Restoration of 200JPK Part II
Moorland Classic Cars’ long-time customer Jon Goodwin bought 200JPK back in 2002/3 and so began a long journey to rejuvenate a true classic.
Part 1 of the restoration was documented in Facel Letter in November 2003 when my brother and business partner, Martin, chronicled the mechanical restoration of the vehicle.
After running 200JPK for six or seven years and entering it into numerous events, Jon decided the Facel was starting to show too many signs of a mediocre body restoration and respray which had been carried out several years before he bought the car. So early in 2010 he commissioned us to begin the restoration.
We agreed that we would dismantle the entire car, except for the running gear, to carry out the task.
Before we started we decided it would be sensible to tackle the problem of ‘raining in’ around the door and rear quarter windows, as they didn’t actually have a seal as such. New seal retainers were fabricated and fitted, as the originals which simply didn’t seal, were just not fit for purpose. However, by chance we discovered that Ford Escort MK1 rear quarter window seals were the perfect profile to do the job on the rear quarter windows of 200JPK. Once we were happy they were leak tested and found to be watertight – a great result.
Now the car was ready to be dismantled. Everything was photographed, labelled and packed away.
The paint and layers of ‘body filler’ were removed to reveal a multitude of previous repairs to sills, doors, wheel arches and so on… At this point we also decided to scrape off a thick layer of underseal on the underside and in the boot which revealed even more dodgy repairs.
Every panel and part of the car needed a repair or re-repair – even the roof! This had rotted, as had the bottom of the pillars and the joints along both gutter seams. These had previously been repaired (a term I use quite loosely in this case) with body lead. The two front screen pillars were no longer actually attached to the rest of the car, apart from with half a kilo of lead which had cracked through!
We hand-formed new sections and welded them in. In addition, all of the glass and trims needed to be refitted once more. At the same time we fabricated new sills, lower sections of all four wings, rear arches (inners and outers) and welded them into place. As you can imagine, this is a massive task and took months of painstaking work.
Next, the bonnet and bootlid skins were removed. The bootlid outerskin had a section ‘wheeled’ up and welded in, while the inner was repaired and blasted, then fitted back together. We could see that the bonnet skin was just too bad to re-use so a new skin for this was also ‘wheeled’ up and the original centre scoop spot welded back in. The two skins were then bonded back together using a modern panel adhesive – a compound which is used by many vehicle manufacturers today, thus avoiding any distortion.
Many areas of the complicated chassis were found to be severely corroded, so we hand formed new sections and welded them into place.
Both doors had previously been repaired, but not to the high standard the car now merited, so these sections were cut out and replaced with new ‘shaped’ sections which we welded in (edge to edge).
During the many months of the restoration, Jon had various ideas on a colour change which he felt would enhance the finished look. From the start he felt a blue –an elegant ‘French’ blue, would be ideal but couldn’t decide on an exact shade. We agreed the best way to trial the colour was on a model, so Jon purchased several HK500 1:18 diecast models, and we masked and painted them up in various colours from metallic green to gloss black. Eventually, we formulated a colour in-house which fitted the ‘French Blue’ theme; the model was painted and the decision made.
Once all of the steelwork was finished and all the trim and bumpers fitted up, the painting process began. Many hours of priming and flatting by hand followed to gain the shape and finish required.
Finally, the topcoat in Base and Clear was applied and then ‘colour sanded’ with 2000 grit sandpaper. This was then buffed to a ‘glass flat’ concours finish.
The colour was a perfect complement to the lines of the car. It looked stunning!
The next job was to prepare and paint the boot area in satin black.
All of the original trim and carpets were refitted and it has to be said that the original patina of the seats – that unique aged look and irreplaceable lustre – is one of the car’s greatest assets.
All of the brightwork and bumpers, being made from stainless steel were ‘machine polished’ back to their former glory, with any small dents being knocked out and flatted prior to polishing.
We agreed that the aluminium outer sill covers had really seen better days and so decided to fabricate new ones in mirror polished stainless steel to match the bumper lines and both ends.
Jon decided that the ‘Frog’ mascot previously fitted needed to go back on as part of the car’s history, and I have to say that drilling a hole in the bonnet skin I had spent so many hours making and fitting was not a pleasant experience. But I must admit, once the frog was in place it did look perfectly at home.
To complement the stunning presence of the grill and light arrangement at the front of the car, a motorcycle-sized number plate was created and fitted. While not strictly legal it really does keep the look tidy at the front.
200JPK was almost finished and the last decision to be made was on the style of the wheels. Jon felt that chrome wires were in order, so we tried several spoke styles and rim widths before agreeing upon the ‘centre laced’ rims.
The final ‘spit and polish’ was applied and the car delivered back to Jon’s stable, amid snowy weather, on Christmas Eve, 2010 enabling Jon to unveil it to his family during the Christmas festivities. It was almost 12 months since we had begun this mammoth task and a huge sigh of relief was breathed by all involved. A rare classic given a stunning new lease of life, hopefully for generations to enjoy.
Tony Hine, Moorland Classic Cars.