To restore, or not to restore
At the Revs Institute Connoisseurship and the Collectible Car symposium in Naples (FL), Paul Russell was invited to speak to the concept of informed research when considering the philosophy of a restoration. Specifically, regarding the extremely rare 1942 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Aktion Panzer-Limousinen recently added to the host's collection. Joining Paul for this discussion was Michael Shanks, an archaeologist at Stanford University (CA). Michael offers his summation of their conversation on his all things archeological blog. Wide-reaching and thought provoking, history's ruin - the case of an automobile covers many of the issues that anyone who is dedicated to preserving fine automobiles struggles with every day.
Amelia Island Concours
This year, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance celebrated Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars in addition to honoring Sir Sterling Moss and the 60th Anniversary of his Mille Miglia win. The 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 GP 'Silver Arrow', which we had restored a few years ago for the Collier Collection, was one among the many wondrous race cars on special display.
Two of our current projects, one a full restoration and the other a preservation undertaking, were on the Concours field for judging. The Figoni & Falaschi custom design on the 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Torpedo Grand Sport was deemed to be the Most Elegant French Coachwork. And the extremely rare and original mid-engine 1965 Ferrari Dino 166P/206P placed First in the 1960-1990 race car class.
Cavallino Classic "375"
For the Ferrari enthusiast, the Cavallino Classic continues to impress. We were responsible for four Ferraris during the event: two authentically restored and two authentically preserved. For Paul and the owner of the 375 MM Spyder n.0382, the long weekend started with their participation in a 375 symposium for the Cavallino Classic Lecture Series. Chassis no.0382 had, rather notoriously, been stored for decades before our client purchased it. We are proud to be recommissioning this authentic example of a pedigreed racer for a client who values originality while demanding that the car continue to be race-ready. At the Saturday Concorso, n.0382 was awarded the 375 Cup.
This client’s philosophy is also evident in his custodianship of the 1965 166/206 P Dino. We recently rebuilt the ignition system and the transaxle (which included a great deal of custom machine work) after they had failed during Bahamas Speed Week. At Cavallino the owner was thrilled to take it to the track on Friday for some warm weather testing. Then on Saturday the Dino was awarded a Platinum in the Preservation Class along with the Scuderia Ferrari Cup for Best of Show, Competition. A wonderful result for this 1965 World Hillclimb Champion.
Our two restored cars well represented the other side of the collector hobby during the Saturday Concorso. The Belgian ENB 1958 Le Mans 250 TR was awarded a Platinum along with the Competizione Cup for finest track/racing Ferrari. The subtly striking black with green 212 Europa Vignale Coupe was awarded a hard-won Platinum, and also won the Excellence Award in its class at the Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-a-Lago.
Also on Sunday, the 1939 Delahaye 135MS Torpedo Grand Sport (class winner at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours) joined the Ferrari weekend, and won its class Excellence Award and the Most Elegant Convertible award.
This fall we have been excited to attend some local car shows. While most of our clients live outside the New England area, Paul received permission to share a few of these great cars with the public. The Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park is always a great way to spend the weekend. While last year we participated in the track events with the 1948 Ferrari 166 SC, this year we joined the Sunday in the Park Concours with a lovely 1956 silver/blue Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. Larz Anderson Auto Museum, home to America’s Oldest Car Collection, hosts a series of marque-themed Lawn Events on their extensive grounds over summer weekends. We displayed the extremely rare (and preserved, not restored) 1958 Ferrari 335 S race car for all to enjoy at the Tutto Italiano day. Late September, we took a Pebble Beach winning, bright-red, 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing to display at The Boston Cup, held on historic Boston Common, where Paul was honored to present the Restoration Award to the owners of a 1964 Porsche Carrera.
Further afield, the 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa n.0724 was invited by Ferrari to participate in their celebration of 60 years in the USA. The “Race Through the Decades 1954-2014” event displayed 60 historic cars along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Black tie dinner and charity fundraiser aside, the extraordinary collection of cars were on view for all to see.
