The Beaconsfield Workshop

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A visit to The Beaconsfield Workshop (TBW) is guaranteed to raise the heartbeat of any red-blooded car enthusiast. The throughput of its bustling bodyshop amounts to a ‘who’s who’ of the prestige car world, with classic Rolls-Royces likely to be rubbing shoulders with latter-day, Aston Martins, Ferraris and Paganis, not to mention the occasional helicopter. Indeed, arguably the only constant within the South-Bucks premises is the steady stream of Lotus models that come from far and wide to be repaired or restored in what is one of only six Lotus-approved bodyshops across the whole of the UK.

Says TBW co-founder Dave Redrup: “The key is our knowledge and understanding of fibreglass bodywork. Our senior staff can all boast a minimum of 30 years’ experience of working with the material – a level of expertise you are unlikely to encounter in your average all-purpose outfit, which would most likely be completely flummoxed by the restoration requirements of say a Type 14 Elite that’s suffered 60-plus years of deterioration. It is for this reason that we are privileged to be the first choice bodyshop for such main dealers as Lotus Silverstone and Hofmann’s of Henley, and regularly win private custom from right across the UK and as far afield as Scandinavia.”

Typical work includes minor body repairs, the replacement of damaged clams, repaints, or even a complete rebuild around a new chassis. Elises, Evoras and Exiges are the most common Hethel-built visitors to TBW, but over time there’s been a fair sprinkling of Elans, Esprits and Elites, some of which have required complete rebuilds. Major body repairs have on occasion provided the perfect excuse for upgrades, as was the case with the crash-damaged 2010 Evora of renowned Lotus racer Johnny Mowlem, to which the company fitted later specification panels and rear wing and larger diamond-cut alloy wheels before respraying the car in the eye-catching metallic black livery of the Exige LF1.

High-tech facility and old world standards

Seven years ago the company moved from a tumble-down building in the heart of Beaconsfield Old Town to purpose-built premises in the picturesque grounds of a nearby manor house. The opportunity was taken to install the latest operating equipment, including a pair of top-quality STL Cyclone paint ovens, the like of which are rarely found outside of the major franchise networks. Comments Dave’s partner, Martin Hawes: “In addition to using the best appliances we always aim to go the extra mile with our work. For example, while many bodyshops settle for the finish delivered straight from the paint gun, we generally add an extra coat of lacquer to allow for a degree of hand finishing. We apply the same level of consideration to the cars’ owners, being happy to deliver and collect their vehicles within the local area, while for those coming from further afield there is always the offer of transport to and from the local station.

The Beaconsfield Workshop is very conveniently sited, being just four minutes from Jn.2 of the M40 and nine from Jn.16 of the M25, as well as just a short drive from the Chiltern Railway that connects with London and Birmingham and all stops in between. The company limits its Lotus business to chassis and body work, but operates a full service and maintenance facility for Rolls-Royce and Bentley models and those of other premium marques. Full details of the company’s ever-growing portfolio of services can be found at Approaches by email or phone are always welcome, as are personal visits – the TBW kettle is never allowed to cool!