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So test who binds himself forever - auto-emotion and its pitfalls

DAR 12/2008
By Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Kukuk, Overath

Anyone approaching the "object of desire" in the form of a classic car can be helped by serious checklists to cool down the "car emotion" somewhat, which, admittedly, is almost impossible, as passion for collecting and hunting fever quickly cloud the clear view. This does not only apply to normal prospective buyers, the classic car expert will also have to proceed according to a scheme / checklist in order to concentrate on the object and, as banal as it sounds, not to forget anything!

We have provided you with such a Checklist in pdf format available for download.

I. Scope of investigation
The entire car is examined. I personally like to use the Oldtimer-Markt checklist from 12/85-03/861 or the two checklists by Winfried Seidel2 "Prüfung eines restaurierten/unrestaurierten Fahrzeuges".

II. Identification
The type plate, the chassis number, the body and engine number as well as the gearbox number, if applicable the numbers of the steering and other aggregates are recorded and photographed. Using scientific testing methods3 , the numbers are examined as embossed identification. (However, where are the numbers and what do they look like? (Typeface/stamp type etc.) The type experts of the stamp clubs will be happy to help if the manufacturer's documents are missing. The responsible archivist of the manufacturer or brand club will be contacted and sent photos of the mint marks/ type plates, which can then be compared with the records.

III. authenticity
The fact that the authenticity of a classic car essentially determines its value seems a commonplace that hardly needs to be mentioned. However, the scandal surrounding a collector's fake Porsche 2.7 RS last year showed that even a supposed assurance through appropriate contracts does not mean all-round protection. The reference to possible scientific analyses of a vehicle only helps to a limited extent, since contrary to popular opinion
the authenticity cannot be proven. Material examination, embossing mark examination according to the Fry method, etc. can only ever transcribe a vehicle, never attribute it. This attribution must, and here lies the problem, always be made in the overall context of all vehicle components in connection with the proven, vehicle-specific history.
IV. Conservation status
The state of preservation is important and is one of the factors that determine the value of a vehicle. I would like to refer you once again to the above-mentioned market checklist.

V. Frame/floor group
The frame forms the backbone of old vehicles and even in self-supporting bodies the floor assembly is often reinforced by box frame structures. It is measured if necessary and compared with original drawings. The material of the frame can be partially tested non-destructively using several scientific methods4. Welds (additional! for shortened frames) can be detected or tested using etching methods5. Welding filler metals and frame materials are compared with decadal data6 if necessary. Finally, the frame/floor assembly is to be inspected for accidental damage and corrosion attack, if necessary by means of an endoscope.

VI. bodywork
Does the vehicle have the original bodywork? Is the material and/or structure and the dimensions correct? Hasn't an inferior vehicle from the manufacturer been "faked" into a higher-quality one, e.g. a saloon into a "Le Mans" special? Of course, the bodywork must also be examined for accident damage. Again, type experts of the clubs, manufacturer archivists and above-mentioned scientific methods help with the examination. Finally
The question remains as to how many original parts that may have seen the chequered flag at the Mille Miglia in 1940 still exist today and have not been copied in the meantime.
VII. aggregates
The axles and the brake system are checked for condition and originality. Does the Porsche 356 Carrera 2000 GS-GT have the ring brake with which it was delivered? In addition, the differential, gearbox and engine are to be examined for condition and originality. Does the Ford GT 40 have the original ZF gearbox? Is the crankshaft with the large bolted cheeks on the BMW 328 MM correct?

VIII. Interior/canopy

The seats, trim and soft top are checked for originality of material and workmanship.

IX. Chrome/Nickel/Brass/Copper etc.

Are the trim and add-on parts made of materials appropriate to the type and galvanised in a timely manner? How are the condition, workmanship and assembly to be assessed?

X. Electrics
Has the wiring harness been revised in accordance with the times? For example, is the 24-volt regulator radio interference-free as intended for the vehicle type?

XI. Lacquer
The paint inspection is the most important point in determining a "pristine car". The coating thickness measurement is a compulsory exercise for every expert. The first coat of paint in conjunction with an undamaged body/frame is a "guarantee" for the unique selling point that the vehicle is still in its original condition, which is relatively uncomplicated to determine using scientific measuring technology. What a rarity it is when a Porsche 2.7 RS in its original paintwork or a Bugatti 35 C Grand Prix in its complete original condition stands before you. But what happens when such a vehicle is involved in an accident? The uniqueness/exceptionality is gone and the value is considerably reduced!

XII. History
The vehicle-specific history with proof of manufacture and proof of all previous owners and mileage by means of submitted invoices and/or logbooks documenting the movements of the vehicles must be checked.

XIII Provinience
When RM-Auctions auctioned various certified Ferraris in Maranello on 18. 5. 2008, the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider from 1961, auctioned by Mr. Chris Ewans and valued at € 3,000,000 to € 3,500,000, achieved a hammer price of € 7,040,000. The previous owner was the Oscar winner James Coburn, who died in 2002. The myth of famous personalities can also ennoble profane vehicles, such as Pope Benedict's VW Golf.
XVI, which was auctioned on the internet for €188,938.88.

XIV The General Market
It is also necessary to comment on whether a vehicle has been on the market before and when it was knocked down at auction. Since databases make this research easily possible today, it is part of the statements about the quality of a vehicle to list whether the object has failed at an auction in the past or at what price it was previously knocked down.

XV. Quality
Of course, the quality of a vehicle is one of the factors that determine its value. The dispute as to whether this is a subjective or an objectifiable valuation criterion seems idle. The fact that the quality of a vehicle is not immediately obvious to every layman is not proof that quality aspects do not exist in the valuation of vehicles. Vehicles such as the DB 300 SL Gullwing, which is derived from a racing car design, certainly have a different quality than the 190 SL launched by the same manufacturer, which stands on the shortened floor assembly of the 180. Even though the qualitative assessment of a vehicle may be difficult, one must not omit this point, otherwise the assessment will remain incomplete.

XVI Marketability.
Anyone strolling through the Techno-Classica in Essen in 2008 was struck by Porsche 911 vehicles in Hall 3. This shows that these vehicles are currently hard to beat in terms of marketability. The assessment is more difficult in other cases. For example, a Swallow has a much higher marketability than an Avon, although both are built with an aluminium body on a standard or Austin Seven chassis. Only, Swallow became Jaguar
and the New Avon Body Company no longer exists after approximately 80 vehicles were built in the 1930s. The reader may therefore develop a feeling for the points to which he should pay attention so that the relationship with the "classic car object of desire" does not end with unpleasant surprises (in the car cemetery) - without this "foray" into the expert assessment of a classic car claiming to be complete.

Spotlight DAR 12/2008
1 Oldtimermarkt 12/85, p. 62; 1/86, p. 30; 2/86, p. 44; 3/86, p. 48
2 Winfried Seidel Ladenburg,
3 Adler etching; Frysche etching: Hermann Schumann, Metallography, 13th revised edition, Leipzig, Dt. Verlag für Grundstoffindustrie, 1990, p. 738.
DAR Service 736
DAR 12/2008
4 Optical Emmision Spectroscopy with Arc and Spark Excitation/Spectroscopy with Glow Deposition Excitation
5 Eagle etching, see fn. 3.
6 Dipl.-Ing. Dieter Orbach []

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