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Classics with bodies not original to their chassis


md murray
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 I was surprised to read that this car had been invited to Pebble Beach w/ a non original (to that chassis) body. Is this something that's still copacetic today at that level? It's a very lovely car that looks like it was restored to a very high caliber but I know some would be quick to cast aspersions. 

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Some Deusenbergs received one or more new bodies in the first ten years of being built.

 

And I believe one or two Ferraris were also 'updated' with new shells in the 1950's.

 

Craig

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:

https://worldwideauctioneers.com/listings/enthusiast-auction-2021/1932-packard-twin-six-905-sport-phaeton/

 

I'm surprised by the Pebble invite.    Definitely frowned upon by the top shows.

 

 

EXHIBITED............probably filling in a last minute opening on the field.........today, they wouldn't use it as a filler. Especially since there are real examples available. Notice what auction is listing it? Even the big boys won't touch it.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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23 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

Some Deusenbergs received one or more new bodies in the first ten years of being built.

 

And I believe one or two Ferraris were also 'updated' with new shells in the 1950's.

 

Craig

 

There are a number of important distinctions.

 

1.  A Springfield Rolls Royce with a new body from the factory when it was 3 years old is practically the same as it having its original body.   When the new body is really cool, like a Playboy replacing a limo,  it is much better.   Same is true of Duesenberg - see the Rollston SJ that Mecum is selling at Indy.

 

2.  A body swap on a prewar classic chassis that happened in period is accepted and not frowned upon - assuming it can be proven.   But not as good as the car originally carrying that body.

 

3.  A body swap or modification that happened shortly after WWII but was done by a real coachbuilder can be acceptable, but is never as good as done in period.    See the Hebmuller 540k as an example.

 

4.  Body swaps done during restoration make the car radioactive to most serious collectors.

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The true indication of a cars provenance and desirability is simple...............look at the past owners and who restored it. It tells the entire tale. Recently at dinner, someone was talking about a well known collection in the states. He asked me if I had seen it, and my thoughts. I replied, since thirty percent or more are modified coachwork, modified chassis, and restored like circus wagons......I declined to visit the collection. He was shocked at my response.......and clearly didn't "understand or get it". Once you touch a dirty car......you are forever tainted. I won't even work on one.............

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29 minutes ago, edinmass said:

The true indication of a cars provenance and desirability is simple...............look at the past owners and who restored it. It tells the entire tale. Recently at dinner, someone was talking about a well known collection in the states. He asked me if I had seen it, and my thoughts. I replied, since thirty percent or more are modified coachwork, modified chassis, and restored like circus wagons......I declined to visit the collection. He was shocked at my response.......and clearly didn't "understand or get it". Once you touch a dirty car......you are forever tainted. I won't even work on one.............

I agree with Ed on this one, I've visited the collection he's referencing.  A lot of money spent, and a lot of it could have been much better spent.  When the hobby was more of a hobby, decades ago, replicated and swapped bodies weren't as big a deal.  Now, with some values in the stratosphere, it's a huge deal.  As Ed says, provenance is everything these days on high dollar cars.  

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Interesting fact.......if the cars from that collection ever go to auction...........it won’t be one of the “big” auction houses........just too many cars with bad stories. Also, even the few good cars are now tainted. Too cheap to buy good stuff, and too cheap to fix and maintain them properly. He had unlimited money, and just had to have more bling and iron. To say there was no curation is an understatement. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

The true indication of a cars provenance and desirability is simple...............look at the past owners and who restored it. It tells the entire tale. Recently at dinner, someone was talking about a well known collection in the states. He asked me if I had seen it, and my thoughts. I replied, since thirty percent or more are modified coachwork, modified chassis, and restored like circus wagons......I declined to visit the collection. He was shocked at my response.......and clearly didn't "understand or get it". Once you touch a dirty car......you are forever tainted. I won't even work on one.............

 

There are one or two names in every marque that are the death knell for a car if they come up in the ownership history.   Off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 or 7, but the list is much bigger.

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

There are one or two names in every marque that are the death knell for a car if they come up in the ownership history.   Off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 or 7, but the list is much bigger.


You mean the guys who take a real car, cut it up and make two, three, and sometimes four “real” cars? It’s a simple mathematical term........... multiplication!

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1 hour ago, Restorer32 said:

Only those who have been in this hobby since the 1960's truly know how many cars have been rebodied or turned into convertibles. Many more than most think.

 

I vote the Auburn 12 speedster as the most fabricated car in existence.   If you don't have a picture of the original owner sitting inside the engine compartment with the motor and the body visible then chances are your car was built in the 50s, 60s, or 70s.

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Just now, trimacar said:

Then there was the big time collector bragging about his cars, “The factory only built two of these, and I own all three!”

 

How many cars can we think of where they built 10 but only 20 still exist?

