February 25, 2022

A Closer Look – Photographing Our 1929 Dodge Brothers DA.

With all the work now complete on the 1929 Dodge Brothers DA by the workshop at Bridge Classic Cars, we thought it would be nice to pull the car out and take some photos of this beautiful pre-war Dodge Brothers Tourer.

The car is being kept at our secure storage facility, The Hangar, for the time being. So, one day when there was a bit of sun and it was perfectly dry the team pulled the car out onto the pad and shot some photos of the car.

It’s always a pleasure having pre-war cars in with ourselves. There’s a satisfying simplicity about them which reminds us of the true spirit of driving. Nothing more, nothing less. Just exactly what you need when you need it.

This is a Dodge Brothers car. Although Chrysler bought the name in 1928, this car still wears its original Dodge Brothers emblem on the radiator shell. It’s also right-hand drive, which is rather unique for a DA.

We’ve really enjoyed working on and having the 1929 DA in our work shops so here’s some photos to share with you why we love it.

From Our Director – Celebrating our Friendship with Stephen Norman

In 2018, I had one of the last 500 MG Midget rubber bumper cars to run off the assembly line for sale.

I was contacted by a gentleman from Luton who asked if he could come and look at it the following Saturday.

Having had a previous bad experience with a company in Luton we joked that before he came he had to admit that he wasn’t anything to do with that company and an appointment was set.

Saturday morning was dry, the car was clean and Stephen turned up. He loved the car but admitted immediately that it wasn’t the car for him. Hey ho, can’t win them all. Would you like a coffee?

Stephen was immediately drawn to the Etype series one rebuild under construction and was very complimentary of our work and attention to detail.

Stephen and I are similar ages although I look a lot younger. Coffee poured we talked about all the cars we had cut our teeth on and then he admitted that the reason he was looking at the midget was that he had in fact as a younger man owned an MGB roadster, rubber bumper in the famous Tundra Green and loved it. He then went on to say that the Etype in the shop was lovely but he didn’t consider rebuilding any more classic cars due to his previous bad experience with restorers.

I tried to impress on him that not all restorers can be tarred with the same brush and he said if I ever came across the infamous Tundra Green let him know as who knows he may chance another rebuild.

Liking a challenge I set straight out on a journey of MGB discovery.

He then asked about the other company in Luton that I had asked him if he was in their employ. I joked that they had done me harm but again not all of their trade can be tarred with the same brush.

What do you do then Stephen, I asked. Casually he said ”I am the Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors”. Wow!!!!

Bridge Classic Cars moved into new premises in Pettistree near Woodbridge and like all companies setting up a new plant buying as cost-effective as possible. We went on a Saturday morning to our local Auction as some Pallet racking was on offer and it was just what we needed.

Whilst waiting for the Auction to start I received a phone call, ”Are you looking for a Tundra Green MGB, rubber bumper as I have one?” My quest had at last been fruitful. ”Yes, how much?” ”Don’t you want to know the condition?” I really needed just the competitive cost as it was to be a Concours rebuild. ”£1000”. ”I need to make a call and I will get back to you”.

The call was made, the car was bought and suddenly I was going to build a car for the Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors.

The car we built can be seen on our completed Projects on our website as can all of our work.

During the build and the numerous visits that we had a couple of things happened. Stephens’s love of all things automotive shone through and our personal friendship grew.

During one visit he noticed a Senna Brown TR6 that I had bought for myself. I love those he said, could you build me that for the same sort of cost, I wouldn’t want it Brown I would want it in Magenta. The second build started and the friendship continued to flourish. Again the build can be seen on the website.

A call one evening from an excited Stephen said that he had been offered a new position and that he was to become “Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and After Sales based in Ruesselsheim, Germany” and that would be it until his retirement.

Retirement, I think this has always played on his mind as did the Etype that he originally saw in our workshop.

”When I retire I would like to have a Series 3, V12, Etype, convertible, with a hardtop in Heather (pink) with cerise leather (nearly pink) God it’s the colour thing again. Tundra Green now Heather. Can you build me one but it has to be left-hand drive, a new twist. ”

I found a white car in America that was owned by a Hollywood film producer, fitted the bill perfectly but unfortunately, the cerise leather was somewhat harder to find and it had to be the exact colour as Stephen knows what he wants and he is a perfectionist.

