2017 at DTR 03 January 2018

Our restoration projects progressed very well throughout 2017, with our usual eclectic mix of exotic Italian cars maintaining interest levels with our customers and the team at DTR.

The massive Fiat Otto Vu restoration took another major step with the completion and detailing of the fabled 8V engine and the fabrication of the missing complex bumpers, pictured earlier in the year. Colours have been chosen and the path is now clear for the levelling and painting of the car. Approximately 1800 hours have been spent to date on this project, making it one of our longest, but due to the amount of missing and 'non-available' original parts, this job has been continues to be anything other than straightforward.

We completed the restoration of one of 2 Ferrari 330 GTC's in June and put it throught the Ferrari 'Classiche' scheme to rubber stamp the authenticity of the car. Some may argue the whole Classiche process is a nonesense and having dealt with the process for some years now I better not comment further!

We completed our usual array of Alfas, from 1750 'boat tails' to 750 and 101 spiders and are currently restoring a 750 Spider, 101 Sprint Speciale, 2600 Spider and various others as routine work.

Our fabulous Moretti 2300S Convertible is approaching completion and survived it's first test drive just before Christmas. For what is a massive car, it is a suprising pleasure on the road and may prove to be something of a missed opportunity for the Italian brand. As one of two known to exist, it should generate alot of interest when finished in early spring.

Just before Christmas, we secured the purchase of another 1936 Fiat Balilla 508S, which is now offered for sale by us as a fully restored car (12 month approximate lead time). This is one of a few survivors bodied in aluminium in the UK when new and campaigned both pre and post war. A superb investment opportunity for sale at a fixed completed price.

We are also starting the restoration of our 1958 Abarth Record Monza (mono albero). This car was supplied new to the US as a racer and is believed to have been part of the famous Roosevelt team. It has a fascinating history and may be available for sale.

Paul, Andy and the team at DTR wish all our customers and friends a happy and prosperous 2018!

Jolly Good Wicker Work 29 September 2017

One of the few things we don't do in-house! These seats were made by us, as exact copies of the originals for our 1958 Fiat Jolly. We then had them re-wickered (well, ratan actually) by a master craftsman whose attention to detail more than justifies the cost. There are many Fiat Jolly replicas due to the values that they now regularly achieve and it is difficult to spot an original unless you have had previous experience of the little details that set the Ghia-produced car apart.We are at the final stages of the restoration of this 600 Jolly and more pictures will follow shortly.We are currently restoring: Ferrari 330 GTC (second this year), Moretti 2300S Convertible, Alfa Giulietta Spider, Alfa Giulietta SS, Fiat Dino Spider, Fiat Jolly, Alfa 2600 Spider (we've got 2 in at the minute!), Fiat Otto Vu Vignale Spider (colour now selected) and also have in our workshop for major works: Alfa Giulietta SVZ, Abarth Simca 2000, Alfa Montreal and more besides.Feel free to contact us, or if you would like to discuss a future project, we are always happy to talk!

Handmade missing 8V bumpers 22 September 2017

Our customer's unique Fiat Otto Vu (V8) project has reached another milestone with the completion of missing front and rear bumpers.

We fabricated these earlier this year (in house of course!) from 2mm sheet steel, which we had rolled, bent, stretched and shrank using English wheels, Jennys and folders and as is visible in picture 2, heat.

All sections (there are alot) were butt welded together, then hand planished and levelled. The front bumper which is such a dramatic shape took approximately 150 hours to create and the rear about 100. 

Due to the cars coachbuilt nature, the bumpers are not perfectly symetrical, so had to be built on the car in sections, each section matching the adjacent profile perfectly. 

Picture 3 shows the finished chrome plated result. The steel was tripple copper plated, then nickled and finally chromed to a mirror finish.

DTR are always pleased to address the unusual and 'one off' requirements of our customers, in this instance we had just 2 original period photos of the car, which we scaled and measured. 

Giulia Spider finished and Maserati Lego! 20 February 2017

  

We've recently finished the restoration of another right hand drive Giulia Spider which again was a victim of numerous earlier works and patches. When removed there was litte left of the original car, so most panels were fabricated in-house. The result is lovely with dark red leather interior and superb road manners. Off to form part of an Alfa collection, hopefully it will get the use it so richely deserves.

The picture on the right is taken fromt the offside of a 'repaired' Maserati 4200 - the headlight aim was a little out, so we removed the bumper to discover that previous accident damage had been repaired with the aid of a Lego brick, glued to the underside of the light to lift it up. We thought thought we'd seen it all!

Padova 2016 23 October 2016

               

Our annual pilgrimage to Padova was as interesting as ever. How ever much you consider any classic car to be worth, the prices asked (and they have few on the windscreens) are always at the upper end, plus maybe 50%! It is truely unbelievable how some cars which are described optimistically as 'perfect' but with almost wet paint inside the wheel arches, demand such prices that you would only find at this show. 

The prices themselves must reduce by the last day as most remain unsold by the end of day two. Anyway, two favourites of ours were (perhaps controversially) the new 124 Abarth 'works' edition, with and 1800cc engine and 300 BHP, it would make an interesting road car - we'd like to see what could be done here. Pictured next to the beautiful and similarly colour co-ordinated 'real' 124 Abarth, they made quite a pair.

The other picture is of a Michelotti designed and Vignale bodied Fiat of the early 60's - never seen one before and whilst the front end was reminiscent of a 250 PF coupe, the rear was sadly more Ford Corsair.

Our workshop is as busy as ever, with the other 600 Jolly restoration progressing well and our Moretti Convertible nearly on it's own wheels for the first time in 5 years. We have reached the 1000 hour stage of the Fiat Vignale bodied 8V restoration, which is the most challenging project to date. Our Giulia Spider is starting assembly now and we have just stripped the 2600 Spider for restoration. We are also nearly at the build stage for the first of our two Ferrari 330 GTC's. More to follow!

Ongoing projects. 17 September 2016

We've just completed a very involved restoration of a lovely Fiat Dino Spider which has taken some 1700+ hours to finish. Not as it seemed, this car was bought in the US from a prolific source of project cars and was once again far worse than it at first appeared. The corrosion we expect, but the disguising of botched previous repairs are always a challenging proposition for a restoration. With corrosion, we know how the car should be and can fabricate and remake/ replace all affected areas. With poorly repaired accident damage this usually has to be removed first, often leaving little of the original form to work from.

Our Moretti is progressing well and at a pace now, with the suspension, rear axle and brakes all fully restored and the side vents fitted with their chrome flashes. As this is one of our own cars, it has tended to be overlooked in the queue for our services and so, 5 years on, we still have another 500 or so hours to complete. Should be good though!

Another Fiat 600 Jolly has arrived with us from Greece and is a little worse for wear, but a very straightforward restoration will be documented within the projects section over the coming months.

We have finsihed the floor and all outrigger sections of the Fiat Otto Vu Vignale Spider project and have remade the tunnel and gearbox cover to the original specification with measurements taken from the consecutive chassis numbered Vignale coupe. The sills and A and B post rebuilds will be completed within the next 2 weeks all being well. We have the challenge of making some discreet reinforcing frame for the rear of the car, which is more or less entirely unsupported and clearly caused incredible amounts of flexing when under motion. Evidence of this is in the splitting of the rear wheel arches at their weekest points. There is little doubt that this car would not have been a particularly well mannered road going vehicle even when new, and our ultimate goal here is to make for the best driving experience, whilst losing nothing of the original integrity and look of the car, both on top and underside.

Mille Miglia 2016 with Cisitalia 202 Nuvolari Spider 06 June 2016

     

     

     

Once again we prepared and competed in the 2016 Mille Miglia. Always a superb and unrivalled event, this year was no exception.

