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Out of The Park

 

I wanted to take a minute to express my sincere gratitude for the help your customer rep Michelle P.

I had placed an order earlier today and I had went back online to show someone the cover that I had purchased. They usually follow what I do and they wanted to order the same. While I was online Michelle P had asked if she could help.

And that she did, I gave her the discount that was sent to my email address and she had told me that the code was not coming up in the system. I thought oh well I needed the cover anyway.

But not Michelle P., nope she didn’t just push it aside. She applied a discount, and I was very surprised. I am a fleet manager for a Dodge dealership and as a matter of fact I built the fleet department that I run.

Trust me, this young lady is what customer service is all about. I think she deserves a pat on the back from her management team and if you could please let me know that it was done.

Because of her just this afternoon alone there were 8 more people here checking out your site. You just never know who you’re talking to and that young lady hit a home run there.

Thank you Michelle P.

A Model for Other Businesses

I just want to send a confirmation email to say that all personnel and related business conversations have been without a DOUBT the very best I’ve ever experienced! Your company and employees should be a business model for other businesses! All personnel were truly professional, caring and kind! I do wish other businesses were to follow Empire’s professionalism! I will be buying chair covers in the future and WILL get them from EMPIRE! Please share this with ALL employees in the customer service department because ALL deserve high accolades! I will share with any and all who might desire your products.

Regards,

Don Mattingly

A-1 Customer Service

I recently wrote a review about the awful RV cover we had purchased. I was contacted by Yvonne in customer service wanting to know what could be done to rectify the complaint. She was amazing. They have sent us the next level of cover along with not having to return the pieces of the old one. Fingers crossed that this is a much better product.

8 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Bimini Top
8 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Bimini Top


8 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Bimini Top

Looking to take your boat out on the water? Enjoy, but look out for the sun. When you’re on the water, you’re exposed to more than UV-radiation than normal because UV rays can reflect off the water and the surface of fiberglass boats.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if not properly protected, the sun’s UV rats can damage a person’s skin in fifteen minutes.

While sunscreen and protective clothing can help, getting out of the sun can help you avoid the risk of exposure.

One great way to stay out of the sun while enjoying the water is installing a bimini top to your boat.

What is a bimini top you ask? You’ve come to the right place. We’re going to answer all your questions here.

 

What is a Bimini Top?

A Bimini Top or boat top is an umbrella-like fabric top stretched over a lightweight metal frame that can be mounted to your boat. Frames can usually be collapsed or pulled back when not in use or raised again if you need shade or shelter from the rain.

4-Bow Bimini Top

What Kinds are Available?

Bimini Tops generally have either a bow frame for V-shaped boats

2 Bow Bimini (5 ft. of coverage)

2 Bow Bimini Top

3 Bow Bimini (6 ft. of coverage)

3 bow bimini top

4 Bow Bimini (8 ft. of coverage)

4 bow bimini top

or a square or T-Top frame for pontoon boats.

Bimini t-top

What Materials Are Used?

A Bimini frame is usually constructed from either aluminum with reinforced nylon fittings, while more expensive models may be made with stainless steel. This allows the frame to be lightweight while also preventing corrosion from salt and water.

bimini stainless steel poles and hardware

The actual cover can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, and vinyl, but for a frame that will last more than one season, you’re usually better off with a frame made from durable polyester or acrylic.

Polyester

Polyester can be solution-dyed providing rich color and excellent UV-protection. They’re also strong and resist stretching so they retain their shape. They’re more water repellent and abrasion resistant than acrylics but will fade faster, so look for covers that have UV-treatment to extend their life.

Polyester for Bimini Tops

Acrylic

A top-of-the-line soft woven fabric, acrylic looks and feels terrific. It holds up against UV rays and has exceptional fade resistance and strength. However, it does lack polyester’s abrasion resistance.

Acrylic Fabric for Bimini Tops

How Can I Decide What Size is Right for My Boat?

Before buying a bimini, measure your boat carefully measure to determine the best-sized frame.

 

Length

Measure boat length for Bimini

 

Measure the portion of your boat that you’d like to keep shaded. Keep in mind that the bimini tops usually cover:

  • 5′ for 2 Bow Biminis
  • 6′ for 3 Bow Biminis
  • 8′ for 4 Bow Biminis

 

Width

Bimini Width Measurements

Once you know your length, select the midpoint of the area and use it to determine your main mount points. Keep in mind that width doesn’t correspond to your boat’s beam, it corresponds to the distance between anchor points on the boat’s gunwale.

Height

Bimini Height Measurement

Ideally, you should allow for 6’ of standing height. This is not the height of the bimini top itself, but the distance measured from the floor of the boat.


