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From: Ian Grace
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Replicas of vintage cars

Fellow vintagents,

John Warburton has penned a challenging editorial in the latest VSCC Bulletin regarding the future status of replicas of vintage cars. I wonder what the consensus of this group is on the subject. The point is made that owners of original cars are becoming increasingly reluctant to campaign them, and so the introduction of replicas might compensate for the loss.

For what it is worth, here are my thoughts:

1 The Vintage Sports-Car Club is a club for vintage cars. Replicas are not, and never will be vintage cars, no matter how exquisitely crafted.

2 The chap who is prepared (and able!) to spend the sort of sums required to craft a replica of an exotic vintage car to the standards that would have to be laid down by the VSCC is unlikely to be the sort who would shy away from the cost of owning and operating an original. It is more likely that he cannot get his hands on an original, or believes that he can create a replica at a lower cost than acquiring/restoring to 'as new' condition an original car.

3 The club is already being over-run by ugly specials and odd concoctions. In the Edwardian class, original cars are outnumbers by cobbled together creations and unlikely aero-engined beasts. The introduction of replicas to the mix can only make matters worse. A cursory glance around the paddock at Prescott will prove the point. Did you see the Le Zebre there this year? The only Le Zebre part on it is the radiator badge! A great work of engineering perhaps, but it had no body, and a Curtiss aero engine! No wonder, therefore that owners of original cars are reluctant to campaign their venerable original cars against such competition.

4 There are already too many cars in the Club which hold buff forms, but which are not what they purport to be. The introduction of replicas could only work if everyone were to be scrupulously honest, which would undoubtedly not be the case. Sooner or later, replicas will be passed of as originals - we all know that.

5 John makes the point that Goodwood is happy to host such replicas - presumably because of their crowd-pulling potential. I do not think that the VSCC should be in the business of crowd-pulling, and if Prescott was over-subscribed by about 100 entries this year, I don't think we need worry about the dwindling number of vintage cars to the extent that we have to admit replicas to keep the numbers up.

Incidentally, David Marsh sent me a copy of his 30/98 Register back in the summer. I see it is reviewed in the Bulletin. It is an excellent production and makes fascinating reading. However, I was surprised to see that about a quarter of the chassis listed are 'made up' cars on newly-built chassis frames, which have been allocated chassis numbers with an 'R' suffix. Can anyone tell me the status of these made up cars within the VSCC?

Ian


From: Charles Ping
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: Ian Grace
cc: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

Ian

I'm on the other side of the fence - I don't really object to a total replica if we know that's what it is. Rather that than a Type 35 with only a crankcase, gearbox casing and rear axle housing that came from Molshiem pretending to be of the same "status" as a really real car - and we only know about complete replicas because the only cars that people replicate are rare and expensive. I bet you could get a total replica Austin Seven (or Morris!) into the VSCC without anyone knowing because they aren't rare.

On the 30-98 line it's 3 out of 5 parts - and the chassis just happens to be one of the 2 new bits (the fact that a Vauxhall D type crankcase is the same as an E type 30-98 means that one of the "original" 3 parts probably never came from a 30-98!)

Charles


From: OLIVER TOMLIN
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: RE: Replicas of vintage cars

Ian,

I read the editoral and it certainly is an interesting problem, which I don't have the answer to!!! But I do know what upsets me about vintage/classic cars (its applicable to classics too) and that is irreparable damage. There was recently a photograph in C&SC of an accident on the startline for a ThunderSports race. The lead car lost it leaving the line and almost every following car stuffed it into him. Thats historical cars that no matter how much money the owner has, cannot be replaced. As an example, there are numerous pictures in the VSCC magazine of cars in gravel-traps. They are being raced hard and accidents happen. But should we allow these people to destroy our heritage???

A perfect example is of the Issigonis Lightweight special being thumped into the armco at Prescott 2 or 3 years ago. That car is of HUGE historical significance, however it now has a few new bits on it. That upsets me. It can't be undone.

I have often thought that in an ideal world, if someone wished to race a car with historical importance, then first they must create an exact replica of it. Then, it doesn't matter if it gets destroyed. Buts thats an ideal world.

Perhaps replicas are the only way to preserve the original beast? As long as we know which they are.

Its an interesting argument that will rage for years!!

Oliver


From: Paul Weston
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
cc: Charles Ping
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

I'm inclined to agree with Charles. I think Prescott is a special case 'cos its the place to be seen. Go t o Loton, and the club can't get enough cars. Also, race meeting are generally less subscribed than they were. If people are refusing to race the cars, for whatever reason, then anything that keeps the competition going is to be encouraged. As long as no-one is trying to pass a car off as real with a history I don't have a problem, andf I don't think that can happen now as too many people are aware.

