La Grange: Hidden place for high-lights restoration - My Classic Ride by Ondrej Hajek

La Grange: Hidden place for high-lights restoration

  • November 2, 2016
In the process of classic car restoration, the bodywork is an essential step. Get the most perfect shell clean, straight and without rust is really important and find the guy or the team able to do the job can be comparable as a treasure hunt. Welcome to “La Grange”, a place dedicated to hammers, welding, sheet metal and English wheel.

Magician

Don’t try to find by your own the place where Anthony Suma is doing his magic. As you can read in the title, it’s a hidden place. I follow the work of Anthony since the beginning on his own blog. The first jobs seems so “easy” and also pretty impressive, but the day he decide to cut off completely an ultra-rare Porsche 1952 PreA cabriolet, just to make a perfect restoration… I just think “this guy is really crazy”. And when after 2000 hours of work the Porsche was resurrected like she was as day one, in my mind this guy became in one blitz a Magician. Posting pictures on the net, that’s a cool project (that’s what we do daily on My Classic Ride), but getting in touch in real life that’s what we love. Few mails to Anthony, to be sure that he will accept to meet us and I drive to the South-West France, build this report for your favorite Classic car website. Follow us in this secret place…

Somewhere in South-West France…

Anthony just turns 37 this year and his journey in this work is pretty simple. A huge passion dedicated to classic cars regardless for the Trademark, but with a special affection for old Volkswagens and Porsches, a ten years performing sheet metal work, several experiences in aerospace metal forming and classic cars restoration garages; that’s all the ingredients who decided Anthony to build his own business back in the days in 2013. Set up in an old stone warehouse lost in the middle of fields and forest around “La vallée du Tarn”, he builds a workshop in his own image. Goodies from the past and old tools share the place and the walls, everything in his place and if we look around everything is at the right place. Anthony doesn’t lie to me; his place is really hidden, the only way he found not to be disturbed. A guy able to sit in front of a new project and wait, just wait and appreciate the good shape of a part,to wait again and appreciate the good way to do the job. Clearly “La Grange” is a place where the time and his measurement seem to be something else.

Guilietta

The day before my visit, Anthony just finished an Alfa Coupe Bertone and was currently working on an Alfa Guilietta Spider. The car is in poor shape so he decides to do is magic, cut off the pan, the frame and take off the shell to be able to grow up a perfect body restoration. No body repro parts are available on the market for this one, except if you can find it in N.O.S. condition, so this car will be fully rebuild by hand. A lot of sketches hanged in the workshop, just because Anthony works with an old-school feeling. Cut something, check the thickness, check how it’s made, take some measurements and just think about it and the function on the car, that’s the way Anthony works. Proud to assume something that will be called “Le savoir-faire”. And just because he doesn’t want to hide anything he delivers all his projects just in phosphate primer. The Guilietta was sitting in the middle of the workshop waiting for new parts. The process of cleaning was nearly ending and the rebuild will begin soon. No doubt that in few months this car will get painted, but not by Anthony. For each one, his own job.

It’s time to continue my own road trip and leave Anthony at his work. With a lot of projects in his workshop and in his mind, no doubt that in the next months and years we will heard again about this French sheet metal Magician.

Text and pictures: Cyril Cheval / The Rascals Cats for My Classic Ride

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