The car was shipped and without doubt, it was the straightest, rust-free car we have ever had through the shop. Now we had to tackle the issue of colour. If it is not heather then it has to be Fern Grey (green again) with green leather (green again).

The car is nearing completion as is Stephens’s illustrious career as one of our automotive legends. As I write this Stephen will retire at the beginning of next week on the 28th February 2022 and all at Bridge Classic Cars wish him a happy retirement and a special thank you from me for the business, the trust you have put in my company and for the friendship that I know will continue for many years to come.

Happy retirement and I will see you on the 11th of March 2022 for some driving of some spectacular cars.

Moving Along – Working on the 1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite

The 1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite in the Bridge Classic Cars has been moving forward towards the goal of running and stopping perfectly.

First on the list of jobs was for our technician, Dave, to look into the cooling system on the iconic classic sports car. Dave began by looking at the radiator, which on inspection had a broken mount for which he fabricated a new replacement for. With the radiator out, the workshop could then work on replacing the water pump for the car.

Dave found the old water pump wasn’t in the best of shapes so it’s good that we had been asked to replace it with a customer supplied unit. During this time, he took the opportunity to completely flush out the cooling system and clean up the outlets. With this, it was found the thermostat was packed almost solid. The battery on the car has also been replaced and the battery tray rust treated.

After this had been completed, Dave could begin his inspection of the suspension and brakes as part of the car’s pre-MOT check. He found the driver’s side track control arm was loose and the bolts which held it were so corroded they couldn’t be tightened accurately. So, he removed the old bolts, cleaned the threads in the arm and replaced it with new hardware from our stores. Whilst inspecting the braking system on the Frogeye, Dave discovered that the master cylinder had become corroded internally from sitting which in turn had caused the wheel cylinders (which were recently fitted) to seize. Replacements were going to be needed to get the brakes on the Frogeye working correctly.

With this and waiting for several parts, Dave could now move on to the next jobs on the list…

Getting to the Bottom – Stripping the 1980 Saab 99 Turbo

As part of the assessment on the 1980 Saab 99 Turbo in with Bridge Classic Cars, our technicians wanted to know just how far the rest had set into the classic Saab.

The process began with our friends at Car, Glass and Trim pulling out the front, rear and side window of the car for our technicians to assess all the window channels for any corrosion. Then, the team began removing the body panels to inspect behind them.

After that, the team had a much better idea of the level of metalwork and bodywork needed to bring this classic Saab back to the best condition possible. As you can see, the rust runs deeper than first anticipated but it’s no problem for our restoration teams who will begin the process of getting this iconic early turbo car back to its best.

Ready for the Road – Alfa Romeo Spyder Now UK Registered

The beautiful Alfa Romeo Spyder in at Bridge Classic Cars has gone through the process to be UK registered after arriving from South Africa late last year.

With this now complete, we could order the number plates for the car and get them fitted to the stunning Italian sports car.

Now that the car is registered, very soon you’ll be able to see just what the future holds for the Spyder.

The Other Side – Rust Repairs to the Arches and Door on the Passenger Side of the 1987 Daimler Double Six

The fabrication shop at Bridge Classic Cars have begun work on the rear passenger side of the 1987 Daimler Double Six to fix any of the rust issues in this area.

Our fabricators have replaced several areas around the wheel arches and sill which had entirely rusted through. Monty, our fabricator, has hand made new patch panels for these areas to make sure that everything in that area is solid and rust-free.

The fabrication team have also had to make a new wheel arch edge for the classic Daimler. This had unfortunately been affected by rust and spread into the bottom of the rear door. Each of these pieces were then cut out, prepared and new pieces welded in to remove any trace of corrosion.

With the new metal in the rear quarters of both sides, Monty can keep moving rearwards on the Double Six to get the body completely rust-free before it goes into the Bridge Classic Cars paint shop.