Can I Install it Myself?

Absolutely. To install your bimini top you need a simple power drill, measuring tape and a pencil. Because of the size, you may want to get a friend to help you connect the frame to the mountings.

For more information, you can watch our quick video:

 

And always follow the included directions.

How Fast Can I Go With a Bimini Top?

With a 2, 3 or 4 bow bimini top the rated top speed is 40 knots (44 mph) fully opened, with a T-Top bimini the rated top speed in 17 knots (20 mph) fully opened.


Can I Get a Replacement?

The bimini top can easily be replaced and stretched over an existing frame. Keep in mind that one manufacturer’s top may not fit on another manufacturer’s cover.

Bimini Replacement Top

What Accessories Can I Use with My Bimini Top?

If you like to fish, you can connect a rod holder (or rocket launcher) to your frame. Able to hold up to 6 fishing rods (depending on the model and width) these frames can withstand light trolling and is a great solution for fishing rod storage. They also enhance the maneuverability of your rods when your bimini top is in use, so you can fish in the shade.

Bimini Rocket Launcher for Fishing Rods

Year-Round Guide to Cleaning and Protecting Your Patio Furniture



You love your patio. It’s a place to enjoy the long summer days, gather with family and friends or simply kick back and relax after a long day.

That’s why you’ve invested in quality patio furniture. Because you want your patio to be a place to live, not just a place to sit.

 

Protecting Outdoor Furniture Covers

If you want to preserve your investment in your patio furniture, you need to protect it all year long.

That’s why we’ve provided you with this guide. It will help you to keep your patio furniture as well as your hammock, patio umbrella and BBQ/grill clean and well-maintained all year long.

Caring for your patio furniture can’t simply happen once a year. If you want to maintain the appearance and value of your patio set, it needs to happen year-round.

To help you get started, here’s a breakdown of everything this guide has to offer:

Seasonal Guide to Patio Furniture

  • Winter
    • Clean
    • Cover and Store
  • Spring
  • Summer - How to Care For:
    • Plastic
    • Wooden or Wicker Furniture
    • Metal
    • Table Tops
    • Cushions and Fabric care
  • Fall
  • Hammock Care
  • Umbrella Care
  • Grill Cleaning and Care

Seasonal Guide to Patio Furniture

Winter

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, it’s time to prepare your patio furniture for the winter months.

Clean

Before you store or cover your patio furniture, make sure to follow the following steps:

1. Care for Your Cushions 

 

Patio Cushion Storage Bag

At the end of the season, remove your cushions from your patio furniture. If you have zippered covers, remove them and hand or machine wash depending on the cleaning instructions.

If the cushion covers can’t be removed or washed, dust off surface dirt, then gently scrub with a sponge or soft-bristle brush and a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Hose off and let dry in the sun to prevent mildew growth.

Once your cushions are clean and dry, store them separately from your furniture. Ideally, look for a cushion storage bag that is air and water-tight, or is vented to prevent mold and mildew from building up.

2. Wipe it Down

If you have plastic, wicker, aluminum or cast-iron furniture, wipe it down with a damp cloth that’s been immersed in a mixture of warm water and mild dish washing soap. Rinse by hosing off and let it dry.

3. Oil Up 

If you have teak or other hardwood furniture, clean usingan oil-based soap and a soft bristled brush. The oil-based soap will help prevent the cracking that can occur when the temperature drops. Hose off when complete, and allow time to dry before storing.

4. Breakout the Vacuum

For wicker furniture and pieces with small crevices, use your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and other fine particles. This will keep your furniture clean and prevent grimy buildup.

Cover and Store

 

Whether you store your patio furniture in a shed or garage, or leave it out on the patio, putting on a quality cover can make all the difference.

A good quality cover should:

  • Be waterproof so that rain, snow,ice and humidity can’t seep through
  • Be breathable so condensation can escape. This helps prevent the build-up of mold and mildew
  • Offer UV protection so your furniture won’t fade
  • Fit tightly enough that dirt,leaves, debris, insects and other pests can’t get inside
  • Be designed to stay in place even in windy conditions

Cover Your Patio Furniture

Spring

As winter comes to an end, the time has come to start breaking out your patio furniture for the coming year.

 

Scrub Patio Furniture Clean

Hopefully, you’ve used a cover and have been able to store your furniture for the season. However, even the best-stored furniture may need a little sprucing up.

Start by thoroughly wiping down and cleaning your furniture with water. Use a hose if necessary. However, you should avoid using a hose on unsealed wood.

