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View Full Version : Patina or Perfection, What a Question



Avantidon
07-18-2017, 10:56 AM
Well Mr. Bob you’ve done it again. What a great editorial in HCC #156.

First you bring up a great subject about segments of the collector’s market including trucks, station wagons and original cars. So, what is one supposed to do when he has vehicles that fits two of these categories and then a totally restored vehicle as well? What is he to take to a show, a cruise or a car and coffee event? Personally, I vary them depending on how I feel. I drive them all to all kinds of events but must confess my original 63 GT Hawk and my (titled as) 61 T-Cab ( VIN indicates it is actually the 3rd 62 off of the line) are my favorites and draw the most attention. Well, I guess my Avanti R-2 does too.

The Hawk generate a lot of conversation because of a few dings and scratches but the chrome and interior soon change one’s perspective as they realize the car is as I say an “original.”

Your comments as to a definition of an original, I am sure provokes much thought in many but in my humble opinion a great one. The individual who you sold the 66 Cruiser to is indeed going to have a ball sharing with folks that his car is really “original.”

Thank you, Mr. Bob, for producing another great piece on our cars.

StudeRich
07-18-2017, 11:48 AM
OK, Cool! Now which Brand of Cereal do we buy to get our "Secret Decoder" to find this "HCC# 156"?

Chris Pile
07-18-2017, 11:49 AM
It's called Hemmings Classic Cars magazine.

8E45E
07-18-2017, 01:08 PM
'Google' is the "secret decoder" of choice now.

Craig

T.J. lavallee
07-18-2017, 02:47 PM
From what I've seen at auctions the "unmolested" vehicle always seems to get the highest bids. There is an over-abundance of "custom" and "resto-mods" being offered these days along with complete restorations. It's the original car that has become the rarest and now most difficult to find. A bone stock 57' Chevy will bring more interest and dollars than a "custom," or fully restored one. That does seem to be the trend. As the saying goes: "it's only original once." Personally I prefer the originals.

BobPalma
07-18-2017, 04:21 PM
:) Thanks, guys; 'glad you enjoyed it. That column is in the current (dated September 2017) Hemmings Classic Car. Single-issue copies are now on the newsstands (Barnes & Noble, etc.).

It won't be available for free reading on the Hemmings website until the next issue comes out, unless Craig found it earlier! :woot: ;)

I never had any money in the 1966 Cruiser: It is now Bill Pressler's car, discussed here in a couple earlier threads.

My involvement was pointing out to Bill the seller's subtle hint here on the forum that he might sell it. It was barely an hour's drive away from me, so I offered to check it out for Bill. He wanted just that type of car but had been burned one too many times by dishonest seller descriptions. As it turned out, the Cruiser's owner/seller, John Thompson here on the forum, had described the car honestly to Bill. Good vibes all around, thankfully.

Once I had checked out the car for Bill and gave it and John a double thumbs up, John and Bill discussed price directly and transferred the money independently of me. :!!: :cool: BP

riversidevw
07-18-2017, 04:32 PM
Another vote for originals. I haven't yet had an opportunity to see the editorial in HCC.

My 56J and Speedster aren't totally original. Each has had one decent repaint decades ago, some refurbishing of interior details. But those are the cars I will likely hang onto for as long as I am still driving. Maybe the R2 Avanti also.

My Avanti is an odd duck. The prior owner (since '65) sent it from Illinois to Avanti Motors in South Bend for repairs following front end body damage in the early seventies. In the process Avanti Motors updated the car... square headlights, later style battery placement, improved (Avanti II) engine compartment ventilation, etc. Definitely not for serious judging, but an arguably improved and quite attractive Avanti. From introduction, there was always talk of subsequently offering updates, retrofits and improvements on Avantis. But no mention of crunching the nose of the car to accomplish it.

I've also enjoyed the quest for perfection. There was the '53 Packard Caribbean which needed complete restoration. Then a few years later there was the Packard Hawk, professional cosmetics done on an excellent low-mileage original. Finding rare NOS parts was part of the fun. Both were Post War Best of Show (different years) in Packards International events. But having achieved these things, I later sold the Caribbean. I'm preparing to sell the Packard Hawk (still in show condition).

My remaining cars have their patina and (for me) more enduring appeal.

Bill Pressler
07-18-2017, 07:01 PM
I am indeed the mystery owner of the car in Bob's current HCC column! :)

Sounds vain maybe, but I love just walking around the car. It is a time capsule. Not perfect, but like a few-year-old car. And I've never owned a Studebaker before where the doors closed with a solid 'thunk' like this one does!

