Come in, come in. Take a seat there and relax for yourself, I’m sure you’ve had a hard day of not doing a tap as usual. You may be wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today, or maybe not. Some of you probably don’t even know what day it is – lockdown will do that to you I suppose.
While we’ve never claimed to know everything about cars (even though we absolutely do), we thought it might be nice if we passed on some of our wisdom and general insights on the world of classic cars to you, and in particular, which cars look like they will increase in value in the coming years.
“How did you compile such a list?”, “Will these make me money?”, and “ Any chance of a loan?” might just be some of the questions you’re pondering right now. So here are my answers quickly before we move on: 1. It’s a secret, 2. Absolutely, and 3. Absolutely not.
Anyway, you might not have anything better to do, but I certainly do so let’s get going with the first car on our list. Freshly poured café au lait in the paw, and away we go..!
Alfa Romeo GTV - The Italian 3 Series.
Described as “even better than they look”, this was the first real attempt for the marque to rediscover the little “je ne sais quoi” it had all those years ago. The GTV was styled by Enrico Fumia of Pininfarina way back in 1987 after the sleeping Italian giant decided it was time to make its mark once again in the coupe market. Interestingly, it was thought that it was the 1992 Proteo concept car that this bad boy was based on, but nope, weirdly it was an Audi Quartz concept from 1981 which helped influence this Alfa. “Wow, keep going” you say as your eyes glaze over.
The GTV meaning Gran Turismo Veloce, or Fasht Gran Touring, earned the title of The Best Sports Car 1998 from Jeremy Clarkson… But he also liked the Fiat Multipla so… Ah no, this car won plenty of awards including the 1995 Car of the Year by Autocar, The World’s Most Beautiful Automobile and it also earned Bruno Cena the 1995 Engineer of the Year award for his work on the car. Good man Bruno.
The GTV was the successor to the Alfetta GTV, while the Spider was the replacement for the 105 Giulia Spider. Just a bit of useless information for you there while you drool over that tan interior.
The metal on these cars is pretty solid and is not particularly prone to rust, unlike some of its contemporaries. Yes, we do realise that having a big plastic clamshell bonnet means that there’s one less panel to worry about, but sure look. Even though you can get a V6 version and the 2.0 is nippy in itself, the car wasn’t all about speed in a straight line - which is pretty handy since we don’t really drag race to the shops (or at least we don’t admit to the boys in blue that we do).
Alfa did well and managed to make this front-wheel drive a really entertaining driver’s car, giving it a similar feel to a go-kart or a Mini. Unfortunately, space-wise it’s pretty much the same as a Mini with its tiny boot and back seats only made for a couple of pet dogs or cats.
Sorry, what am I doing! This isn’t a review, this is just to tell you which cars to buy this year. To sum up, the Alfa Romeo GTV is a good ‘un. Won awards, drives great, sounds great, and is great! Parts may not be the easiest to find and they do have a few unique issues but listen, don’t worry about it – that’s where we come in. Oh, and the best part? Prices are on the up. You can get yourself into the driver’s seat of an exceptionally good 2.0 Twin Spark for less than €5,000 at the minute, but I wouldn’t hang around as these will probably rocket now that we have spoken.
Join us again in Part 2 of our Classics to Buy in 2021 series and we’ll take a look at the next car on our list. There’s a 7 in the name, but is it an 80s Mazda RX7 or a 90s Aston Martin DB7? Who knows!
Tune in next time, same bat channel, same bat time.
PS. We’ve been included in ‘Feedspots Top 100 Auto Repair Blogs’ which is pretty cool.
Classic Cars in Ireland 2021, the expert view. Nice title isn't it? Simple, yet effective.
Salut mes amis! Ca va? Ca va.
Guess who’s been watching Lupin? Only the whole country Sharon. How’s that Leaving Cert French holding up for you eh? Oh me? No, I did honours level so I turned the subtitles off. It’s good practice for when we’ll be able to safely travel abroad again.
So here we are. Me in my padded leather reclining office chair with matching footstool, and you at your kitchen table dossing off from work as per. If you’ve managed to wait until your working day is over to read this well then fair play! You won’t actually get any extra credit for it, but if it makes you feel good on the inside then that’s all that matters. Good for you pal, good for you.
So we made it through 2020, what a bleak, bleak year. But now we’re in 2021 and we’ve so much more to look forward to! Things like Brexit! “Ooh spicy,” you say, “Give us more!” Well, there’s also extended lockdowns to enjoy too.
