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Chassis number recovery techniques


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#1 jackal

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 07:41

Hello all

I have some questions and I believe this forum is the place to ask them.

Q1. Are there other techniques for raising numbers in steel apart from acid etching and magnafluxing?

Q2. Is the acid etch a truly destructive process, or can one remove the acid as soon as the number is viewable?

Q3. If the chassis number is believed to be from an historically important car; who needs to be present during its recovery to prevent questions of authenticity?

Q4. ...and finally...if the chassis number is revealed to be the same as one that already exists and that car has sold through auction; what does one do? I will take a guess that the owner could be asked to reveal his/her number but what if that number has been added at some point in time? How does one prove which is the real number?

I would appreciate advice and guidance in this matter as I have never been in this situation and I must approach and resolve this matter professionally.

Best regards and thank you in advance

Carl

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#2 Mistron

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 17:28

who needs to be present during its recovery to prevent questions of authenticity?


An army of lawyers. and that still won't help.

Sorry, couldn't resist it!

Any appropriate meathod should be ok, but if the chassis number of a car is 'lost' and then found again, I'm afraid questions will always be asked in the future. photos before and after and the 'discovery ' process being witnesed by a marque expert would help, but sadly tsome of them are often viewed as being far from impartial........

'issues' over lost chassis numbers can be addressed, but rarely go away!

Edited by Mistron, 24 October 2011 - 17:37.


#3 Mistron

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 17:48

Sorry, I should have added, but in addition to the tecniques jou mention, I understand there is a type of X-ray available, but you are really into the realms of metalurgy as to which is 'best', and it is very dependant on the type of metal, it's location and the extent of corrosion present.
I'm not sure if carrying out one type negates the effectiveness of other types being used subsequently? There is always the chance that results will be rather shadowy, and as such open to some interpretation.

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 18:12

I would - from long experience - suspect that too much importance is being assumed here so far as a chassis number is concerned. Of far greater importance is the traceable provenance and reality of the chassis frame concerned - as opposed to whatever serial numbers might at some stage have been struck into it. Numbers can be punched in, confused, mis-applied, over-punched...and corroded away... And mere numbers can also be accorded too much significance. I advise caution.

DCN

#5 Red Socks

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:02

Mr Nye and I disagree about the relevance of discarded metal but I agree completely with his comments above.

Edited by Red Socks, 25 October 2011 - 09:03.


#6 Giraffe

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:28

I've quoted DCN several times before on this subject, and I shall do so again now....



The classic and historic car world is riven with self-serving deception - and also self-serving self-deception. In truth the actual history of any artefact is never within the gift of any, inevitably temporary, owner. There was an early Lotus sports-racing car, sold to the US, returned years later as a bent and battered relic, and then 'restored' basically by having its chassis frame replaced by new. The owner of the time later sold the discarded original frame into other hands, while specifying that "the history does not go with this frame". In other words he attempted to specify that "the history" of the car and its American ownership would only "go" with the recreated car, assembled around the replacement, approximately one year-old, chassis frame.

This is fundamentally indefensible nonsense. The history of the original, discarded, now-sold chassis frame is utterly indelible, and plainly remains so until the day that the last vestige of that structure is finally melted down or corrodes away. Some things are not within the gift of mere man, and this is one of them. As for chassis plates - schmassis plates - a minor consideration in the factual scheme of things.

DCN



#7 Allen Brown

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:47

I would - from long experience - suspect that too much importance is being assumed here so far as a chassis number is concerned. Of far greater importance is the traceable provenance and reality of the chassis frame concerned - as opposed to whatever serial numbers might at some stage have been struck into it. Numbers can be punched in, confused, mis-applied, over-punched...and corroded away... And mere numbers can also be accorded too much significance. I advise caution.

DCN


Absolutely agree.

#8 Giraffe

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:54

Having had my fingers burnt "investigating" the "histories" of a number of chassis now, I have taken some useful advice given to me by Helen Malkie of Chevron Racing, "I always look at a car holistically nowerdays"

#9 Allen Brown

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:17

Helen is absolutely right. When a car "appears" after having been missing for some time, one needs to look at the car and its paperwork and such examination requires quite different skills. A car can look absolutely right but the paper trail can show that it's completely dodgy but it's also possible for a car to have very convincing paperwork but turn out to be a recent creation.

