Buy

A Ferrari sadness...

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Doug Nye, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. Doug Nye

    Doug Nye Karting
    Honorary

    Jan 21, 2008
    241
    Over the decades that I have been aware of Ferraris, and interested in them - although NEVER to the exclusion of many rival marques - I have always felt considerable sadness when I have seen the often unthinking way in which restorers sometimes prefer to replace rather than to preserve and genuinely 'restore'.

    While tidying one of my numerous jam-packed stores I have just unearthed this photograph which I took during the early to mid-1990s...

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
    I believe these original Ferrari body sections were abandoned to the weather because a) repair would have been difficult, time consuming, and therefore costly; b) because there was a school of thought which held that a modern-built 16-gauge body would be far more practical and resistant to inadvertent denting (as during an Historic or Vintage race push start) than Scaglietti's or Fantuzzi's thinner original 18- or even 20-gauge panelling - and c) because some moneyed yet misguided Philistine owner simply felt that for the restored end product to be concours-perfect as required, he (or she) would prefer brand-new bodywork to the expensively-restored original.

    Having been involved (around that same time) in the painstaking restoration of a 750 Monza, whose original body was only saved by the patchwork-quilt insertion of over 40 welded-in patches, yet which emerged around 65-70 per cent 'original material', such an image is an abiding sadness - indeed...

    I would like to ask the FC audience, is my attitude as expressed above more mainstream these days...or less...?

    DCN
     
    Texas Forever, dgt, Fennicus and 10 others like this.
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. 375+

    375+ F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Silver Subscribed

    Dec 28, 2005
    8,845
    More.
     
    readplays likes this.
  4. DWR46

    DWR46 Formula 3
    Honorary

    Jun 19, 2012
    1,454
    Doug: The value of the cars today and the increased amount of knowledge (of which you have had a part), means much more effort now goes into keeping EVERY LITTLE PIECE that is still original when cars are restored. We have spent prodigious amounts of money on bodywork in order to save every last piece of original aluminum. Repaired a BADLY damaged Cobra Daytona Coupe nose and only replaced a 3x4 inch piece of metal, but LOTS of hours.
     
    dsd, Texas Forever, Lusso123 and 4 others like this.
  5. TTR

    TTR F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 29, 2007
    3,401
    Riverside, CA
    Full Name:
    Timo
    Dear Mr. Nye, while I wholeheartedly agree and sympathize with your “attitude”(?) I believe the fact is that probably 99% of all restored vintage cars (today), be they race or road models, regardless of (past or present) owner or restorers, are far different than they were when originally constructed.

    I also believe it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to convince most owner(s) or their restorer(s) to try using methods, techniques (+ materials) to achieve authenticity of something that would likely appear far less than (Pebble Beach- type) “perfection”(?) most have become to expect from a “restoration”, especially when huge budgets/values, egos and/or show circuit presentations are part of the considered efforts.
     
    PG1964 and wbaeumer like this.
  6. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
    Consultant

    Mar 4, 2005
    8,131
    Doug,
    I supervised the restoration of 7 Maserati race cars from the 1950s for various owners from 2007-2019. Some of them recognised the importance to keep them as original as possible. 1 of these owners wanted to get it perfect aka "Pebble-Quality". During the process I received a phone car from the restorer, who told me that, after taking away lots of filler from the car, the left fender was made by Maserati no less than 5 cm lowner than the right one...! "Do you want us to make them equally high?" I denied, but I did not tell the owner as I was absolutely sure that he want to get both fenders to the same hight. So he never got from me that info...! Of course I will not disclose the VIN of this car which has been sold in the meantime...

    Today, no serious restorer will throw away such big parts of the coachwork as seen in your photo. But I saw about 10 years ago, a 1950s Maserati GT-car restored in Italy with an entire new coachwork. The original body was laying outside the building to be scrapped. The resto of this particular car was supervised by a well-known "expert"...! I asked why the body was taken away. "Because this expert told us to do so!" was the answer. The car came to auction some years ago - without any mentioning of the new coachwork...
     
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. John Vardanian

    John Vardanian F1 Rookie

    Jul 1, 2004
    2,857
    San Francisco Area
    Full Name:
    John Vardanian
    #6 John Vardanian, Oct 31, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2021
    Reshaping a beaten, abused and work hardened front wing, for instance, requires a different set of skills than fabricating a whole new wing. The former is more of an old-timer skill that is becoming rarer. Nowadays, most shops prefer constructing from anew because that's what they know.

    john
     
    Texas Forever likes this.
  9. SmokyDave

    SmokyDave Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Jul 13, 2015
    129
    England
    That picture evokes equal measures of elation and sadness in me. I'd like to think there are still a good number of romantics out there for whom stumbling across such a pile could inspire a deep, soulful muse.