It’s probably time for you to finally get fit, learn that new skill, or finish that book you promised yourself to when the first lockdown was announced. 3rd time lucky maybe? Anyway, that’s enough motivational spoof for you, we’re not here to make you feel better about yourself - we’re here to talk about cars. And me.
Sorry, just quickly scrolling through my last post to make sure I follow up on everything…
HAVE YOU SEEN OUR CAR-THEMED COFFEE? We’re very proud of it, it tastes absolutely fantastic. If you’ve ordered your own tin thank you so much for supporting us, it’s greatly appreciated! If you haven’t ordered a tin… Seriously, what are you doing? I thought we were friends. If it was the other way around I’d have supported you already. You’ve changed Dude, just saying. But if you’ve been guilted into doing the right thing, you can see the themes/flavours of coffee over on our Coffee page.
Speaking of coffee, we think it’s time that we have Coffee and Cars event here in the Malibu of Ireland. We’ll work on the name, it could be Cars and Coffee or Coffee and Cars, we’re 50/50 at the minute, but as soon there’s an announcement on when we can travel throughout counties and the place is a bit safer for everyone, we’ll let you know what the plan is.
Well, the plan is nice cars, our coffee, and good views (obviously). When I say plan I mean the details like dates, locations, etc.
Shall we be serious for a minute and mention Brexit? We’re nearly a month in and there’s probably more unknowns than knowns. Apart from those originally built in the UK (ie the friendly neighbourhood MG, Rolls, etc.) the importing of classic cars from our ex-closest EU member is now slightly more expensive, while the increase in cost for getting parts delivered is still up in the air. We have some companies pretending Brexit doesn’t affect us, whilst others are covering any extra cost.
Look, we know we’ve got a wide range of readers here, from high IQ to potato, so here’s our simplified take on all of this business: To us, this all means that those classics which are already in the country will only increase in value. Now, Jimmy, that doesn’t mean your rust bucket out the back is suddenly worth thousands by the way, you still need the usual perfect example to get the best value so it’s best to give us a call after you’re finished reading this. Parts wise, not to worry, we have a network of suppliers throughout Europe so we’re quietly confident in our niche industry. (It’s pronounced ‘neesh’ not ‘nitch’ by the way).
Right, that’s the big awkward serious bit covered, and off we continue! Something a bit lighter now I think… how about… You might see us in an upcoming issue of Classic & Sportscar magazine! I know, I know, it’s pretty cool, right?
2021 and we have a mountain of work. Since we spoke last we have a Morris Minor Traveller almost fully fabricated from nought but an inch of steel, and a Toyota Corolla in primer. If it wasn’t for me telling you how much metalwork we did on the cars you’d never know…because our work is so good these cars look like new. Do you get my joke, do you? Good.
We have (yes another) MGA that we’ve been working on too. We’re divils for not listening to our own advice to be honest… “Just a quick re-spray,” we said. “I don’t think so” the MGA said. And so new panels were ordered or fabricated. But sure it’s not like we were going anywhere anyway…
Hopefully we’ll get a few of our own cars finished in time for the traditional top-down, thumbs up driving. The ’77 black MGB Roadster… to keep or to sell though, that is today’s question upon which I do ponder. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures, but if not there’s a few here: Black MGB Roadster. If you’re interested in what would genuinely be the best built MG B in the country, get in touch.
We have a couple of cars for sale that we can work with you on to restore to your spec. In our storage, we have Minis, MGs, VWs, and more. So whether you want your own project, or you’d like to join those lucky divils whose cars have a “Built by Lyons Garage” sticker on the back, then get in touch pals.
See below for an idea we’ve been toying with… A Cars, Coffee and Pizza place. Now taking applications for investors. If you want to know more, you’ll have to send a message.
One final update before my nap. It’s been a long week, tasting coffees and polishing cars takes it out of you. Ok, drum roll, please… The Lyons Garages Classic Car podcast. Our blog in a podcast with added advice, tips and chat that you can enjoy while out for a walk or sitting down having a nice (Lyons) café. We'll let you know when we launch episode one.
That was a pretty packed blog post, wasn’t it? We should have lockdown more often. AMIRITE?
Well, that do be it for me for a day or two, I might take an extra-long nap. I hope you’re keeping well, staying safe and wearing your mask. My current mask is a hound’s-tooth design, it’s Porsche-esque. No Mary, we’re not going to be selling them so you’ll have to make your own. Our awesome coffee is enough for a while… Now, go buy yourself a tin of coffee.
