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Zagame opens high-end repair and restoration facility
Tullamarine parts and storage centre expands into bespoke repair service for Zagame
29 Mar 2019
ONE OF Australia’s leading prestige and luxury motor vehicle retailers, Zagame Automotive Group (ZAG), has expanded operations in Melbourne’s north-west to include a brand-new bespoke repair, restoration and modification facility designed to provide factory-approved repair standard for high-end supercars.
Used for the previous three years as a parts, distribution and pre-delivery facility to save on expensive real estate closer to the city centre, Zagame Autobody – located at the former printing facility for The Age newspaper near the Tullamarine airport – now has a 4000-square-metre area dedicated to its Bespoke division, consisting of 31 work bays and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of tailored repair and diagnostic equipment.
The new Bespoke division is designed to represent an OEM repair facility for exotic supercar manufacturers, which are often located on the other side of the world.
Currently certified to repair vehicles to OEM standard for brands including Alfa Romeo, Audi and Fiat, the company is working on gaining OEM approval for repairing all 12 brands under the ZAG umbrella.
These include super-luxury marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Pagani, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin.
It also is capable of repairing vehicles from outside the ZAG portfolio including BMW, Tesla and the Honda NSX hybrid supercar.
The Bespoke facility consists of 26 staff in the body shop, three apprentices and six other staff, bringing the total number of employees at the Zagame Autobody facility to 68.
In future, the company plans to expand its body shop staff to as many as 38 employees.
Current technicians have been sent overseas to OEM factory headquarters to be trained to their standards, including yearly updates on the latest welding technologies.
A range of high-end diagnostic and repair equipment has been purchased for the new facility, such as a $12,000 Spectrometer which can accurately detect the exact mix of paint required to respray a vehicle or body panel, and the $20,000 Dolphicam, which uses ultrasound to detect damage on the inside of carbon-fibre panels that can be undetectable to the naked eye.
In the case of the Dolphicam, it creates 2D and 3D images to determine any damage to a vehicle’s carbon-fibre bodywork, with any delamination or scratch over 1mm thick potentially compromising the car’s structural integrity.
While the repair facility is currently fully operational for select brands, it is hoping to have its repair training completed for other car-makers such as Aston Martin and McLaren in the next three months.
Three different brands of paint used by the OEMs are stocked at the facility, so that resprayed panels following a crash match exactly with the rest of the body.
Customers are even invited to watch their vehicle being resprayed, with a glass wall separating the viewing area from the new spray booth, which includes air ducts on all corners to remove both dust and harmful pollutants emitted from the spray gun, as well as fan forcing that reduces paint drying times from 40 minutes to 25.
The experience is designed to help “turn a negative experience into a positive one” for the customer, and to show off the high standard of repair from the facility.
Modifications will also be on offer, including custom paint colours, vinyl wraps and both OEM and aftermarket wheel options.
F1 garage-style adjustable LED overhead lights are fitted above work bays, designed to replicate outdoor light and other lighting environments, to aid inspections following panel repair or respraying.
Along with the body repair, the Bespoke division will also debut a new restoration facility, with four bays dedicated to bringing tired old vehicles back to their former glory.
With no dedicated high-quality restoration facility available in the Australasia region, ZAG was prompted to launch its own operation due in part to the increased value proposition of restored classic cars in today’s market.
The airtight restoration rooms feature dust and particle extractors to avoid cross-contamination of metals, while dedicated restoration and sheetmetal fabrication professionals have been hired to oversee the process.
While currently the ZAG facility specialises in bodywork, it also plans to expand its operations to include interior and upholstery refurbishment, which it currently outsources as part of the process.
Candidate vehicles for restoration are not just of brands under the ZAG umbrella, but rather any vehicle a customer wants. For example, the first car to roll out of the restoration facility was a 1978 Porsche 911 Turbo.
Currently, a Ferrari Dino is being worked upon, while three more Dinos and a 250 Testa Rossa are next in line for the treatment.
ZAG has plans to expand the reach of its restoration operation into New Zealand and Asia, with the long-term desire to attract customers from across the Asia-Pacific region.
It also hopes to restore its vehicles to such a high standard as to have them displayed at classic car shows such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
ZAG chief executive Michael Winkler said the new facility offered a unique repair and modification experience for Australian owners of exotic sportscars.
“The capability now exists to have exotic cars rejuvenated locally to the same exacting standards as their original place of build,” he said.
“There is no independent facility quite like Zagame Autobody Bespoke anywhere in Australasia.
“Owners of supercars and exotic cars in particular are quite enthusiastic about their vehicles. The rejuvenation process can be quite painstaking, and long, so it’s nice that a customer can drop by for a coffee and see first-hand in the work going on.”
The facility will not only be used for ZAG’s Melbourne-based dealerships, but also for its Adelaide operation which includes Lamborghini, McLaren, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
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