The “AFTER” photo

The amazing story of Rich’s RED ’69 Convertible 302 Windsor








“The workmanship is fantastic! It’s good to know there are people out there who will do a great job in a reasonable time, and can deliver the quality we all desire.”

The car had started its life in California and then Colorado.

“I first saw this car in 2005 soon after it was imported from USA by Lindsey Sanson. The car had started its life in California and then Colorado. I see Lindsey regularly through work and knew he had gone to a lot or trouble travelling to the ‘states to purchase the car after turning down many others before it. I also knew that if he thought it was a good car then it probably was. It was a very straight unmolested car with almost no rust, and the major appeal to me was that it looked completely original. I told Lindsey the first time I saw it that if he ever wanted to sell it to give me a call.

That call came early 2007.

Lindsey was collecting a nice stable of cars, with another one on the water so something had to go. We agreed on a price and he reluctantly let her go, after seeking many assurances that I would “do the right thing” and “don’t drive it in the rain” and don’t let “just anybody” touch those beautiful straight panels. If you know Lindsey you’ll know what I mean.

With that in mind I was in a bit of a dilemma…

The car was very good, but some parts of the paintwork let down the rest of the car. It drove and braked superbly, but I really wanted to get it rust-proofed and decided on new paint. It also came with a new set of upholstery and new convertible hood so we needed to get these fitted as well. I was not confident to do this myself and so went looking for someone who could do the whole project. My dilemma was I felt that if I gave this car to the wrong people it could come back as an “average” restoration, which would effectively devalue it. Being such a good car to start with I wasn’t prepared to take this risk.

I did my homework…

With few contacts in the paint / panel / restoration field I did my homework asking around the club, reading magazines and generally researching the industry as best I could. One name that kept popping up was Matamata Panelworks. At first it all sounded a bit scary and expensive, but after checking out the quality of workmanship it was hard to argue with. After several meetings with Malcolm and Ian I felt confident that these guys weren’t “just anybody”, would “do the right thing” and would “look after those beautiful straight panels”. We talked about budget and quality expectations on my part and we came to an agreement. Then I dropped into conversation that I would like it back for the convention… in 3 months time. No pressure.!

It was a complete…

The job was a complete rotisserie / engine-suspension-out restoration, but with most of the original parts including all suspension and driveline etc being put back into the car.

The car lived up to its’ reputation by being very straight and rust free ( thanks Lindsey ) and consequently didn’t take much time in the panel shop. I had regular photographic updates from Malcolm throughout the process and visited every couple of weeks to see the progress and make those little decisions on repairs and replacement bits and pieces as the car came back together.

I certainly felt part of the rebuild and was able to discuss options and details at any time.

During this time I found the personalised plate, and then purchased some aluminium valve cover blanks from Etchells, had them engraved with the plate and the painter dropped some candy apple red into the engraving for a nice personal touch. Added to this the only other real deviance from original was a set of 17 x 8 American Racing Wheels “Shelby Cobra” wheels with BFG 235 / 45 / 17. The wheels also came via Matamata Panelworks who hold a Performance Wheels agency.

The car was delivered back…

in pristine clean condition just 12 and a half weeks after I dropped it off. The workmanship is fantastic on what is now a great looking car ( in my opinion of course ) and we ran 2nd in 69 to 73 convertible category at the convention. This car is definitely a “driver” so expect to see it out on club runs this summer. Please feel free to ask any questions about the rebuild process.

We’re not all blessed with the talent or time to be able to restore these classics ourselves ( I have huge respect for the guys that are capable of this ), and so it’s good to know there are people out there who will do a great job in a reasonable time, and can deliver the quality we all desire.”