People can "travel" through time via car restoration processes, says collector Miles Collier.


Miles Collier, a renowned car collector with a vast collection of over a hundred classic and modern vehicles, published a book on preserving classic cars for "time travel".

The Revs Institute, where Collier housed his collection, features over a hundred classic and modern racing cars that span over a century. Its goal is to preserve and promote the importance of the automobile in world history.

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In his new book, "The Archaeological Automobile", Collier aims to provide a fresh perspective on the history and preservation of classic cars.

According to Collier, the idea that restoring a car can magically transform an old vehicle into a new one is patently not true. Instead, he believes that each vehicle has its own unique characteristics due to the forces of time and use.

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"Any restoration is a temporary thing. If we look with a sufficiently granular perspective, each car is a unique object, with its uniqueness caused by the forces of use and time," the renowned car collector said.

Through his book, Collier aims to show how cars have a role in society. He uses their individuality to study how society values them.

Archeology and automobile
In his work, Collier draws parallels between the concept of archaeology and the study of time. He noted that by studying relics from the past, one could create new memories of a time that is frozen in place.

"The core idea is that you can apply an archaeological mindset — looking for clues impounded in the physical fabric, the materiality of the automobile," he said. "Archaeology is the science, it's the discipline of memory. And what we're looking at when we're looking at relics from the past is frozen memories of time itself. This kind of mindset causes these memories to reoccur in the present."

For Collier, the idea of an old car as a time machine is an interesting one. Its embedded history can transport people back to the past and provide valuable information on various topics such as history and culture related to the car.

"If you try to remove all the flaws — the individuality of an automobile — it means you are reducing the car from its archaeological individuality to just a member of its class," the collector noted.

Sometimes, it's impossible to restore a car that's already in poor condition. However, Collier encourages individuals to start with the goal of recapturing the essence of the vehicle and its history by creating a story about it.

Collier noted that he follows strict protocol during his restoration projects. When restoring his 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6, he used the same process that he preached. "So when it was time to bond the original floor to the original chassis, we did it with the usual insouciance. You'll see all kinds of drips and dribbles from the can of resin and the paintbrush," he said regarding his Carrera 6's restoration process.

According to Collier, getting into the process of restoring a car can be a transformative experience. It allows people to connect with the individuals who worked on the car back when it was created. They can experience the loss of time and connect with the people who helped preserve it through the process.

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