Also, people have been building specials since day 1. No-one can deny that watching Mark Walker going up Prescott in the Parker GN had to be pretty well the high spot of the event.

The comment about Vauxhalls is true. As Charles knows, I have a "D" Type Vauxhall. It would probably be possible to build a fake 30/98 from it on a new chassis and make a profit if you did the work yourself. "D" types are now very rare in comparison to 30/98s, as I imagine many cars were scrapped years ago to keep the 30/98s running. Its not just the engines, Gearboxes, instruments, lights, axles could be modified, many parts used on a 30/98 would fool anyone but an expert.

PaulW


From: Graham Orme-Bannister
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of Vintage Cars

I believe that, along with many clubs and organisations founded more than fifty years ago and trying now to accommodate to a rapidly changing world, the VSCC has an identity crisis.

Since the very beginning the VSCC has had twin strands of interest, the preservation of older cars and competition in them. In the early days there was no great conflict between these two strands. The cars themselves were relatively plentiful and not worth inflated sums of money, and technology had not made the spectacular leaps we have seen since WW2.

The picture now is quite different. The more desirable cars are rare and worth vast sums of money, which discourages active use, and modern technology enables clever engineers to make cars which look original go absurdly fast. S

tated another way there is now a direct conflict between the preservation of cars in original condition and competition. A truly original car will not be competitive. Hence the identity crisis.

Replicas made in the spirit of preservation should be encouraged provided they are true to the original in every detail and honestly described. Replicas made to compete should be regarded with the utmost suspicion.

Graham Orme-Bannister
Alresford, Hampshire, UK


From: Ian Grace
Sent: 12 December 2001
To: OLIVER TOMLIN; british-cars-pre-war
Subject: RE: Replicas of vintage cars

Oliver,

Thanks for your thoughts on a very complex issue. I well remember seeing the Lightweight prang - I was standing nearly opposite it up the Esses at the time.

The vintage aircraft world went through just such a trauma some while back when the last Bristol Bulldog was wrecked. There was uproar and an urgent clamour arose for the CAA (which, as we all know, stands for Cancel All Aviation...) to permanently ground all such unique and historic aircraft. Fortunately, this did not happen. There are dozens of irreplaceable vintage aircraft flying these days, and occasionally, we lose one. So, should we ground the last airworthy example of every type? If we were to do so, air show programmes would be decimated, and our skies would be much the poorer. Shuttleworth would certainly go out of business immediately!

I just worry when things in the world are not what they seem to be. As for replicas of historic cars, the problem is Joe Public, who remarks "Ah! They don't make 'em like that any more", when the car is actually newer than his Mondeo! Of course, there are many replicas of vintage aircraft flying today (even at Old Warden), but it is easier for the CAA to distinguish these from original machines, since they are the controlling airworthiness authority. (But even the CAA can be fooled - particularly by Gipsy and Tiger Moths which virtually assemble themselves from spares these days!)

I could recount numerous cars running in the VSCC which have post-vintage chassis which have been covered up to disguise their true identity by a number of deliberately devious means. Even in the lowly world of Morris Minors, we have examples built on thirties SV chassis competing regularly in VSCC and Light Car events and masquerading as vintage, which they are not, and the M Type world is a complete mess - the Beaulieu "1930 M Type MG" recently turned out to be no more than a SV Minor! The scrutes - bless them - cannot be expected to spot fakes of every make and model. Determined constructors can always fool them with ease. If we cannot control fakes, then I do not believe that replicas will be any easier to handle. Indeed, haven't we already had cases of replicas being passed off as the genuine item?

Now, back to my construction - er - rebuild of my Imperial Airways HP 42 :-)

Ian


From: Lew Palmer
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: Graham Orme-Bannister; british-cars-pre-war
Subject: RE: Replicas of Vintage Cars

Ah, but the rub comes in when that car is sold to the next unwitting buyer who rightly or wrongly believes it is the real thing. We've had a number of cases recently in the MG Car Club where duplicates of some cars are produced from spares and sold, by some unscrupulous dealers, to overseas buyers. This is especially true of the pre-war MGs.

When the new owner tries to register his prize possession, it is left to the registrars to try to sort out which is the real car and which is the fake. Not easy when the two cars may be at opposite ends of the earth.

