Returning an elderly vehicle to its former glory requires enormous experience, skill and attention to the smallest detail.
We are proud to have completed a large number of full body restorations, all to concours standard.
We have testimonials and photographs available to view at our reception.
We are happy to undertake any vehicle in any condition. If a vehicle is supplied as a running, “turn key” car, we will carefully remove all mechanical items, trim, glass etc. and advise of condition prior to cleaning and refitting to the car. If supplied a bare body shell, we have dollies/trolleys to safely support the shell during transportation and restoration.
This section deals with the restoration of a Glass Fibre (GRP) body shell. For information on steel body restoration, please refer to our Metal Repair page.
Although GRP obviously does not oxidise and rust, the material does have inherent age-related issues many body repairers do not fully understand and therefore deal with. Our restoration processes have been developed and tested over many years. We believe it is the finest system available within the repair industry.
Prior to repair work commencing we put the vehicle in our low bake oven and heat to a panel temperature of 50C. We will repeat this over several days. GRP absorbs moisture over time. This moisture “wicks” to the surface causing small bubbles called micro-blisters. This type of bubble is not a paint issue and is not easy to repair permanently. It may take many years to occur, but once evident the problem in the glass fibre must be addressed before any primers or paints are applied. Every effort must be made to remove the moisture before repairs begin. After baking, we then painstakingly remove all paint from the body by hand. We do not use chemicals or any form of blasting as we believe more damage is caused to the gel coat by these paint removal methods. We then inspect the vehicle for signs of previous repair and remove all body filler found. The car is ‘baked’ again and while warm, carefully checked for issues which may not have been apparent when the panels were cool. On a hot day, a dark coloured GRP panel will absorb heat and may reach 50C . Imperfections can then appear. By heating the panels many times during repair we can make certain problems do not occur when the restoration is completed.
When all the issues have been identified, including stress related areas, repairs commence with the use of glass fibre and resins alone. We do not use body repair filler to repair GRP vehicles. Previous repairs will be reinstated, stressed areas reinforced. The end result is a structurally sound body shell in the material it was originally made of.
We then move on to the panel fit. The majority of GRP vehicles have poor panel fit when compared with that of a metal car.
Unless instructed otherwise we will, by adding or removing glass fibre, attend to the fit of all bolt on panels, providing the best possible shut lines and panel gaps.Elderly GRP also sufferes from gel coat crystalisation. This is when the top layer of the glass fibre deteriorates over time to form extremely fine cracks and sometimes crazing. This can be impossible to identify when the paint has been removed as these cracks can be extremely fine but unless dealt with, will cause minor imperfections to appear in the paint finish in the future.
To guard against this, inherent moisture and other age related minor issues, we developed the Option 1 Seven Stage Restoration Process. This process enables our beautiful paintwork to remain so for many years to come.
Please note: This process begins only when all structural GRP repair is completed.
The Option 1 Seven-Stage Restoration Process
- Stage 1: Glass fibre tissue base (30 gram/sq mtr GRP matting) is laminated with a mix of resin and gel coat to the ENTIRE exterior of the shell and panels. It is then hand sanded to a thickness of 1.0 and 1.5 mm. This gives the bodyshell a new fibre glass skin, which is stronger and more flexible than the original gel coat, providing the very best substrate for all primer and paint applied.
- Stage 2: Composite adhesion promoter. This product is of our own design and is sprayed onto the bare GRP to ensure perfect adhesion of primers and top coats.
- Stage 3: Ultra High Build Primer (first coat primer). We use a special high resin content primer, imported from the USA to fill imperfections in the GRP base coat and give us the build required to sand and remove minor undulations.
- Stage 4: 2K Primer Surface (2nd coat primer). A top quality 2K primer, approved by most major vehicle manufacturers.
- Stage 5: Body Colour Coat. First colour coat to highlight the smallest of imperfections prior to final top coats.
- Stage 6: Basecoat Final Colour. Water based or solvent. Mixed in house to provide an exact colour match to your existing paint.
- Stage 7: High Gloss Lacquer. Premium quality high solids 2K. When fully cured, hand sanded and machine polished to provide the perfect paint finish with excellent resistance to U.V. light and weathering.