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Story by Carl Heideman • Photography as Credited

To be honest, we can’t quite figure out the classic car world’s recent fascination with patina. Worn examples of automobiles are occasionally achieving higher prices than their restored counterparts—ones in significantly …

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wspohn Dork
8/6/20 12:13 p.m.

Very good article.

Next, maybe we can address the issue of maintaining the degree of driver patination indefinitely.....devil

8/6/20 4:48 p.m.

I have a 1971 BMW 2002 with what I would call "Perfect Patina". Original paint, a little bit of surface rust here and there, but nothing structural, 1970's cigarette butts still in the rear ashtray, a few dents from a light fender bender, and a nicely broken in interior. It gets more attentionthan most fully restored 2002s at car shows and I'm not scared to drive it. 

chrismseely New Reader
8/6/20 4:50 p.m.

slantsix Reader
8/7/20 11:00 a.m.

You can never really be afaraid to drive original "patinia" cars.. They are just as fun yet somewhat less stressful than the $100k+  resto that you just took delivery of.




Bardan New Reader
5/11/21 1:13 p.m.

I bought a Blazer last Aug that the patina matches the previous owners use. It sat around a lot so the paint faded, fiberglass was fuzzy and interior was good, but the stitching came undone where body contact is. When everyone first sees it they say "when are you going to restore"? After looking a while they say "leave it as is".

I did however vacuum out the ashtray!

cbcleland New Reader
5/11/21 4:12 p.m.

I recently purchased an '84 Scirocco that is all original and has been superbly preserved by two previous owners.  It has a dimple or two but nothing major and absolutely no rust.  The red paint had experienced some fading over the years so I took it to a local detail shop for help.  They buffed the paint back to its' original shine then applied a ceramic coating to (hopefully) protect that originality for many years to come.

The Scirocco, unlike its' GTI sibling, is not high dollar car; so it made sense to preserve the existing finish rather than spend big bucks on a repaint.  As you say, it's only original once.

wspohn SuperDork
5/12/21 12:09 p.m.

One issue on some of the British cars I have restored is that the thread used to sew the leather panels in the seats rots while the leather itself either stays in decent shape or can be brought back to decent shape with a program of leather food.  It is labour intensive to save original seats as it requires hand stitching to match the existing holes in the leather, rather than machine stitching, but I think the end result is better than brand new seat covers that rarely look original.

doc18015 New Reader
3/5/22 11:31 a.m.

Major problem as I see it is the determination of value. No two "patina"  originals are alike . The setting tone is that of auctions as"sold"prices.  Worse and what I deem as very damaging to the auto market in general is the "CarFaxes" of the auto industry, i.e., Autocheck, etc. They are somewhat fed by auto dealer dollars and guess who wins? The collector models are somewhat shielded but are negatively affected.

Original examples should always be valued much higher than their "restored" counterparts. No one is capable of duplicating the original ; close but never at !00% accuracy. Being "original" only one time , is the basis of truth!

tolyarutunoff New Reader
3/5/22 2:24 p.m.

decades ago robert williams raced a lemans cunnungham--dirt and bug remains embedded in the front although the car was washed occasionally.  people were after him to restore it; they said that dingy front end hurt the car's image/heritage.  one day it struck me:  why not redo the back part of the car but feather it in so the front was original.  i ran into him at a st. louis vintage event...the car had been repainted.  are you still around, robert?

Bardan New Reader
3/5/22 3:19 p.m.

My K5 Blazer is a patinaed original. Unfortunatly 80s paint looks wierd when the clear partially comes off. If it was a straight color paint it would look great. Still I won't restore. I like it as an unbutchered original truck.

PetervonA2 New Reader
3/5/22 3:49 p.m.

Restore abuse and neglect. Preserve history, love and respect. Repair for the next caretakers. Then drive it like there is no tomorrow and avoid parades!

Cheers, Peter; www.enjoyclassiccars.com


OJR New Reader
3/5/22 4:11 p.m.

For the first 20 years, I was going to disassemble and repaint my 68 Volvo Amazon Estate. It's never seen salt and won't as long as I live. The last 15 years haven't produced any silly ideas like that. It has a very faded "No Nukes" bumper sticker that Putin should see. Some ask about restoring it but most love it just the way is and so do I.

I just remembered someone from a resto shop preparing for the new (then) original class at Pebble...."do you know how hard it is to unrestore a car?".


joeymec New Reader
3/6/22 10:54 a.m.

In reply to chrismseely :

I drove 2002's from 1974-2010.   I had 22 of them in various degrees.  My favorite was my 72 with a sunroof which looked like yours.  I was always a driver and I'm glad to hear that you are not afraid to drive it.  The problem with them now is the value is going so crazy, people just want to restore them and not drive them.  That's a shame because I never got tired of driving mine.  They are clearly one of the best al around vehicles ever built.  Keep it on the road!!!

3/6/22 6:23 p.m.

When I told my brother that I was COVID project restoring my 1965 MGB roadster from college with an eye for modernizing some mechanics but preserving the patina, he infomred me that it had plenty of patina whenever I was behind the wheel....

shadetree30 HalfDork
8/15/22 12:35 p.m.

In reply to chrismseely :


bimmerbob New Reader
11/13/22 12:12 p.m.

1971 BMW 2002 Tii. "All" original. #132. 2002 forever..really...will still be going strong when I'm gone

bimmerbob New Reader
11/13/22 12:12 p.m.

1971 BMW 2002 Tii. "All" original. #132. 2002 forever..really...will still be going strong when I'm gone

bimmerbob New Reader
11/13/22 5:57 p.m.

Sorry for the double speak--I found the delete, but it didn't work...shows my level of computer knowledge. Glad most of my cars don't require computernomics


frenchyd MegaDork
11/13/22 7:32 p.m.

frenchyd MegaDork
11/13/22 7:34 p.m.

Is that patina or just shabby paint?   

thross New Reader
1/25/23 3:18 p.m.

This "Patina" at a high end auction drove me crazy! Really?

frenchyd MegaDork
1/25/23 3:52 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

That and super glue the tears back together. Leather loves superglue and once repaired I've never had to redo it.  
  Do wear gloves though. I use the thicker super glue and try to get it exactly on the edges.  That way the repair becomes invisable.  If you do get it on too thick sand it flush with fine emery board.  Then re-dye that area. 
  I usually sand wear spots as well Re-dye and then use leather food. 

Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado
Ethnic Food-Wrap Aficionado Dork
1/25/23 3:54 p.m.

I pulled this 1963 Nova sedan out of a garage last summer.  It had been beached in there since Grandma (not mine) passed in 1994.



I cut the worst of the oxidation off of it, freshened up the running gear with a smattering of bits, and tossed some fresh tires and hubcaps on it, and have been enjoying it as the gently aging classic it is.


It's just SO right.

frenchyd MegaDork
1/25/23 6:11 p.m.

In reply to Bardan :

If we are talking about the GM TPA ( Thermal  Acrylic   Plastic ) of the late 70's through the 80's into the 90's  it's terrible!!    
   I've got a Lacquer paint job that with a quick buff will shine up and show a brilliant deep shine.  Both are on Jaguar XJ6 the Lacquer from 1972 ( original)  and the thermal plastic Acrylic  from 1985 ( original)  both will shine. One you can be proud of! One you'll want to sand off.  Both stored in the same place. 

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