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4 cheap and simple tricks to ward off would-be car thieves, according to you

I keep my classic bike where I can see it and when stored in my garage I jam a bar through the door rails of the garage. I also have an IP camera pointed at the door from my kitchen window with a motion sensor that sends me an immediate signal to my cell phone. My classic truck stays in my driveway and I pull a wire or a fuse from time to time, it sits in my cameras line of site, and blocks the garage door where my bike sleeps. I also have a backhoe and I’ve bought a 1 gauge kill switch (89$) to disconnect the batteries (24vdc). I also have the emergency kill switch hidden and keep it activated when not in use. I use the backhoe to cross my yard keeping my boat, and sea-do hard to get at.

This year i have realized using my older smartphones as gps trackers on cheap monthly plans are another method to use.

A client of mine in LA had his much beloved Austin Healey stolen in a scam that involved restaurant parking attendents. It was gone forever, presumably sent overseas. He tried another Healey but it just wasn’t the same. In a case of going from the sublime to the … well, less sublime, he now owns two Volvo P444s.

Good argument for GPS I guess.

I had some fun kill switches in my 280Z that I had fully modified. I had relocated the battery to the trunk and installed a master battery kill switch behind the passenger seat. I also rewired the car and the ignition was just a steering wheel lock after that. I had a toggle for the ignition and a push button for the starter that was in the place of the original cigarette lighter location. It was a black button and hidden from view sitting in the drivers seat. The steering wheel blocked its view from the driver.

I’m in the process of buying my dream car. 1994 R32 Skyline GTR. It is already purchased and insured. I’m just waiting for it to go through C.A.R.B. Oh the joys of living in California. Completely worth it though. So, the previous owner in Japan raced the car and it has all the goodies my Z never got. One of which is a detachable steering wheel. It even has the contacts for the horn button. I have never seen one like that. It is made to where you can’t get pliers on it at all. I plan on turning the wheels full lock and taking the wheel with me. Haha

I have an electric fuel pump (non-stock) with a hidden kill switch on my '72 LT-1 Vette… The car will start and run a few seconds, then dies. A thief might get less than a block at most if he had it in gear and started down the road immediately. The engine cranks over after that, but won’t start.

The factory anti-theft systems in some 80’s and up vehicles can go nuts if you start disabling battery, removing fuses, etc. It will cause you more trouble than it is worth. We’ve had some issues with this lately on GM and Honda that have chips in their keys. The factory sound system is sometimes part of the anti-theft system, and it can code out and turn into junk.

If you know what you are doing, and willing to take the risk, removing a fuse sometimes will also lock the transmission shift lever. The problem is that the vehicle cannot distinguish the owner from a thief, and will treat you like pond scum, requiring an expensive tow trip to a dealership.

Chaining your axle to a lamp post also may not work. Thieves have modern technology and tools now, particularly the professional ones.

Several new car lots have been hit around the country recently, with the dealership alarm systems and even the lot lighting systems spoofed. They can get 50-100 brand new vehicles at a time, without anyone evidently being the wiser.

Unfortunately most experienced car thieves know what to look for if a car won’t start. If the laws we have today were like the laws we had when people rode horses it would be much less of a problem. [ THEY USED TO HANG HORSE THIEVES]

When I was young I had an old beater and used to lock the steering wheel in the trunk. Crude but effective

I have an Italia convertible with a Ford 302 and 4 barrel carb. The old fashioned solenoid mounted right on the firewall. So simple to jump. Ergo, the fuel system has to act as the kill switch. Years ago someone made a neat electrically switched anti-theft device that installed under the car on the gas line to cut fuel flow.
Wish I could find one now instead of switching to an electric fuel pump that I can hide a switch for.

Odd no one has mentioned keeping your classic car in a secure garage at home. If I’m on the road, I use a California immobilizer which locks around a wheel and makes it all but impossible to move the car without an auto dolly.

Pay Clint Eastwood aka Dirty Harry to sleep in the back seat with his 44 mag…that otta do it

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68 Austin Healy 3000 had a battery cut-off switch in the trunk (and the battery).

Joes: Is this really an issue? unfortunately it’s common among classic VW’s. I had one of those Clubs cut off a '69 bug steering wheel, they left in on the ground, clearly some sort of grinder. Then my '71 ghia was towed away on a flatbed 10 years later. Security footage not so “secure”. Now I have a storage unit where I visit and take it out on weekends. I keep a “Piper” inside to check in and record if necessary. Uses interior electric outlet and office’s wireless.

Master kill switch on the positive battery cable. Great theft deterrent and also a great way to prevent your classic from going up in flames when parked.

Might also prevent the stupid DNA from spreading.

On older cars that still have a point system I have installed a switch that is grounded to the neg. side (dist) of the coil. If hot wired car will not start due to the points being “closed” or shorted out. That along with other things.

My 1965 Cobra replica (1987 Cobretti Viper V-8) has the same idea - a kill switch in the trunk where the battery is located. However, it is rarely parked anywhere but in my garage, but I always switch it off whenever parked to avoid an unexpected short leading to a fire.

I crack open the engine and pull the camshaft. Then I remove an anchor and chain that I salvaged from an old barge and wind it through the frame and all four wheels before locking it to itself. For extra measure, I bring two other cars and park them each within an inch of the front and back bumpers.

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That is the same method that they use for keeping the Queen Mary secured in Long Beach.

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To answer Joes question, yes this is really an issue. Of course people steal classic cars. My 67 camaro was stolen from in front of my house. Then the officer who responded to the stolen car report told me it was my fault it was stolen because I parked it on the street in front of my own house.

I cannot answer the question “How was it stolen?”. There was a club on the steering wheel. Obviously it did not work.

You know what was the worst part though? When I asked the police what they were doing to find my stolen car, Lt Martinez told me “We don’t look for stolen cars. We are too busy to look for stolen cars”.

That really made me angry because all they had to do was go across the street to the house of the car thief that stole the camaro. The car thief whose house the police have raided 5 or 6 times. The car thief the police put in jail for 6 months, and three months, and a week and let right back out every time. The car thief who still has old cars driving up in front of his house on a weekly basis. The car thief who the Santa Clara car theft task force came to my door and asked me about before one of the raids on his house. The car thief who the police told my wife was running a chop shop out of his garage during one of the raids on his house.

Make certain you put either a GPS tracker or a Lojack on your car. It is the only way to guarantee you will get it back, because the police freely admit that they don’t bother looking for stolen cars because they are too busy.

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