Gunners Garage

They're Only Original Once

Car collectors like to say “They’re only original once.”  After seeing a gorgeous original 1938 Buick Special business coupe at the “Average Joe Car Show” last weekend, I have to agree.  Original cars, even with just a few pimples and flaws, havea very high level of collector appeal.  John Merrick, who owns this car, collects both wood boats and old cars.  He’s been at it for years.  In his car collection he has a 1955 Cadillac, two 1961 Corvettes, a 1967 Corvette and a 1971 Corvette.  By any yardstick, that’s a nice assortment of cars, but the 62,000 miles Buick Special really is special because it’s untouched, with no restoration at all. Sure, it has some paint crazing.  Sure, it has replacement wide whitewall tires.  But the paint, chrome, interior and just about everything else are virtually untouched.  Cars like the Buick are “time capsules” to the past.  They are only original once. And collectors who own them should be thanked for keeping them that way.

8 thoughts on “They're Only Original Once

  1. mike

    Impressive, I wish my car can last at long time. But i guess with all proper car care and maintenance it can be achieved by everyone. Car care is a total thing. I’m hopeful that i can still recover my old car…it needs nissan steering rack and some suspension parts.

  2. mike

    Impressive, I wish my car can last at long time. But i guess with all proper car care and maintenance it can be achieved by everyone. Car care is a total thing. I’m hopeful that i can still recover my old car…it needs nissan steering rack and some suspension parts.

  3. John Gunnell

    Mike

    When I first got into older cars back in the 1970s, I didn’t have the talent or the money to really fix what needed to be fixed. But it can ALL be done if you really want to fix the car. Just stick with it, do things the right way (don’t cut corners) and take your time. Some mechanics may work fast, but the good ones work smart, which usually takes longer. Today, there is plenty of good, free advice available via the Internet

    John Gunnell

  4. John Gunnell

    Mike

    When I first got into older cars back in the 1970s, I didn’t have the talent or the money to really fix what needed to be fixed. But it can ALL be done if you really want to fix the car. Just stick with it, do things the right way (don’t cut corners) and take your time. Some mechanics may work fast, but the good ones work smart, which usually takes longer. Today, there is plenty of good, free advice available via the Internet

    John Gunnell

  5. John Griffith

    Hi Gunner,

    I love original cars. I want them just like they came from the factory. It just kills me when I see a nice old car that has been modified. My 72 LTD is 36,000 mile original. Other than fluids, battery, maintenance items and radial tires, it is as it was made. The interior is absolutely pristine and everything works as it should except the clock. There are a few scratches here and there and some road rash on the bottoms of the right fenders. I have a Marti report, 72 sales brochure (and there is a car just like mine illustrated in it) and 72 Salesman’s binder with all 72 Fords in it that I purchased at Hershey last fall. My 71 LeSabre is also mostly original. It has had some rust repair and I had one rear quarter and the vinyl roof replaced a couple of years ago because the portable garage I had it in decided to take off on a very windy day which resulted in some nasty scratches and a big gouge out of the top. This car was purchased new in New Jersey by some friends of my uncles. He bought the car from them in 1980 and gave it to me in 2000. It’s in decent shape, but nowhere near as nice as the LTD. No, original is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned.

  6. John Griffith

    Hi Gunner,

    I love original cars. I want them just like they came from the factory. It just kills me when I see a nice old car that has been modified. My 72 LTD is 36,000 mile original. Other than fluids, battery, maintenance items and radial tires, it is as it was made. The interior is absolutely pristine and everything works as it should except the clock. There are a few scratches here and there and some road rash on the bottoms of the right fenders. I have a Marti report, 72 sales brochure (and there is a car just like mine illustrated in it) and 72 Salesman’s binder with all 72 Fords in it that I purchased at Hershey last fall. My 71 LeSabre is also mostly original. It has had some rust repair and I had one rear quarter and the vinyl roof replaced a couple of years ago because the portable garage I had it in decided to take off on a very windy day which resulted in some nasty scratches and a big gouge out of the top. This car was purchased new in New Jersey by some friends of my uncles. He bought the car from them in 1980 and gave it to me in 2000. It’s in decent shape, but nowhere near as nice as the LTD. No, original is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned.

  7. John Gunnell

    To: John Griffith
    Fr: John Gunnell

    I don’t tend to be one of those people who chastises others for changing their car from original. I guess after 30 or so years in the old-car business, I have seen great original cars and great modifieds. I can appreciate both. But I can still feel that cars are "only original once" and that the owners of cars that are nicely-preserved in original condition are very special folks. John, it sounds like you’re a member of that "club."

    "Gunner"

  8. John Gunnell

    To: John Griffith
    Fr: John Gunnell

    I don’t tend to be one of those people who chastises others for changing their car from original. I guess after 30 or so years in the old-car business, I have seen great original cars and great modifieds. I can appreciate both. But I can still feel that cars are "only original once" and that the owners of cars that are nicely-preserved in original condition are very special folks. John, it sounds like you’re a member of that "club."

    "Gunner"

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