Here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, this winter has been one
to remember! Record snowfalls, consistently cold weather and
now heavy rains have made us yearn even more than usual for
the first signs of spring.
Here at Ragtops & Roadsters, we've been busy all winter
with our restoration work; our sights are set on some warm
History has taught us that, without fail, we get very busy
after the first nice, sunny, warm weekend of spring. Sometimes
our schedule is full two months out into June!
We believe that many vintage car owners dig out
the garage, move the snow shovels aside and drag the
snow-blower from behind their prized possession. After a
couple of failed attempts to start it, we get the call. This
results in a high demand for our services from many owners all
NOW, before the first couple of warm
days, is the time for you to call us. Taking action NOW will ensure
that you get one of the first spots in line and is actually
the best way to be able to DRIVE your vintage
automobile during the first beautiful warm days of
If you book an appointment before April
1, 2010, we will include
our Comprehensive 40-Point Vehicle Inspection at no additional
Trust me spring is coming�.
Austin-Healey 3000 MK3
This car came to us for paint refinishing and metal repair.
We did a full mechanical evaluation to determine the overall
condition of the car. One complaint the owner had was that the
front end �wasn�t right.�
Sure enough, we found that
the right frame was bent up and in and had evidence of prior
repair.The front crossmember also was bent.
removing some patches, we found that the frame was rusted
through where it was bent. Ultimately, we replaced the front
section of the frame to get the car straight.
As work progressed, some odd repairs were noted on the
underside of the front shroud. The damage to the frame must
have been accompanied by damaged bodywork at the right front.
We repaired the shroud by splicing in a shroud section from
the right rear to the left front. After removing the paint and
layers of filler, we found that the joints were riveted
together and reinforced by pieces of house siding.
Another issue was that the front section between the bonnet
and grille was severely deformed. We made and installed a new
Once these areas were repaired, we proceeded with the usual
sill and rocker repairs on both sides along with correcting
dogleg and lower fender repairs that been done by spot-brazing
and covering with filler. The trunk floor was actually a
laminate of two aluminum layers over the original perforated
floor with heavy undercoating on the bottom.
After paint removal, the lower section of the boot lid was
found to be perforated and was replaced. Time was spent to get
body panel and bonnet alignments better.
After the body repairs were completed, the exterior was
prepared and painted. It is now being reassembled for the 2010
-- Rick Broduer
Custodia, my first employee, is a master fabricator
'panel-beater' who has been here since 1991. He came to the
shop looking for TR-7 parts and I offered him a job. He does
our metal work, straightening and welding and is capable of
creating any body panel that can't be repaired.
Dorian amassed experience from inside and outside the shop,
working on both British and American automobiles. Dorian is
mostly self-taught and learned some advanced metal working
techniques from Kent White of TM Technologies.
Dorian's 1967 Jaguar 420 is awaiting slight modifications
and rust repairs; he also owns numerous Triumphs, including a
convertible GT-6 with a 5-speed gearbox and suspension
February and early March were extremely busy for the
Ragtops & Roadsters crew as we ventured out of the shop,
despite the challenging winter weather, to display cars at
several important shows and events.
Continuing a tradition, we took several cars to the Philly Auto Show. In
addition to giving us a chance to show off our great work, the
show is an opportunity to promote the Concours d Elegance of
the Eastern United States. Unfortunately, the Concours, which
benefits the Burn Prevention
Foundation, won't be held this year as organizers search
for a new location; it's tentatively scheduled for June
One of the four cars we took to Philly was a 1960 Austin
Healy 3000 Mark 1; we re-installed its rare gray interior.
Another was a 1967 Jaguar XKE, which attracted plenty of
It's always neat to see folks come by, especially the kids,
so they can get a close up and personal look at the cars we
bring. We usually see lots of familiar faces, but we also make
plenty of new friends, too.
Next up was the Antique Auto Club of America
(AACA) national meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown
Philadelphia Feb. 12-14. Unlike the Philly Car Show, which
draws more causal fans, the AACA show brought out the hardcore
collectors. Even though snow held down attendance, everyone
had a great time. We brought a '61 Chrysler 300G to this one;
somehow, we managed to squeeze into on a 19-foot freight
elevator -- with a scant few inches to spare -- for the trip
to the fourth floor.
was the British Motor Trade Association
(BMTA) annual conference (Feb. 19-21), which was held
at the Renaissance Hotel near the Philadelphia Airport. About
70 people involved in the British motor trade -- shop owners
and vendors -- participated.
Friday's activities included a tour of the Motorcar Garage of
Maple Shade, N.J. and an open public session featuring Mike
Cook, columnist, newsletter editor and Jaguar NA Archivist. On
Saturday, the group traveled to our shop in Perkasie for lunch
and a tour, then over to Triumph Rescue/British
Wiring in Bally, Berks County, PA.
evening, a banquet was held at The Simeone
Foundation Automotive Museum at the Philadelphia Auto
Mall. Everyone got a sneak peak at the "Best of Britain"
display, an amazing collection of 37 sport and racing cars I
put together with author Jonathan Stein of Hagerty Shop
Insurance. The "Best of Britain" ran through March 14; we're
hoping it will become an annual event, even if the convention
isn't held in Philadelphia.
CBS3 did a story
about "The Best of Britain."
concluded Sunday with a presentation by Bentley
Zionville on transitioning to a second generation and and
lunch/presentation by Hagerty
We were back at the museum Sunday for lunch sponsored by Hemmings Sport and Exotic