Journal: Is a Reproduction Ever Acceptable?

Is a Reproduction Ever Acceptable?

By Yoav Gilad
January 29, 2014
25 comments

Yesterday, we ran an article discussing future potential car purchases. If you like, you can click the link and read it, we’ll wait. But basically, I’m considering purchasing a new (vintage) car and a couple of replicas are at the top of the list. No, none of them are based on the Pontiac Fiero. They’re both very well built and engineered replicas, which can be used on the street or track.

Opinions were mixed, both in the responses to the article and at the Petrolicious office, between people who think a replica is acceptable and those who question how it’s built and whether it’s a real replica or not. It’s easy to understand the conflict: purity versus cost and availability. But, like all other cars, replicas are not created equal. As I mentioned, I’m not talking about buying a home-chopped, neglected budget build. All of the replicas under consideration are tube-chassis, custom fabricated race cars.

Which brings us to today’s question(s): are replicas ever acceptable? Does build quality affect your position on this? Or is it a simple matter of purity and provenance? What if the car is too scarce and you can’t possibly hope to own it?

Click here to see the Cobra RM Auctions listing (Photography by Drew Shipley © 2014)

Click here to see the Countach RM Auctions listing (Photography by Darin Schnabel © 2014)

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25 Comments on "Is a Reproduction Ever Acceptable?"

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Erik de Vries
Erik de Vries
2 years 7 months ago

I think it entirely depends on what you use the car for. If you plan to use it for racing, then fine. If you intend to dive the heck out of it, then great! If you plan to drive around “pretending” it’s the real thing, well you have your priorities a bit mixed up then, don’t you?

Bradley Price
Bradley Price
2 years 9 months ago

One last point on this topic: It’s no secret that many of the cars racing today in historic events are nothing more than re-creations themselves–but with original chassis plates pried off of wrecked or destroyed cars. So this make the line between replica and restoration even more blurred.

Bradley Price
Bradley Price
2 years 9 months ago
In my view, replicas of racing cars are more acceptable than those of road cars. Because of the risky nature of racing combined with the overall rarity and fragility of original racing cars, which we might want to preserve (ask Dr. Fred Simeone or read his book if you disagree), there is some logic to racing re-creations of these cars provided they are authentically done. With road cars, it seems the primary motive behind purchasing a replica has more to do with showing off or creating an impression on others rather than re-creating a driving experience or living the past.… Read more »
Jon Warshawsky
Jon Warshawsky
2 years 10 months ago

Assuming you have sought and obtained permission from Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche or whatever company owns the rights to the design and the logo trademarks, no problem. Any replica enthusiast who has done the due diligence on this should be on solid ground.

Boxerman
Boxerman
2 years 10 months ago
Possibly I am mistaken, but what Dennis told me is that he had been allowed to race his car initialy with a 351 based 427 because it is a Mk2 and they origionaly ran a 427 although those were an FE and a 4 speed not zf 5 speed. For the past few years the cars unless a Fe big block Mk2 are a MK1 and they must run a steel 289 or 302 block althougha alum head Ok, they can be bored but mustr retain a 3.0 stroke. As to the difference between a 289 and a 302 I… Read more »
Michael Hainey
Michael Hainey
2 years 10 months ago
Acceptable to who? If you need someone else’s acceptance to make you feel okay about owning any car you then might be better off considering a nice Nissan or Honda. Boxerman, even with a 302 your car will not really be that close to an original MkI. You do realize that right? What vintage series do you plan to race that would only accept a 302? They were actually 289 powered until 68/69 which were 4.9 liter not 5.0 liter powerplants. Both Olthoff cars that do race vintage series are running 427W engines including the Gulf MkI that was running… Read more »
Todd Cox
Todd Cox
2 years 10 months ago
I saw a blue 472 Cobra kit car (I couldn’t tell it was a kit) and stopped to shoot a few pictures for inspiration of my retro-mod project. I started talking to the guy and he told me about the car. It was a solid car that the couple had searched for; bought in California but the couple lived in TX. Clearly, there are replicas that are as sought after as the real ones. I looked around that car for a good while, and I really examined it. The details were all spot-on. The parts used to build it were… Read more »
Bertram Wooster
Bertram Wooster
2 years 10 months ago
Up front, my bias is that I finally finished an FFR MkII a year ago and it’s terrific. The experience also changed how I look at these things- -There’s a freedom you get with a replica owners of originals usually don’t have: I can built or modify it as I see fit. Need to drill holes in the floor to fit a different seat? Go to EFI for lower emissions and better fuel economy as well as better running manners? No problem. You can get a much more useable car. Or not. Your choice. Do that to an original and… Read more »
Richard Holmes
Richard Holmes
2 years 10 months ago