The pictures more or less tell the story! The massive hall where about 400 of the participent cars are assembled prior to scrutineering and the uneviable task of negotiating the paperwork required for acceptance before the car can be inspected and accepted. This procedure takes at least several hours and involves the liberation of more money for various permits and 'medical examinations' - they should actually just have a 'gratuity' pot on the entrance and alot of time would be saved.

We (as usual) were given a leaflet explaining how this is not supposed to be a race (it is actually a regularity trial) and how the 'rules of the road' must be obeyed as expected. This is all well and good, but the participants are routinely given a high speed police escort through the busiest towns and in areas where the police bikes could also have the most fun - well it is Italy - the crowds urge the cars on many may drive beyond their skill level, which is something of a worry.

Anyway, torrential rain of biblical proportions made our first two days something of a challenge. Apparently the timing equipment doesn't work under water? Didn't say that on the box, so we resorted to the dodgy odometer on the car and our backup unit (a Swatch actually).

San Marino is always a dramatic place to drive through, especially in fog and rain but the run to Rome saw the last of the rain and day three was beautiful sunshine. 

Picture 5 is of our car overtaking another Cisitalia Spider (there are 5 genuine cars left) with a unique Colombo bodied Cisitalia ahead. Picture 6 we are passing one of several Fiat Balilla Coppa d'oro's - a particular favourite at DTR!

124 Abarths and ongoing projects 16 April 2016

        

       

We've been very busy researching our Vignale bodied Fiat Otto Vu project over the last few weeks. The trail lead us to the superb Essen show where we got a look at the new Fiat 124 Spider Abarth. With no firm date for release in the UK, we have been promised the 'loan' of the first new Fiat 124 Spider due on these shores in June or July of this year.

The 124 is (and always will be!) a car that DTR have long been associated with, having been restoring them for the last 27 years.We have owned several Abarths ourselves and still maintain the very best of them in the UK (Giles Broomhall's Stradale, a regular of Italian car shows in the UK being unquestionably the best of the best!)

It was interesting to see the original take on the new Spider as featured over the last year or so on the internet. The actual car in the flesh was a little more subdued in appearance and although with Fiat's own engine should be a great fun car, the onlooker couldn't help but be reminded of it's Mazda heritage.

Our Maserati 3500 GTi made it's first run on Friday after almost 3000 hours of restoration work by us. The car is to make it's maiden voyage shortly to Germany for the Owner's Club meeting - a 1500 mile round trip should be a good opportunity to shake off the cobwebs of many years and certainly get to know the car. Original manuals suggested 2/3000 mile major service intervals for these and Ferraris of similar age.

The last picture is of the Otto Vu clock which we will be remaking in- house using period correct mechanisms and detailed photographs of the layout both in front and behind. More to follow!

Cars For Sale at DTR 12 March 2016

DTR Sports Cars are not only a restoration company. For the last 26 + years, we have been selling the cars that we specialise in. So whether a 1950's Alfa Giulietta or a Ferrari 250, 308, 330 (or F40!) we often have cars available for immediate purchase, or to be completed in our own workshops to the customer's specification.

This week, we are pleased to offer this 1989 Ferrari F40, super low mileage (approx. 12000) and just 1 previous owner from new with continuous history. We also have a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTSi in stock which is being put through our workshop with a full service and overhaul (including body/ paintwork), seats retrimmed in correct specification - avaialble for summer .

Other cars available include one of the best Fiat 124 AS Spiders around. Subjected to a 1000 + hour restoration at DTR, in dark blue with biscuit leather and right hand drive converted. Available immediately.

We also have one of the lowest mileage Fiat Barchettas left, (under 10,000) fitted with our own development and just available 'Predator Styling' exhaust system.

The convertibles are coming out of their winter hibernation and are needing their essential pre-season servicing, we are getting very busy so it is important to book ahead at the minute.

Engines we are rebuilding at the minute include: Maseati Merak, Ferrari Dino, Alfa 1300,1600 and 2000 and a Porsche 912 (not our thing but we know the early Porshce engines well!).

More to follow ......

Otto Vu and Ferrari 330 27 February 2016

       

We sent the first of our Ferrari 330 GTC's away for blasting, the process we always use as there is no hiding for corrosion and whether the medium is steel, aluminium of fibreglass (all of which are present in quantity on a Ferrari 330) the car is returned to it's raw condition and we are able to get a clear picture of the restoration path.

The Otto Vu Vignale Spider has been mounted and framed on our body jig. This ensures that no gaps can change once the corroded metal is removed. In the above picture the nearside door apperture is visible with the inner and outer sills removed. We have examined all the remenants of the original profiles, measured and retained these sections for reference. On a one off car like this we had to be sure that the replacement process is a duplicate of the original Vignale method. This we achieved by examining other Otto Vu's to see similarities. They aren't exactly thick on the ground in the UK, so we have travelled to Holland (this week) and Italy to document and photograph any areas where there may have been different production methods. This may seem excessive, but we want to make sure that our restored car can stand alongside the best in the world.

Other work this week has included the fabrication of new and more efficient electric window systems for our Maserati 3500 GTi which is now approaching completion. We will be sending it away to have the exhaust system hand made to the car within next few days.

 

All That Glitters .... 15 February 2016

The top 2 pictures are of the same car 4 weeks apart! Following our inspection of the 'restored' vehicle, we were very concerned with the structural integrity and the fact that it appeared to have quite literally 'twisted' following initial driving. Further investiagation lead  us to suspect that the standard of this presumably expensive restoration. wasn't all that it was supposed to be. We are carrying out a full and detailed restoration of this very important car (1 of 1) using extensive research and hope to return it to the sort of car that can be used without fear of it collapsing in the middle!

The stainless steel exhaust pictures are of our own exclusive range of 'Predator Styling' systems that DTR are now offering for Abarth 500, standard 1.2 Fiat 500, 124 Abarth (and a performance system including manifolds for all 124 Spiders) and the re-introduction of the entire Fiat Barchetta range. These are built in the UK by Predator to our designs and in 304 grade stainless steel. They are lighter and much more durable than the more expensive factory options and should improve sound without being at all intrusive. Please call us for details. Demonstrator cars available.

Last, but by no means least is a picture of our own Moretti Convertible, 1 of 2 known to exist. We have repanelled much of the front from photographs and the car will be fully rebuilt over the coming months. Our car is much better finished and certainly with more symetrical panels than when it left Moretti in 1962.

Maserati 3500 22 January 2016

     

We have been laying out and planning the final build of our customer's Maserati 3500 GTi this week. A higely underated and undervalued car for many years, these superbly engineered vehicles are beginning to be recognised as an attractive and practical alternative to the Ferrari range of the era.

The main problem with cars of this build type is that on the surface they all look reasonably presentanble. This is largely due to their aluminium coachwork, which is the last part to corrode and hides the horrors lurking beneath which most 50 + year old cars are certain to have.

Our car was no exception, with floors, inner and outer sills chassis box sections, boot floors and many other areas all requiring remanufacture. No panels are avaialble for these rare cars, so fabrication is the only option.

Where steel meets aluminium, the result is usually corrosion to the aluminium from the inside out, resulting in blistering on the surface which on the face of it, looks relatively minimal. This is cautionary note for anyone thinking of buying a classic of this type. Inspection can save tens of thousands of pounds further down the line. We have looked at several auctioned examples which present well and are in fact little more than project cars.

Anyway, the pictures are of the new headlining we made and fitted last week and the rear seating area and parcel shelf, mocked up to check fits and gaps before we trim the rest of the inside. All done in house at DTR!