Pebble Beach Tour & Concours d'Elegance
By all accounts, this year’s Monterey Week was action-packed. After a flurry of activity in our shop to get all the cars ready, the days in California were relatively calm. On Thursday, the three cars entered in the Concours were driven by their owners on the Tour d’Elegance around the Monterey peninsula, and a grand time was had by all. [Pictured top to bottom: 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Vignale Coupe; 1939 Delahaye 135MS Torpedo Grand Sport; 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti.]
With no breakdowns or damage during the 85-mile drive, the cars needed only a simple clean and detail to be ready for the show field on Sunday. Amongst a very strong class of twenty Testa Rossas, the yellow with red stripe, 1958 Le Mans race car was awarded Second. The exceptionally elegant metallic green with black 212 was overshadowed by the Best of Show Ferrari 375MM in the same class. The handsome and unusual Figoni & Falschi Delahaye Torpedo Grand Sport was awarded First in its class.
Yes, we do Ferraris
Our crew proudly gathers around an assembly of unique and beautiful cars prior to their debut at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Clockwise from top: 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Torpedo Grand Sport; 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa; 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa; 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Vignale Coupe. With the exception of the 166SC, first shown at the 2013 Lime Rock Historic Festival, the other three are recently completed restorations.
A Terrific Trio at Amelia Island
Another wonderful weekend at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. We brought three cars to the event, shown here in the early morning. The 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa won an Amelia Award in the Ferrari Racing class. The 1958 Ferrari 335 S Scaglietti Spyder was awarded the McIntosh Trophy for "the best sounding car on the field". Read more about these two cars in our Cavallino Classic 23 news (January 2014). And the "most elegant" 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S 'Saoutchik' Torpedo Roadster was awarded the Mercedes-Benz Star of Excellence.
Best Ferraris at Cavallino Classic 23
The 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa continues to impress. Originally owned by Briggs Cunningham, chassis 016-I was the first Ferrari to win a race in the U.S. We were commissioned by the Collier Collection to bring it back to its 1950 Watkins Glen race configuration. At the Cavallino Classic Concorso event on Saturday, the team of judges viewed the field with a critical eye to authenticity, and decreed the 166SC to be the Competition Ferrari Best of Show. Additional honor was bestowed when the judges awarded the 166SC the Chief Judge Emeritus Cup, for the "best restoration in authenticity and research" on the field.
We were also excited to assist with the very rare 1958 Ferrari 335 S Scaglietti Spyder, the same model that clinched the world sports car championship in Argentina. Chassis 0764 was ordered by Luigi Chinetti and displayed at the NY Auto Show before a notable racing career at Road America, Watkins Glen, Midlands Texas, etc. Earlier this month our client entrusted us to give the car a look-over before purchase, and a quick race-prep before this weekend. As delighted as he was when presented with the Competition Ferrari Best of Show at the Mar-a-Lago Classic Sports Sunday, he was especially gratified by the Cavallino Ferrari Spirit Cup. To decide this award, the judges put emphasis on the car and driver's performance on the track Friday, the car's history, and its presence on the lawn Saturday.
First in Class at St. Michaels Concours d'Elegance
While we are known mostly for our restoration work, we are equally proud of the cars we preserve. Honoring the patina of a classic car is a path that we feel should be seriously considered when possible. Shown here is a wonderfully original 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. Unrestored but properly maintained by us, and repainted due only to minor body damage, this is simply a great car.
Frank and Beverly Spellman have been enjoying the use of this car for decades, both at concours events and on road rallies, usually fully accessorized. Most recently, they showed it at the St. Michaels Concours d'Elegance on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Dr. Spellman writes "We won best in 'Post War Open Sports Cars' class … Put the original whitewalls on for the event." We think the old girl looks spectacular.