I drive a McBurnie and a Mera–daily! If they were real, I doubt if I would venture out of the garage.

Jon Warshawsky
Jon Warshawsky
2 years 10 months ago

I drove my Ferrari 328 all the time (in dry weather). Terrific car all round, and eventually sold it for what I paid. Won a few concours events as well. I miss it.

Boxerman
Boxerman
2 years 10 months ago
I think when it comes to repros there are a number of categories which soemtimes get confused. There are Kit cars, reproductions, recreations, tool room copies,and various greay areas in between. In Kit cars we have a broad range of machines, from Vw powered bugattis, to vette ferraris, Countaches with Chevies, to even possibly FFr cobras. To me a kit car is eitehr an origional design, or a visual approximation of an out of production car, no kit car used the same build method or mechanical componants as an orgional. The FFr might be debatable, but the body is glass… Read more »
JB21
JB21
2 years 10 months ago

Well…like many people here, I think it all depends on how it’s done. And of course, the quality of the work that goes in there. Which basically negates a whole lot of replica cars, like ones based on Fiero, or 80’s corvette. I’ve seen a few 250GTO replica made out of 240/260/280Zs, and they were pretty well done, but, seriously, that chassis/engine has no business pretending like GTOs, you know what I mean?

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
2 years 10 months ago
Absolutely, so long as it’s done right. Personally, I have an idea for a company that produces new versions of old classic cars. You could go out and either buy the old tooling, or produce your own, to make brand new Alfa GTVs, or E-Types, or 911s, or Chargers, or any one of thousands of popular (and expensive) classic cars. You could sell them ostensibly as kit cars to get through the same legislation loopholes as Caterham. These would still be replicas, but more akin to exact reproductions than most. Similar to what Pur Sang are doing with old Bugattis… Read more »
Matt C
Matt C
2 years 10 months ago
A well engineered replica is very desirable to me. Unfortunately this industry also includes some venders who are shifty. FFR, Beck, Intermeccanica, Thunder Ranch and others make top quality component cars. FFR is the largest for a reason, they use quality CAD designed frames, superior processes, and modern components. (not a schill, but I want the the new 818 badly). Also a well engineered kit allows a mere mortal to enjoy the driving experience of a classic car (Cobra, Daytona Coupe, Porsche speedster, and dare I say Coutach) without the entrance cost and mainenance of the real thing. Dare I… Read more »
Jesus Learte
Jesus Learte
2 years 10 months ago

As far as I understand, there is no problem [i]per se[/i] in replicas. No one would make a replica from a car not being worthy. So, making replicas allows having on the road vehicles which are out of production, and are part of history. However, two commitments: 1) never pretend owning an original, because replica can be fantastic but has no personal history behind and 2) try to be respectful with the original. Motors should be not too far, as qualities.

