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Thread: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

Forum to discuss Austin Healey Sports Cars

  1. #21
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    I agree that wherever possible a "sympathetic" restoration is the aim and goal I try to achieve. Of course if a component is worn or deteriorated to the point where it's dangerous or unsightly, "dragging down" the over all pleasing effect of the original car, then something more must be done to rectify the situation. Most of us are not lucky enough to find that well preserved example that has only a degree of patina, therefore we have no choice but to replace or restore the component. Carry this philosophy throughout all the parts it takes to comprise an entire car, and we are usually looking at a complete restoration.
    I think it's still important to find the discipline not to go overboard on the restoration, but to try to preserve the intent of the original car.

  2. #22
    Darth Vader judow's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Quote Originally Posted by dougie
    I say, "to each his own". Though I hate to see any Healey relegated to trailer queen status, I also see no purpose in having a car that is in such a state of disrepair that it is unsafe and unusable merely to state it's originality.

    I like the term "sympathetic restoration" that now seems to be in vogue. Repair and replace only what you have to and keep as much original to the car as possible.

    It's only new once, not matter how good the full restoration is.


    P.S. Agatha was a Miami junkyard find. Only took almost 20 years to restore her and we did the best we could with what we had. A forever grateful to Dave Porter in Albuquerque. I'm proud of her and after 8 years continue to be proud of her. She's not a trailer queen, she's a driver and looks darn good for her age. Gads, I sound like the proud mother of the 'doctor.' Enough already.
    Proud Caregiver to:

    Agatha A Healey & Onslow A Jaguar

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    Jedi Hopeful Brian_James's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Quote Originally Posted by Healeysince59
    I have a pristine restored BN1, a nice low mileage unrestored BT7, and an unrestored BN1 with lots of patina. I've had 1 or 2 at 2 Rendezvous and 2 Conclaves. Only 1 has attracted any attention at all. Want to guess which one?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzchDxl3jNY

    Marv J
    That's me driving that car, and as soon as I can find an extra garage space, I'm going to Arizona to steal it. He probably won't call the cops on me since we have the same last name and all.

    Brian

  4. #24
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Blessed are all of you that have such fine original cars. It is so difficult to find these old cars in original condition with no rust and still drivable that I find this topic puzzling. How many of us will ever really face this dilemma?

    Maybe it is becuase I am from the Northeast. In my experience, most full restorations got that way because the owner was starting with junk, not because he wanted to spend $30,000 to restore an all original car that was presentable. Around these parts, the cars come in three basic flavors, original junk, partial restorations that were not really done right, and full restorations. Sure, there are varying degrees of these three flavors, but the original car that was never repainted or reupolstered that is still presentable is a very rare thing indeed and when I see them around here, the owners have no interest in spending the money to "restore" the car.
    Things I need:
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    Jedi Knight Brinkerhoff's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Original ,unrestored, patina ? No thanks, I'd rather have one that I restored and know it ran , drove, looked, felt, and was protected better than when it was new. I won't be "owned" by an old car , afraid to touch it for fear I've devalued it somehow. There hasn't been a British car I've owned and restored that hasn't been the better for it.

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    Jedi Warrior HEALEYJAG's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    I must agree with Brinkerhoff..having owned both restored, barn find, original, you name it ..I've owned it. While the "diamond in the rough" might get the most attention" it does because it is unique.

    Ask the person when there are two side by side "rough" vs "restored" cars which one you want to drive home, I think the answer is quite clear.

    Pete
    1954 Austin Healey 100 Le Mans
    1973 Jaguar E-type OTS
    2015 Jaguar XK Coupe
    2017 Jaguar XF
    2008 Aston Martin Vantage Convt

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    Jedi Knight nevets's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Every year I go to the Lime Rock historic races I see this unrestored Bugatti...pretty cool. I actually like em both ways, restored and unrestored.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    This nearby thread presents the perfect example:

    https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcfo...opics/817874/1

    If I had the space, I would try to buy this TR-3. I would take care of any mechanical issues, and clean it inside and out, top and bottom, but I would never restore it. I really don't know anyone who would. Would you restore this car?
    Things I need:
    3/8 generator pulley for 1965 BJ8
    Please PM me if you have one for sale.

    All the pieces falling off my car were engineered to the highest British standards.

