What a wonderful tale this is….

Steve Barrell, age 52, had to stop restoring his classic car – a 1972 Rover due to a number of health problems. These health issues included the discovery, whilst having an appendix operation, that a part of his bowel would have to be removed. Of late, he has had an on going problem with his hernia.

However, unbeknown to him, his wife Marie had spotted an article in the back of Classic Cars Weekly that was asking people who had a sob story to take part in a competition with the prize being the opportunity to have their car restored on their behalf.

She entered and was no doubt rather surprised to hear that she had been successful in the competition and that her husband’s classic car had been selected to be restored. However, one of the problems was that she needed to get the car to the team that were going to do the restoration work without her husband knowing. So, she informed him that she was having the car taken to her daughters where it could be kept out of the inclement weather.

In fact, the classic car actually ended up in the hands of a car restoration team for the TV program called National Geographic’s Car SOS. They take on board a classic car without the owner knowing and restore it before returning it to the owner.

Mr Barrell had paid £200 for the car and had started to restore it including repairing the V8 3.5 litre engine before becoming too ill to do any more of the restoration work.

Mrs Barrell was thrilled to bits with the work that has been done on the car saying: “They did it all, the wheels, the shell, they gave it a respray, it came back like a new car. It was fantastic.”

It took around 3 weeks to restore the classic car. The restored car was revealed to Mr Barrell at a bus garage in the East End of London that was the place that he first met his wife ten years ago. He was asked to go their on the pretence that a TV program was being made about families that had both worked in the same location.

When he set eyes on the classic car he commented: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s driving brilliantly. Thanks to the guys – they did a top quality job – and thanks to my wife. She’s one in a million”

Both he and his wife can now be seen driving the Rover in Romford. You can witness the restoration on the National Geographic Channel at 8pm on 14 March 2013.