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Proper nomenclature for a "repaired" vehicle?


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How would you describe a vechicle that underwent extensive repairs that did not faithfully use all original type parts?

I have seen "restored" cars with different engines,and /or PS and PB.

They are not original, but very nice drivers, nicely done.

How would you classify them? (be polite please) :o

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I always cringe inwardly when I see the word "restored" attached to a car with significant modifications. To me (and most hobbyists, I believe), restored implies that it was taken back to original specifications and condition. It may be nicer, but all the hardware is as it was when it was built.

Anything with an engine swap, power accessories added, customized bodywork, or other things should probably be called modified, which they are. I don't really object to words like "refurbished" or "upgraded" when talking about these cars, either. But they aren't restored in the strictest (and most commonly used) sense of the word.

I do, however struggle with absolutes, and this is a tough thing to pin down. For instance, we have a beautiful 1958 Impala convertible for sale here at Vintage Motor Cars, and it is 95% correct, with a 348 and Tri-Power. But it also has an alternator and a TH350 transmission, along with A/C and radial tires. Is it restored in the strictest sense? No. But it isn't a custom or even a resto-mod, because a bulk of the hardware is original and nothing was really done to change the original flavor of the car. So where does it fit? This is what I wrestle with on almost a daily basis trying to describe old cars. This one fits nowhere except "restored with modifications." I wouldn't call it a "resto-mod" (which implies modern engine and running gear) or a "custom" (which suggests body modifications), but it isn't 100% OEM either.

Perhaps part of the definition is whether the repairs/modifications significantly alter the intent of the original designers and change how the car looks or operates in some significant way. The car still rides and drives like a '58 Impala, except the A/C works, the headlights lights don't go dim, and it has 3 gears in the transmission instead of 2.

Trying to fit things into tight categories is a tricky business. I haven't found anything more accurate than Edwin Meese's definition of pornography: I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

Edited by Matt Harwood
typo (see edit history)
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I have found that whenever someone uses the word "build" as in "I am restoring a 1932 Packard. I have just started to build the engine" they really mean they are rodding the car. You never hear a restorer say "build". Not that there is anything wrong with modified cars. (mandatory pc disclaimer). As Matt said, it's tough to establish absolutes. It does irritate me when auctioners and media types refer to cars as "restored" that were clearly modified.

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How would you classify my '33 Continental? It's a 50,000 mile car that has never been mechanically restored. It appears to have been painted 40 years ago and given a new interior that matched the old.

I went through all the mechanicals, but left the patina. The only "modification" I made was a hidden 6-volt relay for the higher wattage headlight bulbs.

Is it an older restoration or simply a paint job? Is it a survivor, even though it was painted some time ago? The front and rear bumper have been re-chromed, but all the other trim is time-worn.

The wheels were too wobbly to balance so I took every spoke and ferrule off, sand-blasted all the constituent parts, chased the threads and put them back together to be trued. They were then blasted with clean media and powder-coated to match the body and shod with new tires. Does that make the car "partially restored".

What indeed is a "survivor", but just a used car?

IMG_1877.jpg

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RE: Barry - You could say "refurbished" or "well maintained". Restored, certainly not which is a plus! Survivor, to some extent it is which is subjective. I call it BEAUTIFUL! Maintaining the wheels is a part of owning wire wheels, if the paint was redone to repair a damaged original paint, that is also maintenance. The relay is a temp. solution to a drive ability is sure, not a permanent modification. I would put more value on it because it is unmolested and has not subjected to any ad-libbing over the years.

My 10 yr old niece gave me an antique desk phone for Christmas one year. Later that night she started to cry and was sorry that all she could afford was a "used" antique! I'd love my "used cars!" (and that phone!)

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Roger, I think you are describing cars I have seen that were "restored" with the best universal parts available. I remember looking at a 1953 Cadillac done up like that.

Universal weatherstrip, universal floor mats, wrong tires, cut carpet in the trunk, red spark plugs wires, green radiator cap; all new stuff but just not a show car.

If they know the difference between that and a faithful restoration it might be priced right.

I think the best explanation of this idea was in an appraisal article for Bentley cars.

It was put "How would one appraise a Bentley with a Roll-Royce grille?" The answer "Bentley, minus grille."

These questions usually center around value. If you get $1,000 of enjoyment out of your car in a year, no matter what the level of restoration, amortize the investment and understand everything has a cost. It ain't the televised auction way, but I don't watch them. I like professional wrestling instead, it has more reality.

