Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Vintage Cars & Classics in India


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 2nd March 2013, 23:12   #31
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

If I were to take a car and clean it everyday which involves wiping the paintwork daily chances are in 15 to 20 years I would have wiped the paint layer off and exposed the underlying primer. So also the leather.

So to ensure a car remains blemish free for a 100 years not only would I need to not touch the paint but store it in a climate controlled environment as the heat, moisture and cold of seasonal changes wreaks havoc even if a car is parked on stilts in a covered garage.

Given the above, really old cars end up flaking their paint off in chips and upholstery fabric comes apart to the touch or leather becomes bone dry and bereft of suppleness and this is not a result of non caring owners, as some of you have suggested, but the ravages of time and seasons.

Come to modern paint systems with mfgs going to phenomenal lengths to electrostatically charge car bodies to enhance primer and paint adhesion to inhibit corrosion it's pretty impressive that some of these cars in a 100 years still have some paint left considering their paint application was at best crude compared to modern treatments.

So what many of you attribute to carelessness of owners I disagree and attribute to the invariable ravages of time and seasonality. The Darbhanga RR, the Kalahandi RR and the Nizam's cars all seem to have weathered similarly. Chances are all these cars were stored similarly ie garaged and on stilts.

Now given their condition today, and agreed they are not the most aesthetically pleasing of cars, what if any case needs to be presented for their preservation?

Why preserve these cars which display the ravages of 70-100 years? Considering not many have survived in such original but weathered condition globally surely to me they make for awesome museum exhibits. I am assuming that like the present Nizam the owners of the other cars too do not expect to use these cars and hence would retain them only for display. Should an owner intend to use the cars obviously all mechanical/lubrication and corrosion concerns would need to be addressed before doing so, which in other words calls for a comprehensive restoration.

Lets ask then what such a museum exhibit has in terms of value. Three elements come to my mind

1. The rarity, beauty, design of the car itself

2. The provenance or ownership history and tales associated with the car and its ownership.

3. A rare glimpse into what a 70-100 year old car looks like without ever being repainted or reupholstered.

the above three elements in mind make up for a splendid value creation in a museum exhibit.

I am not against restoration of automobiles. As I mentioned if an owner chooses to reuse the car then a restoration is in my mind mandatory if he wants to avoid dramatic wear and tear when a vehicle is put back into use after decades of non use. The extent of work involved in such a project where you wish to put back on road a car that has not been in use for decades is monumental to say the least and calls for a massive resource of funds , parts, expertise, patience and plain and simple hard toil to get things right.

But as a museum exhibit, intended as an educational experience for visitors, cars left in an as is condition offer the above three valuable experiences for any visitor. This is a very precious experience.

When I disagree with any of you and openly state that it was a monumental blunder on the part of the Nizam's estate and the restorer to repaint and reupholster the cars I don't mean disrespect in anyway. I simply differ in my view point.

What has happened to the Nizam's cars is that the second and third point have been destroyed forever in terms of the intrinsic values the museum exhibit had.

No doubt the first element has been enhanced and is most certainly a more pleasant way to experience the first element but at what cost? You applaud the destruction of the cars' history and existence in time and the special stories associated with their ownership, all reflected in the changed bodywork or the weathered condition.

I am surprised so few see what has been undone. To me its an inexcusable violation of the integrity of a museum exhibit.

To many of you it's an enhancement but that's part of the story, you seem to gloss over the fact that something precious ie the ravages of time told as a story in chipped paint and torn leather was done away for good.

The Nizam's cars are less of museum exhibits and more of a caricature to me in their new guise. I tried hard to like what they have turned into but in light of what they have lost I am afraid I do not see much merit to their new iteration as museum exhbiits. They simply are lesser than what they were before they were worked on.

Not many owners around the world are wealthy enough to park cars for 100 years and not bother about reusing them ever. The Nizam has palaces lying around for just as long with priceless treasures and for decades things remained unmolested because the owner could afford to keep things so. Today you have a fully furnished Falaknuma because its a house that was sparingly used. Other buildings in Hyderabad have not fared so well ie the Residency etc shorn of their treasures as they were used extensively.