New Projects Started! 15 January 2016

2016 has started as 2015 finished, at full pace with the beginning of 2 of our major projects this year. The Vignale bodied Fiat Otto Vu has been carefully stripped down to a rolling bodyshell. We will be measuring 2 other cars to take and compare chassis dimensions then fabricating jig brackets and an assembly to clamp the car before any of the metal work, steel or aluminium is removed. We have stripped legendary V8 engine and it is as expected, in extremely poor internal condition although thankfully largely correct and complete. Of the 114 cars built, many have had engine swaps, either in period, or later on when the maintainance and reserection of the engine, (a unit never really designed for normal road use!) became too costly or impossible. Alot of engines are no longer with the cars they started life with, which, some would say, is of little consequence. However, today when values are stratospheric, it is important to have at least the correct series engine with the car.

As most 8V's were for competition use, alot of engines were repalaced in period when destroyed in racing. Some of the 8V's have even had 3 body swaps - all, (for us anyway) part of the story of the car.

We have just started the planning and dismantling of the first of 2 Ferrari 330 GTC's which will be fully restored this year. Lovely cars and superb driving machines when properly set up, we know 330's very well having worked on several and restored an award winning GTS.

Our Maserati 3500 GTi is progressing at pace and for the first time in over 2 years was rested on it's wheels this week. We are trawling the internet for those elusive details which were missing on this car when purchased. It will be shipped up North in February all being well, to have a custom exhaust system made of it. The Lucas fuel injection system arrived back from Holland after a full restoration and replacement of worn out pump and intlet manifold internals. More to follow on this one!

2015 DTR Highlights! 23 December 2015

   

    

The end of 2015 and we thought we'd highlight 4 of our favourite cars at DTR which we have enjoyed working on and demonstrate the variety and spectrum of our restorations and where we are heading in 2016.

1.The unique and stunning Fiat Otto Vu Vignale Spider - this is arguably one of if not 'the' most important Fiat in the world and DTR are proud to announce the full restoration of this example in 2016. Although restored in the US in the 1990's the car's importance merits the correct and detailed restoration of the car to it's original spec.

2. The lovely Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, just completed and a car that we are sure is now in better condition and a better driving vehicle than when it left Maranello in 1974.

3. The Fiat 600 Jolly - great fun and featured in Classic and Sports Car's article by the famous Richard Hestletine who despite falling out when cornering, loved the finish and fun factor of one of the most impractical cars ever made.

4. Our own Fiat Balilla Sport - (coppa d'oro) - possibly the most prolifically raced Balilla in existence with a credit of 27 first places at Brooklands, Goodwood and Silverstone (post war) all by it's original owner and actual ww2 double agent! (you couldn't make it up). It was sold to Europe in 2004 by it's then owner of 34 years and in Italy the front was converted to an Italian spec look - missing the point of this UK built Fiat entirely.

We have a total of 2 x V12 Ferraris, another Dino, the completion of our Maserati 3500 GTI, the Otto Vu, 3 x Alfa Giulietta Spiders and an SS, our Moretti convertible all to do in 2016 + our usual variety of lovely Italian classic cars for 2016. We will most likely be entering the Mille Miglia again, despite our promise that it was a ' one off'.

Loads more in the pipeline but for now, we'd like to wish all of our customers and friends a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

The Team at DTR.

Dino Delivered! 14 December 2015

 

 

 The delighted owner took delivery of his DTR restored Ferrari on Saturday.

We were very plesaed with the finished car and below is the feedback following his first drive!

 

"Dear Paul

Wow – I love it, the drive is phenomenal, the finish spectacular, and the process faultless. I pulled into home and parked it up surrounded by the plumbers laying a new water main! A great commute to our new home which we move in on Saturday. The car’s parked in our downstairs living room, I’ll look at it every day, drive it weekly and always appreciate you and the teams work, talent and commitment. If you need it, or want to show it off do let me know. With great respect and thanks, Tim"

Dino Detailing and Moretti awaiting paint. 04 December 2015

                     

                     

This week we have been completing the nut and bolt restoration of our Ferrari Dino 246 GTS. We will have spent a total of almost 2000 hours on this paintstaiking restoration and although we are still detailing, the car and superb colour combination look stunning.

The leather is a special batch made for us in the best quality Bridge of Weir hides and is (in our opinion) the best leather available anywhere. We 'climatised' these hides after receiving them to ensure that a moist atomosphere doesn't cause the leather to sag after a time. 

The dashboard we have rebuilt and recovered with the original (but improved upon) Ferrari 'mousehair' (no, not literally!). The material for this has been remade in Holland and has better resistence to fading, a common problem on Dinos and Daytonas.

The first proper test drive of our car was an absolute delight - the engine is powerful and urgent and is better balanced than when new - It had an terribly out of balance crankshaft pulley, which would have given the engine a rough feeling, even from new. This engine had never been apart before, so we are fairly certain that it left the factory this way. More pictures to follow when finally cleaned and prior to delivery next week!

The long process of the restoration of our own Moretti 2300 Convertible took another significant step further as Rob completed the final levelling and snagging of the body before we paint it - this took a further 120 hours and it looked good before!

Paul will be carrying out the final preparation and paintwork within another 3 weeks. This rare car is one of 2 known to exist and will of course be completed to show standard!

 

Ongoing projects. 30 November 2015

          

Another Giulia Spider is progressing well. Like most Giulias and Giuliettas, it has suffered from numerous repairs over the years to keep it running. This has rendered over 50% of the outer body as unuseable and the floors, sills, chassis sections all has suffered in a similar way. There are several hundred hours of sheet metal work including outer panel fabrication before this one is ready for the next stage. Note the braced and welded supports across the door opening to prevent total collapse when the sills are removed.

Our Dino GTS is approaching it's final stages, it is running although we have only put the first door on so far! The trim we are making as we go, to ensure as near to perfect fit as possible, something Ferrari never bothered to do when new!

Dinos 31 October 2015

            

Amongst the usual variety of projects and day to day work in at DTR this week, we have completed the extensive panel work on our Fiat Dino Spider. This has taken just under 500 hours of solid work to rebuild and reshape the entire body. We fabricated floors with correct profiles and swage lines, remade the nearside A post, inner and outer wings, all ducting and chassis sections to the dimensions of the the orignal car. 

This Dino Spider was imported from California as a 'straight and original' US car requiring full restoration. The reality of the actual car was one that had been damaged and repaired so badly that the nearside chassis was still twisted and some 50mm shorter than the offside. It is a prime example and sadly fairly typical of some cars, which when their values were low, were repaired to look correct with little consideration to their structural integrity.

The photo shows the new bootlid in aluminium made by us and fitting the car correctly - something that cannot be said of the majority of Dino Spiders (even factory photos confirm this).

We restored the targa roof on our 246 GTS project to the orignal spec, including restoration of the orignal pressed headlining which cannot (as yet) be replicated acurately. We have fitted the new uprated wiring loom and the car has had it's second inspection for the certification by Ferrrari. The engine is fully tuned and ready to be fitted and we are trimming as we assemble the car ready for December delivery!

Padova 23 October 2015

              

 

We were at Padova (Italy!) on Friday for the 'Auto d'Epoca' show. This is a unique and seemingly larger and better attended event every year comprising a multitude of halls with quite literally hundreds of classic cars for sale. It's also the place where a huge number of stall holders and manufacturers offer a vast array of classic parts for sale, both new and used. All you need is plenty of time and if you are intending to buy anything, at least double the value of the part/ car in cash (well, it is Italy!). Stoney faced and steeling eyed vendors have traditionally lost the art of haggling here, so you either pay the first figure that enters their head, or walk away.

We were successful in buying a number of rare bits, including a correct 1935 Bosch horn and an SEV Marshal coil of the same year for our own Fiat Balilla. We also managed to glean some very important information about the Fiat Otto Vu that we will be restoring shortly, namely the correct dashboard configuration and chassis weld types. With one-off cars like this, there is nothing to compare against other than orignal photos and actual comparison with a similar model. The above picture is of a Zagato bodied Otto Vu, rare in itself, but not Vignale bodied as we needed. Just an example of the depth and variety of cars on display.
The other car is a delightful little Balilla pick up truck which we spotted with seating in the back for about 6 people. Not quite sure how a 995cc 26ish hp engine would pull them but hey ho!

