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Re: Restore or buy restored ?

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Old 29-03-09, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

I think you are right Dorien but I would always value (on monetary terms) a
car done by professionals (and fully documented) higher because it has a
recognised value to the guy who buys the car after me.

I may know that the person who did it was great but I would then have to
waste time convincing the next buyer of the same and any buyer would be wary
because I would say it was great even if it wasn't because I want to sell the
car.

Philippa
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Old 29-03-09, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

Thank you Philippa a valid point for many.......but I would go the other
route. If I bought a privately restored car, I would have met the owner
who could well be a well known entity. This may prove to be a higher
rating than a professional.
It would be a "personal" thing, that would mean more to me than a so called
professional. I am very much a "hands on" person, so being able to talk face
to face with the restorer and how he did certain items would be very
important. I might also have paid less, as the private restoration did not
have to make a profit or pay wages and overhead. Therefore "the guy who
buys" it from me ( If I ever sold it ) would have in turn paid less and
hence less "conversation".
But then again we all paddle our respective canoes differently.

I have been VERY fortunate over the years in meeting some great people
whom I searched out during or prior to a mechanical rebuild.
This was pre-internet days but via some luck, connections and research I was
fortunate to meet Larry Bowden, who as a young man worked at Lagonda. He had
actually been part (documented in Lagonda archives and signed by WO ) of the
crew that built the engine on my car in 1929. In 1982 the two of us rebuilt
that same 2 lit Lagonda engine!
Fusi and Sanesi (respectively designer and tester/Gran Prix driver Alfa 159)
from Alfa Romeo would periodically visit me whilst I worked on one of my 6C
cars. They would invariably provide sound advice. B Siegfried who worked on
and raced my Indy car in the 30s from whom I have many letters working me
through the intricacies of setting up an engine for which no manuals were
written. He basically wrote them for me left handed after having suffered a
stroke and lost the use of his right hand. These people became friends,
helpers and mentors, whilst at the same time telling me all the interesting
stories of the "behind the scenes" of some premier car manufacturers. When
I started racing my Indy car, Siegried wanted to know my results, and I was
gently "chided" for not doing better. After every race I would feel like a
schoolboy whose homework was not up to scratch! I was given pointers on
tricks to use on the track and a request to report back after the next
event. Talk about pressure! Eventually I was finishing in the top 4 and the
pressure was off a little.
Then of course there are "professionally" restored race cars for
sale........
I am sure there are many others who have been equally fortunate to have had
that "personal" assistance. To me it is priceless, and if down the road this
means little to a potential new owner then he definitely does NOT deserve
that car.
As Peter pointed out in an earlier post, part of the collecting fun is the
interest. I would ad that it is also the people you meet and this site is a
good example.
I would definitely NOT find it interesting to want to convince a potential
buyer of anything. People who need convincing are better suited to other
endevours.........
Cheers
Dorien
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Old 30-03-09, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

Dorien, Agree entirely. By maintaining a lead project manager/visionary designer/owner role I have met some wonderful and interesting people as I journey through the restoration. Hence the knowledge and interest knowing what I will have in the end is as much a part of me as if I did the work myself, although I do not have the skill or the time to acquire the skill.

To answer Kevin, about "Bristol specifically" it is merely that my current experience is related to Bristols, although I think that a bare shell/rolling chassi Bentley or Ferrari or other highly regarded classic will have a much higher starting point and will have some parts or suspension and drive train much more costly than say a standard Bristol 6 or 8. On a Bristol, the most expensive bits are the body work and back axle (6 or 8) as well as front axle, plus the Bristol 6 engine.

Spent yesterday afternoon wandering around Peurto Benus near Malaga and I cannot understand why some people need to own a bright yellow Lamborghini convertible and then to drive short parades around the waterfront to show off their toy. My son reckons we ought to come back in a 3 wheel Reliant Robin and spend all day driving up and down in front of the crowds and large boats.


Clyde
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Old 30-03-09, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

everything on R-R & B costs a
fortune, even an R Type engine rebuild is likely to be £14k,3 a bare
metal respray plus rust removal can be £35k and complete interior n
early £20k, so worse than a 406, but not much.
I reckon that by doing most of the work myself and using proper
specialists I spent about £40k plus on my 400, but we restored the
leather rather than retrimming, the woodwork was okay, so only
carpets, headlining and sun visors. If you add my hours then £80k I
suppose.
Ash
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Old 30-03-09, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

The best part will be the U turns on a sixpence!
Dorien
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Old 31-03-09, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
everything on R-R & B costs a
fortune, even an R Type engine rebuild is likely to be £14k,3 a bare
metal respray plus rust removal can be £35k and complete interior n
early £20k, so worse than a 406, but not much.
Ah, so you are the same Ashley who has written so eloquently on things R-type!

