Regular Road Work
Five case studies of the kind of fun projects that are our bread and butter. Please call us about your project.

Regular Road Work

Roadwork? . . . What Is This About?

It is about the fact the most of what we do at Automotive Restorations Inc. keeps collector cars running well and looking good, even if they never make it to all those high-end exhibit venues. We love collector cars, we drive collector cars, and we hope all the incredible machines on this website don’t make the wrong impression.

Could this happen?

Yes it could, as we’ve heard from so many friends and customers who know us well. Looking at our projects might give the impression we’re not interested in your project. Well . . . We are interested in every project. We enjoy cars, all cars! We are enthusiasts who founded this business on interest and enthusiasm. We appreciate the beauty and engineering elegance in collectable cars that worked well, offered value for money, and served so many, so well in days gone by. If you appreciate it, so do we! We’re car people, and we’ve likely owned, driven, restored, or repaired one like yours. There has been a fascinating variety through our doors over the last 32 years. A look at our portfolio will show you but a few. We look forward to restoring all machines just a tad past their prime.

A few examples. Please have a look at:
(Click photos for enlargements)

Case Study 1, MG-TC:

Larry's MG-TC as it arrived, all there and rolling, but not run or used in years and years.

Larry had seen this car summering in Bar Harbor, Maine. It had been tucked into a garage by some people who clearly cherished this very original MG-TC. Larry often marveled at its dusty, but delicious vehicular antiquity. “If you ever want to sell it, just let me know” was the offer put on the table several times as years passed.

Well, the day finally came. Larry purchased the car you see here, and we sent a trailer up to Bar Harbor. Back at the shop, a good review defined the job, reflecting the new owner’s expectations. “Fix all that’s wrong. Tidy up the finishes. Do the work needed to preserve the vehicle and make it safe and reliable. BUT, save as much patina as possible. I love the antiquity of it as it stands.”

Fast forward about eight months. We sure hoped it was worth the wait! Sensitively restored, tested and tuned to ensure it would perform; Larry and Diane’s four-hour drive home went without a hitch. The charm of vintage vehicle motoring exposed for its new stewards, we were all gratified when Larry called exuberantly after the trip. He was graciously thankful for our efforts on the project. He was at one with his vintage car. Rewards for our work don’t get much better than that. Thanks, Larry!

Apart it comes . . .

Worn bits get rebuilt, engine revived and refinished . . .

Then a new top and soon . . .

The finished car sits in front awaiting pickup.

soon to be joined by Larry & Diane, Ready, start.

THEN THEY ARE OFF! Miles of smiles.

Come year’s end . . . Well, we could not have said it better.

Case Study 2, Barn Find:

There it sat, years and years in Mid Pennsylvania.

Soon uncovered and it’s all there!

We were in our warehouse of projects-waiting-to-be-done and looking at something else . . . and then it happened! Murray saw it and he knew. He knew exactly what this little Austin 7 was. He knew why it was special the moment he laid eyes on it. Frankly, we knew it was a nice little “Chummy,” but we’d not a clue as to its special origins.

“That’s a Gordon England,” he proudly proclaimed, giving into his Britishness! “Open the door and look," he said. We did. It was. And the rest is history.

Sidebar: Tucked away in rural Pennsylvania since sometime in the mid-nineteen-thirties, from all we can tell, sat this Austin. Paul, a longtime client and British car aficionado, found this bit of history untouched. Lacking garage space, he asked, “Can I store it with you for a while, then look at the next steps?" Sure, we said. So there it was when Murray and I came along.

It was absolutely remarkable. Murray rightfully determined that it was far too good an original to simply restore. "Make it work. Save it all wherever possible…Then well go for a ride." After more than a half century of disuse, it was not a simple service, but the basic, simple approach worked incredibly well. The engine fired well after a fuel system rebuild, with oil pan removal to de-sludge. Smoke? Oh yes, plenty, but it soon abated and ran just beautifully from its first hour on. All else came into line and even the Bijur chassis lubrication worked at each and every point after a rebuild.

Finally there was the real treat: a drive in this bit of history. All we can say is, "It takes you back." It is an exceptional machine for its time and stature. The original light British sports car now coddled to feel just about as it always has. We can sure understand the reasons why these cars have a soft spot in so many enthusiasts’ memories.

He did indeed know . . .

It was a Gordon England Austin.

Soon purchased, in shop, and work starts.

A bit smoky on start after 70 years idle.

Smith is undeterred by smoke . . .

As the Austin strays alongside a Mustang first time out!

Seat trimmed, delivered to Murray at Lime Rock . . .

So Kathy and I just have to take a ride around. Good fun!

And he liked it so much he’s bought another . . .  

. . . Murray’s new Austin Ulster sits shopside, and,
after a few tweaks, and he’s OFF!

Case Study 3, Thunderbird:

Years ago, a few parts light, the Bird awaits.

Mechanical work done, and just out of our booth.

Well, it really was not a small project, but it was sure a lot of fun. Kris brought his Ford Thunderbird to us about two decades ago. Yes, decades! Life’s surprises intervened on his end and we worked at a pace he found comfortable. Okay, we delayed a bit as well, but Kris worked with us. This project just seemed back-burner friendly. Kris is one of the most patient clients we can recall.

It took decades during which we worked together very nicely until, at long last, we finished up a complete restoration of this car that has been his almost forever! We hope Kris feels that all his patience has been rewarded. It sure looked it as he finally drove away with brother aboard to make it a balanced two-seater. We had well over 500 test miles on the car by that time, No pressure; they let us do all the sorting out carefully to get this restoration right and ready. In the final analysis, Kris’s Thunderbird looked, ran, and drove just as expected. The smiles tell the tale. Thank you for the time and the enjoyment we have had putting this once tatty T'bird right. Enjoy the ride!

WOW! First test after more than idle 25 years.

Our 1956 Thunderbird is starting to take shape

This seat waits for only one man, Kris.

Kris and his brother: first ride and smiles tell the tale,

Off they go, feeling just like it did all those long years ago; Time erased!

Case Study 4, Dad’s Datsun:

Stored away in Watchung, New Jersey, sat that car Robert remembered from his youth: Dad’s Datsun 260Z. This legendary Z-car had not seen the highway in years. Knowing our track record with Z cars in many configurations, Robert made the call. Soon thereafter, our transport master, Jerry Baxter, extracted this long-stored silver machine from its resting place. First step: a proper survey to see how to bring the beast back to life. A two-phase project was soon constructed. Phase 1, we restore structure and rebuild mechanicals to yield a very useable Z, Phase 2, all those cosmetics to enhance fit and finish made Robert’s Z look as good as it runs. The photos tell the story best. Wherever cosmetics would involve duplicating tasks in the phase 2 work list, we restored, as the engine bay exhibits. The remainder will wait until Robert is ready. The pleasure of seeing his dad’s car on the road was ours. That first ride with Dad! We'd have to guess this at a very special figure: priceless! We look forward to phase two whenever Robert is ready. We are very appreciative of the opportunity to have brought this family jewel back to the road.

Apart, engine bay painted . . .

Then, restored, engine ready . . .

Then, installed, but a few more bits to go.

Installed and “as new” under hood, with the exterior tidy . . .

And awaiting late summer pickup.

Automotive Restorations Inc., 100 Lupes Drive, Stratford, CT 06615 | 203-377-6745