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I think the term "Restored" is only accurately applied to vehicles which have been put into their original status when having come off the assembly line. However, I would say the use of reproduction and/or aftermarket parts when there is no other choice does not indicate "modified."

Cars/Vehicles which have been altered from what they were off the assembly line may have any number of descriptions depending upon the nature of the alteration, but they are anything but "restored" once so altered in any fashion. The any car altered in any way though having both the interior and exterior of a "restored" vehicle is maybe a "Driver" but not necessarily subject to being described as anything else, not even "Restorod" as that implies alterations that may not actually make the car a "rod" in the traditional sense. I don't think adding A/C, improving brake type, using radial tires, etc.; in the absence of a modified engine or an engine swap fits the term "Restorod."

Jim

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I think the term "Restored" is only accurately applied to vehicles which have been put into their original status when having come off the assembly line. However, I would say the use of reproduction and/or aftermarket parts when there is no other choice does not indicate "modified."

Cars/Vehicles which have been altered from what they were off the assembly line may have any number of descriptions depending upon the nature of the alteration, but they are anything but "restored" once so altered in any fashion. The any car altered in any way though having both the interior and exterior of a "restored" vehicle is maybe a "Driver" but not necessarily subject to being described as anything else, not even "Restorod" as that implies alterations that may not actually make the car a "rod" in the traditional sense. I don't think adding A/C, improving brake type, using radial tires, etc.; in the absence of a modified engine or an engine swap fits the term "Restorod."

Jim

I agree, restoring implies putting the car back the way it was when it came off the line at the factory. Any mods done to the car can put it in any host of categories like: restomod, driver, hot rod, etc..

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Well and where would my Lincoln be classified? It has a mercury v-8 flathead which was put in to replace the horrible v-12 in the 1950's. If I were to put a V-12 back in it, it would not be the original engine from the factory, and in fact the V-8 has been in the car for a half century, and many of them were replaced with them because of the problems with the 12

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Well and where would my Lincoln be classified? It has a mercury v-8 flathead which was put in to replace the horrible v-12 in the 1950's. If I were to put a V-12 back in it, it would not be the original engine from the factory, and in fact the V-8 has been in the car for a half century, and many of them were replaced with them because of the problems with the 12

I may be wrong but, the way I see it is, if you put a replacement factory correct V12 in there, it wouldn't be a numbers matching car but, it could be considered a restored car providing everything else is within the "restored" category. I also think that if you put another engine in there that was an available option for that year & car, it may not be a numbers car but it too could be considered restored as long as everything else is correct. Same with adding other factory correct options that were available that year & model.

Edited by Kingoftheroad (see edit history)
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I am pleased to own a numbers-matching '55 Porsche. It has the original engine and trans and all body panels, except the hood. That's a rarity as it was very common to do engine and trans swaps instead of waiting for a rebuild. As long as the engine and trans are correct for the car there is some additional value, but doesn't diminish the value because the numbers don't match.

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Well that is true, but, where do you draw the line? If the engine has been in the car for most of it's life, in this case 50+ years, it is indigenous to that specific vehicle. Dealers were replacing the V-12 with the V-8 rather than fixing them in the 1950's, the trans, and everything else are all original, and the interior too! The paint is about 40 years old. Wiring is also still original! (I am going to get it replaced within the year)

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I learned, the hard way, that my '56 Continental has a '57 motor, but fitted with '56 distributor, carb air cleaner and general piping. IMO, that's different than having a V-8 in place of the V-12, common practice or not. You could show the car in a LCOC event as a "Modified", but not in any of the regular categories. I got dinged for having a brown coil wire instead of a black in an LCOC event. I wasn't ready for that level of nit. However, it is their sandbox, much the same as the show field is for an AACA event.

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I agree with Barry--a CORRECT V12 is, well, correct, but a V8, even if it was installed the day after the car was driven off the lot by the guy who actually installed the V12 at the factory, still isn't correct. That modification can't be "documented" away, no matter the age or use of Ford parts. Your Lincoln falls solidly into the "modified" category, no matter how correct the stuff is around it or how old the engine is. While it was undoubtedly a common swap (along with Cadillac motors), the car was designed and built with a V12, and that's what judges expect under the hood.

I think most judging systems and enthusiasts overlook "matching numbers" and instead focus on correctness, which is slightly different. Most don't care if it's THE EXACT V12 that was there, only that it's a 1946-47-48 Lincoln V12 with details that are accurate to your specific year. The only guys who REALLY care about exact matching numbers are investors, and on cars like your Lincoln, I think 100% matching numbers has 0% effect on value. A Hemi 'Cuda, yes, most cars older than 1965, not so much. Correct affects value far more than correct AND matching numbers.

