As well as having a showroom full to the brim with beautiful cars, Woldside Classic and Sports Car in Louth also have a dedicated restoration facility where they can restore their cars back to their former glory.
The premises were previously owned by a printing company but when Woldside’s parent company, Thompson and Smith, purchased the building in 2015 they were determined to make the facility top class and so invested in facilities and dedicated staff who had the expertise and attention to detail that the job deserved.
Classic car restoration is a complicated business as the cars are often many decades old. Obtaining parts for them is often like finding a needle in a haystack, taking lots of detective work to identify exactly what it is you are looking for (part number or colour code, for example) and then finding it can involve weeks of trawling through websites such as eBay, classic car parts suppliers and car enthusiast forums all over the world, even for the smallest of parts.
Once in the workshop, the car is assessed with any problems identified and then the project commences. The team set to work stripping the areas of concern and further identifying the extent of the work required. Externally sourced specialist repairs, such as re-chroming, is then organised, as this is a timely process and can delay the project if not pre-booked well in advance. If required, the running gear is removed and separately restored, which can include engine repairs, lots of sandblasting and powder coating ready for the components to be refitted once the bodywork has been completed. The bodywork has to be stripped back as far as required to gain a good base – this is normally to bare metal, taking off layers of previous paint many years old. You have to remember, with the age of these vehicles, they normally have been repaired and resprayed numerous times to extend their normal life expectations and to avoid the scrapheap!
Once stripped, many hours of welding fabrication or panel replacement as deemed necessary is carried out before the body is ready for any form of paint. The removable panels such as doors and bonnets along with lights and trim will be fitted and removed many times before the finished product is ready for priming with all the panel gaps as good a tolerance as new – or better. Once primed, the vehicle is then carefully ‘levelled’ and any slight imperfections removed and finally flatted, ensuring there are no ripples to the panel work before the final coats of colour are added. The final shiny coats are soon completed – too soon really, as all the painstaking weeks of preparation is now easily forgotten when you have a beautifully painted car in front of you!
Now the reassembly commences. This takes much longer than dismantling, as all items have to be checked, restored, cleaned or replaced and fitted to the body carefully without damaging the new paintwork. This can include the engine, transmission, suspension and brakes to the exterior along with wiring, lights, glass and chrome work. Internally the instruments, seats, door trims and carpets also need carefully fitting.
Finally, the lubricants, coolant and most important, brake fluid, is added with final adjustments for roadworthiness, carried out prior to the vehicle being started. Then it is checked for leaks and further adustments and checks are carried out following road testing.
Recent projects completed and currently available for viewing are a beautiful 1951 MGTD roadster and a 1992 Ferrari 348TS. Both have had extensive restoration on site and are a testament to the workmanship at Woldside Classic and Sports Car. In the workshop now, with viewing by appointment invited, is a 1968 Mercedes 280SL Pagoda, which is sold, and a very original 1973 Ford Capri mk1 which is being subjected to a full nut and bolt restoration before being offered for sale in their showroom in the near future.