The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

| 23 Feb 2022
Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

When Bristol owner Ian Warrener was told by his doctor in 2006 that he was going to need both his hip and knee joints replacing, it seemed like a good moment to step back from the property game and return to his first love of cars.

He had dealt in and restored a number of classics as a young man in Wales in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

“So I sold the property business,” he recalls, “dodging the bullet of the 2008 recession that would have sunk me, and then rented a railway arch in Herne Hill to concentrate on my old-car projects, mainly Astons, Bentleys and Bristols.

“I’ve always been interested in restoring things, be it buildings or classic cars, but I’m an organiser rather than being hands-on.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

Harry Warrener puts the finishing touch on some refreshed front seats

In 2016, what had until then been a hobby became more serious when Warrener’s son Harry joined the team.

Having tried a variety of jobs, Warrener Jnr had never found anything totally satisfying, although he already knew he wanted to work with his hands.

“He was always good at taking things apart,” explains Ian, “and putting things back together, which is how you learn. And because I had a full-time trimmer, he was able to teach Harry the basics.”

“Over the past five years he has progressed to the stage where he can do a complete interior rebuild,” Ian continues. “That means leather, carpets, headlining – even restoring steering wheels.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

An Aerodyne Bristol has its replacement headlining fitted

Prior to his recent career change, Harry was working in retail but making some extra money shotblasting parts in Herne Hill.

“After a while, I noticed everyone I was working with had really rough hands,” he smiles, “so I looked around for something else to do. I thought trimming looked a lot more enjoyable.”

Although interiors are the team’s main focus, One-to-One is happy to work with the electricians, panelbeaters and painters that are part and parcel of putting a handmade car from the 1950s or ’60s back together.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

New door seals for this V8 Bristol

Key to this ability is 78-year-old Albert Marriott, a joiner by trade who worked with Warrener Snr in his previous life.

When we visited, Marriott had just finished sorting the hood on a super-rare Bristol 402 Convertible – one of just 26 (or possibly 28) built – that arrived in the workshop as a box of bits.

“These cars have a lot of wood in them,” he explains. “The door panels, body frames, polished dashboards and door cappings – and I can do that sort of work quite quickly; it’s the final reassembly that takes the time.”

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

Warrener Jnr checks the fresh hides

The firm’s current shopfront in Beckenham, Kent, has proved a good location because a lot of the Bristol owners that form the bulk of its business live in the capital.

One-to-One doesn’t want to get involved in modern vehicles, but the Warreners are making an exception for the two unfinished Bristol Fighters currently being put together by Spencer Lane-Jones.

They can also supply specially remade Bristol parts such as the centre badges for the Avon safety wheels fitted to the 411, chromed wing-bay keys and braided leather straps for the glovebox doors.

Classic & Sports Car – The specialist: One-to-One Trimmers

Measure twice, cut once remains the mantra at One-to-One Trimmers

On the subject of cost, Ian reckons keeping customers in the loop is the priority.

“That was one thing that annoyed me when dealing with other specialists – I didn’t always feel I was being kept informed; there is no excuse for that today with the likes of WhatsApp.

“We will always give you a ballpark figure first, but if that’s three hours’ labour and it turns out to be 10 you have to let people know.”

Ian admits that One-to-One was never meant to be a business, but since Harry joined it has turned into one: “It’s his firm, really – I’m just providing guidance and organisation. Plus I get the satisfaction of watching his skills develop and seeing happy customers.”

Images: Will Williams

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