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Over-restoration / commercialization of the concours

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by zjpj, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    5,938
    USA
    There has been much discussion about the problems with so-called "over-restoration" and how the concours scene of late has been one in which, above all else, money talks.

    I am interested in possibly writing a paper on pheomenon. Now, I must do my research. It would be great if you could submit your own views on what has been going on in that regard, possibly with examples, and some thoughts on what's to come. While discussions in the abstract would be very interesting, I would also find it helpful if you could talk with specifics about the history of the phenomenon - when and how this became an issue. What would be extremely helpful is if you could also provide some links to articles or other discussions written on the subject that I may find useful.

    And thanks to all those out there - and there are many - working on maintaining the integrity of the world of expensive old cars.
     
  2. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    FIRE IN THE HOLE! :)

    Actually, the real issue is the judging standards. If over restored cars didn't win, then people wouldn't over restore them.

    The problem is that there are more than one or two people who make their living over restoring these cars. It should not surprise anyone to discover that some of these folks have had a hand in developing the judging standards.

    In their defense, before the development of the current standards, judging could be (and sometimes was) a personality contest, meaning the owners - not the cars.

    Interesting question. I hope that some of you out there in F-Chat land will be willing to speak up.

    Dale
     
  3. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    Kenneth
    I have very strong feelings on this issue. Owning a 1972 Lotus, I have frequently been faced with the question of what to replace, what to restore and what to leave alone.

    First, I bought this car to drive and maybe race, not to be an art object, so driveabilty is more important than originality. Nevertheless, I want to stay as true to the concept and look of the car as I can.

    I have replaced the water pump with a specially built cassette type that looks original but is removeable without pulling the engine. Also, it gives much better flow and will last longer than the 10k miles Lotus average.

    I replaced the points with a Pertronix unit that fits in the distributor cap. Again, looks stock but gives me better starts, better spark, no missing at high RPMs etc.

    I have SS headers which look in keeping with the engine bay, but this is the most obvious change for a US version car.

    I have bypassed the brake boosters but they are still in the car so it looks like they're connected. I have a new master cylinder which looks original.

    Paint, wheels, interior are all original. Only a real expert could see what's "wrong" but my car now starts, drives and stops better than a new Europa ever did. Yet it retains a real flavor visually of what the car was when it was produced. I think it's a nice compromise.


    Last Fall I saw a Europa for sale that was as over restored as any car I've ever seen. Almost every part of the suspension and interior had been replaced with parts that looked close to original but not quite right. It was really a "recreation" of a Europa which I'm sure would be a fun ride, but it had no historical value or interest at all.

    At what point does a car have so much replaced it's no longer what it's pretending to be?

    Ken
     
  4. kare

    kare F1 Rookie
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    Nov 11, 2003
    3,224
    I think it must be noted that things have gotten much much better during past 10 years or so.

    Ferraris are importantand expensive cars that deserve to be restored to high standard. It must also be understood that a restored car is not the same thing as a new car. A properly restored car is always much better than it used to be: all problems have been sorted out and all quality issues will be sorted out. Whatever you do there will always be people who know better, how these cars should be treated, restored, enjoyed and so on.

    I think those who are involved with the Councours scene have done lots and lots to make it better and many changes have been made to preserve these cars. The cars shown today are usually wonderfull; restorers will often go through the trouble to get it right. Much remains to be done, but things are getting better. The restored cars often match old photos; that's great!

    THANK GOD the days when red painted Vignales were driven to events with bumpers ripped off and hood scoops & all kinds of doodads added are OVER!!!!!

    I have always played with the idea of hot rodding a Mercedes Benz 300 SL or a Porsche 356 to death, painting it golden and driving up to an important event in order to enjoy "a day as a king". You could have done so in the Ferrari world of 1980's (and to certain extent still would!) but I think the Merc and P-people would have eaten the owner alive.

    Best wishes, Kare
     
  5. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    Let's start with the points system, as outlined by the FCA.

    NATIONAL CONCOURS JUDGING GUIDELINES

    1. Each Ferrari entered for judging is expected to be fully operational and driven onto the show field for placement in the designated class. Cars are to be shown fully assembled; all parts such as wheels, bumpers, tops, belly pans, etc. are to be attached to the vehicle in the original position. The owner is to be present with the vehicle during the judging. If, for good reason, the owner cannot be available, a single individual may be designated by the owner to show the car during the class judging process. Owners are encouraged to bring a copy of the original factory build sheets for their car if available.

