I’m not going to hark on about Bad Bernie’s coachtrimming background, as you’ve no doubt heard all about his work at some point in the past. Similarly, I’m not about to wax lyrical about the previous ‘Gene Berg UK’ incarnation of this ’67 racecar – this feature is all about the fully-overhauled Stitch Up gasser that Bernie is racing and developing right here and right now.
Another thing I’m sure of is that Bernie will not be thanking me for sharing information I had promised to keep close to my chest. I’m talking about a personal goal Bernie had set himself (and had only shared with a few close friends) – to lay down a 10-second pass some time before his 60th birthday. However, given the fact that he fulfilled this dream just a week before his own self-imposed deadline, I’d like to think he’d overlook this minor indiscretion and accept all our congratulations on such an impressive achievement!
Anyway, let’s get back to the plot. At the end of the 2004 VWDRC season, Bernie decided it was time to totally rework his ’67 – with not only an all-new powerplant, but also a whole new look. Never one to rest on his laurels, Bernie soon stripped off the old decals and Berg-style livery and replaced the upright headlight wings with earlier, sloping headlight versions, supplied and painted by Simon Emery of the Paintbox (01376 573463,) who was also the man responsible for the initial restoration, lightening, modification and even refinishing of the car in its first guise.
We should also mention that the fully-restored and race-prepared ’shell was still in first-class condition – the perfect basis for a period-inspired restyle, courtesy of Neil Melliard of ProSign fame (020 8773 4614). Bernie explained: ‘I wanted to capture the spirit of legendary cars such as Tar Babe, and Neil knew exactly where I was coming from.’ Bernie decided that, given his background, Stitch Up was the perfect name for his all-new racer – and asked Neil to create a suitably ‘period-style’ design for the ’67. Neil Melliard is the main man when it comes to custom signwriting and period pinstriping yet, despite this renowned reputation, We were still blown away when the finished article was eventually unveiled!
Using traditional techniques, Neil laid real gold-leaf ‘flakes’ over the paint surface to create the face of the design and has finished the lettering with some careful pinstriping and a burgundy dropped shadow.
Period-style lettering advertises not only some Newbury-supplied products, but also the names of those that have helped to make this project a reality. As a neat finishing touch, Neil also redesigned Herr Newbury’s trademark logo – and ‘Bernard Newbury Auto Interiors’ is now being proudly displayed on the scooped engine lid. Incidentally, look out for this all-new design on future interior retrims, stickers – and even the recently-overhauled website (www.bernardnewbury.co.uk).
The new 2005 racecar is more than a visual overhaul, though – just about every part of this car has been reworked in some way.