March 2, 2021

A Mini Arrival Causes Major Excitement

On Monday we had an exciting orange delivery…

This characterful 1980 Austin Morris Mini 1275 GT has arrived and will be one of our next competition cars. With only a few minor cosmetic imperfections, this Mini is in perfect condition and looks like its just left the factory!

We’re looking forward to photographing this charming little motor and launching it on our competition site! Watch this space!

VW T4 Full Steam Ahead

James has been working on removing the old tow bar on our 1991 T4 transporter as the owners don’t need it anymore. He aims to renovate the original bumper to neaten up that area. Chris has been working on sanding and smoothing down the body of the T4 in preparation for paint.

The seats have also been recovered and re-padded with new foam. Kath began by removing the cover, glueing splits foam back together to improve comfort and adding a piece of calico to stick over the top of the foam to reduce splits in the future. Kath also added 3mm of foam to the frames for added comfort on those long road trips.

Kath also discovered the centre of the seat foam has split so she added calico to it and stuck it around three sides. The next step was to stick the foam back in place before refitting the cover. To ensure the cover fit back on neatly, Kath had to push and mould the cover back into shape. She then needed to hook the bottom back into place, pull the back section through to front and hook it onto the same spikes as the front section. Once fitted, Kath could hammer the spikes back to secure the cover.

The doors and side panels have been masked, primed and repainted, ready to be fitted back onto the shell later down the line.

Something Old, Something New, Something Blue

Our 1970 Jaguar E-Type V12 is back in the workshop after its hiatus at Bentwaters whilst we waited for the chrome bumper to come back. Mauro has dedicated his morning to carefully applying the chrome bumper, making sure it fits and it’s perfectly cleaned.

The next step is to run the E-Type through a general service and send it back home!

Along with the bumper, we also received other chrome parts back for our Jaguar such as the front grill surround which Mauro has also fitted.

Mauro has also installed the steering rack tie rod ends which had been replaced as well as a new clutch slave cylinder.

TR5 Interior Continued

Brian has completed restoring the frame of our Triumph TR5 seats and has installed a reclining hinge joint. He made this element by hand out of plywood and fitted it inside the chair. The fabric was then glued, heated to make the glue go tacky, and pulled over the new joint,

Brian explains how he made new side band boards to allow cover to fit around recliner mechanism as well as making new rubber straps using the original hooks and fitting it all to the frame.

Brian has then fitted the squab foam in place and added new foam to the back of the frame. He managed to slide the cover over the frame and glue the centre section to foam. Brian then glued the centre section in place, and tucked in the flaps on the side sections. Once fitted, he could pull the centre flap through and clip it down to the frame. To finish, Brian fitted the side board mechanisms in place and glued them down.

The hood frame has been completed for our 1968 Triumph TR5 and is now ready for it’s hood to be fitted.

We’ve also fitted the crash padding into the door of our TR5. Originally, there was no way of fitting padding so we had here is means of fitting this to make a backing plate which involved cutting a strip of steel welding in studs and glueing and screwing the steel strip to the crash pad. We then located the position on the door to drill and bolt to the top of the door.

The Man With The Golden Roller: Me and my Shadow

We recently celebrated a year since our Golden Rolls Royce Silver Shadow found its new home with Michael, who’s been keeping us thoroughly updated with his adventures via Instagram. Michael recently wrote us this article about the last year which we’re delighted to share, along with some photos he’s provided. If you fancy having your own golden Roller, check out our golden Rolls Royce Corniche.

Gold fever

It’s now a little over 12 months since I became the 3rd custodian of SRH20091 – a 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow – bought from Bridge Classic Cars, and despite COVID-19’s best efforts to prevent us we’ve had quite a few adventures over the last year.

As a perfectionist and ex-car designer myself I’ve always admired Sir Henry Royce’s automotive achievements and, as a child of the 70s and 80s, grew up lusting after Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows seen in numerous Roger Moore Bond films, episodes of Lovejoy, To The Manor Born and Don’t Wait Up. They epitomised success and excellence to that small boy and he promised himself that one day he would own one.

