[ROVERNET - UK] Restoration, re-shell, or clone?

Geoff Kirkpatrick britcarnut at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 1 23:12:23 BST 2008

Yes, it's a beautiful car.  But is it a real NADA car?  That's probably a question that has no definitive answer.  It appears that he started with a UK RHD car and meticulously converted it to LHD NADA spec.  You could call this car a clone, or a re-shell.  So what does that mean for its authenticity?  I don't know.  Does it retain its original UK VIN?  Was the VIN taken from an NADA donor car and transplanted to the new shell?  Even if it has the correct NADA VIN, is it still just a UK car in drag?  Personally, I think it's something less than a real NADA car because it's not the original shell.  Any answer to these questions is really just an opinion though, and someone else's differing opinion is just as correct as mine.

But what about a Mini or an MGB which has been re-shelled with a new Heritage shell?  Is this a clone?  I tend to think differently about this.  Inconsistent, I know, which just reinforces how gray this whole area is.

Ultimately it's probably not particularly important in this case.  Nobody is going to bother faking an NADA 3500S to deceive potential buyers and try to make an illicit profit.  If we were talking about, say, a Cortina Mk 1 GT being turned into a Lotus Cortina, though, authenticity takes on a lot more importance..  Not to mention the difference between a slant-six Plymouth Barracuda and an original, fully documented 426 Hemi 'Cuda.  And there are at least a couple of cases where two mega-buck vintage Ferraris share the same ID number, because two people each got hold of different bits of a crashed car, and each built a complete car around their bits.  Which of the two is the "real" one?  Nobody can say for sure.


"This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him."
- William Lyon Phelps

Geoff Kirkpatrick, 382 Riverside Avenue, Ben Lomond, CA 95005, USA


If you got to 
http://www.rover-classics.co.uk/pages/restoration/index.html , the owner 
describes a restoration of a NADA Federal 3500S that cost  £16,000. Now, 
isn't a pound worth about $2 at this point?

What's interesting about that car is that it was RHD before he restored 
it. Once again, what's the VIN? Did someone convert it from an NADA car? 
Or is it a clone? I also notice that the seats and grille are different 
from the 3500S we got in the states. There are no pictures of the door 
panels, but I think I see a rotary knob for one of the vent windows. I'd 
wager anything that this is a home market 3500 with a lot of NADA 3500S 
bits screwed on. Beautiful automobile and excellent workmanship.

I can see wanting a RHD car for use in the UK, but for $32,000 why not 
restore an actual original NADA 3500S with all of the original bits? 
Funny what people with a lot of money choose to do with it.

Re Steven's comments, the NADA 3500S had many parts that were unique to 
it including the interior door panels with arm rests and pockets, the 
hood scoops, and the bumpers, and the grille (though that was mainly a 
paint job).

It was the first to have the box pleated upholstery and the round gauges.

It also had steel bars in the doors for added safety. Did other P6s get 

How about the rotary knobs for opening the vent windows in the front 
doors?  Did they ever appear on other cars?


You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.  

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