Keith’s Blog: Car Restoration and Human Restoration

Keith’s Blog: Car Restoration and Human Restoration

I’m learning that just as car restorations have their own progressions, so does physical rehabilitation.

This week I made some decisions about the restorations on my cars, and I made some steps forward with my own rehab.

I’ve decided not to proceed with the full-bore, glass-and-headliner- out interior restoration of our 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale.

While the body is dry and with great panel fit (partly from 30 years of indoors storage in the Cayman Islands Motor Museum), the paint is tired, and the hood has 14 extra louvers cut into it. It also came with a set of funky pure magnesium wheels that some Alfisti loathe, while others manage to tolerate them.

I’ve had the car mechanically restored, with a pro-built 1,400-cc engine, and it’s a bomb to drive.

However, I have no interest in spending $30,000 to $50,000 to have a bare metal respray and re-chrome performed. I get more value out of driving my cars than with a concours-level appearance.

“Handsome, correct driver” is my idea of collector car Nirvana.

While I have ordered the windshield, headliner, leather, rubber, carpet and so on from Matt Jones at Re-Originals (, I’m now having second thoughts.

I have three options:

The first is to have Guy Recordon at Guys Interior Restorations tear the car completely apart and put in a like-new leather interior.

I’ve decided against that. Then I would have a mismatched car with a concours interior and a scruffy-driver exterior. Ultimately the discord would make me crazy, and I’d probably be pushed over the edge toward the exterior restoration I really don’t want to do.

How ridiculous would that be?

The second choice is to drive the car as is. The seats are proper — but with an incorrect upholstery pattern. The door panels are complete — but with incorrect colors. The carpets are tired. The headliner doesn’t sag — but is old. The windshield is beginning to delaminate at the top right corner.

In other words, it’s just a used car that has seen better days. But I drove the car 1,000 miles on last year’s SCM 1000. When I was behind the wheel I didn’t notice any of the imperfections.

Another option is to have Guy recover the seats and door panels in the correct materials and install new carpets and leave it at that.

Guy is not enthusiastic about that. He continues to maintain I should focus on getting healthy again and not worry about seat covers.

Further, if I have Guy do a partial interior, I’ll end up with an even MORE mismatched car, with scruffy paint, like-new seats and a tired headliner. I’ve just fallen further down the rabbit hole.

What would your decision be? Tidy up what’s there, redo the seats and carpets, or do the whole-nine-yards interior restoration?

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