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Business Week - "The Smart Way to Shop for a Classic" - January 2, 2006

Get the VIN

Ask the seller to provide you with the car's Vehicle Identification Number (and any other supporting documentation) to back up claims of the vehicle's status as a collectible. There are unscrupulous people out there who will take a standard-issue model of an older car (for example, a six-cylinder Chevelle) and with aftermarket and reproduction parts and trim, create a faux collectible (in this case, an SS 396 Chevelle). Many of these clones are superbly done and the only way to tell the difference is by a thorough examination of the VIN, engine stampings, body codes on so on. But a clone is almost always worth far less than a real-deal original.

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eBay Buyer's Guide - "Learn about collectible muscle car clones" - January 20, 2008

Before paying top-dollar for an authentic muscle car, be sure the seller provides air-tight documentation to back up claims of authenticity. The market has a proliferation of clones — cars made into replicas of authentic muscle cars by adding high-performance engines, badges, and trim kits. For example, a Mustang that was born with a 260 V8 may have had a high-performance 289 installed. The car will perform as well as an authentic 289, but will have less value in the marketplace.

In reality, a well-done clone that sells at a significant discount to the real thing can be a good value — you get all the looks and performance of an authentic muscle car for perhaps half the cost. However, clones will never have the market appeal of an authentic car, and paying a real-car price for a clone is a nifty setup for financial disappointment when it is time to sell.

CNNMoney.com -“Illegal passing - January 25, 2005

Since so few originals exist, it would be virtually impossible to pass off a cloned '71 Hemi Cuda convertible as real. While prices for clones may seem high to some, at least buyers know exactly what they're getting. With more common muscle cars, clone versions are sometimes sold as authentic. 

"There's a very large percentage of cars being bought and sold today as originals that, in fact, are not." 

While the problem of counterfeiting certainly does exist, it isn't so common that it should scare away potential hobbyists, said Keith Jackson of Barrett-Jackson. Barrett-Jackson authenticates all the cars sold at its auctions, and fakes have been caught. Often, the owner himself had been duped, he said, and didn't know it until a Barrett-Jackson representative turned away the car. There are several ways to detect fakery, said Jackson, as well as ways to quickly check that a car has already been reliably authenticated by a third party. Care does need to be taken, he said, as with any big-money purchase.

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USAToday - "Look closely: Muscle car could be a fake" - 9/15/2004
The American love affair with 1960s and '70s muscle cars and the resulting price surge in the collectors' market have spawned a slew of fakes.  Both buyers and dealers have been duped into paying a premium of thousands of dollars for what they thought were rare muscle cars only to find out later they weren't.
Insurance companies say new buyers entering the market are the most likely victims. "When you see a growth market like muscle cars and see the hype around the rare model, that's when you see people getting taken advantage of," says McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Collector Car & Boat Insurance. "We will insure clone and fake cars," Hagerty says. "But we don't protect a buyer if they get taken by a seller."

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