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Thread: What's a "Restoration?"

Forum to discuss Austin Healey Sports Cars

  1. #1

    What's a "Restoration?"

    My thoughts so far, in no particular order:

    Types of "Restoration:"

    - Earl Sheib Paint Job and Tire Gloss: 'Nuff said

    - Cosmetic: Body remains on chassis. Structural rust cut out and replaced (quality of work varies). Surface rust is treated or sanded and painted over. Dents may be beaten back to near-original shape, then filled. Rubber parts replaced. Damaged, pitted windshields replaced. Undercarriage largely neglected (except for serious structural rust or other problems). Suspension components only renewed or replaced if absolutely necessary. Drivetrain--engine and transmission--left untouched if working reasonably well. No attempt to repair or refurbish original parts if new substitute available. Interior replaced if original not presentable (no attempt to retain original aspects). Glossy but not necessarily quality paint. This is typical of many of the 'quick flip' shops that are (apparently) so popular on TV (are they all in Texas???).

    - Driver: Drivetrain overhaul. Only minimal safety, drive-ability and maintainability repairs or improvement. No significant improvements to appearance or comfort.

    - Cosmetic Driver: Cosmetic Restoration with drivetrain overhaul.

    - RestoMod: Cosmetic Restoration with significant modification. Drivetrain replaced (almost always with some form of SBC, 9" Ford diff, etc.). Interior replaced with over-the-top finery, new gauges, etc. Intensely shiny paint job with at least 6 coats of clear, with or without metal flake base coat.

    - Tribute Car: Form of RestoMod. Standard, common variety of vehicle is 'upgraded' to specifications and appearance of special editions or otherwise uprated versions of same vehicle. Examples: Chevy Nova/Chevelle 'SS,' Tempest 'GTO,' Austin-Healey 100 '100M,' etc. Usually honestly represented by 'restorer' initially, after changing hands several times buyers may be led to believe--unintentionally or otherwise--that vehicle is actual original version, and not a clone.

    - Driver Frame-off: Frame off, nut-and-bolt, with little or no attempt to retain original nuts, bolts, trim, etc. Contemporary fasteners replaced with modern SAE equivalent. "If it's broke, buy a new one." Concessions to "get 'er done," but essential essence of car largely retained. Modifications for drive-ability and maintainability (electronic ignition, spin-on oil filter, 4-wheel discs, LSD, hotter cam, etc.).

    - Concours: Frame off, nut-and-bolt, with every attempt to retain original nuts, bolts, trim, etc. Fasteners re-coated in zinc, cadmium or chrome as required. Drivetrain restored to original specifications; no attempt to increase HP, torque or noise. Original interior repaired and refurbished if at all possible. All body and drivetrain ID plaques and stamps preserved. Seams and dents are lead-filled, if originally done at factory; otherwise, only minimal use of filler allowed. Paint as original (usually, one-stage lacquer or enamel).

    - Survivor: Barn/garage/pond etc. 'find.' Only enough mud/dirt/oil/sludge removed to reveal major components of car. Rust only treated to halt spread (think USS Hunley, or the Bugatti(?) someone recovered from a lake). If condition warrants, engine and drivetrain refurbished just enough to get running. Usually sold at auction to be turned into RestoMod. Sometimes, inherited from relative, cleaned up, return to running condition and driven.

    Obviously, most 'restorations'--with the exception of Concours and Survivor--are some combination of the above. No opinion or judgement offered or implied; "it's your car, do what you want with it."
    Last edited by Bob_Spidell; 03-25-2017 at 05:01 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    I would add to "Survivor": Inherited from parent, cleaned up, return to running condition and driven.
    John, BN4

  3. #3

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    "Restoration" to me has always meant bolt head and paint mark totally factory-correct. No clear coat on older cars, no added chrome, no upgrades. Anything else is different levels of "Fixing up". I really admire restorers. I live on a sand road, though. Nice driver is my goal.
    Mike Burgess
    Albert, KS
    "Ran when parked." Aaah, those 3 little words that get a man in trouble.

  4. #4

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    Since this is a Healey list, I can't help but feel that there should be a special category for "M"ing a standard 100?

  5. #5

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    Quote Originally Posted by simon1966 View Post
    Since this is a Healey list, I can't help but feel that there should be a special category for "M"ing a standard 100?
    Or "SS"ing a Chevelle or Nova, "GTO"ing a Tempest, etc. We used to call these 'counterfeit,' but they've undergone an image makeover and are now 'tribute cars.'

    Added as 'Tribute.'

  6. #6

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    Quote Originally Posted by John Turney View Post
    I would add to "Survivor": Inherited from parent, cleaned up, return to running condition and driven.
    Thanks for the comment. Duly added.

  7. #7
    Freshman Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Pepperell, MA

    Re: What's a "Restoration?"

    Started closer to Concours than Driver Frame-Off. Then I discovered McMaster Carr. Screw cleaning the original screws! I'm now firmly in the "If it's broke buy a new one!" SS ignition, alternator, gear reduction starter. However, the original SU fuel pump will still be clicking when I die.


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