There are several levels of intervention when dealing with historic resources and to bring these into the context of this community I'll cite examples that anyone familiar with Mini history can relate to. In increasing degree of intervention:

PRESERVATION: The effects of time are stopped, usually at a significant moment in the history of the object, or because of its rarity. These are museum pieces set aside so that all humanity can appreciate them, but kept away from their natural habitat i.e. street or track. Many examples are housed in the National Motor Industry Heritage Trust.

CONSERVATION: The resource is allowed to be used very sparingly so it can remain in its original state while interpreting it as it was intended to be used. These are the original low-mileage cars that are kept secure in a dry garage and used only on special occasions. Many very old race cars fit here too, just go to Goodwood to see some superb cars being used sparingly.

RESTORATION: When a vehicle is too far gone to be conserved, restoration is called for. The effects of time are reversed to a significant point in the resource's past. For a normal street car this is generally the day it left the factory. For a race car, well, how many examples of this can be cited? I'll use GRX 5D, the Works most used car. From the time it was commissioned to the time it was sold it was a 970, 1071, 1275, a Morris, an Austin a MK I and a MK II. Which is the most significant? Surely its history is locked in its time with BMC Works and not the subsequent owners. Its current owner plans (last time I spoke to him anyway) to restore it to 1968 and its last competition outing on the Shell 4000 Rally here in
Canada .

RECREATION: The resource is beyond restoration, is so precious that it cannot be handled or no longer exists so a replica must be created to evoke the original resource. There are very few Minis worthy of recreation and Coopers donít fall into this category. There are so many faked Coopers that itís become a generic term. The fact is, it is not a Cooper unless it left the factory as a Cooper and it retains all the hallmarks that make it a Cooper. One cannot be created just by assembling parts. Not only is it dishonest, itís also a disservice to future researchers who will have to cut through the fakery to get at useful information.

What you will not find in this list is "renovation" ie re-newing, which is what many 'restoration' projects actually are. You cannot 'restore' a car to a condition that never existed in its past. A 70's Mini that's tired and has no history is a prime candidate for renovation whereas a MK I Cooper should be restored. What's the difference? A philosophy mostly.

This leads me to the fundamental tenants of restoration that I abide:

*If it's not right, it's wrong
*It takes just as long to do it right as it does to do it wrong
*It doesn't matter how long it takes, do it right
*The important features must be retained
*Anything that is, out of necessity, not correct, must be reversible
*I am nobody


Let me explain this philosophy. When I restore something, a Mini, tractor, whatever, I am erasing time and putting that object back to its original condition. I do the research to know what that condition is, right down to colour matches, fastener types and material specifications. Why? Because it only gets restored once and I do not know where the object will end up when I'm gone. It's disingenuous to release something back into time that is not what it appears to be. Sometime in the future someone may use one of my projects as a reference and I don't want to deceive anybody. This only applies to historically important things like my Cooper's, the Heinz 57 Hornet, '54 Bolens Ridemaster Tractor etc etc.

On the last point on the list, "I am nobody", who restores something is unimportant to history or the object. That it gets done is all that's important. I don't put my mark on my projects, my talents and creativity show in the quality of the restoration, but not in the restoration itself. What I'm getting at here is if something needs to be restored it shouldn't end up with flashy paint, mags, honk'n big engine, custom upholstery and the usual porn you see in MiniWorld/Mag. Those are renovations, not restorations. A restored car should look the way it did the day it left the factory, or won the race or rally or the day Kennedy was shot in it. That's what restore means. Renovation is giving it a new life rather than giving its old life back again.

The last point I'd like to make is another of my guiding principals:

Either make history or respect it, but don't interfere with it.

That sounds a bit like Dr. Who, but it's really a rant against wannabe's. When a car makes history, that history should be carried as a badge of honour and not forgotten. A car that has already made history can, and probably should continue to make history. Take 977 ARX, still competing 40 years on, but very much like grandpa's ax: 2 heads and 6 handles later, but it's grandpa's damnit. A car that hasn't done anything significant over its life but is restored to its original condition represents what it is and nothing more. What really bothers me is the Works Rally wannabe's that pay stupid money for exactly the right "Works" parts to create a replica, but then never enter a rally or use the car in competition of any sort.  What's the point? To evoke the glory days or a personal ego boost? I'm with the form follows function set, so poseur's don't sit well with me. Oh, and while I'm on a roll, I'll just mention the ignoramuses that have a significant car but really want something completely different but are hell bent on destroying what they have to create something that never existed. They really make me mad.