|Classic Car Restoration - New out of Old|
|Written by Jürgen Feye-Hohmann|
|Sunday, 12 July 2009 09:28|
It's now over 25 years since an acquaintance displayed a freshly restored MG TA at a Classic Car event.
Some times imagination is required in order to find a unique upholstery solution that fits a particular vehicle. It is still possible to restore very old and valuable vehicles with brand new materials and fit them so that the age of the material is practically impossible to see. For example, panels are not sanded and smoothed with filler until every imperfection that was present when the car was built (by hand then of course) had been eradicated. In fact, the imperfections should be worked around and the car re-sprayed so that these details can still be seen.
Take another example. In and around the exhaust and the air intake slits in the bonnet if is possible to add some smoke traces to give the impression of some hard driving, even if the car has been freshly restored. As I was visiting the "Düsseldorf Meilenwerk" ( classic car museum and restoration facility), I saw a Bentley with exactly these "dirty" marks. I thought that the owner had failed in his attention to detail; in fact it was very possible the car had been immaculately restored and the spray shop had deliberately and expertly managed to simulate these marks*.
But what about the interior? I saw a matt blue Mercedes in a company called "AUTOSATTLEREI PAUCK", a Car Trimmer and Upholstery Contractor. Everything appeared perfect, except that there were obvious imperfections in the leatherwork. Mr Pauck explained that, in order to achieve a proper restoration, such imperfections, which were indeed a facet of the material) should be simulated. He was very pleased, as an expert upholsterer, to discover these imperfections and usage marks whilst working on the car. This meant that he could put brand new leather in, but simulate the wear and tear that was natural in a car of that age. The photos of this freshly restored Alfa Romeo sports car demonstrate the fine attention to detail and expertise that Mr. PAUCK has invested in this vehicle. He has most definitely added value in the restoration process! These techniques might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I was most certainly impressed by the authenticity. This Alfa Romeo had not moved out of the restoration hall when the photographs were taken.
An alternative source for interior materials in Germany is LEDERZENTRUM GmbH. This firm can also helping to re-cover items thought un-repairable. Photos and details are on the firm's website.
A friend of mine tried this out with his Buckel Volvo's seats. The black leather was not a pretty sight and there were many patches were it had actually turned brown. Today, seven years after the work in the „LEDERZENTRUM", the leather is still soft and supple. Of course it is not "as new" but "beautifully old".
The leather suitcase that I found after a long search for my 1952 MG DT is older than the car itself. And it was pretty obvious! My dear wife advised me to treat it with saddle soap. I am glad, for once, that I didn't follow her advice. The experts at the LEDERZENTRUM warned me that that would have totally destroyed the old leather. Instead they advised me to first clean it thoroughly with watered down vinegar. „"After that I was to seal it with COLOURLOCK and finally with coat it ELEPHANT LEATHER PRESERVER. Two days after ordering the materials, they arrived and I set to work. After a few days, the leather which before was cracking, looked respectable and was supple. The fine cracks and scratches in the leather are still there, but are now sealed. My wife is amazed and we hope to take the suitcase with us on our next tour in the MG, perhaps to Schloss Dyck at the beginning of August. However, I first have to find an expert who can help me with the restoration of the rather worn and dusty suitcase lining.
*You can usually find the details of good paint shops at club meetings. We at www.ClassicIndex.eu would very happy to highlight those paint shops and upholsterers who provided added value and an "outside the box" solution to restoration problems. Perhaps you can also help with this and pass us the information you think relevant.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 16 January 2011 09:07|
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