The Key

Step by Step

Photo credit: Bruno des Gayets, Porsche, BMW, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz

Buying a classic car is beginning of a wonderful story if the passion for the car is paired with the determination to return it to its original condition when it was built. A restoration – such a big word – can be just a very detailed check-up that begins with the reconstruction of the life of the car, its owners and its originality. Then there is everything else, starting with sending a request to the manufacturer to discover its original colour, what the interior was like and so on. In this year’s soon-to-be-released The Key, the great collector Corrado Lopresto explains, step by step, the various stages essential to achieving the very best restoration possible. It’s a precious and valuable guide because the value of a car can vary considerably for even the smallest of neglected details.

What are the phases? After carrying out the research as described above, if you want to restore the car to youthful freshness, you must first disassemble it and carefully classify each single piece, then examine the colour to ensure it’s identical to the original, restore the chassis and bodywork and then repaint it. At the same time, the interior goes through its own restoration phase, along with a full in-depth check of the electrical wiring, engine, gearbox and differential. Finally, it’s all carefully reassembled.

The first thing to do, before even starting a restoration, is to check the originality of the car and its history. All manufacturers have documentation and can provide precise data
This is an actual photograph of all the pieces of a 1933 Voisin disassembled and brought back to perfection before reassembly. The photo was taken by the celebrated Bruno des Gayets who also photographed single-seater F1 cars and motorbikes with the same technique
Don’t panic: the painting of this Mercedes 300 SL in the 1952 race version was carried out direct-ly by Mercedes Classic, but any well-prepared bodyshell can be brought back to life by a good coachbuilder
Engine work is essential: complete disassembly, overhauling, thorough cleaning and polishing be-fore reassembly. Refurbishing the electrical system and wiring is fundamental for a successful restoration
To bring the instruments back to their original splendour you need to consult with specialists. There are few of them left but they are absolutely dependable and able to preserve the reality of times gone by
One of the most exhilarating tasks is restoring, cleaning and reassembling the interior. As far as possible, it’s highly recommended to look for original materials and colours that are faithful to the originals
Restoration completed: it’s finally time to mount the bonnet and turn on the engine. The car, per-fectly true to its origins, will appear as a new