BobPalma
07-18-2017, 07:18 PM
I've never owned a Studebaker before where the doors closed with a solid 'thunk' like this one does!

;) I don't think you'd do well owning a mostly original 1971 Barracuda convertible, Bill... :lol: :cool: BP

JoeHall
07-18-2017, 08:50 PM
If I had lots of money, I'd probably send mine off, one at a time, to be restored to perfection. Then I could drive that one while another one was sent off, then another, till they were all percect. That won't happen, unless I win the lotto, and since you gotta play to win, that's not gonna happen either. So I will just continue to drive mine as they are, and be content. The 56J was painted in 1987, and the paint is getting a little thin now, but it'll last another 20 years or so, by then I really won't care what it looks like.

If I had to choose, patina driver versus perfect TQ, patina would win, hands down.

lumpy
07-18-2017, 09:47 PM
My choice is patina . Ive said it before ..my daily driver 56 chevy pick up gets WAY MORE attention and comments compared to my 57 big window chevy , the 57 has a very expensive paint job an original 57 color , matador red ,american mags ,all new chrome, hot 400 small block. The 56 has original paint , some very nice faux signage on the doors , hot 400 small block , american mags.;) And the best part is i can park the 56 where ever whenever and dont worry about dings etc..My lark is going to stay its original Tahiti Choral ... And i can laugh my ass off as i show its tail lights to a few unsuspecting youngsters wondering what the hell was that?

t walgamuth
07-19-2017, 09:19 AM
I'm definitely in favor of driving them! As such it is really an argument for never doing a #1 restoration since that implies a job done better than factory in most cases.

StudeNewby
07-19-2017, 12:05 PM
I'm definitely in favor of driving them! As such it is really an argument for never doing a #1 restoration since that implies a job done better than factory in most cases.
I couldn't agree more! As of the moment, my 64 Champ is my daily driver (by necessity), but even if it weren't, I would still use it (carefully) as a truck, just the way it was meant to be. Even with its old paint job, just about its only non-original feature, it garners plenty of thumbs up every week. My vote is patina!

joncon
07-19-2017, 02:57 PM
The 66 Cruiser I sold Bill Pressler I bought off Ebay a few years ago, a shout out goes to the seller as being very honest on the cars description. I saw the add and talked to the owner on the phone. Than gambled an bought it and had it shipped sight unseen other than the Ebay add. I was amazed at how original it was when it was delivered. Nicer than I anticipated and too nice for what I wanted, as I wanted a daily driver. I bought a 63 R1 Cruiser around a year later that wasn't as original. Since I like to "Drive it like I stole it" I decided to sell the 66 to someone who would treat it better than I would, and keep the 63.

Sdude
07-19-2017, 03:42 PM
For a car to be a truly great survivor, the car must have been cared for over a long period of time. Chances of that happening are rare and that is why it would be a sin to modify such a car. Modifying an old car is perfectly acceptable in my book and certainly preferred should you be looking for something to drive a lot. So if that's what you want to do, fine, just don't start with a survivor. There are plenty of classics out there that need restoration or upgrade modifications. Save one of them instead. This is where I agree with the purists.

Always love HCC when it has a Bob Palma article. It's great to have a friend that is brilliant AND famous....

Bill Pressler
07-19-2017, 05:46 PM
The 66 Cruiser I sold Bill Pressler I bought off Ebay a few years ago, a shout out goes to the seller as being very honest on the cars description. I saw the add and talked to the owner on the phone. Than gambled an bought it and had it shipped sight unseen other than the Ebay add. I was amazed at how original it was when it was delivered. Nicer than I anticipated and too nice for what I wanted, as I wanted a daily driver. I bought a 63 R1 Cruiser around a year later that wasn't as original. Since I like to "Drive it like I stole it" I decided to sell the 66 to someone who would treat it better than I would it and keep the 63.