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I once sold a 1960 Ford Sunliner (yes, not a Classic but an illustration).  Fellow said he had an Edsel sedan parts car, he was going to make the Sunliner into an Edsel convertible.

 

I think the numbers are something like 79 Edsel convertibles built in 1960, yet there are over 100 in existence........

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The most frightening open car to buy is a Packard. Prolific when new..........and manufactured by the dozens in multiple years and body styles. I watched a a fake sell for over 600k and the seller and buyer had no clue........while a dozen guys sat back and kept their mouth shut..........it's too expensive today to get into trouble. The later 30's Packards are also all messed up, ten times worse than most people realize. It's not just the 32-34 cars. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I would have to take my shoes off to count all the '32-'34 Packard Coupe Roadsters that I know started life as Coupes.  To be fair, if you found a '32-'34 Packard Coupe body skin with the roof removed  and the data plate missing it is virtually impossible to tell if that skin was from a coupe or a Coupe Roadster.  Would you restore it as a coupe or as a Coupe Roadster? 

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54 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

I would have to take my shoes off to count all the '32-'34 Packard Coupe Roadsters that I know started life as Coupes.  To be fair, if you found a '32-'34 Packard Coupe body skin with the roof removed  and the data plate missing it is virtually impossible to tell if that skin was from a coupe or a Coupe Roadster.  Would you restore it as a coupe or as a Coupe Roadster? 


I like the coupes and nobody will accuse you of building it from a convertible.

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Do you view all “fakes” as the same.  Clearly a replacement body fabricated in the 1960-1990s is one category.  (which appears to be the case in the car that started this thread).  
 

Another  category is taking a 1938-1940 Cadillac series 75 convertible coupe body and placing it on a 1938-1940 Cadillac v-16 chassis.  Or putting a super 8 Packard body on a Packard v12 chassis of the same year.  I don’t love the idea of either but a body not fabricated by the mark is much worse than a period body. Or do you consider all equally bad.  
 


 

 

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54 minutes ago, Cadillac Fan said:

Do you view all “fakes” as the same.  Clearly a replacement body fabricated in the 1960-1990s is one category.  (which appears to be the case in the car that started this thread).  
 

Another  category is taking a 1938-1940 Cadillac series 75 convertible coupe body and placing it on a 1938-1940 Cadillac v-16 chassis.  Or putting a super 8 Packard body on a Packard v12 chassis of the same year.  I don’t love the idea of either but a body not fabricated by the mark is much worse than a period body. Or do you consider all equally bad. 

 

I real body swapped to a real chassis is higher in the pecking order than a fabricated body or fabricated chassis.

 

The car that is the subject of this thread is very nice and somebody can surely have some fun with it.   The problem is when the fabricated stuff gets pushed a real.    A real 32 twin six dual cowl has to be a 500-600k car if not more.    It will be interesting to see what this one brings.

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My 1938 Super Eight convertible coupe Packard had a bad engine (as they all do).  I was offered a complete, running (I think) V-12 chassis with engine, ready to drop a body on, for a very reasonable price.

 

Bodies are identical.  Being a V-12 probably doubles the value.  I just couldn't do it, for many reasons.

 

It's interesting, though, particularly in the early cars.

 

I had a friend walk with me at Hershey one year, he's one of the guys that knows brass era cars backwards and forwards, and just about any significant (and many non-significant) cars are in his mind's database.  As we walked, he'd make comments like "Well, the entire back of that body was fabricated by Harrah's" or "That was a chassis at one time, all the sheet metal is reproduced).....quite an education in how cars over 100 years old have gone through a LOT of changes...

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34 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

I real body swapped to a real chassis is higher in the pecking order than a fabricated body or fabricated chassis.

 

The car that is the subject of this thread is very nice and somebody can surely have some fun with it.   The problem is when the fabricated stuff gets pushed a real.    A real 32 twin six dual cowl has to be a 500-600k car if not more.    It will be interesting to see what this one brings.

Yes. To me every thing is about disclosure.   I understand there are collectors who won’t touch anything with a story or a question. 

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

My 1938 Super Eight convertible coupe Packard had a bad engine (as they all do).  I was offered a complete, running (I think) V-12 chassis with engine, ready to drop a body on, for a very reasonable price.

 

Bodies are identical.  Being a V-12 probably doubles the value.  I just couldn't do it, for many reasons.

 

It's interesting, though, particularly in the early cars.

 

I had a friend walk with me at Hershey one year, he's one of the guys that knows brass era cars backwards and forwards, and just about any significant (and many non-significant) cars are in his mind's database.  As we walked, he'd make comments like "Well, the entire back of that body was fabricated by Harrah's" or "That was a chassis at one time, all the sheet metal is reproduced).....quite an education in how cars over 100 years old have gone through a LOT of changes...

