by Mike –
The following are some common, and irritating, classic car clichés that are repeated by collector car luminaries over and over.
Clichés always have a ring of truth to them but there are some inconsistencies and contradictions in these five clichés.
1) It is original only once.
This is a truism but time takes it toll on all things and original cars eventually turn into original cars in bad condition. If they are properly cared for and stored properly they can remain in good condition for many many years. But eventually they will deteriorate to the point of well, bad condition.
2) Do not restore an original car – this always follows number 1.
At what point does this philosophy no longer make sense? The great paintings hanging in the museums of Europe are periodically restored as are the old buildings. If they are not then they would eventually fall into an unrecoverable state. The period between restorations may be a a long time but it is still done.
Cars also will reach a point where they will deteriorate to a point of non-functionality. Will this philosophy toward classic cars change then?
3) It is being driven and used like it was meant to be.
Eventually this will wear out the car – maybe 50 years from now but these cars will deteriorate to the point that they can only be placed in a museum and looked at by future generations. Especially race cars that are driven and used like they were meant to be. Some will also be destroyed in the process.
It can be driven and used like it was meant to be only for so long, especially if it is to be kept original at all costs.
The car that is being driven and used like it was meant to be will never win a best in show at a Pebble Beach like event.
4) Every nut and bolt has been removed and this car has been restored to a condition that is better than when it left the factory new.
We praise these cars because they are better than new and beautiful to look at. It takes a restoration like this to win a major award at a Concours d’Elegance. Yet this is inconsistent with clichés 1 and 2 above. And if this car is then driven and used like it was meant to be it will deteriorate rapidly so that it will never win a Concours.
5) The car is over restored.
This is a bad thing but it is the only way to win best in show at a Concours d’Elegance like Pebble Beach. We worship these winners but then at other moments we criticize the over restored car and we criticize the trailer queen that does not get driven and “used like it was meant to be”. But it is the trailer queen that wins best in show.
If these Pebble Beach winning cars were used like they were meant to be then they would not win Pebble Beach.
Which of the two cars pictured in this post is more valuable? The red one is a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that is all original with only 11,500 miles but still looks to be in great condition.
This is not exactly a perfect comparison from a model point of view but it is reasonably close. One is an alloy body and the other is a 4-cam, the 4-cam will command a higher price with everything else being equal.
What do you think? Let us know in the Comments.
Click on the images for a larger view.