A hundred years ago, in a busy workshop in southwest London, a panel-beater raises his hammer. He brings it down with a thwack, then sets up to repeat the motion. There is a tiny flaw on the surface of the hammer. It leaves a unique mark, an imperfection as distinctive as a fingerprint.
Today, in a nondescript workshop in North Vancouver, a moment’s brief pass with sandpaper removes the oxidation from a sheet of aluminum. There the century-old marks are, a row of evenly spaced strikes, each made by the hammer of a long-dead craftsman.
The panel is a fragment of the body of a 1922 Bentley 3 Litre, chassis No. 61. It is currently in the very early stages of being rebuilt by RX Autoworks, a small but successful restoration firm in Canada. The team here has turned out cars that have won at every prestigious concours event, from Pebble Beach to Monaco to Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como. The machines they work on are rolling works of art.
But RX’s small crew are not artists; they are craftsmen. They deal not in the abstract, but in steel, aluminum, oil, and leather. They make things the way they were done by the workers who assembled these cars when they were new. Perfection is not the goal. Authenticity is. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.