On the other hand, it still drives like a vintage car (thank God it's not a small block Chevy), you enjoy it, and it brings a smile to your face from behind the wheel. I certainly can't complain about that! :)

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I may be wrong but, the way I see it is, if you put a replacement factory correct V12 in there, it wouldn't be a numbers matching car but, it could be considered a restored car providing everything else is within the "restored" category. I also think that if you put another engine in there that was an available option for that year & car, it may not be a numbers car but it too could be considered restored as long as everything else is correct. Same with adding other factory correct options that were available that year & model.

"Matching Numbers" (a largely meaningless term with respect to many vehicles) in the case of any vehicle produced by any division of Ford in the Flathead V8/V12 era doesn't apply as Ford never attempted to establish a relationship between the engine and bodies in the understanding that engines might be replaced thus creating future identity/title issues. That is why with Ford produced vehicles of the Flathead V8/V12 era the Bell Housing will have the number matching the body and not the engine.

Arguably a '48 Continental is not correct with a V8 instead of a V12, but the number on the bell housing will still match the number on the body unless that was also replaced with the engine replacement.

Jim

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"Matching Numbers" (a largely meaningless term with respect to many vehicles) in the case of any vehicle produced by any division of Ford in the Flathead V8/V12 era doesn't apply as Ford never attempted to establish a relationship between the engine and bodies in the understanding that engines might be replaced thus creating future identity/title issues. That is why with Ford produced vehicles of the Flathead V8/V12 era the Bell Housing will have the number matching the body and not the engine.

Arguably a '48 Continental is not correct with a V8 instead of a V12, but the number on the bell housing will still match the number on the body unless that was also replaced with the engine replacement.

Jim

Thanks Jim.

I didn't know that about the flatheads.

Then I was right, as long as the car had the correct engine, even if its a replacement block, it can be considered "Restored"

Edited by Kingoftheroad (see edit history)
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Thanks Jim.

I didn't know that about the flatheads.

Then I was right, as long as the car had the correct engine, even if its a replacement block, it can be considered "Restored"

In the case of Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys of the era that would be correct since the only way to determine the exact age of the engine would be via casting numbers and casting dates of the block, heads, and intake manifold.

Of course any Ford Flathead enthusiast will tell you the old Flathead underwent all sorts of progressive internal changes and head alterations between 1932 and 1942, unlike the post war period through 1948 and the 1949-53 engines which saw very few changes.

Jim

Edited by Jim_Edwards (see edit history)
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I learned, the hard way, that my '56 Continental has a '57 motor, but fitted with '56 distributor, carb air cleaner and general piping. IMO, that's different than having a V-8 in place of the V-12, common practice or not. You could show the car in a LCOC event as a "Modified", but not in any of the regular categories. I got dinged for having a brown coil wire instead of a black in an LCOC event. I wasn't ready for that level of nit. However, it is their sandbox, much the same as the show field is for an AACA event.

Well the coil thing is stupid, nitpicking is stupid, the funny thing is, I think all car shows should have endurance testing on time it takes to start them, performance, etc.

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I may be wrong but, the way I see it is, if you put a replacement factory correct V12 in there, it wouldn't be a numbers matching car but, it could be considered a restored car providing everything else is within the "restored" category. I also think that if you put another engine in there that was an available option for that year & car, it may not be a numbers car but it too could be considered restored as long as everything else is correct. Same with adding other factory correct options that were available that year & model.

Matching numbers on a V 12 are no problem. Ford stamped the engine number on the bell housing of the transmision. I have replaced several V 8 motors back to V 12. I am working on a 42 Continental now that has a 42 Ford V 8 in it. The V 12 from 1941 to 1948 can only be told apart by a complete tear down. The 42 was a larger bore and they went back to the smaller bore during 46 production. It is a good motor but requires constant maintenance. We put over 100,ooo miles on a 1948 rings at 60,000 complete overhaul at 109,000. Lee Waldren, Florida

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I have found that whenever someone uses the word "build" as in "I am restoring a 1932 Packard. I have just started to build the engine" they really mean they are rodding the car. You never hear a restorer say "build".

I say that I am building my car (1928 Packard) insomuchas, I am replacing all the rotted wood. If not build, what would I say..., granted, most people don't consider a router and a bandsaw automotive tools,

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