Aspecial auction at the Roadhouse Motor Co. in Stamford in Lincolnshire, provided the setting for the UKTV/Dave channel ‘Lazy Boy Garage’, where 10 retro classic cars sourced from abroad are ‘flipped’ for profit. The show is a master-class in ‘How to – and not to – buy and sell cars’. The cars for this series have been sourced via Austria and Spain and stars motoring journalists Jonny Smith and Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford, and garage owner and restoration specialist Tim Glover.
Filmed in 2018, the selection of cars chosen for the show are genuinely unlque, and not the kidn of cars likely to appear on the multiples of car restoration TV shows. One could salvage the fact that buying a classic car, especially on whim, is often a decision made by the heart and not the head. It’s very easy to get swayed by the expectation of a quick turnout but as viewers of the show can testify, this is not the case. The show is orientated for fans of the search chase, the sale and the stress of fix and prepartion of selling a car, rather than making money, although modest profits can be made. This is generally a true reflection of classic car ownership.
Using the occasionally hapzard method of sourcing a car via the internet, more specifically auction and classified advert sites, the team will weigh up the pro’s and cons of each cars potential and then using not much more than gut instinct and experience take a gamble. The show relies on translators, live video calls and the benefit of a dependable production team (it is TV after all) but the presentation is light hearted and informative and certainly plants silly seeds in ones head.
Episode one kicks off with a Range Rover, followed by a 1976 Ford Escort sourced in Austria. RWD Escorts values have rocketed in recent years, thanks to it’s formidable rally and race record. However, the team found an Estate model which preversely is the the rarest but possibly the cheapest way to Ford Escort ownership.
The car needed a fair amount of welding however it was for sale for 1800 Euros and it ran ok, which for an Escort was a steal. After haggling (a vital part of any classic car negioatiations) the price was reduced to 1500 Euros. It’s never ideal to buy a car that needs welding as its very esy to under estimate how much needs to be done, but the team were convinced they could turn a profit on this one.
“It’s never ideal to buy a car that needs welding”
After a proper inspection, it was evident that the car needed substantial welding work, which included sills, inner sills, floorpan, rear arches and pretty much the front half of the car. Luckily Tim was able to sort this sizeable task out, partly due to his skills but also the relative ease of finding parts of the Escort. However it still needed serious man hours to get the car ready for auction. Inspired by the sports models, blue stripes and RS wheels, with modified suspension was part of the restoration, as Tom and Jonny felt that was the way to market the car to the right audience.
The results of Tims hard work were excellent. The whole front end is a new panel, with new old stock original wings for a better fit. The quarter bumpers were a nice touch, connecting the car with the rally sport models.
It sold in the end for £3,100, which was a relatively cheap considering the high standard of work carried out to it. Moreover, it was sold to a specialist who provided the parts for it!
The second car on the list was the Escorts Germany rival, the Opel Kadett. Like the Escort, it created an keen following based on its motorsports usage, which was to become a theme for its restoration plan.
The car came without any form of documentation which is a risk but not impossible to resolve
A 1978 Kadett 2 door saloon was found in Spain, but was originally an Irish car meaning it is a RHD example. The car came without any form of documentation which is a risk but not impossible to resolve.
The car was bought for 1500 Euros, and proved to be a decent solid example, that needed some exterior welding but the structure and interior was decent.
The team discovered that the interior was just a bit too nice to strip out, as their original plans was to convert it into a Rally car. The rear arches and front valance was replaced, which again due to the extensive parts availability was relatively straight forward.
The consensus was to keep the car simple, with no overwhelming rally theme but enough for the new owner to still use the car as a blank canvas.
The suspension was overhauled, and the springs were replaced with a drop of 60mm to improve the stance and ultimately the handling of the car.
The Kadett has become a more than suitable alternative to the Escort, as they share a similar format and ability of tunabilty. This was reflected in the final bid price of £3000, with the additional bonus of the paperwork being sorted out.
