TMCP #534: Ask Rick – Gangster St Patty’s Day Mercs, Patenting Restoration Parts, and The Unintended Consequences of AI in Cars

Rick’s ’77 “Gangster” St Patty’s Day Merc!


Rick Schmidt – Ask Rick:

March signals the end of winter is nigh and soon we will be driving the back roads and highways. Saint Patrick’s Day will be celebrated with all sorts of green shenanigans in remembrance of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. He is attributed with driving snakes out of Ireland and bring Christianity to the masses of Irish. (How that translates to green beer and pinching is for a different show.) Rick said Ocala does not have a river to dye so there wont be much celebrating in the Schmidt house. For his money, one of the fun green cars in the NPD collection would make a great car to take his buddies out on the town in. His choice would be his ’77 Merc and his dad’s would be his ’30 Lincoln.

Self Driving Car as Imagined by BlueWillow AI

Rick’s Take on Autonomous Cars (Rick on the News):

The Detroit News recently reported that The Center for Connected Transportation at the University of Michigan received a three million dollar grant from the Department Of Transportation to continue studies on autonomous transportation. This news brought thoughts of a future where drivers would no longer pilot their own car. To some of us that is depressing since we actually enjoy doing this. Rick pointed out that while foreign to us, some people do not like to drive and find it a chore. They do not understand why we love our mechanical steeds and pour so much love into them. Even though he has built his whole life around vehicles that require a driver he does admit that eventually self driving cars will probably be safer in the long run. He noted multiple huge headline news articles where the driverless car was blamed for a failure and several people died. Later on the investigation found that the accidents were actually human error and not in the vehicles programming. Rick did ask that if you do get a driverless car in the future, just keep the darn thing in the right lane so he can drive by them.

Rick’s Take on Patents for Restoration Parts:

Multiple listeners asked about whether patenting restoration parts is worth the effort to protect the time and resources used to create a reproduction part. Rick said effectively, no, that restoration parts are not new ideas, as they are recreations of an old idea and likely could not be patented as a new idea. Patentable items bust by novel and unique (i.e. new in design and idea).

That said, Rick did have an example of a manufacturer that created mud flaps that do not require holes to mount on a classic car. While mud flaps are not a new idea, attaching them without the requirement of drilling IS unique. This was a patentable idea and worthy of the paperwork.

Rick’s Take on Selling a Business and How to Value It:

Multiple listeners again asked how they would evaluate the value of their restoration business (or car collection) so it can be sold if they have no one to carry on with it after the owner is gone. Rick said a profession appraisal is the way to go to get an accurate valuation. If it is worth the effort to sell, it is worth the effort to have the research done to know what it is you are selling. When it comes to car collections, he pointed out that auctions are the hot ticket lately with some very high dollars being realized on vehicles that may not look to be car show standouts.

’67 Eldorado on Bring a Trailer


Rick’s Take on Bring a Trailer “ROI” Road Trip Cars

This month, for the car purchase picks I chose vehicles that someone could drive on a road trip over the summer and still get your money back at the end of the year. The first potential vehicle is a 1966 GTO convertible that is a very nice driver car. Rick wondered if it is really a GTO or a badged up base model. He loves these cars on the road and said they drive very nice.

Second up was a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado which is a car Rick is actually looking for and believes has been undervalued  vehicle for a long  time. Rick says this a lot more car than the GTO for the same money.

Last vehicle is a 1968 Camaro coupe with a 327 that has been restored. There are a couple things off but Rick says it looks very honest and ready to roll. Of course the muscle cars are solid bets but the Cadillac offers a whole lot more features for the money (and the best ROI at the end of a summer of fun road trips)

You can find out more about NPD at the website National Parts Depot, or on social media via NationalPartsDepot or on

Thanks Rick!

-Rob Kibbe

This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!


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