2015-16 Restoration Annual
Welcome to our end-of-2015 review of restoration projects we've managed over the year. It's part scrapbook, part Boy's Own annual, with some exciting stories, the odd cliffhanger and many happy endings.
One such was driving a client's R-Type Bentley Continental across the winner's ramp at Pebble Beach in August. In 2016, we have our eyes on other Blue Riband concours events although, as ever, our main intention is to return a car to its current owner that's as good as - and sometimes better than - the day it was delivered to its first owner.
Ferrari 365 GTS/4 'Daytona' Spider
This was once part of a collection we discovered hidden in a chalet in the Alps. It's one of the 18 desirable, left-hand-drive 'European' cars, supplied new to Geneva. As found it was red with black, but working with the owner and Ferrari Classiche we've restored it to its original metallic Azzurro blue with beige interior, gaining 'Red Book' certification along the way.
Lamborghini Miura SV
This was a classic example of research, research, research. The challenge with this Miura was not only to strip back the 1970s red repaint to reveal the original vivid orange and carefully restore all the mechanical parts, but also to ensure it matched its distinct German market specification. So, the wheel spinners had to have no sharp 'ears', the grilles on the bonnet had to be 'safety standard' rounded ones and small details such as hazard warning lights on the dash needed to be right.
The colour presented several anomalies in the factory and Bertone records, but underneath layer after layer of paint we found enough Arancio to match the 'as built' hue to perfection.
Our longstanding client, with whom we have worked tirelessly to build up a world-class Lamborghini collection, was delighted with the result. We hope you agree.
Ex-Innocenti Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopica
Scion of the Italian scooters-to-motor cars industrial empire Gianfranco Innocenti replaced his much-loved Miura SV with another Lamborghini, one of the very first Periscopica LP400s.
As a favoured client he was able to secure an extremely early Countach. Upon dismantling it we found several pre-production features such as a magnesium gearbox casing and differential no. '001'.
Once again the exterior colour presented a dilemma with conflicting factory records. By painstakingly removing 40 year old paint the bottom shade of Verde Medio revealed itself (Innocenti asked for a swap pre-delivery to red), so that's what it went back to. Our old friend Valentino Balboni was heavily involved with the project and we look forward to its return to the roads (and best nights spots of Milan) next summer, 42 years young.
Ex-Brussels Motor Show Bentley R-Type Continental
So, just what does it take to produce a concours standard car? Simon persuaded an old friend to part with his family's treasured R-Type Continental several years ago. The new owner wanted the car (already to the ultimate specification) to be 'the best'. We chose marque experts in the UK for the task.
It took thousands of hours to return it to 'better than new'. The result was second in the 'Rolls-Royce and Bentley Post-War' class at Pebble Beach 2015 behind a spectacular Phantom IV- but perhaps even more satisfying was the resulting car: remarkably quiet and smooth, powerful and perfect in every respect, a delight to travel in and certainly 'the best'.
Ex-Conan Doyle Lamborghini Miura P400
'The Mystery of the Miura'. Holmes and Watson would have been proud of the detective work that has gone into restoring chassis 3480, the Rosso Speciale Miura delivered new to playboy Adrian, son of the fictional sleuth's creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
It's another long-term project for our Lamborghini specialists, helped by period colour film footage of the car, which will be ready for Christmas 2016.
Disco Fever! Ex-Swedish Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopica
When we found it, the anonymous yellow LP400 Periscopica gave away no hint of its more flamboyant past. Research, though, revealed that the first Swedish owner was entrepreneur and racing driver Michael D Noss, and that the car had featured on the cover of Bilsport magazine in 1979.
The article showed a very different specification, straight out of a 1970s night club, including metallic purple paintwork, a white leather interior and - the pièce de résistance - a clunky white car phone seemingly borrowed from a Gothenburg hall table.
We're already digging out our old Giorgio Moroder party tapes, and the car is undergoing a full, body-off restoration to return it to its 1970s days of glory (and Boogie Nights). Viva Disco!