• Graham Eason

If a job's worth doing...

Mazda MX5 restoration

Temptation is a demanding and fickle master. The lure of an easy buck or a simpler route can be hard - and understandably - difficult to turn down.

We've been thinking about exactly this week because of two cars that have been on the ramp for work. The first, the Mazda MX5 we maintain for Great Escape Cars, is in for bodywork repairs. It's rotten in the usual areas - we knew this when we bought it - but the extent of the bodged repairs surprised us.

The second car, a Jaguar XJS, looked great until we put it on the ramp. That revealed a whole host of problems, not least of which was the paint shop's inability to turn the gun and cover the sills properly.

As the MX5 photos show, someone has gone to great lengths to fill the arches rather than let in new metal. The skill with filler is actually quite impressive, as they've carefully recreated the car's original lines.

But what is amazing is that actually doing the job properly would have taken very little extra time and would have created a fix that lasted. Admittedly, this would have required getting out the welder and letting in new metal, which is a skill many garages are increasingly reluctant to get involved with.

Welding is a messy and sometimes tricky job that requires skill to get right. Slapping on some filler isn't. Although both take about the same time. Bodging cosmetic repairs is annoying - because it would be so easy to do it properly - but ultimately doesn't risk anyone's life. In that sense we can sort of forgive whoever did the MX5.

Bodging that attempts to disguise rust as solid metal in areas such as seatbelt mountings and jacking points is more serious. The XJS passed a MOT June. We're not sure how. Without a ramp and a trained eye it would be easy to assume the XJS was solid.

We'll post some updates on the MX5 restoration as we go along. To discuss bodywork or mechanical repairs to your classic call 01527 893733.

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