Do you remember your first car ride?

I was five or six years old in 1951. My father’s friend took us to London for the Great Exhibition. I don’t remember the Exhibition but I do remember my father complaining because I couldn’t handle all the walking. On our way back to Sheffield, I think it must have been a Sunday, we needed oil for the engine. The garage we found was closed and we had to steal the bottle of oil from the rack on the forecourt. I don’t know why but I don’t think we made an effort to leave money for it.

When I was around ten, my parents started working for my Uncle and Aunt on the weekends in their pub. My Uncle had a weakness for cars, the first one was a Standard Vanguard, then there was an Armstrong Siddley Saphire, and for a short period an old Rolls-Royce that he never took me in. Even better than my Uncle’s cars was that of his friend, the scrap merchant. He had a 1954 Buick, I have never forgotten the fascia of the car, it was so garish compared to British ones. After that his friend had a Bentley Continental, 120 MPH top speed, which became my “wish for” car after I get my E Type Roadster and my Aston Martin DB5.

The first car I drove was a Ford Anglia van, (circa 1960) 3 speed, no comfort features. It was a big deal for me because my employer required all staff to be licensed drivers. My father never drove, my brothers learnt in the compulsory armed forces service.

In Canada my first car was a 1958 Ford Fairlane, it cost $250.00 in 1966 at a dealer on the Danforth when the Danforth was full of dealers. It was a “Lemon” of lemons. Canadian Tire were the big beneficiary of that car for the next year until I bought a 1964 Plymouth Valiant Signet 100. The insurance cost was insane in Montreal and the dealer forgot to mention that the insurance policy was to cover the car and not my liability. What we learn when we are young!!


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.


Vehicle Maintenance: How It Helps Alleviate Financial Stress

A car that runs smoothly is truly a beautiful thing. But maintaining a vehicle can be a complicated undertaking. Obviously, in a perfect world, your car would never have any issues, and you could cruise around with ease. But, rust, weather, mice, and other potential disasters constantly bombard your vehicle and attempt to break it down. 

When that check engine light goes on–as it inevitably will–the hunt for the problem begins. Sometimes the car makes it easy for you to discover the problem quickly. Maybe it just needed an oil change, a relatively easy thing to accomplish. But other times, the problem can be elusive, and merely guessing could cause even more harm to your car. Before you start dismantling your vehicle to investigate, set yourself up for success with an OBD Scanner.

What is an OBD Scanner

OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostics and is a tool used to monitor the efficacy of your engine, gather emissions data, and help you identify any problems your car might have. This nifty tool is extremely helpful. Your vehicle runs tests consistently to help maintain the functioning of your car. Your car will record a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) and turn on the check engine light if it detects a problem. Before the invention of the OBD Scanner, you would have to take your car into a shop to figure out what was wrong. But because this scanner now exists, your life is simplified. Simply plug in this scanner, and it will interpret the DTC for you. Once you have looked up the DTC, you are equipped with the necessary knowledge of what is wrong with your car.

Types of OBD Scanners

Cars have been around since 1886, and they have gotten more efficient and complicated since then. In 1968, Volkswagen put the first computer in a vehicle for the average consumer. The addition of computers, while helpful, did add a whole new set of problems–and solutions.

There are two eras of OBD Scanners on the market right now. An OBD1 Scanner and an OBD2 Scanner. If your car was manufactured in 1996 or later, you will want to use an OBD2 Scanner. If your car is a bit more classic, you will want to look into an OBD1 Scanner.

OBD1 Scanner

This scanner revolutionized a car owner’s ability to maintain their vehicle. However, the codes were not standardized across manufacturers. This means that if your car was made between 1981 to 1985, you have to have a specific scanner for the make and model of your vehicle. If you tried to plug in an OBD1 Scanner designed for a Ford vehicle into a Toyota, you will likely get a different code. The dangers of this are many. If you don’t have the correct scanner, you are likely to get the wrong code, which will lead you to the wrong issue, and in turn, you could do more damage to your car! 

  • INNOVA 3145 FORD OBD1 Code Reader
  • INNOVA 3123 GM OBD1 Code Reader

These are two examples of OBD1 scanners. We will expand on how to know which version of the code reader you will need below.

OBD2 Scanner

In 1996, the diagnostic codes were standardized for vehicles across the United States. This means that any car manufactured after 1996 that is OBD2 equipped supports any OBD2 Scanner. OBD2 vehicles have the same port across make and model. This means you could potentially have one scanner for all your vehicles.

How to Know Which Type to Buy

There is a simple test for knowing which version of the scanner you should use. If your car was manufactured in 1996 and later, you will be looking for an OBD2 Scanner. But first, check the “Vehicle Emissions Control Information,” usually found under the hood of your car. There should be more information telling you if your vehicle is OBD2 compliant in the top right corner.

If your car was made between 1981-1995, you will likely want to purchase an OBD1 Scanner. If you have a classic car that you love, you may be looking at this type of scanner. Don’t forget to research which OBD1 Scanner will correctly read your car’s DTCs.

Code Reader VS OBD Scanner

An OBD2 code reader is a more primitive device (if you can call a computer that interprets problems in your vehicle primitive). A code reader plugs into your car, displays DTC information, and resets your check engine light. It is simple and will get the job done.

If you are looking for more detailed information, you will want to get an OBD2 Scanner. Because manufacturers can put codes unique to them, a code reader may not be able to pick these up. A scanner will be able to. Scanners are designed to deliver real-time data, analyze unique diagnostic issues, and even estimate repair costs! These professional-grade scanners will give you the most accurate information you would need about your car.

Because you love your car and want it to run smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible, you need to equip yourself with tools that will help keep you informed about what is happening under the hood. An OBD1 or OBD2 Scanner is a perfect tool in your arsenal. This tool will keep you up-to-date and in the know when your check engine light turns on, or even before that happens.


