To restore or not?

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seagull101
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by seagull101 »

It has a MK4 ignition.
I was just going by what Charles told me when i got it.
Adrian Dale
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by Adrian Dale »

'To restore or not' is a good question but its dependant on your objectives. Mine were always to get the engine on the back of a boat. But for some it is to get an engine to concourse condition ref classic and vintage cars for the definition. SOS is about saving the heritage and history interest of the brand. This includes preserving and repairing. It's very different to restore the problem with the older engines. There are enormous gaps in our knowledge, so to achieve a full rear back to factory condition is often not achievable, if you want a beautiful polished motor hanging on a varnished wooden stand. I suspect most of us desire to have the pleasure of hearing and seeing the engine running even if it is only in a tank of some sort, but the pleasure that I got from being on an open boat with a reliable engine on a warm summer's day was almost orgasmic. :lol: The slight vibration of the machine and the rise and fall of large swells lifting you skyward provides me the full pleasure and experience of a Seagull Engine on the open sea.rivers and canals also provide wonderful experiences and reduce the risk of sea water corrosion an ever present threat.
Some engines I have restored to the best of my ability, others I have repaired and serviced to a high standard to provide full reliability, which I have proved by some long, non-stop voyages, proving reliability of gear boxes and mechanical parts.16 hours of continous running with no top up of gear oil of repleshment. without damage and still with a beautiful oily emulsion good for further use.
Alas no more to enjoy as I slowly recover from my devastating stroke.
If you have a vintage little 40, 'gannet' Jeremy is your man!
AJ
Edited by CharlesP Moderator
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Hugz
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by Hugz »

I've been recently watching an english show called "find it, fix it, flog it". The subject matter often comes up about the level of restoration and generally their view is that it should work, be clean but keep original distress in keeping with age, whether that is an oil can or motorbike. (Oily rag resto). Now it is true that the show is trying to make money out of the objects and they do admit that a full restoration invariably loses money but we are in it for the collectable side of things. Me l like the oily rag level of resto.

Talking of distressed look l wish to distress an SD tank with decal. I have a feeling that this is going to take longer than a mint tank. I'm not looking for a shabby chic look. That irks me no end!

By the way the above mentioned show does portray a lot of different finishing techniques and ideas.

I have my heart now set on an old sailing rig timber boom with holes drilled in with LEDs inserted to hang above my work bench. Kewl hey!
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fleetingcontact
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by fleetingcontact »

When Ted Simon returned from his epic trip, he donated his Triumph Tiger to the Coventry Transport Museum, who have it on display in the state it was in at the time. Fair enough, because if you removed the tatty panniers, fixed all that was broken, and polished it till it shone as the good people of Meriden intended, then it would simply be another Triumph Tiger, indistinguishable from all the rest - it wasn’t an un-common model. As it is, it has individuality and value as the legendary machine.

After T.E. Lawrence lost his life in an accident while riding one of his several Brough Superior motorcycles, the damaged machine was repaired and is now in stunning condition and currently on loan to the Imperial War Museum in Southwark. It was repaired because (I imagine) the thing itself was and is highly valuable. It was the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles, tailor-made for those who could afford it. It is unique and exquisite.

If you discovered an original Manx Norton in a filthy, rusty state in a barn, would you be happy with it in that condition? Even if it turned out that the previous owner was Mike Hailwood or John Surtees? I think not.

There is a bike shop in Catford which specialises in pre-unit Triumphs. They are all restored, and I find them to be eye-achingly beautiful. At another bike shop near me, there is someone who clearly digs two-strokes in a big way. Currently in stock there is a Suzuki GT750. This machine is in stunningly good original condition. The chrome is lovely. The paint is excellent, and if it is not the original paint, it is a very good re-spray indeed. You would have to be crazy (or rich enough not to care) to buy this machine and consider changing anything.

What has any of this got to do with British Seagull outboards? Not much, I guess. Outboard engines are not motorcycles.

