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Tonbridge, 13 April 2013

Barkaways held their second annual Open Day on Saturday 13 April, and despite predominantly overcast skies and the imminent threat of rain, a large number of clients brought their Ferraris out for an airing in the Kent countryside. The family business has certainly made its mark amongst UK Ferrari owners, as since its inception in September in 2011, it has attracted a wide variety of the marque through its doors.

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Part of the celebrations of the Open Day was the unveiling of their sparkling new body and paint shop in a building adjacent to the existing premises, as work in the existing facility within the original workshop had expanded so much that a new larger area was necessary to cope with the volume. This is due in no small part to the high quality of the finished product produced, and it speaks volumes for them, that a client recently entrusted one of the ten 275 GTS/4 NART Spiders produced to them for a full bare metal re-spray. The finished car was on display in the main workshop for all to admire. They have also recently completed a full restoration on a highly desirable and rare fifties Ferrari road car, but in compliance with the client’s wishes, this has to remain out of sight until it makes its public show debut, probably later this year. They have recently been entrusted with the restoration of a 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, and this has been stripped to bare aluminium, ready to put it back to its original covered headlight configuration, and was displayed in all its naked glory! Another “high end” Ferrari that has passed through the doors is a 500 Superfast, for mechanical re-commissioning, although this wasn’t present as it had recently returned to its owner.

Two cars that they had restored previously were back once again, as they had been smoke damaged in a fire, although fortunately the fire didn’t touch the cars, but the fumes had caused damage to the paint, chrome and other finishes, necessitating a full restoration once again. Other current full restoration projects include a Dino 246 GTS, a 330 GTC and a 365 GTB/4 “Daytona”. Lest it be thought that they only work on classic Ferraris, they have many clients with modern cars, as could be seen by the display in the parking area, and have the latest diagnostic equipment to cater for all recent models. As mentioned the client parking area contained a wide selection of Ferrari models at the gathering, ranging from a 330 GTS, through a 365 GTC, a Dino 246 GTS, a Dino 308 GT4, 348s, F355s, 360s, 430s, 550 Maranellos, a F40, to a pair of 599 GTOs.

One of the things that the Barkaways Open Day is renowned for, along with the impromptu client gatherings on Saturday mornings, is the delicious fare from Ian’s cousin’s butchers shop, in the form of sausages, sausage rolls and pies, it makes you think that some people only come for the food!

As a finale to the day’s proceedings, the family had organised a surprise “Big Five Zero” birthday celebration for “Le Patron”, and while a client kept him occupied in the adjacent body shop, decorations were quickly put up in the main workshop, a table erected with a birthday cake forming the centrepiece, Champagne and glasses readied for his unsuspecting return. It was a pleasure to see the look of surprise/horror on his face when everybody started cheering as he re-entered the building. They did a great job, with “IAN IS 50” licence plates everywhere, even adapting the Barkaways sign and symbol to incorporate a “50”, and changing “For Your Ferrari” to “For Your Birthday”. Certainly a day that he won’t forget in a hurry, and a fitting finale to a fine day.

For further information visit www.barkaways.com

Keith Bluemel