London, England, people going about their daily business shopping, walking, running unsuspecting, because little do they know that somewhere beneath their feet is a subterranean garage, Dreams.
This is winged rock The top of the tree or perhaps the deepest depths in car storage.
It's a bit like a virtual computer game garage brought to unbelievable life.
Each of these automotive artefacts is kept in a permanent state of redness so that the owners can whisk them away at the drop of a hat As tantalizing as it is seeing most of the cars covered up privacy obviously being paramount for many of the clients, it is also rather fun walking along the rows of shrouded supercars playing a game of guess what lies beneath, a roofline here a headlamp there a hint of wheel or protruding bonnet.
Of course, some are rather more easily disguise than others.
There is another facility like this somewhere in the Cotswolds, and the man who set it all up is Tim Earnshaw.
Was still at school he rebuilt a Land Rover gearbox and then made a Morgan replica using MGB as a donor, not the Blondie.
He then spent a while working in Formula One with Ferrari for giving up motor sports madness circus for this But it's fair to say that he's brought more than a little bit of a meticulous F1 Ethos to the way the cars here are cared for them.
Tom, thank you very much for showing us around here.
I thought we'd go through a few of the things because cars come in here and you don't just Slap a cover leave them off until somebody wants them again.
So what do you do when a car comes in and privacy is gone?
So here's a first thing nice I suppose is I'm Mark McKay.
Well I think a fairly hardy it's an important thing for the temperatures of this place.
Good point start.
So people like the idea the cars being warm in a nice warm garage.
Yeah, there's a certain amount of that.
But let's be realistic, cars are not warm blooded.
So it's moisture what we're trying to stop, so moisture is the killer to cars.
We've got two different approaches.
It all depends on where we are.
Cotswolds is where we are, which is our HQ.
We dehumidify Say we're again, we're trying to stabalize the temperature but with actually controlling to a target of 55% relavtive humidity.
We know that at that level it's arguably ideal for cars.
They bare metal won't rust, so the brakes just stay nice and shiney But it's not too dry that they're drying out the rubber in the tires or the leather, that type of thing.
But then coming to here, in London, we have chosen not to dehumdify, so we actually use thermal mass.
This is something which, again, some people say that they have, but genuinely where we are in this sort of secret bunker, We've got ten floors approximately above us.
Our security wall is actually double insulated, and that maintains a very even temperature.
So what we're trying to stop here is spikes in temperature.
If this was not controlled in here, what we'd find, the temperature would drop at night.
You get condensation on the car and of course on the electronics space metal skin is degraded.
So that thermal mass means that we don't have the rapid changes in temperature.
We've got here to rotate, DJ and encourage you to as well.
Yeah, the nice guys.
They come in Obviously, ties that's one thing we'll talk about because Sure, yeah, yeah, I've always heard you is is very a case of you if you go and hold a even first in public forum.
Yeah, we do that here.
We actually over inflate the ties up to we found 50 psi, which some people might think is quite high.
Isn't, makes it higher, rounder, harder stills.
The contact over the ground is just a little bit more round.
We actually roll the cars periodically as well so we have reducing that rolling, that pressure point, even on bearings, there's a whole nother topic of things called Brunel effect on bearings.
But we won't touch on that right now.
So yeah you're right.
We've got to 50.
There's a nice little top tip here as well that by putting the tires up to 50 and only really if you're leaving the car for more than a month.
Anything up to that.
When you come to then go to road pressure.
If your tire pressure has dropped down below 50 significantly, it's gonna highlight to you that you've actually maybe got a slow puncture.
Keep walking down this way, so you've obviously got all the covers.
The covers are presumably?
So we have about six different sizes that fit any different car, really.
Some people might say, they've got their own cover.
Now the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.
We choose to use our own because we actually control it very precisely.
We have a certain way that we fold up the cover.
So every time we go to put the cover on the car, it goes on on the back rolls forward that over the car, we just know that we're not Turning covers inside out, upside down and all that kind of thing that will be traced dust on the top of the cover.
And by folding up like an envelope, you're encapsulating that dust that can effectively scratch the paint work.
Now, if like I say, typically when we get clients to bring their own covers [LAUGH] They've been Not always but typically thrown on the floor of the garage as they want to go out for that nice spring drive.
And yeah they're inside out covered in leaves and so this way we know we've got a nice control on them.
That's a lesson I hate under cover up there.
But we've got older cars here trickle charges.
That's something that you might.
People do even though storing their ->> Yeah, yeah sure.
->> You do it slightly.
->> So yeah,
So we do so what you wanna avoid is even if you live in a car and you use it regularly it's not your daily driver.
The trigger charges now are so advanced that they're actually automatic.
You can leave them connected not all of them the one we to see tech we find them to be one of the best They will charge it back to a needed they won't overcharge it.
But, before we do that we've we actually got a very advanced tester.
That because it's impossible to see inside the battery, this will analyze how efficient the batteries working, performing.
Because, what prior to coming to us It could be that someone's allowed the car to or prior to their ownership perhaps go completely flat and leaving a battery flat for long times a little bit like your kettle fair enough inside with hard water, it can actually further plate stuff inside makes it less efficient.
But then sometimes maybe garages, someone's in a rush gone at my spring drive [LAUGH] could wrap it two hours of battery actually rapid charging, it's a bit like saying to jump out of bed
[LAUGH] in the morning, go for a sprint.
It's not really too good for you gotta gently warm up.
That's where the sea tech really are great.
We've done so much research on them.
Keep walking down.
It's nice, it's so functional.
[INAUDIBLE] You kinda recognize.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I meant here's a massive spectrum of cars here.
Beautiful [UNKNOWN] cars as well isn't it?
