Friday March 4, 2016
A mixed bag of stunning classic cars have been confirmed for the Pride of Ownership display, to be sponsored by Lancaster Insurance, at the Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show, held 5-6 March at Birmingham’s NEC. Here, we announce the vehicles over a number of days.
Richard Atkinson’s 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk
Richard Atkinson’s father owned the only Studebaker Golden Hawk imported into the UK. Even after his father sold it, Richard was hooked on Studebakers, and in 1998 Richard finally managed to buy the car from its then-current owner. Unfortunately, it was too far-gone to restore, but this didn’t stop him. “I bought a similar car in 2005, but in 2006 the workshop it was in caught fire. It, and ten other cars, were incinerated. I’d lost my second Golden Hawk.”
Many people would have given up here, but Richard started looking again, buying a third example in 2007. The car had been off the road since 1983, but it was Richard’s best bet so far. After a five-and-a-half year bare shell restoration taking over 1100 man-hours, the car was completed in April 2012.
“It’s not a numbers-matching car but that doesn’t matter,” says Richard, “It’s got a fully reconditioned Packard 352 engine and Ultramatic 2-speed transmission, which are correct OEM units. It’s also a period correct colour scheme, and Studebaker’s most popular for 1956.”
With just over 600 left worldwide, you’re not likely to see many in the UK – and none in this condition. Even in America, the car’s homeland, Golden Hawks of this calibre are rare. “It’s automotive art, and I love the amount of smiles and waves it garners from young and old alike!”
Harry Constable’s 1952 Humber Pullman Limo
Harry Constable was told when he got his Humber Pullman that it was beyond restoration – too much work and too few spares. The seller didn’t know Harry’s father had had four, and there were several spares dotted around his home!
“A gentleman near Glasgow owned it first, and used it for weddings, funerals, and taxi service,” says Harry, “But the engine seized in 1957, so the car was stored until he could afford to fix it!”
Before this could happen, the Scottish owner died, and the car was left to a man in Cambridgeshire. He stored it, intending to rebuild it, but decided he was too old for such a project. He put the car into an online auction, where Harry’s daughters saw it and bought it for him in 2012.
“It took me three years, and there were some challenges! Some parts I had to make from scratch, and some I had to adapt from other cars. The pistons and liners had to be shipped in from Australia! But as I did my City and Guild certificates in 1972, I had a good grounding in older cars and nothing was too hard to achieve.”
And Harry feels it was worth it for the way the car floats down the road, as well as the memories of the Pullmans his father had. Winston Churchill had six of them too – clearly a happy customer to have had so many. “And I bet 7-8mpg wasn’t a problem for him!” says Harry.
James Basey’s 1964 Vauxhall Viva HA Deluxe
James Basey might only have had his Viva since August, but the 20-year-old is already getting stuck in. He’s had his car fully resprayed after bodywork repairs.
“The rear wheel arches were rusted through and both of the doors were shot when I bought the car. There was also some minor damage across the vehicle. HA Vivas are getting rare, especially in good condition, and I wanted to preserve this one.”
James owns a second Viva – and these aren’t his first step in classic car ownership; his first car was a Mini.
“I like the shape of the HA Viva. Not many people do, but the sharp lines with curves at the back drew me to the car.”
James hasn’t needed to do much else – four years ago it had new wings, bits of chrome, and a poor respray which has since been rectified. It’s had a new clutch and tyres, but baring that it’s mechanically perfect.
Insurance at such a young age is difficult, so James is considering selling his second Viva. “I’d rather use the money I’d need to insure a second classic at my age to make the first one as good as I can. I do have a modern car as well, so I don’t need two classics. But we’ll see.”
David Oxford’s 1970 Rover 3500S NADA
David Oxford has owned a North American Spec P6 3500 before, just prior to buying his first Rolls Royce in 1995. “I regretted parting with the car and have always hankered after another one. Well back in April 2006 one came my way, and believe it or not it was almost identical to the first one so I had to have it!”
David had previously worked for Hooper and Co, and decided to apply his skills to the interior of his Rover. The door caps and dash were all replaced with 'burr walnut veneers, all the upholstery was covered in black leather, and the carpets were replaced with green Wilton.
“I installed Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit head rests to all the seats and Silver Shadow illuminated vanity mirrors in the rear quarter panels. The non existent radio was replaced with an Alpine radio/cd player with four speakers mounted in the doors – Rolls-Royce fashion.”
Mechanically the engine has received a top end overhaul including the carburettors. But David’s final mod was the best of all: a champagne bar installed in the centre rear armrest, with two mini bottles of Moet and two fine cut crystal glasses!!