In 2014 I had a first brief, if slightly bitter, taste of Silver Shadow ownership with an early example from 1968. Her bodywork was a bit tatty and her 46 year old 6.25 litre engine and mechanicals had been somewhat neglected over the preceding decades, meaning that she frequently, in Rolls-Royce parlance, ‘failed to proceed’! However, far from dampening my interest in Shadow ownership, it well and truly rekindled that childhood yearn and so the search for my ideal car began.

Over the next 6 years, after much trawling of classifieds online and visits to classic car auctions in all weathers, I saw a number of Shadows – including some horrors that would have made Sir Henry’s blood curdle. As a purest, it always had to be a chrome bumper Series 1 car, but now I’d narrowed that down to a late model flared wheelarch Shadow with the wider track and larger 6.75 litre L-Series powerplant – meaning a ’74 – ’76 car.

In September 2019 the Shad that I would come to own caught my attention in an online advert. For sale by Bridge Classic Cars – a very reputable restorers, the right age, model, spec and by the look of the photos, in very good condition – she stood out in her eye-catching Regency Bronze and black Everflex roof. I vowed to go and see her, but life got in the way and by the time I got around to making an appointment she’d been sold. So the search continued.

4 months later I was in the USA and one evening by the fireside while surfing the net the advert from Bridge Classic Cars popped up again. Miraculously the golden car I’d been bewitched by back in September had reappeared for sale. This had to be fate! I couldn’t believe this second chance and quickly arranged a viewing.

On that cold February morning – the day after Valentine’s – I drove up from London, through the torrential rain and high winds of Storm ‘Dennis’, to see this beguiling motor car in-the-metal for the first time. It was love at first sight! The car was just as stunning in reality as she was in her photos. Craig and Gordon Ranson were both there to meet me and their friendly, honest approach, expert knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for classic cars gave me immediate confidence. After a thorough inspection I knew that I wanted her and after a test drive in the tornado-like winds of the storm, a deal was done. I drove home happy, albeit with a much lighter bank balance!

And so I became ‘The Man With The Golden Roller’. Officially she’s R-R Chassis No. 20091, in (ICI M 151-3898) Regency Bronze with (VM 8500) black Connolly Leather interior, Sundym glass and (5218 DH) black Everflex roof, but I’ve christened her ‘Auric’. I’m a big Bond fan so her name is a nod towards classic 007 film ‘Goldfinger’, but also something that is described as “auric” : is of, relating to, or derived from gold, so it seemed wholly appropriate for my ‘Golden Roller’, which rolled off the Crewe production line in the autumn of 1974.

Gold digging

To me, part of the joy of owning a classic car is to research it’s back story. Provenance being just as important for a venerable car as it is for fine wine or celebrated works of art. So, since she became mine, as well as enjoying Auric on the road, I’ve been tracing her 46 year history – consulting DVLA records, the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club archives and piecing together information from the bundle of papers and clues like service stickers that came with her.

I’ve also managed to acquire Auric’s original factory Build Records. Every Rolls-Royce built at Crewe had it’s own multi-page book that followed the car, from metal pressing to finished vehicle, on it’s journey through production. Thanks to this fascinating and comprehensive document I now know that it took 35 days for her ‘body-in-white’ to reach the required standard to be sent to the paint shop, and that once there she spent 10 days having 15 coats of paint hand flatted between coats, before a thorough polishing and final inspection – in the words of Sir Henry, perfection cannot be rushed. It shines a light onto how these expensive, hand-built cars were made back in the ’70s and is an amazing addition to Auric’s history file.

