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Protect Your Collector Car

Car Covers How To

If you have a collector car I am sure it is your pride and joy. You drive it and you likely show it some. Likewise, you don’t drive it every day and you like to keep it clean. I enjoy washing and waxing my cars but not all the time. I am fortunate to have several cars and some of them have not been washed for years! They get driven on nice days and they hit the show field regularly.

I ordered three covers. When the boxes arrived I thought I got screwed, there is no way a car cover was in one of those small boxes!

I do wipe the cars down when I take them out, and not with a dry microfiber cloth. I use a high quality detail liquid spray and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Then it goes into a climate controlled garage and sometimes I even ad car cover. When at shows, a car cover may also be used until the show starts or judging begins if the environment is not bad. They might include threatening rain, bird droppings, leaves, and acorns falling from trees or lots of bugs.

The secrete to not washing the car, (The more water you spray on your car the more water that collects in areas that are prone to rust!) is not to drive them in bad weather and keep them protected when in storage. If you really love your collector car, you likely don’t let it sit out in the elements. Even if you have a garage to store the car(s) if it is a working garage or not climate controlled you are going to get dust.

Over the years I have purchased a number of car covers. I have always had a love-hate with these products. Although, for the most part, they do help but putting them on, taking them off and storing can be a real issue.

When I got these boxes of car covers I was shocked at how small the boxes were. I thought there was no way a car cover was inside.

As the Coronavirus stay at home social distancing takes its toll, my thoughts for the need of a car cover reappeared. I decided it would be good to have a quality cover for three of our cars that see the most shows. None of the three are the common standard car that car covers and other parts are readily available for. The first is a 1967 Corvette Sting Ray coupe, the second is a 1969 Ford Talladega and the most difficult, a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. The last is extremely hard to find a cover for. I did some research and eventually ended up ordering three from one company. I wanted to keep it simple and not have custom made covers for each car. I also wanted covers that would work equally well inside as well as outdoors.

When I opened the boxes I realized why they were so small. The covers were vacuum-packed in plastic. They were “sucked down” very tightly and at least a third the size I could ever do.

When you go shopping for a car cover, take your time and decide why you want one. They are not all the same. There are two basic types, indoor and outdoor (some higher-quality ones will work for both, that is what I got.) Once that decision is made you need to consider fit, price, material, and warranty.

When ordering a car cover for any car that is as rare as these you expect complications. The Talladega is obviously very similar to a Torino but just a little longer. How does that impact the fit of a car cover? The Daytona is much longer than a standard 1969 Dodge Charger, but it is the huge rear wing that causes the real problem. The 1967 Corvette coupe is slightly more common but still rare in the real world. I was able to order all three covers from CarCover.com.

I DID NOT rely on the web site to place my order. I emailed the company described my cars and explained my fit concerns. Very quickly I received a callback and worked out all my issues to my satisfaction. I placed the order and within one week I had all three covers.

Included with the covers is a bag for storage of each cover when not being used, a cable and lock for security, and a reinforcement patch if you have an antenna.

Very few companies make fully custom tailored fit car covers for all three cars and those that do are very expensive. Car Covers.com has semi-custom covers that they made for us. Because the Ford Talladega basically a Torino with a slightly longer more aerodynamic front end they have the ability to add a little extra length to fit the car. I had 3 or 4 inches added to mine and I really like the way it fits the car.

As for the Dodge Daytona, a little more imagination was required. The front end is 19 inches longer than a Charger and there is the rear wing. Simply making a longer cover was not the answer. To go over the rear wing without making a completely custom cover they were able to be creative and put together a station wagon/hatchback style cover. I will admit it is not as attractive but it remains functional and does the job intended for it. I do have a little concern about how it may react to high winds outside or heavy rains. For indoor use, such concerns are not a worry.

The cover for the 1967 Sting Ray Corvette coup there were no issues. They had a nearly perfect semi-custom cover for it with no modifications needed. I might add that there were no additional charges for the Talladega or Daytona covers.

The covers also include two under-car straps to help keep it in place.

The car cover fits in the box because it is vacuum packed in a plastic bag. This greatly reduces the size for shipping.

Out of its vacuum pack, the cover is much larger.

Install the cover by starting at the font and unfolding the cover, then place the elastic front under the bumper and the elastic rear under the rear bumper. If you have an antenna, you can either remove it each time or very carefully cutting a hole for the antenna patch.

Pull the cover tight against the base of the antenna and make a mark with a Sharpie.

I suggest you move your mark to the outside of the car some to account for the proper amount of slack for the hole.

With a piece of heavy cardboard between the cover and your car’s paint take a sharp object and cut a round hole large enough for your antenna to pass through. Make sure you account for the ball on top of the antenna.

Once the hole is cut place the cover over the antenna, always measure twice, and cut once.

The car covers from CarCover.com include an antenna reinforcement patch. The hole in this was also too small for all three of our cars.

Fold the patch in half and enlarge the hole to fit.

After being enlarged.

Before removing the paper protecting the glue on the back of the patch make sure it will go over the antenna. Then pull the car cover down and fit properly, secondly, place the patch in place. Slide it down the antenna and press firmly to make sure it sticks to the cover.

One complaint I had with all three covers is that the only way to tell the front from the rear of the cover is by a little white paper tag on the inside of the cover. I took out the Sharpie again and printed front on the outside of the cover. From experience, you don’t want to be fighting with the cover trying to figure out what it the front and the rear even in a very mild wind.

When it is time to remove the cover, remove it from under the front and rear bumpers, fold in two-foot strips towards the center of the car. Try not to let the outside of the cover come into contact with the inside surface of the cover. You don’t want ANY dirt on the inside of the cover the next time you place it on your pristine paint job!

Don’t forget to remove those straps under the car before you start. when folding the cover tuck them into the exterior portion of the cover so they don’t make contact with the inside.

Once you have a 2′ / 3′ ribbon of car cover I recommend to roll it up beginning at the front.

When you are finished it should look similar to this. When you install it, simply place this on the trunk and unroll it to the front.

If you are careful and compress the cover slightly it will go into the storage bag.

If you have more than one car, pull out that Sharpie again and print the name of the car on each bag. This will eliminate the irritation of trying to figure out which bag has the cover for the car you want to cover.

There are a few things to remember with a car cover.

  • Never use a car cover on an open trailer. The flapping of the cover on the car will rub the paint off!
  • In high winds, a car cover will blow off.
  • Never install a car cover on a dirty car, the inside of your cover will get dirty and it can scratch your paint.
  • If you are putting the cover on your car outside with even mild winds you will likely need a helper.
  • A car cover will help protect your car from dust and dirt etc. It may help prevent some door dings and prying eyes but it is not a shield. Hail, branches, and other hard objects can still harm your paint and body. And, don’t forget those nasty bird droppings!
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Richard

I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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