In light of the pretty much pre-production Mini that went for £40k at Bonhams recently, I just wondered what you all made of originality? It’s fascinating for me because I’ve got a Mini that resembled the Bonhams one. Especially when it had been sand-blasted back to 1964. There really wasn’t much left. Was I wrong to do that?

I get very confused by originality as so few classics are original. I know this because for the purposes of journalism I once entered a concours competition. The car I had – despite a week’s worth of cleaning – was as it left Wolfsburg nine years previously. Everything was on spec, including the tyres, yet it lost out hugely to cars that had been substantially rebuilt. Well, they were 20 to 30 years old and, crucially, weren't built in Wolfsburg in the 1980s. 

I really don’t care that much about originality. Does the car work? Does it look good? Then I’m happy. I do like patina. The problem with mine is that the bodywork was shot. So it's going to have a substantially rebuilt body, but the interior will be pretty much Patina City, complete with a driver’s seat that is largely unstitched. 

I did want the paint applied with bits in it, but apparently the bloke doing the spraying has some professional pride. I really don’t want a shiny classic. I want my manky old Mini back, but it's too late now and I only have myself to blame.