Classic Car vs. Traditional Investment

Classic Car investment

Buying a classic car to restore is a possible investment. Not only is it fun to restore, but you can also make money off your hard work once the restoration is complete. However, is buying a classic car an investment? In this article, we examine if classic cars can match traditional investments and how cryptocurrency might be an option.

What Is A Classic Car?

The generally accepted definition of a classic car is a vehicle that is over 15 years of age. An antique car is normally a vehicle manufactured before the Second World War. The collectability of a classic car is based on its popularity in the current demographic. The Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro are 2 classic cars that were manufactured in large production numbers. This has never been a factor in their popularity, and they cross many demographic collector/enthusiast groups. Vehicles that are rare in regards to their configuration of power train and options usually attract higher prices. The ownership and service history of a vehicle looms large to establish its collector value.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Classic Car?

Classic cars can be purchased in a wide range of values. A rule of thumb is that is a 4 door car is not highly collectible, a 2 door car is much more collectible, and a 2 door convertible is the most desirable. This rule of thumb also normally projects the chance of appreciating in value.

There is really no way to come up with a general rule of thumb for how much money is required to buy a classic car. You can purchase a classic vehicle for $10,000, or you can spend millions more.

Is It Worth It?

Many car enthusiasts have dreamed of buying a classic car and watching its value appreciate as time goes on, but many don’t know where to begin. Luckily, there are so many simple ways to enjoy vintage automobiles without spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. By some measures, the classic car market is more active than it has ever been before. Your dream of owning a collector’s item may be closer than you think. Still, it’s one thing to collect classic cars as an enthusiast, and another to buy potential classics with the only aim being to gain profits.

Risks Involved

Many people underestimate the risks which classical cars hold. For many, the cryptocurrency market is a more viable option, where you can trade with Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, and other coins. But it’s a matter of opinion. Traditional investments tend to hold risks as well. However, if you have to buy BNB or buy a classic car, for example, how would you assess the situation?

Both collecting classic cars and investing in cryptocurrencies have a lot of inherent risks. They can lose value over time, and you need to pick the right option for the period of time that you have. Do your research before committing any of your money or time into either enterprise.

High-end vehicles may seem to be a good investment, but be cautious. They may lose their value quickly, and come with high carrying costs. This is why if you are an investor you should acquire a diverse portfolio of vehicles that includes a range of makes and models. Classics from Europe are very popular, but watch out for over-inflated markets.

Classic Cars Combined With Crypto?

It’s an interesting topic as to how much cryptocurrencies will be worth in a few years. Cryptocurrencies are things of the future, but some classic cars can be great investments as well. While owning a classic car may not give you the same returns as owning Bitcoin, buying a rare vehicle for your personal collection can be a great way to preserve value and diversify your portfolio.

Traditional Investments – Where Do They Sit?

Traditional investments may not be hip and exciting, but they do deserve a place in your portfolio. These investments give you a measure of stability and consistency that can help even out the volatility of other assets, such as stocks and Bitcoin.


If you are a conservative person who has no interest in classic cars, you’d better stay away. But if you can afford the high costs of buying, restoring, and maintaining a classic car, and if you have an appreciation for vintage vehicles, then investing in a classic car might not be such a bad idea for you after all.


1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe convertible

1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe convertible

FOR SALE: 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe convertible

More information on the listing page.




Is the Insurance Company Valuing Your Write-off Fairly?

What To Do when your car is written off in an accident/theft and you are not sure the insurance company is being fair in their compensation offer:

For most of us, this set of circumstances is a once in a lifetime event so we feel at sea amongst the whirlwind of events. The insurance company knows all the rules, you are very new at it.

When the insurance company makes their offer, ask them to send you the report that explains how they came to the amount. This report is normally prepared for the insurance company by JD Power or AutoDatasource.

Read this report, it contains a lot of detail:

The description of your car/truck, all its options and its trim level.
It describes its condition, previous damage etc., and the mileage.
It lists comparable vehicles to yours in your geographic area.
It calculates asking prices, less a negotiating discount (normally 5%).
It calculates a positive or negative factor for the mileage showing on your vehicle.

Questions to ask yourself:

Is the vehicle that the insurance company is describing a correct version of your car?
Do they have the correct trim level, and the correct options?
Is their description of your car appropriate?
If they indicate that there was previous accident damage, is that appropriate?
Did the insurance company compare your vehicle to ones that have a similar amount of mileage? It’s not uncommon for the insurance company to use comparables that have much higher mileage.
If you believe they have used inappropriate comparables, there may be a phone number that you can call to check with the dealer that was advertising the vehicle, by calling them you may be able to clarify the situation.
If your vehicle is under 5 years old and you purchased it new, are they comparing your vehicle to ones being sold by a franchise dealer?
Is the type of transmission (manual or automatic) a factor in the market value of your car?
Did you purchase an extended warranty from the dealer or from a warranty specialty company when you purchased your car? Have you claimed a credit for the outstanding balance of the warranty remaining? Some franchise dealers do not offer this possibility, but it is worth asking. Some dealers offer credits in this regard if you purchased another vehicle from them.

Many people who contact us in regards to an insurance claim dispute misunderstand the process that is mandated by law. Once the insurance company makes you an offer, unless the amount is egregiously inappropriate, or they have made a factual error, the ball is now in your court to give them a second opinion on your behalf from a company like ours.

If a settlement cannot be accomplished after submitting a second opinion report, the next stage is to submit the two competing opinions to an umpire. The umpire is chosen from individuals submitted by you (the owner) and those preferred by the insurance company. We normally advise you on names of umpires prepared to undertake the case which will depend on if they have a conflict of interest.

Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.