Next, make a simple cleaning solution to remove any grease and grime. Fill a bucket with water to the halfway point, then add two cups of white vinegar and a dishwashing liquid that specifically tackles grease.

Work this solution into the surface of your furniture with a cloth or soft brush. Then rinse off with a hose. The mixture should successfully remove all dirt and the odors that can build up during a long storage.

Avoid using a power washer, it can remove paint and aggravate cracks in wooden furniture. Once your furniture’s dry, re-attach your cleaned cushions and enjoy the season.

Summer

As the patio season goes on, it’s always a good idea to provide your furniture with a little TLC. This can vary depending on the type of furniture you own.

Plastic

 

Protecting Outdoor Furniture Covers

Plastic furniture is commonplace because it’s affordable, reliable and easy to clean. However, in hotter climates it can bend and weaken if it’s consistently left in direct sunlight.

When not in use, put on a cover that is UV resistant and keep your furniture in a shaded area whenever possible.

To clean, use a cloth dunked into a mix of warm water and dish detergent. Most dirt can be wiped away easily with this.

If you have fine crevices, use a soft toothbrush to coax away dirt and grime. Avoid scourers and power washers, as they can scratch and damage the surface of your furniture. Be sure to rinse it off with water once it’s clean, and let it air-dry.

Wooden or Wicker Furniture

Wooden furniture looks beautiful, but may require a little more effort to keep clean.

Depending on the type of wood, a yearly re-staining can help preserve the appearance of the wood and protect it from the elements. 

For softwood furniture, such as pine, adding an extra coat of wood preserver can help keep your furniture looking good for years to come. One can should last a while, so make sure you hold onto it for next year.

Before applying any wood treatment, make sure your patio furniture is clean, dry and free of debris. Otherwise, your stain or protector will seal in the dirt and debris. This damages the finish and can scratch into the wood.

This is especially true for wicker furniture, so take time to clean out the nooks and crannies before treating.

Protecting Outdoor Furniture Covers - Take Care With Wicker

Metal

Aluminum, wrought iron and steel frames are incredibly durable and usually require a simple cleaning with water and mild soap.

The good news is that many modern metal frames are rust-resistant or rust-free.

If metal furniture shows signs of corrosion, use paste wax or naval jelly to protect them.

If you want to freshen up the color on your metal furniture you can also repaint using a metal paint or primer. Rust-Oleum is one of the most popular brands, but talk to your paint professional before re-painting.

Metal furniture can be repainted - Protect with Patio Furniture Cover

Table Tops

Glass tabletops, while stylish, can be magnets for dirt, pollen and other pollutants. It’s also guaranteed to get covered with the fingerprints of your guests.

Remember to clean tabletop glass - Protecting Outdoor Patio Furniture

If it’s a glass table top, any household glass cleaner should do the trick. Don’t forget to clean the underside. Also, remember to use newspaper instead of paper towel to wipe it off. This prevents streaks.

Small cracks or chips can always be fixed using a standard automotive window repair kit. Keep an eye on growing cracks, over time they can become dangerous if not treated.

If your glass is left neglected for too long, or if you have problems with acid rain, the rain or grit can etch into the glass. This can cause a cloudy or milky look to the glass. There’s no perfect fix, but sometimes using an automotive wax can help protect the glass’s surface from further damage.

If your table has a tile top, clean as directed above. If dirt and dust build up in the grout lines, use a soft toothbrush to scrub them out.

Cushions and Fabric Care

 

Most garden furniture comes with plenty of options for cushions, both in terms of colors, patterns and materials. They also attract a lot of dirt and general wear.

UV radiation can fade your cushions, so look for cotton or acrylic or other materials that are UV-resistant.

Because dirt and other pollutants can become embedded in the cushion’s fabric, regular washing is recommended. Follow manufacturer’s instructions, and if possible, wash them on a high heat in order to remove dirt and bacteria.

Patio cushion fabric needs to be cleaned - Protecting Outdoor Furniture Covers

Fall

Depending on where you live, you may want to stretch your summer patio season as far into the Fall as possible.

Enjoy, but be aware that the fall can bring sudden winds, rain, thunderstorms and even hurricanes.

Keeping your patio furniture covered during this time of year will allow you to have it both ways.

As the days grow colder, you’ll probably be able to sense when it’s time to store your patio furniture for the season. Just don’t let it go too long.