She was delivered to R-R main dealer Appleyard Rippon Ltd, on Order No. R8678, for a corporate customer in Leeds who’d had the confidence, and cash, to order her in the middle of an oil crisis. She was registered GWW 480N on Armistice Day 1974, the plate she still bears today. As far as I know Auric then became the company MDs transport – covering over 28,000 miles (40% of her current, verified mileage reading) within her 1st year – and stayed with the him when he moved to Eastbourne sometime in the late 1970s. I’m assuming that this discerning gentleman may have taken early retirement from the Leeds-based business and kept the R-R he loved. However, this is pure speculation on my part, although while cleaning and feeding the Connolly leather last summer I removed the driver’s seat and found one of his business cards under the seat! It seems that at some point he was dabbling as an antiques dealer in Sussex, in true ‘Lovejoy’ style.

Like most of these majestic, but expensive to run, classic motor cars she appears to have been laid up for a number of years during the ’80s and ’90s then, in the summer of 2015 after the original owner died, she was sold at Kings Lynn’s Anglia Car Auctions. Auric’s second owner resided in Suffolk and so Auric swapped the balmy south coast for the rural idyll of East Anglia – residing just 50 odd miles away from where that small boy had dreamed of owning his own Rolls.

Golden moments

I believe that a car should be used, and most Rolls-Royce specialists will tell you that an R-R of this vintage gets better with use. There’s nothing I like better than nestling into the softly sprung comfort of the driver’s leather ‘armchair’ and wafting, yes wafting – there’s no other word to describe the magic carpet-like ride of a Silver Shadow – to a beauty spot, stately home, country pub or even the supermarket. So in the last 12 months Auric and I have covered the thick end of 2500 miles. Despite not being able to go to any major show events, due to the dreaded virus, we’ve had excursions to Hampshire, The Cotswolds, North Norfolk, Sussex, Surrey and Berkshire. Most memorable visits – and photo and video opportunities – last year were Buckingham Palace, Pinewood Studios, Cliveden and The Savoy. Everywhere we go we get noticed – people ask about Auric, take photos and are genuinely interested in her – which just makes my day as I love talking about her!

This year, restrictions permitting, we’re planning a little excursion onto the Continent, touring the Champagne region; an appearance at both the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club’s South of England Rally at Stansted House and Annual Rally at Burghley House; and perhaps a pilgrimage to Monmouthshire, the birthplace of C.S. Rolls; as well as the normal weekend trips out to explore this glorious country in one of it’s finest ever automotive creations.

You can follow our continuing adventures on Instagram @themanwiththegoldenroller

Mercedes Winner Delighted With New Car

Another delivery to one of our competition winners! A big congratulations to Steven Lambe with lucky ticket number 950. We delivered our 1996 Mercedes 320SL up to his home north of Newcastle yesterday after Craig and Gordon took the long road trip up north.

Steven, a Mercedes enthusiast, only spent only £18 with us, meaning he bought just two tickets and managed to win with one of them! Although he used to race hot-rods Steven recently sold his last one to fund his current modern Mercedes. Steven is also part of the Mercedes owners club and now has two stunning Mercedes Motors he can take along to meets and greets!

We can’t wait to see what Steven gets up to with his new modern classic!

Here’s a snap of a true northern sight from the cabin on the way up north.

Triumph Stag’s New Antlers

Our trim shop has been working hard to replace the soft top on our Triumph Stag. The original soft top was a rather tired-looking brown material that has been replaced with a new black material.

The process began by peeling off all the flaps that were holding the original fabric roof in place. Lydia then had to slide the rubbers out of all the metal slides around the edges and take off the old straps that went across the top of the frame which were held in by rivets. She then replaced the straps and rivetted them in place. After the straps had been replaced, Lydia could then glue on new Velcro to the sides of the frame. This is where the front sides of the fabric roof attach to. Then Lydia wrapped the front of the frame with vinyl and glued it all down, finishing the step by trimming around the mechanisms that push the roof into place and out again at the front.

The next step was to wrap and glue the vinyl around the back frame, rivet the metal slides on the sides of the frame, back and front, before sliding the rubber seals into them. Brian had also fitted new rubbers and handled the gluing process of the new hood.

Brian glued the rear flap of fabric to the rear metal bar as well as the front edge of the hood to the front roof bar. Once fixed into position, he could then glue the inside fabric around the roof bars and fix the ‘b’ post to the frame.