Robbie’s Fellowship enabled him to study his coachbuilding trade with traditional Coachbuilding shops in the United Kingdom. England remains the spiritual home of coachbuilding, and especially in a concentrated area of the Midlands and South-East, produces the absolute finest steel and aluminium car bodies in the world.
Robbie’s travels took him to Surrey to meet Carl Neville, ex AC Cars. Carl introduced Robbie to Chris Eva who restores and produces replica Ace bodies. Robbie then travelled to Leamington Spa to work with JME Healeys in the historic Cape Works building to learn about the famous marque and the world-renowned work the company has achieved.
To further his own skills in the craft of shaping sheet metal, he worked under the guidance of some of the best Panel Beaters in the world. In Northampton he worked with Shapecraft Classic Motor Bodies; in Stanwick, Northamptonshire, he worked with Luke Chapman and his father Brian at Chapman Classic Panels. In Olney, Buckinghamshire, Robbie worked with Bodylines Ltd alongside craftsmen who had worked for either Aston Martin in Newport Pagnell or Airflow Streamlines of Northampton.
Robbie visited Daniel Kostakakis, a fellow Australian working at Aston Martin Works and then travelled to Coventry to work with Darren Welsh of Creative Classics and onto Nuneaton to spend a day with James Smith of RS Panels. He then headed south to the hamlet of Ower in the New Forest District of Hampshire to work with Vic Mouland and Gary Yates, whose company Mouland & Yates, specialises in the manufacturing of bespoke car bodies.
All these companies had a history of learning skills from great tradesman of the past and in turn were passing it forward to the next generation. The tradesmen Robbie worked with all showed him ways of working that he had not seen before, and each part of England introduced him to different styles and techniques of panel beating. Robbie’s report was written to help share some of the knowledge which may have otherwise remained lost to Australians. He hopes the report can inspire others to push themselves and for it to help continue Australia’s culture of superior work and craftsmanship.
Robert's report has been laid out in booklet form. If you wish to print the report, we recommend doing with page layout set to 'fit to page' and double sided printing 'flipped on short edge'.