Based upon the comparison of two 408s and a 412 with my R-type and that of a close friend, I have to say that this is not my experience.

The R-type does need a higher level of constant attention (well, one had to find something for the chauffeur to do when he was not driving!) and because the model was far more numerous in its day, even today the supply of spare parts is still relatively good something that is essential if the vehicle is used as an 'every-day' car and I found a little disappointing with the Bristols (especially the 412 which at the time of my ownership was under 15 years old). In terms of design, of course the Bristol is far superior to many of the archaic features of the R-type, even if the latter is a faster car in a straight line.

My experience is that if one gets all of one's servicing done by one of the foremost R-R/Bentley names and any restoration work done by those who specialize in customers with unlimited means; then what Ashley is contending is true. The R-type, however, is fairly straightforward to work on oneself and if one is prepared to pore over manufacturers' catalogues, then quite a few parts are not at all expensive although I doubt that I would ever repeat my triumph of obtaining a set of big-end bearings (shared with an early 3-litre Alvis) for 45!

The Standard Steel body is simple in construction having been pressed by Pressed Steel in Cowley and much easier to repair than those of a Bristol. The chassis and suspension appears to have been far better made (over specified?) as both cars of which I have experience have survived much better underneath than any of my Bristols. Surely both models require circa the same amount of paint to be poured over them and have similar amounts of carpet, leather, woodwork, headlining to replace. Again, in my experience, these fare rather better especially the leather and carpet. Many other items such as windscreens and bumpers are, in comparison, of modest cost.

Which did I prefer driving? Well, the Bristols of course, but Ashley's comment was about cost of ownership and restoration.
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Old 31-03-09, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo View Post
Based upon the comparison of two 408s and a 412 with my R-type and that of a close friend, I have to say that this is not my experience.
But George, you are not comparing apples with apples. The Bentley R Type can not be considered contemporary with even a Bristol 408, let alone a 412.

How about comparing restoration costs with a Bentley T1/2 or Corniche, or a Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, a Maserati Quattroporte or 5000GT, or an Aston Martin DBS V8.

These are what I would consider contemporary cars to the V8 Bristols and they would cost considerably more to restore. Mainly due to their complexity and/or the many proprietary parts used.
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Old 31-03-09, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

My son runs a business rebuilding these cars, if not completely then
fairly comprehensively, as I have my own www.richardjamesupholstery.com
Clyde may have seen him at Alpine Eagle when he was over there
trimming the Maharajah of Jodhpur's PI R-R.
I'd argue that R-Rs are different from any other car that I know about
and a great deal more expensively made than people realise. I'd also
argue that with 22 for a big end nut, 8K for the bits to rebuild and
engine or 3-5K for the bits for the front suspension and brakes, that
they are rather more expensive than a Bristol. A bare metal respray
including stripping out and re-fitting the interior without renewing
anything except probably the headlining, but including rebuilding all
the rusty body and four doors is about 500 hours.

BCL are currently selling rebuilt V8s to customer's specifications,
typically the bill is over 100K, but I understand that they can buy a
Chrysler engine and gearbox for 5K, so surely the V8s are a
relatively simple car and a more straightforward rebuild not only than
the R Types but also their contemporaries, certainly than a Silver
Shadow although Ferraris, Maseratis etc tend to be quite simple except
for the engines.

My 400 could probably have had the engine rebuilt for 5-6K if the
head and block hadn't been scrap, the front end is simple, the rear
suspension is simple and the most expensive job was building up and re-
grinding the arms that swivel in the axle tubes, but the body and
chassis was more extensively rusty than expected so probably took over
300 hours to restore and paint. It is a much more home made car than
the Bentley and has needed far more fettling to get it to run right
and handle properly. It was not nice without and anti roll bar.

I'd say that if an R Type or MKVI has had about 15K spent on a
suspension, axle, brakes and steering rebuild that it drives and rides
astonishingly well by any standards, but that most are pretty tired.
The 400 is noisy and bumpy and less comfortable and has a similar
performance, though it probably corners faster now it has an anti roll
bar. Before that the tail broke away too soon.

Having experienced cars that have been rebuilt to as near new as is
possible and having driven tired old classics when I was younger, I
must say that I don't enjoy anything that has not been completely
overhauled.

