What Is Patina?
Photography by Jonny Shears and Afshin Behnia
There is no doubt that a car with a remarkable history is more interesting than a car that was driven every so often to the market or to drop the kids off at school. While truly harsh damage is obviously unattractive, some light scuffing, scratches, and evidence of a well-enjoyed life is welcome. These marks and blemishes are like battle scars that become sources of pride, demonstrating that a car is an original survivor.
Along those lines, lately there has been a lot of discussion in the car world of ‘patina’, that slightly dulled finish that speaks to a car’s age and wear. We’ve encountered many cars both on the web and at events that elicit people to comment about their wonderful patina. And frequently they’re right.
But sometimes, we see an old car that looks like it served as a chicken coop, not someone’s transportation. It looks awful. And yet, inevitably, someone will comment about the amazing patina. Patina?! It looks like it’s been treated with contempt, abused, and at best was the first ‘out’ at a demolition derby. Is this ‘patina’ really desirable?
What is patina and what is not patina?