At Cherished Vehicle Insurance Services, we like to think we do things a bit differently.
We’ve been following professional restorer Mike Hill from Survivor Customs and his conversion of the Ford Model Y. Whilst work continues in earnest on that project, we thought “wouldn’t it be good to follow something else”. This time, we wanted to take a look at a classic car restoration project from more of an amateur perspective. By chance a customer and friend of the team, was lamenting over the difficulties he was having in finalising a “little” project that was started some time ago. After a fair amount of badgering and begging on our part, he kindly agreed to put into his own words, the trials and tribulations of this classic car restoration project.
“You know how it is: You’re driving along, minding your own business, and something catches your eye. In our case it was a wrecked Fiat 850 saloon of 1969 vintage.”
“I’m Nick and my pal, Bob, and I are car men – always looking for a new challenge. That moment of madness on a dark winter’s afternoon led us into the unknown, restoring a car we knew nothing about.”
“The Fiat was a mess. It had not run in years and a few more months in the elements and it would never have hit the highway again. I bartered the owner down to a few hundred quid and we hauled the wreck onto Bob’s trailer and away.”
“Back at his place, in the cold light of day, we realised what a mammoth task we had. The more we tore it apart the worse it became. It was literally a pile of rust barely held together.”
“Perhaps we should have cut our losses and sold it for spares but over a pint or two we started to dream. After a bit more of the amber nectar had taken effect we decided to restore the car fully, not to standard spec but to an Abarth recreation. Little did we know that this would mean a marathon rather than a sprint.”
“When was the last time you saw an 850 saloon on the road? I remember them from my childhood but haven’t seen one since.”
“If you’ve ever watched “The Italian Job” you will have noticed hundreds of 850s in the traffic jam that ensued in Turin as Michael Caine and his cronies pulled off a gold heist.”
“Of course, British Minis were the focal point for the movie but it is said that Fiat tried to supply all the cars and offered a lot of cash to do so. Not a lot of people know that. It could have been so different if 850s had been used instead of Minis.”
“I’ll be taking you through the trials and tribulations of the restoration so come back soon to see what we did next.”
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