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19 Tradelink Road
Hillcrest, QLD, 4118
Australia

+61 7 3800 9127

At Ol' School Garage, we not only understand your passion for custom and classic cars, we share it. Rest assured, entrusting Ol' School Garage to undertake your custom build or restoration you are in good hands.

Leon's Blog

Filtering by Category: Fabrication

It’s been a while...

Leon Betts

I was surprised to discover that it’s been almost two weeks since my last post. So, here are some photos showing what we are up to at the moment. As you can see...we have plenty on! I promise to be more diligent with my posts and will provide updates on each of our projects over coming weeks.

Cheers Leon

 The underside, firewall and dash of my ‘55 Chev are in colour and the body is ready to go back on the chassis. We’ve decided to keep going with the body work on the exterior. Maybe I will achieve my latest New Year’s resolution!

The underside, firewall and dash of my ‘55 Chev are in colour and the body is ready to go back on the chassis. We’ve decided to keep going with the body work on the exterior. Maybe I will achieve my latest New Year’s resolution!

 The wiring on our HQ SS project is well underway. The trimmer will soon make a start on the interior. The exterior has been rubbed back ready for the ‘SS’ lettering to be applied before a final clear coat.

The wiring on our HQ SS project is well underway. The trimmer will soon make a start on the interior. The exterior has been rubbed back ready for the ‘SS’ lettering to be applied before a final clear coat.

 The drivetrain of our EK project had been installed and the chassis mods are complete. The fabrication of the custom floor is now well underway.

The drivetrain of our EK project had been installed and the chassis mods are complete. The fabrication of the custom floor is now well underway.

 We’ve done all we can on our ‘67 Mustang Eleanor until we received the engine, transmission and body kit out of the US next month.

We’ve done all we can on our ‘67 Mustang Eleanor until we received the engine, transmission and body kit out of the US next month.

Oh my...

Leon Betts

Kane painted the floor and firewall of my ‘55 Chev yesterday. Couldn’t be happier with the gunmetal grey. The body will go on the completed chassis next week ready for body work when we get time.

Cheers Leon

‘55 Chev update...

Leon Betts

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but the first colour is scheduled to go on my ‘55 Chev 2-door hardtop tomorrow. Kane just sprayed the rear wheel wells with a protective texture coating (stoneguard). He will then seam seal the underside ready for colour to be applied. Once the underside is in colour, the body will be mounted on the completed chassis and body work can commence. How exciting!

Cheers Leon

 Kane sprays the rear wheel wells with Stoneguard.

Kane sprays the rear wheel wells with Stoneguard.

 The completed chassis waiting for the body.

The completed chassis waiting for the body.

 The chassis is pretty impressive...even if I say so myself.

The chassis is pretty impressive...even if I say so myself.

 A closeup of the front-end of the chassis.

A closeup of the front-end of the chassis.

Full, bare-metal restorations…

Leon Betts

In my last post, I explained that Ol’ School Garage would now be focusing on full, bare-metal restorations. So, what is a full, bare-metal restoration?

I should begin by saying that I use the word ‘restoration’ rather loosely. Our restorations often involve considerable fabrication work to accommodate an upgraded drivetrain, larger diameter wheels, a lower stance, etc. At the very least, our customer’s want more power from the original engine and upgraded suspension and brakes for a better driving experience. The term ‘resto-mod’ has been coined to describe this process (i.e. a restoration incorporating modifications).

To qualify as a ‘bare-metal’ restoration, we believe the restoration process must start with the car being completely disassembled. Once stripped, a specialist automotive media blaster removes all old paint and surface rust from the body, panels and parts. Removing all old paint product and surface rust is the only way to guarantee the integrity of the new paint. In addition, it is only when the car is in bare metal that all accident and rust damage be identified.

We consider a ‘full’ restoration as one where all parts and systems are reconditioned or replaced. This includes accident and rust repairs, new paint, rebuilding or replacing the engine, transmission and balance of drivetrain, rewiring the car, reconditioning or replacing brakes, suspension and steering components, re-trimming the interior, reconditioning, re-chroming or replacing stainless trim and bumpers, etc, etc.

The objective of a full, bare-metal restoration is to restore and modify the car so that it looks like new and performs and functions better than it did when it first left the factory.

