WHAT TO DO WHEN GOOD RESTORATIONS GO BAD
Classic restorers explain how to ensure that reviving your car doesn’t end badly
Restoration is big business – even Jaguar Land Rover is getting in on the act by opening its own workshop for classics ( CCW, 21 June).
Yet, ‘restoration’ is one of the classic car world’s most ambiguous words, covering everything from some welding work and a budget respray to a comprehensive strip-down and re-build.
A car’s net worth need not preclude it from high-quality repairs, however. Classic Motor Cars of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, specialises in high-end exotica, with its full restoration service resulting in a vehicle of a higher quality than when it was new. Similarly, Somerford Mini of Calne, Wiltshire, promotes its full restorations as a ‘premier service’ that includes stripping everything to the last nut and bolt. However, a nonspecialist independent garage may hold a very different interpretation.
Adam Dring of Classic and Vintage Restorations, based in Market Drayton, Shropshire, explains that many customers are unaware that a quality restoration demands a considerable number of skilled man hours and that a balance must be established immediately between budget and the quality expectations.
However, he advises that customers who cannot resist low estimates risk entrusting the work to an illequipped outfit that is unable to attain a reasonable standard, or even complete the work at all. Such false economy introduces a greater risk of customer disappointment.
Dring says: ‘Around five per cent of our work comes from picking up the pieces from other garages that have charged unrealistically low rates but have been unable to complete the tasks, leaving owners out of pocket and with unfinished vehicles.’
David Barzilay, Chairman of Classic Motor Cars, offers more customer advice: ‘Restoration should always be a partnership between owner and restorer throughout the procedure and constant trust and regular communication will prevent any issues from arising, especially after the work is completed.’
Beware restoration quotes that look too good to be true – the work may be substandard or not even completed at all.