Regards,
Lew Palmer
Registrar, North American MMM Register
>Replicas made in the spirit of preservation should be encouraged provided
>they are true to the original in every detail and honestly described.
>Replicas made to compete should be regarded with the utmost suspicion.


From: Alan Gale
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

It's the difference between a moving shape and vintage motoring. The big trend here in Australia at the moment is rebuilt gearboxes with close ratios and alterations to the diff ratio to make a vintage car which previously cruised happily at 50mph cruise "happily" at freeway speeds (read 70mph +).

In a sense I don't mind this, because this is an improvement which could have been performed in the 20s (although the state of the roads probably would not have coped) however there is no doubt the "boxed" car no longer has a vintage feel. It has become a moving shape.

Once one is rallying a 100pc original car against a modified car, IMHO one is rallying against a "special". Otherwise we might just as well start manufacturing fibreglass Bentleys and be done with it.


From: William Hoskins
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: vintage cars and "replicas"...

Dear Listers:

At what point does a "replica" violate the definition of "vintage"? While most definitely not pre-war, I have a 1963 Sunbeam "Imp" that I am preparing for Vintage racing. I do *not* intend to pass this car off as an "original" racer, but - I *am* preparing it exactly as the rules specify (in the U.S., this is "as prepared when new and/or current"). I make no apologies for the fact that it was never a race car - It was (and currently is) a stone-stock sedan (with 18000 miles on the clock), that I have owned and jealously guarded for almost 20 years. I have spent most of that time collecting the correct "bits" to make it a vintage racer - does the fact that it was never a "real racer" disqualify it from competing in vintage events?

I do not expect blindingly fast speeds from it, nor have I amde any any attempt to "improve" its handling - it is being prepared *exactly* as it would have been prepared in 1963-65. My objective is to have as much fun as possible at a cost that I can afford (rumors to the contrary, all Americans are *not* wealthy!). As long as I have adhered to the rules and the spirit of the rules, does originality count for all that much?

I spent a period of time working as a fabricator for a gentleman(?) that, among other things, raced a 2.8 liter Morgan +4, and created a 250 GTO Ferrari from a 250 GTE that was indisguingshable from the original (and I know my Ferraris!). Is that car to be allowed to be to compete, and my car disbarred? It becomes a matter of who has the most money, doesn't it? Yet the quasi-GTO is now compting is events (even Monterey!) as a 250 GTO. Who's right, and who's wrong?

I laud Geraint Owen for campaigning "Babs", yet I look askance at the "Auto Union" that ran at the last Goodwood (?). Which is "original"? When you guys come up with a consensus, let us over here in the colonies know, will you?

Bill Hoskins
Oceanside, CA


From: David Whittle
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars/new ed/prescott/etc

Dear All

The new editor John Warburton, is doing just what any new editor would probably do, which is stirring the pot up a bit. The last editor had very firm views on such areas and was only interested in pure originality, John was probably chosen for his 'fresh approach' which is to say the least interesting. His previous editorial concerned road safety of old cars with poor brakes/lights, and to my mind that was far more down to earth and apposite to members than thoughts on some rich misguided fool spending all his money making a carbon copy of some rare beast! The editor wants lots of feedback and discussion, because how else can you stamp your authority on something that someone else has edited for many years. Next he will saying should we think about letting Trabants in to the club (then at least I might be able to afford an eligible car)? However I do like his editorial style so good luck to him!

As for my view its as simple as this, do you want a real #50 note or a good forgery? Do you want a bar of Gold, or Iron Parities. Do you want Buffy Summers, or a cyborg robot that looks like Buffy? I'd take the original every time, unless there wasn't one then I'd look for something else. If I was desperate I 'd live with the fake but it would be living a lie.

I take Oliver's point about Issy's Lightweight, but nearly 20 years ago I stood looking at that car in the Stratford Museum, wishing I could drive it up Prescott. I felt sorry for it wasting its time in such a place ( I think it had not run for 30 years then). To see it alive and well on the hills was pure delight to me and I applaud the chap who out bid Rover, who would have stuck it in Gaydon as a static display. However I did notice he had it re-upholstered which was a great shame as it did not seem to need it! What would you do with such a great car? It just begs to be used and enjoyed, but I sure don't want to be confronted with a carbon copy of it while the original sits in some sterile museum.

Readers of the bulletin Prescott review may be somewhat disappointed to read of the fabulous Dolomite seen in the car park, showing off its engine, as there were no pictures printed. I took a picture of it (and its fabulous engine) and this can be seen at

http://uk.photos.yahoo.com/bc/david_whittle_uk/lst?.dir=/My+Picts&.src=ph&.view=t

Click on the Prescott file. Interestingly the engine in this vehicle was a period copy but I think Donald Healy got away with that one!

