Way back before computers and key less entry systems, cars were much easier to steal. Locking it in a garage helped and even a fenced yard was a small deterrent but cars got stolen anyway. Having been in the specialty car business for over four decades, I have seen my share of sad owners after the theft of a favorite ride. One buddy used Allen head cap screws on his beautiful ‘57 Nomad’s four speed. The car was stolen for the tranny…but they did not get it. Back then thieves did not carry Allen wrenches and when my buddy checked under the car he noticed some skin hanging from the trans. where vice-grips had slipped. Today, that car would be the main prize and the 4-speed an afterthought. Times change but crooks still look for an EASY buck!

If you don’t want to invest in a computer anti-theft device or hire a full-time guard, there are things we can do to stop or slow down the bad guy. A hidden ignition “kill switch” is a great idea and very easy to do. Grounding the ignition + or taking it out of the circuit completely works. One guy made a special ignition-resistor connector that slipped over one end of the ignition resistor. When the key is in START, voltage flows to the coil and starter, but as soon as the key returns to RUN, no voltage flows to the coil…so it dies. Imagine a plastic sleeve over the push-on electrical end that connect to the ignition resistor. He simply pulled the connector off but it looked like it was still connected due to his “custom” sleeve. He knew to push it on before starting but not the bad guy.

I put an electric fuel pump “kill switch” on several cars and that also worked. We also put a flasher on a car that turned on and flashed the headlights/taillights unless 3 rocker-switches were in special positions. The horn could be wired also. The RUN position on the ignition key feeds the flasher and lights and is wired thru some secondary control like a pushbutton or rocker switch. A thief wants to start the car and be gone so any delay is a big deterrent. If lights come on or flash, or the horn honks or the fuel shuts off, or the engine starts but dies…he gets scared…which is what we want.

Use your imagination. One friend reversed the floor-shift pattern on the transmission and only he could drive it. Locking the transmission in park or reverse also works. Reverse is best due to the fact park can be popped loose, but a car stuck in reverse is truly difficult to drive in an escape situation! Ignition, fuel, locking brakes, disabling the shifter, flashing lights and/or horns can all help stop a horse thief. Bad guys figured out how to pop steering locks long ago and jumping ignitions is easy…so THINK what will give them the most trouble by being different!? One car had a hidden fuel-shutoff and 3 rocker switches that had to be in ON-OFF-ON position in order to start, and two of the switches were easy to change…so ON was actually OFF! Sometimes the sequence was ON-OFF-ON then OFF-ON-OFF, or ON-ON-OFF, etc.!

Guys, even an old fashioned fuel shut-off valve works. A battery disconnect switch under the hood can slow a thief down. Pulling the plates can get a thief stopped and only 2 screws are required to attract a cop. Unless a pro takes your Pony, he probably won’t be carrying a license plate. I’m old and not as familiar with newer engines/transmissions as you young bucks, so think what can be done and pass it on to fellow SIXERS.

Charlie J. “Old Geezer” Rising Star, Texas


Posted in Old School Old Geezer