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Is a Reproduction Ever Acceptable?

by Yoav Gilad / 30 Jan 2014

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  • Richard Holmes

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    I drive a McBurnie and a Mera--daily! If they were real, I doubt if I would venture out of the garage.

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  • Jon Warshawsky

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    I drove my Ferrari 328 all the time (in dry weather). Terrific car all round, and eventually sold it for what I paid. Won a few concours events as well. I miss it.

  • Bertram Wooster

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    Up front, my bias is that I finally finished an FFR MkII a year ago and it's terrific. The experience also changed how I look at these things-

    -There's a freedom you get with a replica owners of originals usually don't have: I can built or modify it as I see fit. Need to drill holes in the floor to fit a different seat? Go to EFI for lower emissions and better fuel economy as well as better running manners? No problem. You can get a much more useable car. Or not. Your choice. Do that to an original and you lose your investment and 'street cred.'
    -As satisfying as finishing a restoration is, building the entire car is even better!
    -It changed my idea of what a dream car is. Most of the stuff unveiled at auto shows is nice, but now what I really want is to build another! It's too bad that Ereminas GTZ replica is $38k...

  • Todd Cox

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    I saw a blue 472 Cobra kit car (I couldn't tell it was a kit) and stopped to shoot a few pictures for inspiration of my retro-mod project. I started talking to the guy and he told me about the car. It was a solid car that the couple had searched for; bought in California but the couple lived in TX. Clearly, there are replicas that are as sought after as the real ones.

    I looked around that car for a good while, and I really examined it. The details were all spot-on. The parts used to build it were identical in appearance, and likely far superior in function than the original car would have used. Is being reliable, affordable, and something that can be used and shared everyday a negative trait of the well-built kit car? I don't personally think so. And, on the dashboard was Carrol Shelby's signature. For me, that cemented it. That man, really, just built a kit car. A small run was produced, but the Cobra was never, ever anything more than a garage kit car commissioned by Ford after the Shelby cars had such racing success, beating Ford themselves. To me, that signature on the dash said everything; if Carrol Shelby can appreciate a replica enough to grace it with his signature, I think we can all respect the car.

    I will likely get a Porsche Speedster replica one of these days, but as the article points out there are wildly varying degrees of quality when it comes to a kit car. However, no matter how bad the kits might be, the VW chassis they sit on and the 1600 (now more commonly 1641) engines are more powerful and reliable than the early Porsche engines were; they are better today than they were, though I don't believe they diminish the experience.

  • Michael Hainey

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    Acceptable to who? If you need someone else's acceptance to make you feel okay about owning any car you then might be better off considering a nice Nissan or Honda.

    Boxerman, even with a 302 your car will not really be that close to an original MkI. You do realize that right? What vintage series do you plan to race that would only accept a 302? They were actually 289 powered until 68/69 which were 4.9 liter not 5.0 liter powerplants. Both Olthoff cars that do race vintage series are running 427W engines including the Gulf MkI that was running a 302 until swapping in the 427.

  • Boxerman

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    Possibly I am mistaken, but what Dennis told me is that he had been allowed to race his car initialy with a 351 based 427 because it is a Mk2 and they origionaly ran a 427 although those were an FE and a 4 speed not zf 5 speed. For the past few years the cars unless a Fe big block Mk2 are a MK1 and they must run a steel 289 or 302 block althougha alum head Ok, they can be bored but mustr retain a 3.0 stroke.

    As to the difference between a 289 and a 302 I am well aware. But a 302 is eesentialy a devloped 289 block and stronger, they both have the 8.2 deck height and 3.0 stroke. A 351 is a different motor and has a 9.5 deck height and numerous differences.

    So as a SPF is a new build or continuation GT40, a 302 is essentialy continuation 289. A SPF with a carbed 302 is essentiilay the car that was built in the 60's with some detail changes like 302 instead of 289 block, different switches aluminun uprights instead of magnesium and a few other bits. BUt if you look at a SPF tub, its is built the same and essentaily the same, just as a 302 is a 8.2 deck small block ford. Thie SPF with a 302 is from what I understand acceptable to SVRA and HSR. To race at good wood a SPF would need 30k in detail chnages and there was apparently one there.

    As to origional cars, most if not all have bene retubbed due to sorrosion and most have repacement glass hwich begs the question as to what from the 60's was left. Now some old GT40s are also runnign things like flat plabe cranks and all types of exotic internals, able to turn over 8k rpm, which is afar cry from how they were built in the 60's. Some might even argue thta a SPF with 302 because it is scrutinsed so strongle is more authentic to what was built in the 60's than the heavily modified datat plate 60's cars still running.

    In any event from what I hear and read, those who raced back in the 60's or histiruc race GT40s, and have or have driven a spf clamn that they drive exactly the same, which to me it is colse enough.

    Now other Gt40 replicas are different, a RCR or Bailey are essentialy modern cars undernath running different transaxles clothed ina GT40 body, same with KVA CAV GTD(which is tube frame). If you want the original suspension layout, a riveted and welded tub made with sheet metal and ribs as per lola, then its SPF Gelescoe or one of the safir builds if you can find one.

  • Jon Warshawsky

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    Assuming you have sought and obtained permission from Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche or whatever company owns the rights to the design and the logo trademarks, no problem. Any replica enthusiast who has done the due diligence on this should be on solid ground.

  • Bradley Price

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    In my view, replicas of racing cars are more acceptable than those of road cars. Because of the risky nature of racing combined with the overall rarity and fragility of original racing cars, which we might want to preserve (ask Dr. Fred Simeone or read his book if you disagree), there is some logic to racing re-creations of these cars provided they are authentically done. With road cars, it seems the primary motive behind purchasing a replica has more to do with showing off or creating an impression on others rather than re-creating a driving experience or living the past.
    I also have a big problem with replicas and re-creations where the correct badges are affixed. In my opinion, you can make your fake 330/P4 correct down to the last nut and bolt, but you have no right to put a prancing horse on the nose no matter how perfect the copy is. It is still a copy. Same goes for Beck 550 spyders. I would never deign to put a Porsche badge on one, even if it had a Porsche engine. I think the main purpose of these sorts of bolt for bolt re-creations is to provide a cheaper, sturdier, safer, more reliable way to enjoy the experience of driving a very rare and unattainable vintage car. And for that purpose, I think the replica route is actually arguably more sane than racing an actual vintage car with a significant history. After all, driving a Pur Sang T35 flat out, without a care in the world will be more like what it was like to race a Bugatti when it was new, compared to driving an 80-year-old authentic car in anger, wincing at every gear crunch. At the end of the day an authentic historic vehicle has a soul and a history that cannot be faked, but if the goal is to re-create the experience of racing these cars when they were new, then a re-creation is a viable solution, in my opinion.

  • Bradley Price

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    One last point on this topic: It's no secret that many of the cars racing today in historic events are nothing more than re-creations themselves--but with original chassis plates pried off of wrecked or destroyed cars. So this make the line between replica and restoration even more blurred.

  • Erik de Vries

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    I think it entirely depends on what you use the car for. If you plan to use it for racing, then fine. If you intend to dive the heck out of it, then great! If you plan to drive around "pretending" it's the real thing, well you have your priorities a bit mixed up then, don't you?