My Car Quest

June 24, 2024

More Dirt Pretending To Be Patina

by Mike –

I don’t mean to pick on Gooding but they seem to love the dirt as patina and rust as an asset sales method more than most of the other auction companies. It is easy to find an example in nearly all of their auctions.

1965 Aston Martin DB5

This 1965 Aston Martin DB5 sold in Monterey in August 2013 for $715,000 US at the top of the estimate range of $575,000 – $650,000 US (the hammer price was $650,000 US).

This sales price is 67% higher than the “Hagerty Price Guide” number for a condition 4 1965 DB5 and is near their $820,000 US number for a condition 1 example.

Aston Martin DB5

Aston Martin DB5

The expected rust

Gooding said this,

One of Only 886 DB5 Saloons Built
Matching-Numbers, Factory Left-Hand-Drive Example
Originally Supplied with Normalair Air-Conditioning
One of Only 30 Such Examples Delivered in Silver Birch
Genuine California Car Last Registered in 1979
Marvelous Character and Patina
Ideal Candidate for a Concours-Quality Restoration
An Exciting Aston Martin Discovery

Aston Martin DB5

If this Aston Martin has such “Marvelous Character and Patina” why would a new owner want to perform “a Concours-Quality Restoration” and destroy that character and patina?

If someone wanted to perform a complete restoration wouldn’t a car in better condition be a more desirable starting point? The purchase price would be less (at least with the logic we see here) and the restoration cost would likely be less too.

But the end result of “a Concours-Quality Restoration” would be the same. Hmmm – I am making myself dizzy with this convoluted logic.

1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet

This 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet below is set to be auctioned by Gooding in Arizona in January 2014.

Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000 US Without Reserve.

Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet

The windshield is cracked (looks like a bullet hole) but they don’t want to wipe any more dirt away than is needed to just barely see out of the windshield.

Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet

The engine has the required dirt and grime from decades of neglect.

The description of this car is not on the Gooding web site yet. It will be interesting to read what they say about this one.

I have a slogan for the auction companies and sales people who use the dirt as patina and rust as an asset sales method,

Give me your rusty, your dirty,
Your worn out classic cars yearning to get out of the barn,
Send these, the forlorn, with cracked windows and mice nests, to me:
I shall turn them all into gold.

Bonhams presents their barn find in a completely different manner.

This 1965 Porsche 911 Coupe is up for auction by Bonhams in January in Arizona.

The estimate is $55,000 – 75,000 US – without reserve.

This Porsche 911 appears to be a real barn find – like from a real barn. Bonhams shows photos of the 911 in the barn as found.

Their photos also show clearly that they removed the damaging dirt from the body and the engine bay and probably the interior. This helps to slow down the deterioration of this classic car and gives bidders a better view of what they are bidding on.

Bonhams said this,

*A true barn find example of the first 911 model
*Exceedingly original condition throughout
*Matching numbers example
*Factory delivered in Irish Green over Beige
*Offered with Porsche Certificate of Authenticity

Bonhams did not once mention patina. They did not say Marvelous Character and Patina, Beautifully Preserved Paint, Interior and Engine Bay or Marvelous, Untouched Condition or Wonderful Barn-Find Condition.

Nope – no patina – with this Bonhams description it was just the facts and no hyperbole. They did not pretend that dirt is patina and rust is an asset.

My hat’s off to Bonhams for their treatment and description of this Porsche 911 barn find.

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 – in the barn

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 – exterior dirt has been removed

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 – coming out of the barn

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 – not nearly as dirty as when found in the barn

Porsche 911

No doubt this engine bay has been cleaned up considerably since it came out of the barn

Let us know what you think about how auction companies present their cars in the Comments.

You can sell your classic car – patina and all – on My Car Quest – click here.

More Dirt Pretending To Be Patina
Article Name
More Dirt Pretending To Be Patina
I have a slogan for the auction companies and sales people who use the dirt as patina and rust as an asset sales method.


  1. Ron Kellogg says

    Hello Mike I must agree with you 100%, having collecting cars for over 50 years, in fact yrs ago I purchased a car, from a friend, without seeing it, because it was just going to be a car used by my daughter to go to school, well never again, as it had well over a 100 thousand mile, but that excellent condition story took me off of checking it out program, so after a lots of work to make it safe, my daughter used it for school, and when it got to the point of worst than junk, I called and gave it to charity, as I was embarrassed to sell the car, and when the outfit came to pick up the car, the fellow said well hope we can sell the car, but the tires look OK. End of me buying what is said to be GOOD, I must go and see & drive the item before ever doing that again, and HOPE the STANDARDS of the AUCTION CO would also say to those, that have junk for sale, to say we would love to sell your car, but SIR we love to make percentage off you car, but out standards our MUCH to HIGH as our customers sometimes buy by the catalog, and never see the car, until it shows up at our home. So AUCTION co take notice, it is your JOB to HONOR YOUR CUSTOMERS.

    Regards to ALL Ron Kellogg

  2. Bill Rehberg says

    Me and my crew have re-bodied, or repaired body damage created by electrolysis on at least 3 of the DB5 cars. The longer the new owner, waits to repair that kind of stuff the more of the original car is going to be eaten away. Very foolish. We also found that instead of using the old oil cloth to isolate the steel tube frame from the aluminum, fiber glass mat with out resin will serve better, and won’t break down like the oil cloth. We have done lots of pre-war French, German, Italian, and American cars as well as more contemporary pieces where we have found the fiberglass mat a better solution.

    Merry Christmas, Mike
    Bill Rehberg.

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