We begin stripping the car and sorting through the parts, hopefully, the car is complete so we will be reusing, refurbishing, and restoring as much as possible.
Progress is always quick at this stage of restoration although every part needs inspecting and cataloging so as not to misplace or mix with other projects that may be being dismantled alongside. All of the bolts and fixings are removed and inspected for condition and reused , re-plated as necessary or replaced as required.
Once completely stripped of all components including engine trim etc all go through the process described above.
At this stage history of previous repairs and bodges, all very common as most cars went through a period of little worth, so bodges were very common to just keep the car on the road as cheaply as possible.
After stripping off all components we securely mount the body on a bespoke rotisserie so we can access all areas more easily.
The body (and chassis if the car has one) is sent to our paint stripling and media blasting department which will reveal the real condition of the body. No matter how much experience someone might have it’s impossible to estimate the extent of work that’s required to the shell and chassis until this process has been completed.
We carry out these processes in-house so that we can control everything to take the care required as this is a very delicate process.
At this stage, we ask the customer to see the car so that we all will have a much better understanding of the amount of work and expenditure required to return the shell to its former glory.
Panels will only be replaced if they are beyond repair but we always try out utmost to keep as much of the original car as is possible by cutting out the corrosion and seamlessly welding in new metal. If new panels are not available we will form our own.
When removing structural panels we weld in a support framework to keep the body rigid during this process.
All movable panels such bonnet, doors, etc will now be trial fitted to assure perfect alignment before its exterior chrome is also trial fitted.
When it comes to restoring any classic car it is not just a simple case of “putting it back together” as we expect more today from these cars and here at Turner Classics, we aim to deliver. Shut lines must be as close to perfect as possible and lines down wings must be flawless. Originally most classic cars were only painted where you could see, we ensure every inch of our restorations are painted to the highest standard, and where panels meet each other they are protected by waxoyl.
Everything we do to the body is focused on the twin aims of an excellent finish and long-term protection.
These cars are all built to last.
It’s very easy to fettle, drill, and do any other necessary work to get everything fitting (including chrome work and bumpers) perfectly before painting. Once we are happy everything fits then all is stripped again and it’s off for paint.
When it comes to the bodywork it is as much art as it is engineering and never more so than the paint finish. Our restorations are all painted to the highest standards using modern two-pack paints. The finish is excellent and it does not matter where you look on the car, under the wings, behind the dashboard, or in the boot, the finish is top-notch
At this point one must make what is probably the single biggest decision of the restoration process; paint colour! Sometimes this is very simple, if you are all about originality the car must be its original colour, but if not the choice is yours. We can paint your car almost any colour the owner chooses which can often make it very hard indeed.
We have even been asked to paint match to a customers modern car on more than one occasion. More often than not customers like to keep the car in its original colour, but as I always say, have the car as you want and not what you think others might prefer, it’s you that has to live with it.
Now that the body is painted we can really get cracking on the “finishing touches”.
Although the car looks almost finished at this point there is still much work to be done, much of it very precise and it is certainly these final stages of the process which make the difference between a good restoration and a stunning restoration.
This is also the point at which our specialist knowledge comes into its own. This process takes time and started way back before the body was painted. Everything has been pre-fitted so should fit without too much fuss but there is always a little bit of fettling to do.
ll our chrome work is undertaken by a specialist company who do truly wonderful work and they are even capable of getting a fantastic finish on Mazak. We start with fitting painted parts such as bumper irons and headlight bowls. The wiring harness is run in at the same time as this as the two processes need to be done side by side to ensure everything can be reached.
The process continues with bumpers, lights (once the wiring is in), door handles, rubbers, and glass. The list goes on and on when you get to this point but it is all about care and attention.
All our restorations are built to the customer’s exact specifications. This can be anything from completely standard to extensively modified for modern driving.
More often than not customers opt for many upgrades and this is most apparent in the electrical system. Power steering, electric cooling fan, uprated wiper motor, and a hidden stereo system are amongst the most popular upgrades.
All these upgrades put additional demands on the electrical system making an alternator essential to keep up with the power demands. The wiring loom is also modified extensively to accommodate all these upgrades neatly and efficiently.
Other electrical upgrades can include halogen lights, additional rear indicators, footwell lights, and full LED lighting upgrades are also very often fitted.
We rebuild all our engines in our workshop to standard or to fast road specification. Electronic ignition is often a worthwhile upgrade from points and condenser.
Conversions from carburetors to fuel injection, with a modern ECU, are also becoming more popular. Five-speed gearbox upgrades are very popular and can dramatically transform the driving experience along with brake upgrades from drum to disc and even the addition of a servo or dual-line to further increase safety and drivability.
Once the car has been fitted up and wired up and everything has been tested and is working. All the pipework that was already fitted to the chassis is connected up to the reservoirs which are fitted to the body, the radiator is fitted and the cooling system is complete, it’s time to put in fluids and get the car running.
The brake and clutch systems are filled with modern silicone fluid and bled out, coolant is filled up and tested.
Although starting a rebuilt engine for the first time is a nervous and very exciting time, especially in a long-term restoration where the car may have been off the road for years, it is rarely eventful. The car can move under its own power and will need to be run with care for the first 1000 miles before it can go for a rolling road tune-up and we can see what this car is capable of.
Now all the oily jobs have been done the car can be cleaned and then trimmed.
Before the carpets go in we fit Dynamat throughout the interior, particularly to the bulkhead and gearbox tunnel. Dynamat is truly fantastic stuff that reduces not just noise but also vibrations and heat in the car.
It is however terribly difficult stuff to fit nicely. It is sticky backed and once it is on it’s on! Trim can be procured from one of the many quality suppliers, but we can bespoke interiors to customers’ individual requirements.
After the trim is fitted, and everyone is happy with the results we then road test the car for at least 300 miles to bed the car in and to begin the running-in process