Pardon the long delay, but I am getting things sorted out slightly. Without further adieu, my first real post in a while...
The collector car hobby as evolved and changed ever since 'collector cars' were really just new or slightly used cars. As it has evolved though, the standards by which perfection and provenance have been judged have changed. Up until the early 1970's, most classic cars were not worth enough to invest significant amounts of money into to restore, so they were instead just kept up to snuff. The small number of cars that had already become valuable tended to be restored to some extent or well maintained. In many cases though, the cars were not maintained to the lofty, historical standards that we see today. As the cars became more and more valuable, reaching into the hundreds of thousands, and even the millions, of dollars range, collector cars went from the weekend adventure machines of hobbyists to the playthings of wealthy folks. This has continued until today, although there has been some overlap, by which I mean rich hobbyists, but not many.
One of the side effects of the collector automobiles jump into the price stratosphere was the fact that the cars themselves went from fun old machines to status symbols and prizes. From the mid-1970's until the late-1990's, aesthetic perfection became paramount, and historical originality took a distant back seat. Wealthy individuals that liked the way the cars looked, but didn't particularly care for the historical value of their aged looks had cars restored to better than new condition. At the peak of this madness, in the later 1980's, cars that graced the finest of show fields tends to be mere silhouettes of their former selves. Every bit of rust or aged metal was replaced with brand new fabrications. Cracked leather seats were replaced with soft new hides. Seats were restuffed, tops were redone, paint was stripped off, patinaed chrome was rechromed, and smoked glass was replaced. The result was stunning, cars that had perfect panel fit, rich deep paint and interior leather, and mirror smooth chrome. While these cars were supremely gorgeous in appearance, they were like recreated Mona Lisas. Devoid of the cracks, fading, and discoloration that comes with age, they were basically brand new old cars.
It wasn't until the late 1990's that the hobby began to really accept, and truly save, the most coveted and rare of vehicles: the untouched and unmolested original survivor.
Photos, clockwise from lower left, are a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country Sedan, a 1907 Rolls-Royce 40/50 'The Silver Ghost,' a 1937 Duesenberg J Bohman and Schwartz Towncar, and a 1911 Mercedes 37/90 Skiff.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Hi All! I've arrived in San Francisco, but have not yet gotten a computer so I am working on a borrowed PC. I don't have the time or the hardware to make a decent post though, unfortunately. I just thought I would put this up to let you all know that I have not forgotten about my blog and my readers! I will return to more regular posting as soon as I can!