[ROVERNET - UK] Originality (was P6 ...)

Glen Wilson glenwilson at cavtel.net
Thu Mar 2 07:48:19 GMT 2006


Remember the first line of my post: 

In a reasonable (if not perfect) world, only one car can have the legal
right to any given vehicle identification number (VIN). 

I was trying to get to the nub of the problem by emphasizing the legal
aspect. With this rally car, we were discussing the identity of the
vehicle, not how similar it was to the original vehicle.

Most of the example you site are merely modifications. If someone puts
full wheel covers from a 110 onto a Rover 95 in place of the original
hub covers, who cares? Same for the overdrive. Big deal. If someone
installs a tube shock rear suspension on an MGB, it's not original
equipment but the car is still VIN 1234567 that left the factory in

If you build a Bugatti from half a gearbox, it's not a Bugatti but a
Bugatti replica. It never came out of the Bugatti shops, no Bugatti
craftsmen ever worked on it, and there's no old French air in the tires.
It's a beautiful car and may have some original recycled parts on it,
but it's still a replica.

I have a friend who has a Mini built up in the USA from a new body shell
imported from England. It's possible to buy every single piece new, and
none of them came out of the Austin factory. I don't know what you call
that, but it doesn't matter much. He doesn't misrepresent it in any way
or claim it to be a historic rally car.

In the USA, you can almost build a '57 Chevy or Model A Ford from a
parts catalog. I would think there would have to be some original parts,
especially since the Chevy was unibody. On the other hand, a friend of
mine with a Model A told me that they weren't allowed to enter Model As
in most antique car shows and put it down to the number of unoriginal
parts out there today.

Now, this TC rally car we were discussing is really pushing the line. I
would think that an investigation could determine, from a legal
standpoint, the identity of the car. What is it's legal vehicle
identification number? It could be that it is a 2000 Automatic sold in
Guilford in 1967 with a lot of historic rally parts added on. The parts
alone may make it worth the asking price and the effort to make it
appear as the original car appeared when it left Solihull is also worth
something. But if I was buying an historic rally car, I would want a
couple of dents from the Acropolis rally or a scraped undercarriage from
Monte Carlo and maybe a little bit of dust from either place. I might
even want some Paddy Hopkirk sweat to be still in the leather. That's an
authentic car. That's the car they sweated to repair during an overnight
lay-over. That's the one that nearly went off of the cliff during a high
speed pass in the gravel. That car has character.

I'd be happy to own that 2000 Automatic from Guilford with the rare,
exotic racing bits applied, but I would do as the seller has done and
fully disclose the origins of all the bits. To me, it's still probably
more of a replica, but it does have some pedigree, I suppose. You have
to love it for what it is, not for what you wish it was. 

At least that's what my wife says.


On Thu, 2006-03-02 at 08:18 +0800, Alan Gale wrote:
> Originality is a very vexed issue and is the topic which causes the most heat 
> in car clubs.
> The purists say that unless the car has the same body, chassis and respective 
> parts with matching numbers as it had when first assembled, then it is not an 
> original car.  
> However it is getting increasingly difficult for me to find 1920s air for my 
> Crossley's tires.
> What happens then in the case of a chassis which began life with a saloon body 
> in the 20s but is re-bodied with a sports tourer body in the 30s.  is it no 
> longer original or has it become a special?
> I understand there are now more bugattis on the road than were produced by the 
> factory (some restorations have begun with half a gearbox).
> What happens when someone takes an original 20s car and gets John Needham to 
> install a more comfortable close ratio gearbox, making it much more driveable 
> than the sometimes very awkward 20s ratios?  This is a modification which 
> could have been performed in the 20s - is it therefore a special now?  What is 
> the case of the car which has a major accident in the 20s and gets a new 
> chassis? And what about those bentleys which are running around with laycock 
> de normanville overdrives?  Or those rovers which have been converted to gas?
> Is my Rover 10 now a special because it has been fitted with hardened seats 
> and valves to run on unleaded?
> The VSCC here in Melbourne adopts the attitude that if the car has a logn 
> competitive pedigree in its current configuration, or is modified within the 
> bounds of its original technology, then it is what they deem a "proper car" 
> and eligible to compete in points events.  There are many exciting vintage 
> specials in this club.
> It is deemed a "club car" if modern technolgy is fitted (overdrives, etc) 
> which give it an unfair advantage over its competitors and is not counted as 
> a "points car".
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