Ash
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Old 31-03-09, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
My son runs a business rebuilding these cars, Clyde may have seen him at Alpine Eagle when he was over there
trimming the Maharajah of Jodhpur's PI R-R.
Is that this one (see attached photo)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
BCL are currently selling rebuilt V8s to customer's specifications, typically the bill is over 100K, but I understand that they can buy a Chrysler engine and gearbox for 5K, so surely the V8s are a relatively simple car and a more straightforward rebuild not only than the R Types but also their contemporaries, certainly than a Silver
Shadow although Ferraris, Maseratis etc tend to be quite simple except
for the engines.
That's my view as well, that the V8 Bristols are really quite simple by comparison and have a low cost power train. Rebuilding those Italian V12 engines is a costly exercise, among other things, they have so many damn carburettors!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RR tall (Medium).jpg (80.2 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3480 (Large).JPG (117.3 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by Kevin H; 31-03-09 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 31-03-09, 11:05 AM
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I can't seem to view the photo Kevin but it is on his site and a huge polished Alloy thing with Pistachio leather interior.

He's doing a Type 49 for them next with Crocodile grain leather!

Today Brian Warren has him removing an engine from his 405, which is a palaver and still seems to need the gearbox out first.

Ash
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Old 31-03-09, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
I can't seem to view the photo Kevin but it is on his site and a huge polished Alloy thing with Pistachio leather interior.

He's doing a Type 49 for them next with Crocodile grain leather!
Photos on previous post have been fixed.

Is this the Bugatti ? (see attached)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Bugatti (Medium).jpg (82.5 KB, 28 views)
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 31-03-09, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

That is the car in Alpine Eagle's workshop. It's entered for Pebble
Beach Next year.
Ash
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Old 31-03-09, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

I have rebuilt a number of engines and I find little difference in the end
cost, so I am surprised by some of the numbers quoted for engine work.
Perhaps in Canada we are lucky in that regard. Specific items may cost more,
but the total seems to average out. I am listing the 6 cyl engines to keep
the oranges in line......Bentley Mk V1 a few years ago and more currently
Alfa 6C, Hotchkiss, Hudson and Jaguar.
By rebuilding I am including: Regrinding / chroming the crank, bearings or
babitting, valves, new pistons/rings, balancing all components, block and
head resurfacing + gaskets. This work is on my cars and the crank work is
done by a shop that I am very happy with.
In looking at my spare Bristol engine I see no difference that should
present me with major surprises. I am missing some BSF nuts and bolts so
that will prove to be a real nuisance and some expense, but otherwise I see
no cost issues that would differentiate it from other engines. Thanks to
input from you chaps ( on crank specs) I have secured some bearings (happily
they are also the same as my small Alfa, so very convenient). It does not
need bearings but one day it may, so I beleive in stocking up while there is
availability.
You see, the machine shop charges by the number of throws and mains.
Bearings are comparable in costs and babitting is the same. Manufacturing
pistons goes largely by size so in-fact the "cheaper" engines cost a bit
more as in this case they are a larger bore (Hudson and Hotchkiss). Machine
shop work such as cleaning, boring and resurfacing is roughly the same.
I prefer the overhead cam engines as they are easier to set up and also
easier to adjust in the car. Changing a cam in the rest of them entails an
engine removal + radiator grille and bonnett.
The cost of a headgasket may be substantially higher for some cars, but on
exhamination it is a gasket with 6 large holes in it and a series of smaller
water passages. I have them custom made and there is little difference
between models.
I think that in the UK many suppliers and shops charge by make and model and
not by actual cost. A Bristol piston may cost a lot more than an Austin,
when in-fact they could be very close in spec. In other words they hear
the word Bristol or Bentley and strains of "Rule Britannia" waft over the
shop with accompanying large Pound signs!
Over here many of my suppliers don't know what I am working on so the costs
are more in line.
Cheers
Dorien
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Old 31-03-09, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
That is the car in Alpine Eagle's workshop. It's entered for Pebble Beach Next year.
Ash
I have to say this type of restoration leaves me cold. If I remember rightly there was very little of the original body left of this car. So it's now like a brand new car, essentially a replica Bugatti, albeit with an original (rebuilt) engine and chassis. It may go down well at Pebble Beach but it will have zero patina and no real character.

I prefer more sympathetic restoration.
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Old 31-03-09, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

I couldn't disagree more, Alpine Eagle's restorations are organic
and manage to convey everything that the car has accumulated during
it's life, they aren't quite perfect. P & A Wood's are and they make
a car look like it was made yesterday in a CNC controlled Japanese
car factory. It's not the same at all.

