WE TALK TO THE EXPERTS ABOUT THE FINAL TOUCHES
AS THAT RESTORATION PROJECT FINALLY REACHES HOME STRAIGHT, THERE ARE STILL A FEW THINGS LEFT TO THINK A BOUT
Wheel repairs Wheels, or as some may refer to them, rims, are a crucial component in your driveline, and often become a statement-maker for any car — the right choice by a manufacturer can guarantee a model’s success or doom it from the get-go. Whatever wheels your car has, a fresh restoration can be let down if they don’t match the condition of the rest of the car, as often they’ll have been around for some years and have seen their fair share of potholes, curbs, and other road wear.
Thankfully, in most cases, this damage can be repaired. We spoke with Lance Bell, owner of Arrow Wheels — which has been in business for 36 years, is a certified engineering company, and recently purchased a top-of-the-line CNC machine tool — to find out the different kinds of repair that can be made to bring your wheels back to life.
“One of the most common issues is damage caused by curbing a wheel against concrete. This kind of repair can be made quickly and efficiently. But perhaps your wheel has been through the wars — hitting a curb head on, or that unexpected bump which can cause quite severe damage — and is now bent or buckled? Replacing them can become very costly or near-on impossible, so you want to fix up what you have. No sweat; we can sort that out. Even to the point of missing
sections from big impacts, which most people are surprised can even be considered for repair. You don’t have to give up on it; often even large damaged or missing sections can be repaired.
“Cost is a tricky one, as every wheel and its damage is different. Prices range from $40 for a simple machining of the lips, up to $300 (or more) for full reconditioning, including paint, clear coating, and polishing, to make the wheels look like a brand-new set. But we can provide you a quote on the spot when you bring your wheel in — this allows us to spin it to check for buckles and other damage that may not be obvious while the wheel is still on the vehicle. Those outside of Auckland can email us a photo, and we can provide a rough estimate on pricing before you courier it to our workshop.
“Repairs usually take around two to three working days from arriving at our workshop to being ready for fitment back onto your car. This can vary depending on how much work needs to be completed — things to think about include whether it needs painting, clear coating, welding, polishing, having old paint stripped off, etc. We have four full-time experienced painters and a brand-new stateof-the-art full downdraught spray booth on site which can provide a high quality, durable paint finish to your wheels.
“Get in touch, and we’ll talk about what we can do for you.”
Most classic owners will be realistic about what creature comforts their vehicle has to offer, and that list is often a rather short one for good reason, but one thing you don’t want to put up with is the outside elements entering your vehicle. Reusing original seals won’t add value to your restoration, as it’ll leave the interior open to damage, not to mention the annoyance of being cold and wet. Replacing worn or non-existent seals is essential.
We spoke with Anthony from Basis — a mail-order restoration supply business in operation for over 30 years — to find out what seals you need to consider when piecing everything back together.
“Weather strips are one of our most popular products. No one wants water and other elements creeping into the interior of the vehicle, which can potentially damage components inside, including carpets, be they new or old. While some vehicles may have a specific strip to suit, we offer a universal options that cover a vast range — things like Austin, Chevrolet, Ford, Holden, Morris, Vauxhall, from veterans to classics, as well as aircraft, boats, and caravans — many channels. Rubbers, sponge, weatherstrips, and windlaces can be cut off a roll and used to cover numerous different applications. These are most commonly used to seal components such as windows, doors, and boots — anything that has a gap to the outside world.
“Similarly, windlace is used for those vehicles that are prone to dust and wind finding their way into the vehicle. To counteract this, a windlace trim can be installed around the door openings on most classic cars. Tack-on windlace utilizes a rubber core [which is] cloth wrapped and then sewn together around it, to create a damping effect on noise entering from the outside, while the rubber being compressible creates an effective seal.
“These are just a few of the products from the large selection held in stock at all times to benefit customers with their projects. We carry a huge amount of 1940 to 1960 products, and with many years in the
While most glass replacements are the result of an unfortunate incident after some form of impact to the surface, dealing with glass is also a vital step during the restoration process, as older units will have been subjected to a lifetime of wear and tear. Scratches, chips, cracks, and missing glass can dampen the overall finish of a restoration; however, though modern options are easily purchased off the shelf, classic examples can be a bit harder to obtain.
To get the inside knowledge on sourcing new glass, we spoke to Jeremy from Bespoke Auto Glass — a specialist in classic vehicle glass and keen enthusiast.
He told us: “We specialize in sourcing
curved glass and making flat classic-car glass. With so many restorations taking place where every aspect is done right, to have the old, often damaged or scratched, glass go back in is a shame. It’s important when replacing any glass that the right kind is fitted to the car — we will use toughened glass for doors and rear windows where possible. Most classics use the old laminated style, which can be identified when looking at the edges — there will be a line through the middle that looks like three sections stuck together. When a door swings and someone grabs it, the glass is what takes the force, which has no strength and can crack easily. Another issue is that it can delaminate over time and cause the common cloudy muck — toughened glass prevents both issues and can be identified by the shiny polishededge look. Obviously, where a customer wants the laminate, or when a toughened option can’t be sourced, we’ll use it as required.
