Very much a labour of love, the underside of this MkII Ford Escort 1600 Ghia, pictured left, shows at a glance just how much TLC has been lavished on this old girl.

But sometimes the job is just a little too big to be completed in a garage at home, as the client's pictures of the engine bay and front end show.

So the project was brought to us for finishing. Our job is to make the engine bay and front end at least match the underside and then respray the rest of the car.

First, we determine the extent of the problem by sand-blasting the suspect areas.

The bare metal shows that the engine bay is not as bad as feared.

But there has been a lot of corrosion around and beneath the headlight housings, as can be seen pictured right, and the tops of the suspension legs, as shown left, will also need cutting out and plating.

So there is much to be done before she'll see the business end of a spray gun.

The rusted metalwork is cut away.

Then new metal is cut, shaped and presented to ensure it will fit correctly.

New headlamp backing panels are also fitted.

Once all the platework is ready it is spot welded into place, then fully seam welded and then leaded - a rarely seen skill these days - to ensure the new joins don't rust.

Then the panels are ground smooth before they can be primed and sprayed.

All fitted, the front panel, below left, now just wants leading and then finishing off before she can be primed.

The engine bay, right, has already been primed.

Next comes a rarely practised skill these days, leading. That's using a lead stick to recreate those small parts either where there is no metal and you need a foundation or where you need to finely blend two panel.

On the left, Roger (RS) is leading the top of the nearside wing. And below it, the leaded offside headlight surround. On the right is the leaded surround of the nearside headlight.

The repaired sections are then given a coat of primer and are thoroughly checked for imperfections.

They'll get another coat of primer once any imperfections have been smoothed out.

Then they get a covering of top coat.

This might look like the finished product, but this is just another test coat.

Small imperfections that didn't show through the primer coats will be revealed through the top coat.

So the first layer of top coat is temporary. Once the blemishes have been made good, this top coat will be buffed back and the final coats will be applied to give the finish that will satisfy both us and the client.

This project is ongoing.