Museum exhibits, not intended for reuse, have a place in society. Not everything needs to be restored and repainted just because we want it to look like new. Unless ofcourse you intend to reuse that object. The only work I recommended to the estate was to repair the damaged roof of a Napier and make a wheel for the Fiat. Contrary to what some of you suggested none of the cars were falling apart to warrant such a reworking of their appearance. Left in a reasonably secure environment (I recommended sealing the enclosure and using a dehumidifier) the cars would have remained without falling apart for another 100 years.

Last edited by DKG : 2nd March 2013 at 23:27.
DKG is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2013, 07:45   #32
KPS
Distinguished - BHPian
 
KPS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,003
Thanked: 4,556 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

DKG, how did the engine remain preserved for 100 years? I guess the engines were in relatively good shape.

What is the ideal way to preserve an engine for such long periods? Top up oil, remove petrol,water few drops of oil through the plug holes and regularly turn the engine so that the piston rings do not seize?
KPS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2013, 12:53   #33
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by KPS View Post
DKG, how did the engine remain preserved for 100 years? I guess the engines were in relatively good shape.

What is the ideal way to preserve an engine for such long periods? Top up oil, remove petrol,water few drops of oil through the plug holes and regularly turn the engine so that the piston rings do not seize?
I personally don't know but I think you suggest the right method for long term engine storage. I have also heard of the valve rockers being backed off to ease pressure on the valve springs. Sometimes things seem to remain fine even when owners just store the cars in garages. I remember once I started a Plymouth Station Wagon after close to a decade or so of non use and it fired up and ran perfectly in the few years I used it.
DKG is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd March 2013, 14:41   #34
Senior - BHPian
 
manishalive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,424
Thanked: 702 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KPS View Post
DKG, how did the engine remain preserved for 100 years? I guess the engines were in relatively good shape.

What is the ideal way to preserve an engine for such long periods? Top up oil, remove petrol,water few drops of oil through the plug holes and regularly turn the engine so that the piston rings do not seize?
On commercial engines we use VCI which acts as a lubricant and corrosion prevention. I will get some details. I do not know if that is available in local market or not.
manishalive is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2013, 18:39   #35
Senior - BHPian
 
wasif's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Abu Dhabi (for now)
Posts: 2,936
Thanked: 366 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

I was just going thru a link Travancore posted in the Classic Rolls Royce thread and came across these comment by DKG in 2008. In those days apparently he too was keen on restoring the Throne Car car to its original guise !

Refer to posts 163 to 178 on the Classic Rolls Royces in India thread. Interesteing reading !!!

Link below

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/pre-wa...india-109.html (Classic Rolls Royces in India)




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Quote:




Originally Posted by Julian UK

If their budget allows, once and for all, the Nizam's Throne Rolls-Royce ought to be sent to one of the serious companies and returned to the original splendour of the Nizam's purchase.

Orignally posted by DKG

I am inclined to agree. Had the Nizam commisioned a reputed body maker to upgrade the car the story may have been different. But yes the car in its original form most certainly is a balanced and elegant form. She does deserve to go back to her former glory.

Before returning the car to its former glory we can professionally photograph the car in its present form and create a photo display to document what transpired during the 1937 celebrations. That way we retain a record educating the public on the life and times of 2117
__________________

Help Save AP's Forests and Wildlife
wasif is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th March 2013, 22:59   #36
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Wasif keep digging ! A much older post in the original thread which started this discussion clearly states my point of view:

"Restoration of these cars is a very very costly affair. As the family is spending a considerable amount of money restoring an entire palace and opening it as a museum it may not make sense to spend that kind of money right away. I have recommended they be displayed in a weathered condition rather than being totally ruined with a substandard patchwork cosmetic restoration. These cars are nearing a 100 years old, the fact they remain in a aged condition is in itself a remarkable display, in my opinion."


http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/pre-wa...tml#post994963 (The Nizam of Hyderabad's Collection of Cars and Carriages)

You need to understand that my personal view had no consequence as the Princess and all concerned were of the opinion tnat the cars should be restored. A British historian made a pitch long before Cartier came into the picture but the costs were high and hence the matter was not pursued. They wanted a local estimate and I had called Manvendra Singh and he gave me a rough figure which I then passed on. That too was beyond their budget. Since MS was keen to restore the cars he pursued the Cartier angle and the rest is history !