Regards

David Whittle
Wantage UK


From: Paul Weston
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: British-Cars-Pre-War
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

So, should we ground the last airworthy example of every type? If we were to do so, air show programmes would be decimated, and our skies would be much the poorer. Shuttleworth would certainly go out of business immediately!

This comment reminds me of an observation I made some time ago.

I regularly attend the Shuttleworth flying evenings, and several years ago took a friend when the Bleriot was flying (!). I remember thinking at the time, as she shook her head in disbelief, that its OK to look at one in a museum and say casually "oh yeah, someone flew the channel in one of those" but its only when you see it trying to stagger into the air that you realise just how totally, certifiably barking the man must have been to try it.

Aircraft are meant to fly, and racing cars are meant to race. To remove them from their natural environment takes away their reason for existence. One of the most depressing museums I've ever been round was the Shlumpf Collection. Hundreds of fabulous cars, all dead.

My two-pence worth!!

PaulW


From: Charles Ping
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: RE: Replicas of vintage cars

Well we have discussion again after a lull......

All comments are very logical but my interpretation is: An accurate and prcise replica is an interesting engineering job (witness John Marks Bugatti Type 59) and provided that it is known about, built to the original standards and maintained at that level what the heck. But John Mark's car will never match Neil Corner's real Type 59 with 65 years of use and history under its belt.

If some rich chap (or chapess) wants to build a reproduction Bugatti Type 35 or Frazer Nash then good luck to them. I'm more concerned that the current situation almost encourages people to be economical with the truth over their cars origin with the resultant unhappiness if a subsequent purchaser is misled. Have it in the open, police it properly, and publish the info. I doubt that we'll be overun.

At the same time put stricter rules in place over certain areas. I gather that many fast Type 35 Bugattis have had their firing order changed. Surely this sort of development is more worrying than total reproduction cars (or creative, well crafted specials like Mark Walker's or Geraint Owen's efforts ). Like wise 1500cc Lagonda Rapiers.

I'm more abivalent about gearing. For a road car I can understand the problem having hammered up the A1 at night to Measham at top speed of 54mph.

Charles


From: Alan Fairless
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

I think Paul's comment says it all

"One of the most depressing museums I've ever been round was the Shlumpf Collection. Hundreds of fabulous cars, all dead.", and I'd add the Turin museum to that. There are some VERY interesting cars there. which I never thought I'd see, but I went away saddened, and wishing I'd not seen them.

Which car is more true to the design intention? A reppy being hammered around Cadwell or Prescott, or the totally original one, derelict in a museum, and which can't run any more because the gearbox internals corroded away over its years of inactivity.

Merry Christmas, all

Alan


From: Alan Fairless
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

>Which car is more accessible,<

Why does my car need to be accessible? Until I can get a government grant for preserving our heritage,or something, who gets to see my car is decided by me, and I drive it because I like it, not to show it to the punter at large. Besides, my vintage car is accessible, I drive it most days, and find I can park all sorts of interesting and illegal places without incurring the wrath of the ticket issuers and wheel clampists.

Seriously, I do think there is an historical need to preserve cars in museums. But, if all the museums took all of the cars they could accomodate there would still be thousands left over, and we are the custodians of those. Equally important in my view is the design intention I talked of earlier, and I think cars should be used in the manner for which they were intended. So, I use my Austin Box Saloon to go to work in, most days. I race my Austin Ulster, and I use my Special for constantly mending. Whilst I would be immensely sad if my Austin Ulster were damaged or destroyed, even, racing, I would rather it went like that than mouldered away in a museum.

Alan


From: Andy Mace
Sent: 13 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

In a message dated 12/13/2001 Alan Fairless writes:

> Which car is more true to the design intention? A reppy being hammered
> around Cadwell or Prescott, or the totally original one, derelict in a
> museum, and which can't run any more because the gearbox internals corroded
> away over its years of inactivity.
>

Which car is more accessible, the one well and sympathetically displayed in a museum, or the one stashed away 364 days a year and viewable only on the 365th only by the chosen few who know of the special vintage "race" event and can afford to attend same? ;-)

--Andy Mace


From: R. Zwart
Sent: 18 December 2001
To: Alan Fairless
cc: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

Alan Fairless wrote:
> I think Paul's comment says it all
>
> "One of the most depressing museums I've ever been round was the Shlumpf
> Collection. Hundreds of fabulous cars, all dead.", and I'd add the Turin
> museum to that. There are some VERY interesting cars there. which I never
> thought I'd see, but I went away saddened, and wishing I'd not seen them.
> Alan

Well! I guess I have to add my bit, as I see or saw it.....