Best of Show at Lime Rock Historic Festival
The 2013 Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park in CT was excellent. Even though the weather was frequently threatening, it could not dampen the spirited three days of on-track vintage racing, a Cunningham Gathering, plus the Sunday in the Park Concours.
This year we brought two cars whose restoration completion was specifically targeted for this event: a 1952 Cunningham C-3 and the 1948 Briggs Cunningham Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa to be debuted at the Concours. The C-3 was one of many C-3s grouped together for the Marque feature, and the historic 166SC won Best of Show at the Sunday Concours. More importantly it was the first time that the Collier Collection saw the finished 166SC after a two year restoration. Our mandate was to bring this car, the first Ferrari to win a race in the U.S., back to its precise 1950 Watkins Glen configuration. They were more than pleased with the results.
The Ferrari was displayed with the other four cars the Collier Collection brought to the event from Naples, FL. A truly great outing for all participants, celebrating multiple aspects of the collector car hobby.
A New Journey for the Saoutchik
For the past 35 years, one of our constant doctrines has been an insistence on quality, for the craftsmanship and for the cars, and on behalf of our clients. We have never advocated that the restoration of a classic should be done solely for monetary return, and truly believe that the ultimate reward for an owner is in the pursuit of their personal passion. That being said, we acknowledge that many of our former restorations have set record prices at auction.
The 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S 'Saoutchik' Torpedo Roadster is a great example of a spectacular car, with an acknowledged 'perfect' restoration, and owners who love the sport and hobby of classic cars. Our entire team enjoyed collaborating with the Andrews family during the extensive research and rebuilding process, which led to Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2012. With an eye to new automotive experiences, the Andrews family decided to include the Saoutchik in the 2013 RM Auction at Monterey. Auction houses play a unique role in the current collectible car market, creating a world-wide interest in and competition for the great cars. We wish the new owners many miles of happy motoring.
We Celebrate our 35th Year!
Gullwing Service Company (now DBA Paul Russell and Company) was incorporated on June 1, 1978. By the fall of that first year we already had a full workload, specializing in the mechanical restoration of 1950s Mercedes-Benz in our three-bay garage in Topsfield, MA (shown here). By 1983 we had outgrown those premises and that limited specialty, and moved to our current workshop in Essex, MA. Since then our physical plant, range of services, and variety of marques have all grown far beyond Paul's original expectations. More...
35 years of passionate dedication to the preservation of fine automobiles translates to the service and/or restoration of over 680 classic cars from dozens of marques, the majority of them being Mercedes-Benz, including over 250 300SLs. Our work has resulted in 37 Best of Show honors along with numerous other awards and recognitions, including having our craftsmanship displayed at automotive and fine art museums. Many of our clients as well as staff members have been with us for decades.
Today we celebrate our past achievements as we look forward, to new projects for old and new clients, with up and coming professional restorers joining our experienced team of craftsman.
Atlantic adds to Best of Show honors
Ralph Lauren's 1938 Bugatti T57SC Atlantic Coupe swept the podium at Villa d'Este this weekend. Awarded People's and Children's Choice by popular vote at Villa Erba, and the Coppa d'Oro at the Villa d'Este Concorso, it went on to be awarded Best of Show for the weekend. We are honored that Mr. Lauren still enjoys displaying our restoration craftsmanship 23 years after the Atlantic won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours in 1990. More...
It is difficult for any car to compete against the rare beauty of the Atlantic. We were very pleased that the recently restored 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster, Best of Show at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, was shared with European car enthusisasts during the Villa d'Este Concorso weekend. Winning its class, it was in the running for Best of Show.
Excellence at McPherson College
The Paul Russell Award for Excellence was presented to TAYLOR ADAMS during McPherson College's Celebration and Awards Convocation on May 3. In recognition of "outstanding commitment to the preservation of automotive craftsmanship, history, and technology", this monetary award is a tangible result of the fundraiser held November 2012 [see News Archives] for McPherson's Automotive Restoration degree program. Our thanks again to all the generous sponsors, attendees, and donors who helped make this award possible.