John, by any chance might you remember the name of the guy you bought it from? I know that's been a few years. If you do, please PM me. If not, that's OK of course. I'd sure like to find some history of the car. From what came with it, I know the name of the selling dealer and original owners. Just today I wrote the S.N.M. to see if they can provide the card the dealer filled out that showed what the original owner did as a job, and what he traded in. I'm guessing that since the car was bought a month after Studebaker stopped production, that the buyer was probably a Studebaker man and wanted one last one. I'm betting that he traded in a Studebaker. Of course, I'm sure dealers were dealing on them at that time too.

joncon
07-19-2017, 07:14 PM
John, by any chance might you remember the name of the guy you bought it from? I know that's been a few years. If you do, please PM me. If not, that's OK of course. I'd sure like to find some history of the car. From what came with it, I know the name of the selling dealer and original owners. Just today I wrote the S.N.M. to see if they can provide the card the dealer filled out that showed what the original owner did as a job, and what he traded in. I'm guessing that since the car was bought a month after Studebaker stopped production, that the buyer was probably a Studebaker man and wanted one last one. I'm betting that he traded in a Studebaker. Of course, I'm sure dealers were dealing on them at that time too.
Sorry, I don't remember his name, only that he lived in FL. I looked through my records but didn't see anything on him.

Bill Pressler
07-21-2017, 05:29 AM
Sorry, I don't remember his name, only that he lived in FL. I looked through my records but didn't see anything on him.

OK, thanks anyway!

Hallabutt
07-21-2017, 01:05 PM
Thanks to Bob for publishing the article and for Bill for lauding it. We've come a long way towards understanding that our cars have become much more then daily drivers or jewels on the show field. If properly maintained they can be a valuable reference source and tell the important story of their survival.

I'm not trying to offend anyone when I say that I think that far too many good original cars were restored or rodded, during the flurry of activity that took place during the time leading up to the revelation, that they are only original once. The activity seemed to reach it's apex during the 90's and coincided with the tremendous increases in restoration costs. Thanks again Bob for putting a face on reasonability.

BILT4ME
07-21-2017, 04:52 PM
When people ask me about my Lark and if I'm going to "restore" it, I say, no it's all original, with all its original dents and scratches!

It's a driver and I enjoy it just the way it is.

If it was truly a "special" car, other than one of a few 59 2DHTP's left, I may consider doing a complete resto on it. However, I saw about 2 years ago that someone sold one nearly identical with a complete frame-off resto. He sold it for $8000. Three weeks later, the new buyer flipped it and it sold for $16000. The guy even used the original seller's pictures in his ad!

I have to admire the guy for doubling his money in 3 weeks, but I was just mad at myself or not jumping on it the FIRST time.

I will NEVER make my money back if I do a full resto. It will cost upwards of $30K and still only be worth $16K, even if I were to sell it or try to insure it at anything other than receipt value.

I'll stick with my "original patina" car.......

wlfrench
07-22-2017, 10:36 AM
Where do survivor cars fit into this hierarchy? Cars like mine that have been modified over the years, repainted different color, reupholstered and other various parts swapped out just to keep it running and looking good by previous owners.

BobPalma
07-22-2017, 10:50 AM
Where do survivor cars fit into this hierarchy? Cars like mine that have been modified over the years, repainted different color, reupholstered and other various parts swapped out just to keep it running and looking good by previous owners.

:) Obviously, Wayne, most collector cars and trucks still running are like yours...and most of mine. That is, they have lost the originality of the factory-applied paint and interior trim, and maybe even the OEM engine, but have not been restored to show-winning perfection, either. I'd say our cars like that make about 90% of the operable collector cars out there in our hobby...IMHO, of course. ;)

The purpose of my writing that column was to encourage respect for original cars with modest patina to authenticate the fact that they've never looked worse than they do today....and to possibly encourage owners of such cars to appreciate them and care for them carefully, rather than consider them ideal candidates for concours restorations just because they aren't rusty or beat up, as some owners do.

The operative word there is encourage. That's important because I don't propose to tell anybody what "they ought to do with their car." Offering encouragement is different from telling an owner what he ought to do with his or her car, as some are want to do. ;) :cool: BP

jclary
07-22-2017, 11:31 AM
...The operative word there is encourage. That's important because I don't propose to tell anybody what "they ought to do with their car." Offering encouragement is different from telling an owner what he ought to do with his or her car, as some are want to do. ;) :cool: BP

Great article Bob. I just finished reading and sharing it with my wife. I like your word "encourage." It also allows owners of such vehicles to "preserve" them without feeling pressured to spend tons of money on an extensive (expensive) restoration. Too often, I have actually heard the comment, "You ought to restore that!" directed to owners of well maintained original cars. There are many car enthusiasts who lack the resources, talent, and especially money to do a restoration.

Giving them legitimacy, and respect to engage in the hobby, should serve to keep our hobby strong, and increase the future inventory of potential future restoration candidates. Our best hope for survival, is to be "inclusive," and not "exclusive.":)

JoeHall
07-22-2017, 11:57 AM
Bob,

I agree, about 90 percent of Studes fit the category Wayne and I own, if that includes drivers, abandoned projects, and those rusting away somewhere. So that 90 percent is a broad category but, within that category, less than five percent are actual DRIVERs.

