Richard Emery, Director of Key Wealth Management, started restoring classic cars 35 years ago and since then, it’s been a lifelong passion that’s brought him quality time with his family and developed skills he never thought he’d be using.
We recently caught up with him to find out where this all started and how many cars he’s given a new lease of life.
“It all started when my late father in law bought an Austin Healey Sprite for my, then, girlfriend. We travelled to Halifax to purchase the car from a retired teacher and it was a complete wreck.
“There was grass growing all the way through the car and I just thought, where do you even start with something like this.
“It took several years to get the car back up to running order. In fact, we were married by the time the car was up and running. And, the only reason we gave the car up was because our son was born.
“As well as cars, I also restore bikes and currently, I’m building a custom bike based upon a classic 1970’s Ducati Imola racer. They’re a lot easier to deal with than the car restoration projects. No crawling around under rusty body shells on cold winter evenings! However, that hasn’t stopped me picking up other car projects since the Austin Healey Sprite.”
“My son was the inspiration for the next classic car project. Around the time my son turned 11, Harry Potter became a huge hit and he was constantly being told how much he looked like the fictional character. He even won competitions as a Potter lookalike with Specsavers and was featured in the local press.”
“I decided to buy the classic Ford Anglia which is a car any Potter enthusiast could spot a mile off. I began fixing the car up, and once it was done, traveling to shows around the country with my son who would be dressed up as the boy who lived! It’s something we both really enjoyed and have fond memories of. One memory of the Anglia was driving it across the North Yorkshire Moors with my daughter and I singing the theme tune to ‘Heartbeat’ at the top of our voices.
“My next project was the restoration of a Triumph Spitfire and that was a real labour of love - taking 6 years to complete. I bought the car for £250 as a wreck and completely stripped it back and built it back up from nothing. A total nuts and bolts restoration. By this stage, I’d learnt welding, spray painting, upholstery, engine mechanics and electronics.
“I’m really proficient in these areas now, and it’s all self-taught through trial and error, books and YouTube. I had a bit of experience working in a car paint shop on a Saturday as a teenager but that was prepping cars ready to be sprayed, nothing to this scale.”
“Once the cars are painstakingly restored, I might take them to a few North Yorkshire classic car shows. But, would I take any of them on a long road trip, I don’t think so. I really prefer to rely on my new tech when it comes to the big drives.”
Good luck with the next bike build Richard, we can’t wait to see the finished result!