Updates – Preparation and Discoveries on the 1987 Mercedes 500SL

The 1987 Mercedes 500SL in the Bridge Classic Cars body shop having its engine prepared has turned up some new discoveries.

Our body and paint technicians have been working on getting the engine bay of the classic Mercedes into the same shape as the outside of the car but upon further inspection during sanding, some areas have some rust issues and previous poor repairs.

These will need to be addressed before the rest of the engine bay is finished in primer ahead of its colour coat.

Alongside that our technician, Mauro, has removed several pieces of the suspension in order to get to the harder to reach areas of the classic Mercedes. This is is to make sure every area of the car is inspected, prepared and primered.

First Steps – 1969 Bentley T1 in Primer

The 1969 Bentley T1 has been moved from the Bridge Classic Cars body shop into the paint shop to begin its journey towards its full respray.

The team at Bridge Classic Cars have been working incredibly hard to carry out the rust repairs on this beautiful classic Bentley. With those now completed properly for the car, it was moved so our body shop could begin to prepare it for its appointment with the spray booth.

With the body prepared and cleaned down, our paint Chris wheeled the Bentley into position and began laying down the first coats of primer onto its newly reworked body. This layer will be used as a guide for the body shop technicians to see which areas need to be worked on to get the panels perfect before the full respray on the car.

Moving Forward – Work on the 1986 Ford Capri Wiring, Brakes, Suspension and Parts

The team in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop have been working on the 1986 Ford Capri to get everything working exactly as it should.

First, our technician Jon continued to work on the wiring under the dash of the classic Ford. He found a few repairs to the original wiring which were causing the original radio to not work correctly. So, with the repairs done to the harness and cleaning up unneeded wires, the original radio was now working just right.

Next up, he fitted the freshly repainted and refurbished engine bay pieces into the car. Several shrouds, the rocker cover and pipes were painted by our in-house paint shop for the Capri to give the engine bay a new fresh and clean look.

Finally, work could begin under the Capri. With the car up in the air, Jon had access to the suspension and brakes. First up was replacing the anti-roll bar bushes. These had perished over time and were allowing too much flex, so a new set of replacements were ordered and installed underneath. Whilst in the air, Jon could begin looking into an issue with the rear brakes.

Our other technicians on the car’s initial inspection noted a slight brake bind on the rear. So, Jon looked into the issue and found the rear drums were in need of a rebuild. Along with that, he replaced the hardline that runs across the rear axle to the new wheel cylinders. Then, after bleeding the brakes he reported that all was now OK and no more brake bind.

Now, it’s time to move on to getting the 1.6 litre 4-cylinder running properly.

Guided – 1965 Porsche 912 Body and Bonnet in Primer

The 1965 Porsche 912 in the Bridge Classic Cars body shop has been moved into the paint shop to go through the next stage of primer work and sanding along with the bonnet.

Alan, has been working on the classic Porsche to get the body and all the panels into perfect shape before the car has its next stage of primer. Once the air-cooled Porsche had been moved into the paint booth, our technicians could lay down the first of several coats of polyester primer onto the body and the top of the bonnet.

After several more coats of both Polyester primer and Epoxy primer across the Porsche, it was then taken back out into the body shop to have its final sanding process started before the trip back into the paint booth for its journey into final colour and clear coat.

Bringing Up the Rear – Tackling the Rust on the Rear of the 1987 Daimler Double Six

The Bridge Classic Cars fabrication department have been working their way towards the rear of the 1987 Daimler Double Six and ultimately towards the end of the fabrication work needed on this classic Daimler.

Monty, one of our fabricators, has been carefully working on cutting out the rear sill and rear arch to perform the necessary repairs. Each of the pieces has been made by hand to ensure the best fit and finish on the patch panels. Monty has only removed the affected areas to retain as much of the original metal as possible that is still in good shape. This included a section of the rear door which had rusted out, along with the leading edge of the arch/door jam.

Inch by inch, he welded the new pieces onto the bottom edges of the car until finally the job was completed. All of the pieces were formed and pushed/pulled to the best possible fit so when it is moved to our body shop, there will be as minimal filler work as possible before the car’s respray.