Classic Car Restoration
All classic car enthusiasts dream of owning a rare, iconic vehicle which has been restored to it’s former glory. But budgets and priorities can vary greatly and at Millars Classic & Sports we always have that in mind.
Many of the restorations we do are completed in stages to make the project affordable and realistic for the owner. The work done is always to the same exacting standards and with the same meticulous attention to detail but completed over a timeframe that suits the customer.
Some vehicles will require a full “nuts and bolts” restoration while others only partial restoration. At Millars Classic & Sports we spend a lot of time with every customer at the beginning of their project to discuss their expectations and desired finish, as well as their budget, so we achieve a result that they and we are thrilled with.
Restorations can range from complete transformations to unit overhauls and detailing projects and cars can be with us for a matter of a few months to years sometimes. But however long your pride and joy is with Millars Classic & Sports, you can be assured that we will treat it as if it were our own and coax it gently and carefully to the end result you’re looking for.
Here, as an example, we lay out the process of restoring a car’s bodywork and interior for a vehicle that is already mechanically sound:
- Firstly Millars Classic & Sports evaluate the current condition of the car and discuss with the customer what they would like to achieve from the restoration process. Once this is quoted for and agreed we then begin the disassembly stage for the interior, removing carpets, seats, door panels, the headliner and dash. Moving onto the exterior, the mouldings, bumpers, taillights, headlights, grille, door handles, locks, latches, weather strips, glass and glazing are all removed, followed by the doors, bumpers, bonnet, deck lid, and cowl panel. Door pins and bushings are checked and replaced if required. Door regulators and windows are removed and checked for smooth operation, along with the rear side glass. Everything is marked, bagged, labelled and stored. A comprehensive list is made of what needs to be repaired, replaced or re-chromed. The vehicle is then prepped and stripped down to bare metal. If the car has a lot of corrosion, Millars Classic & Sports will use a stronger method of stripping. Once stripped, the car is prepped and sprayed with a self etching primer. This etching seals the bare metal in preparation for spraying with a high-build primer. At this stage, the car is then ready for rust repairs.
- This is the stage where we invite the customer to return and view the progress made; to see the bare bodywork and make any final finish requests. At this time all major rust repair and body work is very visible, and Millars Classic & Sports are able to suggest what patch panels should to be replaced or fabricated so the desired finish can be achieved. When the vehicle is in this state it is also easy to see if any repair or restoration work has been done previously. Once discussions with the customer are complete, parts are ordered and all rust repair and body work is completed. The car is then fully primed with a two-part primer. After rust repairs are completed, the car is taken off the frame or sub-frame. All parts are sandblasted, painted and reassembled.
- Now the car is guide-coated, blocked, sanded and primed several times to ensure a beautiful finish. Preparation is key; the body and paint can often play a large part of the restoration process and it’s an important stage. This is where the hours add up and often the client can’t see any significant change, but the end result is well worth the time spent at this crucial stage.
- Everything is now reassembled; we hang the doors, bumpers and install the bonnet making sure they align perfectly with other body parts and they open and close properly. The windscreen and back glass are installed with new weather-strips; door windows and regulators are also installed. The car is then ready to prepare for paint.
- The car is then wet-sanded with 400-grit sandpaper. It is checked for small flaws, such as scratches or pinholes; these are filled and primed. The car is sanded again, cleaned, swept out, blown out and washed several times. It is allowed to dry overnight or longer if possible. Then it is prepped, taped off, all jams are taped and motor wrapped to protect from over-spray. After a base coat the car is colour-sanded with 1500/2000-grit sandpaper, cleaned and then buffing begins. There are several stages of buffing. We begin with a harsher compound, moving to a finer one to get a stunning mirror shine.
- Reassembly of the car begins with new weather-strips. All mouldings are then cleaned and polished. Then the bumpers, taillights, headlights, grille, handles, locks and dash are all re-installed. The car is then cleaned and detailed to check that everything works. All parts are then aligned and fitted properly for the final time.
- Upholstery usually consists of carpets, seats, door panels, headliners, dash, convertible top, and all the interior trim. If the car’s original interior has gone beyond what’s restorable, Millars Classic & Sports will source original interior parts or pre-sewn kits, which are made to match the original specification. Finally, another classic car is lovingly and carefully restored to its former glory and another customer has realised and achieved their dream.
To find out more about Classic Car Restoration in Berwick, Polegate, get in touch online or call us directly on 01323 870598