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Slim's Historic Bentley Undergoing Restoration

Slim's Historic Bentley Undergoing Restoration

Episode 1

Back to Bare Metal: Stripping Panels

Morelli Group founder Challoner "Slim" Moring started life as a coachbuilder and then went on to found his own bodyshop before setting up Morelli with his partner at the time Bert Ellis. They merged their surnames "Moring" and "Ellis" to form "Morellis" 65 years ago. Before that, Slim worked for a company called Harold Radford Coachbuilders and one of the vehicles he worked on was a Bentley Countryman. He used to go to the Motor Show at Earl's Court (as pictured) to sell the cars and drive them to their final destination which could be in the UK or even abroad in Europe. 

When Morelli became successful, and Slim started to have more time on his hands away from the business, he returned to his first career as a hobby. He started to restore classic cars, panel beating the wings and doors to make them fit a chassis or car that he bought - often there would only be a wooden frame, engine, and running gear. He restored several Rolls Royce cars and eventually was able to find a Bentley Countryman to restore, having previously worked for the company that made them and having the connection to the model.

Slim's Bentley Countryman, pre-restoration.

The car was designed as a country gentleman’s vehicle to go shooting (sometimes called a "shooting break") and to carry picnics. The car has the ability to put all the seats down to carry lots of luggage and provide the space required for weekends away and whilst on shoots! Slim himself used to say it was the original and first hatchback, although we have never had this confirmed...

The Bentley and its information was on display at the grand opening of our Training Academy in Coventry - which took place on Slim's 100th Birthday in 2019.

After Slim died in 1984, the car was passed down to his eldest son David Moring who has occasionally used the car for family weddings and events, such as the Slim’s open day. However, it has been some 40 plus years since Slim restored it originally, so it is due a makeover - starting with the paint being removed at Wyndon Motors.

Looking at the image to the right, the old methods of layering loads of primer and filler to correct panel imperfections meant that there was considerable layers of paint and product to remove until the bare metal was revealed. Stripping the car of the larger panels to work on them as individual components was the first job and you can see the car stripped back to the chassis and body with all the larger panels removed.

 This picture of the back of the car shows the hatchback aspect with the tailgate laid down. This would have been load bearing and suitable for sitting on whilst laying out a picnic or having drinks after a day’s shooting. It also made the back cavernous for loads of luggage if touring.

The photo to the right clearly shows the engine with the bonnet and wings removed exposing the inner wings so these can be cleaned and worked on in time. Once the body had been stripped back to bare metal, it was worked on to straighten any dents and imperfections.

The car has since been moved to the Morelli Training Academy in Coventry, where it will be put into primer to get panels ready for paint.

The Morelli Technical Team will be working to finish the job with the help of our suppliers to achieve the best possible paint finish.

To find out more about Slim's history, please read more at Slim's Detailing!

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