'Car Doctor' Will Keep Classic Vehicles Feeling Healthy


(Wednesday, June 11, 2008 9:26 AM EDT)

Being a doctor is in Paul Warren's blood - his grandfather was at one time Upperville's go-to general practitioner - and while Warren also can be considered a doctor, he's not exactly an M.D. He's a car doctor.

Owner and operator of British & Classic Car Doctors in Upperville, Warren has been working on cars professionally since he was just 18 years old.

He worked his way up from being a “shop grunt” to owning his own restoration shop in about 10 years, and he's not yet 30 years old.

The shop, which specializes in British cars, offers services ranging from changing a windshield, to completely tearing down a car and rebuilding it from the ground up (Warren's preferred kind of project).

“I like to bring things back from the dead,” he said.

Austin Healeys, Triumphs, MGs and Jaguars are some of the more commonly seen vehicles in his shop. There also are a number of Land Rovers and Mini Coopers that come in. Usually there are about 25 to 30 cars in the shop at a time.

(Currently in the garage is a 1951 MG TD roadster that used to be owned by Angie Dickinson, who played Sergeant Leann “Pepper” Anderson in the 1970s TV show “Police Woman.”)

When a client wants a full restoration, Warren and the shop mechanics go all out.

From stripping the car down, to finding original parts (sometimes even making them) and finishing the paint job, it takes between 1,000 and 1,500 hours of labor (about 12 to 24 months) to complete a car.

It may be labor intensive, but Warren loves the work.

“I enjoy doing all the sheet metal work, to see the holes and the dents,” he said. “With these cars, there's a certain art to it, and you're bringing that art back to life.”

Finding pieces of history in the cars also can be fun. Warren and the mechanics have even found a 1968 class ring and a 1962 gas coupon with the chance to win $3,000.

And while Warren and his team specialize in British cars, they will take the occasional Italian car or Porsche.

Warren actually got his start in cars working on Ferraris.

He then moved on to British cars, and has even had training at the Morgan Motor Company factory in Malvern, England.

He's glad to have his own business now. And from buying cars to fix up and resell, to simple repairs, Warren is ready to take on any and all projects.

“I am always looking for cars, British or Italian . . . no matter what the condition.”

For more information on British & Classic Car Doctors, call (540) 592-3535.

Paul Warren poses with an Austin Healey he has been working on. The "Car Doctor" has been working on cars professionally since he was 18 years old.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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