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Classic cars easy prey for thieves

16th February 2011 Print

Classic cars will always have an appeal for those willing to forego today’s modern extras like power-steering and air conditioning for the thrill of owning and driving a timeless machine. However, TRACKER, the UK’s leading stolen vehicle recovery company, is warning that it is not just creature comforts these valuable cars are missing, but important modern security features which make them an easy target for thieves.

The dangers of unprotected classic cars being stolen by thieves go above and beyond financial loss for some owners. With the popular trend for enthusiasts to buy and renovate models themselves, classic cars often have more than just a simple monetary value. If one is stolen, the owners also lose all the time and effort they have put into restoring their vehicle, typically to individual specifications – at a cost that is hard to put a price on.

Stuart Chapman, head of TRACKER’s Police Relationship Team, says, “Classic car owners are understandably cautious when it comes to installing alarm systems and immobilisers. Some devices can be unsightly, even on modern vehicles, so people feel they affect the look of the vehicle. Whilst that might be the case, the appeal of these vehicles for criminals makes it essential to protect them. A TRACKER unit doesn’t modify the vehicle in any way; in fact it is specifically hidden, but allows the police to track the vehicle if it is stolen.”

Classic cars can actually be worth more in parts than as a whole.  This means that not only do owners need to take extra cautions to protect vehicles, but also ensure a quick recovery in the unfortunate event of them being stolen. A TRACKER unit offers a vital level of protection by recovering the vehicle swiftly, usually within 24 hours, in the event it is stolen and will not impact the look or feel of a classic car. 

Many classic cars are not for everyday use, and therefore their owners will keep them in storage for much of the time, leaving thieves the perfect opportunity to steal them - sometimes without even using the key, as they can be easily broken in to and hotwired  or towed away. A TRACKER unit comes equipped with a movement sensor, which can alert TRACKER of any unauthorised movement.

Chapman adds, “As well as a TRACKER unit, simple precautions can be taken to protect a classic car. Parking in well-lit areas with a good visibility is a must, as are seemingly obvious tips such as never leaving the keys in the car and making sure all the doors are locked and windows closed. As with advice for modern vehicles, owners should never leave valuables on sight in a classic car.

“Door locks on cars that are forty years old will be easy for a thief to tackle using different keys and tools. Owners could also look at the installation of a steering wheel/brake pedal lock to make it harder to steal the vehicle. Thieves are, at the end of the day opportunists, so taking precautions such as installing a car alarm, as well as a tracking device which includes an immobiliser, could reduce insurance premiums as well as protect a valuable investment.”

TRACKER’s Classic Car Security Tips

Park in busy or well-lit and attended car parks near CCTV cameras

Never leave the keys in the car

Ensure the doors are locked, the sunroof and windows are closed

Don’t leave valuables such as phones and bags in view, leave them in the boot

If you have a garage use it, if not park a modern car in front of the classic car on the drive, as it is harder to steal

Invest in an immobiliser and tracking device for high performance or classic cars for added protection and to reduce insurance premiums

A car alarm is essential as classics are easier to break into

At home, don’t keep keys in a place where they can be seen or accessed from outside