There are two ways to preserve vintage cars that have participated in endurance races or road rallies such as the 1000 Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana. One way is to restore them to their original condition prior to their first race, which is expensive and time-consuming. The second method is to conserve the cars in the condition they were in after completing their most important races. This method is far more complex because it begins with a presumption: first and foremost, one must find the cars still in race condition. Then, with patience and method, each part is disassembled and preserved, cleaned or repaired. At that point, the car is reassembled and is in perfectly efficient and running condition, just as it was on the day of its last finish line. Beginning in the 1970s, Fred Simeone, a well-respected neurologist, made it his life’s mission to collect and conserve these vintage gems, splitting his time between his surgery and traveling the world to find them.
Fred, who was widely loved and respected, passed away in June 2022. However, his remarkable work has been safeguarded and is on show in Philadelphia at the museum, which is also the base of the foundation he established to ensure his meticulous work would not be dispersed. His story is extraordinary, starting with the technique he used to build his collection. When he decided to create it, he covered his fridge door with magnetic tags, each with the name of a car he wanted to own. With every purchase, the respective tag was removed until the fridge was almost entirely free of the names of dreams that had become reality over the years. This reality was then transformed, for each vehicle added to his collection, into painstaking restoration work. It is essential to clarify that his was restoration in the non-traditional sense of the term. For example, the Shelby Cobra Daytona in his collection had, as its final achievement, taken part in the speed record on the Bonneville salt flats. This was perfect for the record but destructive for the cars, as salt dust enters everywhere. Fred disassembled and cleaned the car piece by piece to restore it to its original state, as can be seen at the museum. Nowadays, his daughter Christina Simeone is devoted to the legacy she did not inherit, which became everyone's due to Fred's generous heart. By visiting, even making a small donation assists in preserving it. This is both a recommendation and solid advice for genuine car enthusiasts.