The Fairwater Collection !

An MGBGTV8 Sebring and some interesting Land Rover conversions.
Now, see also my professional site at: !

Some notes on ORIGINALITY !

See this below?  This is the most famous steam locomotive of all time.  Is it in original condition? No, far from it !

This locomotive is the last of its kind, one of the most historic pieces of engineering history in existence, and yet it has been converted to a mechanical condition in which some of the class saw service only in their last few years of service under British Railways, with double chimneys and German style smoke deflectors!  What is more, the locomotive is now finished again in LNER Apple Green, (which is nice), but still having the double chimney and smoke deflectors, it is in a condition in which it never ran in service, and in which it is definitively less attractive than it is in original condition.  Some consideration for originality there?  No.  It is only pandering to the whim of those who like it in this condition.


The addition of the smoke deflectors and double chimney change completely, the look of this locomotive, from its original state, and do nothing for its good looks. 


What a pedegree this locomotive has.  The A1 class was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley when he was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Northern Railway.  The first two engines, 1470, "Great Northern" and 1471, "Sir Frederick Banbury", were turned out by the GNR, in 1922, and Flying Scotsman, the third engine, was the first built under the new, LNER, initially as number 1472 in 1923, and being renumbered 4472 when the LNER had to renumber after absorbing lots of smaller railway companies.  When Flying Scotsman was first preserved, in 1962, it was kept in original condition, (as the development from the GNR A1, then categorised, A3). 

Tragically it was the only one of its class to be preserved.  The class totalled 135 locomotives, and the A3's worked the heaviest and most important express trains together with their streamlined brothers, the A4's, of "Mallard" fame, until the last days of steam, and this was in preference to much newer engines like the Peppercorn A1 and A2 classes, and the diabolical Thompson modified Gresley engines.  What a tribute this was to these 1922 engines.  At the end of steam they were all cut up at their works.  Flying Scotsman was very lucky to escape the cutter's torch.

You would think then that such an important engine would be kept in original (at least LNER A3) condition, and yet as these pictures show, it is not.


What does this have to do with vehicles?

If they can do this to the most famous locomotive of all time, then surely I can stick an efi engine in my MG and put Sebring wings on it, as there are hundreds of MG V8's preserved, most of which are original.  It is again, restorable to original condition anyway!

Originality is something held most dear to some.  Modifications to original specification can be frowned upon by the rivet counting brigade, most of whom don't have to try to maintain a vehicle in original condition.  Value can be compromised and desirability reduced. To me, value is arbitrary because mine are not for sale anyway!

However, free expression to improve original specifications and update things can make older vehicles much easier to live with, and many recognise this too.  It is quite difficult to keep old vehicles totally original, and I take my hat off to those who strive and succeed in doing this.

Details are one thing though, and heavy modifications are another.  I don't consider that anything I have done or are likely to do, can be considered as a heavy modification, as they are all rebuildable into original condition easily enough.  

I like experimentation and also like to update and upgrade where I can, while preserving character.  It is surprising how old vehicles can be made to perform just as well as new ones by updating specifications, and day to day use can be just as easy. 

This facet I find interesting.  The fact that I can be driving a forty or more year old vehicle which looks just as good as a new one, performs as well, is in better condition than a good many five year old ones, and by virtue of having survived all that time, and has not been replaced ten times by other newly manufactured vehicles at great cost to the environment, is actually amongst the greenest vehicles on the planet.

Even the Green Party themselves are on the record of stating that it would be better for car manufacturers to build vehicles which last for twenty years than vehicles which last only ten years, as there is so much pollution produced in the manufacture of cars that this is not offset in their own lifetime. (Caroline Lucas criticising the government's new scrappage for 10 year old vehicles plan, as being a measure purely to prop up the  motor industry and nothing to do with being green.  The World at One, April 22nd 2009, Budget day.)