    2. Each vehicle will be judged by a three person team. Each judge will evaluate one of the following categories: exterior, interior, engine/chassis. Each component in each category will be judged for both originality and condition. Factory options are considered original, after-market options are not. One of the judges will be designated the Chief Class Judge who will be responsible for introductions, final class decisions, submission of the results, and feedback to interested entrants. Judging conflicts of interest are to be avoided. A car may not change from display to judged after the deadline for applications.

    3. At the start of judging, each car is assumed to have a perfect score of 100 points. As each component is judged, deductions of 0-5 points will be made as appropriate. Each car in the class will be judged by the same team in the same manner. A minimum of 95 points is required for 1st place (Platinum), 90 points for the single 2nd place (Gold), and 85 points for the single 3rd place (Silver). Platinum winners are eligible for major awards consideration. The one exception is Pebble Beach where the first, second, and third place winners are all eligible for the Luigi Chinetti Trophy.

    4. The judges will not handle or operate the automobile. Owners or their designated representative will be asked to demonstrate the proper functioning of components, such as doors, windows, hood, trunk lid, and lights. Such items will be checked on competition cars where applicable. Equipment such as horns, radios, and air conditioning will be briefly checked for operability. A judge may ask to sit in the car with feet outside for the purpose of properly evaluating the interior of the vehicle.

    5. Convertibles are to be judged with the soft top up and properly fastened. Cars with removable roof panels will be judged with the panels in place. Cars that were originally provided with tools and an owner's manual should have such items available for inspection. Authorized reprints are acceptable. The glove box pouch should be available where applicable. Those entering multiple cars must have a separate tool kit and manual for each entry.

    6. The person showing the car will be asked to start the car and run the engine at idle. Proper instrument operation will be evaluated, the engine compartment will be checked for leaks, and lights will be tested. Quartz clock movements with the proper original appearance will be acceptable as a replacement in older cars. If there is a malfunction of any kind, the owner or representative will be given a chance to correct the fault while the next car in the class is being judged.

    7. Factory-provided pollution control equipment should be as originally installed and have a working appearance. Modifications to headlights and other lights to conform to federal law, and modifications of structural and exhaust components to allow registration of gray market cars, will be acceptable so long as the changes are consistent and do not seriously detract from the original appearance of the automobile.

    8. Routine replacement items, such as spark plugs, filters, battery, window glass, and tires, need not be the exact original brand or type provided that replacements conform to the general appearance, characteristics, and size of the original. Tires with the correct profile should be fitted to original rims and any spare should match unless the spare is an original specially-equipped factory item

    9. If a car has unique or unusual design characteristics that place originality in question, the entrant should be prepared to offer substantiating documentation to the Chief Class Judge. Safety-related items that are not original, but which were added for safety purposes, such as seat belts, fire extinguisher, side view mirror, or alarm system, will be acceptable provided the installation of such items is neat, unobtrusive, and does not detract from the original appearance of the automobile. This also applies to audio-visual and telecommunications equipment.

    10. The key purpose of the concours is to promote the preservation of the Ferrari in its original state. Therefore, the primary focus of the judging will be on originality, authenticity and condition with minor emphasis on cosmetics. Deductions will be made for over-restoration; extravagance detracts from originality. Applied patina is discouraged. Spyder conversions and unauthorized rebodies are ineligible for judging. Over-cleanliness is unnecessary; some slight road dust and wear is to be expected. Ferraris are meant to be driven.


    http://www.ferrariclubofamerica.org/concours_guidelines.cfm

    Now, all you concours guys. How close to accurate is this in terms of judging? Doe the FCA actually stick to its guidelines?
     
  6. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    Aug 13, 2002
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    you beat me to it, Dave - any meaningful analysis of the concours phenomena must start with the IACPFA rules themselves, and then their application.
     
  7. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
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    Sep 7, 2004
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    As a senior judge, I can say that I've never attended a judges' meeting without being reminded that Ferraris are meant to be driven, and that we are to deduct for over-restoration. Yes, we see over-restored cars, but they don't always win! The best resto shops know this.
     
  8. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
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    Matt F
    Shouldn't an over-restored car never win?
     
  9. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

    Feb 14, 2005
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    Scott
    This last year was a welcome departure in that the FCA concours was separate and smaller than Concours Italiano, which is viewed as wayyy over commercialized.

