Original Tastes

The perfection of imperfection; it's a trend.
The perfection of imperfection; it’s a trend.

Editor’s Note: this post was originally produced in 2015 but the story line is still accurate..perhaps even more so..and the link is still good. It’s repeated here as we move into the major season(s) for Concours shows. 
Paying Attention: 
Not so long ago, I was at the Pebble Beach concours, primarily to see a client’s car through the auction process but also to look after another car that a friend had entered in the show. The car was a Ferrari 250 SWB, a very desirable model from one of Ferrari’s great periods and it was beautiful in every way. It had undergone a complete restoration by Ferrari’s internal Classiche Department, and was, for all intents and purposes, brand new.
In a show that prizes perfection, one would think that particular car would have won.
It did not.
It did not even win  its’ class.
And when I tracked down one of the judges to ask why the car did not perform better in the judging, he said something that was a bit startling: “It’s too perfect. The car looks like a new showroom model. There’s no patina at all.”
I understood his point about the car being “too new” although I certainly don’t  agree with the idea that the car should be downgraded because it was a perfect specimen in a beauty contest that traditionally) prized perfect specimens.
The bigger point, however, was that at Pebble Beach (and at other big concours shows now) there is a movement away from engineered/renovated perfection and towards perfected preservation of a car in it’s original state. It’s a serious movement and it’s here to stay;  just a few weeks ago, the New York Times picked up on this significant cultural shift with this very fine article on the rising value of collector cars in “original” condition. It’s a terrific article by Robert Yeager and is going to provide much food for thought for collectors over the next few years.
The Fine Print: Photo (C) 2015, Donald Pierce. All rights reserved. 

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