Gen­er­ally, up­grades de­value a clas­sic, but there can be some real ben­e­fits

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics -

‘There are those who cel­e­brate con­tem­po­ri­sa­tion’

The clas­sic car mar­ket em­braces peo­ple whose tastes vary. The stan­dard ver­sus mod­i­fied de­bate clearly po­larises views, es­pe­cially when it ap­plies to the ‘retro’ move­ment, where 1960s-1980s clas­sics are re-en­gined with later run­ning gear and of­ten re-painted in later, non-stan­dard colours.

Such mod­i­fi­ca­tions might up­set the old guard and at the same time might not hold their value, but the up­side of en­cour­ag­ing younger en­thu­si­asts into the hobby shouldn’t be un­der-played. His­torics’ Ed­ward Bridger- Stille ac­knowl­edges the dif­fer­ences in taste that can be found in the clas­sic move­ment, with some find­ing the slight­est de­vi­a­tion from stan­dard au­to­mo­tive heresy.

‘There are purists of clas­sic mo­tor cars to whom any whiff of mod­i­fi­ca­tion from the orig­i­nal ve­hi­cle spec­i­fi­ca­tion is un­ac­cept­able. Con­versely there are those who cel­e­brate “con­tem­po­ri­sa­tion” in or­der to make a clas­sic more drive­able in road con­di­tions to­day – such as brake and sus­pen­sion up­grades,’ Bridger- Stille says. ‘His­torics’ phi­los­o­phy is to re­spect all view­points and re­flect the breadth of the clas­sic com­mu­nity. We do not shy away from of­fer­ing ap­pro­pri­ately mod­i­fied clas­sics, pro­vided the changes are in keep­ing with the car, have been con­ducted pro­fes­sion­ally and they do not den­i­grate its value.’

While those who adopt a ‘Keep it stan­dard’ line might think they hold the ma­jor­ity view, there’s a per­haps sur­pris­ingly strong ac­cep­tance of such cars in the mar­ket, and also an ap­pre­ci­a­tion that there is an­other side of the ar­gu­ment.

‘Ob­vi­ously mat­ters of taste come into play – one man’s “retro cool ride” is an­other man’s “fright pig” – but at least they get a younger gen­er­a­tion in­ter­ested in the old-car hobby,’ says Brightwells’ James Den­ni­son. ‘No doubt a fair few cars are also saved from the scrap­yard by timely en­gine trans­plants and

body­work mod­i­fi­ca­tions. As a gen­eral rule, mod­i­fi­ca­tions de­value the car in the eyes of the mar­ket. There are few that could be classed as a good in­vest­ment.’

Bridger- Stille says that when it comes to com­pe­ti­tion cars, build is very much a per­sonal mat­ter. ‘Com­pe­ti­tion cars, es­pe­cially, are in­di­vid­ual tools and of­ten vary wildly from one to an­other. My ad­vice for those think­ing of mod­i­fy­ing is to re­tain the stan­dard com­po­nents if prac­ti­cal so the car can, if nec­es­sary, be re­turned to the orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion,’ he says.

Many mod­i­fi­ca­tions im­prove com­fort and safety, but it’s al­ways wise to re­tain the stan­dard equip­ment.

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