Lee Roberts’ 1992 Mini ‘John Cooper Tribute’
Lee’s Mini was his first car – and he’s made it his own. It started as a Cooper 1.3 SPI, and was bought from a woman in his hometown of Oundle.
“It’s had seven owners, and it was once a company car with a solicitor in London. I used it every day for 12 years, then it got to the point where it needed a lot of attention.”
Lee stripped the car to a bare shell, before rebuilding it to the spec you see today. The BRG with white roof original has given way to a BRG shell with a Gunmetal roof, while inside there are Porsche 924 front seats and a full retrim in green leather with grey Alcantara.
“My children love the Mini - my daughter Lily aged six has grown up with it and loves going to shows with me. My son William aged two loves the noise it makes and loves going on little outings in it. My wife Danielle is not its biggest fan but likes it a lot more now it's been restored.”
Artie Lofts’ 1972 Triumph Stag
Artie had a Stag many years ago, and the memories never quite left him, so in 2014, he bought another – but with a twist; this one was a long term Practical Classics feature car in the 1990s.
“I bought it because of its history,” says Artie, “Its restoration was clearly documented in Practical Classics, and while it was showing its age it looked like a good car. The former owner in Gatwick had bought it for his wife but she didn’t like it – it drove beautifully back to Grimsby.”
It needed a little love – with crazed paint and tired trim. So Artie had the shell stripped and a lot of unnecessary filler removed, before a full respray. It’s also been retrimmed with new seats and door cards.
“I’ve had the wheels polished, and rebuilt the engine with help from Robsport. I think it’s not in the condition it was when Practical Classics finished its first restoration – it’s not a concours car, but I don’t mind because I bought it to enjoy it.”
Anthony Clapcott’s 1984 Austin Ambassador HLS
Anthony’s Ambassador was bought the usual way – “My dad had one which I learned to drive in, and I had to have this one when I saw it in a housing estate in Warrington!” The car had done just 40,000 miles, and was in sound condition.
“I heard nothing for four months, having left my number with the owner’s neighbour.” But then he was invited to discuss the car – and bought it soon after.
A thorough service, new belts, new fuel and a replacement carburettor was all it needed to run – the carb fitted to save tuning twin carbs to run properly. A replacement exhaust and tyres were fitted to make it roadworthy – but bodily, all it needed was a good polish.
In December 2014, Anthony removed the engine to cure a leak from the crank pulley, and while he was at it had the car resprayed. “It wasn’t bad – but every panel has a small defect. I stripped it and took it to a local bodyshop.”
Anthony’s Ambassador will never be sold – it makes him smile too much! “I love the attention from passers-by too.”
Stuart Turp’s 1969 Capri 1600 GTXLR
Stuart’s Capri is rare – not only was 1969 the launch year, but his car has every option pack available. “It’s a GT XLR, which means it has everything from leatherette trim to a chrome tailpipe. The Capri was the car you always promised yourself – I bought this one in 1989 having promised myself just that!”
Stuart restored the car himself, though work was slow at first. He’s recently had the bodywork re-done by a local garage, with new wings, a new front valance and a full respray of the original Amber Gold. “It wasn’t cheap, but money isn’t the point of an old car and to me it’s worth every penny. It’s exactly how I want it now, and correct in every detail.” The back axle was also powdercoated at the same time, and Stuart refurbished the wheels and detailed the wheel arch areas himself.
Stuart’s car has featured in Heartbeat and The Damned United, among other television credits. It’s also won several awards and trophies at car shows up and down the country, and has been featured as part of the coveted Meguiar’s Club Showcase. This is the first show Stuart has taken the car to since its recent new paint, and he’s looking forward to it. “I’ve always been a Ford man, and I’ve had 11 Capris now – MK1s, MK2s and MK3s. To me, it’s like a poor man’s Jag!”
Ben Lambert ‘s 1992 Mazda RX7 FD3S Type R
Ben Lambert loves his Mazda RX7. He’s always wanted to own one before the age of 25, and bought this car in 2012 from his cousin, after asking for first refusal. “The second owner imported the car to the UK, but wasn’t the best keeper for it. It ended up having a blown engine, bodywork issues and interior parts missing by the time my cousin bought and rebuilt it. He decided to sell the car due to working unsociable work hours and didn’t see the need to keep it anymore.”
Within the first year it had OEM Mazdaspeed trim parts and had been resprayed, while Ben found the missing interior trim and refitted it. He’s had several pulleys and brackets under the bonnet anodised in purple, it’s been lowered, features uprated brakes and a retrimmed interior. It’s getting to the point where he’s happy with it, and it’s been seen at several Japanese car events in the UK. “I do have future plans for finishing it off, so it doesn’t stop here. I just need to find the bits!”
