Better 'fakes' than never

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The VSCC has expanded significantly since a group of young enthusiasts founded it in 1934 to encourage the preservation, and especially the use, of what they regarded as proper sportscars, defined as those made prior to 1931. The club now caters for approved 1931-39 cars, Edwardians, historic racing and sportscars up to the 1960s, and has been lenient to post-1939 vintage-type cars which are deemed in specification to be the same as the pre-war version. But surely this cannot mean that a 1931 A7, for example, is a vintage car?

Now comes the question of whether or not to permit replicas. An excellent replica Fiat 803, with a non-racing engine, has already competed in a VSCC race, although the C&G-resuscitated Auto Union, and Napier ‘Samson’ replica, at present would not be permitted in VSCC races.

It could be argued that it’s better to have a competentlymade replica of a famous car than a vintage chassis with a body not conforming to any known previous car, as this is perpetuating the past mechanically without an historical element. If no example of a car from the past still exists, or such is incarcerated in a museum, a replica, as long as it is properly presented, may be permissible, even commendable.

It might be argued, too, that a brand-new product, if raced, could have an advantage over 40-year-old cars. But as new parts are used, necessarily or otherwise, in many old cars, this is probably not a valid argument.

Replicas of otherwise ‘dodo’ cars which have original components in their make-up seem to me acceptable, as are Specials made with the VSCC’s accepted proportion of vintage components. Most Ulster A7s have replica bodies, but these are usually shells made to the correct shape and dimension of the original. Glass fibre Goulds, with plastic mudguards and running boards look even better, but I can see why glass fibre is a horror in the vintage movement

I rest my case, while admitting an aversion to replica Bugattis, Frazer Nashes and such like, while many original cars actively exist.