Answer: When it’s a Spridget!
My old mate and fellow petrolhead Pete who works out in Oman sent me a link to to a really funny advert on Dubizzle – a Dubai based website. The ad was for a “Very special classic car – 1969 Aston Martin”.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but trying to make a 69 Spridget (MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite) look like an Aston Martin is stretching imitation to its limits.
The proud owner seems to have gone to great lengths to create his classic sports car. In essence he’s very carefully grafted a 69 Spridget onto what I assume must be 2 highly original Aston Martin badges (one on the bonnet and one on the boot lid). The photograph of the car’s UAE registration document stating that it is indeed an Aston Martin must mean that its originality is based purely upon the 2 badges.
Now whilst I fully support enthusiastic modification and sympathetic upgrading – this particular example is as daft as someone having a shirt sewn onto a button and claiming fashion designer provenance through the button.
Originality or claimed originality is a funny old thing especially in terms of classic cars. There must be a massive number of classic motors out there for which their claimed degree of originality is on a par with “Trigger’s Broom”.
Trigger was a fictional character in the BBC comedy series Only Fools and Horses. He was a road sweeper and in one episode he proudly explained how he’d been given an award for owning the same broom for 20 years. He then went on to explain that the broom had received 17 new heads and 14 new handles in that time but it was the same broom!
Mythological & Philosophical Digression
It turns out that that this classic bit of comedy has resulted in “Trigger’s broom” being linked to the “Ship of Theseus Paradox” first described by Plutarch and much mulled over by philosophers since.
The paradox centres on the ship used by Theseus to return to Athens from his trip to Crete to kill the Minotaur in his labyrinthine lair. In all the fuss and kerfuffle of leaving Crete, Theseus forgot to change the sail on the ship from black signifying failure of his mission to a white sail signifying success, thereby causing his Dad to throw himself off a cliff when he saw the approaching black sailed ship.
Despite having caused his Dad to top himself the Athenians, eternally grateful to Theseus for no longer having to annually send a bunch of its youths for sacrifice to the Minotaur, decided to preserve the ship in the harbour. To do this over several centuries they gradually replaced decaying timbers with new stronger timbers but with the passage of time it eventually transpired that no original piece of the ship remained. Over the subsequent centuries – philosophical argument raged over the paradox of whether the ship remained the same object or not!
So – is the Aston Spridget a fake or original if at least 1 component, or in this case two badges, are really from an Aston Martin? Discuss!