Ben Lambert ‘s 1999 Mazda RX7 FD3S Bathurst
Ben Lambert bought this RX7 Bathurst Edition in 2013 from a passionate RX7 enthusiast. It had been imported into the UK in 1995, and rebuilt by specialist Rotechnic in 2003. “I’d been searching for a Bathurst, as I wanted a project car to sit alongside my good car. This car had been looked after, but I wanted to take it to my own level.”
Ben’s had it painted, as well as fitting a single turbocharger conversion and having the head ported. “I think it’s putting out about 500bhp,” says Ben, “I’ve uprated the injectors and fitted a K+N Turbo filter to sit alongside the new GT35r turbo. It’s a lot of fun!”
Just 700 Bathursts were made, all of which had interior upgrades and red trim. Ben’s made a few changes but the unique interior remains. “Inside, I’ve not really changed anything. I’ve found some factory floor mats, which are a rare accessory now, but most of my work has been under the bonnet.” It’s been painted to get rid of some slight paint defects, and the wheels have a custom finish. “I wanted one before I was 25, and I achieved that. Now I’ve got a pair of beautiful RX7s, I’m happy – but there’s always something more to do.”
Steve Turton’s 1985 Jaguar XJ-SC
Steve’s Jaguar was intended for America, but never got there. “It’s part of a pilot batch of US spec XJ-SCs, but because Jaguar was concerned that convertibles would be outlawed the cars never made it.” Jaguar stored the cars for some time, then they were converted to RHD by the night shift and sold here. “The side running lights and the leather patch on the left doorcard where the mirror controls were are the main differences. This car was the first of ten black examples in the back, and one of just two in triple-black – body, roof and trim.” Built in 1983, it wasn’t registered until 1985 – making this car early enough to have been built in conjunction with Tickford. Production moved in-house in 1984. “It was used by Jaguar Cars for several years, and has links with a well-known test cricket player.”
John Ducker’s 1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK1
“When I was a student in 1971,” recalls John Ducker, “I had an Austin A40. I went on holiday to Cornwall, saw a Healey 100/4 in a garage, and went for a look at it. The seller wanted my A40 plus £10, I offered him the car and £5. The next day he phoned and accepted. I drove it for six months, then sold it to buy my wife’s engagement ring.”
In 2006, John decided to look for a classic car for his retirement, and found an A40 which he repainted the same colour as his first one. When he finally retired in 2012, he started looking for a Healey and found this car on eBay in America. It took 24 months for John and his brother – who did the welding – to restore, including new floors, sills, and repair panels to the wings and doors.
“It looks brilliant,” John enthuses, “We finished it in September 2015, just in time to miss the summer, so it’s not really had much use. But everything is done just how I want it now, ready to use and enjoy. I’ve since bought another two Healeys to restore – it’s a full blown case of Healeyitis!”
Jim Scott’s 1966 Ford Cortina Deluxe
Jim Scott’s only ever owned one classic car – and was inspired by his brother. “He had a Lotus Cortina, which I liked and which prompted me to look for a project of my own. I bought my Cortina Deluxe in 1990 – it belonged to a friend’s uncle, who had had it from new.”
Jim’s a Ford fan, having owned nothing else in a fifty year motoring career – his current daily driver is a Focus.
Prior to retirement Jim was a mechanic, which meant he had the perfect facilities to see what he’d bought. Unfortunately, when he put the car on a lift and got underneath he found he’d dived in at the deep end – there wasn’t much metal in there.
“It took me two years of night and weekends to restore – and I did everything except the top coat of paint myself at home. The interior was in excellent condition, and needed no work. I had to rebuild the engine but the gearbox and axle are still going strong as they left the factory.”
Jim’s no stranger to winning awards with the car, having collected well over 500 for the car in his ownership. “I won 30 awards last year – and it’s not like the car’s a trailer queen, we did 7000 miles in 2015. I’ve been in the final of eight successive Autoglym Concours, it’s been in the Meguiar’s Club Showcase, and it’s been a class champion in the Scottish Vintage Vehicle Champion of Champions event multiple times.”
Jim’s done over 180000 miles in the car since restoration, spanning the length and breadth of Britain. But then, when a car is your pride and joy, that’s what it’s there for.
David Woods’ 1960 Austin A40 Farina
After 18 years in storage, David’s A40 was destined for the scrapyard, until it was bought by a man called John Osborne. “All the club members told him that he would need numerous panels, a welder and lots of patience,” says David, “That advice turned out to be completely wrong!”
