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ISSUE 259: For those who missed my last update, my 1989 MkI Toyota MR2 is currently in Country Durham having some critical bodywork repairs carried out. The metal where the roof meets the windscreen was showing signs of corrosion that (with the windscreen out) has turned out to be much more extensive than either I or Paul Woods of Toyota MR2 specialist Woodsport had imagined. Where it was believed a couple of patch repairs might be needed, the reality was that the entire edge, the width of the windscreen, would need to come out. After all, a few phone calls to Paul’s trusted contacts that dismantle MR2s for spares would result in a panel from a suitable donor. Except it didn’t. Every car currently available turned out to have rot to either a similar or worse extent, leaving Paul with no choice but to fabricate the panel from scratch. It occurred to me that (hypothetically) if Paul wasn’t around, available or any longer in business it would present me with a problem. Sure, there are plenty of skilled professionals out there which, while maybe not as familiar with the MR2 as Paul is, are capable as carrying out the work to his high standards. Equally though, these professionals are a dying breed and when the work is being carried out to structural parts of the bodywork (as it is in my case) it is even more important that the work is carried out correctly, for reasons relating to safety first and foremost, but also the costs that future owners would incur if the work isn’t completed to a professional standard. I have always appreciated the need for more restoration apprentices within the historic vehicle movement – and I applaud the likes of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) and Leeds City College for all they’ve achieved this year towards achieving this – but this is the first time the point has been really hit home for me. Hopefully, 2015 will not only see my MR2 back on the road but also more colleges taking up the FBHVC’s OFQUAL-accredited restoration and apprenticeship scheme and the take-up for Leeds City College’s weekend workshop seminars continuing to grow.

Chris Hope, Editor