After the above broad category, the remaining 10 percent consists of about 9.9 percent restored, and .5 percent unaltered survivor with patina. Problem is, the Stude population is misrepresented at our meets; over 90 percent of Studes there are in the above 10 percent restored/survivor category. To me, any Stude "DRIVER", no matter how dilapidated in appearance, should given special recognition at all of our meets. Unfortunately, DRIVERs are usually left in the parking lots, alongside modern brand 'X' vehicles.

If more attention were given to DRIVER's, lots of neat ideas would likely surface to encourage more to drive their Studes. Most drivers of Studes use lots of creativity in keeping them reliable and reasonably safe on the road. However, there are lots of pseudo drivers out there, that should be teased out. Some are easy to identify, for example those with bone stock Studes who claim to get 30 MPG while running 100 MPH all day long. Pseudo Stude drivers remind me of Harley rider wannabes (a.k.a. sidewalk commandos) back in the day; they often looked more like a Harley rider than an actual rider, but drove a "cage". In 1980-81 I moonlighted as a bouncer at a biker bar in Syracuse, NY. On most nights, you could count 25-75 Harleys out front, but there'd be hundreds of, "bikers" inside the bar. LOL

Hallabutt
07-22-2017, 01:29 PM
I agree with Joe when he says, "Unfortunately, DRIVERs are usually left in the parking lots, alongside modern brand 'X' vehicles." It would be nice to think of all the old car owners as selfless and without an ego, but the fact is that most of us are not perfect. We need the recognition for who we are and what we do, but even more importantly an original car, or even a less well preserved driver, needs to be credited as a survivor with a story.

Everyone attending a car show can appreciate a nicely restored car, but the original survivor will virtually always be passed off as someone's poor attempt at a restoration. Our cars were far from perfect when they left the factory. Fifty five+ years since new they are much less perfect. Picking the originals out in a crowd is a chore that most can't or won't do. So their recognition and is not received, and it's story goes untold.

I think that it was five years ago, in SB, that an attempt was made to vet the original survivor with a special judging. I thought that it was an effort in the right direction, but it has not been attempted again. I understand full well that as it becomes difficult to find the qualified volunteers to participate in this very exacting type of judging that it had to go. Thanks to those who tried to get it off the ground! It's demise does not mean that the need for a vetting has gone away.

I think that what is needed is an area on the show field, set apart from the rest of the judging, for the survivors. There the cars can be shown for what they are, and a forum provided for their story being told. Judging has always been a large part of what we do as car people, but the story has become so important, over the last twenty years, and the story needs to be told!

PackardV8
07-22-2017, 02:12 PM
In 1980-81 I moonlighted as a bouncer at a biker bar in Syracuse, NY.

Who knew? Anyway, more recently in Syracuse, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was always a must-stop during my travels. They had blues bands on the weekend and as Joe's experience, the bar was packed with wanna-be's, but few riders.

jack vines

JoeHall
07-22-2017, 04:10 PM
Who knew? Anyway, more recently in Syracuse, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was always a must-stop during my travels. They had blues bands on the weekend and as Joe's experience, the bar was packed with wanna-be's, but few riders.

jack vines

What a small world! You probably met the big guy at the door named, Dino. Long story but the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is named after him. He is my best friend, even God Father and name sake of one of my sons. We used to work together at the other bar, that was just up the street. We still reminisce about those old days when we talk on phone, or visit each other 1-2 times a year. Dino says we'd both go to jail nowadays for the stuff we used to pull. LOL

Lots of Dinosaur videos on youtube, including a national TV award for best barbecue in America. They are now a chain of about eight in the northeast, and growing, but Syracuse is the original. The original entrepreneurs were three, including Dino, but currently John Stage and G. Soros are main stockholders; again, long story. The original three guys began in early 1980s, catering to bikers, but now serve a much more diverse population. They claim to be the only eating establishment to have served two sitting presidents: Bill Clinton and Sonny Barger (president of the HAMC). LOL

About 10 years ago, I sold Dino a 63GT, and he had fun with it, till it caught fire and burnt up. It was at auction a couple of years ago, and there was a brief thread about it on this forum then.

