With so many beautiful period items available to be enjoyed after a little TLC, it’s not hard to understand why some people find such joy in restoring classic items back to their original state. We caught up with antiques expert Andy Spicer to chat about where he draws his inspiration to restore period items to their former glory, and to talk about his passion for classic car restoration.
An Interview With a Restoration Fanatic
Where do you go hunting for antique items to restore?
I find items online on Preloved and eBay, as well as hunting through local newspapers and newsagents for advertisements.
When did you get the restoration bug, and who or what inspired you?
I got the bug when I bought my 1969 Morris Minor van whilst I was at University, back in 1980. It needed a new back end, and I hand painted gloss blue. I replaced the seats with Alfa Sud chairs, and used tye dye sheets and denim for the interior. Individuality and cost is what inspired me.
If you were to pick 3 items on Preloved to restore, what would you choose?
1. A VW 1967 campervan, like the one for £12,000. Very cool vehicles, and a lifestyle choice as they are very slow and heavy to drive. Bonhams recently sold a mint 23 window Samba for £91,000, the ultimate example – most sell in the range of £25,000 – £35,000.
2. A 1966 Triumph TR4A, like this one available for £6,000. A classic British sports car.
3. An early 3 door classic Range Rover, like this one for £1,000. These early Rangies are going up in value! However, the only problem with this one is that it doesn’t have its original engine and gearbox, so it will never be top money like this one that sold for £74,000 at Bonhams.
Have you got any handy tips for Preloved members to aid them in their Restoration journey?
- Research what you are going to buy and try to be ruled by your head, not your heart. I once bought a 1968 MGB that was supposed to be mint (pictured below). It was cheap (ha ha!) – it turned out it was a death trap and needed major welding and restoration. It looked great, but it had stainless steel sill covers, plastic inner wing liners, and heavy fresh under-seal on the underside and chassis – all covering up rust. It needed new front chassis legs, floors, inner wings, bulkhead, boot floor and wings.
- Ask old duffers like me what to look out for…
- Buy the best you can afford, some models are worth a lot more than others that look similar.
- Most restorations will never recap the money, let alone the time that you spend on them. You do it for the love of doing it and saving something worthy from being scrapped.
Why do you think restoration is important?
Too much of life today is disposable. We should save the planet and reuse/recycle/restore/upcycle what we can and get pleasure from doing it, whilst saving all that money!
Can you sum up what restorations means to you in 3 words?
Personal satisfaction, pleasure.
Contact Andy Spicer
Andy Spicer works as independent consultant for auction houses across the UK. If you own an auction house, and are after some expert advice, you can contact Andy via email.