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Unrestored vs restored controversy

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Hemmings discussion: At What Point Should an Unrestored Car be Restored?

 

They changed the rules about who or when comments can be made - didn't see when it happened, or what the changes are, but I was unable to post the comment I typed in, so I'm going to post it here.  Not to cause a ruckus, but just so my comment will not 'go to waste'.  Here's what I wrote:

 

As much as I DO become attached to the vehicles that were the family car during my own childhood, young adult life, and during the time my children were young, an automobile is a thing, not a person.  The person whose name is on the title is the OWNER, not just a "Care Taker".  
So my answer is that an unrestored car should be restored at what ever time the owner decides he or she can successfully complete the task.  Do I like to see unrestored cars?  Certainly.  As a number of people have said here already, that's how we know what it is supposed to look like.  
So to put these two opinions together, while they are, to some extent, in conflict, if you have an old car in unrestored and very good condition (or even just good enough to display original elements of design & workmanship, then by all mean document it.  Digital cameras make that very cheap to do.  I know that is not the best for being able to see exactly or precisely how something was done, but unless you or I can personally purchase the car we want preserved as a reference, it's the best we can hope for.
 

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I like original unrestored the best but that said at some point (and as said, the owner will decide) some level of repair/restore will be necessary to keep the car usable and safe. I do not care for Restomods at all but not my decision to make.  I can only decide not to look at them.

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I have both restored and unrestored cars. I think a lot depends on how unrestored you want it. I have fully restored two cars that were basket cases to begin with and maintained two originals. Pictured is a 1953 four-door Plymouth Belvedere (Canadian only model as the US did not have the four-door Belvedere). It is 95% original including the paint. I did replace a badly torn headliner and replaced the factory carpet. Other than that pretty original. It has had a ring job and valve lap about 30,000 miles ago. Present mileage is 101,000 and is driven often when the weather is nice. It has its share of gravel rash, dings in the trim, and the bumpers show some wear but overall pretty decent. They are only original once.

 

IMG_0327.JPG.2c10c9acea028a7c65edbc2413b947bd.JPG

 

 

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Salesmanship is the business and talent of developing a desire in other people that clouds other considerations from their judgment.

 

You want others to desire what you offer.
 

Not just like it or want it, but have an unreasonable passion for it. A passion that is unsupported by the facts of the situation (which in this business is that you can generally always have a better modern car for less.)

 

And by better, I mean in terms of function, economy, durability,and reliability. (Ignore styling for the moment.)

 

All car sales pretty much works this way, and the old car business even more so.

 

Hemmings is selling their service and publication, & as salesmen they know that their business depends on the personal development of your passion, for whatever they offer.
 

When they are selling you an attitude about this business, they are selling you something which promotes their financial interests, just the same.

 

They will promote restoration in cases where only repair is warranted, because That is their business.

 

But the truth is all in the perception of things. The words restoring or restoration or restored say different things to different people. I had a beautiful Plymouth that was absolutely not restored but was a trophy winner nonetheless.

 

It was repaired.
 

It was fixed up to make the car look nice and operate well, but it was in no way an exact original vehicle.


Edith d’ Plymouth never can be restored in the Hemmings Pebble Beach Sotheby Concours sense of the word, which is the truest sense.

 

She can only be fixed up to the level where she fools 90% of the people who read Hemmings.

 

 

 

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I have a 39 Desoto that has been AACA judged HPOF Historical Preservation of Original features. And yes the car has been repainted because the original paint was starting to flack off and then getting rust on the body. So to keep the car running and usable did a repaint down to bare metal.  Fixed the old cloth cover wiring to modern wiring because of possible fire and other electrical issues.

Headliner was real bad and replaced mohair seat covering and door panels are original but show their wear for being 80 + years but basically a good presentable car for the time period. I state the car as semi original but I can drive it and have fun with it and not worry about someone touching the car.