Hopefully your 5k limit has a couple of nice turns. Pedal safe palaminos.
You made it! C'mere, I must show you the work I’ve done on the roof. This way, it’s upstairs.
Can I just say something to start? Don’t worry, I actually have a solid track record of saying something good to be fair. Take the last event I was at, for example, I only said one word and they told me it meant a lot. All I had to say was ‘Plethora’.
It’s just a little thing that’s been niggling at me every time I see someone talk about MG cars, or when I see one advertised for sale. STOP MIXING UP THE MAKE AND MODEL. Iz no that hard people! MG is the make, B is the model. So it’s not an MG MGB, MB GT, MG ‘whatever you can think of’, it’s simply MG followed by the letter of the model, k?
Where was I? Ah yes, the office.
2020 has been the year of absolutely nada. NO WAIT, it’s been the Chinese Year of the Bat! Don’t mind the psychics, I think it’s the opticians that have a lot to answer for - twenty-twenty vision my bottom eh? Lel.
The lack of car shows, trips away, or just chances to hop in our cars and go for a spin has been pretty bleak. So we’re gearing up for a very busy 2021 and working on something vital for all car trips – our Lyons Garages coffee! Apparently, Lyons Tea was already taken and they haven't returned our calls when we asked them for free tea, so we're going to do it ourselves.
No no, this is actually for real, so if you fancy a mini oil can of coffee beans get in touch. Or get in touch even if it’s just to tell us it’s a great idea, hashtag support local and all that.
If you happen to be involved in the coffee industry and want to get involved send us an email pals. Also, and to everyone else, we’re still working on the tagline for it, so if you have any ideas we’ll gladly take them, use them as our own and give you zero credit.
Almost half way through this post and not a single mention of any garage cars. “What? Halfway?” I hear you shout at your laptop/phone/cat. “Yes, I’m tired and lazy” I shout back.
After a highly successful first season of “Conversations with Morris” where I posted a whole two pictures and waffled on for a bit, the Morris Minor is now all finito, bubble wrapped, and ready to head home. Morris will be cared for and put back together by his owner… There’s nothing else for people to do at the moment so there’s no point in us doing all the work.
That gives me a new business idea… restoring the shells, painting, buffing and giving the owner a “How To” guide to putting it back together with their boxes of new parts. “Less Time, Charge The Same. A spoofer’s guide to getting rich”. Sounds like I’ve just got the next title for my new book. 2021 will actually be huge.
You might have noticed a white MG A Roadster floating around. (“I SEEN IT” as you might say if English wasn’t your first language. Or you just can’t English good). Well, you just can’t have enough of them to be honest and now there’s one for every day of the week here.
Speaking of MGAs, the Singapore MGA… this is an actual MGA headed for Singapore, it’s not some notion-y thing that we’re doing by pretending we’re Singer Porsche and calling our cars the after where they’re headed, don’t worry. Even though “The Singapore Commission” might sound great, I’m not sure we could keep a straight face if we started that trend here in Ireland. Imagine calling one of the cars we’re building here in the workshop the “The Leitrim Commission”, “The Glounthaune Commission”, or “The Ballyhaunis Commission”. We’re building awesome cars, not nippy tractors.
Right, back to where we were… that MGA is finished and will be shipped off to Singapore soon. In a crate. Fast and Furious esque. Now, you might be asking why it’s being sent off unfinished. Great question. Is it something to do with the tax situation in that country, or because the best part of restoring a car is getting to put on all the new parts yourself? I guess we’ll never know…
The Toyota Corolla AE86 is motoring along well, there’s just been a lot… A LOT... of handmade panels, but we’re pretty much at the end of the metalwork road now and so that means painty time soon.
What else have we… There’s a few of our own cars that are pretty close to being finished, but we give priority to our customer cars. Not because we’re getting paid, it’s honestly because we’re just really sound. Honest.
Our next project is to uncover a couple of our own Minis that have been tucked up for too long, dust them off and get them back on the road. Currently making a parts list to build a Café Racer Mini… Interested?
We also have a couple of MGBs that are ready for restoration if you fancy putting your own stamp on a car. Well, we’ll do the stamping, you can tell us the colour.
Isn’t it weird that what was once a very common car on the road is now starting to be thought of as a classic? So strange that these cars are now getting older while I stay the same age. Things are weird.
Right that’s it! I’ve been here in the office for way too long, I’m late for my dinner. Lets wrap it up… So, just to recap quickly: we built cars, we’re going to bring out a Lyons Garages branded coffee… and that’s kinda it really! You probably feel a bit silly having to sit through all that now don’t you? Mad how you guys sit and read this spoo… highly educational blog.