  9. #29
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    This is an interesting thread. I personally battled with this for years and finally am having the car restored. Although mechanically sound, I felt the car had become unsafe. The sills were mostly gone, three of the outriggers were smashed beyond recognition and worst of all decent sized chunks of the sill material and bondo would fall off en route. I realized that I wasn't using the car anymore but once a year to make the pilgrimage to Road America to watch the July Vintage Races.

    I fully agree that the older resto or un-restored cars get <span style="font-weight: bold">way</span> more attention. At the RA vintage races, almost every time I went back to the car (which was just in general parking next to Buicks and minivans) to grab a drink or sandwich from the cooler, there was somebody photographing or otherwise checking the car out. The fully restored cars under the fourintune tent...not so much.

    Finally I had to ask myself a simple question "Why do I own this car?". Is it so some other guy can take pictures of a clapped-out 100 or so that I personally can drive and enjoy the darn thing? After that the choice was much simpler.
    "Wally" Casten
    British Cars: 1956 Austin-Healey 100 BN2 previously owned by my father
    British Bikes: 1997 Triumph Speed Triple (120,000+ miles)
    The Dark Side: 1987 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera, 1982 BMW 320is

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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Some years ago, as I drove home, I noticed a V12 Hispano Suiza Coupe in a lay by. By the time I'd arrived, I knew that I couldn't have done, there were only a handful made amd this one looked new, so I drove back to check. It was an actual 9.4 litre 12 cylinder Coupe and it had been rebuilt to new condition in a layby with no sign of an owner. How often does that happen?

    TBH it was a major disappointment because new zinc plated, cold rolled nuts had been used and it just looked new. Old European cars were coach built and ought to look like a Saville Row suit and this one didn't.

    I could never ever afford anything like the Hispano, but I have rebuilt a couple of Bentleys, a Bristol 400 and my TR3A. The Austin Healey is under way, but I don't go for "as new", so the underside is heavily coated with cavity wax and I re-use lots of parts that don't affect reliability or longevity. I probably won't have instrument dials restored or bezels, chromed, I'll try and restore leather before replacing it and so on. The idea is that there should be some indication of the age and history of the car. It's so easy to destroy all that and I don't want to win a competition, I just want a good reliable example that I can enjoy and that drives as it did when new. The TR a bit better because it has a much needed sway bar.

    Bodies I have totally rebuilt and chassis repaired, holes drilled and everything coated with cavity wax. I hope this makes some sense. My Bristol as was in on www.jel450.com if anyone is interested.

    Ash

  11. #31
    Jedi Warrior CLEAH's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Hello all. New to the forum.

    This is an interesting topic. One thing I think has not been discussed is historical context. I’m not talking about the storied history of important 100S racers, I mean one’s personal, historical connection with a thing. Patina comes on an old car, and if you have no connection to how that patina got on there you might not value it as much. That’s understandable. But when the patina is a part of you, then the decision is often harder. My ’66 BJ8 was purchased by my dad in 1978. I drove it to high school every day in ’80 and ’81. After 34 years, it is a member of the family and recently came into my ownership. It is a little scruffy, needs some mechanical bits rebuilt, and some welding here and there (it has had plenty already over the years!), and the interior is musty. But as I ponder whether to do a complete restoration on it, I wonder what I’ll wind up with. My dad and I kept it going just fine for all those years, and we had a blast just using the thing and having fun with it. A “new” car would be great, but in my case I can’t bring myself to wipe away my history with it. The same crud that got under my fingernails 34 years ago is still on it. The interior smell is the same as when I first got into it. If I were to sell it to someone, the natural thing to do would be a formal restoration. When you have a personal connection with a thing, then what might be called simply “maintenance” may be the better route. That’s what I am doing, at least.

    Hugh
    Hugh
    1965 BJ8
    1958 AN5


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    Yoda glemon's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Put me in the camp that spends more time looking at the nice unrestored car and finds it minteresting to look at, I like restored cars, but these days there are so many restored cars floating around that the unrestored ones are more interesting to me if only for their rarity.

    Unless you have a Le Mans winner or something super rare and historic, I would respectfuly suggest, contrary to the opinion expressed earlier, and both views are just that, opinion, the the unrestored car with patina would be less stressful and easier to live with.

    New paint is stressfull, it is perfect or darn near, you worry about every situation that presents the risk of a stone chip, door ding, or scratch, it sure looks nice, but it takes some fun out of driving the car.

    The car with patina already has the door dings and scratches and stone chips, so if you take out to the hardware store on Saturday morning so what if it gets one more.