I have included some photos of some typical tasks we would undertake as part of a full, bare metal restoration.

Cheers Leon

 The first thing we do is fully disassemble the car ready for sand-blasting. The subframe, diff and suspension components are yet to be removed.

The first thing we do is fully disassemble the car ready for sand-blasting. The subframe, diff and suspension components are yet to be removed.

 Just back from the sand blaster. The blasting process doesn't remove the 'bog' in the old repairs and will be ground out be hand. Rust and accident damage is now clearly visible.

Just back from the sand blaster. The blasting process doesn't remove the 'bog' in the old repairs and will be ground out be hand. Rust and accident damage is now clearly visible.

 Just back from the sand blaster. The blasting process doesn't remove the 'bog' in the old repairs and will be ground out be hand. Rust and accident damage is now clearly visible.

Just back from the sand blaster. The blasting process doesn't remove the 'bog' in the old repairs and will be ground out be hand. Rust and accident damage is now clearly visible.

 Once the accident and rust repair is complete, Roland works his way around the car fine tuning panels and adjusting panel gaps. We pride ourselves on being great metal workers. This is important, as work done here limits the amount of filler required in the paint shop.

Once the accident and rust repair is complete, Roland works his way around the car fine tuning panels and adjusting panel gaps. We pride ourselves on being great metal workers. This is important, as work done here limits the amount of filler required in the paint shop.

 Here the reconditioned subframe and suspension and steering parts are re-assembled. The brakes are reconditioned using new or reconditioned parts. New brake and fuel lines are also fabricated and run at this stage.

Here the reconditioned subframe and suspension and steering parts are re-assembled. The brakes are reconditioned using new or reconditioned parts. New brake and fuel lines are also fabricated and run at this stage.

 The re-built engine and gearbox waiting to be installed.

The re-built engine and gearbox waiting to be installed.

 Body work complete, the car is given its new paint livery. The preparation and painting process involves a number of stages and is often the single most labour intensive process in a restoration.

Body work complete, the car is given its new paint livery. The preparation and painting process involves a number of stages and is often the single most labour intensive process in a restoration.

 After the painted car is assembled, it will go through significant testing to make sure everything functions as it should and iron out any bugs found.

After the painted car is assembled, it will go through significant testing to make sure everything functions as it should and iron out any bugs found.

We're changing the way we do business...

Leon Betts

Back in 2011, I purchased a small classic car restoration business. I renamed it Ol’ school Garage and quickly added mechanical upgrades and classic car sales to its service offering. Before I knew it, the business had 12 full-time staff and was spread over three separate building.

Over time, however, I realised that the more we grew, the less time we spent doing what I love. My passion has always been restoring cars from the ground-up. This is why I purchased the business in the first place! And I'm not alone - this passion is shared by the entire Ol’ School Garage team.

So, we've made a New Years resolution - to follow our dream! And that requires a few changes to the way we do business.

For those visiting our workshop, the most obvious change is that we now operate out of a single location – 18 Tradelink Road, Hillcrest (previously our paint shop). But the biggest change will be our service offering. In 2018, Ol’ School Garage will focus on bare-metal restorations. That is, all jobs will start with us completely disassembling a car before removing all existing paint.

We realise that this style of restoration is not for everyone, but there are two primary reasons behind this change. I touched on the first already. Simply, we like building and restoring cars from the ground up. We find the process challenging, satisfying and rewarding. So, that’s what we’re going to do…because work should be fun!

The second reason is all about business. Concentrating on bare-metal restorations allows us to work on less cars at any one time. These are big jobs with many tasks that are completed over a long period. Fewer jobs simplifies our business model. We need fewer staff and less space as we are able to focus our efforts on a smaller number of jobs. This is not only good for us, it is also good for our customers.

I must confess that there is some self-interest involved. It's coming up thirty years since I started my first business. So, these changes are also designed to help me to spend a little more time away from the business. Luckily, Tim is a great workshop manager and he is supported by a great team - so our customers remain in good hands. Truth be told, other than some bookkeeping, I haven't done anything useful in years!

Want to know more about the bare-metal restoration process? I will explain the process further in an upcoming post.