Chassis stampings can be useful but I remember the furore that was created 20 years ago after "SC-5-64" was found stamped into chassis of a Brabham BT8. The stamping was under a layer of very old paintwork so couldn't have been faked but it turned out that the BT8's identity was quite different to that. Likewise I've seen Lotus 35 and Chevron B19 identities based on a chassis stamping that we know now was the mark of the frame builder, not the car constructor. In each case the papertrail trumped the chassis marking.

On the other hand, I've seen redundant brackets on a car that don't seem to be relevant to anything but are later explained by some unique period modification that proves a car's identity almost single-handed. And we've all heard the stories of valid paperwork from one car being applied to a completely bogus car. Only recently I heard a story of an original plate and a HTP being separated from its car for reasons that I cannot feel are good.

So Carl, look at the whole story and don't invest too much effort in a chassis stamping.



#10 jackal

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:02

Hello all

Thank you for the informative replies.

Gladly and sadly I have since found out that I do not have to worry about anything. After chatting with marque experts and studying some photos it is quite clear that I have what I first thought I had, and not anything else. Some confusion came about after seeing a chassis number that is claimed to be correct and other information that has now proved incorrect, too.

One more question....

Could someone define what exactly is meant by the VSCC when they say..

It is not acceptable to turn a sports car into a fake Historic Racing Car

Does this mean that it is not acceptable to create a monoposto-esque special with an aluminium body and period parts, on a 1930's sports car chassis in 2011?

If one built something unique, in a style and with what would've been available in the 1930's, to a man in a shed, then I don't see this as being 'fake'. It will just look like an old racing car with no claims to it being an 'Historic Racing Car' that has had any historical importance, or has influenced history.

Brmm...brmmm :)

Carl

Edited by jackal, 25 October 2011 - 12:03.


#11 David McKinney

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:13

I'm guessing here, but suspect the VSCC reference to 'Historic Racing Car' relates to a specific - and later - period

There are plenty of pre-war VSCC single-seaters built from sportscars (or saloons)

#12 jackal

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:32

My common sense says that it would not be acceptable to create a well known and documented 1920's-30's winning car from a car/chassis of that marque, yet visually and mechanically it appears to be that famous car. That is how I understand it. One would be mad to claim it to be that car yet to someone who doesn't know they would be mislead, which is one definition of 'fake'.

Carl

Edited by jackal, 25 October 2011 - 12:38.


#13 Allan Lupton

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 13:11

The full paragraph of the VSCC document that the quotation came from is

10. Cloning, i.e. one car broken up to make two or more cars is not approved and cars manufactured in this
way are not acceptable. It is not acceptable to turn a sports car into a fake Historic Racing Car or a saloon
car into a sports or touring car
.

I think that the context helps the understanding. The "saloon into sports car" change has been done often and the changes to the chassis/powertrain may or may not be correctly done. The parallel with the fake historic racing car would be where there is relatively little difference between sportscar and racing car as in Cooper-Bristol for example.
The use of fake here is to highlight the passing-off that would otherwise occur.

#14 bradbury west

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 13:25

The full paragraph of the VSCC document that the quotation came from is;
It is not acceptable to turn a ... saloon car into a sports or touring car[/color].


It's a funny old world, though, Allan. We seem to have a plethora of vintage Bentley sports/ le Mans look-a-likes etc which have survived the years, with apparently remarkable patina, perhaps following the Chevron/Lotus 26R syndrome - of the (e.g.) 72 cars built only 137 now exist....- yet precious few Bentley saloons seem to grace the car parks.
Roger Lund


#15 jackal

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 13:52

Chevron/Lotus 26R syndrome - of the (e.g.) 72 cars built only 137 now exist

I can imagine how BUT how on earth has that happened?