    Unfortunately, I too live in the part of the world where the most all the cars over 25 years old or so are rotting away needing to be restored, have been restored, or have been poorly repaired and refurbished so need a bit of attention. But I do like the look and smell of the original survivor.

  13. #33
    Senior Member tri_carb_healey's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    my current experience with my rolling project is at club meetings most of the folks spend time with my car discussing the proper way to go about things. Its been very positive getting constant feedback and tips on how to proceed step by step. The cars that are done are done. thats it, whereas when you're actually in the process working towards the goal. people see that and want to help you get there. I just can't imagine putting the car away in a garage until its finished. it would kill me. if its ok to drive then drive it!!
    I love the term "rolling restoration"
    &quot;nothing like a straight six&quot;

  14. #34
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Quote Originally Posted by CLEAH
    Hello all. New to the forum.

    This is an interesting topic. One thing I think has not been discussed is historical context. I’m not talking about the storied history of important 100S racers, I mean one’s personal, historical connection with a thing. Patina comes on an old car, and if you have no connection to how that patina got on there you might not value it as much. That’s understandable. But when the patina is a part of you, then the decision is often harder. My ’66 BJ8 was purchased by my dad in 1978. I drove it to high school every day in ’80 and ’81. After 34 years, it is a member of the family and recently came into my ownership. It is a little scruffy, needs some mechanical bits rebuilt, and some welding here and there (it has had plenty already over the years!), and the interior is musty. But as I ponder whether to do a complete restoration on it, I wonder what I’ll wind up with. My dad and I kept it going just fine for all those years, and we had a blast just using the thing and having fun with it. A “new” car would be great, but in my case I can’t bring myself to wipe away my history with it. The same crud that got under my fingernails 34 years ago is still on it. The interior smell is the same as when I first got into it. If I were to sell it to someone, the natural thing to do would be a formal restoration. When you have a personal connection with a thing, then what might be called simply “maintenance” may be the better route. That’s what I am doing, at least.

    Hugh
    poetry man.....
    &quot;nothing like a straight six&quot;

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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Quote Originally Posted by CLEAH
    Hello all. New to the forum.

    This is an interesting topic. One thing I think has not been discussed is historical context. I’m not talking about the storied history of important 100S racers, I mean one’s personal, historical connection with a thing. Patina comes on an old car, and if you have no connection to how that patina got on there you might not value it as much. That’s understandable. But when the patina is a part of you, then the decision is often harder. My ’66 BJ8 was purchased by my dad in 1978. I drove it to high school every day in ’80 and ’81. After 34 years, it is a member of the family and recently came into my ownership. It is a little scruffy, needs some mechanical bits rebuilt, and some welding here and there (it has had plenty already over the years!), and the interior is musty. But as I ponder whether to do a complete restoration on it, I wonder what I’ll wind up with. My dad and I kept it going just fine for all those years, and we had a blast just using the thing and having fun with it. A “new” car would be great, but in my case I can’t bring myself to wipe away my history with it. The same crud that got under my fingernails 34 years ago is still on it. The interior smell is the same as when I first got into it. If I were to sell it to someone, the natural thing to do would be a formal restoration. When you have a personal connection with a thing, then what might be called simply “maintenance” may be the better route. That’s what I am doing, at least.

    Hugh
    Awesome! Well written. My Dad also bought the car in '78 (I believe) although very rarely would he let me drive it while I was in high school. After I went away to college, I did get to use it as a daily driver when I came home for the summers. You are very lucky it is in a condition you can do this, I wish I could have.
    "Wally" Casten
    British Cars: 1956 Austin-Healey 100 BN2 previously owned by my father
    British Bikes: 1997 Triumph Speed Triple (120,000+ miles)
    The Dark Side: 1987 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera, 1982 BMW 320is

  16. #36
    Yoda tahoe healey's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    "cars that are done are done". NEVER!

  17. #37
    Obi Wan
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    Quote Originally Posted by tahoe healey
    "cars that are done are done". NEVER!
    A wise man knows he knows not. Lao Tsu

  18. #38
    Obi Wan Johnny's Avatar
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    Re: To Restore, or not to Restore, that's the question

    for posting Ash. I like the way you think. I guess what I meant to say originally was you can carry a resto too far, these cars should never be built-up to exceed their potential from the factory. Unless you intend to vintage race the car, then there's no limit.


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