Cheers Leon

'55 Chevy update...

Leon Betts

Ahhh, who keeps a New Year's Resolution anyway! Mine was to finish my '55 Chevy Hardtop by Christmas. Although progress has been steady, there are a couple of customer cars in the paint shop queue ahead of the Chevy. So I think we're going to struggle to make my Christmas deadline. I haven't given up...but I'm just preparing myself for disappointment.

Cheers Leon

 The body sits in epoxy primer waiting for body work to commence on the exterior. But the underside and firewall are almost ready for paint.

The body sits in epoxy primer waiting for body work to commence on the exterior. But the underside and firewall are almost ready for paint.

 Good progress has been made on smoothing the chassis...but it will require a few more days until it's ready for primer.

Good progress has been made on smoothing the chassis...but it will require a few more days until it's ready for primer.

 The diff has been rebuilt, painted and brake lines run ready to go back on the chassis as soon as it is painted.

The diff has been rebuilt, painted and brake lines run ready to go back on the chassis as soon as it is painted.

 The suspension and steering components have been painted and can also go back on the chassis when ready.

The suspension and steering components have been painted and can also go back on the chassis when ready.

Ready the welders!!!

Leon Betts

Although it may not look like it at first glance, our '67 Mustang project is powering ahead. With the accident and rust repairs on the body now complete, the front-end, firewall and dash assembly have been removed to facilitate the right-hand-drive (RHD) conversion. The factory shock towers will also be replaced with notched towers to allow us to shoe-horn a late model V8 into the engine bay. The engine options are still being investigated, but be assured the emphasis will be on performance rather than fuel economy! Today we made a start on the RHD conversion and I will post more photos as work progresses.

Cheers Leon

 The front-end, firewall and dash assembly have been removed from the body to facilitate the RHD conversion.

The front-end, firewall and dash assembly have been removed from the body to facilitate the RHD conversion.

 The RHD conversion kit ready for installation. The conversion kit comprises five panels (the fifth panel is under the wiper cowl panel). Some factory holes will be filled and factory creases removed during the installation process.

The RHD conversion kit ready for installation. The conversion kit comprises five panels (the fifth panel is under the wiper cowl panel). Some factory holes will be filled and factory creases removed during the installation process.

 The repaired front-end will be reattached once the RHD conversion panels have been installed. The LH rail was rusted out and will also be replaced. The factory shock towers have already been removed and will be replaced with notched towers.

The repaired front-end will be reattached once the RHD conversion panels have been installed. The LH rail was rusted out and will also be replaced. The factory shock towers have already been removed and will be replaced with notched towers.

 The original shock tower sits next to the replacement notched shock tower. The notch will provide the additional width required to shoe-horn the new V8 in the engine bay.

The original shock tower sits next to the replacement notched shock tower. The notch will provide the additional width required to shoe-horn the new V8 in the engine bay.

 The original LHD firewall and dash assembly after removal.

The original LHD firewall and dash assembly after removal.

'32 Roadster update...

Leon Betts

Well, it's been a long time coming, but the engine in our '32 Roadster has finally been fired-up. The 4-litre Lexus 1UZ goes great and sounds magnificent. The EFI system had been stripped off the engine and replaced with an old school carby set-up. Old meets new! I've included a couple of videos of Tim taking the Roadster for its first test drive.

Cheers Leon

Mustang accident repairs...

Leon Betts

While carrying out the rust repairs on our new '67 Mustang project, Roland discovered that one of the rear chassis rails had been buckled in a prang. Some of the sheet metal around the rail had been repaired, but not the rail itself. So not wanting to deliver our customer a car that drives like a crab, Roland replaced the damaged rail with a new one. As you can imagine, it was quite a big job to unpick all the factory spot welds to remove the old rail and then weld the new rail in place. Probably why the last owner didn't do it!

Cheers Leon

 The new chassis rail in place.

The new chassis rail in place.

 Roland straightens the floor after the damage rail was removed.

Roland straightens the floor after the damage rail was removed.

 The old rail.

The old rail.

 The new reproduction rail. Of course it didn't quite fit and Roland had to modify it a bit.

The new reproduction rail. Of course it didn't quite fit and Roland had to modify it a bit.