Cover patio furniture in winter

Umbrellas, Hammocks and Grills

Hammock Care

If you’re really looking to kick back and relax, nothing beats a hammock. These can be hung year after year, and provide enormous flexibility in terms of location. Before you do, make sure you do the following:

Inspect

How to clean a Polyester hammock

  • Make sure you’re using ropes rated to hold the right level of weight
  • Check both the rope and frame of your hammock regularly. Look for fraying or weakened ropes and rust or cracking on the frame 
  • If there are weakened segments, make sure that you repair and/or replace before using
  • Don’t mix and match, patching the body of the hammock should be done with materials of the same type.
  • If necessary, it may be time to invest in a new hammock
  •  

Clean

Hammocks are built to stay out all summer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need regular cleaning.

How you clean your hammock will ultimately depend on the material and build.

Some will be machine washable. Follow manufacturer’s instructions, but as a rule of thumb wash your hammock by itself, use a gentle cycle and mild detergent only. No Bleach!

Once it’s done, simply hang up and line dry.

If it’s not machine washable, or if it’s permanently attached to a frame, simply spray down with a hose and brush down with a soft-bristled brush and a mild-detergent or soap.

Make sure to squeeze out the ropes to ensure that excess water isn’t trapped inside. Otherwise, your ropes may fray or warp as they dry.

To store your hammock, treat it like your patio furniture cushions. Store in a breathable bag in a cool, dry place. Keeping it away from sunlight and damp conditions will help it to hang for years to come.

Umbrella Care

If you want to enjoy your patio while staying in the shade,nothing beats a good quality umbrella. These are affordable and can be taken down and stored at the end of the season.

They also take the brunt of everything the season can throw at them. Whether it’s UV radiation, dirt, debris, pollen or bird droppings, it can be a challenge to keep them clean year after year.

All outdoor umbrellas should be cleaned regularly, at least monthly, when in use. You may need to clean one more often if your umbrella is near trees or tall shrubs.

How to clean a Patio umbrella

If your umbrella fabric is removable and has a care tag that indicates it is machine washable, use cold water and a heavy-duty detergent. If possible, wash in a front-load washer or top-load high-efficiency washer without a center agitator to prevent excessive wrinkling.

Follow these steps to clean an umbrella with a non-removable fabric top:

  • Move the umbrella to a shady area away from direct sunlight
  • Brush or vacuum off any loose dirt. Use a soft bristle brush to prevent driving the soil deeper into the fabric
  • Combine 1/4 cup liquid laundry detergent with a gallon of lukewarm water. It is best to use laundry detergent rather than dish soap, you'll have fewer bubbles to rinse away. Also, a good quality detergent with enzyme-action will help remove organic stains
  • Use a soft bristle brush to work the solution into the fabric using circular motions. Use a bit of extra elbow grease and pay attention to the stained areas
  • Allow 15-20 minutes for the detergent solution to sink in. Then use a hose sprayer and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue, soap will attract more dirt and pollutants
  • Move the umbrella back to a sunny area and allow the fabric to air dry. Do not close the umbrella until it is completely dry

Don’t forget to clean your frames as well. Use the same mixture of soap and water and wipe down. If you see spotting, add 1 parts vinegar to 10 parts water.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners, they can damage the surface of the frame.

When the season comes to an end, disassemble as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions and store in a cool dry place. Covering your umbrella can help keep it free of dust and debris until you’re ready to use it again.

Cleaning Your Grill

There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill and cooking your food outdoors. Whether your BBQ or grill uses gas, charcoal or wood, giving it a thorough cleaning at the end of the season will help ensure that you’ll be ready to grill next season.

First, make sure you have the right supplies. For most winterizing jobs you’ll just need a grill brush and hot soapy water. If you have a stainless steel grill, using a stainless steel cleaner is also recommended.

Whatever cleaner you choose, be careful using abrasive scouring pads or chemicals to remove the heavy carbon buildup. If you're using that type of cleaner, you might want to test it on a small section on the back of the grill to see if the finish will be damaged.

Clean the grill. Protect it with a grill cover.

Feel the Burn

Before you clean, fire up your grill and let it run on high heat with the lid closed for about 15-20 minutes. This will help burn off any remaining chunks of food and make the grates easier to clean. Once it’s cooled down, take your grill brush and scrape away any food debris. Use the soapy water to remove any trouble spots. Don’t forget to rinse the soap away.

It's also a good time to pull the drip pan all the way out and clean it as well.

Break It Down

Next, remove the cooking grids, flame tamers and other components like warming racks and thermometers. Either use a wire brush to brush away any remaining charred materials or soak in hot soapy water for an hour or so to dissolve the grease and food that might be stuck.

Over the winter, it may be a good idea to store these components separately.