The main reason why Reallyloud investigated the cars up for grabs at the Lazy Boy Garage was due to the inclusion of the 1971 TA10 Toyota Carina. The Carina was basically a saloon version of the Celica coupe, but has a unique style of its own. Bouyed by Jonnys and Tims enthusiasm of Japanese cars, the crew decided on a Belgian 2 door Carina languishing in a Spanish scrapyard. While that sounds like a recipe for disaster, the Carina proved to be an inspired if an eventful purchase.
The initial prognosis was fairly bad, the car was missing a windscreen and the engine hadn’t been run in 15 years. The asking price of 1,500 Euros sounded optimistic, but Tims fell in love with the rear lamps!
It’s rarity and cool value was the main reason for the cars inclusion, but further investigation into the engine was not as straightforward as hoped. The diagonisis was a siezed engine, with a damaged cylinder head being the issue. Some panel work needed renewing, with Tim opting to repair the wings rather than search for near impossible items to find.
Tim managed to find a new head and got the engine running but then on the morning of the auction, one of the valves snapped which put a damper on the engine running for the first time in 15 years. There wasn’t time to remove the head and replace the valve. Regardless the seats were replaced and a new windscreen fitted and the car sent to auction.
“For a car auctioned without a running engine, £2200 is a reasonable outcome.”
For a car auctioned without a running engine, £2200 is a reasonable outcome. But when you consider volume of work, time and effort gone into finding parts, this was still a bargain. Tim was heartbroken! But a deal was developed…
With a theme of Spanish cars on the programme, it was envitable that they would seek a good Fiesta for the show. This weeks theme is looking at potential starter classics. Corrosion is usually a problem for most unrestored classics in the UK, so the abundance of original rust free cars in Spain is an obvious place to seek cars.
Relying on the usual live chat, they secured a solid looking 1980 Ford Fiesta L for a very reasonable 1,000 Euros. Tom had one as his first car so was slightly biased in buying it but failed to notice the poorly repainted body and the worn seats, the car was solid and the engine ran well, just needing a service.
The houndteeth pattern seats are quite hard to find these days, but is worth retaining as it is an integral part of the Fiesta. The paint was sorted out, with a set of suitable alloys to allow the car to ‘pop’ on auction day.
Sports versions are commanding high values, but due to expense of sorting out the paint, the Fiesta failed to make a profit, selling for £1350.
“The houndteeth pattern seats are quite hard to find these days, but is worth retaining as it is an integral part of the Fiesta.”
Aslightly different purchase for car number six in the series, when the guys turn their attention to something quirky and French, with potential to use as a business tool. The obvious car is a 2CV, but good van versions are fetching serious money. So the natural conclusion is to look for it’s obvious rival, the Renault 4F6.
Another online call to Spain results in securing it for 1000 Euros. The white 1988 model was one of the later ones, which usually suggests later versions of any car are the best ones, in both spec and the chance of finding less rust. The front end was somewhat battered, but importantly the rear van section was solid. The car was also missing the ignition.
The idea was to sell the car to someone who is looking to convert it into a pop-up coffee shop. As the panels were shipped in from a German specialist, the decision to paint the was chosen – a hue that could suits its new potential occupation.
£2,000 was spent on the Renault, but it only made £1,050. On reflection the guys conceived the vehicle as a small seed business vehicle, but failed to attract potential business owners and it ended up in the hands of a Classic car owner.
With the taste of the obscure, the team picked a real rarity. The programme starts with a hunt for a small sporty French car, with Jonny expanding into the Italian market and then settling on a Spanish car. Going through the usual live video conversation, they locate a very solid looking 1975 Seat 133 for 1,200 Euros. The Seat 133 is based on the 60’s rear engined Fiat 850 with a touch of FWD Fiat 127.
The rear engined 133 was briefly imported into the UK, catering for a traditional rear engined Fiat customer, who were looking for a car similar to a 850 but with slightly more modern underpinnings.
The car was a stright forward exercise in cosmetics, the Seat didn’t need any form of restoration
The car was a stright forward exercise in cosmetics, the Seat didn’t need any form of restoration. The money would be spent on go-faster and asthetic details.
The 133 is an unknown element in the UK, and the plan was to create something that could be reversed to original if needed but it’s very difficult to judge the demand of such a car as Seat as brand have a current limited appeal as a collectable marque in the UK.
