SURVIVOR Questions & Answers (Q&A)


Question: With regard to removing a paint finish from specific areas or parts that has been placed on top of the original paint finish, are there any good reference resources on how to carefully remove the paint that has been sprayed on top of the original finish, to expose the original finish again.  I can see chips in the newer applied paint that are exposing the original finish, so I know for sure the original finish is underneath.  I am sure it is tricky and challenging, but I would like to expose that original finish if I can.

ANSWER: Regarding your paint, it would take some careful study how to approach the problem.  Therefore, I can’t suggest any ready references.  From my experience, it is somewhat of a catch 22—nice to remove it, but could create a worse problem than currently exists. In short, sanding is probably the only strategy to remove it.  But it would take hours of meticulous and tedious work.  And there would be no turning back once begun.  Leaving it alone is the alternative strategy which may make more sense because you don’t know what you’ll find even if you did remove the last coat of paint. The paint underneath could make it necessary to repaint it “again”.  Expensive and maybe unnecessary, not to mention making it look more out of sync with the “original” look of the chassis, engine, and interior.  Regardless, I would want an artisan (not a typical restoration shop) to conduct some tests first and only then proceed. 


Question:  My question is that a dealer undercoated the vehicle with Zeibart undercoating.  That is how it survived 29 years in chicago.  Will this hurt us in the judging?  Eliminate the chassis portion?

ANSWER:  Zeibart is a dealer installed option.  SURVIVOR through ZZenith awards are all based on assembly plant roll-out because that is where the clock started ticking.  It becomes a can of worms to sort through the variety of modifications / options made available thereafter by dealers.  There could be some pretty weird things dealers would do that had nothing to do with factory production and we can't open the flood gates up to where to draw the line acceptability.  And of course, it definitely makes those who "sneaked" through and escaped any dealer modifications naturally more rare.

The good news is that undercoating alone will not prevent those cars from still receiving high praise and awards at SURVIVOR Collector Car.  what it will do, however, is make it ineligible for the highest awards, ZZenith, which requires 90% unrestored and unaltered from factory roll-out.

My personal advice to owners is to accept it for what is is and that is now a part of its history.  Further, I'd suggest NOT trying to remove it and end up with a mess and be worse off than if you'd left it alone.


Question:  I'd like some guidance on how my car would be judged as it is a long way to trailer it and at great expense. My exterior paint, trunk and interior are untouched and original.  Only exception is the front windshield and small touch up of rock chips.  My engine however has been repainted, but not the firewall, inner fenders or underhood.  Some hoses and clamps aren't original, but some are.  My spark plugs are replace.  Front suspension has also been repainted along with the drive shaft. Underside is undercoated, but i believe from the dealer.  If I stand a chance at the Survivor category, I'll come.  It is a 1970 Mustang Boss 302.

ANSWER : You definitely have a chance to certified with a Limited.  You possible have a chance to SURVIVOR certified depending on how much has been preserved under you underhood.  It's impossible to discern from a verbal description.  does a painted engine mean block only? Or block, manifold, valve covers, etc and how much has also deteriorated? 

Remember, being unrestored is only half the battle - the finishes on the unrestored parts also must remain in good color. Dealer undercoating would definitely make the chassis ineligible because the clock starts ticking at factory roll-out - not dealer delivery. However, if your under hood area passes, your car sounds like it would be likely to be SURVIVOR certified, and possible FingerPrint if the level or originality/condition remain at the 75% level everywhere but the chassis.

But it is important that you understand that we cannot judge via email and that this is only our best guess how the Mustang would score without virtually inspecting it!


Question:  My question is that a dealer undercoated the vehicle with Zeibart undercoating.  That is how it survived 29 years in chicago.  Will this hurt us in the judging?  Eliminate the chassis portion?

ANSWER:  Zeibart is a dealer installed option.  SURVIVOR through ZZenith awards are all based on assembly plant roll-out because that is where the clock started ticking.  It becomes a can of worms to sort through the variety of modifications / options made available thereafter by dealers.  There could be some pretty weird things dealers would do that had nothing to do with factory production and we can't open the flood gates up to where to draw the line acceptability.  And of course, it definitely makes those who "sneaked" through and escaped any dealer modifications naturally more rare.

the good news is that undercoating alone will not prevent those cars from still receiving high praise and awards at SURVIVOR Collector Car.  what it will do, however, is make it ineligible for the highest awards, ZZenith, which requires 90% unrestored and unaltered from factory roll-out.

My personal advice to owners is to accept it for what is is and that is now a part of its history.  Further, I'd suggest NOT trying to remove it and end up with a mess and be worse off than if you'd left it alone.