 

What is the fabrication (to some extent) rate on a brass car these days?   75% of all existing cars?

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

What is the fabrication (to some extent) rate on a brass car these days?   75% of all existing cars?

I don’t know that it’s 75%, but a lot of cars have started out as piles of parts, and some cars have been made from whole cloth.  When you get early cars that can bring a million bucks, then spending hundreds of thousands to replicate still works.  Now, with Model T, there are probably more “new” ones being produced  than one can imagine, all those parts and pieces out there, repro hoods and fenders and speedster bodies, and not for much money either...

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The most recent Jay Leno’s garage video features a “new” 1931 Duesenberg LaGrande Coupe. What are the thoughts on this one? I have no problem with it and think the world is better off with it, especially since Jay is not trying to conceal anything.

 

I think a lot of collectors would be surprised on the number of cars that have checkered pasts that are considered authentic, and even more people would be surprised on how many Classic era cars are still being created at this time from scratch.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Tph479 said:

The most recent Jay Leno’s garage video features a “new” 1931 Duesenberg LaGrande Coupe. What are the thoughts on this one? I have no problem with it and think the world is better off with it, especially since Jay is not trying to conceal anything.

 

I think a lot of collectors would be surprised on the number of cars that have checkered pasts that are considered authentic, and even more people would be surprised on how many Classic era cars are still being created at this time from scratch.

 

There are very few Duesenberg 3 window coupes.  The only two I can think of is the red Judkins and the aluminum topped Murphy that sold for $10,000,000.

 

I'll have to watch the video tonight but I'm sure Jay/Randy didn't destroy anything to make the coupe.   It is not "real" but it is certainly cool and it will never be passed of as something it is not.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, trimacar said:

Here’s the before the above “before”, rebodied chassis.  I think I like Jay’s rebody better.....of course

 

 

We don't give the coachbuilders of the era enough credit.

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1 hour ago, Cadillac Fan said:

Looks like a duesenburg and 47 Cadillac had a child. 

With a Bentley in a threesome, and a red headed step child at that   (no offense to any red headed step children out there, it's an old saying, not meant to offend, one has to be correct these days, I was going to say PC but don't want to put the P word in a post)...

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That coupe is just stunning. I can't imagine what it must have cost to create it from scratch. As in 1931, if you want an incredible Duesenberg with a custom body, you can apparently have one if you can afford it.

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13 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

That coupe is just stunning. I can't imagine what it must have cost to create it from scratch. As in 1931, if you want an incredible Duesenberg with a custom body, you can apparently have one if you can afford it.


I’m gonna guess 2 large ones or more.

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

Jay didn't exactly say it,  but the inference was that the chassis they used originally carried that style body.   Very well done.  Nice job Randy!

 
Back in 2019 I was parked near the J Coupe that Jay brought to the San Marino show in Lacey Park. Randy always does great work, and the car was built from the ground up.......can’t remember if they had the actual plans or worked from photos........they told me about it, but I can’t remember. Fit, finish, and colors were very well done. It has a certain look to it that is unusual.........I can’t place my finger on it, bit it’s one of the very few closed J body styles that has what we call “presence”. Replacing an exact replica body on a chassis that had its coachwork destroyed is a incredible feat..........so many others would have done the easy way out and placed another “modern batch body” on it. I think it took a decade for them to get it done..........and it shows.

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9 hours ago, edinmass said:

 
Back in 2019 I was parked near the J Coupe that Jay brought to the San Marino show in Lacey Park. Randy always does great work, and the car was built from the ground up.......can’t remember if they had the actual plans or worked from photos........they told me about it, but I can’t remember. Fit, finish, and colors were very well done. It has a certain look to it that is unusual.........I can’t place my finger on it, bit it’s one of the very few closed J body styles that has what we call “presence”. Replacing an exact replica body on a chassis that had its coachwork destroyed is a incredible feat..........so many others would have done the easy way out and placed another “modern batch body” on it. I think it took a decade for them to get it done..........and it 

Most likely the car in the video was the car you saw.  It has been done for a few years.

 

https://www.oldcarsweekly.com/blogs/story-behind-weeks-facebook-cover-photo

Edited by Cadillac Fan (see edit history)
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On 4/11/2021 at 7:45 PM, edinmass said:


You mean the guys who take a real car, cut it up and make two, three, and sometimes four “real” cars? It’s a simple mathematical term........... multiplication!

About 30 year ago there were two Rocknes that were for sale here locally. One was nice enough that could have been a 'patinaed driver' with a little spit'n'shine. and the other would have made a good restoration candidate, even though it was being sold with the other as a 'parts car'.  In the end, the individual who bought the two made them into one stretch limousine on a Dodge truck chassis with very less than stellar craftmanship.  

 

Craig

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