Don't get too excited ok, but I think I'm famous. Just waiting for the sponsorship deals to roll in now... I'd look good kitted out in some nice new gear. You know, a nice modest brand that charges five thousand euro for a t-shirt. They'll surely come knocking... surely.
While I wait, here's a snippet of our Irish Examiner piece.
1 - What are the most unusual and rare types of cars you have restored?
In Ireland it's pretty rare to find, eh... rare cars! I could tell you about cars that have come in with no more than a wiper blade and a door handle, or a car that has matching engine and chassis numbers with a meticulous file packed with receipts and service records. But they're not the most interesting. What makes a car truly unusual and unique is the story behind it. The reason you bought it, the reason you want to restore it and drive it. We call that the "why".
We've recently had a few cars here that give you that warm fuzzy feeling. The last MG B Roadster we restored belonged to a guy who saw one as a schoolboy, and decided that when he got older that that was going to be his car. No stone or screw was left unturned to make sure this car was perfect. It probably ended up being better than meeting his hero.
A rare car would be the Irish built Morris Mini Traveller, which was spotted by a guy when he was young, and he kept tabs on it throughout its life and when the opportunity came to buy it he jumped at the chance.
The metallic red Austin Maxi is unusual, in that it wouldn't be everyone's first choice of car to restore, values are low and parts are incredibly scarce. But it was bought by a father for his daughter and he to work on. Sadly due to ill health he was unable to restore the car. But now the car is finished, and there probably isn't another car with the same value. It's beyond priceless.
These are the types of cars that get you into the garage early to work on, that bring you that extra mile. We're talking about someone who still has their first ever car. Absolutely no market value, but what it does have is that MasterCard value - priceless.
2 - Have you restored cars belonging to famous people - who were they and what cars did they own?
Honestly I'd love to tell you, but we've got a strict "don't kiss and tell" rule here. So all I can say is yes...
3 - Is it only wealthy people who own classic cars, or can the man in the street afford them?
No, not at all. Any man, woman, or child in the street (or field if you're from the country - we don't discriminate here) can own a classic car. It's probably like having a pet, you've got bunny rabbits which are cheap to own and look after and it goes right through to having a pedigree puppy. It's all relative.
A classic car is an investment that you can enjoy, admire, and make other people envious of you with your full head of hair (or Homer Simpson strands) blowing in the wind as you zip around the bends in your 60's convertible.
The term classic car covers a hell of a lot of cars. From affordable Minis right through to auction house headliners like Aston's and Ferraris. There are cars that people buy for nostalgia, cars that people want to show off, and cars that people just want to be able to tinker away with as a hobby. So classic car ownership really is for everyone.
Our advice would be to get out there, (everybody knows somebody that knows somebody that has an old car locked away gathering dust and rust) find a car you like, do a little bit of research on parts availability, values... And then give us a call. We'll turn it into a car that you'll always look back at after you park it.
4 - What was the most challenging and difficult restoration work you have ever done?
There was probably one week where the guys in the workshop would keep doing this thing where they would take an hour off in the middle of the day to eat, really killed the productivity.
At this stage most cars are the same. All have suffered from the changeable Irish weather of wet to very wet causing endless rot and a panels list that is just as endless. So when you get to the stage of having a car stripped out, rust cut out and you have what is effectively a metal version of Swiss cheese staring back at you, you can't really see how it could get much worse.
But it does! The hardest, and probably worst restoration is when somebody else has started work on the car and the chassis and structural integrity of the car has been compromised. A lot of cutting and chopping has happened before the person has realised they've attempted something beyond their skill set. Those are the nightmare situations and the one's we really don't like to see.
5 - If you had unlimited money, what is the classic car you’d buy for yourself, and why?
I hope you have an hour spare while I take out my wish list?
Obviously there's a soft spot for MG A Roadsters, but that's a nostalgia thing. Who wouldn't want to be pulling up in an Aston Martin DB5 à la James Bond, or even a Ferrari 250 GT California. It's one of the most expensive car in the world for a reason. There's Bugatti Type 57s, DeTomasos and the Delahaye boat tails, but I don't know if anything beats a Jaguar E Type series 1.
A piece from Classic Car Weekly:
... Yet 'Restoration' is one of the world's most ambiguous words, covering everything from some welding work and a budget respray to a comprehensive strip down and re-build.
A car's net worth need not preclude it from high-quality repairs, however, a non-specialist garage may hold a very different interpretation.
Many people are unaware that a quality restoration demands a considerable number of skilled man hours, and that balance must be established immediately between budget and the quality expectations. However, those who cannot resist low estimates risk entrusting the work to an ill-equipped outfit that is unable to attain a reasonable standard or even complete the work at all. Such false economy introduces a greater risk of customer disappointment.
“Around 5% of our work comes from picking up the pieces from other garages that have charged unrealistically low rates but have been able to complete the tasks, leaving owners out of pocket and with unfinished vehicles” Adam Dring, Classic and Vintage Restorations, Shropshire.
“Restoration should always be a partnership between owner and restore throughout the procedure, and constant trust and regular communication will prevent any issues from arising, especially after work is completed” David Barzilay, Classic Motor Cars.
