Written by John Meadowcroft ▼

Interview: Classic car restoration specialists Eclectic Cars

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We can't imagine anybody in the motoring industry that doesn't have a favourite classic car.

Whilst browsing the internet the other day we came across Eclectic Cars, a company that specialises in restoring vintage models with an incredible level of depth and precision.

For example, currently available on their site is a gorgeous Ford 37 Convertible. In our opinion it looks better than it did when it rolled off the production line in the 1930s, with a beautiful dark green and black metallic finish complemented by an incredible small block Chevrolet V8 engine.

We talked to director Simeon Cattle about Eclectic Cars, the level of detail and creativity that goes into each and every model, some of the difficulties they encounter on a daily basis and their love of the classic car scene.

How much time and effort goes into restoring an older car to Eclectic Cars' standards?

Time and effort are the most important elements of any restoration. At the end of the day the finished result largely depends on financial limitations. We rarely restore a car for sale, most of the projects we undertake are for either existing owners or people who want a car to a certain finish.

The most comprehensive restoration we have undertaken is on our current SL pagoda and this will have consumed our time for about six months by the end [of the project]! The most important thing is to make sure that you take care of every component, there is no point bolting on a load of rusty ancillaries to a beautiful body.

You also need to research what finish each part should have so they don't look out of place.

What's the most modern classic you've restored, and the oldest?

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A BMW E30 M3. We did a full body restoration on one about 18 months ago. It was a very good car, but had 100,000kms of stone chips, pin dents and little scratches from washing and just looked tired. We and its new owner were delighted with the finished project, it now lives at his holiday home in the south of France!

We see a Ferrari 512 BB available on your site. What's the rarest car you've ever restored?

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Not the most expensive by a long shot, but a little 1972 Opel Kadett Coupe springs to mind. Loads were made, but how many survive? I had one when I learnt to drive and did it is a bit of a throwback to the past. We sold it to a 22-year-old girl who has used it as her daily wheels for the last year. She loves it.

What's the worst condition a classic car has come to you in?

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An MG A. It had been repainted and looked great from 30 paces, but it was so rotten in the structure there was little to save under the panels, In the end the owner scrapped it for parts.

The detailing on your cars is incredible. What restoration techniques do you use as opposed to the competition?

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I think that it is time and attention to detail. Think things through twice and do them once. I also like to start with a car that is working mechanically that way you don't waste a huge amount of time wondering why it won't work when you are putting it back together!

Favourite car ever produced? Why?

Dusenberg Model SJ. The first true super car, beautiful, rare and technologically so advanced for the time. Would sell my Granny for a drive through the States in one.

Thanks for your time, Simeon!

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