WHAT TO DO WHEN GOOD RESTORA­TIONS GO BAD

Clas­sic re­stor­ers ex­plain how to en­sure that re­viv­ing your car doesn’t end badly

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Rob Mar­shall

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.

Man­ag­ing ex­pec­ta­tions

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.

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