    I recall Concours Italiano starting in 1987 when the Maserati club departed from the traditional week long Lake Tahoe retreat to the Monterey venue. From their things ballooned and last year Frank Mandarano sold CI for (rumored) tens of millions of dollars.

    I haven't been to CI in 6-7 years and have heard all sorts of horror stories about cars overheating while sitting in traffic waiting to park on the green, about items stolen off cars and mysterious panel dings.
    I'll pass on the swarming mass...
     
  10. Kliz

    Kliz Karting

    Mar 6, 2005
    77
    Very interesting!

    "Deductions will be made for over-restoration; extravagance detracts from originality." Pity the poor judge that must intrepret the meaning of that statement. Does that mean a multi-stage clear-coat paint job as opposed to a Factory original single-stage is an extravagant over-restoration. Maybe judges need better guidelines as to what constitutes "over-restoration".

    I'm happy to be a new owner of a vintage Ferrari so I hope you all won't mind my using the "P" word to illustrate my thoughts on concours judging.

    I'm the original owner of a 1963 356 Porsche which has logged over 150,000 miles of hard driving. This car and I have a very colorful history together. It's about 10 years into it's 2nd paint job and 1st interior replacement. I bought the Porsche because that had been my life's quest since my first drive in one in 1957 (college students can't afford Ferraris) and I kept it all these years because I loved to drive it.

    I never became active in PCA or other Porsche events/organizations untill 10 years ago. At that time most Porsche events had a judged concours and/or peoples choice event. I was somewhat amused and, I admit at first, disappointed to see a "trailer queen" that maybe drove all of 5 miles from the hotel and park next to my Porsche that had driven 2000 miles through rain, bugs and flying rocks. That was my first and last "judged" event. Now I stick to peoples choice because the parking's convenient.

    I've known a very successful concours participant as well as judges that have been involved in this activity for many years. My participant friend did all his own hands-on restorations and has won many "Best of Show" awards but he finally gave it up because he could not compete with the big dollars that, more and more, were being spent on the "over-restoration" of 356s by owners that never touched a car except to drive it from the hotel to the concours site. This has become a very serious concern for the Porsche people and I believe that is the reason most 356 Holidays now have no judged events except for Peoples Choice. In my opinion the problem today is bigger egos, bigger bucks and less personal hands-on by the owners. Dale (Dr. Who) is right, concours has become a big business and supported strongly by the restoration shops.

    Sorry! I'll probably get a lot of flack for that!

    Good Grief! These Ferraris and Porsches were meant to be driven, not over-restored works-of-art for the museum - let the factory do that. Give them maticulous maintenance and drive, drive, drive! That's what our vintage cars love the most!

    Bill
     
  11. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    Not from me. The few shows I've been to I was very disappointed to lose to cars that the owner did nothing but pay for. But then it IS about the cars, not how handy you are with a wrench. I don't go to shows anymore; I prefer to go to driving events.

    Ken
     
  12. xs10shl

    xs10shl Formula 3

    Dec 17, 2003
    2,017
    San Francisco
    I think concours would be more interesting if owners were required to drive their vehicles 1000 miles before arriving at the show. It would certainly lend more importance to the mechanical condition of the vehicle.
     
  13. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    How about a car they drive at least 1000 miles a year.

    Bring the last service record, or an inspection sticker, or whatever, to show that the car actually gets used.

    Now maybe some classes that's not practical, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to put 1K miles a year on my $10MM GTO, but on the rest of the cars, why not?

    DM.
     
  14. murph7355

    murph7355 Formula 3

    Nov 30, 2002
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    Andy
    How about several more classes?

    Pretty, glossy, use it if you like but lick the tyres clean after and make every single part as good as or better (preferably the latter) than new.

    Gold awards only.

    Then a class where at least 100 (or 1000) spirited miles have to be done with a judge in the passenger seat. Tunnels feature in the route, as do a mix of roads.

    The judge judges general working order (including all '"normal" components) and is also free to give a "bonus" based on the "feel" of the car wrt it's originality and general "cheshire cat" effect.

    Only the latter cars are eligible for the very highest "awards".

    I have no doubt that some people buy these things as objects of beauty, but more should be done to ensure they are seen on the roads such that the youth of today get to appreciate what these things are all about.
     
  15. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    At the Reading Concours last year I passed the judges as they stared at a very clean 308 (I believe it belongs to an F-chatter, I also think it won one of the classes) They were comparing notes and one said to the other, "We have to find something to deduct a point for." The other responded, "Yeah, a perfect score will never do." or words to that effect.

