Two new books focus on unrestored collector cars

OCW reviews two new books devoted to unrestored cars: “It’s Only Original Once: Unrestored Classic Cars” by Richard Lentinello and “Survivor: The Unrestored Collector Car,” by Kris Palmer.
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The Old Cars Weekly staff loves (and even owns) unrestored cars, and these often-imperfect vehicles are really catching on with the rest of the hobby.

This category of car is also catching on with hobby publishers, two of which recently released different books on the topic.

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From Motorbooks International comes “It’s Only Original Once: Unrestored Classic Cars” by Richard Lentinello. In this hardcover book, Lentinello approaches the subject by featuring several well-preserved originals from the prewar era with a straight-eight 1937 Packard and a 1930 Oakland roadster. He gently glides into the postwar era, ending with such modern collectibles as the LT1-powered Impala SS sedans of the 1990s and the Hurst/Olds Cutlass coupes of the 1980s. The chapters are divided by era, and each car featured is accompanied by an interview with its owner, who often details how the car came to be a survivor.

The format of the book allows a reader to get the whole story on a car that catches their fancy, or simply pick up the book when a free moment arises without worrying about where he or she left off. And it’s a book you’ll want to pick up whenever you can.

To order the book, contact Motorbooks at 800-826-6600 or go to

Parker House’s contribution to the world of unrestored cars is “Survivor: The Unrestored Collector Car,” which also includes stories of several different survivors in its last eleven chapters, but the first four take a more philosophical approach to the topic.

In these first chapters, author Kris Palmer discusses the several perspectives on why cars are left unrestored, opinions and examples of when to restore and when not to restore, determinants to value of unrestored cars and more. For the person who appreciates the captured history on cars that remain largely original, these four chapters are worth the hardcover book’s $30 price alone.

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When it comes to the book’s second half, in which nearly a dozen unrestored cars are featured, the survivors are stellar. A collection of 1932 Fords, a 1925 Amilcar CGS, a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT, Hemi E-bodies and a Shelby Cobra are among those featured. Also look for a few more “common” treats, such as a 1959 Plymouth and a 1962 Thunderbird.
Palmer’s book is one that endorses thought on the topic and will either verify your own opinions on survivors, or give you a new outlook on their relevance.

To order, visit your local bookstore or call 800-462-6420.

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