will stop a thief with a roll-back. On the other hand, I can't think of anything a thief would want less than a car like a 1926 Dodge.

 

Gee,,,,,,,way to make a guy feel good about his car.......  :angry:

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So a priest, a rabbi, and a minister decided to "boost" the treasury with a bit of car theft:

 

The priest said only green cars for good luck.

The rabbi said they had to have and automatic transmission.

The minister stood with his cell phone to his ear saying "Buick, I don't see any Buick."

 

Bernie

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Gee,,,,,,,way to make a guy feel good about his car.......  :angry:

It is my understanding that most car thieves are in it for the money so they are looking for something relatively easy to steal that a chop shop will buy to part out.

 

Even if you have a collectable car with a very high market value, the chances are that a thief will not want it. Where will they sell it as a complete vehicle? Basically they can’t. The parts might be worth more than the whole but the market for rare cars is thin and it would be fairly easy to trace the pieces you are selling back. It might raise some suspicion if a bunch of high quality parts for a rare car suddenly hit the market.

 

I suppose that there might be a market for something like parts for Model A Fords but, in general, any vintage collector car is not going to be high on the list of cars to be stolen by professionals.

 

So telling a person with a '26 Dodge or, in my case, a '33 Plymouth that you “can’t think of anything a thief would want less than” your car is probably accurate. It just isn’t the most polite way of stating it.

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To keep a would be thief out of the car in the first place, I use a The Club steering wheel lock.  The large red device hopefully deters the person in the first place.  Yes, a little bulky but works great on my convertible.  

 

In January of 1994, I bought a 1993 (used) Mustang 5.0 with a 5 speed transmission.  These cars were very popular back then, and it seemed that every kid on the block either had or had to have one.  Of course this led to these Mustangs being one of the most popular cars among car thieves.  I did what most 5.0 owners did and installed a very sophisticated alarm system and bought and used the big red "Club" anti-theft device.  Deciding that was not sufficient, I installed a hidden fuel pump cutoff switch.  This is very effective since the 5.0 of that era used an in-tank high pressure fuel pump for the fuel injection system, and the car will not start if the fuel pump isn't running.

 

To shorten this lengthening story, one dark night, 3 months after my purchase, thieves stole my Mustang 5.0.  The hood can be opened from the outside by reaching up from below and behind the bumper and manually tripping the hood latch.  The thieves then disabled the alarm system, punched out the door lock, cut the steering wheel (easy and quick to do with bolt cutters) to remove the "Club" and punched out the ignition key lock.  They then pushed the car out into the middle of the street where they attempted to start it.  After it wouldn't start, they just left it there and fled.  All of the anti-theft precautions I'd taken surely slowed the thieves down, but, in the end, it did not prevent the car being stolen (since it was removed from my property into the street, I consider it to have been stolen ... as did the cops).

 

I still have my Mustang 5.0, but have removed the alarm and no longer have the "Club" anti-theft device; however, I still use the hidden, yet conveniently accessible, fuel pump cutoff switch.  Oh, another thing: I booby-trapped the hood latch in such a manner that blood will be shed if someone tries to open it from the outside.

 

Hang all car thieves,

Grog

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