The Advantages of the Modern Coachbuilder (continued...)


The Advantages of the Modern Coachbuilder

Introduction
Materials & Methods
Metals Used
Restoring a Body
Building a Body
Windscreens
Hood Frame
Panelwork
The Advantages...

So what are the advantages of producing a coachbuilt body today as against how your body was built originally? I would imagine some of you have already begun to formulate an opinion.

The most obvious thing to do is to make a comparison. Compare the materials and methods. In real terms, little has changed on the coachbuilding scene anyway. Most modern machinery is only of any use for production runs, and only then after much development and very accurate, high cost jigs have been made, all of little use in the world of 'bespoke' and 'one off'. At best we can utilise tungsten tipped cutters and the like, or maybe a belt sander, but there is little else of significant advantage.

Technology has aided the reproduction and restoration of mechanical parts enormously. Paint technology and all its associated chemicals and compounds have made huge advances, bringing with it incredible improvements to quality and finish to say nothing of health and safety. Computer technology? CAD systems? Well, in a world of beauty and grace, there are essential elements missing, the element of any sort of artistic interpretation or creativity. On the three occasions customers have come to me with computer drawn images taken from original photos, they have all ended up being filed under WPB.

I think that with some of our more stunning body styles, the production is more than a matter of the separate skills involved. It's like looking at a work of art, say a valuable and highly acclaimed marble statue, and only giving credit as a stone mason.

Chassis 1701

Take a moment to reflect on such great coachbuilders as Gurney Nutting, Saoutchik, Letourneur et Marchand, Labourdette, Figoni et Falaschi, and indeed many others. Let us consider some of their incredibly ingenious coachwork designs, things like a fully transformable torpedo, or a state landaulette, some of the most impressive problem solving on many different types of sedanca de ville, even the relatively humble skiff body where the flowing fenders represent the lapping waves against the boat tail. I have lost count of the number of times I have stood in awe of great coachbuilding. It's a matter of great respect (and challenge) to appreciate the incredible ingenuity and artistic interpretation, often at times where there were no guidelines - sometimes the parameters were motivated by lavishness and the need to expose the extent of one's wealth to society.

Having now for a number of years been blessed with the opportunity of restoring and building some of the coachwork we have touched on, I am absolutely convinced that the advantages that are to be gained are ...purely retrospective.

Introduction
Materials & Methods
Metals Used
Restoring a Body
Building a Body
Windscreens
Hood Frame
Panelwork
The Advantages...

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