The Restoration Process

We have been restoring cars for over 30 years and pride ourselves on working to the highest possible standard. We carry out full or part porsche restoration for everyday drivers to concourse winning cars and competition work.

We take great care to make sure all bodywork is fully prepared first. The body is fitted to one of our special rollover frames, which gives it support and makes it more accessible and therefore easier for us to work on.

This is then followed by bead blasting; this is very kind and causes no distortion but shows every imperfection, including signs of corrosion and all previous repairs the car has ever had – good and bad!

We will then make necessary repairs and replace all damaged and corroded panels with new, fabricating those that are no longer available. Bodywork repairs are performed using all the traditional methods used in the factory when the cars were originally built, i.e. welding techniques, lead loading and gapping.

The repaired body is then prepared for paint. Etch primer is first to be applied followed by a rust inhibitor primer, seam sealer, under seal and then top primer. Finally, the colour is applied and then finishing aging system is used.

For pictures of the porsche restoration process please go to the ‘Projects‘ page.

All mechanical and electrical parts are tested, rebuilt and overhauled or replaced as necessary. Original detail is maintained throughout the fitting up of the restored body shell. All bodywork, mechanical work, engine work, paintwork and all other processes of restoration are done on site by our highly qualified and knowledgeable team.

We also carry out general servicing and maintenance and upgrades like 12-volt conversions and changes from drum to disc brakes. Our aim is to keep your Porsche on the road to your requirements. Please note that our prices are inclusive of VAT.

If you’d like to discuss your requirements for full or partial porsche restoration of a vehicle please contact us.

Body Preparation and Bead Blasting

I started restoring cars in the ’70s, all the big six-cylinder English sports cars including Aston’s, Alvis, Jags and Healy’s, etc.

Then in the early ’80s, a (jelly mould) came in a Porsche 356 coupe, with its hand-built body shell and its lack of a chassis and how and where it rusted intrigued me.
Knowing its strength is in the whole body shell you need to get it clean and free from bitchemin, under-seal and filler etc. This was done by large or small sanders, heat guns and scrapers, paint strippers, wire brushes and finally hand-held sandblasting. None of these is very friendly to me or the car, and to do a half decent job it’s very time-consuming.

Things got worse by the mid-1980s with two pack fillers, primers, paints, modern seam sealers, underseals and stone chip. These products allow all your Wheeler Dealers to bury rust and bad repairs making it even harder to remove.

In 1988 I saw a customers car which he had sent away for sandblasting, I was appalled there was just too much distortion and it was too coarse. They clearly spent too long and hard everywhere which produces heat. The body shell was clean but the process was not very kind.

Then I saw the result of heat and chemical dipping. There was distortion, the lead fell out and water and chemical weeping out of the seams etc. It too was clean but again, I was not impressed.

So it was back to the old way – hard work and mega hours. This prompted my visit to the USA where I saw much the same as in the UK until I visited a body shop in California where they were bead blasting, I was very impressed.

Previously working closely with the workshop at PCGB we discussed this problem on several occasions. About a week after my return to the UK they phoned and said they were going to try a company in Billingshurst. I went to Reading and to my surprise, there was a very clean shell covered in white plastic beads. I was excited. This system has been upgraded and improved over the last 20 years and the only downfall is having to deliver the body shell and collect it a week later, a round trip of over 1000 miles but it’s been worth it.

The big problem comes with costing it out, as you don’t know what is under the paint etc. If you are very lucky to find a project that’s not been touched, all the paint and primer is easy, all the underseal is petroleum based and is crispy.

However, most cars have been “repaired” or “upgraded” with modern products allowing the beads to bounce off. I go down the route of briefly scraping the sealer and thick areas first before sending it to Cleaning Consultants. Whichever way, it’s man hours and you don’t know until you start so estimates have to have a certain amount of flexibility.

I have looked again at dipping but I am not sure, still all the lead falls out, still distorting and still residue coming out of the seams and box sections. I have my concerns over how it is picked up, supported and dipped. OK, it’s cheaper or is it? It’s also still a 650 mile round trip for me.
When you are working with metal, aluminium, lead and fibreglass you need a kind system.

When you are restoring the following:
356 soft top cars (most are rusty and weak)
550 Spyder
Carrera 2

… and many other rare and valuable cars you need a system that works and a company you can trust to do the best job at the best price. Until someone provides a system which is better I will carry on using Billinghurst as I am very satisfied and have sent them over 100 cars.

If you’d like to discuss your requirements for full or partial porsche restoration of a vehicle please contact us.