5 MINUTES WITH...
Granada restorer, Steve Dick.
ow did you get into cars?
Growing up, we lived not far from Blackbushe Airport where they held the first drag racing meetings — we used to ride there on our bicycles because we were still at school. I particularly loved a Vauxhall Firenza Estate that used to show up, towing a trailer.The owner would then swap the tyres and race it, swapping them back to drive home! In the fourth or fifth year at school we had a car mechanics course running, and this really set me up.
A Mk2 Cortina Deluxe in Silver Fox — before I could even drive. My Dad said, if I wanted to learn car mechanics then I’d better buy a car.This I used to cycle past this one and it was for sale — I dragged my Dad out of the house on Cup Final Day to see it. He used to be a professional referee so he was into football. He wasn’t happy, but we bought the car!
How did MBVR come about?
In the early ’80s, I was heavily into the Granada club, and along with a fellow club member and friend, I rented a barn near Exeter where we’d do stuff on our cars. It happened that we both moved up to Bedfordshire and rented a unit on the estate we’re on now. We’d do odd jobs on Granadas for others — we didn’t consciously intend to start MBVR, it just sort of evolved and has simply grown. We’ve just completed our new paint booth and we have seven members of staff now.
Which aspect of restoration do you enjoy the most?
My thing is mechanics, which I still love doing — engines, drivetrains that sort of thing — that’s the bit I’ve always been involved with.
What Fords are you working on at the moment?
We’ve just restored the bodyshell of a very rotten Mexico that the owner’s had from new.That’s sitting here waiting to go to be dipped and E-Coated, then we can start on the prep and paint.There’s also a full rebuild of an original Oselli 3-litre Capri — they only built four and from what we can gather, this is the original press car although it had been in a big accident and was badly repaired in the past.There’s also a Granada 2.3LX in the works plus a Granada Sport too, while we have the only right-hand-driveTaunus 1500M V4 FWD Coupe known to the owners’ club.
You’re also restoring a famousTV car, aren’t you?
It’s 85-90 per cent done now — there’s still the fuel tank and lines to sort out and in particular the front and rear underguards that were put there by Ford for filming.The back is an official Ford pressing — it repeats the pattern of the fuel tank although it’s actually over-size and was fitted over the top of the original; with foam sandwiched in-between to protect it.The guard is the original but it’s been heavily restored and is now coated in stone guard. The front is a full sump guard for the engine which is also genuine Ford and was available in the Ford catalogue — however they were never fitted as standard in this country.These were both fitted by Ford’s press garage when the car was new!
You’ve got £12,000 to buy and build a classic Ford. What would you do?
Probably a Consul GT Coupe, so it would have to be left-hand-drive. I’d look for a good car but I don’t mind it being ratty – I reckon you could pick one up for 5 to 6 Grand.Then sort the mechanics and just use it as is.
We had a customer’s new Mustang GT in the ‘shop the other day for some paintwork to be sorted. I’m not really into new cars but the way they look, sound and drive — I think I’d have to treat myself to one of those!
What’s your most embarrassing carrelated moment?
Back in the barn days my friend and I were so excited about getting an engine back in a Granada that we fired it up with no exhaust on.There were still the remnants of straw on the floor and the flames from the exhaust caught it alight and started to take the barn with it! Luckily, there was a bucket and a standpipe close by, so we saved it with little damage, but lesson learnt!
And your favourite event?
The NEC in November.There’s such a wide variety of vehicles, and you never know what’s going to be there. We do all sorts of vehicle restoration so we love seeing other stuff.
Mid BedsVehicle Restoration 01767 317855