Loved the article Jerry Heasley did in your latest issue [“Goat Preserve,” Mar. 2018]. That GTO is awesome. What a great find! Regarding the last sentence [about vehicle preservation “gaining acceptance in the hobby today”], I think it’s fair to say that preservation of nice survivors has been quite common for probably 20 years now. The issue is, at what point does a survivor cross the line and should be repaired or restored? I’ve seen too many muscle cars that are in poor shape, yet the owner claims it will be preserved, sometimes with approval of magazines/TV/brand gurus.
Not every car need be subject to an expensive ground-up resto. Common sense should be employed. Back in the day, a repaint (exterior only), new carpet, exhaust, and tires was considered a “restoration.” It wasn’t overly expensive, and made for a safe and good-looking ride.
Hopefully some of these survivors will make it back onto the road where they belong.
Mike Dozier Some may think we’re talking out of both sides of our mouth here. On the one hand, we agree that getting muscle cars back into circulation is a good thing, for the car and for the hobby as a whole. There’s no better way to encourage someone to join the hobby than to live the example of enjoying these cars. But we also believe in the “only original once” concept, not because it’s trendy but because original cars are (A) getting harder to find; and (B) such great teaching tools to learn how things were done, especially if you want to mimic factory assembly techniques in a restoration.
Holding both of those beliefs at one time can make the “fix it or not?” question difficult sometimes—that line you refer to between preserve and restore. And the only “right” answer to that question is whatever the car’s owner decides, no matter what you, or we, think is right. We’ve met owners who restored what we considered perfectly preserved cars, owners who will get around to fixing their car “someday,” and owners who plan to leave alone their rusted-out but much-loved hulks. We may not agree, but we try not to judge, hard as that is to do sometimes.