 Clean the Exterior

Most gas grills are built with stainless steel, so use the stainless steel cleaner to keep it clean. Like wood, stainless steel has a grain, so it's important to scrub and polish in the direction of the grain. This ensures all dirt is removed, otherwise, it can get trapped in the grain and keep your grill from looking clean.

Cover the Grill

Keep your grill covered

Putting a cover on your grill is one of the easiest ways to protect it year-round. Not only will it keep dust and pollutants from staining the surface, a good quality cover will be breathable to prevent moisture from contributing to rust and corrosion.

Want to deep clean your grill? Learn how to do a seasonal grill cleaning .

How to Stop Rust on a Car or Truck



The iron worm, the red menace, metal corrosion, whatever you call it, rust is one of the inevitable problems that can affect your vehicle.

While rust (like death and taxes) is inescapable. There are steps you can take to extend the life of your vehicle.

There are three key steps required to stop rust on a vehicle:

  1. Understanding Rust
  2. Preventing Rust
  3. Treating Rust

UNDERSTANDING RUST

What Is Rust?

Rust is the layperson’s text for the chemical process called oxidation. In this process, iron molecules react with oxygen in the air to create iron oxide. This process is accelerated by the presence of salt, especially when it’s dissolved in water.

Because of this, water that gets trapped in unseen pockets of your vehicle will dissolve, leave behind contaminants and speed up the oxidation process.

This is why vehicles in the Northeast and mid-west that get exposed to more snow and use road salt are more rust-prone than vehicles in drier areas.

Types of Rust
Surface Rust

protect against surface rust

Your vehicle’s paint doesn’t just make your vehicle look good. It’s also your first line of defense against rust. When your vehicle is exposed to UV-radiation, rain, snow ice and regular wear and tear, the finish starts to crack. Over time, moisture can seep into these cracks are create rust that develops on the surface of your vehicle, just under the paint.

Scale Rust 

Left untreated, rust will continue to penetrate into the metal surface of your vehicle. Because rust molecules are bigger than the iron or steel in your vehicle, the rust expands and continues to expose more of the base metal below. This can cause a rough, pitted type of damage called scaling that further damages the metal surfaces of your vehicle.

Penetrating Rust

After prolonged exposure, steel is converted to brittle iron oxide and holes form. As the rust creates these holes, they continue to expose more of your vehicle’s metal to rust and can affect the structural and craft integrity of your vehicle’s panels and frame.

PREVENTING RUST

As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. The best way to keep rust from damaging your vehicle is to not let it get a foothold in the first place.

Keep it Clean

Rust can only affect your vehicle when you allow corrosive materials to stay in place for extended periods of time. Cleaning your vehicle on a regular basis is the first line of defense. This is especially true during the winter when your vehicle can get exposed to road salt and get damaged by snow, ice and winter UV radiation. If you don’t want to take your vehicle to the vehicle wash, you can also clean it at home. Even spraying your vehicle with a mixture of baking soda and automotive soap can neutralize the acidic effect of salt and other chemicals. Use sparingly one tbsp. of baking soda should be sufficient for the undercarriage of your vehicle.

Keep it Covered

If you leave your vehicle parked outside, you run the risk of water and other elements damaging your finish or pooling on the surfaces of your vehicle. Putting a cover on can help keep rust at bay. Look for covers that keep rain and moisture from penetration and cover as much of your vehicle as possible. Also, make sure your cover provides adequate ventilation so that condensation can’t accumulate and continue to contribute to rust.

Treat and Coat

While there is no such thing as a guaranteed rust prevention treatment, adding a water-resistant coating to the surface of your vehicle can help keep water from penetrating your finish.

Another option is to apply an undercoating to protect your undercarriage from corrosion. Using a rubberized undercoating rather than a “clear coat”. The rubberized coating is more durable and creates a stronger water-resistant seal.

Ideally, an undercoat should be applied when the vehicle is new, however, if you want to add this layer of protection after it’s left the dealership, clean the undercarriage thoroughly. If rust has already begun to accumulate you’ll need sand or grind it off and then paint and prime the undercarriage.

Also remember, no treatment or coating will last forever, remember to reapply at regular intervals to maintain.

Inspect Regularly

Checking your vehicle over on a regular basis can allow you to catch rust accumulation and prevent it from spreading. When inspecting, check the:

Surface

Give your vehicle’s paint a regular once over. If you see dark spots in the paint, scratches or dings that show signs of rust, or paint that is blistering from below, these may be signs of rust build up.

Wheel Wells

These are frequent problem areas for rust build up because they aren’t in place sight. Most tire manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires every 6,000 miles (10,000 km), so when you perform this maintenance, use the opportunity to check for rust as well. If there is too much mud to see clearly, spray with a hose to clean out the well before inspecting.

