John’s stead­fast be­lief that he will get to use his Monza this year is bol­stered by a char­ity shop find

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Out & About - JOHN LAKEY CON­TRIB­U­TOR


Ifreely ad­mit that I’m of a larger stature (well, for some­one who isn’t Amer­i­can any­way), so the Re­caro seats fit­ted as stan­dard in Monza GSEs have al­ways been too nar­row for my 20-stone 6ft 4in frame. I solved this a few years ago by buy­ing a larger Re­caro seat known of­fi­cially as the Ex­pert M.

It wasn’t cheap, but used the orig­i­nal’s mount­ing-bolt pat­tern and was won­der­fully com­fort­able when cou­pled with the low­ered seat rail that cus­tom guru Dave Har­ris made for me. That 30mm drop cre­ated a Monza GSE driv­ing in­ter­face that fit­ted me like a glove, but the all-black seat didn’t match the other seats and pas­sen­gers of a larger stature strug­gled to get in to – and, amus­ingly, out of – the nar­row bucket pas­sen­ger seat.

How­ever, I wasn’t keen on spend­ing an­other £1000 on match­ing the pas­sen­ger seat, es­pe­cially as I’ve never liked the rather harsh stan­dard Re­caro black cloth. I fi­nally stum­bled upon a match­ing Ex­pert M in an Es­sex char­ity shop. It was grey and fluffy but I was go­ing to re-cover it any­way so it was a bar­gain at just £50. As­ton Martin had a sale of Al­can­tara when it moved trim shops a few years ago, and I man­aged to pick up some rolls of the gen­uine stuff in what looked like the claret colour of my Monza. Now I had a pair of seats and, with the car in bits, it seemed like a good time to fi­nally ac­tion the plan to have match­ing front seats – the back seat will have to wait for when funds al­low. I took both seats along to the ev­er­help­ful San­dra at PJM Trim­mers in Shrop­shire, who found some nice black leather for the sides and back and used my Al­can­tara for the cen­tre sec­tion. This meant I had enough left over to do the rear seat to match, if I can ever af­ford it! San­dra called a week or so later to say that trim­mer, Terry Ec­cle­ston, had the seats apart and had dis­cov­ered that some of the foam was per­ished be­yond sal­vage.

San­dra sug­gested I call Re­caro as she be­lieved it still sup­plied foam for most of its old de­signs. It does, and con­sid­er­ing how much new Re­caro seats are, I’d def­i­nitely rec­om­mend buy­ing new foam to re­store old ones as it was very rea­son­able – around £250 for both seats. It was easy to or­der, too, be­cause we had the num­bers from the orig­i­nal cov­er­ing. The re­sults are stun­ning to be­hold – the sort of re­ally nice job I’ve come to ex­pect from PJM – and my first ‘sit’ in it in the work­shop felt very com­fort­able.

These de­tails are im­por­tant as I’m build­ing a car to drive, not to show. If only we could fin­ish the project and ac­tu­ally get it to the MoT sta­tion!

The list of jobs left to do on the Monza is shrink­ing now that the brakes have been rebuilt, but I still have to re-pipe the cor­roded fuel sys­tem; it works, but wouldn’t pass an MoT so I’m in­tend­ing to add a new pipe, front to back.

I need to sort the steer­ing col­umn is­sues and put the rest of the in­te­rior back to­gether. Then, once it’s MoT’d, I can sort the air­con and get the whee­larches rebuilt and painted. I live in hope of ac­tu­ally us­ing the car this sum­mer.

Maybe, just maybe…

‘I’d def­i­nitely rec­om­mend buy­ing new foam to re­store old seats as it was very rea­son­able – around £250 for both seats’

THANKS TO: pjm-mo­ and cap­i­talseat­

Monza needs a new fuel pipe to pass an MoT. Match­ing Ex­pert M Re­caros laid bare. Terry strips the seat of its orig­i­nal hard Re­caro fabric. Al­can­tara cen­tres came from an As­ton Martin sale.

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