As always, you’ll get the latest snaps on Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to send us a message and throw us the odd sympathy like. It means a lot and you never know, it might even help us achieve our dream of becoming famous influencers and get some brand deals and free stuff.
Just before I sign off, let us say that as the world’s greatest sports car restoration team here in the Malibu of Ireland, we welcome your feedback. We don’t take it, but we welcome it all the same.
Hope you all have a good week bromigos. Lyons Garages, Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare is the address for all Christmas cards. Take care and God bless.
Come in, come in! Can I take your jacket? Tea? Coffee? Actually, there’s no time for that, just make yourself at home there while I gather my notes. There’s water in the tap.
We have much to discuss my dear palaminos, muchos to discusso. Where to begin though? The start is probably as good a place as any I guess.
I have one word for you – “The New Normal”. No, sorry, I mixed up the pages there. I have three words for you – “Staycation”.
Have you guessed where I’m going with this yet? If not, may I direct you to your local second hand bookshop where you can find a copy of my last book “Feet Up & Rolling In It: A Guide To Getting Loaded”.
Life is slowly returning to normal (tHe NeW nOrMaL), and there’s still a little bit of the summer left, which brings me to the sentence I’ve all been waiting to say: Name a better duo than driving around Ireland in a super spicy classic car.
Yes Pal Pacinos, think about it. Actually, don’t think about it, you don’t want to hurt yourself so allow me to show you a picture I quickly sketched to help illustrate my point.
Unless you’re a bit of a lunatic / have absolutely no regard for anyone’s health and safety, you’re probably going to stay in Ireland and avoid holidaying abroad for a little while… which is where we come in!
As the self-appointed world’s greatest car restoration garage, we’re here to source, repair, restore, upgrade, and service a classic for you to take on a long weekend, or to enjoy for a week by the coast.
A top down, thumbs up roadster along the west coast to get that sea breeze to blow off the cobwebs that have been hiding in your barnet since lockdown… A GT to cruise through the cities and towns… An estate to load up with everything you need for a week holiday to Cork… We’ve got you wink wink.
Here’s the deal: You contact us, we sort you out with a car and do the necessary upgrades to give you a reliable car (electronic ignition, suspension upgrades, tuning, you know yourself), you take the car and go enjoy yourself! There’s even a couple of events that you can take your car to: Drive West is a classic car drive along the coast of Clare on the 23rd August, and there’s also the classic car version of the famous Cannonball – Retro Cannonball which begins on the 7th August. I know, real car things… ‘magine!
Here in our workshop we also have a few classics that are ready to be restored, they just need a new owner to adopt them. Hang on, I’m just walking around here while I type so I don’t miss any… there’s a couple of MGB Roadsters, some Minis, a convertible VW Beetle… With these you can have the final say on how they look and feel, just give us the nod and we’ll pass notes during class.
Anyway, I’m off. I need to amend a parts order here, I forgot that cars we build don’t need wipers. Sorry what’s that? Why? Oh it’s always a perfect day when you drive a Lyons Garages car.
As always, you’ll get the latest snaps on Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to send us a message and throw us the odd sympathy like. It means a lot and you never know, it might even help us achieve our dream of becoming famous influencers.
And finally, let us say that as the world’s greatest sports car restoration team here in the Malibu of Ireland, we welcome your feedback. We don’t take it, but we welcome it all the same.
Enjoy the rest of the week. We’ll keep the internet on in case you email.
Alright Pals and Palamenos, you’re in lockdown and probably fed up with all the Espresso Quarantinis you’ve been having and need something different to do. Well throw on your finest old clothes (or at least get dressed in case the postman passes), cause we’re about to learn you some things.
No we’re not telling you how we do what we do, that’s our thing and it’s a secret. Instead, we’ll teach you how to make your classic car look as good as we make ours. I know right? Exciting.
Sadly we’re not getting paid for endorsing any products, but that just means we’ll tell you the right things to order on the line. So you’re the only real winner here… I’m still waiting on Lyons Tea to send us a box of tea bags, or even just one tea bag… LOOK WHAT WE’VE DONE FOR THE LYONS NAME!
Sorry, I got distracted. Anyway, where were we… Inside, that’s where we are.