    Now, even if they were joking, I think that shows something of the attitude that some judges can have.

    On a different note, I had a concours judge come up to me last fall at an informal judging event and say, "I want you to know you're doing a great job with this car. I know where you started, and you're doing it just right."

    I have always respected this particular guy, he was the lead sales guy at Algar for many years, and I'm sure most of you East Coast Ferrari guys know him. But that was a greater compliment than winning at Reading would ever have been.

    After Reading this year, I may have more interesting stories to tell.

    Dave M.
     
  16. Ashman

    Ashman Two Time F1 World Champ
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    You're right, I wouldn't want to see anyone put 1,000 miles/yr on their 250GTO, that would be an absolute shame.

    Now, 3-4,000 miles/yr would be more fun and much better IMO!

    John
     
  17. Sfumato

    Sfumato F1 Veteran
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    #17 Sfumato, Apr 4, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Ohhh, I see a business op...concours inspections :)
    Perhaps the concours odo and the regular odo, like the tires from the trailer to the lawn at Pebble, then swap to the judging tires and odo?

    Glad to see Ed Niles post, his widespread respect is well deserved. Sadly, not all judges merit same.

    Dave, between the clock tags, faceplate sleeves, F1 reverse hangtags, and this, we'll make out like Enron!!

    Zach, this was the most diabolical April Fools post I have ever seen. Strong work. Do the paper for business ethics...ought to be a couple stories there too...ROFLMAO.
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  18. mroz

    mroz Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    286
    California
    I recently restored a 375 MM and won a couple shows. I restored the car because it had sat for 30 years and began to deteriorate.
    When the cars were made in the fifties no one could have conceived that the cars would have a lifetime of 50+ years. The cars deteriorate due to things like dissimilar metal corrosion (aluminum to steel interface) plastics rotting, wrong repaint, mechanicals rusting and wearing, etc.

    Here are a couple observations of the current restoration process:

    * From my point of view, the Judges, Historians, FCA and top Mechanics/restoration shops are truly concerned with authenticity. Restoration techniques are advancing and there is a desire to get it right. The culture is of preserving the vintage Ferrari automobile and encouraging use.

    * Much of the restoration process involved documenting, discussing and implementing factory techniques, finishes and replacing incorrect parts, if available or replacing with exacting repos as a last resort.

    * The network of restoration experts share info well. Most really are enthusiasts!


    In my case, many Ferrari manufacturing technique as mundane as paint between leaf spring bars where photographed in order to document the original technique and reproduced like the factory of 1955. At least 1500 digital photo's were taken of my car as each part was removed. This was used as a reference and reassembly guide.

    I thought the whole restoration approach was very archeological and thoughtful.
     
  19. Sfumato

    Sfumato F1 Veteran
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    Manny:
    Your car was done the way it should be done, and deservedly did well. I have not seen it, but several friends have, and each have said it is outstanding, and a sensitive restoration. The fact it did well bears out the point things have changed since I last showed many years ago.
    You are correct about the archeology involved...that was/is my favorite part, and brings life to the cars...the twist of a wire bundle, the haphazard chalk/paint markings, all are the marks of people who gave life to these cars long ago. They were just cars, and their construction and design drove their preservation.
    Photo documentation is much easier now with digital images, and paint/metalcraft have matured as well as the little things like gauge restoration. Experts have not always shared information easily, nor cheaply in the past, and many cars have suffered from that indignity.
    Again, I hope I can see 0490 in person someday, and thanks for bringing it back. Plus, it isn't red ;)
    I'm not ready to show again, but at least I won't be so cynical :p
    Lee
     
  20. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    Now here's a question that popped up while out driving yesterday in the rain. (Yes, I was in my Dino)

    When I repaint my car a couple of years from now, if I use modern paint technology, I would base and clear coat the finish. This is not what's on the car now, but is definately a superior finish to the original. BUT, IT WOULD NOT BE LIKE THE ORIGINAL.

    Do I lose points for a clear coat? If so, then I'd have to go with the original, which I am not sure is lacquer, enamel or some mystery paint, I'd let the paint guys decide what would be right.

    So, technology advances, but if I use better technology, do I get doinked for it? I do on any mechanical part that shows, so I'm assuming the same would apply to finish.

    Ok judges, what's the rule here?