Personally, I like the fact that British Seagull is quite probably the very last vestige of the British manufacturing industry as-was. I like them because they are very much a niche interest. I like that, despite the fact they are all of advanced years, can (mostly) still be serviced with a fairly basic toolkit. But perhaps the best thing about these old machines is that the majority are not worth much money. They are an inexpensive bit of fun. If they ever do gain significantly in value I think all of us will be long-dead, unless the current offering on eBay actually sells for the asking-price. Will pigs fly?

I have never seen a Seagull where the original finish had survived to anything like a pleasant appearance although I suspect that one or two examples exist. These rare birds aside, even if the flat, chipped paint and illegible decals on a 102 tank are more valuable than a fresh coat, is the same true of the rusty driveshaft tube or the heavily corroded alloy?

The sentiment expressed on this forum sometimes concerns distaste for the ‘restoration’ of Seagulls. Some feel any attempt at bringing the finish back to a ‘new’ state is undesirable – the expression ‘keeping it honest’ is used a lot. Car dealers often use the concept when in reality the object is to convince the would-be buyer that worse is better and maximise profit-margins. I once came across an ad for some classic bike where the blurb cheerfully proclaimed it had ‘loads of patina!’ and finished with an absurd asking-price, which they probably got.

I for one can see that when, fiddling about with old Seagulls, producing a high degree of cosmetic appeal is ultimately futile. It costs money and time you’ll most likely never get back. If you pursue such a thing then it has one of two inevitable conclusions. The first is the danger that, if the results are exceptional, the subject becomes a ‘display-only’ curio which pretty-much defeats the object of the exercise. And the second is that, if the thing is then used, it will eventually return to the starting point. So why bother? But, for that matter, why bother doing the washing-up?

So just what is my point?

Seagulls are of low value, none that I have ever heard of were once owned by a famous personage who either died tragically whilst using it or not (and nobody would care even if it were so), have not been involved in any famous expeditions to the upper reaches of the Limpopo, and, barring a small number of shed ornaments, are not rare. Finally, in other areas of interest in old machinery, the general trend is not to accept that these things are now faded and rusty and should be preserved in that state.

Shiny metal may not be ‘original’ but neither is rust, worn paint, or ‘patina’.

I suggest that cherishing and admiring such aspects of the old dears is perhaps a symptom of some rose-tinted desire to connect with an idealised past which never existed in the first place, and has a basis in a Victorian fad.

As for the concept of ‘nostalgia’ a bloke called Marx once made some interesting observations on the subject.

The best arguments I can think of for not bothering with the Brasso is that all the polishing in the world will not make them run any more efficiently (although any machine works better if it isn’t covered in crap), it makes the process of rejuvenating one of these things somewhat more complicated, probably does not add value, is incredibly messy and time-consuming, and makes your fingers hurt.

But I like the results. Making a new finish look old? Shome mishtake shurely.

p.s One day soon you will not be able to buy petrol…
Keith.P
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by Keith.P »

If someone wishes to polish a motor to death, then that's their prerogative to do so, will it make it be worth more, go faster, as you say Seagulls are of low value and the basic fact is no matter what you do to a turd - polish it, paint it, give it bling - it's still a turd, so just use it.
tambikeboy
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by tambikeboy »

:lol:
Roll me up and smoke me when I die
Regret is just a memory written on my brow
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charlesp
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by charlesp »

Maybe not the Limpopo, but they certainly reached the interior of the Dark Continent. One story recounts the recovery of the rotting corpse of a hippopotamus that was rendering the water in a river dangerous. The beast had a framework of branches and ropes attached, and a Seagull strapped on the end provided motive power.

Source - Roger Pinniger

There were, I think, two appearances by British Seagull motors in Antarctica.

Source - Keith Shackleton
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fleetingcontact
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by fleetingcontact »

Breaking news:

A rusty Seagull (model 102) has been found sticking out of a mummified polar-bear's chuff. The Explorer's Society is hoping to preseve the arsetefact for permanent display in the lobby of its London headquarters. (Reuters)
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charlesp
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by charlesp »

what on earth brought that on?
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fleetingcontact
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by fleetingcontact »

No dig intended CharlesP, just kidding.
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fleetingcontact
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Re: To restore or not?

Post by fleetingcontact »

'Scott of the Antiques Roadshow' anyone?
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