Judging the "Preservation Class" in our very own showroom
Over the past few years, many concours have introduced a preservation class or an award for best preserved car. To our delight, this phenomenon has grown in importance, showing that cars whose souls have been retained are just as worthy of respect and adoration as cars that have undergone a no expense spared restorations.
Years ago, when we first tried to convince clients of the importance of authenticity and patina, we had the impression that we were talking to a brick wall. Today, "It's only original once" is a sentence spoken by many - but realised by few! Both extremes of the spectrum are very easy to find, from rusty wrecks to fully restored (or even overrestored) examples, but as often in life, the difficulty lies in finding the perfect middle ground: a car that has simply been kept running and legal, and that has gradually become a witness of the past.
At Marreyt Classics, we have been lucky to make several of these extraordinary discoveries. Not only do we attach a lot of importance to provenance and originality, we make it a point of honour that all these "time-warp" cars leave our premises in fully operational condition.
It's always a pleasure to let the world savour these unusual finds with us. Last year at Techno Classica Essen, we showed the classic car world the most original Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. Having spent over thirty years accumulating dust in a dry barn, it had merely 22.000 km on the counter. It didn't take long before someone fell in love with this Giulietta that looked as if it had just rolled out of the local Alfa Romeo dealership's showroom.
|But preservation doesn't necessarily mean "unused". On the contrary, isn't it part of the classic car experience to sit in the same leather seats in which the first owner enjoyed countless miles several decades ago? That's exactly the feeling that we get when taking place in our Maserati 3500GT. We bought it from the third owner, who had kept it for 42 years after seeing Maserati works driver Cesare Perdisa, who had a Maserati dealership in his home town Bologna, driving this car with Prova license plates. How often do you find an untouched Maserati 3500GT? You can easily find fully restored ones (both well restored and very badly restored) and untouched wrecks, but never a very healthy, accident free and fully functional one that still has its original paint, leather, engine, ... everything!|
|Our Fiat 1800 Coupé Viotti Gran Lusso is in a similar remarkable condition. We found this car near Napoli where the car lived all her life, still wearing her original NA registration number! Thanks to the warm mediteranean climate and a sheltered life, this ultra rare top-of-the-range coachbuilt Fiat aged remarkably well. A Fiat 1800 Coupé Viotti is already quite a rare sight, let alone a fully authentic example!|
|In other cases, we've unearthed cars that flirted with the "perfect middle ground": they looked deliciously scruffy, with charmingly patinated interior and coachwork, but they were also in need of a thorough restoration. In that case, we're always delighted when we manage to convince the car's new owner to engage in a conservative restoration with us. Upon completion, the car looks exactly the same as when we freed it from its shed, barn, or other hiding place. But make no mistake: from a mechanical point of view it can easily compete with any other concours restored car! Pictured below are a very rare 1950 Salmson S4E Splendilux by Esclassan (one of only three or four made) on which we performed such a conservative restoration, and one of the last Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato 3C's - one of the only 33 produced with a 2.8 engine - that is currently being taken care of by our skilled craftsmen.|
What we like the most about the preservation class, is very well worded by Classic & Sports Car's James Elliott: "They make me, as the owner and user of classics that will never be invited to any concours - even in a preservation class - feel that those who can afford to own the finest, shiniest and most stunning cars in the world, are tipping a hat to the vast majority of us who don't, but love our classics just as much. And for me that's what the classic car world is all about."
We couldn't agree more.
Victor Bocquéstraat 15
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