“Well that wasn’t what I expected”, I mumbled to myself as i left the Retro Restorer premises.
I had met Nash on Twitter where he posts as @porsche944resto. He has a solid following, posts up current projects, advice and is generally a really nice, helpful guy.
In one of our exchanges I realised he was local too, so, being a big fan of the Porsche marque and an even bigger fan of retro cars, I though I’d pay Nash a visit.
My apologies to Nash because I had built up a preconceived expectation of what a 944 restoration business would look like. A typical garage unit on an industrial estate owned by a typical older mechanic making a living by restoring old front engined Porsche’s.
I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Expect the unexpected.
Rolling up, my hair stood on end as I was greeted by a line-up of 944’s and a 928, all in various states and next to them, the owner Nash Hunter.
Nash was not how I had pictured him at all. He is handsome, well presented, charming and genuine.
I can’t stress the genuine part enough. If I had to sum up the whole experience in two words they would be enlightening and honest. Let me explain…..
The Retro Restorer premises are modest but there is more than enough capacity for the current work flow and to accommodate future growth, with expansion on the cards. There are a plethora of projects on the go and Nash can talk you through each one with conviction, passion and knowledge.
There was an ’86 944 Turbo 220 from a long standing customer in for some rust repairs on the sills, all too common unfortunately, a beautiful ’81 924 Turbo in for full restoration, a Morris Minor slowly being restored by the family and a couple of engines ready for some Retro Restorer TLC plus so much more going on.
Outside, there were several cars biding their time, waiting for their journey of rebirth to begin.
One of the more unusual was the aforementioned early 928. This one’s for Nash, it’s his and therein lies a problem. If i had the funds or opportunities, I would struggle to let cars like these go.
When you see them arrive, sorry and forlorn and you invest time, energy and part of your soul in to them, bringing them back to life, I would want to keep them for myself. Unfortunately Nash has the same affliction and currently has in the region of 8 front engined Porsches himself.
Going back to my opening statement and the two words I would use to sum this experience up, let me elaborate.
Enlightening; unfortunately, after many years in and around the motor trade, I have become cynical. I expect poor service, average workmanship and a generally uncaring, profit driven attitude. Visiting Retro Restorer was like stepping out of the rain and in to the warm embrace of the sun.
Spending time with Nash is a captivating experience. He is well educated and passionate. He has been fortunate enough to find something he loves to do. Most of us will spend our entire lives chasing a dream, Nash is living his.
We spoke about our lives, our experiences and eventually about cars, front engined Porsches in particular. He is genuinely fascinating and somewhat inspirational.
Don’t think Nash is a multi-millionaire empire builder. He lives a modest life, happily.
Honest; You know that sound a garage owner makes, sucking air through his teeth as he breaks the bad news to you about all the different ways he can spend your money, with no real guarantee of fixing the problem? That’s not Nash.
Nash works with his customers, treating them as friends. The journey begins with an honest appraisal of what is required and what is practical within a reasonable budget. Work is carried out to a very high standard by skilled guys working with Nash. They do what is necessary, what is asked and they don’t look for additional ways to make money from you.
Many cars return again and again for staged repairs, rolling restoration style. Some receive full restorations and they even carry out some race preparation for customers.
If you are in the market for a front engined Porsche, I wouldn’t blame you. 50/50 weight distribution, RWD, great build quality and driving dynamics and they’re free from modern electronics, what’s not to like?
Retro Restorer have a bodyshop across town so can carry out anything from a simple rusty sill repair to a full engine rebuild to a full nut and bolt restoration of your pride and joy or even if you want to source a car or buy spares, they can help.
I’ve seen the before and after and can vouch for the work, it is top notch.
If you want more information or want to contact them, they can be reached here;
Twitter – http://retrorestorer.co.uk/contact-us/
Tel – 01295 477108
I think i’m going to keep one eye out for a scruffy, old 924 to run as a rolling resto………