“Curved glass is typically sourced from overseas, and can be ordered to the customer’s request. This means tinting options and the ability to insert a heated screen — take, for example, a ’50s or ’60s car which never really demisted well: heating can be inserted during manufacturing to give that modern comfort. For those that can’t be sourced new, we can find a good-condition second-hand option. We make flat panels in house, measuring the pattern properly to ensure correct fit, and use sample glass to match any existing tinting when not replacing all panels.
“We also make a point to use the correct rubber and sealer when reinstalling the new windows. People often make the mistake of using silicone, which, in essence, isn’t the perfect product for such an application. Soft skinning sealer is a black sticky substance that allows the window to move with the car, and is specifically designed for this application.
“For your next replacement, get in touch — if it can be sourced and/or made, let’s do it and do it right.”
Once upon a time, the classic side mirror wasn’t standard on a car, and, when it was, it’d come in many shapes and forms. Of course, it’s now considered a vital part of the safety equation on a modern vehicle, but those old originals have taken a battering over time. Age can see mirrors suffer quite a hammering, especially on the family cars of yesteryear, subject to the equivalents of our supermarket car-park encounters.
Replacing them with the correct, or a similar, option is important, though you simply might want to take the opportunity to upgrade them while you’re at it — it’s a big world out there.
To bring that big world right to your doorstep, we spoke to Rex from NZ Classic Car Mirrors and Accessories, which specializes in mirrors and classic accessories such as lenses, which many cars are knocked back on come WOF time due to cloudiness or cracking. It also stocks headlights, which can use halogen bulbs for the full effect of a modern car in a classic, so you no longer have to squint to see where you’re going — and so we sat down to chat with him about what options are available.
He deals with several brands, Tex being the primary source for mirrors for many English models, as well as some Australian ones. Then there’s Original Equipment Reproduction (OER), several more for other markets like the American market or vintage market (brass mirrors), and racing products (carbon-fibre) for open-wheelers and race cars
“Depending on what you’re after, we can offer a large range of options. Mix and match for the front spring-back mirror types — take an early Morris or Austin, for example. The spring-back mirror is effectively an arm with a spring mechanism at the base, connected through a hole in the guard to bolt up underneath. From there, you have three or four different stem shapes available, and then the same again for the head — round, rectangle, square, etc. Then you can choose a concave or flat glass. Door mirrors are a little more specific, depending on the base that is required, but, generally speaking, you can fit any of our mirrors to any car; it often comes down to a style choice. The most popular choice is what we call the ‘M68990/1’, which came out on Jags, Triumphs, and also came out on Escorts. It’s a tapered rectangle with a nice moulded base. It looks great on just about any car, being a polished, shiny unit with lots of view. Then you have a fixed base, which will fit specific door types — such as a US hump door, found on something like a MKII or III Zephyr.
“Torpedo mirrors are also a popular choice
and look great on many cars, but offer little vision, so we often recommend an extendedbase bullet mirror for people that really want the torpedo but are aware of the lack of view and go for extended base for better vision. You can also get clamp-on mirrors, which hold onto window frames without affecting watertightness. There are plenty of options to suit whatever your need; it’s really down to what look you want to achieve — and it’s obviously a good safety feature, too.”
Veteran, vintage, and classic tyres
And, finally, almost the last items to complete a restoration are the tyres — although, for some, this will be the first purchase, to allow a ground-up project to be manoeuvred around the workshop. But, alas, for many, after they’ve spent up large on other aspects of a restoration, tyres become a grudge purchase at any price, rather than a thought-out investment.
To discover how best to find the correct tyre to go on to your veteran, vintage, or classic restoration, we spoke with Peter Woodend at Classic Tyres — a business originally created in 1991, following the cessation of cross-ply tyre manufacturing in New Zealand by both Dunlop (South Pacific Tyres) and Bridgestone-firestone.
“The focus has always been on replacement of tyres to manufacturers’ original specifications, and, for the majority of vehicles registered prior to the 1960s, there really are very few options for change to later or radial versions. However, with the advent of the 15-inch-rim era many more options can be considered, and even ‘change for change’s sake’.
“Our range runs from the first pneumatics at the turn of the 1900s — commonly referred to as ‘beaded-edge’ tyres, or in Us-speak, ‘clincher’ tyres — through [to] the high-pressure and balloon era, ‘normal’ cross-plies with ever-changing (reducing) rim diameters, to a range of speciality whitewall radials. In other words, a catalogue of constantly improving tyre technology spanning 115 years, where the Corolla of today runs completely different tyres to that of a decade previously.
“In older vehicles prior to the 1950s and the advent of tubeless tyres, nearly all tyres were tubed. A full selection of tubes and liners is also held in stock. In some instances, a different tube inside the same case when mounted on a different make of rim may be appropriate. Plus the New Zealand favourite dress-up items, ‘clip-on’ whitewalls. All items in the inventory are EU, or US DOT certified and, without exception, authorized for use in New Zealand — and in only dealing directly with authorized overseas suppliers, and manufacturers’ agents, full replacement warranties apply. With many reference schedules and manuals on hand, advice is freely given to ensure the right tyre for your vehicle is available.”