Power the Future at McPherson
McPherson College staff and senior auto restoration student Casey Maxon visited with car collectors, restoration specialists, and others in the collector car industry while at the Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance. These enthusiasts shared their passion for classic cars and the growing importance of involving the next generation in the endeavor. This well produced video includes alumni and friends of McPherson College from Mercedes-Benz USA, Hagerty Insurance, and our own Paul Russell - recently appointed chair of the National Advisory Board for the McPherson College automotive restoration program.More...
For more information about the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program, visit mcpherson.edu/autorestoration.
Connoisseurship and the Collectible Car
The 7th Biennial Symposium on Connoisseurship and the Collectible Car, hosted by the Revs Institute for Automotive Research, is now behind us and was another provocative, educational, and inspiring four-day event. This is the third of the seven symposia in which we have been invited to be a member of the faculty - an honor and a privilege. This year marked a significant presence of Stanford University students and faculty, as the Revs Institute takes a foothold in the university curriculum, and fulfills Miles Collier's vision of incorporating the historical, cultural, and technological significance of the automobile into the entire curriculum at Stanford and beyond.More...
A significant segment of this years program centered on the maturing of the collector car "hobby" into one of stewardship of historical objects - documents if you will - that reflect so much of life in their own time period. Dr. Frederick Simeone was there to discuss just that, using his own new book, The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles, to lay out the issues. Paul's role was to discuss the many varied decisions a serious owner and restorer must consider when bringing back an historic automobile to a certain point in time. The example used for this discussion was the 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa we are restoring for Mr. Collier. It is in its trial assembly stage - just before paint - and brought down to the symposium (pictured on display here) to illustrate the decisions made and their consequences in this subject area.
Other presenters included motorsports historian Doug Nye, Michael Bock from Mercedes-Benz Classic, Indy 500 Champion Dario Franchitti, and Keith Martin from Sports Car Market. To learn more about the Revs Institute for Automotive Research, visit revsinstitute.org.
Storytelling at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum
Our very own Drivetrain Specialist, Bob Lapane, will be one of the guest speakers at the first ever MotorMouth: Insider Series, "an evening of fascinating tales from those who have made careers out of their love of the automobile". At the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA on Thursday, March 21st. For tickets and more information click here.
Cavallino Classic XXII
We sent a truckload of cars to the Palm Beach area for this important South Florida weekend. There were no scheduling conflicts with the Scottsdale weekend this year, but there was a conflict for Ferrari racing fans who wanted to attend the Ferrari Challenge N.A. event at Daytona International Speedway. More...
The 1954 Ferrari 375 MM, winner of Preservation and Competition Cups in 2012, returned this year for a special class honoring Pininfarina designed Ferraris at Saturday's Concorso d'Eleganza. As the 375MM is a Preservation car, it needed only a check-over after its runs on the track last month during the Bahamas Speed Week Revival.
Pictured here is the 375MM on display at Jet Aviation's La Bella Macchina, Thursday evening. On Saturday at The Breakers, this unrestored 375MM was awarded Gold in its pre-1956 class. Also on the field was a client's Ferrari 500 Superfast, which we serviced and detailed following its 2012 season of European rallying. For the Classic Sports Sunday event, the 375MM owner drove his car to the field at Mar-a-Lago, and then won Finest Competition Car.
Scottsdale Auction Results
Alex Finigan, our Sales and Brokerage expert, attended the 2013 Scottsdale Auctions on behalf of three different clients. Continuing a long and complimentary relationship with Gooding & Company, Alex represented the owner of the 1959 Porsche RSK which sold for a new world record price of $3.135M, including the 10% buyer's premium.More...
