The Dark Underbelly of Classic Car Restoration Is Surfacing

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Beware, car enthusiasts.

In a trend that has car enthusiasts on high alert, fraudulent classic car restoration schemes are surging across the nation and even attracting federal attention. What was once a domain of automotive passion and craftsmanship has morphed into fertile ground for criminals who exploit the emotional and financial investment collectors have in vintage vehicles.

Learn more about the difference between a good deal and a scam here.

Earlier this year, Clark P. Rittersbach, who operated Concours Classic Motor Cars in Macedon, New York, was charged with wire fraud by U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross. Rittersbach allegedly deceived his clients to the tune of $1.15 million, claiming to restore their vintage cars but either neglecting to complete the work or not doing it at all. These deceptive practices stretched beyond local or even national boundaries, as Rittersbach targeted international clients as well.


But it's not just Rittersbach; other enterprises are also guilty. Last year in Lawton, Iowa, The Healey Werks Corp faced a $7 million judgment for breaching an agreement related to the restoration and sale of three classic cars.

One of the most disconcerting aspects of these scams is how skillfully these criminals have integrated themselves into the classic car community. Through convincing social media profiles and glowing online reviews, they present a false image of credibility and expertise, lulling potential customers into a false sense of security.

Given the gravity of the situation and the millions of dollars at risk, federal authorities are stepping up their game. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia, is getting involved to unravel these complex scams and offer some measure of justice to the defrauded collectors.

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