Question: I own a '69 Camaro, 396 SS with 60k original miles.  The car is pretty much untouched with the original drive train, lacquer paint and vinyl interior in place.  I was hoping you could tell me what the criteria is to be Bloomington Gold Survivor certified and how would I go about getting my car certified.

ANSWER:  The best thing is to study the criteria and examples at www.survivorcollectorcar.com. There is more info there than you can get in a phone call.  Bringing the car to the event, SURVIVOR Collector Car, June 27, 2010, is the only way to have it certified;  which by the way would be a very good idea.  Unrestored cars are rapidly increasing in interest and documentation from SURVIVOR Collector Car will help.


 

Question:  When do you know what car is worth restoring versus leaving original and how do you repair any imperfections while keeping it as original as possible?  I have a '58 Edsel Citation 4 door...is it worth keeping original?

ANSWER:  There are no exact or magic answers to either question.  It remains largely in the eye of the individual collector.  No one that I know can give a reliable answer without first looking at the vehicle in person and secondly putting the vehicle into some sort of historic context.  In other words, are there zillions of them left today unrestored and were they never desirable in the first place? Or are they in limited supply?  The more rare and desirable the vehicle was/is to the market place, the more important the decision becomes.

General rule of thumb we tend to use if it remains over 50% unrestored and over 50% of the original finishes remain in very good condition, don't touch it.  Conserve it as it is.


Question:  I am interested in bringing my car to the SURVIVOR show next June.  I have a 1974 Buick Le Sable convertible.  Original top, paint, interior, engine, original shopping cart dings, etc.  The only thing ever replaced was the plastic filler strips by the rear bumper.  There is very little rust and only one hole I can find behind the bottom trim.  The tires are not original but are period.  Is this a car I should register for the judging?  I have won awards at local shows but mostly I just drive it and have fun.  The engine is all original, but I did paint the valve covers only.  I see where that is a common mistake on the site.  Any advice is appreciated and I can send photos.

ANSWER:  You're right: painting anything is a mistake in the world of preservation/conservation.  I suggest doing NOTHING else until someone who is a noted preservationist (like some of our inspectors) evaluates it.  However, you may still do very well at our event based on your brief comments. 

 


Question:   I just purchased a 1963 coupe Sting Ray with an original AC and power glide. (I believe only 278 were made.)  The car was in storage for the past 18 or so years, I am the 3rd owner.  Even though the car was in storage most of its life, the wheels, battery, air filter and small little stuff were replace on the car was well as the car being repainted.  Now after visiting your site, I wonder if I should just leave it alone or go ahead and change battery, power steering pump and wheels to original ones.  Drive train and every other thing on the car is original.  

ANSWER:  You are usually safe to leave things alone.  However, if your battery, power steering pump, etc. have already been changed, you can't do any harm by replacing those things with at least original unrestored components.  the things you don't want to do is anything that is irreversible, like painting or plating something.  That cannot ever be reversed.  Wheels and things that "bolt on" are reasonably safe because those actions can be reversed.  The thing to remember, once something is refinished (even if it is the "original" part that came on the car), it is no longer "unrestored".


Question about Rust:  I am considering entering my 1978 Corvette in the SURVIVOR® judging.   My car is original with documentation and the exterior and interior are in very good shape - however the chassis has a lot of surface rust.  What am I allowed to do as far as rust removal and repainting?  It is difficult for me to believe that owners can keep their car chassis rust free.  Any information on preserving my car would be appreciated. 

ANSWER:  DO NOTHING.  Anything you do endangers your chances because you can wreck the finishes.  Painting is irreversible and is definitely not advised. Do nothing more aggressive than hot water, Dawn dish soap and a heavy duty paint brush.  Otherwise, you can get into trouble and be forever sorry because you unintentionally and irreversibly ruined the factory finish.  Rule of thumb: you can't restore something to be unrestored.  You can only make it worse.


QUESTION:  I own an all original 1983 Cadillac Seville Elegante with 88,000 miles.  Basically, it is almost immaculate except for some body filler pieces that need replaced and a dirty engine compartment (the car sat in a garage for 8 years).  Does repainting some of the engine components affect the rating?  Does replacing body filler pieces with aftermarket ones (the old ones suffer from dry rot as is common with these Caddies) affect rating?

ANSWER:  Anything you do to re-finish (paint, re-plate, re-upholster, etc) detracts from authenticity.  This is NOT what you want to do.   We are not a typical "car show" where you get a trophy for cosmetic perfection.  We are a research and preservation event.  Therefore, putting aftermarket parts does little to help others learn what your Cadillac really looked like from the factory.  Painting things causes the same problems.  It is not a beauty contest.

