VSCDA Racer and occasional Chicane contributor Eric Dean is no stranger to stunning Formula Ford and Formula Vee restorations. For his most recent project, Eric has virtually opened up his garage and cracked a few Stroh’s so we can build a 1969 Merlyn Mk11A Formula Ford along with him.
You can really see the level of effort that goes in to making even a simple racing car this well prepared. Whenever I see these time lapse videos, I’m pulled in two directions at once. Part of me looks at these, and thinks, “There. That doesn’t look impossible. This guy is practically doing it by himself.” But time lapse is deceptive. If we slowed this video down and watched even a single afternoon of restoration in real-time, we would start to realize the hundreds of hours of meticulous work that is really behind these restorations.
Television audiences have come to expect that gorgeous automotive restorations can get done in 5 days. I think that devalues the real artistry, engineering, and skill that goes into shaving decades off a car’s age. Making a car as good as it was the day it left the workshop—or better—is no small task. It’s almost an insult to think that anything of this level of quality can be carelessly rushed.
That racers like Eric take on these projects is admirable. That they can then get in the pilot’s seat and put thoughts of the hundreds or thousands of hours of effort out of their minds while they squeeze a few more tenths out of a lap in high traffic… Well, that’s something else. I must be foolish to think that it’s not the risk to life and limb, but the risk of sacrificing all this effort that is some additional bravery.
Congratulations Eric, she’s gorgeous.