COPY OR CONTINUATION

BY ANDREW FRANCIS,

DIRECTOR, THE SIGNATURE STORE

In the collectibles world there are a fair few buzz words when it comes to products, especially ones that have been reproduced. So now seems a good time to address the question of what differentiates a continuation product from a replica, and what constitutes official or fake?

 

There are some blurred lines with this, and a great example came from my recent visit to Jaguar Land Rover Classic, where I clamped eyes on one of their ‘continuation’ D-types. It was a stunning thing. Jag had found 25 unallocated D-type chassis numbers and decided to assign them to new-build cars to finish what had originally been planned as a 100-unit run in the mid-1950s.

 

All well and good (and did I mention truly beautiful?), but is that a ‘continuation’ product? I always come back to the Goodwood argument where it’s largely agreed that a continuation car, which is made from modern materials to far better standards than in period, can never truly compete fairly with an original. To me, that’s a replica – an official one, built by Jaguar, using the same tooling, but to modern standards, with its own unique provenance.

 

Now, if a customer asks us to commission a classic Everoak helmet in the style of Stirling Moss or Jim Clark, we’ll make it clear that the product an be based around a period shell (so becomes a restoration), or a modern shell (replica), but both could be considered to be continuation, as they are made in exactly the same way as the original, just like the modern Jaguar D-Type.

 

And then there are official and un-official replicas. ‘Fake’ is a nasty word, it should only be associated with a copy that sets out to deceive. Replicas can be a product that’s not licensed, not produced in the historically correct way (i.e copied in a factory somewhere) and that lacks key historical detail in process or materials. But an official replica is at least produced to a standard and should satisfy it official status in quality and materials.

 

For many older marques and drivers, there’s no need to license anything. So brands can reproduce Surtees, Clark, Hill, Mansell… whatever they like, often with varying quality of moulds or stickering/sponsorship changes and sell them perfectly legally. There’s nothing wrong with that if you simply want a display piece, but it can harm how collectible they can become.

 

With modern drivers and teams, things have tightened up greatly. Many modern designs are subject to copyright or trademark, and require a license to reproduce, making copies of them ‘official licenced replicas’. Many F1 teams and their suppliers companies are now in the official licenced replica market, commanding a premium, but ultimately will always be collectible, just because they are the official copies.

 

Blurred lines, but clear distinctions all the same.

4613913542.jpg

Continuations are built around new parts in traditional menthods

BY ANDREW FRANCIS,

DIRECTOR, THE SIGNATURE STORE

ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED, MAY 2022, MOTORSPORT MAGAZINE