Bicycle vs Automobile restorations

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T1Callahan

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nov 11, 2019
53
48
Socal
I had this thought the other day and have been kicking it around in my head. Why does it seem that the philosophy behind car restorations is completely opposite to that of bicycles. I am not a car guy, but do enjoy watching the tv shows and been to a few car shows as well. I don’t recall any of the car tv shows except maybe American pickers that value patina, original paint or original leather, original tops or chrome that may show its age. They seem to only care that the frame and body isn’t rusted and engine is number matching . It seems like they go for a complete overhaul, and the most dramatic restoration possible. I’ve been to a few car shows and it seems every car is torn down to the frame and ever part is repainted, re chromed, and interiors gutted to be replaced. They seem to want the car to look like it came off the show room floor.
But there seems to be a completely different philosophy around bike restorations. I know there are some differing opinions on the subject, but in my observations on these forums, people generally prefer to clean it up, but leave it as origina as possible, no matter how much patina there is. If there is only a bit of paint left on the frame and chrome has lost its luster , that seems quite acceptable and in many cases preferred. Obviously a bike or car that looks like it came out of a showroom and is all original is preferred and fetch a premium, but I’m more talking about the bikes and cars that show their age and are weathered to some degree.

Thought it might make an interesting topic, so please don’t be shy and share your thoughts.... I’m new to the bike thing, and like I said, I’m not a car guy so maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

Tom
 

JRE

I live for the CABE
Sep 8, 2008
1,146
Milwaukie, Oregon
I like my Patina trucks and bikes. Truck is getting updated suspention and mechanical and the body left alone. Partly due to I'm a painter lol. The bike I've been searching out the parts missing in patina matching paint.

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Aaron65

Look Ma, No Hands!
May 5, 2018
35
Michigan, USA
Body and paint work (and materials) cost so much that many people are starting to value patina on cars, too. I think it's easier to find bikes with decent, or at least usable, original paint than it is to find a decent original car. Where I live, salt destroyed most cars, and in milder climates, cars were driven into the ground and junked. It's a hypothesis anyway! :)
 

Freqman1

Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline
Jul 14, 2009
18,842
Evans, GA
I had this thought the other day and have been kicking it around in my head. Why does it seem that the philosophy behind car restorations is completely opposite to that of bicycles. I am not a car guy, but do enjoy watching the tv shows and been to a few car shows as well. I don’t recall any of the car tv shows except maybe American pickers that value patina, original paint or original leather, original tops or chrome that may show its age. They seem to only care that the frame and body isn’t rusted and engine is number matching . It seems like they go for a complete overhaul, and the most dramatic restoration possible. I’ve been to a few car shows and it seems every car is torn down to the frame and ever part is repainted, re chromed, and interiors gutted to be replaced. They seem to want the car to look like it came off the show room floor.
But there seems to be a completely different philosophy around bike restorations. I know there are some differing opinions on the subject, but in my observations on these forums, people generally prefer to clean it up, but leave it as origina as possible, no matter how much patina there is. If there is only a bit of paint left on the frame and chrome has lost its luster , that seems quite acceptable and in many cases preferred. Obviously a bike or car that looks like it came out of a showroom and is all original is preferred and fetch a premium, but I’m more talking about the bikes and cars that show their age and are weathered to some degree.

Thought it might make an interesting topic, so please don’t be shy and share your thoughts.... I’m new to the bike thing, and like I said, I’m not a car guy so maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

Tom
I draw more of an analogy between antique furniture and bicycles than I do cars and bicycles. Furniture is the same way-- people would rather have a 200 year old dark, original piece than a nicely refinished piece. On high end stuff this can be the difference in a few hundred thousand dollars. I think the original pieces 'speak' to people in a way a restored piece can't. We've trod this ground many times. Personally I appreciate, and own, both original and restored. The problem with a lot of restorations whether it be cars, furniture, or bikes many are poorly or incorrectly done. Non-original colors, patterns, base coat/clear coat, powder coat, etc... do not a bicycle restoration make. Whether its to cut corners or ignorance due to lack of proper research many restorations are really just refurbished. Jus my 2c V/r Shawn
 

morton

I live for the CABE
Nov 9, 2007
1,652
York, United States
I like restoratiions but not overrestorations. Many cars and bikes are taken far beyound what they would have looked like coming from the factory.

Those overrestored bikes and cars remind me of my grandfather's axe. My dad replaced the handle and I replaced the head, and yup here is my grandfather's axe!

I say use as many original parts as is safe to do. Would rather see a less than perfect condition bolt than a replacement, especially if the replacement is chinese.
 