Dino Engine Testbed 02 October 2015

           

Our Dino and Maserati restorations are progressing well and we have just run the 246 GTS engine on our purpose built test bed. The Ferrari Dino has many complex curves and to mark or chip the paint during the rebuild would be a disaster. That being the case, we decided to fully test and tune the engine out of the car to ensure that it is a 'single fit' excercise. The engine runs perfectly and is incredibly smooth at idle due to the fully balanced lower end.

We have also fitted the grill to our 3500 GTi Maserati - normally the last thing to do it is fitted from behind so is much easier to fit at this stage. The lattice grill itself was typically damaged and with various broken pieces, all of which have been aluminium welded and repaired. Replica grills which are available are nothing like the originals so it is important to save the original unit where possible.

We have also ordered a custom batch of 12 hides to retrim both cars which are being dyed for us in the correct and original colour. Leather comes from Scotland and is far superior in quality to the majority of cheaper leather available.

Fiat Otto Vu 20 September 2015

                      

 

A Stunning 1953 Fiat Ottu Vu arrived with us this week for assessment and an inspection. 

The Otto Vu was so called as an antidote to the ownership of the name 'V8' by Ford. Fiat were not allowed to name their first venture (and as far as I know, last) into V8 production, after it's engine configuration, which seems a little strange. The answer was to turn the  'V' and the '8' around - brilliant!

The Fiat 8V was a superb piece of engineering and the factory gave alot of the total production of 114 units to various coachbuilders who all had very different and dramatic takes on styling. The car seen here is a Vignale Spider, the only one ever built. The 8V was very successful as a racing car and competed at the highest levels beating the larger engined Ferraris in the Mille Miglia, but production costs were high and the total run lasted between 1952-54 only.

Our 'other' Balilla is now with us and we have removed the standard road screen leaving the racing one in place. We have also refitted it's original Lucas headlights which had been replaced with something unpleasant and dare I say, French.

A very fast little car whose handling belies it's 80 years. The side exit exhaust was a period modification (most likely when new) by VH Tuson a respected tuner. This car is another of the 36 UK built Balillas and as such is aluminium bodied unlike the Italian slower cars. Mille Miglia eligible (subject to FIVA etc) this car will be for sale shortly.

This week we have finished the healining on our Maserati 3500 and fitted all the sound deadening and heat insulation to the engine bay using more efficient materials than were available in 1960.

We have finished the Ferrari Dino engine rebuild and detailing and have mounted it on our own custom made test bed for tuning. Dino engines are difficult to tune perfectly insitu, so this was considered the best way forward.

We have also just sold a 1960 Alfa Giulietta Spider Veloce and taken another in for new inner and outer sills that we will fabricate inhouse as usual.

This week at DTR 11 September 2015

                  

                  

Our Fiat Dino Spider restoration project has now spent 7 weeks to date on the jig. This car was bought as a 'straight' restoration project from the US and is testament to the saying 'all that glitters' etc etc - it was bought from a dealer in California and whilst we expected a full and comprehensive restoration to be required, we were not expecting the significant accident damage to the nearside that had been deliberatly covered leaving the main body about 50mm shorter on this side. The damage had then been masked by replacing the wing and patching over the collapsed A post. Leading to the other saying 'caviat emptor' (not sure if that's how it's spelt  - it's all Latin to me!)

We have rebuilt the entire corner on our 'Car o liner' body jig, taking measurements from an earlier car that we restored and using reference points and gauges to make sure the wheels will now sit in the same place. This will be covered by our new wing sections which we have made on the english wheel. 

It's very difficult to explain the extent of the restoration needed on some cars when all that is visible the lovely paintwork. Anyway, the pictures tell the tale, just the back corner, rear and then the offside to finish before we start on the panel levelling.

Other work included the completion and running/tuning of the Alfa Montreal engine, delivery of a body restoration on a 101 Giulietta Spider, gearbox rebuild on a Spider Veloce and remaking suspension turrets on a 124 Spider.

This week we will be taking delivery of our second Balilla Coppa d'oro from Ireland and a super rare and important Fiat Otto Vu Spider for repairs and assessment - pictures to follow!

Fiat Balilla "Coppa d'oro" 30 August 2015

            

            

Another busy and varied week at DTR. We have just taken delivery of our own 1935 Fiat Balilla "Coppa d'oro". These beautiful cars were a force to be reckoned with in period and during their short production period (1934 -38) secured numerous victories in various events around the world.

'CMG 99' - the black one was one of a reputed 36 cars built in Italy and bodied in England for purely racing purposes. They were fitted with an aluminium body of more or less the same shape as the entirely Italian built cars, so were lighter and consequently faster. 

VH Tuson, a specialist tuner of the era, was responsible for uprating the 995cc powerplants and our own car was clocked at 105 mph according to Sedgwick (Fiat bible!). It secured victories at Brooklands, Goodwood and post war, at Silverstone to name but a few venues. A total of over 30 podium finishes and apparantly 27 first places. 
The first owner ' Christopher le strange Metcalf ' or "Dickie" as he was known competed in the little Fiat for 20 years before passing it on and was responsible for the majority of it's success. He was also the oldest holder of an RAC competetion licence in the UK in 1980 at a modest 73, and with an incredible and interesting war record - more on this car to be featured in the motoring press.

Probably one of the most successful and famous Balillas ever to have been built, DTR will be carrying out minor 'adjustments' and modifications to return it to the exact specification it was raced in the UK in period.

Further to this, we have just bought one of the other RHD UK Balillas which we may offer for sale in the coming months.

The last picture is one of our workshop tasks, but one which if overlooked can leak to expensive future work and alot of ' head scratching'. That is working out the compression ratio of a rebullt engine using a 'burett' to calculate the volume of fluid in the hemispheres of the cylinder head, against the dispalced volume as created by the piston. And they said that 'A' level maths would never be needed in the modern workplace!!

 

Busy August! 22 August 2015

            

                       

 

August, far from being one of the quietest months has been quite the opposite. We have made great headway with our Maserati project, having completed the engine we are now working on the ancillaries (fuel injection) and are awaiting gearbox parts from Italy. We have been remaking the worn interior and have used nearly 3 hides so far without starting on the seats!

Our Ferrari Dino (246 GTS) is having the last of the underside sealed to give it far greater protection than when new. We have re-applied the fibreglass gell coat to the internal tub and repaired where required. This will provide greater sound proofing and a much firmer feel.

We have a very rare Ferrari 599 Aperta in for bodywork. A stunning car, which required 4 days of stripping and refitting to repair and paint the bumper and side skirts. 

In addition we have just completed the full rebuild of an Alfa Montreal engine. This one has been fully balanced with attention to detail on the internal as well as external finish. This should be smoother and better than when originally supplied by Alfa.

On the more mundane, an interesting shot of a few 500's, Lounge, 500f and Abarth, all of which we are happy to maintain in conjuction with our restoration services.

We have just purchased an important 1935 Fiat Balilla 'Coppa d'oro' which should be arriving from Italy this week - more to follow on this car. Another interesting car will also be with us within next week or so - pictures to come!

 

 

Another 1000 hour restoration completed! 11 July 2015

                                   

We have just finished the full restoration of this Alfa 1750 Spider veloce. If you look at our 'projects' section, you can see how this one started as a typically rusted and badly repaired UK supplied white car. It was 'road worthy' as bought, but has sufferred from the inevitable consequences of a life in England - one or two areas of damage, plus numerous inadequate repairts over it's 46 years. As with all restorations, most of the work is in the preparation. We repanelled much of this car and where panels were not available, fabricated in-house as usual. The result is the sort of panel gaps which were not even evident when new. 

