We often hear about the restoration of historical buildings, but we rarely hear about how antique vehicles are restored. TVM met with Mark Stagno, who restores old cars, whom we have been following over the last two and a half years as he restored an old bread van
We visited Mark Stagno 15 months ago at his garage in Qrendi and found him restoring this vehicle – as can be seen in the video, he had dismantled it piece by piece with some parts hung up around the garage. He told us that the van he was working on is more than 80 years old.
Three months later we visited Mark again. He has been working on restoring old vehicles for the last 15 years. This time we found that the van he was working on had a better appearance. It is a Ford 1938 model known as “ta’ molla waħda” (having only one spring).
“I think it was used as a bread delivery van, because there were some modifications to the back of the van and the doors were not as we know them today because one of them went up and the other opened downwards.”
He told us that restoring vehicles takes a lot of time but gives him a great deal of satisfaction.
“We began by blasting the vehicle, so that you can tell exactly what type of damage there is. We found that the sides behind the panel needed to be completely changed and we literally made them by hand. There was some rust on the doors and bonnet and we fixed the mudguards as well.”
Among the greatest challenges he met up with was the lack of people trained for this type of restoration and said that it was thanks to his brother that he managed to do a lot of the work.
“We have an 8 horse power engine, so everything will be literally new, the engine will be restored as will as the gearbox, the front and back axles, the brakes, everything will be restored. The owner will have a van which will look like it has come fresh out of the factory.”
Mr Stagno told us that this was his hobby but he dedicates all his Saturdays to restoring vehicles.
At the beginning of the new year we visited Mr Stagno’s garage once again, and found that the work on the van is at its peak. He told us that all it needs are some final touches, checking that the doors open and close properly and then the final spray of paint.
“It will have a three tone colour because above the stripe it will be ivory white, and beneath it will be turquoise and the front part where the mudguards and the rear wheel arch are will be black. We will also include the traditional lettering known as tberfila and it will be finished.”
As soon as work on the van is finished, it will be registered with Transport Malta as a classic vehicle and the necessary procedures will be carried out for its owner to be able to drive it on the road.