Classic Car Articles
It’s a story that’s heard time and time again. In fact it’s as old as the automotive industry itself. An enthusiast is dissatisfied with the work undertaken by someone, so they set out to do their own and eventually find themselves in business doing the work themselves. Way back in time, that’s how Packard started in 1898 when the brothers Packard were so dissatisfied with their two-cylinder Winton they set out to build something better.
Fast forward ninety years and Sydneyite Greg Morris found himself in similar circumstances when he was highly dissatisfied with work done on his 1957 Chev sedan and Holden Torana. So shonky was the work, that Greg swore there and then never to trust any of his cars to another restorer.
Like most of us Greg has a life-long affection for older cars and while being peeved with so-called experts he decided to set up shop in the vehicle restoration business. Easier said than done, as we know, but Greg had been involved in older cars for some years during which he had become quite a dabbed hand at spanner wielding and general fettling.
Back in 1982 Greg introduced himself to the world of the Chevrolet Corvette when he bought a 1972 Big Block Auto and his affection for older vehicles started to focus on what has become America’s greatest sports car. To many, the path ahead may not have been clear, but for Greg, he wanted to know everything about one make and model and definitely not a little about a lot. Greg wanted to restore Chev Corvettes and in 1987 that’s what he set out to do with great enthusiasm.
“I was very busy right from the beginning.” Greg Morris told Classic Car Gurus. “For instance if you had a Mazda you wouldn’t take it to a Holden dealer for work, would you? The same goes for Corvettes, as owners want to talk and deal with someone who knows what they are talking about. People are more comfortable at dealing with a specialist.”
Greg’s first job was on a customer’s 1972 C3 and when Greg started Corvette Restorations it was in a smallish 3000sq ft free standing building in the Sydney suburb of Taren Point. His high standard of work quickly meant that it was time to move on and in 1990 Greg moved to his current 700 sq metre premises in Stacy Street, Bankstown.
“There is more than enough room here.” Greg added. “I can fit up to 12 cars at once and there is still plenty of room. Plus there is all the equipment we could possibly need including lathes, hoists and blasting booths. As far as Corvettes are concerned my son Brad and I do everything, except repainting, which we leave to the owner to organise. We do trim too, however I should say that with Corvettes everything is available in kit form from the US. It all fits straight in except for the dash, which of course is RHD and we make that.”
“A restoration means just that. The car is completely stripped right to the chassis which is repaired, blasted and then powder coated. We then continue by fitting new suspension bushes and the components themselves that have been blasted and painted. We rebuild the engine and transmission or any other mechanical component. We are also experts where it comes to the repair of the fibreglass bodywork. When it leaves us for paint it is in perfect condition. After the paint we can also arrange for the engineer’s inspection.”
Greg says that the work on Corvettes is divided between conversions and restorations, with a conversion taking around 8 weeks while a restoration can take anything from 7 months to a year depending on the amount of work required.
“Conversions can be tricky.” Greg said. “Everything has to be positioned exactly or else the next part doesn’t fit correctly and so on. While some of the right hand drive components come straight out of the GM parts bin there are still some that we have to make ourselves. We can convert any Corvette right through to a 1989 C4.”
When visited by Classic Car Gurus there were six Corvettes undergoing a mixture of work from conversions to a full blown restoration. There were 3 1980 C3s, 2 1970 C3s and a lone C4 from 1986.
In addition to attending to the Chev Corvette, Greg and Brad also carry out specialist automotive abrasive blasting. Greg was at pains to point out that it’s not an abrasive blasting business that does the occasional automotive component, but quite the opposite. It’s automotive orientated first and foremost that includes such components as panelwork where the operator has to know what they are doing. Greg also added that he has a soft spot for early Chev trucks and has been known to restore the occasional example.
If you’re into Corvettes and looking for someone who speaks your language give Greg Morris of Corvette Restorations a call on 0418 440 131.