Bumpers

If your vehicle has a metal bumper, inspect these as well, checking the outside and inside surfaces and the mountings. This is especially important for older vehicles where metal bumpers can rust faster than the body of the vehicle.

Joints and Panels

Another place where rust can accumulate is in the joints and spaces between panels where sections of your vehicle meet. Even if your vehicle is made with non-rusting materials, the mounting brackets that hold panels in place can still be at risk.

Undercarriage

The underside of your vehicle will usually take the most punishment during the winter because it is unpainted and directly exposed to snow, ice and road salt.

Checking beneath your vehicle during routine oil changes or tire rotation is a good way to nip any problems in the bud.

TREATING RUST

Scrape and Sand

If you find rust building up in paint cracks or crevices, gently scrape away using a single-edged razor blade or fine-grain sandpaper. For larger painted areas, a brush with stiff (not-metal) bristles can also help to remove rust. You can also use coarse sandpaper to grind the rust off large areas that are out of sight and not surrounded by paint.
Rust remover can help, but should only be applied after you get the loose rust off the surface, the rust remover can then help to get into the areas where the rust is in contact with your vehicle’s metal and loosen its grip on your vehicle.

Remember, to work inward from the edges. Otherwise, you risk additional damage to the rest of your vehicle’s finish.

Apply Rust Arrestor

After you’ve removed all the rust, apply a rust arrestor. This will help to keep the rust from spreading further and provide an extra layer of protection.

Prime and Paint

Once your rust arrestor has fully dried, you can prime and paint the affected area to restore your vehicle’s finish.

Consult a Professional

If your rust damage is extensive, and there are visible holes in the body of your vehicle, it may be time to take it to a body shop.

Get a few estimates first and then compare the cost against the blue book value of the vehicle. If the cost to repair outstrips the vehicle’s value, it may be time to move on to another vehicle.

Protect against rust damage

ONLY YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR CAR FROM RUST

While rust is unavoidable, taking the right steps to understand, prevent, maintain and repair your vehicle will allow you to extend its life, and get the greatest value for every mile that you drive. No matter how bad the weather.

The 7 Most Iconic Movie Cars, Period.



For most of us, our first exposure to a real car came from the movies. While stunts and speed are enhanced by Hollywood Magic, there’s still something thrilling about seeing a powerful piece of machinery tearing up the road, flying through the air and surviving until the end credits.

In honor of Oscar Week, we thought we’d share our list of the seven most iconic movie cars of all time. If you happen to find yourself holding the pink slips for one of these vehicles, we've also provided a suggested cover, to keep your iconic car protected against the elements.

1. Bullitt - 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback


Lt. Bullitt: You believe what you want. You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine.

 

Trying to protect a witness on the mean streets of San Francisco? Don’t know who you can trust. Are you the kind of cop who does what he needs to, and damn the rules. Are you prepared to participate in one of the most gripping chase scenes filmed for a motion picture?

Then you need the 1968 Fold Mustang Fastback

Frank Bullitt's (Steve McQueen's) car is a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback. The bad guys drive a 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Magnum. The Charger is just barely faster than the Mustang, with a 13.6-second quarter-mile compared to the Mustang's 13.8-second.

Fun Fact

McQueen was known to be an expert driver, performing many of the car and motorcycle stunts in movies like “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape”.

Suggested Cover

2. Back to the Future – Delorean DMC-12


Marty McFly: You made a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

 

Jumping jigawatts! If you’re trying to get back to the future before you stop your parents from falling in love and thereby erasing your own existence, you need to be behind the wheel of the DeLorean DMC-12.

Designed by Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, and engineered by Lotus Cars of England, the DMC-12 consisted of stainless steel body panels, a rear-mounted 2.85 litre V-6 PRV engine, and stylish gullwing doors, which only require 14-inches (35.5cm) of side clearance to open.

While the DeLorean Motor Company folded shortly after the film opened, the sleek stainless steel design lives on, in a place where you don’t need roads.

Fun Fact

While the Delorean could easily go from 0-60 in 8.8 seconds, experts contest that the car couldn’t have reached the required 88 mph necessary for time travel, especially when driving around a mall parking lot.

Suggested Cover

3. The Blues Brothers - 1974 Dodge Monaco


Elwood: There's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark out, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Joliet Jake: Hit it!

 

When you’re on a mission from God, you need a car that can make it to Chicago in record time, brakes that allow you to pull off insane parking maneuvers and shocks that can withstand a jump off the 95th St. Bridge.

Look no further than the Bluesmobile.