 

Even the total 100point cars are not fully restores. I even brought this to the AACA attention because most glass was replaced and the original glass had a date code and manufacturers seal in the glass most cars that are senior winners from the 50's and back do not have the original glass if it was replaced. So with that being stated every senior and or grand national car will have something not original so there can never be a 100 point car.

 

At one point the AACA took several of their most experienced senior judges and asked them to judge a modern car that was taken directly from a dealership and had not been owned by anyone.  These judged then started to deduct points point based on what they had been schooled on via the AACA judging rule book.

 

After the car was finally judged and the scores were given in they were all informed that no matter what they think they found wrong with the car based on their experience there could not be any points deductions.  They all asked why.  The real answer is that this is a factory delivered car and how it is shown it is perfect and a 100 point car.  The senior judges were given a lesson as a joke to them and the AACA.

 

A lot of the cars that are AACA senior winners are over restored and on some of the older cars the fit and finish was not down to having evenly space seams.  The idea was to get the car off the assembly line and were not basically an item to be judged.. It was basic transportation except maybe for the real high cost cars.

 

So restored partially restored or semi original or total original is the owners choice to do what ever they want. It all depends on what they want to do and if they have the funds to do anything to the car.

 

But basically as I see it the idea is to keep the car running and enjoy the hobby.

 

Rich HArtung

desoto1939@aol.com

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All interesting comments.  I just react against the idea that I am "only the caretaker" of my old car, not the "owner".  As I said, I DO like to see an original car, but I am not interested in creating some sort of museum piece that I don't dare drive.  That's another thing about getting a real low mileage car - you almost can't drive it much at all, because its main "claim to fame" is that it is low mileage.  When I bought my 46, it already had over 91,000 on it.  I just want to make it as reliable as I can, and if that means some modifications then I'll do that (but then again, nothing drastic like a modern drive line, or a frame graft).  I'd like to be able to redo the interior with some fabric that at least looks close to the original mohair, but at this point, I'm thinking more about trying to find something that looks like the typical seat covers of that era, because that's what I remember as being in almost every car my folks had when I was growing up.  (To put that in context, my memories start in the very late 50's, when I was 4 or 5.)

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I never cared what anybody thought about my vehicles, my ideas, my lifestyle, or my looks. I never went to many car shows, entered a motorcycle in a show, or competed in a beauty contest.  This sums up my attitude..  😀

 

 

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quote from someone in my past, don't even remember who when I asked what I should do about something:  Whatever makes  you happy just tickles me plumb to death.

 

His message:  Do what makes you happy.  The results don't impact me at all.

Edited by kencombs

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Still, people worry I might put a Toyota engine in my Plymouth. . . ?

I am not welded to American cars & I was a VW guy before I ever owned a Plymouth.

If I could find an affordable used W12 VW or V12 Toyota engine I would move anything to fit it.

 

Horribly inefficient for daily use, but what a weekend!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ulu said:

Still, people worry I might put a Toyota engine in my Plymouth. . . ?

I am not welded to American cars & I was a VW guy before I ever owned a Plymouth.

If I could find an affordable used W12 VW or V12 Toyota engine I would move anything to fit it.

 

Horribly inefficient for daily use, but what a weekend!

 

 

Or even a 5M-E six from the mid '80s.  I had an 84 Supra, simply the best performing inline I've ever had the pleasure to drive. Plenty of power for a 3000lb car and a great 5 spd.

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When my 09 Tacoma got smashed at just 62k, I was very tempted to put all the gear under my P15.

AAA gave me $27k and I said, "sayonara Taco!" I bought a newer one with only 32K.

I figured for $27k I could drive the flathead some more. :rolleyes:

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40 minutes ago, Ulu said:

When my 09 Tacoma got smashed at just 62k, I was very tempted to put all the gear under my P15.

AAA gave me $27k and I said, "sayonara Taco!" I bought a newer one with only 32K.

I figured for $27k I could drive the flathead some more. :rolleyes:

Toy v6s are OK, but not nearly as smooth as the inlines.  Nor accelerate like my 5.7 Tundra.  385 horses of fun!.  When the cams advance it's like a supercharger kicks in.

