The Restoration Process
We have been restoring cars for over 30 years to the highest possible standard. This ranges from full or part restoration for everyday drivers to concourse winning cars and competition work.
We take great care to make sure all bodywork is fully prepared first, it will be fitted to one of our special roll over frames, which gives support to the body and makes it easier for us to work on and more accessible.
This is then followed by bead blasting, which is very kind and causes no distortion but shows every imperfection, signs of corrosion and all previous good and bad repairs the car has ever had.
We will then repair where it is necessary and replace all damaged and corroded panels with new or we will fabricate those that are no longer available. Bodywork is 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 to the body followed by a rust inhibitor primer, seam sealer, under seal and then top primer. Finally the color is applied and then finishing aging system is used.
For pictures of the 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 12Volt Conversions and Changes from Drum to Disc brakes. Our aim is to keep your Porsche’s on the road to your requirements.
Please note that our prices are inclusive of VAT.
Body Preparation and Bead Blasting
I started restoring cars in the 70’s all your big six cylinder English sports cars Aston’s, Alvis, Jags and Healy’s, etc.
Then in the early 80’s a (jelly mould) came in a Porsche 356 coupe, with its hand built body shell, 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 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 sand blasting. None of these are very friendly to me or the car, and to do a half decent job its very time consuming.
Things got worse by the mid 80’s 2 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 sand blasting, I was appalled there was just too much distortion and too coarse. They clearly spent to long and hard everywhere this 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 to was clean and 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 down fall is I have to deliver and collect the body shells a week later, a round trip of over 1000 Miles but its 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 got at, all the paint and primer is easy, all the underseal is petroleum based and is crispy.
Most cars have been got at in the past 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 its man hours and you don’t know until you start so estimates have to be a certain amount flexible.
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? and its still around a 650 Mile round trip for me.
When you are working with metal, aluminum, lead and fiberglass you need a kind system.
When you are restoring the following.
356 soft top cars, most are rusty and weak.
and many other rare and valuable cars.
I need a system that works and a company you can trust to do the best job at the best price. Until some one provides a system which is better I will carry on using Billinghurst as I am very satisfied and have sent them over 100 cars.