Hello! Thanks for joining us, fashionably late as per usual but you're here now and that's the main thing. Sit down and take the weight off the floor, we've got a huge topic to cover today.
This is part one of our new build series, and it will document our interpretation of what a Classic Mini should look and feel like in the 21st Century.
We're of the subtle school of design, so the aim is to make you look twice to know exactly what has changed, but the car will still have that little something extra. It's the Mini remastered.
Lets get you up to speed: so far we have a Mini, stating the obvious I know but we have to start somewhere, so start taking notes. Our Mini has had all the standard necessary metal work completed, but it also has had some extra work done to it. We have de-seamed the sides and removed the rear bumper lip.
Staying with the back of the car, the rear lights will be customised, as will the boot door (watch this space), the petrol tanks and fillers, and exhaust.
Blended wheel arches will then take us towards the front the car where we will have countersunk indicators, custom grille and air intakes. And of course, it's not a proper Mini if we don't have spot lights.
The paint work is being kept under wraps, but it will look like it has been dipped. Liquid beauty!
It's the interior where things get a little bit spicy and where we bring in the phrase "Connected Car". Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, reversing camera, touch screen, on board diagnostics... It's a long list. Oh and cup holders. Vital.
That's enough info for today, we've earned tea. It's a bank holiday after all. Well touch base later and keep you updated on the progress as it goes.
Buckle up son...
“What’s ET short for?”
“I thought it was because he had little legs no?”
Little hi little lo people, how have we all been? Did you notice our absence or did your heart grow fonder… or something like that. There’s only 4 sleeps to Christmas Day. Yes 4… who actually sleeps with the excitement on Christmas Eve? Madness.
Do you know why scuba divers roll backwards out of their boats? It’s genius really – if they rolled forward they would just fall into the boat.
Where are we on some cars I hear you say, well pals we’re not on them at all. That would damage the bodywork. But anyways, we’re saying bu-bye to a few more Minis over Christmas as the Dark Knight / Darth Vader all black Mini goes home and the green Mini Cooper heads off to fields yonder.
DID YOU SEE THE CANDY RED MAXI? I mean really. Just like the award winning farmer – we’re outstanding in our field.
We have Jag-wars, Fiat 500s (Luigi because he’s Italian. Also, the name Paul was taken), MGB Roadsters (different roadsters we swear, it’s hardly our fault that their best colour is Tartan Red?), might we have a Porsche on ruth? Who knows.
The plan is to have Christmas dinner as early as possible and get the most out of the daylight. It’s dark, damp and wet lately. No drying out there at all – sad. Now that I think of it, what’s the harm in having it on Christmas Eve and getting the lads into the workshop on Christmas Day? It would be nice and peaceful and they would fly through the work. Food for thought… will mull it over some wine later. Some mulled wine. For mulling.
Here’s an idea that you should not do to your friend’s car – don’t cable tie a harmonica near their fan and radiator because you and everyone else think that it’s hilarious. It is, but you shouldn’t do it.
Also, don’t connect your friend’s brake pedal to their hooter because you and everyone else think it’s hilarious. It’s not.
Well it is, but you know – it’s immature…
But for now I must be off! There’s a sleigh that needs to be out by the 23rd. It’s going candy apple red. My arms from buffing are looking buff. Boom, another pun. I feel under appreciated.
Merry Christmas ya filthy animal.
Shout out to all those people who don’t know what the opposite of in is.
All that I have in my head are Ireland chants after the Euros. Yes I know they’re still going, but we’re out so technically they’re finished. Le Frexit.
But how have you been? Did you get a chance to try that new restaurant on the moon yet? The food is actually decent, but the atmosphere – well there’s none.
We’re all about progress here in the garage, and we’ve really gone through that industrial sized box of tea bags. Now that I think of it… There’s surely some way of getting free tea bags from our namesakes… or would it be more ironic if Barry’s sorted us out. Hmmmm. Well that’s my day’s work sorted anyways!
Ah yes. The cars. I suppose that’s why you’re here. Well folks, it’s not exactly a case of what have we done, but more a case of what haven’t we done. Begorrah and potatoes have we done a lot! MGB roadsters in paint, Minis in paint, Jaguars in paint and I think even the cat may have got some paint too.
Starting Q3 and the pipeline is looking busy. There’ll be quite a few interface meetings depending on my bandwidth. Isn’t business talk just the best? You can actually write a page long email and leave the recipient completely bamboozled and not know what is going on (much like this blog… ahem…). I think my favourite words that are stupidly used are “leverage” as in “I was unable to leverage the WiFi” and also “outplaced” as in “If you don’t make my tea right the next time I will outplace you to the Dole queue”.
With Terenure coming up we’ve been working as hard as possible on getting some show cars ready, but customer cars have to take priority. *Halo suddenly appears over my head. PG the weather holds for it. PG.
There’s a backlog of emails that are currently being replied to, sincerest apologies but we will reply! In other news, with the huge festival that rolls into Clare this weekend, we’re hoping to get the original garage in Miltown Malbay re painted in Disney colours. Take a look below:
So? What do you think? Anyways, there’s genuinely a mountain of work to get through so I best be off. If you’re watching Game of Thrones, try not to get too attached to any character. Wowie.
Right. mind yourselves. And for those of you who don’t have a car – pedal safe mates.