The mechanical restoration including a fully balanced and tuned engine have resulted in one of the nicest driving Alfas which can be used as a daily driver, or just when the sun's out.

In all, over 500 hours went in to the body of this car. It is sealed and rustproofed inside and out and will survive all that our climate can throw at it.

Our Ferrari Dino 246 GTS has now exited the panel room and is making it's way across the workshop to the paint preparation room. We are awaiting a final colour choice on this one.

The Maserati 3500 GTi is now having the underside sealed before assembly. The differential was rebuilt this week and the loose panels painted and polished. This is a very complicated car to rebuild from a body and mechanical perspective and as always, it's far better to rebuild original units than replace.

An Alfa Giulia Spider has arrived for full restoration assessment and we have just completed the rebuild of a Lancia Appia Zagato engine which is ready for collection.

Ferraris 23 June 2015

We currently have 8 Ferraris in for work or restoration this week. Amongst them are 2 x Dinos (GT and GTS), 250 PF (featured in June's Octane magazine and restored by us), 2 x 550 Maranellos for brakes and MoT/ servicing, a newly imported 308 GTB (unusual original colour of pine green) and last but by no means least 2 x 330 GTC's for full restoration - more to follow on these.

As it's summer, all the convertibles are out in force and require their annual pre season service and works associated with all classics of this era.

We have several interesting projects in the pipeline, details we will write about later as they progress.

Our green 1750 boat tail is approaching completion this week and we hope to deliver it within the next few days. 1000 + hours have gone into this project.

Our Maserati body is to be painted very shortly, we are remaking all the sound deadening panels in the engine bay and have held off final topcoating until our engineers have finished lifting the new panels in and out of the engine bay - just in case!

 

Workshop Projects 29 May 2015

Our 1750 Veloce Spider (roundtail) is now on the home straight and we are aiming for completion by the end of June. To date we have spent approximately 800 hours on the detailed restoration. This is a car that should perform superbly with a fully lightened and balanced engine and will be useable in all weathers due to the level of protection both inside and out we have given the bodywork. On these cars where extensive panel replacement and remanufacture was required, we coat both sides of any new metal with red oxide and etch prime so that they are fully protected. We then wax inject the box sections for that extra level - this far exceeds the original protection offered when new and means that the new owner will not have to worry about the British weather!

Our Maserati has had it's second top prime and we have hand levelled with 320 before going down grades for a silky smooth finish - that's before it gets the colour! This will be a stunning car in dark metallic blue with toffee leather by Bridge of Weir.

We will shortly be starting the engine rebuild on an Alfa Montreal (V8) - a 'Marmite' car if ever there was one, but a car always worthy of comment. 

We are actively looking to purchase any rare or interesting Italian project cars from the 1930's onwards, so do think of us if you come across or indeed own something of interest

 More on both to follow.

                       

Mille Miglia  20 May 2015

We have just returned from the 2015 Mille Miglia with the 1948 Cisitalia Nuvolari Spider which we had prepared extensively and tested thoroughly prior to entering.

We rebuilt and re machined the front suspension, stripped and modified the internals of the original steering box and tuned the car for maximum reliability. It's important to remember that the basis for this purpose built racing car was a humble Fiat 1100 engine - now some 67 years old, it performed flawlessly over 4 days of intense driving. Our number (169) meant that we were in amongst similar aged vehicles, although many of significantly higher power. Our tussles with an Alfa 6C ended on day 3 when the Alfa had to retire with mechanical failure.

There were 2 other 'Cisis' of similar shape to ours, although one was significantly different in every mechanical detail. Of the 5 remaining cars in the world, only 2 of the known cars (ours being one of them) were present, so maybe the other car was a one that had been overlooked ??

Although not strictly a race, you wouldn't have guessed it - we seemed to have a police outrider clearing traffic in the other direction whenever there was any form of hold up. Entering busy villages on the wrong side of the road at speed, is an unforgettable experience - the difficulty is adapting to UK driving standards again. I was amazed when I was expected to STOP  at a red light??

We may return to the MM next year, or the year after with possibly another car - but maybe once is enough and more would be less!

   

   

 

 

 

Mille Miglia Preparation 24 April 2015

The year is running away and our final preparations are underway for the Cisitalia 202 MM Spider we will be driving in this year's Mille Miglia. After taking it to Austria last year for the Ennstal Classic (a superb and very well organised event) there were certain areas we knew we could improve upon - the steering being the most obvious. We had stripped it prior to the event, but time constraints meant that the obvious issues couldn't be realistically addressed.

Anyway, the worn and corroded king pins were remachined and new bronze bushes made and reemed in position. The steering box was removed and stripped. This revealed long term damage internally. The issue was identifying precisely which components were used in period. After the purchase of a 'very good' used unit from a 1940's Fiat Balilla, it was decided that we were better off machining the damage away and the 'very good' unit (worse than the one we had!) was returned to Italy. Minor oil leak to address and we should be there, tested for over 200 miles and driving now better than ever.

We delivered the Ferrari 550 Maranello back to the owner after a thorough engine service - this was a necessity following auxillary belt failure. 

Our lovely Ferrari 250 pf coupe which we restored in 2012/14 is in for it's first service after providing a year of well used motoring for the new owner. The restoration and driving impressions will be featured next Month (out end of May) in Octane magazine.

The body restoration on our Ferrari 246 GTS is well underway and should be finished by the end of summer. See pictures on our 'projects' section for more details.

We have just received a 750 Giulietta Spider for a body refresh - invariably these are more involved than they first appear and have delivered the very rare (not necessarily in a good way!) Fiat 124 Spider Turbo back to it's owner. The usual selection of classic Alfas are in for work and we look forward to inspecting a gorgeous Iso Grifo later in the week for a body restoration and colour change.

 

Ferrari 550 Troubles 02 April 2015

We always have a wide variety of classic cars in various stages of either restoration or general repair and service in the workshop.

This week a v12 Ferrari 550 Maranello showed up on a recovery truck. It had recently had cambelts replaced (not by us!) and had shredded the auxillary belts when the alternator seized. This in itself wouldn't be too bad, but their proximity to the cam belts meant that had it been run any further, the remains of the auxillary belts would have wrapped themselves around the crank pulley and most likely caused extremely expensive damage to the engine. As it is, the minimum parts required are the same price a house in some parts of the UK!

This is a prime example of a car that should not really be bought at auction unless the history is comprehensive and proven regular servicing having been carried out by reputable specialists.

With all classic cars it is always adviseable to have a full inspection by a specialist before purchasing, not a 'motoring body' or a general mechanic, however well respected. As specialists we have insight into the foibles of the cars we know inside out, and can often save thousand of pounds and misery associated with a misplaced purchase.

DTR have always offered our knowledge and advice freely, so if you are in the market for a car that we speicalise in, or have restored, we can offer verbal pre purchase advice, or will inspect (at our premises only) any prospective relevant purchase. Contact us for details. Happy Easter!

Enlarged workshop space. 28 March 2015

We started this week with the completion of our workshop  mezzanine. This has given us at least an extra 12 parking spaces for our projects and ongoing larger jobs and freed up valuable floor space. This is in addition to our existing 14 ramps and means that we can fit up to 45 cars under one roof. The picture shows the variety of cars in with us at the moment. In the forefront is our own Abarth Record Monza - one of the worst condition cars we have come across, but with possibly important early racing history with the 'Roosevelt' team in the US.

In the centre of the picture on the new 'mezzanine' you can see our Abarth Simca (there is an ongoing theme here!) - a very rare ' flip front ' car, and most likely originally destined as a 'due mila' with the incredible 2000 cc 190 bhp Abarth engine that beat Ferrari GTO's in period.