Assisting a client in pursuit of an original, low-mileage Lancia B24S Spider America, Alex investigated the car's history, inspected the car on site, and then helped to develop a bidding strategy, suggesting a top budget of $400,000. Although unsuccessful in attaining the car, Alex felt the client was well served in preparing for the emotions of the day, as the car ultimately sold for almost twice the estimate.
Before the auction, Alex completed his own investigation of the rare Fantuzzi bodied 1957 Maserati 150 GT Spider. The new owner was particularly pleased with the winning bid of $3.080M, an amount below Alex's recommended bidding limit.
Saoutchik Roadster is Restoration of the Year
Latest News from the International Historic Motoring Awards:
"Restoration of the Year was won by the ‘Avant-Garde Torpedo Roadster’ the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S with coachbuilt body by Jacques Saoutchik. Following a meticulous restoration by Paul Russell and Company, which saw members of the restoration team travel from the USA to Germany to see two similar Saoutchik-bodied cars that still had their original lizard skin interiors, this car took the Best of Show award at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.More...
"Without the ability and creativity of restorers and the dedication of owners a great many cars would be lost forever. A truly great restoration requires a combination of in-depth research, historical knowledge, sensitivity, and a huge range of technical skills - and often more than a little ingenuity.
"For this award the judges are looking for the highest conceivable level of workmanship, applied to a vehicle of historical significance or importance. Provenance and originality are vital - this is restoration not re-creation - a meticulous, comprehensively-documented restoration of a vehicle that has been returned to what it was in its glory days."
Funds Raised for McPherson College
Paul Russell and Company was pleased to host a fundraiser on Saturday, November 3, 2012, for the benefit of the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program. The centerpiece of the event was a celebration of our 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Best of Show winner, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster. With the support of our generous sponsors, we were able to present a check to Amanda Gutierrez, McPherson College vice president for automotive restoration, for almost $60,000.More...
Essex, MA -- Paul Russell and Company, the automotive restoration and preservation specialists of this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Best of Show Winner, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster, brought the Mercedes star back east November 3rd to an eager crowd of enthusiasts, raising funds for McPherson College's Automotive Restoration Program, the country's only four-year Bachelor of Arts program devoted to the craft. The event raised nearly $60,000, from over 200 avid auto enthusiasts, sponsors, and supporters who were treated to a first-hand explanation of the custom coachbuilder's art from the restoration team, several of whom are McPherson College Graduates.
"We are thrilled to champion the Automotive Restoration Program at McPherson College, and to have Program graduates involved in a restoration project of this magnitude - an exquisite example of the 'coachbuilt era' motorcar," Paul Russell, a long-time Educational Advisory Board Member of the school, and event host said.
Partner sponsor Mercedes-Benz USA was on hand with a new LeMans Red SLS coupe looking every bit as classy as its 85-year old predecessor, showing the marque truly does withstand the test of time! They joined nearly a dozen other sponsors of the event from the historic, collector and vintage automotive industries, many of whom share a long-time interest and involvement with the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program.
"We're proud to provide scholarship opportunities, to join in these fund raisers, and promote the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program," Mike Kunz, of Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California and fellow Educational Advisory Board Member at McPherson College said. "We also enjoy the first-hand benefit of employing the graduates of the Program, with one of our youngest employees becoming a specialist on our oldest model - the very car that launched the automotive age - the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen!"
Hagerty Insurance, specialty auto insurers were on-board and on-hand to enjoy the presentation and shop tour. "It is important for all of us to support institutions like McPherson College so future generations learn how to properly restore classic cars. McPherson sets the standard and their graduates can be found at some of the world's leading restoration shops and winning prestigious awards at events around the country." McKeel Hagerty, President and CEO said.
Panther City Classic Autos, Jay Leno, BASF Glasurit, Gooding & Company, Premier Financial Services, Intercity Lines, Griot's Garage, Michael Furman Automotive Photographer, and Motorsport Marketing Resources were all key sponsors, helping with everything from donations to in-kind assistance to make the event a success.
