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Original or Custom


Original or Custom?

I'm amazed at the turmoil that this question puts people through.

I am writing this article to help people feel more at ease with the decision. My intent is not to sway one way or another but my opinion is sure to come through.




First lets clearly define Original.

    This should be an easy task, but it all lies in perspective. Lets use an example, a 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible. Ok, fresh off the car hauler from the factory we have a beautiful red Convertible. It has a six cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Mr. owner sees the car in the show room and knows his wife will love it. One problems no air conditioner,

"No problem!" says Mr. Salesman. "We can install it for you". Now we have a beautiful '66 Mustang Convertible with A/C. Fast forward 2 months, Mr. Owner see a great looking set of GT mags at the Ford dealership that would make the car look good so he has them put on. Some time later a slight mishap on the highway damages the front-end. While at the Dealership body shop his wife says "wouldn't it look great if it were black?". So, two weeks later its all repaired and sporting a highly polished black paint job. In love with the car the two of them drive all around town wearing big smiles as every tells them how good their car looks.


    So, now comes the dilemma. When did the car make the transformation from stock to custom? The A/C? (no, it was a dealer add-on option in '66) The GT mags? (well, maybe, but it was dealer installed) Ok, the paint? (probably, it was a done by the dealer, and you could buy a Mustang painted black, and everyone that saw it didn't even think about it being original or a custom paint job)



    At what point does the original start? The Factory? The Dealership?....


What Do you want?

    Do you want to go back to 1966?, and have the car just like you would have gotten it then? If so that is great you will have a car that not only looks good, but you will enjoy.

    Do you say to yourself, "I love the look of the look of Classic Mustangs but, I love the performance of my '93 GT." If, that is the case then save some money by buying a six cylinder car, strip out that engine, drop in a fuel injected 5.0L and add disk brakes, rack and pinion, power windows, and power locks.


    Why do you want a classic car? What will be its primary function? What is your budget? Will this be seen as an investment, or pleasure? Why so many questions?...

Most classic car restoration projects exceed $30,000, so it is important to know what you want out of the final project. If money is a concern, then having an original distributor cap and the correct marking on the tires may eat into your tight budget. Unless you are planning to enter the car in a show and have it judged for originality then installing a cd player in the dash will not affect anything as long as you don't hack up the dash in the process. Ultimately it boils down to what you want, not what everyone else thinks.


Some comments I hear that make cringe:

  • "I would love to have XYZ car, but I could never afford it. And a clone is out of the question"

Clones are not the devil. I am against trying to deceive a perspective buyer, but if you can fool the local yokel at the cruise-in, then kudos to the restorer.

  • "I wish this car was red but the data plate says it need to be pea green"

Answer the questions above. Depending on what you are shooting for if you put a chrome air filter and radial tires, then its not original. You are spending a lot of money on the project, so make it the way you want it.

  • There are more but I'll stop now, you get the point.



At Corbett's Auto we try to help you make an informed decision with out pushing you in either direction. Our one goal is to insure that you will be happy with the finished project. Besides the joy it brings us by having happy customers, if you enjoy your car it shows and it brings us more business. So weather we need to spend hours doing research to insure that your car will pass the strenuous inspection of a concourse judge, or squeezing a big block underneath a stock hood, we are there to make you happy with every aspect of our work.



In closing original is a matter of perspective. Depending on how you see it hanging fuzzy dice, and chrome valve stems could be perceived as unoriginal. So search deep and build the car that you see in your head when you dream. And when you wake-up drive in to see us and we will help make your--



For more ramblings similar to this read these article:

The Philosophy of Car Restoration --  by: John Baird

Give it a Break --  by: Steve Grissom  



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