Having filmed eight of my own projects, the time was right to shut the workshop door for a while and head off around the country to film other people’s efforts.
What an amazing 18 months. I met some extraordinary enthusiasts working on some brilliant vehicles.
Lizzie, an 18 year old nursery school teacher from near Grimsby, lovingly restored the total wreck of a Frog Eye Sprite. When she started, it was already in bits and destined for the scrap heap. She had never worked on a car before. Yes, she had some help from her dad, Steve, but she was insistent that she was going to do everything herself. She surprised her dad. She surprised her fellow teachers at work. She surprised me. And, best of all, she surprised herself.
Paul bought a Toyota Land Cruiser on eBay. He was a bit the worse for wear at the time and hadn’t realised the truck was in Australia! But he went through with the purchase and shipped it over, spiders and all. It needed a huge amount of work and Paul pulled in the expertise of a couple of local lads to help him. He went massively over time and hugely over budget. But he got there, eventually, and his much loved truck is now in South Africa.
Another box of bits was the starting point for Steve’s restoration of an Elva 100, single-seater race car. A beautiful car made by a little known company that produced both race and road cars out of a small factory in Hastings, back in the 1950s. Steve and a couple of mates (both BA pilots, as it happens) painstakingly rebuilt the car in a domestic garage. Steve’s aim was to race the car at the historic Grand Prix in Pau. He got to the grid by the skin of his teeth.
Father and son, Steve and Peter are in to big stuff. They hauled the total wreck of an AEC Matador truck out of a wood where it had been left by loggers to die. They only had loose change as a budget but achieved an incredible transformation. Peter (dad) even made a new ash frame for the cab out of a tree in his garden. The finished truck, painted in its original RAF colours made its first public appearance as the wedding car when Steve got hitched. Happy days.
And, what can I say about John ? Well, he has an illness that makes him collect old Capris ! For reasons best know to John, he decided he wanted to take a Capri on a gruelling OFF ROAD motorsport event. Complete madness. No-one had ever done it in a Capri before, and for very good reason. But John wasn’t to be deterred. He and his 12 year old son, Mike, restored and then modified a 1972 Mk1, repainted it in its gorgeous canary yellow and duly headed off to the West Country. Suffice to say, things didn’t go quite to plan !