PUPILS RE­STORE CLAS­SIC CAR

Young peo­ple’s char­ity brings MGB back to life

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Goolis­tan Cooper ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

A CHAR­ITY which works with dis­en­gaged and atrisk teenagers has re­stored a clas­sic MGB car.

Around 40 young­sters with the Youth Skills Devel­op­ment Trust (YSDT) re­vived the run­down 1979 mo­tor.

The char­ity hopes to sell the car and use the money for its next car-re­build­ing project.

Zahir Virmani, as­sis­tant manager at the YSDT, saw the car for sale on eBay last year.

He said: “It had failed its MOT and the owner wanted to get rid of it. It was in a pretty bad way.”

YSDT runs a se­ries of pro­grammes to get youths off the street, in­clud­ing car main­te­nance and cus­tomi­sa­tion. Soon, teenagers were work­ing their magic on the MGB and within a year, trans­formed it.

Mr Virmani said: “We had a very limited bud­get and spent £400 on the car.

“We wanted to make it look as good as pos­si­ble and get it up and run­ning so it could pass its MOT.

“We started un­der­neath the car. We welded and re­paired it, painted and rust-proofed it and it’s lit­er­ally a new car un­der­neath. Then we went through the en­gine and made sure the gas­kets were changed. Ba­si­cally any­thing that needed chang­ing was changed to make sure it ran to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity.”

Tight fi­nan­cial con­straints meant the team had to get cre­ative when it came to spray­ing the ve­hi­cle and up­hol­ster­ing the seats. But they were able to rise to the chal­lenge.

Mr Virmani said: “Stu­dents came up with a plan to turn it into a race car. They painted the bon­net and front spoiler black and pol­ished the rest of the body – it’s come out look­ing quite nice with­out a re-spray.”

Ex­pen­sive restora­tion of the seats was avoided by adapted seat cov­ers the group al­ready had and the young­sters also kept, and spruced up, the orig­i­nal al­loy wheels.

They also set about ‘pimp­ing up’ the in­side of the ve­hi­cle, by paint­ing and sound-car­pet­ing the rear and adding a sub­woofer.

Mr Virmani said: “It looks like a 1979 clas­sic car that’s been done up by kids and it looks amaz­ing. It has their sig­na­ture on it.”

He hopes to get at least £1,000 for the ve­hi­cle and use the money to re­store a re­cently-pur­chased 1986 Es­cort XR3i con­vert­ible, say­ing: “That needs a hell of a lot of work do­ing to it.

“It’s a com­plete wreck at the mo­ment.”

He said work such as this was vi­tal to the West Dray­ton-based char­ity’s aim to help young peo­ple: “We run an evening pro­gramme to en­gage young peo­ple, get them off the street, to do some­thing pos­i­tive,” added Mr Virmani. “It’s about en­gag­ing dif­fi­cult young peo­ple, peo­ple at risk. We try to get them off the streets, and make them re­alise there’s more to life than what they were do­ing be­fore.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the char­ity, go to http://www.ysdt.org.uk.

Pho­tos con­trib­uted

THE IM­POR­TANT STUFF: Ge­orge Newell, Grant Adby and Zak Cager work on the sub­woofer and sounds for the car

AT­TACH­ING THE AL­LOYS: Work­ing on the wheels

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