The cars main issue was its utter simplicity, so a sporty overhaul might help attract attention. With a touch of Abarth flavour, a sports exhaust, a modifed manifold, alloy wheels and a Martini esque stripes offers some sort of presence.
Shipping a car like this from spain costs around £650, which is taken into account when it comes to flipping a car. It broken even at £2,200. The new only suggested that they may well take the decals off, suggesting that the market for originals cars is strong, even for the most obscure of cars.
The guys turn their attention to the 80’s for the next episode, so logically focused on Volkswagen, honing down on a Europe only 2 door 1988 Jetta saloon with a ATS cup wheels from Austria. The interior was very clean, but it was showing signs of age and settled on 1,770 Euros.
The car wouldn’t need any serious refurnishment, with the sagging headlining and wheel restoration, lower springs and replacing a missing tape deck being the major tasks. A headlining was located from a scrapped 4 door – but this is not an easy job to transfer in a 3 box saloon with limited access to the rear, not to mention the fragile nature of restoring it. A Glassfibre solution was used, with the removal of the front screen being the only way to instal it.
The rarity factor of a 2 door saloon should appealed to the VW crowd as the team took a gamble by spending time and buying decent kit to lower the car, not to mention the huge task of replacing the headlining.
“The rarity factor of a 2 door saloon should appealed to the VW crowd”
As a time consuming flip, the final £1700 winning bid was disappointing for the team, having lost £1000 on the car. The fickle nature of luck and foresight illustrates how unpredictable the lower end of the classic car market can be.
A fter the strain of the VW Jetta, the guys return to Spain and back to another Seat. The episode was sparked off by looking for a classic Italian city car, with the original Fiat 500 being the initial idea, but again the prices are way beyond the means of their budget.
The 600 was made under licence in Spain, having been based on the Fiat version. They located a Spanish non runner that last saw the road in 1984. Despite the rust they took a gamble and spent 1500 Euros.
Rather than restore as finsihed article, they would try and get the car running and pass it on as a project. The idea of bringing such an unroadworthy 600 to the UK,is reflected by the values of the similar 500 and 600 Fiat models in the UK, particularly when you consider the Abarth options. Jonny was swayed by the suicide doors, but the general consensus was that they had bought a dog.
As further investigation continued, the car also suffered from a health hazard in the form of mouse droppings literally coating the interior of the car. However, Tim worked his magic and managed to get the engine running but it would need a total overhaul. The bidding ended at £550, bearly covering the shipping costs, let alone the actual price of the car.
T he final car of the series was a return to familiar terroritry. The idea was looking for value for money – metal to cost ratio value for money. They located a Austrian Ford Cortina, which was badged as the Taunus in Europe. This 1977 2.0 V6 Taunus Automatic had a siezed engine but at 1,100 Euros and a reasonably solid looking body a deal was agreed and it was shipped over to the UK.
The interior was excellent and the body had some issues but the engine was the main focus of concern. Finding a replacement 2.0 V6 engine was going to be an issue, as UK spec Cortinas used a different 4 cylinder motor, and the possiblity of finding an alternative represented a problem as it would have robbed the Taunus of its originality. Further enquiries suggest that a similar engine would cost £1,700.
Undetered, Tim continued to work on the engine and discovered the reason for the engine to give up the ghost; a siezed valve and fuel tank blockage. Despite this, the egine would not fire – perhaps indicating a further electrical issue. It was the additional discovery of an after market interior override ignition switch by Tom that resolved the issue and the Taunus was ready for Auction.
The wheels were refurnished and an MOT added, and placed for sale. The outlay of £2000 was not met, as the car sold for only £925 – something of a bargain for a solid Cortina with a mint interior, but its rare engine and LHD may have counted against it. The team also blamed the fact it was not the more desirable 2 door model.
The programmes were originally broadcast in early 2019 on the UKTV Dave channel, as a light hearted and accessible show to appeal to fans of obscure cars and the presenters. While there has been criticism by classic car viewers, the genuine commanderie and passion for cars does come through and makes it worth watching for the inclusion of the Toyota Carina alone!