Hayden
Hayden
2 years 10 months ago
It depends on what you get. For example, the Lancia Stratos is an incredibly rare and expensive car. It’s also a rather easy car to reproduce, (tubular chassis, fiberglass, basic engineering). But when a replica like the Hawk HF3000 is assembled and tuned properly, the result can be as good as, if not, better than the real one. Replica Ferraris on the other hand are terrible. The Shelby (or AC) Cobra kit cars are solid. Ford GT40 replicas, I’ve heard good things… but no. Reproductions are only “acceptable” when they’re done right. It’s common for manufacturers to error on the… Read more »
Alec DeJovani
Alec DeJovani
2 years 10 months ago

The way I look at it, a heavily restored car can be as much a replica as a tubular frame, pure-to-the-brand repro. Yes, the restored proposition was at least once an original car, but depending on the rebirth, many of its parts will be replicated. Though reproduction replicas lack the personal history or some of the originality of a restored car, they can still be faithful to the brand their styling may represent. That’s really the key in determining whether or not a replicated car is “acceptable” or not.

Sid
Sid
2 years 10 months ago

I echo the remarks about quality. When I was an autocross junkie I just assumed every Cobra that showed up was a replica but I wasn’t any less enamored with them when they thundered around the course.

Jeff S
Jeff S
2 years 10 months ago

I am fine with replicas – for about 9 years I had an early Beck Spyder, bundle of fun was always upfront on what is was.

Not practical, not safe (over powered and 2′ off the ground), what’s not to love?

Saul Avila Hernandez
Saul Avila Hernandez
2 years 10 months ago

I’m for it as well if they don’t try to pass off for originals but its a nice way for people to experience a blast from the past like a p4 replica with an authentic Ferrari drive-train. The Lister Bell STR Lancia Stratos replica is good example of this they had crappy build quality and these new ones aren’t originals, which means you can rally the crap out of it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvs5jRi4h80

Jared Lowell
Jared Lowell
2 years 10 months ago
All good points here. For me, the quality of the replica is of foremost importance, and I am much more inclined to ‘accept’ built-from-scratch examples (e.g. Shelby continuations, Superformance cars, any number of D/C-Type replicas you’ll find, etc.) rather than cars that start as ’90s Mustangs, old Fieros, etc. In fact, I was really admiring the 50th Anniversary FIA Cobras Shelby had on display at Barrett-Jackson and could certainly envision owning one. In summary – as with anything – Quality, Quality, Quality. p.s. Even the very highest quality replica/re-creation may be difficult or virtually impossible to title in many states,… Read more »
Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
2 years 10 months ago

The biggest problem I have with replicas is when the donor car is a rare and desirable model in it’s own right. How many 240Zs, and Ferrari 250 GTEs have been chopped up to make 250GTO replicas of varying quality.

Tobias Ostapchuk
Tobias Ostapchuk
2 years 10 months ago
This is an excellent discussion topic, although the terms “Replica” and “Reproduction” are not at all interchangeable. A “Replica” is a copy of a car, much like a Beck Speedster. A “Reproduction” would be the original manufacturer re-producing an earlier model, like the Shelby “Continuation-Series” Cobras. So, there are two distinct questions being asked. Replicas can be fun, easier to own than the originals, and very nice if properly built. I’m thinking about examples such as the ERA Cobra or ERA GT40 built in New Britain, Connecticut. These are much cheaper than an original or continuation-series cars, well-engineered, and visually… Read more »
drooartz
drooartz
2 years 10 months ago
If done well and not passed off as on original, I love a good replica. For rare/fabulously expensive cars a replica is the closest not only regular folks can get, but also even the closest the wealthiest of us could do. How many original Cobra Daytona coupes were made? Even if you could afford one, would you drive it anywhere? The massive proliferation of Cobra replicas certainly proves this out. As Dustin points out, original Cobras are still highly valued even with the huge range of replicas out there. Lotus 7 as well. Heck, some of those replicas aren’t even… Read more »
Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
2 years 10 months ago
To me personally replicas and reproductions are just fine. I don’t really see a problem with them if they are made with a decent amount of quality in the chassis and body. Im a big believer in keeping things close to original as possible so as long as the replica and/or the reproduction stays true to the authentic intent of the car and its design then i dont really see a problem with it. I know some people out there think it cheapens the original. i personally dont believe it the cobra has been replicated god knows how many times… Read more »
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