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QUESTION:  My wife is the original owner of a 1989 Toyota Camry that appears would qualify to be SURVIVOR Certified. My concern is will there ever be four judges qualified on this year, make & model? Or for any car that is not considered popular for whatever reason. I can see that there would be four judges for 1989 Corvettes, older GTOs, Mustangs, etc. But what happens when someone has a really clean & original "plain" car that is not in demand and therefore not a lot of them still around? It seems that having four judges in existence for every year, make & model is not realistic, and I understand that. But I would think it also excludes having a lot of older cars SURVIVOR Certified. Unless there are other provisions that I am not aware of, it seems unlikely that anyone in my situation would ever get their car SURVIVOR Certified. Is this correct, or are there other provisions?

ANSWER: You are basically correct in your email. For all practical purposes, SURVIVOR Certification is of primary value for collector cars rather than high volume mass produced vehicles like Toyotas. In other words, collector cars are typically of reasonably limited production volume, high desirability, or very old age.  SURVIVOR Certification adds credibility to their authenticity and is of great value when the authenticity of an expensive collectible comes into question.

Although our requirements are that vehicles must be at least twenty years old to be certified, generally speaking cars (of any brand) newer than 1975 are rarely very collectible; so the value of certification of those cars is lower.  However, if ever one day a Toyota Camry group wanted to audition to pass our Bloomington Gold requirements to become certified SURVIVOR judges, we would be happy to test them.  If/when that group of judges could ever pass our testing procedures, then they could SURVIVOR certify cars like yours. In summary, you are basically correct in your email.  However, we have found that many of our judges have an incredibly good "eye" to spot cars that have been altered, refinished, repaired, or in some way changed from their original factory production condition--regardless if they are specialists in that brand or not.  It would be much easier to demonstrate than to explain in an email how they do it, however, it is possible.                  


QUESTION:  How do I determine if I have an unrestored car that may qualify as a SURVIVOR car? 

ANSWER:  Go to SURVIVOR Standards & Process on this website and review it, then go to our Examples and review the Judging Sheets. While reviewing these items, keep re-asking yourself the questions you had about your car.  You should find your answers on our website.  If you are still unclear, call and register for our “special package” which includes a Survivor judging consultation on your car.


QUESTION:  Have you ever thought of going to a point-based system for Survivor as is done for Gold Certification for the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show?

ANSWER: Yes, and we have been doing it successfully for 20 years and it is called BENCHMARK®.   On the other hand, a Gold Certification points system is completely impractical for non-Corvettes at this time. However, as owners become more educated about our process, it will become understand why—stay tuned!


QUESTION:  When will the first Survivor Certified certificates be awarded?

ANSWER: 1990 for Corvettes.  2010 for other Collector Cars


QUESTION:  What if my marque has no certified judges?

ANSWER: It’s simple, that marque will not be judged until judges are willing and able to pass the appropriate tests and become SURVIVOR Certified Judges.


QUESTION:  I think a Survivor Certified car should be a car that is 95% original, why are your standards only 50%?                  

ANSWER: Our 50% level is the minimum.  If we restricted it to a 95% level the first year out, we’d be shutting out a huge market segment that has already been made to feel like second class citizens.  Be patient and you will see that it is rolled out very slowly and carefully.  If not we’d have a small turnout and the show could never be a viable or interesting event.


QUESTION:  What do I do if I feel I am qualified to be a judge for a particular marque?

ANSWER: Contact cathy@bloomingtongold.com or see this website for details.


QUESTION:  Does being Survivor Certified add any money value to my car?

ANSWER: We can’t say how much money value it will add.  However, it sure will add credibility, especially as more misrepresentations are made by sellers. Only the car market determines the value of your car, but at least they will know that it was held to strict standards to obtain a Survivor Certified award.


QUESTION:  Can you determine if I have a Survivor over the phone?

ANSWER:  No.  That’s why we do not do phone judging.  That is the purpose of our event so you can come and find out if you have a Survivor level car.  Our website goes in to great detail so YOU can determine if you might likely qualify to be Survivor Certified.


QUESTION:  Can a Survivor judge have his/her car entered to be certified and still be a judge that year?

ANSWER: Pick One or the Other: Judges are certainly encouraged to have their cars certified. It gives our judges the experience to "know what it feels like" to be the one getting judged. However, if a judge brings a car, a leave of absence is taken from judging that year, because of "distraction". We need our judges focused 100% on their judging task without all the other demands associated with bringing a car for certification, even if it is judged by someone else. In short, we found that it just causes problems.