Could someone in the Club tell explain what the "Cetificate of authenticity from the Steam Car Club GB" is supposed to be? And who wrote it? Plainly this car has been built from a set of original instruments, as mentioned in the auctioneer's description, but it appears to have been some credence by the Club's so called Authenticity Certificate which could be quite controversial and damaging to the Club's reputation if the new owner takes it as read.
The way I understand it, any car built in recent times is considered to be authentic if it has been built to original specifications, to the best available current scholarship. If this is true, there shouldn't be a problem making a statement to that effect. Is this accurate for England? No formal certification exists in the US, so I don't have any experience to compare to.
For instance, it would be hard to take exception to a statement like, "This is a 1905 Serpollet, built in 2013." With the vigorous and expanding activity in the creation of Stanleys, as well as other desirable cars, I think it's becoming common knowledge that these days, calling something a 1905 car does not mean that it was built in 1905.
The auctioneers asked the club to advertise the car. The response was yes, we will advertise it, but the advert must be paid for. We also explained that the car is a replica and we would have to add a footnote to the advert stating so. We heard no more.
The rules in England now state that if a genuine chassis is used then you can call the car what ever make that chassis is. The auctioneer assured us that a genuine chassis had been used. This we as a club, we can neither confirm or deny. We do have information regarding the construction of this car. Please note that Anthony Bever was not a member of this club.
The letter of authenticity has not been produced but it is not club policy to authenticate cars and never has been.
We have a registration officer who helps to register cars here in England, he does not authenticate.
The auctioneers were informed last week regarding this car and have been reinformed today that the club is not in a position, and never has been, to authenticate the car and that any documentation they have relating to the car bearing the club's name must be disregarded.
I the UK if you want a vehicle recognised as being officially 1905 then you have to have it dated and given a number by the Veteran Car Club of GB. They have a Dating Committe with criteria for a car to be fully dated, given a passport or given a certificate --each dependent on what eveidence has been put forward as to whether most of the major components--engine, chassis, front and rear axles, and steering box--are from one car, from several cars of the same make and age or from several cars of teh same make but different ages. They now test the make up of different castings and metal parts as to their age and period.
As yet the Steam Car Club GB is not a recognised authority nor has any nationally agreed criteria to be able to "authenticate" any steam car. It may be able to agree a specification amongst it's members and perhaps the VCC GB in the future but apart from that there are too many conflicts of interests within the Club for that to happen at present.
You could not say, under our Trades Description Act that a vehicle "Is a 1905 Serpollet built in 2013" because that implies that it is an original Serpollet. made in 1905, that has been rebuilt in 2013.
You could say "This is a replica/copy of a 1905 Serpollet that was built in 2013"
Complicated I know but it all comes down to money, surprise, surprise. Some owners are not content to honestly describe their vehicles and quite farnkly there are far too many Stanley's now that are brand new from stem to stern, or have no major original components, that are advertised as being of a date that was not concurrent with when they were created.
Have you seen the so called Stanley Mountain Wagon in the same sale? The last photo that I saw of it the "original body" was brand new and the bonnet was higher and had a condensor; not surprising as it was not a coffin nosed Stanley steamer Mountain Wagon then.
Thanks Basil, good of you to clear that up. It just didn't seem possible that teh Club had authenticated a car as there is, as you say, no agreed policy for that.
As to a chassis I am not sure what "rule" you are referring to in the UK that says that if using a genuine chassis you can call that car as being of the same make. The Veteran Car Club GB who date cars up to 1918 do not have such a rule and the Vintage Sports Car Club GB says that you must have three out of the five major components. I stand to be corrected because as I live down here in the far West we can be out of touch sometimes.
By the way can I give my apologies for not being at the AGM.
"The letter of authenticity has not been produced but it is not club policy to authenticate cars and never has been.
We have a registration officer who helps to register cars here in England, he does not authenticate."
Well I have seen a copy of the letter that the auctionners refer to and when the Club's Authentication Office says "This is a very rare stem car indeed" and "the original engine, frame and road springs, which were the only parts salvaged, were refurbished and all other parts remade" he does appear to be giving authentification to the car, especially as his title on the Steam Car Club letterhead is Authentification Officer.
Did he see the parts BEFORE they were refurbished beacuse there seems to be some doubt, expressed by the auctioneers in their decription where they only credit the original items as being the instruments. And it appears that some people saw some of these major items being made....
Dating of cars is undertaken by a legally separate entity to the VCCGB, Veteran Car Services Ltd.
The entire dating/authenticity issue is a minefield and being in the course of putting a car through the VCS dating procedure, my opinion the SCCGB is quite right in having nothing to do with it dating or authentication.
If the impression has been given that Anthony's magnificent Serpollet Replica has been authenticated by the SCCGB, then it should be corrected in a legally sound manner.
SCCGB Members might find it interesting to know in the February 2013 issue of 'Veteran Car, the Gazette of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain', the Dating Advisory Committee on p659 specifically mentions the difficulty of dating steam cars, especially new 'old' cars made up from parts, and notes 'hopefully we now have the technology to detect this'.