Finch Restoration Run – Oct 14 2022

A group of 40 club members and friends met at our Johnstone Park Clubroom on Sunday morning. Many of us had our “modern vehicles” mainly due to the wet weather forecast. We knew that our destination was Mount Barker and Hahndorf, and coupled with it being winter time, we armed ourselves with umbrellas in the boot and set off on the Old Princes Highway. We travelled via Monarto, Kanmantoo and Nairne to arrive at Oborn Road, Mount Barker-the home of Finch Restorations.
On arrival, we were welcomed by Peter Roberts and his wife Harbinda, the owners of Finch Restorations since 2014. Peter informed us that they have expanded the business which now has 5 specialized workshops, 4 located at the Oborn Road light industrial precinct and one at Woodside, which is the Woodside Powerhouse where mechanical work is carried out. They employ 30 people who carry out the many facets of vehicle restoration. We were given a guided tour of each workshop. These consisted of a vehicle dismantling and storage area; a repair and panel fabrication area; a timber framing and motor trimming area and a painting and vehicle assembly area. Some of the specialized aspects of restoration are subcontracted out, such as re-chroming of “brightware”. Some of the “old school” skills are being lost due to the retirement of skilled tradesmen. Peter has an 85 year old man who, as an “old school mechanic” is called upon to recast white metal engine bearings for vintage vehicles.
We were given an insight into the history and restoration plans for many of the 30 plus vehicles currently in his workshops. These range from complete ground up restorations to concours standard, which could cost up to $250 to $300K, to repairs and modifications. Some of the projects viewed were a 1970s Ford Falcon coupe purchased as a “barn find” for $300K and undergoing a total rebuild. A Ford GT 40 being modified for wider wheels (flared guards) for a Canadian owner. A 1930s SS Jaguar being built, the chassis and body from the original factory design and specifications and an upgrade to the engine with a supercharger. This vehicle is being built for the owner in Florida, USA. The majority of Finch’s work is for interstate and overseas vehicle enthusiasts. Their restorations have a worldwide reputation. A Hispano Suiza restored by Finch’s won the Pebble Beach Concours in Cailifornia, USA. This car was originally in a Murray Bridge chicken shed in the 1970s (but this is another story in itself).
The 1 and1/2 hour tour hosted by Peter was very interesting to all the car enthusiasts but for those who wished to “take a break,” Liz organized tea and coffee, cake and biscuits with assistance from Harbinda. Thank you for your efforts, it was much appreciated. After thanking our hosts for allowing us to view their business we departed for Hahndorf. There, we enjoyed a good 2 course lunch at the Old Mill Hotel which was excellent value for $20.00/head. We had good fellowship within our group prior to everyone departing at about 2.00pm. Some of our group headed for home and others visited the sights and attractions of Hahndorf and beyond. Although the weather appeared threatening with dark clouds during the day it was fine throughout the day. Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Finch Restoration run.
Claude & Liz Minge