We have just completed the last stage of the final levelling on our Maserati 3500 GTI project. The next job is the first of it's 7 coats of paint on the upper surfaces, at least 2 of which will be primers, hand blocked between subsequent coats. The final finish will be worth this level of attention. We finished the full rebuild (and remake as it turned out ) of the obsolete water pump assembly for the same car. 

We finished the build of our Alfa Duetto engine and rear axle, and are now starting on the interior of the same. Ferrari Dino body underway also - more to follow!

This week at DTR. 20 March 2015

We've had an typically busy week with the installation of an extra 1200 square feet of storage mezzanine for our on going projects. This will mean that we can increase the efficiency of our operation on a day to day basis and provide valuable extra workshop space.

The Jolly was packed off and sent to Greece for it's new life after the 8 month restoration - a really fun project and a deviation from the more higher profile classics we are currently restoring. Few cars have attracted this much adulation - we even got a round of applause (albeit by some school children!) at the traffic lights whilst stopped. Pictured here with it's travelling companion, an F1 Maclaren from the 80's.

The most superb (and DTR restored of course!) 124 Spider Abarth is in for it's annual service and detailing. This car has been in the same ownership for about 30 years and is by far the best we have ever come into contact with - almost too good to use, the Spider Abarth must be one of the best looking rally cars built and, as with all the best classics,  appreciating massively in value at the minute.

Our Maserati is over 50% finished now, with the engine top and lower end fully assembled and the body undergoing the final top detailing before paint.

The obsolete water pump we have this week rebuilt, bronze impellor brazed and then machined to correct spec - the heavily damaged main shaft was machined and then a new centre made on the lathe and shrunk to fit the uprated bearing. It will not be seen again most likely, but the alternative was to replace with a modern unit which, as far as we were concerned was not an option. This was 2 days work alone, but a very satisfactory outcome.

The Alfa 750 Sprint Veloce carburettors were fully rebulit as well and the car collected at last - original sand cast carbs are very rare and valuable, although arguably not as good as the slightly later ones - originality is important and the car would have been diminished by the fittment of later, albeit probably less delicate units.

2 More Sprint GT's have arrived this week - they seem to be multiplying!

 

Alfas keep coming! 14 March 2015

We seem to have accumulated quite a few Alfas this week. The red car pictured was in for some rear end damage. Typically worse than it appeared and the lack of bumpers, whilst giving it that GTA look, meant that even light impact was transferred straight to the boot floor. We had 2 more 1750 Duettos in for chassis work and hydraulic issues + a Giulia spider 'track car' which was suffering from a large inlet air leak + tuning before its' possible return to the track.

Our 3500 GTI is now progressing at pace and is in the final stages of preperation before paint. We have built the bottom end of the engine and nearly finished the huge cylinder head.

The Jolly was photographed and driven for a magazine article. Pictured here in Coulsdon (believe it or not!) on a sunny morning. We took our lives in our hands and drove it on the M23 and M25 to ensure there were no last minute hitches before its' export to Greece this week. Lovely car, as long as you don't go round corners where the unsuspecting will quite literally fall out.

Finally our Mille Miglia entry has been confirmed and we will be participating this year in our resident Cisitalia 202 MM Spider - we have just remade the king pins and overhauled the front suspension. Just the steering box to sort out - a source of trouble for some time it would seem.

This week we are installing an extra 1000 square feet of storage within the workshop for our projects which we can now 'park' and order better + clear workshop floor space.

More to follow.

 

Unusual Lancia 07 March 2015

Another unusual car has just arrived (unannounced!) in our workshop. This one is a 1950 Lancia Ardea - as all Lancias of the era, beautifully engineered and despite it's 'Marmite' looks, they all drove superbly with a unitary body (no seperate chassis) and V4 diminuitive engine. We will be assessing and providing a essential work program for thisnother unusual car has just arrived (unannounced!) in our workshop. This one is a 1950 Lancia Ardea - as all Lancias of the era, beautifully engineered and despite it's 'Marmite' looks, they all drove superbly with a unitary body (no seperate chassis) and V4 diminuitive engine. We will be assessing and providing a essential work program for this one.

Our right hand drive 1750 Alfa Duetto has just had it's final top coat. The body restoration and preperation totalled over 450 hours and the paint took about 3 hours to apply all 5 coats. This, we are confident, will be one of the best bodyshells in existence as we rust inhibited and painted (several times) the underneath and inner panels, all of which were removed, remade and reinstated as part of this restoration. It's also nice to see a colour other than red in these cars!

                  

Jolly test drive 27 February 2015

We took our 600 Jolly for it's first test drive since completing the restoration. The engine has had subtle internal upgrades and improvements by us so that it retains it's original block but has the tougher and more reliable crankshaft and con rod assembly of the 600D (the later version). This entailed internal machining of the engine to accomodate the larger crank and various other details, none of which can be seen on the finsihed product. We also fitted electronic distributor internals which will make starting easier if left for long periods. The first run of about 5 miles took in Marlpit Lane which runs alongside the business park, and was used in the early 1920's for hill climbing! It drove and performed flawlessly and was surprisingly nimble. Cornerning with wicker seats presented it's own chalanges, especially without any form of restraint as the tendency was to fall out of the car - literally!

We collected the Ferrari Dino from our media blasters who have removed all traces of rust and treated the body with Zinc Phosphate to protect it. We will be fabricating all the unsaveable areas due to the low quality of the available replacement panels.

Our Maserati engine bottom end is in the first stages of assembly and the con rods are being dry fitted and measured with their new bearings to the crankshaft before fitting. The final stages of body levelling are approaching, each panel is taking approximately 20 hours to shape and level and we have completed the roof, rear wings, boot lid and rear upper and lower panels. Just the front wings and doors to do now the frames of which have been largely remade.

Our workshop is undergoing improvements and we have doubled the size of our engine room to accomodate the finsihed units. We are also putting in another floor for body shell storage to clear workshop space and streamline our operations. We hope to have an open day later in the summer to showcase our projects and services. More on this to follow.

Jolly - Well finished! 21 February 2015

Appologiess for the title! We've been finishing the 1958 600 Jolly this week and making a somewhat unusual roof to our customer's specification. The fully rebuilt cylinder head had an internal crack which was not visible in machining or with a camera, but was apparent when run for the first time. This was a huge disappointment on a nearly finished project, but we managed to locate a new (old stock ) cylinder head in  the south of Italy, from where we had it shipped overnight and then repeated the process of rebuilding another. Problem solved!

Our Maserati is in the final weeks of body preperation before paint and Rob has been working flat out on this, we are confident that the finish on this car will be comparable with the very best, but the majority of any rebuild is at this stage and there is no substitute for hand finsihing - machines will not produce the same effect.

We have just started the rebuild and balancing of an Alfa V8 Montreal engine. Typically tired, but not internally damaged, we are having new pistons made for this - more to follow.

Norman Seaney the Weber carburttor guru has machined spindles and flaps for a pair of sandcast Weber DCOE 3's (as fitted to 1950's Alfas) for us and is casting new auxillary venturis for the same - we will machine the final product to fit our carbs - the alternative to this was a fully rebuilt engine that wouldn't idle perfectly and would have been spoilt by this detail.

 

Dino Stripping. 13 February 2015

This week our bodyshop has been flat out detailing the alluminium work and finalising the fitment of the front grill on the Maserati 3500. The new grill, which has been custom made is significantly more symetrical than the one fitted and the mouth which had been damaged in the past, was similarly remade and shaped to fit the new grill correctly.

We are just finishing the roof on the 600 Jolly, an unusual design specified by the owner has taken some working round and is the only deviation from what we are confident, is one of, if not the best 600 Jolly in existence.

Our 1750 Duetto is approaching body completion - the most lenthly (and costly) part of any restoration, but perhaps the most important to get right the first time.

