THE FINAL WORD
I READ with interest the article in Octane 149 about the ‘barn find’ Baillon Ferrari SWB California Spider, written by my good friend and former Pebble Beach judge, Winston Goodfellow. I also enjoyed Kevin McCloud’s remarks in Octane 152, along with your readers’ comments on the Goodfellow piece.
In the light of all this, I thought it was time I threw my two cents’ worth into the pot, because I was one of three people who judged the Ferrari Preservation Class at Pebble Beach last August, in which the Baillon Ferrari was presented. In fact, I was chief judge for that class.
In my opinion, this car needs to be restored. This is not easy for me to say, because I am a strong believer in retaining originality whenever possible. However, the Baillon Ferrari does not qualify for retention as an original vehicle. Here’s why.
While the car retains its original body, engine, gearbox and differential, over the past 40 years it has not been preserved. Instead, it was abandoned and le( to deteriorate outdoors. In addition, there are many non-original items on the car. It has non-original bumpers, and its overriders are missing; the so( top is not original; the amber front blinker lights and rear numberplate lights are not original; the front driving lights are wrong; and the door windows are Plexiglass, not glass. Inside, the seats are upholstered in black vinyl, not leather.
Overall, there are numerous small and not-so-small imperfections and incorrect replacements – everything from screw heads to the gearshi( knob – and the general condition of the car is quite poor, having suffered years of neglect. Note the large dent in the trunk lid.
Our considered opinion, a(er judging the car in California, is that it is not a preservation vehicle and cries out for restoration. ALAN C BOE GEORGIA, USA of these cars and their brisk performance. Today I own an unrestored Fiat Abarth 130TC, which is so much fun to drive thanks to its Abarth-tweaked front suspension, superb 2.0-litre Lampredi engine with twin carburettors, and ZF close-ratio gearbox. The rest of the car is, as you described in your article, friable.
What has happened to Italian car manufacturers since the ’60s? My 1969 Alfa Romeo 1300GT Junior [pictured below le(] is unrestored, looks like a piece of art and drives as smooth as velvet. No squeaks, no rattles, and perfectly balanced.
I hope Mr Marchione drove both of these cars before starting to develop his new range of Fiats and Alfa Romeos – he should combine the quality of the Alfa and the driving fun of the Abarth! EMILE VAN DE LOO THE NETHERLANDS