The conversion debate rolls on and on
ALAN BARNES attempts to justify conversions by presenting the old chestnut that ‘the owner, having paid his money, has every right to treat the engine in whatever manner he thinks fit’ and that ‘a converted engine is surely better than an unconverted engine being cut for scrap’.
The reality is that there are very few engines which would have been scrapped if they had not been converted. Moreover, when you buy an engine, you buy the responsibility and duty to conserve the heritage which it represents. Conversion of an engine to something it never was in its working life is, quite simply, the destruction of heritage. It takes place because the rally movement has developed a kind of ‘celeb culture’ which is often seen as more important than heritage.
Conversions seldom look right, they often seem to be out of proportion somehow. So perhaps rally organisers should include an Ugly Corner or Freak Show at their events, where conversions can be displayed and visitors can go and have a good laugh at them.
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