Please suspend judgement until you have seen the work of what is one
of the finest restoration companies in the world. It's nice to find
old and original cars, but when you go through them they are tired and
worn out and need completely rebuilding.

A 1929 Bugatti is a blacksmith's job with a twisting chassis that
slowly dismantles the parts of the body that rot and insects didn't
find in the eighty years since it was built.

Have a look at some of the photos on Rich's site and I think you'll
see what I mean.

Ash
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Old 31-03-09, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
Please suspend judgement until you have seen the work of what is one of the finest restoration companies in the world. It's nice to find old and original cars, but when you go through them they are tired and worn out and need completely rebuilding.
Ash
Ashley, I have seen the work they do. I saw that car in the Alpine Eagle workshop and discussed it with John or Martin (can't remember which), that's how I know how little of the original car was left.

I am not questioning the work these guys do, I think it's second to none, I'm just saying that this sort of recreation of a car from a pile of scrap does nothing for me. Unfortunately Pebble Beach encourages this.

I know with this car there was no choice, but Bugatti made plenty of Type 49s and if I was wealthy enough to have this recreation made I would rather pay a bit more and buy one that was more original.

I guess it begs the question "at what point does a restored car cease to be considered original?"
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Old 01-04-09, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydroglen View Post
I have rebuilt a number of engines and I find little difference in the end cost, so I am surprised by some of the numbers quoted for engine work.

Perhaps in Canada we are lucky in that regard. Specific items may cost more, but the total seems to average out. I am listing the 6 cyl engines to keep the oranges in line......Bentley Mk V1 a few years ago and more currently Alfa 6C, Hotchkiss, Hudson and Jaguar.

By rebuilding I am including: Regrinding / chroming the crank, bearings or
babitting, valves, new pistons/rings, balancing all components, block and
head resurfacing + gaskets. This work is on my cars and the crank work is
done by a shop that I am very happy with.
Dorien,
I must admit I wasn't comparing engines of an equal size, I was simply compairing the V8 Bristol with contemporary 4 seater cars in a similar price bracket, which in the 1970's was probably the cost of the average semi detached house, or maybe 2 depending on where you lived.

The engine bay is definitely where the difference lies. For example an Italian V12 or an Aston V8 is bound to cost considerably more to rebuild than a Chrysler V8, because they are more complex engines with many more parts, and the ancillaries are more costly. Replacement or rebuilding of 4 or 6 twin choke Webers compared with one quad choke Carter, which you wouldn't even bother rebuilding because a replacement is so cheap.

The Astons have 4 cam shafts, wet liners and extremely high tolerances, so it would be foolish to buy liner and piston sets and bearings from anyone else but Aston Martin. I know someone who ignored that advice on a 6 cyl Aston engine and had to have the engine rebuilt a second time. He used Aston parts the second time.

Obviously on some of the cars you are talking about, original parts are not available, which is why the costs are very similar, but when you are using original proprietary parts the costs differences can be huge.

As an example, when I was having the valve clearances changed on my V8 Aston, the work was done by a local Ferrari/Lambo/Maser specialist and when he saw the shims he thought they were very similar to Alfa shims which were about one fifth of the cost of shims from Aston. After checking with Aston specialist Richard Williams in the UK (who was very kind to provide some free advice via email) we went ahead and used the Alfa shims, saving a considerable amount of money.

I sold it not long after that and the idiot who bought it immediately replaced the nicely patinated leather upholstery ...
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-09, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

A Bentley Camshaft is 1500 and a Bristol one 545. An exchange 410
motor in the UK is 1500 and the bearings and pistons etc for a worn
out R Type engine are 8K.

Ash
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Old 01-04-09, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Restore or buy restored ?

Well I was not comparing engines of comparable size ( Bristol at 2 lit and
Bentley and Hudson at over 4 lit are quite different ) but of the same
number of cylinders. This would keep the number of parts somewhat close.
I agree that once you get in to a V 12 or 4 cam V 8 things get pretty wild.
And yes, having parts made, is cheaper than using original proprietary ones
were prices become very "creative". The irony is, that often enough, the so
called "original" parts were made fairly recently by the same manufacturers
who makes them for others including myself.
The difference is in the price off the shelf.
Your comments on shims ( I take it you mean the cam shims under the buckets)
and considerable savings, are a good example of how money can be saved or
wasted. Lucky you had an Italian car specialist working on your Aston lol.
Cheers,
Dorien
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