Situated in a small village in South Cheshire, close to the borders of Staffordshire and Shropshire, four guys who’s children were all in the same class at the village school, came together through their kids parties and other local events. The Dad’s friendships soon blossomed as they discovered that they had similar interests in good beer and a love of classic cars, so one day rather than just sitting in the pub talking , they decided to do something positive about it..
SO THE JOURNEY BEGAN
As a starting point a MK3 Austin Healey Sprite was purchased and many happy hours were had taking it to pieces. The enjoyment level was such that we quickly decided that there should be more to this than just one car.
So the feelers went out and a local barn was found, unused for 20 years; a former pig shed. The space was ideal but required substantial work. Our renovation skills were then turned to buildings and the old shed was completely gutted, a new floor was laid, insulation and plastering quickly followed, electrics and plumbing came next.
Internal rooms were fitted out including a small kitchen, WCs, a shower, an office, along with a workshop and spray booth.
The floor was epoxy coated and equipment was purchased and installed.
The facility is now complete, and includes a 2post hoist, rotisseries, tools and all the equipment needed to restore and care for classic cars.
The facility has grown to approximately 10,000 sq feet under roof with different areas designated for storage of cars in various stages of restoration.
The Rebuilding area is situated in the main barn and utilizes the Hoist and 1 or 2 rotisseries as required.
We have encountered several negative issues associated with the knowledge and technology of the era in which the cars were originally built. We have subsequently arrived at solutions which allows for the original character and pleasure of the car to be retained but removing the concerns of driving an older vehicle.
During the strip down stages and after many conversations a system was arrived at, described as follows.
THE MEMORY LANE SYSTEM
1. All Cars are completely stripped back to metal components.
2. All components cleaned and inspected, all nuts, bolts, washers and bushes are disguarded in favour of new.
3. Larger components, i.e. back axle diferentials, propshafts are fully disassembled and all moving parts are inspected, replaced or re-engineered as required.
4. The engines are stripped and sent away for machining i.e. head skimmed, crank reground, bores inspected and pistons and rings replaced as necessary to bring the engine back to original specification. The principle is to re-create a new or better than new example.
5. The same approach is taken with the gearbox.
6. All electrical components are cleaned and assessed. The motor Cars will be fitted with a new wiring loom, and changed to negative earth, (more about this later). These enhancements whilst still giving the car a period look makes for a more reliable driving experience.
7. All paint is entirely removed from the shell and each panel is assessed for corrosion and damage and individually made good back to original condition using British manufactured panels and repair sections, seam welded in house forming invisible repairs. Once completed to our satisfaction the entire shell is powder coated to ensure a rust free future. It is then painted in the original manufactured colour preserving the vehicle in all its glory for years to come.
Where possible all Motor Cars are returned to original colour and build specification.
8. The engine block is rebuilt using new gaskets etc, once assembled it is mounted to our own designed, custom built, test rig and all ancillary equipment is fitted. The test rig is equipped with a complete electrical system and cooling system a dashboard with gauges to enable the engine to be started and run up to temperature, thus allowing oil pressure and engine temperature to be monitored. At this point the engine timing and carburetion is set and a pre run-in period is established. This system completely removes the first start anxiety usually associated with an engine rebuild and refit.
9. The shell and all components are then brought together in the main assembly area prior to the rebuild.
We decided that British classic cars were where our passions lay. The timeline was set at 40 years and older and a number of potential motor Cars were discussed, the MK1 (Frogeye) Sprite was chosen as our starting point. These cars were only built between 1958 and 1960, pioneering a Monocoque design and with very few specification changes.
We purchase a number of Frogeyes, in a variety of conditions from completely broken down to just extremely tatty.