Over the next year John stripped the car down and painted it. Not a single panel or weld was needed. The correct shade of BMC Tartan Red was applied to the body, but John decided that the original BMC black roof wasn't black enough so he used Taxi black to paint the roof.
The car still retains its original paint in its wheel arches. The engine and gearbox have been painted, the brakes rebuilt and a new clutch fitted. In 2003 the car was returned to the road.
After 12 years enjoying the car, John put the car up for sale – David saw it and bought it within the hour by phone.
“Since I have owned the car I have had a classic car specialist undertake a thorough front to back and top to bottom service. This included replacing all but one of the rubber hoses and a thorough flush out of the engine and radiator.”
All David has to do now is repair a hidden split in the driver’s seat. Barring that, it’s ready to enjoy.
David Moult’s 1974 MGB GT V8
David Moult got his MGBGT V8 from his father. “It was garaged for 32 years before I had it from him!” David restored the car over a two-year period starting in 2013, replacing every component which had worn and bringing the car back to as new condition. The MGB GT V8 was MG’s second attempt at spicing up the MGB, after the six cylinder MGC. It was inspired by the conversions of Ken Costello, though the conversion was engineered as to fit under the standard MGB bonnet. Its first event was MGLive at Silverstone in June, where he entered it into the Pride of Ownership competition. “I was amazed to find I had come second – it’s really rewarding after all the effort I’ve put in. To be here is the icing on the cake!”
Paul Riley’s 1986 Audi Quattro
When Paul was growing up, the Audi Quattro was the car all his friends wanted. "I was no different", he says, "All I wanted was to have my own Audi Quattro. And now I have!"
Paul bought the car from its third owner in 2006, at which point it has been part of a collection for five years. The previous owner never drove it, even though it was his pride and joy. But that’s not what I’m about –I wanted it to be my fun car, so when I burned a piston out I stripped it and rebuilt it from top to bottom to get it how I wanted it.
The colour scheme is unique –Paul’s car was Mars Red, but having grown up watching rally Quattros
he’s emulated the look with a factory spec stripe kit. Dad and I both used to go and watch the Lombard rally, that’s where it all comes from. The Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show is only the car’s second show appearance since the rebuild, and the car is testament to the quality of his work. I’ll never sell it –I love it far too much!
Andrew Underwood’s 1974 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
Andrew has owned his Silver Shadow for 16 years and has won many awards.
To enable him to aim higher and enter bigger, more prestigious events however he knew he'd have to move onto the next stage of total restoration. He has worked on the car till all times of the night spending 14 months and many hundreds of hours stripping and re-assembling the car with the help of his workshop manual and by asking advice from professionals.
Andrew is immensely proud of the restoration work he has achieved and delighted with how this magnificent Silver Shadow looks now. He's looking forward to exhibiting it throughout the 2014 Classic Season and if he gets the response he'd like and indeed the response it deserves then he'll enter his Rolls Royce into some of the National Awards. That said, Andrew has had a taste of the glory that could welcome with a National accolade as his Rolls reached the top 50 of The Classic Car Of The Year Award 2013.
Geoffrey New Souldern, Oxfordshire 1986 Mercedes 300SL
One owner from new isn’t something you can say about many classic cars, but Geoffrey New’s Mercedes SL is one of them. “I ordered it new exactly 30 yrs ago and collected it from the factory at Stuttgart in May 1986.I ran it in driving through the Black Forest and Alps returning to the factory for a first service. I have owned it ever since.”
Geoffrey’s car is a 100th anniversary model, commemorating 100 years of the Benz Car Company. It’s in original condition, though it’s been sympathetically restored when needed. The suspension and top end were refurbished approximately 14000 miles ago, and it’s had a new hood to replace the sun damaged original. “I was fortunate enough to be able to spend four years in New Zealand, I took the car. What better way of touring?”
Geoffrey claims his Mercedes is the cheapest car he’s ever owned in terms of cost per mile – “The fact that I have owned the car continually for 30 years is testament to its quality.”
Martin Healey’s SAAB 96 2-stroke
Martin first bought a SAAB 35 years ago, after his wife Mandy guided him toward them.
“I’d always wanted a two stroke 96, but it became impractical as an everyday car and so it had to wait until I could buy a project seven years ago.”
The intention was to restore it, and for Michael and Mandy to take it to shows together.
“We were looking forward to seeing and enjoying the car when it was done –Mandy loved the shape of it.”
Sadly, Mandy died before the project was completed, and so never saw the finished car.
“The only way I felt I could continue with the restoration was to do it for her, and dedicate the car to her. I think she would have been very proud of the result.”