Rivnut

I live for the CABE
Nov 24, 2012
1,230
Shawnee, United States
I think it has more to do with who is "viewing" the item. At a car show where the general public is part of the audience, I think they like to see something brought back to original. Not so at Greaserama where rat rods are the norm. I've ridden in a few parades and the general public is much more impressed with a restored bike than one with patina. "What color are you going to paint it when you finish restoring it?"
It boils down to your preference and with whom you ride and who you're trying to please. One thing for sure; it doesn't cost near as much to ride patina than it does ride a perfectly restored one.
 

vincev

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Nov 2, 2008
13,406
crown point<indiana
with old cars I prefer unrestored.I like seeing what is really there and not what was repaired and covered with paint. Unrestored also eliminates all the anxiety of people scratching up a beautiful paint job.If I take one of the old cars to a show I can just leave it and not worry about it. Pretty much the same with bikes. I have had the domino effect when a bike fell over in my garage a few times.
 

T1Callahan

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nov 11, 2019
53
48
Socal
I think it has more to do with who is "viewing" the item. At a car show where the general public is part of the audience, I think they like to see something brought back to original.
I hadn’t considered this. I have not been to a bike show yet, think there’s a small one coming up near me in March . But I bet The audiences are different. Most likely bikes are shown off to other bike guys/girls while cars are also shown to other car enthusiasts, they also draw in more of the general public. Car shows also judge the restorations and award winners. Maybe that’s also part of it as the judges favor a full restoration instead of a well preserved weathered but all original car? So add judges to the audience...
 
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natethecarlover

Look Ma, No Hands!
Feb 11, 2019
34
17
US
I had this thought the other day and have been kicking it around in my head. Why does it seem that the philosophy behind car restorations is completely opposite to that of bicycles. I am not a car guy, but do enjoy watching the tv shows and been to a few car shows as well. I don’t recall any of the car tv shows except maybe American pickers that value patina, original paint or original leather, original tops or chrome that may show its age. They seem to only care that the frame and body isn’t rusted and engine is number matching . It seems like they go for a complete overhaul, and the most dramatic restoration possible. I’ve been to a few car shows and it seems every car is torn down to the frame and ever part is repainted, re chromed, and interiors gutted to be replaced. They seem to want the car to look like it came off the show room floor.
But there seems to be a completely different philosophy around bike restorations. I know there are some differing opinions on the subject, but in my observations on these forums, people generally prefer to clean it up, but leave it as origina as possible, no matter how much patina there is. If there is only a bit of paint left on the frame and chrome has lost its luster , that seems quite acceptable and in many cases preferred. Obviously a bike or car that looks like it came out of a showroom and is all original is preferred and fetch a premium, but I’m more talking about the bikes and cars that show their age and are weathered to some degree.

Thought it might make an interesting topic, so please don’t be shy and share your thoughts.... I’m new to the bike thing, and like I said, I’m not a car guy so maybe I’ve got it all wrong.

Tom
I do see what you mean. I keep my bikes pretty original i only make it mechanically sound. My truck is the same way but i dowant to restore it. There are people who leave the cars the way they found them. But most people restore a car because its special to them and it preserves a memory. The other half is its more worth while financially to restore the car over the bike. With the tv shows, its just that a show. They do it to make money and keep people entertained. Why would they do it if it didnt pay

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redline1968

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Oct 16, 2008
5,520
Seattle, United States
I enjoy car restorations. I look at the so called patina cars ... rat rods. ...They look used. Nice but Doesn’t do anything for me.. if the car is in excellent original condition it should be saved just as bikes. Steve McQueen bullet brought 3.5 million.. to me it’s a historically important car and I agree with the price..but it was a pice of junk without Steve’s name.....half restored cars....People Seem to call them originals.. they are not. They are partial restored.. new paint means new paint not old. custom cars / bikes are amazing.. tons of work and looks like art when done.. I enjoy them but not doing them. Too much work / money and not enough appreciation. I lucked into original and restored bikes I buy what shows up not anything specific. Original Patina seems to be the norm for bikes.. I have them as some restored. I freak when a restored bike /car gets scratched but not a original.. funny to think that way because scratches is a form of giving patina and years from now it will be patina..lol
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T1Callahan

Look Ma, No Hands!
Nov 11, 2019
53
48
Socal
@redline1968 , That firebird turned out gorgeous. And that looks like a lot of work. I know why I'm not a car guy, Not because I don't like cars, but because I don't have the skills, money or the patiencs to complete an undertaking of that magnitude. I appreciate your view as a car restorer. I don't think that your firebird would be nearly as appreciated if you were driving it around looking like the top photo...Maybe cars don't hold up as well as @Aaron65 talked about in the earlier post as people drive them into the ground and they rust through, so you end up having to do major body work to make it sound. And once you start the major body work, you aren't left with the option to keep it original. Often times there isn't much left to appreciate by the time a car ends up in someones garage ready for restoration.
 
