Protecting the investment we have in our rides has got to be one of the most important aspects of any build. Yet it’s oftentimes forgotten about until after the fact, if at all. Think about what it would take for a thief to snag that pride and joy out of your garage or driveway for a moment.

A slim jim to pop open a door, cross a few wires behind the dash, and he could be off in a matter of minutes if not seconds. And what’s stopping him? I almost laugh at myself when I lock the doors in my ’68; I guess it’s just habit. I like to think of it as deterrence, but I know that if I locked myself out of my car, it would only take a few minutes to jimmy the lock open and I’m not even a professional thief.

So then what’s a guy or gal to do when it comes to keeping that old classic out of the prying hands of a thief? I think of this question often and I’m always looking for ways to not only lock my own car down safer then Ft. Knox, but to pass along that info to you readers as well.

I hear about cars disappearing from parking lots every year at all the big car shows and it always bums me out because I know there’s got to be a way to keep this from happening. In the end, however, we all have to concede that as long as there are thieves, our nice rides are going to be targets. The only thing we can do is to deter the problem as much as possible.

And that’s what this story’s all about, deterrence. Over the last few years, I’ve installed a couple of items on various projects that impressed me with their ability to deter theft. Whether it renders the ride incapacitated by disconnecting the battery, shutting off the fuel pump, engaging the emergency brake, or a combination of all those things, they all add up to making the thieves’ job that much harder.

Whether or not it prevents your car from disappearing from the local burger joint is one thing, but I’ve found that peace of mind goes a long ways in making you feel like you’ve done all you can to hang onto that pride and joy. At the end of the day, all we can really do is make it as hard as possible for some scumbag to steal our precious car, but should the inevitable happen, just be sure to have it insured for what it’s worth!

Fenced In

Classic Instruments won the 2012 Innovation Award at the Hot Rod & Restoration Show for their GPS-enabled speedometer system, Sky Drive, but are just now getting into the true possibilities that the GPS technology can provide. The latest feature is an optional software upgrade called Sky Fence. Armed and disarmed by a toggle switch, the anti-theft protection software can trigger any relay (lights, horn, fuel pump, etc.) when the vehicle is moved outside a predetermined distance (65, 130, or 200 feet) when armed. The omnidirectional antenna has minimal mounting restrictions, allowing it to be hidden from view.

Classic Instruments
(800) 575-0461


I’ve installed Painless Performance Products’ Remote Master Disconnect Kit in the last three projects I’ve built for a few simple reasons. One, it allows you to do just as the title suggests – disconnect the battery remotely. The kit consists of a relay that can be mounted anywhere on your car, triggered by a switch that disconnects the main power cable from the battery. The idea is to hide both the relay and the switch so that a thief can’t find them. Turn off your car, trigger the disconnect, lock your doors, and walk away confident that a thief couldn’t simply break in and hotwire your truck. The Painless kit comes with everything needed to install in your existing electrical system.

Painless Performance Products
(817) 244-6212

Starting Sequence

The Anti-Theft Relay Wiring Kit from Ron Francis Wiring is a unique security piece in that instead of simply disconnecting power or shutting something off, it works in conjunction with another device to disable the vehicle unless a certain combination is used to start it. This can be the parking lights, headlights, brake lights, or a hidden switch – the options are endless. Whatever device is wired in conjunction with the Anti-Theft Relay needs to be enabled or the vehicle will not start. An advanced circuit is built in to connect to the horn to activate it when the selected task is not completed in the proper order.

Ron Francis Wiring
(800) 292-1940

Key Free

For those who desire the ultimate in modern convenience, safety, and theft protection, Flaming River’s new Keyless Ignition System is the kit for you. Their keyless system replaces a standard automotive ignition switch with a radio frequency controlled secure passive start system. With the use of a security card located within 3 feet of the system antenna, the drive is able to control the accessory, ignition, and starter functions of the vehicle by the use of a dash-mounted illuminated pushbutton. The switching functions of the ignition switch, which in a standard automotive system are used to switch battery power to accessory, ignition, and starter circuits, are replaced by three relays controlled by the Keyless Start System. The individual relays are used to provide the system power to the accessory, ignition, and starter circuits. The latest Gen 3 version even includes a fob docking station for more reliable starting and additional security as well as a keyless entry system complete with door lock actuators.

Flaming River
(800) 648-8022

Dead Stop

One of the latest products I’ve come across was E-Stopp’s Push Button Emergency Brake. Designed with ease of use in mind, the E-Stopp actuator can replace your existing hand, pedal, or lever e-brake, mounting under your car and attaching directly to the current e-brake cable. A regulating microcomputer connected to a remotely mounted button controls the system, actuating and releasing the emergency brake. The fact that the emergency brake can be actuated by a hidden switch enables the vehicle to effectively be “locked” in place via the emergency brake, making a quick and quiet getaway almost impossible. The E-Stopp is a great example of a product that could be actuated by the previously mentioned Sky Fence.

E-Stopp, Inc
(562) 602-2842

Stopped in Their Tracks

Watson’s StreetWorks has a simple, yet effective device they like to call Road Kill, an anti-theft timed ignition shutoff designed to thwart theft by allowing the car to start and run for just 10 seconds before shutting off the ignition and sounding the horn. It works by deceiving the thief into thinking he’s got it made, only to have the car die and blast the horn, hopefully attracting the attention of everyone within three counties. The kit includes a 10-second timer, ignition relay, on/off toggle switch, horn feed, and instructions.

Watson’s StreetWorks
(866) 859-0513