Portrait of the restorer Gundula Tutt

Portrait of the restorer Gundula Tutt
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E a radical cure, the usual procedure can be followed in describe the total restoration of a classic car. The elaborate work is usually crowned by a perfect and shiny automobile, which in some respects is even more immaculate than when it was once new. In the meantime, doubts are mixed in the joy of such a magnificent resurrection, namely when the patina that has grown over decades and thus the history of the vehicle is irretrievably lost.

Originally Gundula Tutt had nothing to do with cars

'Of course it is a real shame if a car with a lot of the original substance, with historical paintwork or the original leather inside is being completely revised, 'says Gundula Tutt. 'On the other hand, I would never get the missionary idea of ​​making rules on these things for the owner.' But the advice of the qualified restorer is increasingly in demand.

Originally, the native of Stuttgart had nothing in mind with cars. During a three-year internship with a restorer, she was involved in the restoration of historical paintings, sculptures and altars. She then studied art restoration in the Swabian state capital with a focus on paintings. Equipped with all the knowledge about colors, she then worked freelance in the preservation of monuments. During the restoration of the Freiburg Minster, she met her professional colleague and vintage car owner Eberhard Grether.

How can the original substance be preserved

'We sat next to each other on one And started talking, 'she recalls. Even then, Grether recognized the importance of the few remaining original classic cars. He had just been asked by the owner of such a vehicle to think about a restoration while preserving the original substance as much as possible. The car was a Bugatti T 43. The original paintwork from 1930 was still there, but it was damaged and had been partially sanded away as part of a restoration that had been started many years ago. The Bugatti owner wanted the patinated, but healthy paint areas to be preserved and only repaired the damaged areas, a request that all of the restorers surveyed had rejected as not feasible.

Gundula Tutt was fromfascinated by this idea and set about solving the problem in Grether's place - with her own tenacity. She began intensive research into the history of vehicle colors and finishes, in this case nitro lacquers. In addition to the well-known sources such as the Glasurit Handbook, the BASF Paint Museum in Münster or the archive of the Deutsches Museum, countless specialist books that she tracked down in various libraries in Germany helped her. 'You could tell from some works that they hadn't been taken out of the magazine since the Second World War,' she laughs. By studying the copied specialist articles that now fill a whole wall of shelves, she got information about the recipes, the production and processing of contemporary paints.

Gundula Tutt founded the company Omnia

'With historical materials, selective additions or retouching within old paintwork are possible', Tutt knows. And adds: 'In addition, materials like the original age and not differently.' In doing so, she relies on her accumulated experience, because several years have passed since her first paint attempts, still in the rented basement of a factory for hospital bathtubs. During this time she founded her company Omnia. If you look around the company, which is now located near Freiburg, you will discover many other accessories for producing colors such as glasses with different pigments, a self-made ball mill or a scale. The other day she even mixed up Sir Malcolm Campbell's favorite 'Bluebird-Blue'. The pattern that served as a template was found under the upholstery of the seat shell, where it had stood the test of time, protected from the weather.

And then this large microscope. You can use it to examine paint splinters, for example, which are embedded in plastic on a glass plate in such a way that you can see the different layers. These so-called cross-sections show how often the car has already been painted and what the bottom layer of paint looks like. Sometimes she also works as a detective. When the question arose some time ago whether a certain car still had pre-war paintwork, she was able to clarify this. Using a cross-section under the paint, she discovered a filler that was only available in the 1950s. It is not easy to determine the exact age of a paintwork. 'You can, for example, examine the paintwork with an infrared spectrometer, but the result obtained can only be used if the relevant references are available,' says the committed lady with the red hair. That is why she has started collecting samples of proven original paintwork, 'my DNA database', she jokes

Old recipes

But back to the Bugatti. The restorer agreed with the owner that any damage to the paintwork larger than her thumbnail should be removed. The correspondingShe prepares areas so precisely before painting that only a minimal area of ​​the adjacent original paint is lost. If possible, she uses a nitro filler to adjust the height. For small areas, the paint is applied with an airbrush spray gun. She mixed the nitro lacquer beforehand according to the old recipe. In principle, it is a basic tone that must be adapted to the surrounding original paint for each area to be retouched. Because the aged color is not the same on every part of the car. With so much effort, it goes without saying that the costs for this process are as high as for a full paint job.

But Gundula Tutt did not just restorate paintwork, but also work on leather and textiles , Wood surfaces and metal coatings expanded. She is constantly faced with new challenges. The Bugatti owner wanted to keep the patina of the brass windshield frame. The window spar, however, did not fit in, the nickel layer of which was largely corroded away. The restorer succeeded in visually matching the spar by applying pieces of tin foil with a special adhesive oil using the classic gilding technique. The rest of the process is a trade secret.

On request, suitable restoration concept

The website provides information on the entire range of services of the Omnia company and how to contact us (www .omnia-online.de). Tutt can now fall back on a large network of specialists, be it for large-scale painting, for body and technical repairs as well as saddlery and woodwork.

Eberhard Grether is at her side as a consultant. On request, she will work out a suitable restoration concept for each vehicle in close consultation with the owner. When it comes to touching up original paintwork, she carries out a test painting at an agreed point on the body so that the customer knows what to expect. Mutual trust is important to her. And there is one more thing you should know: She's happy when the cars are driven - 'I'm not aiming for a museum restoration.'


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