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

Glen Wilson rovercar at comcast.net
Wed Apr 2 00:42:55 BST 2008


I'd equate this with turning a Pontiac Tempest into a GTO. I was going 
to add something like, "except that there wouldn't such a big difference 
in value" but the £16,000 invested in it scares me a bit. Somewhere down 
the line, someone might be tempted to pass it off as the real thing to 
recoup some of that money. It's an absolutely beautiful car that has the 
best cosmetic bits screwed on and retains the utility of RHD for the UK 
as well as a new crate engine.

The restorer writes, "The only modification (since the restoration was 
completed) made to the car has been the installation of fuel injection. 
Everything else is standard, fitted to Rover specification." This gets 
to be a bit of a sticky wicket, and we get into that question of what 
the factory specs really are. In this case, the specs used were not 
Rover's NADA Federal 3500S specs because there are several obvious 
deviations. I think the differences make it clear that the restorer is 
NOT trying to pass this off as a real NADA 3500S, but then he throws in 
that bit about standard Rover specification, and that clouds the issue.

As Rudiger points out, the VIN confirms that it was a home market RHD 
3500 when it left the factory, so it's a near clone but not an exact 
clone. Still, if it were me, I'd probably be happy to have the leather 
interior for my £16k.  Then again, leather box pleated seat kits are 
available in the UK.

As far as the MGB shells are concerned, Geoff, there are problems there, 
too. Someone correct me, but I think the Heritage shells are built to 
1975 specs. I think they are correct for rubber bumper MGBs, but if you 
restored a 1967 MGB it would not be identical to what left the factory. 
I think the suspension needs to be modified at the minimum. I guess 
you'd have to use the 1967 VIN on it, but it clearly isn't the car that 
left the factory and is no longer to 1967 spec. A complete unibody is a 
crazy sort of thing to call a replacement part. One hopes that such 
information is passed on when the car is sold on. It could retain the 
original engine and be a "numbers matching" original 1967 MGB roadster 
with a completely different unibody. Maybe that's not such a big deal 
for an MG as it would be for a Duesenberg, but  we've seen MGB roadsters 
offered at $27,000 lately on eBay.

(By the way, my spellchecker says I should have typed "Dusenberg" 
without the extra "e" and that may be the first time I've seen a mistake 
in a spellchecker. That's a funny word to have in a spellchecker, anyway.)



 Kirkpatrick wrote:
> 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.
> Geoff
> "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 
> these?
> How about the rotary knobs for opening the vent windows in the front 
> doors?  Did they ever appear on other cars?
> Glen
>       ____________________________________________________________________________________
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