    I hate that 'it' has been discarded, but I love that 'it' has been found again. Complicated.
     
    Texas Forever likes this.
  10. kare

    kare F1 Rookie
    Consultant

    Nov 11, 2003
    3,315
    There are several original cars that used to bring up an unexplained rush of disgust everytime I saw photos of them. During my years I have learned all these cars have been restored with new bodies. In my mystery files I have also kept photos of unrecognized cars thinking they were replicas, only to learn later that they were original cars, that had during a recent restoration had large parts of bodywork replaced, with radical changes to design. Very expensive cars, that had original features thrown out with the garbage during restoration. Have not really figured out what type of disorder is needed in order to think: "Yeah, I think we need to improve this a little!". Deceiving oneself to think that features one does not like cannot be original probably helps.
     
  11. PG1964

    PG1964 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2010
    426
    Torino, Italy
    I supervised, totally or partially, more than 100 restorations of Lancias, Fiats, Alfa Romeos and Ferraris in the last 15 years and i can say this: in Italy there were many restorers very capable and qualified in the past, actually quite few, but still skilled. We always had a preservation-culture instead of a replacement-culture here. In Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Germany are the countries i know) the situation is different: 50% are restorers and 50% are replacers and many of them are conviced that new is better. In the USA, unfortunately there isn't any historical culture at all (regarding techniques, materials, methods and procedures of the past) and the Pebble Beach concours is the evidence on earth. So except for very few skilled US restorers, and in my opinion Paul Russell is one of the few, the others, more often specialized in something....unknown, are the main culprits of the horrors which are in the public eye except to their own. Particularly when the owners are worse than them, in terms of historical knowledge, and they have pockets full of money.
     
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. PAUL500

    PAUL500 Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2013
    2,438
    What would have been done in period as and when required? produce a patchwork quilt, purely for nostalgia or replace if its simpler/quicker/cheaper, it would have been the latter every time.
     
  14. readplays

    readplays Formula 3

    Aug 22, 2008
    1,887
    New York City
    Full Name:
    Dave Powers
    You are of course correct. But now that those days are gone, it falls to those who care about the history to preserve as much as is possible.
    As to the craftsmen who built these wonderful cars we dearly love, 'we shall scarcely see the likes of them again'.
     
    Texas Forever likes this.
  15. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
    Consultant

    Mar 4, 2005
    8,131
    Here are three photos of the Maserati GT-car from the 1950s, With only 9 cars a very rare spider made by Frua.
    I am pretty sure that the coachwork could have been saved on (!) the car.

    These photos were all taken in July 2005 in Italy...

    all photos © Walter Bäumer, 2021
    Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
    PG1964 and readplays like this.
  16. PAUL500

    PAUL500 Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2013
    2,438
    Looks like they made a start on trying to remove the filler and realised it was a hell of a mess underneath anyway, hence the need for tons of filler in the first place.

    I fully understand the sentiment, but to have required that much filler, then the car had clearly had a hard life over the years, who is to say that metal was even original, it may have been replaced previously, so potentially just patchwork repairing non original metal for the sake of feeling holy.

    No doubt the owner made the sensible decision only after what was unearthed.

    There is a good series to watch on you tube regarding a hand built Lancia Zagato undergoing restoration, what they unearthed was scary, it must have needed 50 psi in the tyres just to have been lugging around the amount of bondo in the body! and once that was removed the quality of the metal was not great, the repair panels are much better made than any of the factory elements.

     
  17. Doug Nye

    Doug Nye Karting
    Honorary

    Jan 21, 2008
    241
    #14 Doug Nye, Nov 9, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021
    As I wrote in the beginning of this thread ,"the often unthinking way in which restorers sometimes prefer to replace rather than to preserve and genuinely 'restore'" still has its adherents. That mindset can to some extent be justified, of course, but if the same is applied to fine art then let's blow-over Leonardo's 'Mona Lisa' in 2-pack paint, stick it in a fresh frame and then at least we can see how it might have looked on the day he first completed it. Yeah - why not? Go for it, my boy. In the UK we have numerous colourful phrases which cover that approach - the most emphatic of them quite unacceptable in polite society.

    Interestingly, however, the modern market shows slightly more sophistication - and a provenly highly-original properly preserved (or sympathetically restored) artefact really does command a higher value than the classical old-time shopping-mall-display piece of superficial lookalike bling - unless some moneyed Phillistine subverts the bidding by - in ignorance - overpaying. To do so will - in future - surely turn around and bite him (or her) in the backside. But there is always wise investment - and unwise investment. A little learning helps a lot...but to accumulate it requires thoughtful study...by and from enthusiasts who care.

