My Car Quest

June 19, 2024

More On Classic Car Patina

by Mike –

Why do I write about “patina” so much? I think it is because “patina” is an over used and abused concept designed to sell classic cars at a higher price than they would otherwise command. This is not good for the classic car collectors.

Don’t forget that dirt is not patina and rust is not desirable, no matter what the auctioneer or the guy with his own TV car show says.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Forty-Five year old patina on a Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada (except the steering wheel)

I am always wary of any auction company or sales guy description of “what a wonderful patina this paint has” or just about any sentence with “patina” in it designed to sell me a car.

The paint patina is the first to go bad naturally because the paint is exposed to the elements much more than the interior. It is quite normal to find a collector car with an original interior and one respray 5 to 10 years ago. Any original paint job that has lasted 40 years or more probably has an ugly patina unless it never went out into the sun or the weather.

The interior, however, can last much longer if cared for and stored properly because it is not exposed to the same damaging elements as the paint.

Below is a video, actually a slide show, about patina.

Hudson Hornet Interior

Original Hudson Hornet Interior – This Is Patina!

Let us know what you think about patina in the Comments.

More On Classic Car Patina
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More On Classic Car Patina
Classic car patina is an over used and abused concept designed to sell classic cars at a higher price than they would otherwise command.


  1. Paul Harvey says

    I agree with your comments Mike.

    The question with paint is how to restore it correctly if it has suffered from age.
    How important is it to retain the original paint if that can be fed and polished to look marvellous – aged metallic paint will always have deep oxidation of the metallic flakes but can still look good if dealt with properly.
    Missing paint can be carefully touched in and colour matched but will always look slightly different form the original – especially as it settles down and ages.
    A complete respray in original materials with careful colour matching can bring the car back to correct ‘as it left the factory’ condition, but it cannot replicate the genuine patina of age.
    The cost of the two different approaches are likely to be similar so caring collectors will always have difficult choices to make.
    The danger with a full respray is over restoration – the rubbers are not quite 100% so they get replaced, then the chrome looks a bit dull so that gets rechromed, and then all the other bits are not quite as new etc.
    A shop that knows its job will never take a few short cuts like the factory did so everything ends up better than new.

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