Before disaster strikes your Corvette paperwork
Bad planning and accidents can destroy your paperwork!
In my 35 + years working at the National Corvette Restorers Society, the saddest phone calls came right after massive storms. Water leaks, rain, and accidents destroyed their collection of Corvette Restorer magazines and members called me hoping that replacements existed. I took this same phone call dozens of times, and it was never easy. Back issues are never reprinted, so once they were out of stock- you needed to try eBay or another member in hopes to get the issue you lost. I thought of those calls and emails as I wrote this blog. Please use this information in hopes that it saves you or a friend from losing valuable Corvette documentation and paperwork. Most of this Corvette paperwork irreplaceable.
“Honey- I think the Bloomington Gold award is in the glove box…”
Keeping your Corvette paperwork safe
Here are some ideas that will ensure that your paperwork and documentation stay safe for your car’s next owner!
- Know what your insurance carrier will cover and what it will not. Do they consider your valuable vehicle documentation as trash or treasure? Discuss this subject with your insurance carrier.
- If the storage area is prone to leaks after a heavy rain (or near a water pipe)- you will want to store materials elsewhere. Is there a bathroom or pipes above? Assume that a leak or worse will eventually occur and go elsewhere!
- Indeed, do not store the valuable items on the floor. That is where all water ends up eventually! Even if you do not have access to shelving, getting the items at least a few inches up off the floor will be a big help.
- Make sure you are not contributing to leaks and have all the windows and weatherstripping sealed adequately.
- Make a list of these most valuable possessions to protect. Money might not be your ultimate criteria. Store your favorite family memories with your favorite car memories!
- You must treat wet materials within seventy-two hours. Permanent damage is probable at that time. The longer you wait, the higher the chances that the harm is irreversible.
- Set some priorities if the worst happens. It’s much easier to carry out a few carefully packed (waterproof!) plastic boxes of important items while the basement is filling with water. Trying to clean up in a panic will only make things worse. Have a plan and hope that you never need it.
If the worst happens to your Corvette paperwork: quick water damage tips
Despite your best efforts, some of your items have been soaked. Here are some first thoughts to help the healing process recommended by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic Works and the Heritage Preservation. They are for guidance only, and there are no guarantees.
- Rinse the object with clear water or a very fine hose spray if it is still wet. Only clean off any debris with a very soft brush or dab carefully with a damp cloth. Do not grind any grit or debris into the object as you will cause scratching. Use plastic or rubber gloves for your protection.
- Air dry the objects indoors if at all possible. Sunlight and heat can dry some materials too quickly causing further damage. Do not seal items in bags as that will inevitably cause mold to develop. If you must transport the damaged objects in plastic bags, make sure that plenty of air is circulating in them.
- Humidity encourages mold and mildew growth. Increasing airflow is your friend both during safe storage and damage control. Moderate light exposure also reduces mold and mildew.
- Your paperwork may be extremely fragile while wet! Always use extreme caution when handling. Is the object in a frame or mat? Carefully remove the edges if possible.
Bring in the experts
If the worst has happened, it’s highly recommended to bring in an expert- a professional conservator. Based on your complete description of the damaged object(s), a computer-generated list of conservators will be sent to you. The file will even be compiled and grouped geographically, by specialization, and by type of service provided. Contact professional conservators through the free
Guide to Conservation Services of the AIC,
AIC 1717 K Street, NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20006.
As always- post any questions, and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!
The next blog article will discuss the importance of proper preservation of the paperwork that comprises your Corvette’s history.