Years ago I read a Road and Track article of an adventuresome reporter who decided to venture to France and find this eluesive Schumpf Museum. I called him to see how he got in to the place. This was before the French authorities took over. The Schlumpf's had fled the country and the employees had taken possession; and a few weeks before had burned one car as a protest. My wife and I found the Textile factory on a rainy day, we parked with others for a couple of hours, finally the small gate was opened and about 20 of us got to go in, well, only partially in. We stood in the rain for about an hour while we were lectured on capitalism and trod down workers by a laborer who was under cover on the porch of a house on the land. Of course we didn't understand French, German or Italian. Being we were from USA we were in the same "Capitalism" league as the Schlumpfs; they weren't going to speak English. We were finally allowed in, but we were to stay in groups of about 10 and were pushed along. Signs were on several of the cars stating the cost in worker hours and depicting the Schlumpfs as the enemy. I took pictures as fast as possible and when the 'tour' was over I found a place in the later group to sneak back through. It was well worth it to see the hundreds of cars; EVEN THOUGH THEY DIDN'T RUN! This was so much better than looking at a book. This was real history. Cars here, were to be found nowhere else in the world, AND they were all in one place........... Of course I have been back two more times to the museum now that it is a French National museum, this time having all the time in the world to observe details and the overall elegance of high quality cars(of course, to take pictures, too). It still is a priceless resource. If I could afford a Bugatti, I would go back just to check restoration details. Why not do it right if, you are going to restore it, or any other car? Of course there are a very few original cars out there that could be just cleaned up and made drivable; this is proper, if the details and overall condition are still 'as original'. But, why spend your hard earned money to repair particle board panels on a 1930 car when ash or spruce original parts are available for little extra cost and then the job looks period 1930.

BOB

P.S. I heard later after we got back to USA form that first trip, that the Bugatti Club went to Europe and were denied access to the museum. Then I also heard that the museum was opened only on the whims of the employees who had taken it over in those early days, so I guess lots of others were disappointed, too.

P.S.S. I'm also restoring a 1929 MG M Type which I am trying to make as near to 'as manufactured' as possible. This is because there are so few around. I think people should see what they looked like in the early days, not the way I found it.

SORRY, I got wound up!


From: Paul Weston
Sent: 19 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

I'd still claim to be put in a museum is the kiss of death for any car. At least, while in private ownership a car that is moribund has the possibility of a trade to a new owner who will use it. Once in a museum, with rare exception, its there for ever.

A good example in the UK is the recent re-appearance of Wasp, Spider and Gnat. Three original Shelsley Specials, out competing again and being see where they belong. Compare that with the Shlumpf collection, the cars may as well be made of plastic - they will never run again and you're not allowed near enough to be able to tell anyway, or the Fiat company's neglect of Mephistopleles (had to try hard with that spelling!). If owned by an enthusiast who used it, it would probably at least be kept well and looked after.

As for the argument that cars or aircraft get damaged/destroyed by being used, I read somewhere that more historic a/c have been lost to fires in static displays than have been lost in accidents.

Maybe the attitude in the US is different 'cos they don't seem have the same amount of active competition, where the cars can be seen competing by anyone who is interested enough to go along. If you are in UK at the right time, go along to a VSCC meeting at somewhere like Prescott of Cadwell Park, infinately more exciting/interesting than a barn full of static exhibits. Ah well, I guess we'll just have to agree to differ.

PaulW

Well! I guess I have to add my bit, as I see or saw it.....


From: David Whittle
Sent: 19 December 2001
To: british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Bugattis & Schlumpfs

I always appreciate seeing Hugh Conway's efforts at Wescott VSCC Winter driving tests. To see a type 35 covered in mud (and Hugh covered in mud as well) and watch it broadsiding round an old airfield is great, and that car is no bitsa, and has a fascinating racing history. I did hear that some of the cars the obsessive Schlumpfs bought were not quite what they had been lead to believe.

David Whittle Oxon UK


From: AH102
Sent: 19 December 2001
To: Paul Weston; british-cars-pre-war
Subject: Re: Replicas of vintage cars

Hi Paul: I agree with your "get 'em out and run' em" philosophy. I think you would be pleased by the number of pre-war cars racing at almost any VSCCA event (northeastern USA).

Jim


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