It's really [UNKNOWN].
It's awesome, yeah.
But presumably with all the new cars that sort of come out you have to pretty much keep up to date to sort of how
Things are being serviced.
Got hybrid cars.
And things like that.
They've all got their own little quirks and we.
So we're always listening.
We're also learning so.
There will always be little things like say the Bugatti's actually come with their own chargers like a lot of the plugins do.
And those chargers are all different.
Their mood, their status, their operation>> [UNKNOWN] down there as well.
Walk up so I can see her.
I think it's an Eagle.>> Yeah, it's an Eagle.
coming back to how you look after these- I know antifreeze is something else that you mentioned you look into.
First thing we do is check all the fluids, and one of those is not just check the level of the coolant, it's we choose to use a refractometer.
So we put a little drop on [LAUGH] And we have a look and it tells us kind of, first of all the concentration of that.
Is a summer coolant helps keep cool, car cooler in the summer, which going by last summer is quite important.
And also it's got anti corrosion inhibitors in there.
So last thing you want is for your beautiful Eagle to be pristine on the outside but the inside of the engine.
Slowly degrading so keep swear.
I be said yeah.
Yeah, if you could find a path like this.
We've kind of come up what we call is the window service.
Say it's everything's included.
You don't get to choose whether it's bronze, silver, gold, platinum.
Everything how we want our colleagues after they get and as part of that occasionally some clients new clients will say, My car doesn't need a charge or don't bother with the fluid checks.
I know it's been rebuilt by x y Zed and we say look fantastic, but you know what?
We're going to check the fluid levels anyway just for peace of mind.
But this particular client.
How does he talk me.
And he said Look guys I don't actually want to start a car up.
And I said okay sure about that.
He said Actually my engine both suggested take the plugs out every quarter.
Put a little bit of teaspoon of engine down each cylinder.
And put it in gear and rocket just keep the cylinders all coated, rotate and heavy.
Okay, that's good idea.
So we do that and we report back to him every time we do that, and then got to I think we've been doing it for two years coming up three years now.
And he phoned up, he's in the states, he's coming over, just come and have coffee and see [INAUDIBLE] car.
So I said, just one thing, we are noticing that fuel is going up a lot quicker.
It was 5%, it's now 10%, I think, ethanol in fuel.
Which ethanol is hydroscopic, so it absorbs moisture, but it also evaporates.
So you're basically left with water and petrol in the fuel lines and throughout the fuel system, which can lead to corrosion.
Also, the fuel, it's basically in turn the fuel going off.
So I then said to him, Look I think your fuel might be going off and maybe we should suggest we have it drained and replenished, just a preventative type approach.
And he said, no need to do that.
And I said, you sure?
He said, yes, And I said, can I ask why?
He said, before putting it away, I had The system drained and I had pure racing fuel and run through there's like a hundred 100 Octane and no Organics in it at all.
And I was and he had one on me as if he was such a good idea.
I then did some research.
I think it's called VP fuels I did some research and.
I'm tempted to buy [UNKNOWN] as my own car.
It's the next thing.
But it is incredibly expensive.
So what we do is a interim measure, for the classics that we know that are coming in long term, we get some stuff from estates called Stable, fuel stabilizer.
And we dispense a litte bit in and run it through and it actually does help.
Walking out this way.
I think that would certainly be in a dream garage of mine.
Yeah, I mean.
Certainly a modern classic, isn't it?
I suppose we should point out.
Wonderful cars here and there's a temptation to think that it's a storage considered I mean, a bit like a sort of the back end of the museum where stuff is just never seen or it's not used but the whole point of You're doing all this is that these cars then do get taken out and yes they're more like use it because they're not going to think we're gonna have spent half a day getting fast so I won't bother to take it
But yes I mean look
Llet's be honest here.
Having a car is a hassle.
You take it for them 80.
Service, it's all downtime, especially if your time is finite, you're time poor.
So yes, it's a little bit of a luxury service.
But actually, we're giving people a time to really enjoy the car more.
So yeah, quite often a car will be with us for nine months, let's say.
And then it will be going on an hour point two or you know where we slightly feel the pressure the crisis.
I hope cars reliable but we know it will be reliable because we're doing everything up nice and we've had the call where someone's been, for example, we have been down on their 25th anniversary down in ream.
With through our 575 and it's developed to fault and we've had the phone call.
I remember clearly, you know, three o'clock on a Friday afternoon Hi Tim, with my Ferrari is developed to fall I know this is a long shot but is there any chance you could transport my other car which was a 993?
A [UNKNOWN] Porsche?
Well it was a living I'm so sorry.
I just if this is true.
We can make it.
And then it was just a nice warm feeling, honestly, that we managed to get the car out of store and it was all in the [UNKNOWN] already.
But check it over, within 45 minutes of the phone call, Carl's [UNKNOWN] ended up in our transporter, heading down the tunnel.
By 11 that night, it's at the chateaux the guy is at I still love the cars, but the bit that I never saw myself enjoying the people element as much.
And now, the people we meet, the stories of what they do and what we do for them and how people say how they couldn't have so many cars in London if it wasn't for us.
And that brings the cars alive as well, if you know the people behind them.
Yeah, really does.
And I think then you're gotta take comfort that It's not just a beautiful car sitting static, being preserved.
It's actually someone's pride and joy, someone's baby.
We are, we're babysitting.
[LAUGH] So, we're kind of like the baby monitor.
Tim, it's fantastic to see you down here.
Thank you very much.
Thanks a lot.
And so we leave this amazing bat cave of hibernating Ferraris, Bucatis and Porsches.
And head back up into a confusing world where humidity can run rampant people walk about unaware of the makeup of their antifreeze.
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