I think it is personal preference. These are not like vintage cars where originality is a big deal. They are still used by and large every weekend for pleasure purposes. To that end, they should be functional. For instance, are the original power plants good? Of course they are and in some cases near bullet proof. but, as much as I love my 427's, if I had the means my 42 would have a pair of 8.2's in her. New is not always bad. I have seen some Commanders done tastefully and with thought to style and functionality that are downright stunning. I have never been challenged as to why I replaced a given component or furnishing as long as it was well thought out and done well.
To summarize, do what you want, keep it functional and tasteful. Most important, ENJOT IT!
I have that "timeless" gold in the head of my 35'. Updating it I feel would be a good idea, not a sin.
When boat shopping (on-line) I like the mahogany interiors but when other area's have been updated nicely, not cheaply, I find it to be a selling point.
My best friend is a top boat restorer, has been doing it professionally for about 40 years. He has a couple commanders, one an older version of mine. He thinks my Commander is the most original in existence, it is painfully original, he wants me to take it to some big boat show. It was never sold by the dealer, he put 500-hours on it and stored it indoors. Some seat cushions are still wrapped in plastic. It has never been buffed, to preserve the gelcoat. Original fire extinguishers still in place.
But, it is just a boat and not really worth all that much. And some of the original parts are now unserviceable, and need to be replaced, which I've been doing this summer, just got it in the water. So it is steadily becoming less original and more enjoyable, like every other Commander out there that is still in use.
The seat cushions are coming apart under the plastic covers, the hull needs a good buffing, waterline and boot stripes need refreshing. It appears to have the original bottom paint, which looks wonderful to me, I might leave it. I'll have a bimini made and installed, first holes drilled since it left the factory, but it has to live a life as a boat.
If factory original Commanders suddenly take on increased value, I'll wish I hadn't done all the upgrades and repairs. But that seems unlikely. More likely, people will see my old Commander and think it is cool that it is still out being used, which won't happen without upgrades.
There will always be people on both sides of this debate.
In my opinion I like to update a vintage boat but in a very tasteful way that would appeal to the masses.
Keep your updates in the same genre as the original to maintain its heritage while keeping with the times
Just my 2 cents worth but I believe your Commander should reflect your tastes and boating lifestyles. The hulls are pretty and will always reflect the classic Commander lines but if my choices were to restore my 41 to original or restore it into "my" boat that I will love for a life time I'm making her mine.
What a great, loaded discussion! Now, if I had a beautiful mahogany interior and I covered it with wallpaper, then I would expect to get flamed. However my 1972 ‘41 dawns the finest Formica the 70’s had to offer and with that my wife and I have agreed to overlay a cherry veneer with an accent wall in a linen blue texture. To quote a previous poster, make it work for your boating lifestyle.