For almost 30 years Mark Schofield has successfully restored fine motor cars at Memory Lane Classic Cars in Bayswater, Western Australia. Since leaving the UK, Mark had decided that there was a market for restoration work in Australia, and although the methods are slightly different, the required skills are the same.
With decades of experience, no customer is the same when they come to the team at Memory Lane Classic Cars. Every car they receive is different, so are the customer expectations of how they want their car restored. “Not everyone wants something that is absolutely original to factory build” said Schofield.
Restoration work is a specialised field and differs from general smash repair work, requiring months and sometimes years to complete customer builds. It also comes with many hurdles due to the age of vehicle, repair history and the materials used during its original manufacture.
“We may be asked to make a door from scratch, sometimes we have to make our own panels, because a lot of parts are not available, or it is really expensive to get into Australia,” he said, “so we make our own panels if the cost becomes too great. There is a fair number of aluminium panels on old cars, which becomes a bit of a problem, because the 1950’s and earlier aluminium has a lot more impurities than the new stuff.”
History of the vehicle is another pivotal role played in the restoration process. “People may have had it poorly repaired over the years, which makes it difficult to know what is correct and so we work with the owner. At the time of purchase these cars were not as valuable, so people had a ‘just fix it up’ attitude. Nowadays people have increased knowledge about their cars’ value and vehicle and body numbers.”
Schofield has been using Glasurit, the premium refinish brand of BASF, for ten years to refinish the vehicles he restores. “You can buy cheaper products, but at the end of the day, the product has to stand up to the quality that our customers are paying for.”
The team recently restored a Jaguar XK140 from the 1950’s and the end result was an absolute show-stopper. “Our customer approached us after buying the car from the US. The car was completely cut in half, so it was a complete rebuild. He wanted certain things done in a certain way for a different look, so we used a Glasurit basecoat and clear”.
And the colour? Mercedes Black, the blackest black that there is! “The customer has been in contact since the completion of the project and was full of praise for the final finish. The paintwork looked so good he was “over the moon”. He has a lot of cars, but I think this Jaguar is one of his favourites. We have since done several other cars with that customer, all using Glasurit, of course”.