To Restore or Not Restore

As with antiques or old houses, the desire to own a classic car, motorcycle or commercial is fuelled by the history of the particular vehicle; the accomplishments of the manufacturer, the quality and longevity of the components, the specialist workmanship of the build, and even who owned and used the vehicle in the past all help to complete the picture and are arguably as important as the vehicle itself. The eagle-eyed will have spotted that our Autumn Auction will offer a selection of vehicles requiring some TLC, but is there such a thing as too much restoration and should all vehicles be restored to ‘as new’ condition? The MG BGT V8 is an obvious candidate for a thorough refurbishment and returning the classic back to its former glory is an obvious decision for its new owner, but the choices for other vehicles are not so simple. The current custodian of the 1928 Renault NN1 Torpedo Commerciale felt that while others would opt for a complete restoration, he would maintain the age and character of the motor car by retaining the patina, quirks and perceived faults, thus showing very clearly the history of the car. The 1965 Bedford TK '200' Dropside Lorry’s appearance hints at its life spent working in Dorset and as a commercial, perhaps it is right to be left as such, but equally, its new owner may consider a restoration to concours condition to be more appropriate. The  1925 AJS B1 349cc and the 1913 Douglas 2 ¾ hp Two Speed that form part of a private collection are also good cases in point; fans of the ‘oily rag’ vehicle would insist that a gentle recommission of each motorcycle would be the only option, but others may disagree. The 1963 Wolseley 1500 Mk III has undergone a restoration of £12000 and who could argue that the exceptional saloon was not worth the effort and expense? Of course, portraying the history of a vehicle can be achieved in various ways, but for the buyers who attend our auction sale on the 8th of September, it is perhaps a subject worthy of some contemplation.