    DM
     
  21. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    This is a GREAT question. I had to get some paintwork on my car and although the color match was perfect, if you look very carefully you can see the much better quality of the paint from the original. It doesn't detract from the car at all but you can see it if you look. Should I have insisted on some orange peel?

    Personally, I say forget C considerations. If you're gong to spend $6k (more? A LOT more?) to paint a 246, I'd want the best paint I could get. To me, spending that much money for crappy paint is silly.

    Ken
     
  22. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    zjpj - regarding the phenomena of over-restoration; I think in the Ferrari world, it started in the late 80s. the old cars suddenly got unbelievably valuable - speculators had money to spend on the cars, but the scholarship re: originality wasn't readily available and/or simply wasn't cared about - if the old race car is worth a million, it should look it too, right?

    I've ranted on this site before about originality and the pendulum of judging on that subject. My dad's car is a perfect example since it has not changed literally since 1968. I'll paste what I posted last September "I guess the change I see in the show circuit between now and 1991, is that the paradigm of what is deemed a proper restoration has started to shift back to recognizing the value of preservation and patina. I think I have posted this before, but I will never forget being w/ my dad's car at the 1992 FCA National and seeing the shaking of heads and hearing at least a half-dozen times "what is that piece of **** doing on the field?" because it appeared exactly as dad last pulled it off the track in 68. I hope the people who made these comments have since left our Ferrari world w/ their quick profits and never come back (wishful thinking, I know). The same car, w/ no work having been done on it, made Sgr. Scaglietti misty-eyed at a show in 2001. I think the positive press/attention the Chuck Wegner's 246SP (0790) has received since its rebirth supports this shift."

    I also agree w/ Manny's first bullet point - I think the major restorer's are truly concerned w/ authenticity and are much smarter about it now than they were 15 years ago.
     
  23. xs10shl

    xs10shl Formula 3

    Dec 17, 2003
    2,017
    San Francisco
    OK, perhaps 1000 miles is extreme for most shows, but I would still like to see more emphasis placed on mechanical condition as opposed to looks.

    And as far as putting miles on a GTO - at least 19 owners thought it was a good idea to race their GTO at Monterey last year , so I don't think they'd be opposed to putting a few hundred road rally miles on their cars before a major concours. And we'd all benefit! ;^)
     
  24. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Zack, I really do hope that you find the time to do your paper. I think that one of the key elements is to put all this in a historical context.

    This all started, at least here in the states, with a bunch of car guys getting together and showing off their cars. A good current example of this is Malcolmb Barksdale driving his Daytona from San Diego to New Orleans for the FFQC and not even cleaning the bugs off his car. This was the "fun" era. Do a little dance, tell some lies, and maybe learn something about your car.

    As time went by and Ferraris became more valuable, money started entering the picture and, as we all know, "Money talks and BS walks." Cars started winning due more to who owned them, than to the car itself.

    Thus, the FCA rules mentioned are a great attempt at creating a level playing field. But as even Jay Leno quipped, "Pebble Beach is the only place were even a mere millionaire can compete against billionaires." So, we still have a ways to go.

    But however bad it may seem, the Ferrari scene is nuthin like those anal Porsche types. I once entered a 18,000 mile, 100% original, 1973.5 911T in a concours and lost points because, "The shields in the wheel caps were not aligned with the value stems." <Heavy Sigh>

    Dale
     
  25. don

    don Karting

    Jan 7, 2004
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    Dunedin Florida USA
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    Don Nelson
    I am fortunate to be old enough to remember what new Ferraris were like in the 50's and 60's. My Dad was in the new car business, and would take me with him every year to the Geneva Motor Show. In order to keep me busy, he would arrange for me to be taken out in all the new interesting cars,while he got on with business. In this way I got a ride up the mountains with Mike Parkes, Andre Simon, Norman Dewis, etc in Alfas, Masers, Ferraris Jags etc.
    Becoming a Ferrari owner in my own right in the late 60's, I was fortunate to acquire a number of great Ferraris before the "Restoration Era" set in, and I can assure you that todays "Concours" Ferraris are nothing like they used to be ! Generally speaking , the fit and finish of even the most exclusive special bodied cars was never the greatest, and as for the finish of competition cars and the standard of welding, well that's another story!
    The trouble now , is that these over restored cars are the "norm", and people have lost sight of how they really used to be.
    I'm just glad I enjoyed my old cars at the time, I guess nobody now is going to use a GTO as a daily driver, and then drive down through France, race, and drive back home again ! The dirt and flies didn't matter then.
    Regards
    Don
     

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