Right, classic cars, clean, shiny – here we go. As big a fan of a tan that I am (God damn I’m good at poetry), don’t put your car in the sunlight for any of this. Don’t be awkward and take that literally by cleaning your car at midnight, you actually want to be able to enjoy the shine. And don’t take your car to an automatic car wash at a petrol station, those are beyond useless. They scratch half and leave the other half still dirty! If you really want to throw away the ten or twelve euro that they usually cost, our address is at the bottom of the page.
This is in danger of turning into a list of don’ts, but try not to use a power washer either, if you flake off some paint your car will look terrible, it’ll start to rust, and you’ll come crying to us (with a big bag of money) asking us to fix it. Nobody wants that (we do, but you don’t).
You need: a hose, water to go through the hose, two buckets, a microfiber cloth or special car wash glove thingy, a super sudsy car shampoo (you can do the whole snow foam thing if you’re into that, but that’s just for photos), aaaaand… that’s probably it. Look, I’ll throw a shopping list for you down below, and if you want a Lyons Garages sticker for your car just let us know!
Wet car. Fill up two buckets with warm water and sudsy bubbles. Wash from the top down because gravity, obviously. Use a brush or different cloth for the wheels. Wheel cleaner is quite harsh, so be careful using it. Rinse the car down, get the second bucket and a new cloth or mitt… And we go again! Why? Because you probably missed a bit and we don’t want to use the dirty gritty bucket again. And it’s good for your bingo wings. Rinse it off, and be careful of around the windows, vents and grills, they’re old cars and you’ll end up wetting the inside. If you’ve a convertible, you shouldn’t need to be told to watch out for leaks! Also, clean your wheels last.
Air drying is fine, but we use a microfiber cloth to gently get rid of the water drops. “Why microfiber cloths I hear you shout” at your laptop. Well they were on offer so why not? No, in sciencey terms, it draws any and all grit away from the body, whereas a sponge would just drag any dust or grit along the paint. Das bad.
If you feel a bit of grit on the surface of the paintwork it probably needs to be addressed. But not like the insane sanding and polishing we do after spraying a car, we just need a nice gentle polish either by hand or you can use a dual action machine polisher with a very soft foam head and set to a slow speed. But, think of the guns you’ll get if you do it by hand. Mr Miyagi taught wax on wax off by hand for a reason. Clay bars are also handy, but it’s a slow process and you’ll need a detailing lubricant too.
Don’t confuse polish and waxing, waxing should be done after every wash, but no matter how smooth the cream looks, polishing does not need to be done that often as it softens the paint/lacquer. Das bad. Use a little foam applicator and rub rub rub away! Then once your arms are sufficiently sore, get a microfiber cloth and buff it all off.
Waxing, uses the exact same method. Apply, let it dry ever so slightly and buff it all off. Rub lightly and quickly, and the hazy dullness will shine!
Next you’ve gotta make the chrome as shiny. Zero point in having all that chrome if it doesn’t attract the magpies to be honest. You can read the instructions, or just get a cloth and rub it into the metal until it disappears and you can see your ugly mug. That wouldn’t happen for me, I’m pretty decent looking. Just FYI.
Dress your tyres! They no like being in the nip, and rubber looks better when it’s glossy. You can use the same stuff for all the rubbers and seals around your car. Clean the glass last, because you’ve probably put some polish or wax on there, so spray it onto the cloth first and then clean. If you spray it onto the glass you’ll just miss and spray some on your waxed paintwork… say it with me now, das bad.
For soft tops we use a selection of Renovo products. There’s a cleaner, a colour restorer, and a sealant to give you that lovely water bead effect. There’s different ones for mohair and vinyl, but it’s some good stuff.
Roysh, so now you’ve got a car that you can show off. But you still have a filthy engine bay and dirty interior so you should probably do something about that. But you can’t go anywhere anyway, so you’ve got plenty of time! If you’re doing the inside, clean before using any polish, you shouldn’t have to be told.
Things we use:
You'll figure out what works best through testing them out for yourself, but this is what we like at the mo.
- Microfiber cloths. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of these.
- Meguairs Gold Class Shampoo and Conditioner
- Meguairs Gold Class Wax (the smell is phenomenal)
- AutoGlym Instant Tire Dressing or High Performance Tyre Gel / Meguairs Endurance High Gloss Gel (wear a glove)
- Meguairs NXT all metal polish
- Glass is glass, so even a Mr Muscle window and glass cleaner is perfect
- Water. Bottled Ballygowan if you can afford it.
- Coffee – usually Nespresso, the Milano one. But now that the weather is nice we’ve moved onto Dalgano iced coffees.
- Sun tan lotion – no no, olive oil. Some lemon juice then for natural highlights.