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An interesting topic. I'm not sure where I fit in. I do like nice looking old cars that appear stock. Nice new deep shiny paint and flawless chrome is appealing. I suppose I fall into the stock category as I have zero desire to slam a 350 SBC or a BB Ford into an old Mopar. I prefer the purr and quaint features of the old flathead sixes when they are tuned up, running quiet and smooth. Restoring an old car? I'm torn a bit there. My old '38 Plymouth is mostly stock except it has a1954 228 engine in it. I keep poking away at it. Making it better, and reliable. I can't quite fully come to terms with the idea rushing to spend $20K to restore the old car to stock, and it'll  be worth $12K when I'm done. I am getting past that notion. I am not investing in the car to try and turn it for a buck. Old car repair is a hobby that I enjoy and it's very rewarding. Someday perhaps when I have done all the work that I can myself, keeping busy in the garage, I'll look at it and it will have slowly morphed into a fully restored stock car. I'll have spent that $20K and enjoyed every minute of it. $3K/year on a hobby is pretty cheap. Averages $250 per month. Pretty easy to spend that on golf, sports gear, whatever....Over 6.5 years I'm at $20K.

 

I guess I am restoring it... It'll just take me another 5.5 years.

Edited by keithb7

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here ya go....listen to the lyrics.  Their real song starts around 1 min

 

 

 

Lyrics
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps her running like a dream
'Cause she's the closest thing to a dream
That he's ever seen
She's the one he never sold
Some things are classic, some things are just old
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps her running like a dream
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps his thoughts to himself
Like a part you can't get
Catching dust on a slow shop shelf
The more you race the, the less you trust
The less you drive them, the more they rust
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps her running like a dream
Well who's got the longest car
I've got the longest car
The longest record and you can't catch me
Who's got he know-how
Well I don't know now
I've got a long hard road ahead of me
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps her down to a roar
As he runs her through the quarter
And he blows out the cobs once more
Two dreams make the world go round
The one you've lost and the one you claim you've found
He keeps her shiny shiny
He keeps her running like a dream

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I have seldom entered a car show, mainly because I don't like to hang out all day in the hot sun... In the summer,taking an old car out for a cruise is enjoyable and if an old car event is scheduled I may head off in that direction. Usually I just park out on the road, have a quick look to see if there's any cars of interest to me and then head off.Several years ago,I was out for a drive and knew there was a car show being held in a nearby town so off I headed. There was a bit of cloud cover and it wasn't overly hot so I decided to pay the entry fee and hang out there for the duration. The money raised from the entry fee was all going to support a local food bank,so that seemed fair by me.The trophies,etc. were all donated by local businesses.

The car I drove that day is for the most part original with necessary repairs done during it's life.I parked the car where directed and left it to check out the other vehicles. 150 plus

vehicles were at the show, most had arrived by the time I got there,some of them had been brought in enclosed trailers. Anyhow I left my car parked .. with the gravel rash,the bug splatter, a bit of mud splatter as well and headed off to see the other vehicles.

Occasionally I would swing by my car,but for most of the day I was out and about.There were some very high end restorations that impressed me, particularly some of the muscle cars... flawless restorations. Some advertised the features of their cars with credits to the restoration shops..Without a doubt some had six figures invested in their vehicles.There was a good variety of vehicles that turned out and I quite enjoyed the day.

To carry on with the story. At the end of the day the trophies were being awarded, I heard my name announced. I was rather shocked to say the least that my car had won the people's choice trophy. Having seen the calibre of vehicles at the show, I was almost embarrassed to go up and accept the trophy. It certainly wasn't that the show was loaded with friends and relatives.I was by myself and only recognized a couple of familiar faces...

