The Richards of England workshops
Richards of England are currently spread across five buildings, standing at a combined size of roughly 8500 sq. ft. The buildings, which are beautifully dressed in cedar wood, each have separate roles and have been expertly designed inside to fit their purpose. Once a car begins its restoration at Richards of England, it doesn’t have to leave their premises until the car is handed over to the client. This is reasonably uncommon and you’ll often find restoration companies have to transport a car to other companies for certain processes. For example, ROE have an on-site fabrication shop, trim shop and paint booth. This means ROE can provide their customers with complete transparency, allowing them visit at any point during a car’s restoration.
The main workshop is spread over two floors and is split into various departments. At the rear of the building, within its own enclosed space, sits the strip down area where comprehensive restorations begin their journey. As you walk towards the front of the building you’ll pass various other bays and ramps, catering for everything an Aston Martin may require. All the mechanics at ROE have a broad skill set, however, they each acquire their own specialism. For instance, Sam is an electrical expert with the ability and experience required to build wiring looms (when not available), along with solving any electrical issues that present themselves.
ROE typically do not stock and sell new parts, however they still have an on-site parts expert in the main workshop (ex-Newport Pagnell). It’s his job to research and help feed the workshops with parts, whilst also sourcing original parts. ROE’s wealth of knowledge means that they are able to source even the rarest of parts. This is becoming a pivotal piece in the restoration wheel as fewer and fewer original parts become available.
The trim shop is also built into the main workshop and is another department seldom seen at restoration companies. The owner of Richards of England (Paul) actually started the business solely as a trim shop and remained their lead trimmer until a few years ago. These days Paul has taken up more of a workshop manager role, ensuring the work is at a concours level by personally checking and road testing every car. That being said, he does occasionally jump back into the trim shop to assist.
The fabrication shop is only a stone’s throw from the main workshop, a 15 second walk to be precise and it’s a hive of activity. From hand forming panels with the English wheel to MIG/TIG/Spot welding, the fab shop is a fascinating and an undeniably important part of the restoration process. Not only do the cars need to be structurally safe, the staff also need to have the knowledge and skill required to ensure they capture the key details relevant to each different model of car.
Lastly, next to the fab shop is their body shop, home to ROE’s award winning painter Ash. Funnily enough, it’s not the hours they spend on painting that has won ROE so many awards. It’s actually the time and skill that Ash puts into the preparation that achieves such a high quality finish. Like Ash explains, “across the 400 hours that a car can spend in the body shop, less than 40 hours is actually spent spraying the body and other panels in the final colour.” This is staggering given that a car enters the body shop fully fabricated. The majority of the time is actually spent priming, blocking and finessing body lines. These key elements during the preparation stage sees the body shell go through 3 different stages of priming between resting periods. This also includes the bodyshell being built up with all the brightwork whilst in primer to ensure all gaps and tolerances are precise.
Of course, ROE’s workshops could be discussed in considerably more detail. They could expand on the processes that are encountered whilst a car is with ROE for restoration, or even just regular maintenance. However, they recommend arranging a visit to their workshops instead and feel this is the best way to truly appreciate what they offer. They would prefer you to see the facilities in person and meet their technicians on a private tour with Paul, the owner of ROE.
They look forward to welcoming you very soon.
James Taylor | ROE Marketing Manager