The restoration team took attendees through the meticulous processes they used to bring the 1928 Mercedes-Benz up to the exacting Pebble Beach standards. Processes, such as researching and recreating the lizard skin upholstery were accomplished with utmost deliberative care, and over 1500 hours were spent on this endeavor alone! Chris Andrews, son of the vehicle's owners Paul and Judy Andrews of Fort Worth, TX was closely involved in monitoring the progress through the nearly two-year long project, emphasizing the roadworthiness of the finished product, in addition to its Pebble Beach Concours preparation. Their Panther City Classic Autos are also among the event supporters.
"I'm proud to be part of this team," McPherson Graduate, Stacy Puckett, the Resource Manager at Paul Russell and Company said. "Preserving the history of these important early motorcars so future generations can enjoy and learn from them is a pretty awesome job."
Amanda Gutierrez, McPherson College vice president for automotive restoration, said they were pleased to have so many restoration alumni involved with the Best of Show winner and appreciate all the efforts of Paul Russell and Company to organize this benefit.
"At McPherson College, we teach students the skills, historical background and global perspective they need to develop into world-class restorers - like those at Paul Russell and Company," she said. "We are so proud of our alumni success and their passion and professionalism. Our thanks go to Paul Russell for seeing the value of McPherson College."
To learn more about the McPherson Auto Restoration Program, visit www.mcpherson.edu/autorestoration.
Cavallino Classic XXI
The 2012 Cavallino Classic was a sunny showcase of important Ferraris both with and without racing lineage. The field offered up something to admire for every sort of Ferrari enthusiast, from the rugged 1963 GTO to the refined elegance of a 1951 212 Export Spyder Vignale. It was a beautiful day to be a Ferrari admirer. We presented two cars, one a fresh restoration and the other a preservation project. Both cars did very well, as they received 2 class awards and 3 major awards. Our sincere thanks and congratulations go to both of our enthusiastic and committed car owners. More...
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta alumino.
Delivered first to Switzerland and used to tour Europe, this wedding gift was then shipped to Canada. The next owner had it repainted brown metallic and fitted with a cream interior and lime green carpets. Other major modifications included the installation of a sunroof, large speakers on the back shelf, and a rectangular front grille guard. We hear it made quite an impression as it was often parked on the streets of Montreal. We purchased it on behalf of the current owner and restored the car to the 1967 Scaglietti configuration, and the original colors of Rosso Chiaro paint with Nero full leather interior.
Awards: Platinum Award (95+ points), Gran Turismo Ferrari Cup (Best of Show for road cars)
1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spyder. This car had been stored in a barn since being raced at Watkins Glen in 1973. Our client brought it to us in 2010 to be recommissioned mechanically, and for a sensitive touch while preserving the cosmetics. We are honored to be entrusted with this important project and its ongoing care. The owners have continued its racing lineage by participating in hillclimb events, as well as concours events, both here and abroad.
Awards: Platinum Award (95+ points), Competition Cup (for the finest racing Ferrari), Preservation Vintage Cup (for the Ferrari best representing original preserved condition, pre-1975)
Autobahn-Kurier wins Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award
The magnificent 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier, which we completely restored in 2006, has been awarded the coveted Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award for 2011. Only those cars that have won Best of Show at a major concours event during the year are considered. A jury of specialists decide the winner, based upon the elegance and refinement of the interior and exterior coachwork, the mechanical beauty, the appropriateness of form and function, as well as the authenticity, historical importance, and rarity.More...
The Autobahn-Kurier won Best of Show at the 2011 Concours d'Elegance of America, which qualified it for consideration. The award ceremony took place in Monaco on April 23, when a specially commissioned sculpture was presented to the owners.
This is our second "Best of the Best" award. The 1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans, completed in 2007, won the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award for 2008 after winning Best of Show at the Villa d'Este Concorso that year.