We have also taken delivery of another original , but very rough right hand drive 1750 Duetto, which will be available for detailed restoration in 2016 or sale 'as is'. Our Abarth Simca was collected from it's 35 + years of internment in a Dorset barn and we are researching the history of this gorgeous racing car before we decide how to proceed with it's restoration. The issue is finding out what engine the car was originally destined to have. Most of the 'flip front' flared arch cars were 2000, but we suspect this one may have orignally been a 1000 twin cam. 

Our bronze (or brown!)  Ferrrari Dino has been consigned to our blasters for paint and rust removal + coating before we start the body restoration later in spring. It will be having a colour change as part of the restoration too.

Retromobile 2015 07 February 2015

Ocasionally we do have to venture out of the workshop for "research" purposes, this Wednesday we popped over to Paris for a look at the Baillon collection and also to inspect another vehicle which was to be auctioned by Artcurial on Friday. The proposed car was a slight disappointment in that the recently restored condition was not quite as the pictures suggested! As is so often with classic cars, all that glitters ...... etc etc, particularly ones which are consigned to auction after a fresh coat of paint. One or two other Italian classics fell into this category at this particular sale.

The Baillon cars were an unusual array of (mostly) French fare - never a good start for us, but heh ho! Most could have been cheerfully put out with the recycling on a Friday (that's when they collect the rubbish in Coulsdon anyway). Their story was much more interesting than the vehicles themselves, with one or two noteable exceptions. The Ferrari 250 California healine car was gorgeous and it's history interesting. At this level, restoration costs are more or less irrelevant, as they would amount to no more than about 5% of actual sale price - less presumably than the commission paid to the auction house!

The Maserati was lovely too, and it now seems a shame that such cars will most likely never be seen on our roads again, as their values meen that most owners tend to be 'investors' rather than enthusiasts.

Unbelievable was the final sale price of the Talbot Lago - despite a shunt by what must have been a train of some description, and it's subsequent submersion in a great deal of French rain for many decades, it still managed to raise £1.2m for the 'family cause'. It was beyond the realms of sensible restoration and will presumably be either retained as a work of art, or more likely rebodied with the original chassis number and everything else remade as new. Not quite sure what the point of the latter would be?

This week we have finsihed the rebuild of the other Maserati 3500 door frame and detailed the alluminium repairs. Retromobile provided some useful measurement for the mouth of our car - it also lead us to the conclusion after studying several, that like many coachbuilt cars, no two are the same! 

We have also started the strip down of a Ferrari 246 GTS which will be undergoing a nut and bolt restoration by us to the highest standards. 

 

Ferrari 250 Berlinetta Lusso 30 January 2015

Just Arrived in our workshop for assessment and valuation. This wonderfully original Ferrari 250 Lusso had been owned by the same gentleman for the last 43 years. Seldom seen these days on the roads in Coulsdon, the owner has used it regularly and you would be as likely to see it at best of the cars shows as in the carpark at Tesco - well Waitrose maybe!

No, it's not for sale!

Our Maserati project has been progressing well, with the removal of the body from rotisserie to rollers. We then have to simulate the weights of the main mechanical parts, in order to get all the door gaps correct. This can be overlooked and would be evident in the finished car. The mouth of the car has to be tailored to the grill, as none are the same as each other and the grills themselves are manifestly different.

Our Fiat Jolly project is approaching completion and now sits on its restored wheels. Pictures available on our projects section.

We have just bought an Abarth Simca (less some significant parts - engine and gearbox!) and will be assessing this in the next few weeks with a view to returning it to it's former glory as a historic racer. Please contact Paul if you want to know anything about this one!

Another New Arrival 23 January 2015

Another very busy week with the arrival of a Ferrari 246 GTS for full assessment. The car is in what alot of people like to call 'barn find' condition. Highly original including the very 'distinctive' bronze paintwork, but all other aspects a little tired! We finished the detailing of the Maserati floors today and it will be on it's own rollers on Monday for the final fitment of the new nose panel and the shaping and preparation of all the outer panels. The fabrication and remaking of most of the panels on this car represent the largest single task of any restoration. Alot goes unseen, but we always strive to improve on vulnerable areas and areas of weakness the tale of which is evident in the 'post stripping' stage. It's at this stage that we can see how the final car will take shape and schedule all aspects of the rebuild. The body is a very large variable, especially when multiple materials and processes are involved. We also received a 1 owner Coupe turbo today, with the instruction to restore the car to as close to new conditon as possible. Earlier in the week we had a Fiat Spider Turbo arrive for mechancial rebuild. The 124 Turbo is virtually unheard of on these shores, as it was built under licence by Legend Industries in the US for the home market. A fast, but somewhat lazy addition to what was a very useable and reliable car! The torque was there, but so was the immediate impact on all other areas of the car - suspension, gearbox, differential and brakes, non of which were uprated to accept the additional power. There is a reason why they are now rare!

Ongoing projects 16 January 2015

We have made a significant start to the new year with great leaps in terms of milestones on several of our major restoration projects.Firstly the Maserati 3500GTi is about to be removed from the larger of our two rotisseries having had all the new floors and inner sills sealed and painted in grey oxide primer. This is the first application prior to sealing all the seams. We are detailing the floors so that we will not have to use the rotisserie again for this car. It should be in panel preperation stage this week and will not be out until it is ready for the first of at least six coats to be applied to the finished surfaces. The devil is in the detail here as most of the several hundred hours of fabrication will go unseen. Pictured here having the first of 2 grey oxide protection primer coat applied to the floors and chassis by Paul Morgan.Our 1750 Duetto is now moving on to paint preperation stages and should be in it's new colour of green within the next few weeks.The 600 Jolly is at the assembly stage now and we hope to have this running within next two weeks.We are just completing a full re-trim of a Ferrari Dino and expect another in this week for assessment and possible restoration.Our rally preparations of a 124 CS Spider are nearing completion. We have fabricated a heavy gauge roll bar for this car, as the one supplied from Italy was of insufficient quality and fit.We also just completed the remachining of new king pins and bushes on 'resident' Cisistalia 202 Spider. Just some of the works DTR can carry out in-house. 

 

Christmas is coming! 12 December 2014

A lovely shot taken by Chris Evans (there is more than one!) of him driving along Regent Street in his lovely Fiat Spider - very seasonal!

We're completing significant stages of our major restoration projects before the Christmas break (Maserati 3500 GTi, Fiat 600 Jolly, Alfa Giulietta Spider, Alfa Duetto etc) and as usual, the workshop is flat out.

The Maserati is in final shaping stage prior to preperation and paintwork (it's a very big car!), the 600 Jolly is now at assembly stage, the Duetto at preperation stage.

In addition we are re-trimming a Ferrari Dino in leather (originally vinyl) with Wilton carpets and all interior to original patterns with leather replacing most vinyl. We are also starting the Appia Zagato engine work, finishing 3 x 124 Spiders and 1 Abarth in for routine work. The Alfa Step front has been stripped, jigged and straightened, we're at the fabrication stage and the modification of the new panels so they actually fit the car they were made for!

It's been a very interesting year, with classic values still on the rise. The upshot of this is that cars which would not have been worth restoring are now seen as viable propositions. This can only be a good thing for enthusiasts and collectors alike. It certainly dosen't restorers any harm either!

We love what we do and are always striving for the best possible finish on the cars we work on, so should you be considering rolling out that long forgotten California Spider and taking another look at it, we speak fluent 'Italian Car' and encourage customer involvement and input into your project!

Happy Christmas and peaceful and prosperous 2015!! The Team at DTR

Lancia Appia Zagato 04 December 2014

Just arrived in our workshop, this beautiful Lancia Appia Zagato. These are wonderfully engineered cars and this one is particularly rare with the covered headlights. We will be overhauling the engine and possibly the alluminium bodywork in the next few weeks, so will keep the site updated.

We've started the levelling work on the Maserati 3500 GTi and it will shortly be going in to our preperation prior to paintwork.