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49autocycledeluxe

I live for the CABE
May 29, 2017
1,465
60
fremont california
I'd say one big difference between cars and bikes would be that most old cars are worth more modified until we get to the muscle car era or certain rarities, but general use cars are worth way more as Hot Rods. Model A is a shining example, where people will buy older restorations and slip a whole new chassis under them.

my 61 Dodge is a good example of the differences between cars and bikes. it has 80% original paint, and a worn but original interior. has some rust in the rockers. it would be worth more with a repaint and new interior. no one knowledgeable about old bikes would redo a bike in this condition.
 
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frankandpam

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Jan 21, 2016
644
Tacoma Wa
The thing I don't like about high end restorations is it seems to be more of a "paint show". Like it's been said, "restorations" will wear the wrong wheels, wrong interior etc, but everybody drools over the ten coats of rubbed lacquer. How many times on Barrett Jackson have your heard them say, wow look at that paint ! A properly restored vehicle is preservation as is an original untouched vehicle. If a item speaks to you as is, leave it. If it needs some restoration it will let you know. Don't just "restore" it because you want the shiniest one on your block.
 

Rivnut

I live for the CABE
Nov 24, 2012
1,230
Shawnee, United States
I agree with all of the above comments, but as I said the spectators who like the looks of a restored bike at a parade aren't into the hobby and they're usually just looking at bright shiny things. The people who are into the hobby view things differently. I've been restoring most of the bikes that I have because when I bought them, they had already been abused, painted with house paint, and were nowhere complete; there was no patina to begin with. I can make more profit on a restored bike than trying to resell one in patina (if it'snot one that I want to keep.) Different strokes.

(Sure wish I could buy new fenders, floor plans, quarter panels etc. for my Rivieras. Lots of difference between putting on a reproduction and getting out the welder and the English wheel. Like rolling out an old fender or buying a repo.)
 
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bobcycles

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Sep 30, 2006
4,651
13
so cal beaches
As a collector and a restorer....I prefer NICE original well preserved bikes. No patience for rust and patina unless there is
something rare an unique about the bike (IE rare bike showing most graphics etc through rust and wear and tear)...
I thoroughly enjoy restoring deluxe and collectible models but have no desire to own one.
Restoring bikes is laborious and time consuming but I really enjoy recreating show room new looking with as much
original equipment including tires as possible... I believe the restored stuff, if done right, will last for generations...
and who knows...in 200 years if we're all still here... right up there with rare art. Same goes for the nice originals
and rare examples.
As far as bike restorations go...there are only a handful of people I know who do this at high levels.
Sad thing is...the majority of "restored" bikes are mediocre at best attempts... Perusing Ebay gives
you an eyeful...
Then you have the unknowing buyers...believing they are buying a 'museum piece' only to find
out later (hopefully) from more astute collectors they bought a hack job.
A far greater % of restored bicycle are grossly misrepresented....than honest restorations out there.
Wish it was the other way around but I've seen too much of the reality.
 

Dan Mahoney

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Oct 8, 2009
20
Chapel Hill, NC
The reason the reality TV shows show complete "restorations" on cars is because people like watching the work. Not much interest staring at a car for an hour that is already nice. None of these are really restorations, mainly because very few people know how to apply single stage paint. In my opinion, old cars look stupid with clear coat finishes. But it is cheap and fast to get a car to look shiny with clear coat. Not much skill required compared to a proper single coat finish. I have been collecting 60s era cars for a long time. Nice, original condition cars are still in garages waiting to be recommissioned. Here are a few of mine, all original cars, after recommissioning. Lots of work went into all of these cars, but they are original cars.

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49autocycledeluxe

I live for the CABE
May 29, 2017
1,465
60
fremont california
But it is cheap and fast to get a car to look shiny with clear coat. Not much skill required compared to a proper single coat finish.
single stage paint will be cheaper than a base/clear just about every time. the needed skill is the same regardless of the paint.

people get nutty with "restorations" I ran across a guy who thought if you did not use NOS or good original clips for the chrome trim it was a not a proper restoration.

this is why I like Hot Rods and custom cars
 
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