"Why settle for less when there's a demand for excellence"
Chris Pursall - Director
Chris Pursall - Director
Prestige Paintworks was set-up in February 2009 by Chris Pursall after 25 plus years working at accredited bodyshop and accident repair centres in the South East, including a nine year period at a BMW approved bodyshop.
With employers’ focuses and fixations on profit margins rather than the quality of the work produced it seemed that opening a facility that could deliver an excellent service backed with a superb product would in time be realised.
Since the company was set-up Chris hasn’t looked back, using his now 35 years of experience, has the ability to know a good job from a bad one when estimating a vehicle for restoration.
We don't do fixed price restorations here as some restorers are doing, how can you charge the same price for a fairly original car that needs a facelift to a barn find that needs everything doing?
How is that remotely fair or even sensible? Someone has paid over the odds for one but not nearly enough for the other.
Each restoration is unique with its own hidden secrets and issues so therefore goes through a step by step process where its broken down into key stages and assessed, sure each project shares some commonality with another but in each case will be evaluated and judged on its own merit before any decisions are made and a plan to move the project forward drawn up.
Employing a team of highly skilled panel beaters, painters and engineers who all share Chris’ methodical, detailed and thorough approach, Prestige Paintworks is becoming renowned for its work within the automotive restoration industry for being anything but the norm. With such a high level of quality and detail especially for the Jaguar and Aston Martin marques, leading marque specialists are entrusting Prestige Paintworks with workflow they themselves cannot cope with. Popularity is growing for the zero compromise restorations too with clients clearly recognising the difference between a fixed price option that has limitations to a zero compromise that is only limited to ones imagination.
Chris is still as hands-on today with restorations as he was over nine years ago at the start and now with nearly 35 years of experience and a broad skillset can himself cover everything from strip and fit, metal fabrication including English wheeling panels to the preparation and painting of the cars so his labour is invested where its needed the most. These days the final preparation that goes into achieving a Prestige Paintworks standard paint job is split largely between Chris and his brother in-law Mark to maintain the highest quality and continuity required with the final finish on the cars ultimately painted by Chris himself who's passion, endless enthusiasm and quite possibly a large helping of OCD achieve the end results you see today. Combine that with our duty of care we ensure that every vehicle is looked after from start to finish, we encourage the owners to call in as often as they can too to see the progress being made on their project and to be an active part of the restoration journey. Not all our clients are local or even in the country so we've also done live videos too.
A brief bit about myself:
I started as a YTS trainee for a small family garage back in '83 and working there probably plays a large part in the way I am today in terms of work ethic. Everyone helped out so although you had a 'skill' you were also pretty good at all the others aspects of vehicle body and restoration too and so you were always kept busy. Back then it was a mix of trade work, general accident repairs with resprays and minor restorations fairly common too. It's in the latter I was 'happier' if that's the right term. I wasn't interested in banging out trade work like a lot of people were, I wanted to get stuck right into the bigger meatier size jobs and that's never really changed to be honest. Back then doing your own stuff after hours was ok too so I got to learn how to get out of trouble fast when your repainting a car on your own at weekends and its gone wrong. I learnt pretty fast I can tell you.
I left there in '87 to try and see how other people were doing things and utilising some of their techniques to broadened my skillset so that in time I could become pretty versatile. Wherever it was I worked I lent into the bigger labour intensive jobs. I spent 9 years at Leeds Motors in Eastbourne from the early 90's firstly as a panel beater doing a fair amount of Cellette Jig work then later as a painter. During that time there were always people wanting motorbikes painting in GP colours or repaints on cars etc so I've always been into the bigger jobs and never get that sense of being overwhelmed by the size of the job, I just get on with it.
Over time the type of jobs you take on after hours change and looking back I've got to work on some pretty cool things, an Arrows F1 car was probably the coolest one I have to say. It was working on the nicer stuff that steered me towards the high end market, high labour input jobs are where I'm comfortable and I'm wise enough to know that the values of Aston's Jaguars and Ferrari's are a few of the cars that can justify the hours it takes to turn out the right result.
It seemed at some point I would start my own business but it took till 2009 for it to feel 'right'. With the help of my wife Gina's family (thanks Mr & Mrs T) I set up shop and haven't looked back. I started on my own initially but as more work came in more hands were needed to cope. I outgrew my old place and although it served me well it just wasn't the right setting for the type of customers I wanted my business to appeal to.
A business loan from a client (you know who you are, thank you) prompted a move to where we are today in a modern secure building and now a modest team of 5 with no immediate plans to grow any bigger, I have no ambition to build a big business with lots of employees that takes a large volume of work to feed it, I simply want to offer a service that's more personal than most in as much as I've had input through the entire process, in turn maintaining the quality and detail throughout that process so for me keeping the headcount small is a major factor. By staying small it only takes a couple of full restorations to make a big difference to the dynamic in the workshop. It's just not possible to achieve the results I expect with more staff than I have because its impossible to keep control of the quality when you have people who want to do things 'their way' which in my eyes defeats the point of setting up a company to do things the way I believe they should be done.