Old Range Rovers, Defenders even Discos are being given a new lease of life thanks to Kingsley Cars in Oxford. Owner Damon Oorlof has over 20 years experience lovingly restoring Range Rovers but admits the passion started at the age of 6.
Growing up just down the road from the Solihull factory he avidly collected brochures and posters whilst watching the shiny new vehicles pass by. Once old enough to drive he brought a Land Rover and lovingly restored it to its former glory but couldn’t stop at one. Before long Mr Oorlof was surrounded by Land and Range Rovers and his hobby turned into a business.
Finding like-minded fanatical colleagues has earned Mr Oorlof and Kingsley Cars Ltd a lot of respect in Range Rover Restoration.
Their enclosure is a mass of Range Rovers in varying states of disrepair all waiting for the magic Kingsley touch. Customers send some in whilst others are stock destined for the showroom.
Being enthusiast there are no half measures for Kingsley Cars, this is about ensuring these quintessentially English motors last for another generation. Due to the Range Rovers method of construction of alloy panels fitted over a steel shell they do have a weakness that is not immediately obvious to the eye – corrosion of the internal structural body shell which can be terminal, even on a car whose external painted panels look good. To understand the full depth of corrosion they remove the front wings, the rear wings, the sill covers and the decker panel, when rust is found the team do not simply patch it over they cut it out.
Appreciating customers are all different Kingsley Cars have 2 styles of restoration.
‘Resto-Mod’ is a modernised restoration. A car is stripped to the body shell, which is then separated from the chassis. Every single individual component is removed, cleaned, refurbished or upgraded, the body shell is completely refurbished, wheel arches and the under body are protected with the latest anti-corrosion treatments and then painted. Chassis is fully refurbished, cavity waxed and anti corrosion protected before a new engine, rebuilt gearbox and all of the running gear fitted before the restored body together with the new interior are fitted. The process takes around 1100 hours and the result is essentially a reborn, uprated Range Rover Classic.
They are able to produce vintage Range Rovers with the body of a 1970s classic with nothing, to a 21st century technology motor all tucked underneath the bonnet.
The second type of restoration is a lighter refurbishment where the car remains standard, “we check and service the car mechanically, refurbishing or replacing all faulty items. The alloy body panels are removed and all corroded areas like the inner wings, sills, body mounts, rear cross member etc. are either repaired or replaced. We then either repair or replace the body elements including the doors, wings, bonnet and tailgates and then paint all of the panels off the car (as it was originally painted in the factory) in the original body colour. The process takes between 450 and 650 hours – the result is a Range Rover that has no corrosion, externally looks like new but all items operate without fault”.
If you just want to peruse Kingsley Cars forecourt their restored vehicles have genuine low mileage, fully service/MOT history and were purchased because of the minimal corrosion they had, their rarity or the vehicles historical significance.
Mr Oorlof comments “Generally the body shells are not covered in Dinitrol (we never use waxoyl as it dries out) until they have been sold so that the rust free condition can be validated, after confirmed the car can be fully corrosion protected for the new custodian.
Recognising we spend most of our time inside our vehicles Kingsley Cars Ltd also offer bespoke interior repairs. They can replace headliners with the option of soundproofing, wood veneers, leather trims, seats even carpet.
If you’d like to just upgrade your classic Range Rover’s audio system Kingsley Cars Ltd can fit a professional sound system as well as an Apple ipad mini integration, again bringing your Range Rover into the 21st century.
If you’re looking for that extra special addition, hospitality cases can be designed to fit neatly into your boot to discreetly carry hunting gear from guns to fishing tackle or your favourite tipple.
Probably fair to say if you love our classic British Range Rovers or Land Rovers and want to preserve or modernise then Kingsley Cars Ltd are waiting to welcome you and your vehicle into their family.
You can visit Kingsley Cars here