As far as I can remember I was never for the restoration. In that specific comment in response to Julian's disdain for the Jubillee iteration quite obviously the Barker form is more elegant and balanced and with a restoration imminent I was resigned to that fate and agreeable to a high quality restoraiton as it appeared to be the inevitable fate.

Last edited by DKG : 6th March 2013 at 23:01.
DKG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th March 2013, 19:18   #37
BHPian
 
vintageman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lucknow
Posts: 410
Thanked: 560 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Gentlemen,

Thank you for realising - that , in the end it is the owners prerogative - how the car is maintained , after all , if a family has held onto the ownership over 100 years , I suppose this gives them a lien regarding what to do with the car in the 101st year. Instead of being judgemental, let us hold onto what we personally have and do justice to same and feel happy with doing our bit.

Though I do not have a Rolls - a few years back I was roundly criticised on this forum for the red and white livery of my Model A ( I did not mind it , as it was pleasurable to the family in those colours ) - but as I explained then - Model A was a toy - not a serious collectors item - and today I have retained the AJS I have in its orignal cob- webbed run down glory.
It is a owner thing!!!
If the owners are not present on the forum to state the case , let us not in absence of a credible defence take advantage and overdo the criticism.

Regards
Chauhan
vintageman is offline   (5) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th April 2013, 00:20   #38
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Interesting perspective ! I was not surprised to hear this car was of greater interest to museum visitors than other cars in their collection

DKG is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th April 2013, 11:31   #39
Distinguished - BHPian
 
harit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,953
Thanked: 2,723 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
Interesting perspective ! I was not surprised to hear this car was of greater interest to museum visitors than other cars in their collection..
Check post 18 in
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/pre-wa...s-india-2.html (Bugattis in India!)

You can the lifting of this car from the sea bed.
I would still like to see this car restored.
A case point is a MB 540K which was in its original paint till maybe 10 to 15 years ago, a black car. But it became tired, the owner got the car fully documented, showed it one last time and then restored her. Sensible I would say, others say sacrilage. As long as a car is in decent original condition, don't do anything. The moment only 5% is covered in original paint, or more than 25% of the body is missing, then it is time for correction. Even a car has pride and heritage. Many dye their hair, have face lifts, wear wigs, just try to tell them to keep patina and remain naturally original.
If this car is most interesting to visitors, I find it strange. The story is very compelling, but that collection has far more interesting and better cars. Including ones with India connection.

Just my point of view.

Cheers harit

Last edited by harit : 20th April 2013 at 11:33.
harit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st April 2013, 05:42   #40
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
If this car is most interesting to visitors, I find it strange. The story is very compelling, but that collection has far more interesting and better cars. Including ones with India connection.
I don't find it strange at all !! Infact this is the whole point. As a museum exhibit the official claimed that from amongst the entire multi million dollar collection also on display there this car "spoke" to visitors the most ! Note that he emphasised the museum was very proud to display the car in this condition with its amazing story to tell.

Sadly, for me, the Nizam's cars also told such a story and as museum exhibits would have made for a fascinating display as is. All that has been destroyed forever ! And I sometimes can't believe that no one saw the sense in leaving the cars as is !

Sad !
DKG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st April 2013, 08:10   #41
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3
Thanked: 2 Times
Default Re: Restoration : Should we / Shouldn't we? A discussion on preservation of cars

DKG.....Agree in principle that an old car should not be over restored to look like a new one. However, there is some value, in my opinion in bringing the car back to a level of appearance that makes it look clean and restore it to usable condition . -.i.e replacing the leather if there is a tear in the uphosltery. I do realize from following your various posts that you are a much respected restorer and you have a reverence for originality and retention of patina which is a different approach. I am one of those who does not believe in "trailer queens" as the car has to be driven regularly and the world allowed to see it the way it was meant to be.
kuger53 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Why small cars shouldn’t be fitted with a bull bar/crash guard.. sterlingjames Technical Stuff 30 8th March 2015 07:28
Suzuki Kizashi - Should I or shouldn't I? UPDATE: Got a Passat! I-Chief Luxury, Imports & Niche 68 26th May 2012 17:28
Shouldn't a street circuit make more sense in India? salilpawar1 Indian Motorsport 10 22nd December 2006 21:10
Why shouldn't I buy Tata Indica (Diesel) for less than 600 KM/Month running skamb Hatchbacks 14 6th August 2005 08:09


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 04:51.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks