A phoenix rises

2018-06-27 06:01
Kevin Williams with the 1930's vintage DKW he has been entrusted to restore.

Kevin Williams with the 1930's vintage DKW he has been entrusted to restore.

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ABANDONED, neglected and forgotten for 30 years, she languished under a leaky tarpaulin in the suburbs of Durban until an admirer with an eye for vintage beauty espied her, fell hopelessly in love, and paid willingly to whisk her off to his home in Dundee.

Once she was his, the search began for the right person to be entrusted with the resuscitation of this grand old lady. So begins the lengthy and painstaking tale of restoration of this former beauty to her erstwhile grandeur.

The reputation of the fine skill and superior quality work of local master craftsman, Kevin Williams, drew the attention of vintage car enthusiast Uri Weber of Dundee who decided that he had found the person he needed to restore this sadly dilapidated DKW vintage motor car dating back to the 1930’s.

Why, one may ask, would a craftsman specialising in bespoke furniture and antique restoration be given the task of restoring a motor car?

The answer lies in the fact that motor cars manufactured during this era were constructed very differently to modern cars. In this model DKW, approximately fifty percent of the bodywork of the vehicle is constructed of wood.

This is where the expertise, attention to minuscule detail and creativity of a master craftsman would apply.

Williams was given the mandate to restore this sadly deteriorated vintage car to her former beauty and so the daunting task began with the first exploratory dismembering of the vehicle to assess the extent of decay.

Beneath the original vinyl roof covering, within the wooden framework and doors, it became evident that, over the years, many half-hearted and coarse attempts had been made to repair the car’s wooden interior as it had deteriorated.

As the stripping of the vehicle progressed, so the vehicle began to offer up some of it’s history.

A rather battered, but still clearly legible, DKW Spares and Parts manual with details of a dealership in Windhoek, South West Africa was discovered wedged between the springs of one of the front seats.

This was an invaluable discovery because it provided vital information about motor sizes and serial numbers for every part of every year model DKW manufactured in the 1930’s.

The network to source parts has already been cast as far afield as Germany, lending an international flavour to this intricately interesting project.

“The exciting part of working on a project of this nature is that it is like working on a jig-saw puzzle.

Slowly the pieces start fitting together and, in this case, many have to be re-made,” said Williams.

A project of this magnitude is a lengthy process that demands creativity, endless research and a purist philosophy.

“Vintage car enthusiasts tend to be perfectionists who will not settle for anything less than absolute accuracy,” explained Williams.

Taking into account the levels of decay throughout the car, this project could take anything from six months or more to complete.

“What I love most about a project of this nature is that it is absolutely unique.

Furthermore, not only is my craftsmanship being challenged, but the history of the vehicle is a source of endless fascination, research and discovery,” he enthused.

The editorial team of the Gretyown Gazette will track the progress of this fascinating restoration work in anticipation of witnessing this former wreck, once restored to her former magnificence, take to the road again.

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