Next time you are there, tell Dino, "GI Joe" said hello. :)

rockne10
07-23-2017, 02:42 PM
I prefer patina in fully operational safe vehicles up to a point. When I got my '51 Starlight the roof was caved in and upholstery including headliner was in shreds (I had to safety pin it out of the way to see to drive it for registration and inspection); but I did get all the systems safe and functional. It demanded some reparations. The '53 I bought as a daily driver in 1976 eventually developed iron worms and open ventilation in much of its sheet metal. But once you've commenced to make those major repairs it's difficult to settle on half-assed.
Lucking in to something like the '33 as I did is often a once in a lifetime happenstance. But then one must decide the circumstances to drive a vehicle with mechanical brakes and plate glass windows, without heat or other assisted amenities. Never any black and white on the subject.

But it's all fun.

Hawklover
07-26-2017, 05:49 PM
Gil are you the same Dr. Gil Zimmerman who was featured in the early 1970's red book on post war Studebaker's? I remember the picture of your '56 Golden Hawk.......my dad had the same car. Thanks for the elucidation!
Another vote for originals. I haven't yet had an opportunity to see the editorial in HCC.

My 56J and Speedster aren't totally original. Each has had one decent repaint decades ago, some refurbishing of interior details. But those are the cars I will likely hang onto for as long as I am still driving. Maybe the R2 Avanti also.

My Avanti is an odd duck. The prior owner (since '65) sent it from Illinois to Avanti Motors in South Bend for repairs following front end body damage in the early seventies. In the process Avanti Motors updated the car... square headlights, later style battery placement, improved (Avanti II) engine compartment ventilation, etc. Definitely not for serious judging, but an arguably improved and quite attractive Avanti. From introduction, there was always talk of subsequently offering updates, retrofits and improvements on Avantis. But no mention of crunching the nose of the car to accomplish it.

I've also enjoyed the quest for perfection. There was the '53 Packard Caribbean which needed complete restoration. Then a few years later there was the Packard Hawk, professional cosmetics done on an excellent low-mileage original. Finding rare NOS parts was part of the fun. Both were Post War Best of Show (different years) in Packards International events. But having achieved these things, I later sold the Caribbean. I'm preparing to sell the Packard Hawk (still in show condition).

My remaining cars have their patina and (for me) more enduring appeal.

Jeffry Cassel
07-27-2017, 10:03 AM
Bob; Very much enjoyed your HCC article. I've felt that well maintained roadworthy cars have been given the short end of the stick in favor of the over-restored trailer queens. Saw one of these in South Bend in the 70's. Looked beautiful but would not run well enough to drive it off the trailer; it was pushed into place. You guessed it - First Place! A brand new Avanti driven from the factory to Notre Dame- 2nd place. Always thought a car should get a couple points for a smashed bug rather than be docked several for a mote of dust. At least you know the car is still able to smash a bug. What enjoyment is there in having a unique car that you cannot drive?

warrlaw1
07-27-2017, 12:39 PM
Great stuff, Bob. I enjoy putting them back on the road (or saving them) and they are usually beyond being good candidates for restoration or show cars. But when I find one that moves me, I'm on a mission. Every nut and bolt has to be disturbed. I want to know what's under me. Original car? Always the best if you can find 'em. Restored show cars? I'd love to have one. Find a hopelessly abused coupe and bring it back?...every time!

BobPalma
07-27-2017, 01:16 PM
:) Thanks for the nice comments, all; 'glad you enjoyed it. 'Good synopsis in Post #30, Dave.

The column for December's Hemmings Classic Car is done but not due until September 10th. I can promise everyone on the SDC Forum that you'll really enjoy it. Obviously, I've liked some columns more than others and really enjoyed "doing" December's coming up..."you all" will enjoy it, too. ;)

Has it been 25 columns? Yep; the December 2017 column is my 25th for Hemmings Classic Car. Thanks again, all. :cool: BP

riversidevw
07-27-2017, 05:34 PM
Gil are you the same Dr. Gil Zimmerman who was featured in the early 1970's red book on post war Studebaker's? I remember the picture of your '56 Golden Hawk.......my dad had the same car. Thanks for the elucidation!

I'm the same Gil, still with the same '56 Golden Hawk. She's well, has since received an upgrade in the accessory wheel covers, though the old ones are virtually new. Come to think of it she also received a NOS replacement Packard (AMC) 352 crate engine along the way. Same late sixties paint and most everything else. Old AQ photos were taken a few miles south of the Madonna Inn during one of the Western Regional Meets in '71 or '72 on the Central Coast of California.

Thanks for remembering.

Gil