Hooniverse Asks- Should Totally Destroyed Cars of Note be Recreated?

MolotavMiura

When it comes to classic movies, more often than not remakes pale in comparison to the original. Such comparisons between versions are inevitable when the earlier interpretation remains readily available, but what if it were not, having been somehow destroyed?

Now consider that scenario only with movies replaced with cars. The simple fact is that there is a finite number of certain classic cars in existence today, and should anything happen to any of them – as was the case with the Lamborghini Miura above – should that sadly mean that the global number is now one-less? Or, should owners be allowed to take the VIN number and  – in Steve Austin fashion – rebuild the car from the ashes up?

Consider that while Lamborghini is no longer building Miuras, and cars like DeTomaso’s achingly beautiful and significant Vallelunga comes from a company no longer in existence, there are still plenty of talented craftsmen (and women) who could replicate a destroyed car, nut for nut and stitch for stitch. The conundrum for today is should they be allowed to do so, and then call the result by whatever name its VIN originally carried?  Or, in your mind, would it be more like what happened in Pet Sematary Parts I and II? One final question, if you were amenable to allowing a rebuild, how much leeway would you give for modernity – brakes, A/C, etc?

Image: Mirror.uk

21 Comments

  1. Yes never give up, but the car would have other historical value for me.
    As the value will be lower you can go the way of upgrading brakes and suspension, but in case of really rare and disireable cars I would go all the way to as original build.
    Think of the rebuild Bugatti's

  2. VIN numbers are like social security numbers, and should never be reused.
    Even if you are the best fabricator…in the world, the vehicle you make has not been crash tested as the originals have.

  3. How much was left of the Miura, and is it rebuildable? I've read that in England, people will will rebuild a car as long as they have a salvageable bulkhead (firewall) with a VIN. In their case, the rebuilding is usually due to rust.

  4. It's kind of like how Jesse James put it when he hacked apart, and ultimately completely destroyed, an original big block 1970 El Camino SS for the "Monster Garage" show, when asked about how he felt about cutting up such a rare car.
    "Every other big block 1970 El Camino SS that is still on the road just increased in value"
    Like him, or hate him…he has a point.
    I say leave it dead, collect the check, and find another one. If every car that was destroyed was rebuilt, they would hold no value, IMHO.

  5. To me it's only original once. There should be a point of no return where the car is considered completely gone and simply discarded for parts or whatever else. To me if it's restored from ground up it's not the same car anymore. Minor restorations where most of the original car has been preserved and rebuilt are perfectly fine though.

  6. It's kind of a question of how rare it is. Joe Bortz' Motorama cars aren't going to be very original, he's restoring them from a very sorry state. The LaSalle II roadster is even electric in order to preserve the engine mock-up under the hood. But he's doing a very good thing, because these cars would outright not exist otherwise, and they're a pretty big part of history.
    If the only way to preserve that history is to rebuild from the ground up, even if just to give a glimpse of what was, then yes, rebuild. If the car isn't just one of one, there might not be much point in going all out on the rebuild.

  7. There are 1000's of Caravans and Cavaliers running around on salvage titles, and they're of no value to anyone but the poor sucker stuck with it as his only way to get to work. Let 'em rebuild a Miura or otherwise, give it a salvage title, which will automatically lower the price anyway, and let some of the common plebes have a chance of owning it. No, it's not an original, but the current & any future owners will know it.

  8. All six of the legendary, almost mythical Excelsior OHC boardtrack racers were destroyed by Ignaz Schwinn (literally, taking out his rage with a sledgehammer) after his protege Bob Perry was killed on one while qualifying for what was supposed to be the bikes' debut race at Ascot in January 1920.
    Paul Brodie started with five surviving photographs of the bike and a corroded crankcase of a similar OHV model, and has made what can arguably be called either replicas or modern recreations.
    <img src="http://flashbackfab.com/Wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Excelsior-Photo-9G.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://flashbackfab.com/Wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Official-Launch-2.jpg"&gt;
    Read the whole story here, but I warn you, you will need plenty of time (and humility):
    http://flashbackfab.com/excelsior-project-paul-br

    1. You see this is where I draw the line. Schwinn wanted those bikes destroyed. Who are you to go and rebuild one, against it's creator's wishes? This is a beautiful recreation, it's also an abortion that shouldn't exist!

  9. I found myself asking the same question when I visited the Flying Tigers in Kissimmee, Florida. They were working at the time on a B17, I beleive with the aim of ending up with a flyable machine. But all they had of the original was a section of wing spar or something. Of course they were sticking zealously to the original blueprints, but there was barely anything that was realistically a restoration, more a replica with genuine original parts.
    Of course, I'd dearly love there to be a flyable Halifax somewhere, but the only way to achieve this may well be to build a new one.

    1. I've been there. That place is really cool. If anyone reading this is ever going to Disney with their family (or is in the Orlando area for some other reason), look it up. Well worth your time if you like old planes half as much as you like old cars.

  10. So long as no one's trying to pull a deception, why not?
    In particular, I'm thinking about the recreation 917s, Shelby Daytona Coupes and GT40s. There were really only a handful of each, all of which are now too valuable to do much of anything with. While not how I'd spend my Lotto winnings, who's to judge some rich guy for dropping a pile of cash on a "Type 65?"
    Now, let's pretend you already own a GT40 and it burns…why not rebuild it one way or another?

  11. Someone with better memory than me will remember this- Autoweek ran a story about a vintage racecar that had been wrecked and the parts ended up at 2 shops. Both rebuilt a car from what they had and both claimed the car as the original.

  12. Sure, rebuild them. But that fact should be asterisked, so it's never passed off as original. And for truly significant cars, there should only be one genuine rebuild. Not like some prewar formula one cars, where one has been recreated around the original engine, another from the frame, and so on. Not sure how you'd decide among competing claims.

    1. I agree with all of these points, with the additional comment that for cars that aren't truly one-of-one, I've got no problem with restomodding, particularly when it's period- or marque-appropriate.

  13. yes i think some very rare cars should be rebuilt. Take the Auto Union Ds. I think something like one of the five is still original. the rest have been restored. i think its kind of like saying that the catholic church was wrong for restoring the Sistine Chapel murals.

  14. Take a look at boat restorations. Especially with Chris Craft boats. All the wood is rotted, and the only thing salvageable may be the engine. Yet, when it is rebuilt it is often considered the same boat.
    I think the VIN should get a new addition for cars that get rebuilt, but how do you consider a car totaled or unsalvageable? Purely insurance? People can build anything back up. There are some fun build threads about totally caved in 356s that managed to get rebuilt.
    These things are just things. Machines. If you can build something that is indistinguishable from an original, what's the difference? Sorry to get philosophical. There is some guy that builds new antique chairs.(I don't even know where to put the apostrophes on that one) He ages the wood and does everything just right that you can't tell the difference. The materials look and behave like they are over a hundred years old. Customers can't tell what they are getting but I'm sure what pisses them off if they found out is that they had some attachment to having the original and some collector mentality. I personally don't care if it's a rebuilt fake or not. I don't know why I want stuff I want. I'm willing to pay, to a point, for stuff I want. And I still enjoy it even if it's fake.
    Clothing factories in china make designer clothes during the day, get off the clock of the designer and churn out the same stuff on the same machines. Quality probably takes a nose dive, but in the automotive world of these things quality usually goes up.

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