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asinger

Complete accuracy in restoration or just "making do?"

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When I first started restoring my 1967 Mercury Park Lane, I decided to try to keep things as original as I could--that is, not modify it extensively turn it into a hot rod with a shiney chrome engine, totally digital dashboard, etc. etc. etc.

Not that I find anything wrong with modifications. In fact, I love them. But, time and money dictate that I keep things basic.

But I've had to fudge things along the way. The rear deck, where the convertible top folds down into, and the floorboards were mostly rusted out. I spent two weeks trying to find replacement pieces (the closest vehicle to my car is a Galaxy 500, but there's no guarantee that its replacements would fit my car). I called machine shops everywhere to try to new deck and floor panels fabricated . In the end, no luck anywhere.

I had to cut out the bad pieces and had a (professional) welder friend weld in new sheet metal pieces. This is not a "correct" or "original" repair, but I finally had to do something, anything, to get the job done. Does it pass the "stickler" test? I guess it wouldn't.

I did replace the oddball-sized rear speakers with those I found from a company online, the ONLY place I could find that sold those speakers. I've also kept the original AM radio and added a 1970s-era FM converter. So that's original.

I added a set of gauges that I installed in the dash, so that meant I had to cut holes in the dash front. A further modification that looks really cool.

Most everything else is the same--same engine, same transmission, but the carb was changed by a previous owner. It's supposed to have an Autolite, but there's a Holley in there instead.

I've been to a number of cruise-ins and have seen lots of modified cars done by people with bottomless pockets of money. I've also seen quite a few true-to-the-original vehicles that look like they were just driven off the showroom floor.

So, is there a fine line between necessary modifications, or even those that are unnecessary, and keeping things original down to the right headlights that are supposed to be installed?

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My personal preference (and what I do with my cars) is either original or restored to original condition. That is the preference that I expect most people on the AACA Discussion Forum tend to have.

But, it is your car and you get to do what you want to with it. So, if you want some modifications like your added gauges, have fun with it.

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This has to be a personal decision based on what you want the car to be when you are done with it. You mentioned in another post that you want to drive this car and use it to take your family on vacations. That is a much different goal than having a restored to original show only car competing for maximum points. You need to make sure the car is safe for your family and rock steady dependable for long trips - this may dictate some deviations from "original". I just sold a 1963 Riviera which had original paint, chrome and drivetrain. I "restored" the interior with factory reproduction upholstery and carpet, but I "modified" the car with an updated A/C system, dual master cylinder, audio system, exhaust system, and seat belts. Some people had a problem with those changes but it was the way I wanted it and I had a ball cruising in that car. Once you decide what you want don't worry about other opinions.

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I'm pretty realistic about this Mercury. At any given car show, I think the majority of the other cars would earn more "points" than mine could ever hope to. So, I'm not in this to win contests, although if I did enter one, I might win the "Nice Try" award. Please see my post in the General Discussion forum for photos of the Mercury.

If I had the time, inclination, knowledge, and endless budget, I'd love to restore a 1940s era car back to absolute original from the frame up. However, that's probably never going to happen. I'll have to do what I can to this Mercury with my budget constraints and enjoy it as best we can. Of course, I'll take it to cruise-ins and car shows, but those are for fun. Plus I like to check out other cars.

I did in fact install seat belts that I pulled from a 1970 Plymouth in the salvage yard. The original seat belts had been cut out from the back seat, and I don't think front seat belts were ever installed. The cutoff year for seat belts was 1968, so technically, the 1967 Mercury is legal without them. But I installed them as a safety feature.

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Dave, I am having fun and being safe at the same time. Also, please see my post in General Discussion that has pictures of the car.

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A consideration some may have also is what is your ultimate goal with the vehicle and does it's potential value warrent a full out restoration effort. Although I have seen beautiful work on vehicles that may not warrent it financially but have some sentimental value, etc. to the owner. Even with a very desirable car these costs are often more than what the vehicle is worth. Sounds like you have decided on a nice driver that will pretty accurately depict the era from which it comes. When you factor in the fun you are most likely ahead of the game...

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For me it's on a scale of A) the rarity of the car and B) its condition.

I may get tarred and feathered for this, but I happen to enjoy some hot rodding (mostly the traditional variety). But if the car is rare, I will not, cannot modify it. I'd feel horrible. That's why my eventual Alfa 2600 restoration will be as close to stock as possible. If the car is common but in good shape, I also can't modify it...like my old Oldsmobile F85. But the twisted scrap heap that was once a Ford Model A sitting in the storage unit? I can got to town on that.

That's just me though.

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In my opinion, it depends on how much money you have and your own personal taste; as well as availability. One thing for me, the truck I am currently restoring will be hard for me to find a whole cab, doors, etc.. and I like keeping things original so I'd really prefer welding plugs, because once its painted nobody will ever know. It's understandable that if you can keep EVERYTHING like original chrome, original lights, all that; well you're one of the lucky ones. When with a case like mine, i need to find and make everything I'm missing. I guess it just comes down to is you making the best out of what you have.

