During the past year, some of Garagistry's more popular blog articles have dealt with the question of "Preservation vs. Restoration". As we have reported, some of the seemingly most innocent of "touch-ups" could have a substantially negative impact on the historical and financial value of a classic car.

Recently, Garagistry Contributor and Advisor, David Burroughs shared his response to an inquiry whether or not to leave "as is", or undertake a complete restoration of a low milage 1964 Chevy C30 pickup truck with 9 ft. Sidestep and all available options.  This classic Chevy possessed excellent provenance as it had been in the owner's family since it was delivered new - even though it has spent the last 20 years in storage.

We think David's logic and approach to this question reflects his passion for the conservation and preservation of classic vehicles.  We also acknowledge David's position on this question is certainly not the only valid or "correct" answer as multiple factors can impact your personal situation. However, given the fact he has championed the appreciation of accurate restorations and well-preserved originals since he first created the Bloomington Gold program in 1978, his commitment to authenticity should be well-valued.


The key points David wants classic car owners to consider when they encounter a similar situation are very straight forward:
  • Until you know what to do - DO NOTHING
  • Don't listen to just one knowledgeable person - including David himself.
  • Be sure that whomever's advice you do follow has credibility and understands BOTH "Preservation" and "Restoration" techniques and can articulate the pros and cons of each approach for your situation.
  • Don't do anything than cannot be reversed - for example, painting can not be reversed while swapping out a carburetor could be.
  • Understand the many options which lie between leaving something "as is" and restoring it to perfect condition.


Preservation vs. Conservation vs. Rehabilitation vs. Repair vs. Repainting components vs. Repainting everything vs. Replacing components vs. Restoration to perfect condition.

In short, David offered the following analogy -

"What would you think of a doctor who suggests treating a broken arm with the disassembling of the original arm and then restoring/replacing each part of the arm with new parts?  Sounds ridiculous, eh?"

Instead ask yourself the question, "Are there other options that would be less costly and less destructive (to the original vehicle) at the same time, and still result in a better operating vehicle?


He replied to the inquiry with the following advice:

"Based on the mileage and options described, I'd likely say 'Leave it alone' with the exception of a conservation program intended to halt any corrosion, prevent/stop any leaks, prevent further deterioration of rubber and seals, and the careful rehabilitation of the engine, transmission, etc."

More information, including photos of the vehicle would be the next logical step to give a more specific recommendation.

That sounds like excellent advice for anyone considering their options concerning Preservation vs. Restoration.