British Sportscar Center's
Many of the cars we restore are sent to us from out of California. We
have also built cars to order for customers in Switzerland and Germany. We
are proud of our reputation for honest, competent work!
When a car is sent to us for restoration, the first thing we determine is
exactly what our customer has in mind for the car when it is completed. Will
it be used just for fun, perhaps to be entered in the occasional low-key car
show or display? Is it intended to be a serious contestant in major car
shows and Concours d’Elegance? Or does the owner just want to put back in
top condition an old car he has owned and enjoyed (or wanted to own) for
From the answer to these questions we can
decide how detailed a restoration is needed, to what extent we must
duplicate the exact originality of the car, and give the customer an
approximate idea of the projected cost of the restoration.
However, it must be noted
that, regardless of what type of restoration the customer selects, we never
compromise on the quality of the mechanical rebuild we do, nor on the
integrity of the bodywork repairs.
For a non-show restoration, the areas where we can save time and money are
in the detailing of the chassis and suspension, the acceptance of
non-original parts, the re-use of chrome pieces which will clean up nicely,
and in the amount of time spent ensuring that every cosmetic feature of the
car is absolutely perfect.
As the car is taken apart, we note major problem areas and
plan what action will be taken to remedy them. We sort the brightwork, deciding which
pieces will be re-plated, which replaced with new parts. Any major deviations from
original are noted so that the customer can decide whether to invest in returning the car
to original. (For example, dashboards often have been changed by the addition or
substitution of non-original gauges and switches.)
The parts for chrome-plating and the instruments to be rebuilt are sent
away at this time, together with any other specialized work that needs to be sublet, such
as electrical rebuilds, radiator overhaul, steering wheel refurbishment, headlamp
reflector re-silvering, etc.
After the car has been completely dismantled, the cleaning of the major
components begins. When a car has a separate chassis, that will be de-greased and
sand-blasted before being checked for straightness and damage. Once repairs have been
made, painting takes place. The body goes away to be stripped by low-impact blasting,
before it, too, has any damage repaired and rusted sections replaced. Then it is primed
and, if appropriate to the job, a trial assembly of the car is made before final painting
While all the sublet work is off being done, we clean and inspect the
rest of the cars parts. That which is usable is painted, other parts are repaired
before painting. New parts are ordered as needed. The drivetrain is rebuilt, as are the
suspension and steering, and minor components such as the heater. Hardware is cadmium
plated when appropriate.
Eventually, all the parts are in hand to
commence re-assembly. The mechanical pieces go together first, then the brightwork and
finally the upholstery and soft trim. A full electrical test is conducted, then the engine
is started and tuned. Following a road test, final adjustments are made, and a final
inspection to see that everything has been tightened up properly.
Finally, the car is ready for delivery. Our customers are
always carefully instructed in the proper break-in techniques for their "new"
car, and we make sure they fully understand all the workings of the car. We also take them
out for a supervised drive, to make sure they will not spoil our handiwork!
Over the years, many cars restored by British Sportscar Center have
won awards in Concours dElegance.
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