    DCN
     
  18. Oishi

    Oishi Rookie

    Nov 2, 2019
    6
    Full Name:
    Ed Westmoreland
    A couple of questions .
    Are we owners, or custodians?
    Can we do as we please, or should we strive to preserve?
    At what point does a restoration become a replica?
    On an historic car, all those scars are part of it's history, imho something to be preserved.
     
    308Dadoo, Texas Forever and wbaeumer like this.
  19. Admiral Goodwrench

    Admiral Goodwrench Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    559
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Full Name:
    Robert Phillips
    Dear Ed,

    These questions can only be answered with opinions.
    I have considered myself as a custodian for 58 years.
    Conservation was my mantra, striving to be as original as possible keeping safety and preservation in mind.
    Scars being part of history is a tougher area. For example, do you think I would have garnered First in Class and Enzo Trophy for Best Ferrari on the Field in 2008 if I had kept these historical "scars" (see below)?

    Best regards,

    Robert

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  20. Admiral Goodwrench

    Admiral Goodwrench Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    559
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Full Name:
    Robert Phillips
    Dear Ed,

    I feel as though I ought to expand on my safety and preservation comment.

    Every single one of the eight or nine Tipo 111 motors in the 500 Mondial Series II cars failed within weeks of their initial build, mostly due to connecting rod failures probably due to incorrect steel. I replaced them with Carrillo rods as I served no purpose by keeping the potentially disastrous original conn rods.

    The 50 year old wiring and insulation was in poor condition (you can see bare wire below) with the insulation acting as though it were clay and would fall off at the slightest bend. All of the wiring was replaced with the correct color and gauge to avoid any future potential for disastrous fire.

    The aluminum seats were formed around bent grape vine stalks. No problem on keeping them in place where they still reside today, they are original and no safety factor involved.

    The headlight openings on either side of the grill opening are off by nearly an inch, but that is the way the car was built and is still that way today.

    The car had 6 different paint colors over the early years. Under a knurled washer on the dash I found a circle of the original paint color unaffected by daylight. We matched that for the paint color. However no paint manufacturer makes the original nitrocellulose based paint in this color, most are base coat-clear coat systems which at Pebble Beach can be spotted from 30 feet as non-original to a fifties race car. We found a two stage urethane paint which was shot and NOT wet sanded nor polished to get the original paint look.

    Just a few examples to demonstrate what path I followed on the eight year major conservation/restoration project.

    Best regards,

    Robert
    Image Unavailable, Please Login


    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  21. Oishi

    Oishi Rookie

    Nov 2, 2019
    6
    Full Name:
    Ed Westmoreland
    Admiral, it seems as if you and I are in agreement.
    Another question, was the original bodywork saved and preserved for future owners?
     
  22. Admiral Goodwrench

    Admiral Goodwrench Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    559
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Full Name:
    Robert Phillips
    Dear Ed,

    The unsalvageable rear body pieces were saved and are in the possession of the new owner.

    The end result of all those years of effort was quite gratifying as various senior Ferrari judges using the IAC/PRA concours rules could find no deductions resulting in a 100 point score at Pebble Beach, Cavallino and the FCA National.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    Copyright Richard Owen 2008
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  23. Admiral Goodwrench

    Admiral Goodwrench Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    559
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Full Name:
    Robert Phillips
    Dear Ed,

    Perhaps getting a little bit off track of this thread, not only is the end result really nice eye candy, it is also makes for a great time on the track.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
    mcimino, NYC Fred, NürScud and 6 others like this.
  24. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    51,325
    Texas!
    Come again? Bent grape vine stalks?


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat.com mobile app[/QUOTE]
     
  25. JCR

    JCR F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 14, 2005
    7,811
    H-Town, Tejas
    Yes, also used on custom bodied cars like the Alfa 1900. Bodywork wrapped in grape stalks on the wheel openings of fenders.
     
    Texas Forever, Julia and readplays like this.
  26. Admiral Goodwrench

    Admiral Goodwrench Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    559
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Full Name:
    Robert Phillips
     
  27. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    51,325
    Texas!
    That is so cool. I wonder how Classic can duplicate that.
     
    Bryanp and readplays like this.
  28. V12addict

    V12addict Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
    163
    Thank you Admiral, i was following your search and restoration of this magnificent Ferrari at the time. What we all must keep in mind is that you were one of the very few who held on to this car for that long period. Many others were just used and crashed cars in the 50's and 60'. Bondo and panel cutouts were the name of the game then and not many valuable cars were properly repaired or restored. come 50-60 years forward i doubt that many could be reverted back to original with the damages done by the uninformed/unwilling owners or repair shops.
     
    of2worlds and JCR like this.

Share This Page