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Fiennes & Car SOS
– Behind the Scenes

Article by: Hannah in General - 14 May

Car SOS is an incredibly popular TV programme on National Geographic that began in 2013 and is now in its 9th Series. Presented by Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townshend it has captured the hearts and imagination of viewers by restoring vehicles that have been nominated by a relative or friend without the knowledge of their owners who have been unable to complete the restoration because of unforeseen personal reasons. The restoration is led by Fuzz with the support of specialist automotive engineering and restoration companies such as Fiennes Classics and Coventry Boring & Metalling now Fiennes Engineering.

When approached by the show we were delighted to help with the classic restoration project of a 20HP Rolls-Royce and provide the specialist engineering knowledge and skills of Frank Martin and his engineering team plus other divisions in the Fiennes Group such as Fiennes Parts for the urgent sourcing of key components as well as Fiennes Classics for other specialist expertise. Much of the support we provided took place behind the scenes and not always seen by the viewer but we’re happy to have played a part and contributed to the heart-warming end result.   

With Rolls-Royce restoration expertise that is second to none, Fiennes Classics provided technical information on the various aspects of the overhaul for the Rolls-Royce 20hp including some of the mechanical work that was required. We then went on to provide further advice and access to machinery at our Coventry site where part of the programme featured Fuzz Townshend boring and sleeving the cylinder block was filmed. With the use of our workshop, coupled with the knowledge and guidance of our team in the background, all six cylinders were sleeved and returned to their original condition. After filming, the cylinder block and cylinder head were both pressure tested and checked for defects so the restoration could confidently progress.

We also helped with work to the lower end of the engine, that involved re-grinding the crankshaft and repairs to the bearing shells. Both main bearings and con rod bearings were white metalled and machined to suit the re-ground crankshaft.

In addition to this, Fiennes Parts were able to source various second-hand original parts necessary to complete the restoration. We have a large supply of second-hand stock and are world leading experts in pre-war Rolls-Royce models. The technical team at Fiennes Classics dedicated their time to researching the correct parts for the chassis series of the Rolls-Royce being restored by using our vast and unique database along with the original Rolls-Royce list of parts and general arrangement technical drawings to narrow down the search. There are so many variants of the same part used across the multiple years of model production and we always ensure the component parts are correct by using the information and specialist expertise we have at our disposal.

As well as assisting with the main restoration, another Rolls-Royce 20hp was featured being driven by Fuzz and Tim during the programme that was kindly donated for the day by one of our customers. This car has been looked after by Fiennes Classics for many years and is a wonderful example of a different body style Rolls-Royce 20hp. To ensure all went smoothly and as a helping hand, we sent our Workshop Foreman, Pete, along with the vehicle for the filming and had the support of the transportation company, CARS, to safely collect and deliver the vehicle to location and back to us.

If you’d like to see the programme that we were involved in look on Catch Up TV for Series 9 Episode 6 originally shown on April 15. You’ll find it, with the surprise reveal, on the National Geographic Channel.