An invitation to attend an Open Day at Locky Fowler’s Classic Auto Restorations was taken up by a good many members and friends on this fine Sunday morning. Darnum’s Main Street is rarely so busy and it’s certainly unusual to see so many sports and classic cars lining both sides of the road, normally the reserve of farm utes and four-wheel-drives.
The business which specialises in rust repairs, fabrication, vehicle restoration, welding and lots more, seems to have cornered the market on Datsun 240Z rebuilds. As well as a Mini on a rotisserie, there were no less than four Zed cars/shells at various stages of construction in the workshop, illustrating the extent the which owners of these desirable classics are prepared to go to in restoring their vehicles. Many of these cars have been badly affected by rust, so they are pulled apart and stitched back together with after-market replacement or hand-fabricated new panels, to eventually look like new again. Sandblasting and painting are contracted out, but most of the mechanical work is handled in-house as illustrated by exhaust work in progress and a pallet load of gearboxes on the floor awaiting rebuilds. Locky also has plenty of experience when it comes to Sprites and Minis and is certainly not afraid to tackle what many would describe as a basket case.
Morning tea was provided and it was a far more lavish affair than expected, with Jan and John Fowler preparing scones with jam and cream, as well as a delicious chocolate cake. John O’Grady’s Mighty Boy with BBQ trailer was also put to good effect around the side of the workshop, pumping out bacon and egg sandwiches to an appreciative crowd.
Many thanks to Locky and his staff for opening the doors to us. It was a rare opportunity to look at the skill and workmanship that goes into the early stages of a restoration – well before the shiny chrome and glossy paint is applied, which usually receive the lion’s share of attention.
Locky Fowler: “Thanks for the report and the photos, Steve!”