We love finding classic cars a new home for our clients, and naturally as enthusiasts we are always interested to hear from others in the classic industry.
We spoke to Lee Scott Classic Cars, who we had the pleasure of meeting at the London Classic Car Show 2020, and interviewed to find out more about his business.
Lee Scott has been professionally restoring, servicing and maintaining classic cars for the last 30 years. Since the late ’90s, Lee has been working from his own workshop, in and around Essex, after learning many of his skills as an apprentice classic car restorer, qualifying as a mechanic and later spending 10 years at Rolls Royce. There is very little Lee doesn’t know about vintage car restoration and we have had the pleasure of getting a little insight into the kind of work he carries out on a day-to-day basis.
Currently Lee and his team made up of himself, his son and Steve, are currently working on full restorations such as; a Jaguar Series 1 E-Type Flat Floor (Matching Numbers), a Triumph TR7, a 1929 Singer Junior and a Jaguar S-type. You can see more of the work that Lee and the team get up to by following the link at the bottom of the article.
He gave us his insight into the specialist jobs he carries out every day.
Drop us a message in the comments if you have dealt with Lee Scott or any other restoration houses before, we would love to know some of your stories.
What did you do before restoration and engineering?
When I left school I had plans on being a chef. From a very young age I always had an interest in anything that ran on petrol and how things worked, my other fascination was in older cars, mainly Jaguar but also loved 50s American cars. When I left school I went to college to be a chef but after the first year I left full time college, got myself a job in a garage carrying out mechanical repairs, and welding. I also enrolled myself into evening classes for a mechanics course. The college also had a part time course for classic car restoration that I went to. This inspired me to look for a job restoring old classics and I was lucky to find one with a Rolls Royce specialist 20 miles away from where I lived who were willing to give me an apprenticeship in restoration of older cars. I was 18 at the time.
What were your fondest memories of cars that made you so passionate?
My passion was Jaguars. When I was eight years old my friends father owned a MK2 Jaguar. He took six of us out once for a school outing (any parent with a car that can help sort of thing) and I fell in love with the shape that looked like it had just plopped out of a jelly mould and the smell of the leather. What happened to that old car? Well, I ended up buying it 30 years later and it turned out to originally be an old police car. I still own it and it will eventually be turned back to its original cop car status.
I read that you were at the Rolls Royce company for 10 years, what were your favourite projects and best skills you learnt from your elders?When working on Rolls Royce we had many projects that I enjoyed, one that sticks to mind was the old Bentley S1 continental fast back called “Hero” that was owned by Peter Nobel. He used to rally this 2 ton monster so we had the pleasure of carrying out many modifications. Many skills were learnt when I was there but the most valuable was to understand how metal moves and how to manipulate it.
What problems did you encounter moving workshops twice in 18 months?
We outgrew the first workshop pretty quick so moving to another premises was no problem as I was still a pretty young business. We have been there over 20 years now so we are well established there.
You are now starting to pass on the skills you learnt to your son, was he easier to teach than yourself?
My son has grown up with watching me do my job and has helped me since he was 13. By the time he had left school he was quite well skilled in welding and basic metal fabrication, he went to college one day a week when he was my apprentice but ended up showing the tutor how to fabricate various panel work. Needless to say they just let him get on with jobs and he ended up showing some other pupils how to fabricate panels.
What advice would you give to someone looking to go it alone?
If you are going to go it alone just be sure that you have the correct skills involved in making the vehicles you work on safe. Don’t forget although that car is somebodies hobby, you are still working on a vehicle that could end up being a death trap if repaired wrong. We see a lot of this. Other than that go for it, it’s difficult but if you are passionate about your job then you will be successful in it, and never give up.
Do you prefer restoring to original factory spec or like the idea of modified projects?
I do love to restore to factory spec, but also love the idea of modifying a vehicle and making some crazy ideas come true.
What would be your dream resto-project?
My dream resto-project… that’s a difficult one as my 3 favourite cars are the Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB5 and Ferrari Dino. Sometimes it’s about the fun in carrying out the job and that could be anything. I am blessed that I love my job so I enjoy any project that the customer brings in. Every day is a different day working on things I love.
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