When you get into a sparkling, showroom-fresh, new motor car, it’s ‘as the manufacturer built it’.
No mods. No adaptations. And it’s not been restored. Neither by a diligent restoration company nor ‘Fred-in-a-shed’.
Down at the Project Shop we reckon that 99% of MGBs we see have been restored. Which means that only 1% of the examples out there were actually built by the Abingdon works. And the rest? They’ve been put together by a variety of chaps – and chapesses – in workshops and garages across the world. Often ‘on a budget’ too.
The same goes for many other classic and sports cars. From TR’s to the new wave of welded-up and accessorised MX-5’s, few cars in the classic car world are totally unmessed with. Or as we say through gritted teeth when trying to repair some of the less-well built examples: “No car is a virgin”.
Take for example the classic Big Healey. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 100 or a 3000. The majority of the production went to the USA when the cars were new. Having ‘lived a life’ in America, examples have been making their way back to Britain since the late 1980s. Cars always seem to be more valuable in their home territory!
So naturally, arriving once more on our green and pleasant shores, these repatriated sportsters needed renovating and restoring. And to ensure a sale once finished, conversion to Right Hand Drive. All well and good. Except – and whisper this – with the market having been so healthy, many of these repatriated and restored Healeys, having done 15 or 20 years in the UK, well, they’re now being sold abroad! So are being converted back to left hand drive!
What’s brought about this rant? One of today’s ‘little jobs’ (oh how we love that phrase!) was to ‘pop a new hood onto a TR4’ for a trade customer.
Simple enough as long as you’re equipped with the right tools – we are – and know what you’re doing – we do!
Yet this particular TR4A featured a hood frame which was both corroded and broken. So after much work to get the frame to the point it was neat and wholesome, fitting the canvas should have been a breeze. Erm, no.
Because as it transpires, ‘our’ TR4A is fitted with a TR5 hood frame containing some TR6 parts. And so the TR4 hood fabric was as baggy as a Stone Roses fan at a Jam convention. We’ve spent a good deal of patience and time – plus some decent engineering skills – to get an great result.
So the Tip for today. Do you due diligence before you start a job, because remember, no car is a virgin!