Faisal Kanoo’s lovingly restored 1984 Rolls Royce Spur
As we walked into the vastly idyllic Kanoo estate down the south of the island, it was clear from the outset that this was going to be an entirely different set up to the restoration stories we’ve featured in the past. The tall palm trees lined the drive way, framed by the sun setting over the sea, while a large white fountain acted as the centre piece to the 1960’s Hollywood Boulevard flair that this location had about it. Outside, another piece of history, a beloved automotive heirloom that has been passed down from father to son for three Generations. The prized possession in question was a 1984 Rolls Royce Spur. Standing proudly by the newly restored car was its current owner Mr. Faisal Kanoo and his father Mr. Khalid Kanoo, who passed the car down to Faisal as his late father Mr. Mohammed Jassim Kanoo had done before him.
When Faisal inherited the car in November of 2016, it was unfortunately in quite a bad state as it had lay dormant and unused in a garage for 24 years. Undriveable, not only were parts of the engine completely falling apart, but the leather had worn thin and cracked. It wasn’t looking to good from the outside either, the paint lacquer had been burnt off from its years out in the Bahraini sun, and the tyres were beyond flat. Faisal knew exactly what he had to do with it, and the best part was he would keep it a secret from his father as a surprise, for when the time was right. Restoring it to its original condition, so Faisal could share the joys and pleasures he had experienced as a child with his family and children, was the only answer. He knew that he wanted the best possible restoration and so he immediately turned to none other than Kanoo Performance, whose family connection and restoration facility has become known as one of Bahrain‘s best for this kind of project. Restoring a car of this nature can be incredibly expensive, running into tens of thousands of dinars. But when you’re dealing with a family heirloom, as precious and as sentimental as this, money is no object. One year later, and Mr. Ebrahim Kanoo delivered a car to his cousin that would not only turn heads everywhere, but bring an unmeasurable amount of joy to a father and son.
A Family Legacy
The first thing that stuck us was the clear sense of meaning that this car had among its family members. Brought brand new from Dubai in the 80’s, it was quite a spectacle to behold in Bahrain at the time. Mr. Khalid Kanoo told us that his father Mr. Mohammed Jassim Kanoo drove it almost everyday up until the time of his passing in 1991. Faisal, Mr. Khalid’s son later passionately explained how the cars history was intrinsically linked to his grandfather and how they saw him as legend, a pioneer, and an empire builder. It was easy to see how this was really more of a passion project over a restoration project. He explained to me how he saw the vehicle as an extension of this great man, a memento to keep his memory alive. Recalling stories of how him and his brother and sister would fight to ride up front with their grandfather, and hearing of his kindness and generosity, gave the whole project a deeper meaning. This wasn’t just about restoring a beautiful classic car; it was about restoring a legacy. The car in fact was such an importantly loved item that I was amazed when Faisal showed me the original ownership papers and receipt, from his grandfather’s 1984 purchase, kept in mint condition after all these years, seen here in the photos.
Ebrahim Kanoo himself remembered seeing the car around when he was younger but had never really paid that much attention to it, when it turned up at his facility after all these years he could see straight away the sentimental value that this car held for Faisal. As a perfectionist Ebrahim found it difficult to let the Rolls Royce leave the showroom without knowing that every piece of the car had been completely restored to its former glory. As I spoke to him about certain aspects of the restoration you could tell that this was a project that came from the heart. As well as working closely to Ebrahim, Faisal also work with Marc Bush, Operations Manager at E.K. Kanoo. He mentioned to me that dealing with Marc was a pleasure, almost seamless, and that he trusted Marc and Ebrahim to make the best decisions for him, and the car.
The full restoration took about a year, as the car was completely stripped from the bottom up, and was not without its challenges. Marc explained it was the biggest restoration process that Kanoo Performance has undertaken. Because of the age of the vehicle, having to source parts from the UK to a GCC spec all while keeping it original, was nothing more than difficult, but for this car it had to be authentic. Every single piece of the car, everything from the larger sections like the exhaust to the tiniest bolt inside the engine, was removed, and either replaced with a brand new part from Rolls Royce UK, or re-chromed here in Bahrain.
There were no cutting corners, Faisal was involved in every step of the process, from deciding whether to go with the Bahraini BHD 2000 leather, or the BHD 5000 Original Rolls Royce leather, no expense was spared. Mark explained the most difficult part was the engine, as this was stripped bare, back to the block, and rebuilt as new. Not one mm of this car was left untouched.
A lot of planning and research went in from the get go, with the most crucial part of the process being the labelling, logging and designating every single item with a number all while making a decision on whether it had to be cleaned, re-chromed and galvanized or completely replaced. A lengthy process but well worth the wait, as when Faisal was eventually called in to the shop in November 2017, 365 days after dropping the prized possession off he couldn’t have been happier with the result.
And it’s easy to see why, the comparison of before and after images side by side as you can see here, tell the story of just how much love and attention the Spur received over the year away from its owner. It was perfect and on collection Faisal told us about how suddenly memories of his father and grandfather came flooding back. Faisal has now fulfilled his fantasies of using the car on a daily basis and creating memories with his family, and can’t help but feel that the memory of his grandfather is now something he can share with his children, and hopefully their children. There is no other future for this car, then to continue to be passed down from generation to generation, as Khalid’s father Mohammed did to him, and Faisal’s father Khalid did to him.