 

People's Choice.JPG

Edited by T120
added photo

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Keith,The car I was out driving that day was a 1936 DeSoto coupe. This car,while not completely restored in the truest sense is in very nice condition.The model is quite rare.It is an Airstream S1 Custom coupe built in Windsor,Ontario.I believe it grabbed attention at the show because it is unique,certainly different from the majority of cars on display that day.... A bit of background ... I was fortunate to see the ad when it was offered for sale five years ago. I have to commend the previous owner,(a very nice gentleman), for his work in putting the car together as he bought a project the owner prior to him was unable to complete.He also gave me a documented history of the car up to that time along with photos for which I am grateful.As with any vehicle there is always something left to be to be done by the next owner but that's part of the enjoyment of the hobby. 🙂 

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I like both and restomods too.  I like hot rodded ones too.  Mostly I like that the owner is enjoying his car, whatever category someone wants to put it in.

 

My stuff usually falls into the sleeper category, looks stock(ish).  But underneath that look it's upgraded.  Ever watch the carton "One Cab's Family"?  In the end the kid is what my cars are.

 

 

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Interesting thread.  I hadn't read through it until this morning, didn't think there was any "controversy" that I'd be interested in. 

 

I think Hemmings is just looking for topics to do articles on in their magazine.  Stir thought and conversation...and controversy. 

 

I personally like just about all aspects of the old car hobby, with the emphasis on "hobby".  Only genre I don't care for is rat-rods.  There are some styles I wouldn't have, but what I appreciate is the pride, workmanship, care, and maintenance that hobbyists put into their cars.  I also appreciate the workmanship, care, and maintenance that "professional old car owners" have in their cars, blunted a bit by the fact the vast majority of them didn't/don't do the work themselves.  One of the first questions I'll ask an owner at a show is "who did the work?"  Which guides the follow-on questions. 

 

To me, it's the mindset behind monkeying around with these things that separates custodianship and ownership.  I'm good with either, as long as you don't try to convince me I'm wrong. 

 

When I first contracted this affliction, I wanted to do everything as original as possible, until I discovered I didn't want to drive one of the old cars or trucks to work for fear of driving through a swarm of bees, hitting a pothole, or something.  I'm still kind of anal when it comes to working on one of the cars, but now it's to ensure whatever I "fixed" is done right, is clean, looks good, makes the car more drivable and reliable, and last longer.  Now, I wouldn't turn down a concours car if one was given to me, but I probably wouldn't enjoy it very much.

 

I'm a bit surprised AACA judges are that OCD, (or rather AACA), I was under the impression they had to know factory "flaws" and judge accordingly, rather than abide by strict guidelines that don't take those flaws into consideration.    

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Does it really matter much to you what others think on this matter I guess dictates what you feel you need to do.  I never had a car or motorcycle in a show and never really cared what others thought of my ride. Honestly we are all different and will fall on either side of the fence or somewhere in-between on the subject. 

I attend shows rarely and for me I can find something positive on most everything when looking at a car/bike. Now if they have a swap meet section, that is likely where I'll be treasure hunting for something I can refurbish, utilize, fix, hang on a wall or make into something else. One man's trash is another mans treasure.

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Im generally of the mindset that I like all cars, old, new, restored, rat rods, unrestored. However while im at car shows, I definitely find myself drifting away from the high dollar restoration vehicles. The ones that they have so much invested that their afraid to drive and if they move it 5 feet they spend hours cleaning it. I like my vehicles to be able to be driven and enjoyed. I do the things that make them comfortable and reliable to drive but try not to go overboard.

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2 hours ago, Phreakboy said:

Im generally of the mindset that I like all cars, old, new, restored, rat rods, unrestored. However while im at car shows, I definitely find myself drifting away from the high dollar restoration vehicles. The ones that they have so much invested that their afraid to drive and if they move it 5 feet they spend hours cleaning it. I like my vehicles to be able to be driven and enjoyed. I do the things that make them comfortable and reliable to drive but try not to go overboard.

One of the members at the AACA forum has this saying”If you’re not going to drive them you might just as well collect clocks”. That describes my attitude completely.

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