Just finished one of the Giulietta Sprints, in for detailing and are machining pistons and replacing valves on another Giulietta Sprint Veloce, the engine of which we hope to have fully rebuilt and balanced by the end of next week.

An Abarth 124 Spider is in for it's annual check over and we've just finished the crash repairs on a Giulia Spider for delivery at the weekend. 

Alot of the cars we work on are certainly worthy of inclusion in our projects section, but where we have duplicated projects we tend to leave them out simply for variety!

Alfa Thursday! 27 November 2014

We seem to have accumulated quite a few Alfas this week. We have a Giulia Super in for tuning and replacement camshafts, 3 Sprints (Veloce engine rebuilt and extensive trouble shooting!), crash repairs on a blue one and detaling on a 1960 Normale. The white Spider is in for re-torque and tighten up after engine rebuild. We have been 'wiring' the wings (wheel arches) on the Maserati 3500 GTi. Not the simplest of jobs. The steel wire has to be insulated from the alluminium and we use a Kent product to do this which is in the form of a mastic tape. The alluminium and steel are painted inside seperately before being carefully hand beaten into the arch. We will then crack test all the welds and repair where necessary.

Maserati metalwork completion  19 November 2014

After approximately 650 hours, we are just approaching the completion of the sheet metal part of the  body restoration of this Maserati 3500 GTI. We opted for mounting the body on our rotisserie - this is a fantastic way to restore any body, as we have easy access to all areas. Particularly important if you are welding alluminium. Ideally the welded panel should be horizontal, as unlike steel, alluminium 'pools' and any contaminents end up in the bottom of the pool and so you end up with a dirty weld. By rotating the panels it is possible to minimise this.

Given the amount of allumimum that has been rebuilt, it may have been easier to remove the alluminium body from it's steel frame, then restore each panel off the car. We will most likely adopt this approach with the Abarth Record Monza which is awaiting attention!

Next is the fine shaping and detailing of the panels which is a lenghtly albeit cleaner process!

In Our Workshop this week! 08 November 2014

We took a look at the variety of the cars in our workshop today. It's quite an eclectic mix of Italian cars - we have the odd deviation such as short wheel based Porsche 912  (we know the air cooled Porsches quite well). Original  1953 Citroen traction van (enough said) and BMW Isetta (it's basically an ugly 3 wheeler motorbike which doesn't drive quite as well!) and a beautiful albeit English Morgan Plus 4 Plus (yes, the right way around - look it up!) Mercedes 280 SL ' Pagoda' (mmm, restoration of a badly damaged US spec car)

Anyway, as a snapshot and to dispell the notion that DTR are 'one make specialists' here is the inventory of cars in our workshop this week (in no particular order!)

Ferrari: 250 pf (restored by us, in for photography and to be featured in Octane Magazine by the great Richard Hestletine), Ferrari F40 (in for service and a new clutch + rear suspension mods.), 246 Dino (bodywork and running issues).

Alfa Romeo: Giulia SS RHD (for sale, and restored by us), Giulietta SS (for sale as a finished car by us), 750 Sprint Veloce (engine rebuild and bodywork), 1600 Sprint Veloce (heavily damaged for jig work and restoration), 750 Giulietta Spider (full restoration), 101 Giulia Spider (accident damage), 1300 Boat tail spider (bare metal repaint), 1600 boat tail spider (one of the best! - for sale), 1750 Duetto Spider (detailed 'concours' restoration), 1750 Bertone GTV (engine rebuild)

Abarth: Record Monza (important car -our own, for restoration). 500 Assetto Corsa (the only works car from the Trofeo series that is road legal and registered - ours!)

Fiat: Dino Spider (DTR 'concours' standard restoration underway), Dino Coupe (full engine rebuild and detailing), 124 Spiders (several as always, in from colour change, to interior restoration, to race preparation and normal servicing of course!)

600 Jolly (concours standard restoration and manufacture of hood frame etc.) very rare and desireable if you have room on your yacht!

Cisitalia: 202 Nouvolari Spider (one of the original surviving 5 left with period race history), MM preparation.

Maserati: 3500 GTi  (Nut and bolt restoration and detailed body rebuild - 2500 hours approx when finished!)

Moretti: 2300S Cabriolet - This is our car and not for sale, but very rare (one of 2 known to exist!) Detailed restoration which is taking too long as we have all the above to do first!!

Look at our 'Projects' section to see what's going on!

Ferrari Dino Engine rebuilds 04 November 2014

We have finished the first of the 2 Dino engines for full rebuild in at the minute. We know these engines well and are what is required to carry out not only a rebuild, but various subtle improvements to ensure the engine not only performs well, but lasts longer.

These are not cheap engines to rebuild. The 206 is all alloy, the 246 has a cast block and is tougher. We always balance the bottom ends of these engines and uprate the oil pump as standard. New forge pistons with new uprated valves, seats and guides. Typical engine rebuild and detail takes about 150 hours to do. This includes glass blasting and chemically stripping all the external parts with crackle finish to the magnesium cambox gaskets etc. 

We are currently restoring a 1967 Dino Spider and are rebuilding the engine on a lovely 1968 Coupe.

 

Maserati 3500GTi Body restoration 03 November 2014

We are in the final stages of the alluminium fabrication and replacement on the Maserati 3500 GTi. These cars present various challenges due to the original construction. A Steel structure and the back bone of the car is where all the strength lies - on this car it was particularly corroded, which necessitated the complete replacement of all 4 floors, inner and outer sills (of which there are 6 main sections per side) which are all  swaged and very deliberately shaped to strengthen. To further complicate matters, the nearside sill has a 'sandwich' of heat prevention material - originally asbestos, which had to be re-made and replaced with a modern material equivalent.

The car presented reasonalbly and did not in any way suggest what lay beneath as the entire outer skin is of course alluminium. Originally each panel was built in multiple sections over a buck before assembly over the steel frame. Obviously with the passage of time and many gallons of water, where the steel met the alluminium the corrosion was not limited to the steel alone and all outer panels have required extensive repairs and remaking.

We are able to fabricate larger sections than originally used as we can stretch and shrink the alluminium with the english wheel and Eckold cold shrinkers/ stretchers.

The picture is an example of the corner of the new sill which has to be made seperately as the whole sill is too tall for the wheel. The original piece was several small sections gas welded together. We can gas weld the alluminium, but prefer Tig welding for the best results.

Another Traction! 21 October 2014

Another Citroen Traction has just arrived here at DTR from Denmark of all places. It's a 1953 car and is one of 3 original 'vans' known to survive worldwide.Although not our usual fare, we will be sympathetically restoring this one over the  next few months. (for our sins we have done 2 Traction cabriolets, both narrow and wide bodied for the same customer). Like it or not, you are unlikely to see another! Pictured next to our 1967 2 owner Duetto. This car is featured on the front cover of November 'Classic Cars' Magazine.

What's going on 17 October 2014

We delivered the RZ after it's gearbox and clutch overhaul.  

Ferrari 246 Dino is back in for routine maintainance (all Dinos need alot of this!).

Pictured in front of our workshop - an unlikely pair, but they do have one thing in common.

Maserati 3500GTi has been progressing well. We lapped in several of the valves and checked the movement of the new guides and valves against the orignal factory spec. The nearside rear aluminium wheel arch has been seam welded into position. To make these accurately takes about 8 hours per arch. These then have to be aluminium welded - a process which is very tricky when the panel is not horizontal. This is where the roll over jig comes into it's own. The body has to be rotated to a point where the 'pooled' aluminium can be manipulated and moved. Unfortunately, this means someone has to weld 4 feet off the ground! So a platform has to be moved around the car as the new metal is attached. Steel welding is a doddle in comparison! Aluminium which is over 50 years old and of questionable original quality has to be joined to the new metal - both have different melting points - physics and chemistry wasn't a complete waste of time then!