by Mike –
Dirt is not patina and rust is not desirable patina on a car. So why do so many experts go crazy when they find a “barn find” that has dirt and rust and paint that is falling off and they don’t want to even clean the car?
They also don’t want to remove the rust because “it is original only once”.
This sentiment can be seen on American TV car shows and read in big name auction company catalogs – like these examples below:
Gooding’s description of a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy Long Nose sold in Monterey in August 2011:
Desirable Alloy-Bodied 275 GTB
Believed to Have Less than 60,000 Miles from New
Marvelous, Untouched Condition
Beautifully Preserved Paint, Interior and Engine Bay
Prime Candidate for Preservation Display
Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini
One of the Most Exciting 275 GTB Discoveries in Years
While “Marvelous, Untouched Condition” sounds desirable a little cleaning and metal maintenance in the history of this car would be more desirable for this Ferrari 275 GTB.
The “Beautifully Preserved Paint” would be even better if the owners would have taken care of it properly over the last few decades. Proper paint maintenance could have really left beautifully preserved paint.
Here is another example that just happens to also be a Ferrari 275 GTB sold at auction by Gooding in Monterey in August 2012.
The Gooding catalog said this:
A Significant Automotive Discovery
Early Long-Nose 275 with Transitional Features
Fascinating Period Competition History
One Owner for the Past 43 Years
Stored in an Illinois Garage for Several Decades
Wonderful Barn-Find Condition
Genuine Matching-Numbers Example
Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini and Factory Build Sheets
The Gooding car cleaners were not allowed to dust off this car like they were dusting off all the non-barn find cars.
The wonderful barn find dirt and rust were also left in the engine bay, below, and there is Ferrari rust on many of the chrome pieces.
I wonder if they left the mouse nests in place?
Dirt is not patina and rust is not desirable patina
I have been saying this for a long time here on My Car Quest and I have been making fun of those experts who love dirt as patina and don’t want to remove the rust – see these Posts below:
Experts agree with me!
I have found experts who agree with me! They probably always agreed with me but now it is documented in a book that I recommend, The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles by The Simeone Automotive Foundation.
On page 101, Dr. Fred A. Simeone says this,
Dirt is not patination. Dirt is something that was not added by the creator, or intentionally by the subsequent owners. Unlike patina, which can be the result of exposure to the elements or ordinary time-related chemical change, dirt is added to the object by an unfavorable environment or simply poor care. Similarly, under certain circumstances, corrosion can destroy the “meaning” of the automobile, thereby representing not a mellowing aging process, but a threat to the integrity of the surrounding metal.
Dirt was not “added by the creator” of the car. Many owner’s manuals that I have read will tell the owner how to best remove dirt because it can and will damage the car. Shouldn’t we properly clean original classic cars even “barn finds” to protect them from further deterioration? I believe we should.
“Corrosion can destroy the “meaning” of the automobile” is a phrase one doesn’t hear often – maybe never before.
My paraphrased definition of the word “meaning” (focused on automobiles) from the book mentioned above is,
The effect of the work of the constructor that has been introduced to an automobile so that it conveys a specific concept, even if it is as small as the lettering on the side of an automobile. The observer will try to understand the intention of an object. In circumstances where external forces have obscured this image, such as through paint loss, destruction of observed items, the damage can be so significant that the meaning is lost because one’s attention is diverted to the flaws. The term is frequently used when the preserver attempts to revive the meaning which usually involves some form of restoration.