There is a trend in the automotive community that is somewhat counterintuitive, keeping a classic vehicle in unrestored condition. At Performance Paint Protection we have installed paint protection film on a wide variety of vehicles, everything from European exotics to family sedans. Regardless of the use or stye of the vehicle, it can benefit from paint protection film. In fact, family cars are abused more than almost any other vehicle on the planet, there may be a purposeful reason why that Ferrari does not fit a car seat.
Old School vs. New School
As we discussed before, there is a trend among collectors that emphasizes unrestored, original vehicles. In the past, a ‘32 Ford would have been meticulously restored—a flashy paint job, chrome wheels, a modern interior and air conditioning would have been added. Now appropriating an old car with modern accoutrements would almost seem like the essence of the American hot rod spirit. Taking something old and reimagining it into a new, modern appearing vehicle is what the original hot rod ethos was all about. Guys and gals used to chop, cut, stretch and channel their rides, regardless of what kind of car they had. The emphasis was on speed; they took flathead Fords and dropped them in Chevys, they pulled Cadillac V8s and put them in Fords, whatever it took to go faster than the other guy. One of the more interesting concepts was the belly tanker. Originally an auxiliary fuel tank from a World War II fighter, the belly tanker was adopted by hotrodders because of one reason, it looked fast. These enterprising young speed freaks were cutting holes in the top and slapping in a flathead V8 Ford in the back and a seat in the from and giving it all they could. To say that this was dangerous is being kind, but what fun would it be if it wasn’t just a bit too dangerous?
Many of the cars from this golden age of hot rodding eventually ended up in the scrap yard, cannibalized for parts or rotting away behind someone’s garage. In the late 1980’s when the muscle car trend was killed by high fuel costs and emission requirements, these classic hot rods returned and were immediately painted to match the ‘80s. Fast forward to today and barely any of the early hotrods, or muscle cars for that matter, have survived. Depending on the individual when a rare example of an original is found they may decide to keep it completely original, scars and all. This preserves the historical significance as well as the visceral experience that comes from seeing an original in the wild. This is precisely why this anti-restoration movement has taken hold. People are beginning to realize that there is true value in keeping a car unrestored. These are survivors and should be rolling examples of days gone by, not an appropriation of modern standards. So when you are planning a restoration of your classic car, consider this, it will never be original again and it might be better to save the history than add air conditioning.