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Another factor that enters in is time. I have had some projects where I spent years finding all the correct parts. If a person wants to get it up and running,do the best you can with what you have and keep looking for the original parts and add them when you are able to locate them. This allows a person to drive and enjoy the vehicle with the ultimate goal of an accurate restoration.

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For me personally I really like 100% accuracy in restoration. If you want to see an amazing example of someone who has done whatever needed to be done to get his car back on the road read this thread:

http://forums.aaca.org/f190/1929-hupmobile-project-246532.html

I have a lot of respect for what he has done on this car, while not 100% authentic, it is impressive!

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Guest mystarcollectorcar.com

This really comes down to a realistic assessment of what you want out of your car.The mods that you've made sound like a realistic approach to what you have.Sure, bone stock restorations are a great way to go but not everybody can fund that kind of project.

I applaud what you've done for two reasons-you saved this car while working within a budget and you're having fun.

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When I restored my 1938 Plymouth Deluxe I wanted it to be original, right down to the paint colour. However, as the process evolved I could see sense in making some subtle modifications to improve reliability and make it more user friendly. The first mod was to install 12v, that then allowed me reliable wipers and lighting. I replaced the old trunion tailshaft with a 4X4 tailshaft, so no more vibrations and uni joints are readily cheap and available should I need one. The only other mods were purely cosmetic. Old style driving lights, some nice stainless trims along the running boards and over-riders on the rear bumper. These last mods could quite conceivably have been done back in the car's day if an owner had the mind to option it up.

So I agree with others, your car, do what you like and gives you the most pleasure. So long as you are not putting a blown big block Chev motor in it, how could you go wrong!

Regards

Dallas from Downunder

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My question about this is: I'm restoring a track roadster/champ car from the late 30's-40's which was hashed up like 99% of them by less than professional guys.

The motive for these cars was usually intended to get going at the local roundy rounder tracks and having fun.

They are made from available parts and quality of construction was/is very varied.

Other than conforming to some standards from the AAA or even the local tracks there weren't many other requirements.

This said, other than somehow supporting the earlier existence of the car and it's current similar appearance what can be done?

Needless to say, there should be NO updating. Every bolt and nut, carburetor, gauge, etc., needs to be of that era,--what else?

My current concern is: the bodywork was welded together, somewhat smoothed but not finished with lead,--this was long before bondo, I think -- and again wasn't for show but to race in the rough and tumble manner these circuits do. How much finishing should I do?

How much was originally done?

Cheers;

Roar

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First you need to have it accepted in class 24 (documented racing vehicles). See the Official Judging Guidelines for more detail.

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Thanks for the reply R32, I looked at the OJG and am unclear what I need to do to 'authenticate ' the car.

I have not found the reputed previous owner yet: Gary Bagoshian who lived, I think in Sanger, Ca.

I plan to take it to a car show over there and see if someone recognises it and maybe has information.

cheers

Roar

Edited by Roar
attained further information (see edit history)

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To reiterate: If I "restore" this car which was originally hashed up from what was available just after WW-II when EVERYTHING had been sent off to the "war effort" it will NOT be what it ORIGINALLY was!

What I want is to restore it to what it WAS and that was something built by inexpert guys that wanted to assemble a car that they could take to the races. If one looks at ROARING ROADSTERS by Tex Smith, it is apparent that the majority of the cars racing in that era were to be courteous, rough!

This car was decently done both mechanically and esthetically but NOT in any way comparable to an Aston Martin Grand Prix car of that era or the typical totally unrepresentative cars being exhibited. It looks like I should try for the class for cars that want to retain their original as-used condition BUT this STILL leaves me with the original question.

ANYONE???

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All one really has to do is please themselves. What ever you want to do to your possessions, just do it. The only person in the world you have to please is yourself.

Ctskip

Edited by Ctskip
speling (see edit history)

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True CT but IF I want to play the AACA game, I need to know the rules of the game.

I'm a race car guy, not a factory replicator type. These homebuilt racers were very significant in that they are EVERYMANS racecars as opposed to the ones that now come to the show in color coordinated semi's with a color coordinated crews.

cheers;

Roar

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The rules of the game are quite simple. First document that the car actually participated in a contest of speed then restore it as it looked when it was on the starting line. Don't know how to state it any simpler. If it was rough when it raced then so be it.

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Thank you, that's JUST what I wanted to understand! I was building

these cars 50+ years ago and know what they looked like. While I appreciate the

done to death efforts, they tell most people that there's no use doing

anything in that they don't have the skills or great wads of money to make or

restore a car.

I guess the AACA is as concerned as most car groups that the younger people

are not coming into the hobby.

The majority of the guys that are showing cars and trucks are grey

haired--like me.

I'll see you at a meet in the future.

cheers;

Michael Rogers/Roar

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