Letters from readers, August 2004

Author

admin

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Historical authenticity

Sir,

I was very interested to read your June article on historic authenticity, particularly since it featured a photo of one of the Lancia D50s I’ve reconstructed in partnership with Guido Rosani. I own one of these cars, which has been seen in public many times at Goodwood and various other events in Europe.

All racing cars are subject to wear, and in time, as parts are worn and replaced or suffer accident damage, almost any car loses its original character. Cars are not like paintings. A valuable, restored historic car which is fit to race today will have very little left of its original character and components whatever its present owner would lead you to believe.

Secondly, car developments (including engine, transmission, brakes and suspension) have taken performance to unimaginable levels based on the period in which the cars were first built. This has also caused loss of originality; this time self-inflicted.

Thirdly, there are the differences between ‘fakes’, ‘replicas’, ‘reconstructions’ and ‘copies’ — terms that are often used without distinction. ‘Fakes’ set out deliberately to deceive people that they are what they are not. ‘Replicas’ and ‘copies’ are different: they’re reproductions of originals that may or may not still exist; they may be good or bad depending on how accurately they are carried out. ‘Reconstructions’ are collections of period parts, which may either be reunited as they once were or be a correct reassembly of period parts which did not at any time form part of the same single car — like ‘copies’ and ‘replicas’, they can be carried out well or badly.

Unless they are abusing trademarks or other intellectual property rights, anyone is free to make a ‘replica’, a ‘copy’ or a ‘reconstruction’. Until a few years ago there were no such things as FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Forms, and when one sees the results that the old system produced one wonders if ignorance was not bliss. There are strong arguments for letting race organisers decide what they wish to invite or accept rather than having an often erratic and bureaucratic international history identity system. The new Appendix K seems to be an improvement, particularly since they concentrate for the first time on cars running to correct period specification.

And where does this leave the apparently controversial D50s? There are only two surviving ‘original’ cars, both non-runners in museums. Both incorporate racing modifications and neither is remotely in the condition in which they were built in 1954/55. ‘Our’ D50s have original engines and transaxles and are built to the original drawings. They produce the same power and torque as in the 1950s — brakes, transmission and suspension are unaltered from the original. Some might agree that they are closer to being the original Lancia D50s than any of the restored, developed and improved 250Fs out there are to being Maseratis. One thing is certain — any time one of ‘our’ D50s appears it attracts huge public enthusiasm and, I think, approval. Which is better: a very rare historically important car reconstructed from original parts to the original specification, giving pleasure to large numbers of enthusiasts and spectators, or a collection of unused parts gathering dust in garages in England and Italy?

Anthony MacLean, Geneva, Switzerland

Copies of what?

Sir,

You write in your June editorial of FIA President Max Mosley having waded in and opened the door to new ‘old’ cars, “albeit 100 percent accurate facsimiles”. Accurate facsimiles of what, I wonder?

What a fine mess we shall have when new copies appear of any of the inaccurately repaired cars, of various makes, as already admitted to the competition, in spite of their deliberately unoriginal configurations. I’ve no doubt the mess will truly delight those two gentlemen masquerading as Laurel and Hardy at major events during last season!

Bill Colson, Isfield, East Sussex