|Is there room in your heart for this little Royal Enfield?|
"In this auction we have a 1967 250cc Royal Enfield Continental GT that has a barn fresh patina, a few extra parts, and a strong running motor," the seller wrote. "Here is a video of it being started and idling."
There were lots of negatives: Rear rim, bent. Fork tubes, bent. Swing arm, bent. Busted gauges. Busted headlamp. Missing seat.
|Restore it? Or leave the evidence of a hard life?|
Why is patina appealing, when "wear and tear" is not? And what is patina worth, if anything?
In the December issue of Car and Driver columnist Ezra Dyer has an interesting take on "barn cars," the hottest new/old thing on the auction circuit.
"Just a few years back, you'd go to an auction like this and look for a car that was clean, shiny, and freshly tuned up. Like a total idiot! Originality, we now know, is more valuable than superficial considerations like beauty or safety...
"Up is down left is right and bad cars are good cars," he writes.
As Dyer points out, part of the appeal of patina is the obvious originality. It strikes me that most of what is left of this Continental GT probably is original to it. No one would have swapped in broken parts. This is not "faux patina" — distressed paint added to make a merely mediocre motorcycle look meaningful.
So it's historically accurate, anyway.
|Tiny brake cooling duct.|
It's a question every buyer has to answer. Yes, a motorcycle is only "original" once and patina is evidence of that originality.
But it also is true that a motorcycle is only "new" once and patina equals "very used."