#16 Mistron

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 14:34

I think it appropriate at this point to dust off an old joke, supposedly overheard in the paddock at a race meeting:

"well, if Colin Chapman built ALL of the Lotuses racing today, I doubt the'd have needed Delorean's money............."

:lol:

#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 16:50

I think it appropriate at this point to dust off an old joke, supposedly overheard in the paddock at a race meeting:

"well, if Colin Chapman built ALL of the Lotuses racing today, I doubt the'd have needed Delorean's money............."

:lol:


Nice one...

I assume the drift of the VSCC paragraph is to dissuade owners of staid, sober, dull saloon cars of suitable period from cannibalising them for conversion into whizzy, exciting, raceable open-wheelers. What was once an acceptable practice became - with the increasing rarity of donor cars - unacceptable. Endangered species conservation, and all that.

Hmmm - so far as I am concerned, an awful lot of road going grey porridge (especially manufactured by the British industry) has thoroughly deserved to become endangered. But once we have lost enough, the surviving few certainly should be preserved.

DCN

#18 David McKinney

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 17:37

The full paragraph of the VSCC document that the quotation came from is
10. Cloning, i.e. one car broken up to make two or more cars is not approved and cars manufactured in this
way are not acceptable. It is not acceptable to turn a sports car into a fake Historic Racing Car or a saloon
car into a sports or touring car
.

Could you clarify whether that paragraph applies to all categories (Edwardian, Vintage, Post-Vintage, Historic) or just to Historic Racing Cars (postwar) as defined by the VSCC?


#19 Allan Lupton

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 17:55

Could you clarify whether that paragraph applies to all categories (Edwardian, Vintage, Post-Vintage, Historic) or just to Historic Racing Cars (postwar) as defined by the VSCC?

I am not in a position to know any better than you, but to me it reads quite clearly.
As written it applies to cars.
The Historic Racing Car is cited in a specific context.


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#20 David Birchall

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 02:15

I am under the impression that the VSCCs statement " It is not acceptable to turn a sports car into a fake Historic Racing Car ..." has the intended meaning that cars with Period racing history take precedence over cars recently modified to racing specification. The current plethora of "Lightweight" E types and Lotus 26R lookalikes being an example of what can happen.
Although there is an argument that can be made that "clones/copies/replicas" make an otherwise unobtainable experience available to a much wider public.

It all depends on if you are buying or selling :|

Edited by David Birchall, 26 October 2011 - 02:17.


#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 07:30

Hmmm...

It wouldn't be easy to turn an Elan into a 26R. Granted, the hubs can be had from other models, wheels would be about and so on, but there is the quite special differential housing to be considered and I'm sure there are detail differences to the frame.

#22 David Birchall

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 16:48

Hmmm...

It wouldn't be easy to turn an Elan into a 26R. Granted, the hubs can be had from other models, wheels would be about and so on, but there is the quite special differential housing to be considered and I'm sure there are detail differences to the frame.


Ray, it is as easy as typing "Tony Thompson Racing" into a search engine and then writing a cheque, something a lot are willing to do. No reason to mess around with nasty, dirty old parts. Similar businesses support customers for Lightweight E types, "Works replica" Healeys etc. All it takes is money...

#23 Red Socks

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 17:07

Hmmm...

It wouldn't be easy to turn an Elan into a 26R. Granted, the hubs can be had from other models, wheels would be about and so on, but there is the quite special differential housing to be considered and I'm sure there are detail differences to the frame.


In period a 26R was very expensive but in 1963/4 all the parts which went into a 26R were avaialbe as spares form Lotus Components. The Lotus which were racing then were very often melanges of 26 and 26 R parts, the period specification was quite complex, so whereas the alloy radiator had to be homologated -and was- the alloy uprated brakes did not.
The SCCA homologation permits some 26R spare parts and not others.For instance the upgrading of carbs was not permitted by SCCA whilst it was within FIA rules.
26R probably is a bad example of pure 'modern' upgrading.

#24 Allan Lupton

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 20:24

Stealing the makers' plate is another method of number recovery, so keep your eyes peeled for the appearance of a third Toleman TG184-02!