The Bluesmobile is a decommissioned police 1974 Dodge Monaco sedan with a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant, cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks and it was made before catalytic converters so it gets great power on regular gas.

The key player in one of the most over the top chase scenes ever conceived, this machine will get you where you need to go, no matter how many police cars are after you.

 

Fun Fact

At the time of the film's release, it set a world record for the most cars destroyed in one film; it held this distinction until 1998 when it was surpassed by its own sequel.

Suggested Cover

4. Smokey and the Bandit - 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am


Cledus Snow: Atlanta to Texarkana and back in twenty-eight hours? That ain't never been done before, not in no rig.
Bandit: That's cause *we* ain't never done it in no rig.

 

Eastbound and down? Trying to get from Texas to Atlanta with a truckload of contraband beer? You need a really speedy car to keep one very determined Sheriff from catching you, specifically the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

The Pontiac Trans Am benefitted from a then new and distinctive, slant-nose facelift that included inset square headlights.  Pontiac offered the 400 cu in (6.6 L) engine with a single 4-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor RPO and a maximum torque of 325 lb.⋅ft. at 2400 rpm, as opposed to the regular 6.6 L 400 (RPO L78) rated at 180 Hp (130 kW).

While Burt Reynolds left us this past year, his legacy lives on, every time one of these speed machines comes racing down the highway.

Fun Fact

Trans-Am sales went up 70% after Smokey and the Bandit opened. The president of Pontiac Motor Company appreciated it so much that he offered Burt Reynolds a free Pontiac every year for life. Unfortunately, it was for the life of the President of Pontiac who passed on six years (and six cars) later.

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5. Bonnie and Clyde – 1934 Ford Model B (V8)


Bonnie Parker: Would you know what kind of car this is?
C.W. Moss: This is a 4-Cylinder Ford Coupe.
Bonnie Parker: No, this is a stolen 4-Cylinder Ford Coupe.

The only historical car on the list, the real-life Bonnie and Clyde stole a V8 Ford and used it to commit a string of robberies across the Midwest. Their story ended when their car was riddled with over 100 armor piercing bullets at close range.

Offering an 85hp engine a 221 cu. in. engine with dual carburetors, three-speed transmission and 4-wheel mechanical brakes, the car made for a fast, stylish and roomy getaway car.

Arthur Penn’s film adaptation starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and the final scene showing the famed duo getting gunned down shocked audiences and ushered in a new kind of film-making that changed how violence could be depicted on screen.

Fun Fact

Before his untimely demise, Clyde Barrow wrote a letter to Henry Ford praising the speed and power of the Ford V8.

“For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt enything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8. [sic]”

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6. Ghostbusters - Ecto 1 - The 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance Limo


Peter Venkman: I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people. Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule...

 

When you’re the world’s best (and only) paranormal entrapment and elimination service, you need a vehicle that can carry four unlicensed nuclear accelerators around New York City while dodging ghosts, slimers, the EPA and the biggest marshmallow to ever walk the earth.

Who ya gonna call? Ecto 1 a.k.a. the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance Limo.

The Miller-Meteor was a rare creation, made by two former competitors with a limited production. Only about 400 vehicles were made. The power plant was a 6.3-liter V-8, good for 320 horsepower. Seems like a lot until you factor in the cars’ curb weight: around three tons. The tailfins were the largest to appear on a production car. They’re the same from the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.

At nearly 20 feet in length, the Cadillac Miller-Meteor isn’t the easiest to navigate, but at least you get a smooth ride thanks to its air suspension system.

Fun Fact

Early scripts called for a 1975 Cadillac ambulance. Though by the time the final shooting script was locked in, the 1959 model was settled on, though the purchase price was too low at $1,400. The cost Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) mentions in the film, $4,800, was more believable.

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7. Goldfinger (James Bond) - Aston Martin DB5


Q: Do try to bring it back in one piece 007.

 

Trying to save the world from nefarious megalomaniacs and their evil henchmen? Hoping to seduce Pussy Galore and convert her from a foe to an ally? Then the only car for you in the Aston Martin DB5.

The high-performance DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 featuring three twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft Weber carburetors and revised camshaft profiles, delivering greater top-end performance Only 65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built, so finding one isn’t easy. Also, the ejector seat and usual countermeasures are extra.

Fun Fact

Aston Martins Have Appeared In Half Of All Bond Films. After the DB5 appeared in Goldfinger, it was established as Bond’s signature vehicle. Since then it’s appeared in Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Living Daylights, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.

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Disagree with our list? Share your ideas in the comments. Remember, the car needs to have been featured in a full-length film that was shown in theaters. We’ll do TV cars another time.

