As Joe Maurer points out, original engines usually bring higher
prices at auctions than restored ones – in part maybe because the
purchaser has the option to restore or keep the piece original.
We’ve all seen the disappointed faces on Antiques Roadshow when
owners are told that their antiques would be worth two or three
times as much if they weren’t refinished. Most of our engines are
real antiques! Once paint, striping and decals are sandblasted or
painted, a piece of history is lost forever.
My personal preference is: no refinishing no matter what! The
only exception I make is for repairs, in which case I use a rust
paint, which is a blend of Rustoleum rusty metal red primer and
flat black, to match the repaired area to the rest of the engine’s
surface. I also try to preserve ingenious modifications or repairs
made to an engine – even parts made of wood – because they are part
of the engine’s history and make it more interesting.
When engines are refinished, I like to see parts that were not
painted at the factory (flywheel rims, pushrods, pulleys, etc.)
left unpainted. Those surfaces make an attractive contrast to the
I realize that the choice of paint vs. patina comes down to what
makes the owner happy. It’s the owner’s engine, and only the owner
knows what will bring him or her the most satisfaction.
167 Cushing Road
Friendship, ME 04547