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The Price of Value

With budget likely to be one of the key considerations in the restoration of your classic car, it’s understandably easy to be swayed by price and fast delivery as you shop the market for parts.

At John Skinner’s, we’ve always regarded quality and attention to detail as the leading factors that provide true value for money in a classic car restoration project. With their steeped history and celebrated heritage, these cars deserve time, patience and accuracy. Do it once, and do it right.

Sales and figures are important to any business, but we won’t compromise our quality, workmanship and worldwide reputation for the sake of lower prices, bigger margins and faster lead times – it’s just not the way we do things, and we never will.

Weighing up the budget

We write this article at a time when our news headlines are dominated by soaring energy costs, rocketing inflation levels and economic recessions – for any small business, it’s a concerning period. But we won’t be pressured into taking shortcuts or cutting corners to help us navigate turbulent times. In fact, we respond by doing the very opposite – we stick to our principles of quality, care and attention to detail and we simply carry on doing what we do best.

As we all feel the squeeze, our perception of ‘value for money’ comes into the fore. We have all felt the attraction of a low price, quick-fix way of shopping, but as we really start to question bang for buck – and on a larger scale, sustainability and ethical practices – we start to see a shift in mindset of how we purchase and part with our cash.

” Cheap, off-the-shelf kits can appear tempting but come weighted with costly pitfalls… a constant reminder of a poor purchase made in a rush. “

Budget is one of the leading factors in any classic car restoration. Mechanical and bodywork costs – often the first port of call in such projects – can run into thousands, potentially leaving little left in the pot for the interior trim. Cheap, off-the-shelf kits can appear tempting but come weighted with costly pitfalls – especially if you then go on to further pay a trimmer to fit a sub-standard kit. The outcome will inevitably be disappointing. Driving and using your classic car should bring sheer, unadulterated joy – poorly fitted panels, wrinkly seats and shoddy materials will only serve to spoil your experience, a constant reminder of a poor purchase made in a rush.

The timeless nature of classic cars is contradictory to everything we have come accustomed to today – bulk manufacture, next day delivery, click and collect, 24/7 live chats… Here at John Skinner’s, we have done what we can to bring our manufacturing processes up to modern day expectations with digital cutting and production-line apps (it’s common-sense for any business operating in today’s marketplace), but we’re a small team and we take huge pride and care in our work and we simply don’t rush it. Our interior kits are utterly beautiful, crafted with skill and expertise, made to fit and most importantly, they last.

Things to consider

When choosing an interior trim kit, it’s useful to consider these key points before you make your purchase –

  • Is this absolutely the kit you want?
    • This may be a once-in-a-lifetime restoration project; are you really buying the interior you had in mind or are you compromising on what you truly want for the sake of a quick delivery and a deadline?
  • Ease off on time pressures.
    • Are you purchasing an off-the-shelf kit in a rush because there’s a show deadline approaching and your trimmer is putting pressure on you to get a kit to the workshop? Ease up. Another show will come along, and you can always book another date in the diary with your trimmer – don’t rush the process.
  • Think about driving the car in 3, 5, 10 years from now.
    • Will your future driving experiences be marred by a cheap, quick-fix interior kit? Or would you prefer to drive your car knowing that you took your time and invested in a quality interior made to last?

At John Skinner’s, we do everything we can to make you the car interior you want. We offer the most comprehensive choice of materials on the market; red, green, blue, beige – we offer a number of shades within each of the main palettes. We also offer unrivalled advice and expertise when it comes to choosing the colours and materials for your car. Pre and post sales, we’re here to help – from colour decisions to trim panel fitting advice, our knowledge is here to help bring your interior ideas and visions into life.

So before you get lured by a low price tag and a quick delivery date, think about the true value of your purchase. Buy the best you can afford. After all, a beautifully made interior will provide you with years of pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction long after the cost – and the ping of the delivery notification – is forgotten.

A Case Study

Back in 1990, John Skinner shipped a Jaguar MK2 Shadow Blue interior trim kit to the highlands of Sweden. Fast forward to 2022, and Jonathon Skinner receives an email from the very same customer sharing recent photos of the car – with the original John Skinner interior still intact, complete and in an impeccable condition the best part of 35 years later. So impressed by the quality and longevity of his MK2 kit, he’s returned to us to provide an interior for another of his cars.

Although the original handwritten invoice remains (Jaguar/Saloon Invoice No. 44 to be exact), the value of the invoice is of no particular interest. It’s the beauty of the interior, and just how good it still looks all these years on that really impresses. Numbers aside, the investment has reaped returns; this car has brought years of pleasure and enjoyment in that intangibly nostalgic way that only classic cars can. There’s no price that can be put on that feeling.

Our customer testimonials

Over our 40 year history, we have had the utmost privilege of working with thousands of customers all over the world in the restoration of their classic cars. It’s always a complete pleasure when we hear back from our customers to tell us their kits are fitted and being enjoyed.

Whether you’re a professional trimmer or an amateur enthusiast – a John Skinner Ltd kit is the best way to kick-start your interior trim restoration.

” I want to congratulate you on the quality of your work, well done, it was worth the wait. Congratulations again, I’m delighted…you are the best. “

Paul Jean A, France, 2021
Triumph TR3A – Complete Interior Trim Kit + Weather Equipment


You can read many more of our hundreds of customer testimonials here.