 

25 Tips to Get Your Patio Ready for Spring



Spring has arrived. As days get longer and temperatures warm up, it’s a great time to enjoy using your patio. Before you take out your furniture it’s a good idea to give your patio a thorough cleaning. That way, it’s easier to clean when you don’t have to avoid your furniture and it gives you a clean slate to set up for the season.

Not sure where to start? These 25 tips will help you spring clean your patio and get your outdoor space ready for relaxation.

Patio Spring Cleaning

Sweep and Dust

  • Sweep up dust, leaves and debris
  • Dust any hard to reach areas. This may include high shelves or ceiling fan blades.
  • Pull weeds or cut back any grass or overgrown bushes or trees that are intruding.
  • Clean the windows.
  • If you have any screens, check for wear and tear and patch any holes.
  • Check overhangs and eaves for spider webs, pests (dead or alive) and anything else that may have accumulated.
  • Check your gutters, if necessary have them cleaned.

Once you’ve cleaned your patio, give your dirt and debris free floors some attention.

Polish the Floors

  • If you have a stone, tile or concrete patio, give it a good scrubbing with a power washer, or use a stiff brush and a mix of bleach and water.
  • If you have a wooden patio floor, check the wood for any fading or warping due to water. Keep an eye out for termites, wasps and other pests as well. If necessary, take the time to stain or waterproof.
  • If you want your stone or tile patio floor to have a glossy “wet look” you can use a clear gloss sealer and apply with a paint roller.

Re treat patio with gloss and stain

Check and Maintain

Take advantage of the spring cleaning to check and maintain your:

Umbrellas

  • Open up your patio umbrellas and check your open and close mechanism to ensure that everything is working. Then, brush them off and give them a good cleaning.

Grills and Fire Pits

  • Dump out any old coals from your charcoal grill or fire pit and give it a good soaking.
  • If you have a propane grill, check your lines to make sure all water is out (otherwise your grill won’t ignite) and check your tanks to make sure you have enough propane for the season.
  • Put a cover on your grill to keep it protected from condensation and rust.

Hot Tub

  • Give your hot tub a thorough cleaning from top to bottom and use a purging agent to get any dirt or residue out of your plumbing.
  • Fill and re-balance your water to make sure the chemistry is right. Using a pre-filter can help you to remove metals or sediment from the water.
  • Keep your hot tub covered when not in use. It will keep your tub cleaner and discourage pests from trying to use it as a watering hole.

Fountains and Water Elements

  • If you have an outdoor fountain, flush out the water lines and clean off any calcium stains.

Lighting

  • Check for burnt out bulbs and replace. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may want to check the wiring.
  • If you’re using older bulbs, spring is a great time to get eco-friendly and replace them with more efficient LEDs.
  • Worried about security? Consider replacing or upgrading your existing outdoor lighting fixtures with fixtures that include motion sensors.

Bring Out Your Furniture

Once your patio is clean and your accessories are ready, it’s time to bring out the furniture.

  • Hopefully, you’ve kept it covered while in storage, but if not, give it a thorough cleaning. Hose it down, or use a favorite household cleaner to remove dust, checking for mold, mildew or rust.
  • If you have cushions, give them time to air out, or run a portable vacuum over them to get rid of dust, pollen or mold. You may want to throw fabric covers in the laundry. Always clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To keep them clean for next year, consider investing in a cushion storage bag.

You can also read more on our blog for ideas on cleaning your patio furniture.

Assess Your Future Needs

  • It’s a great time to start thinking about your décor. Look into new ways to freshen up the design of your patio, solutions don't have to be expensive.
  • Got new pieces of furniture or patio accessories since last year? Make sure they have a cover for when they’re not in use.

Give your patio a little extra time in the spring and you’ll be able to enjoy it all season long.

Then when it’s time to pack up, you’ll have the tools you need to be able to keep everything clean and ready for next year.

New Car, No Problem

New Car, No Problem

We'd like to introduce you to Walter Ropchan. Walter just purchased a 2019 Honda Insight and wanted a cover. This is a new design that Honda just released. so covers aren't widely available yet. Fortunately, we have a Size 3 cover that we were able to try on his car. Walter learned how to cover his car by assisting us with the process. He was able to see the fit and decided to place an order with us.

Walter was very happy with is experience and asked us to share some pictures.

Walter Ropchan

 

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma
Purchased a boat cover for my Skeeter 210SX in July 2017. Decided to leave it on during Hurricane Irma, and the cover survived 94 mph gusts without a single tear or broken stitch! Thanks Empire for making a great product!

Cody Gordon