Meet Jonny from Lazy Boy Garage

Meet Jonny Smith from the Lazy Boy Garage team - our new show on Dave.

Jonny Smith

Hey Jonny. What's a Lazy Boy Garage?

It's the workshop where we never leave. We use the ease of technology and connectivity to find the people, parts, knowledge and cars without needing to travel very far. In other words it's being clever and time efficient, not lazy.

Is it easy to do this sort of thing?

Sometimes, yes. Not all the time though. Finding cars to buy online can be easy, especially if you know the right sites, terminology and what to buy where. Parts-wise the internet has become a gold mine. Gone are the days when you phone a scrap yard or turn up and trudge around all morning looking for a part off a car that may or may not exist.

Do you make loads of money when you auction the cars?

Making a profit isn't always as straight forward. We primarily do this for a hobby. To tick off a bucket list of cars you can say you've owned. Making proper money is difficult if you are paying the going rates for labour and parts, but luckily Tim (the Lazy Boy mechanic) is as besotted with classic cars in his spare time as much as his work time. In this first series we didn't make much money. In fact on some cars we criminally lost cash. Not because the cars were necessarily the wrong buys, but because we probably needed to broaden the auction process to more international buyers.

What cars do you get on the series and which was your favourite?

We sniff out all sorts. My focus is always to buy a vehicle from a place where it is less desirable, so by very nature you're getting a bargain. We often bought from left-hand drive countries, which can sometimes make selling in the UK tricky, but that's the trade off for finding better cars for less cash. We bought a lovely honest 2-door classic Range Rover from France, a Ford Estate mk2 estate from Germany, some lesser known classic Seats from Spain and even an ex-pat Irish Opel Kadett found in Spain. Favourite? Always a tough one. The Range Rover really got under my skin because it was a true survivor car with original paint and, as we found out, a highly unusual spec. I love investigating a car's past to find out it was ordered in a weird specification. Take the VW Jetta for example. They were common at one time in the 1980s, but the one we bought was the lesser known 2-door version which you couldn't buy in the UK. The history digging is a big part of the turn-on for me. It's the thrill of the chase.

Any cars you wanted but missed out on?

There was an early Range Rover 2-door classic which we missed out on that was stunning. Also an old Toyota Landcruiser that would have been worth a pretty penny. We also found some minty Porsche tractors that are sought after in the UK. There's always a few that slip away if you don't strike like a cobra, but then there's hopefully another few series of Lazy Boy Garage to snap up more bargains with potential.

How does it feel to wait for the reveal? Have there been any cars you've pushed for that haven't turned out quite as you've expected but have still had to act like it was a great decision?

The reveal is always exciting, but sometimes project cars fight you. They don't feel like they want to live again. On this show we don't fully restore cars - we recommission stuff. That means partial rebuild and repairs, rather than all-out renovations. I pushed hard for a few leftfield cars this series and they didn't really make the money. Sometimes your heart rules your business head, which can be dangerous for the wallet.

Who does the most work out of the three of you? Does anyone especially put the "Lazy" into the "Lazy Boy Garage"?

Tim does the most work. Wookie does the most coffee making and leaping around like an over-caffeinated Morris dancer. I do a lot of parts sourcing and digging into the history or market trends side. In this series I don't do as much hands on as I'd like to. Next time I promise to help Tim more. Tim is a fantastic fabricator and welder. He has a great eye for doing a car justice, even when time and money isn't on our side. He is capable of full restorations but we have to hold him back. Tim's a hero. I met him through mutual appreciation for cars and he's done numerous surgery work on my old machines.

Is it good fun though? Are you all still mates after the series?

It's always worth doing it, even when there are moments when you want to quit and wish you'd never started. Old cars are infectious though. I often feel like I'm helping to preserve some history and keep another ageing classic road worthy and appreciated. For me the best fun is seeing something run that has sat dormant and unloved for decades. I also always get a buzz from finding a car for the right price and waiting for it to turn on the truck. You can go with your guy on purchases, but it's never entirely right. I like to think that after 140 odd cars I know how to find a good car for a good price.

Have we stayed mates?

Oh yeah. Wookie and I met through cars - we're both motoring journalists who started in magazines. I rocked up to work in a metalflaked lowrider Ford Granada with tiger fur interior and accidently parked in his space. He stormed into the office and demanded to know who owned 'that Granada that's sat on the floor'. We've been chums ever since. Tim gets disillusioned with tight deadlines, so I try to chivvy him along and help with jobs I know I can tackle. I grew up with a hands-on DIY Dad and my brother is an engineer who restores pre-war Bentleys, so I am learning garage techniques all the time.

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