Name: Mr. Gerrard
The classic: Ford Consul Mark ll
‘I think everybody has a calling in life. When I was a young boy, I wasn’t particularly interested in school like the other kids. Everything that I know, I’ve taught myself. I think it’s just the way people are, you become good at something in one way or another. I’m good when it comes to car bodywork, that’s my calling.’
Mr Gerrard lives in Northern Ireland with his wife. Together they own a collection of classic cars and motorbikes, both having a shared passion for all things classical. For Mr Gerrard, however, it’s his scarlet-red Ford Consul which is the cherry on top of the classic car cake.
‘I remember when I first saw it,’ he tells us. It was around 45 years ago: a friend of mine told me that there was a Consul for sale in Westhoughton. I went to see it with my wife and just fell in love. I’d been looking for a Consul for a while, so I made an offer but it was rejected. It was so disappointing: I even went back the next day with a change of heart, but it had been sold.’
It didn’t stop Mr Gerrard from continuing the search for his dream car. ‘I kept looking in the Auto Mart and sure enough, after around 4 years there was a beautiful red Consul up for sale in Cumbria. I made arrangements to see it as soon as I could. I remember arriving and the seller opening the door of his garage and seeing the car there. By some stroke of luck, it was the same car! It really was a twist of fate, finding it again.’
Unfortunately for Mr Gerrard, the number plate had been changed on his newly-bought classic. ‘I think the gentleman who bought it in Cumbria wanted to keep the registration number,’ he explains. ‘I did make some enquiries to have the number reassigned to the car, but I couldn’t buy it back.’
Restoring a dream car
For Mr Gerrard, restoring cars has been a long-held hobby and even a small part of his working life. ‘I started restoring cars when I was 17,’ he tells us. ‘One of the first cars I ever restored was a Consul Mark l convertible. I was working on that when I met my wife 58 years ago; that’s why the Consul has always been a special car to me. I remember how long it took to me to find the parts for that Mark l all those years ago,’ he laughs, ‘but I was determined to finish it. And when I did, we drove around in it together. It’s one of my favourite memories, so the Consul will always have a special place in my heart.’
After buying his cherry-red Mark ll almost 40 years ago, Mr Gerrard decided to perform an entire nut and bolt restoration to get it back to its glory days. ‘I’m a bit of a stickler for a thorough restoration job, and meticulous when it comes to bodywork,’ he explains. ‘You do need a bit of mechanical know-how to do something like that, though.’ Luckily, Mr Gerrard is master of most things mechanical, having restored a number of classic cars and motorcycles thought the years, and even building his own house at one point!
‘The effort I put into my Mark ll Consul is just beyond belief,’ he recalls. ‘I really did put my heart and soul into it and despite all the cars and motorcycles that I have owned, it will always be my favourite.’
When it comes to the act of restoring a vehicle so carefully, he has some wise advice: ‘The one thing you need is – aside from the knowledge – is patience. If you’ve got no patience, you won’t get a car like this. It’s all about giving yourself the time to think about it, redo things and also giving the car time to come together. Once you do that, you’ll be able to create something amazing.’
It took Mr Gerrard a total of three years to complete his Consul Mark ll. After finishing the mechanical work and bodywork, he primed it with a rust prevention solution then a zinc chromite primer to make sure the beautiful red colour paintwork stayed in good condition. Mr Gerrard then sent the Consul to a specialist in Chorley. ‘The colour match was exceptional,’ Mr Gerrard says. ‘This was before painters used computerised colour matches, but the gentleman who sprayed the car was a true genius. He was more of an artist than a painter!’