I covered my Rolls Royce in B&Q paint’, says custom car nut
Modifying enthusiast says Rolls Royce were embarrassed he drove their car
“I had a Rolls Royce which I wanted in a different colour, so rather than have it sprayed; I just went down to B&Q and bought buckets of normal paint to cover it in. A few days later I got an angry letter from the members club saying I was a disgrace.”
Now with a proper paint job, Elo stands with his motor and tells me how he's been in court three times because of his modified Rolls Royce. All thanks to his motorcycle sized plate on the front.
“A normal sized one would ruin the look of the car!” he says pointing at the tiny plate on the front bumper. “It’s perfectly legible; I’ve won every time I’ve been in court. I just send them the same paperwork if they want to go through it again.”
The complaints don’t end there.
Luxury German car manufacturer Maybach sent a strongly-worded email after seeing one of their cars had been modified. He expects another one when he’s finished lengthening the bonnet of Chelsea star Samuel Eto’o’s, which currently sits in his London workshop.
“We’ve made the bonnet longer so it sits higher than it’s meant to, but that’s what the client wants to make it look different.”
The negative reactions don’t put him off customising, though.
“People have gotten to know my attitude to customisation - which is anything is possible. If there’s something you want done I can do it.”
Clients of the London Motor Museum, which adjoins the customising workshop, are various Premier League footballers who have been in for some car modifications. Tottenham Hotspur players Emmanuel Adebayor and Younes Kaboul, and Chelsea’s Ramires have all dropped their cars off here.
Hesitant to talk about what his clients pay him, Elo tells me modifications such as wraps can cost from hundreds to tens of thousands. The average for a wrap and custom wheels is £2,500. He insists he does it out of passion.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about the art. I like to do what I like, it doesn’t matter how much it costs. If you bought a Ford Fiesta to me that’s no problem – it’s all about how the car looks on the outside.”
“The most important things are the paint and the wheels - if you do those two things you’ve done 90% of the job. Then it’s all about when you’re inviting your lady inside, because if you’re not inviting anyone in, it doesn’t matter what the interior looks like. It’s like a man wearing a beautiful suit with the wrong shoes.”
Before following his passion for cars, Elo was a successful model and worked alongside Jason Statham in various ads. He recently caught up with his old pal when he saw him in Hollywood.
“I was at an Oscar party and someone came up behind me and covered my eyes, - it was Jason. We’ve not spoken in years so we had a chat about how far we’ve come since our modelling days.”
After sitting down for a chat Elo offers me a tour of his museum – which houses a staggering £8.2 million worth of cars - some of which are the world’s most famous.
From the outside it looks like an unassuming warehouse but behind the doors sit hundreds of the most recognisable cars from the silver screen.
In total, there are 237 vehicles on show - and a helicopter. It’s early morning and there are already paying members of the public inside taking photographs -mainly selfies - with the cars.
Around every corner there’s a familiar motor, from the Dukes of Hazard General Lee motor and Starsky and Hutch’s famous Ford Torino, to the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 driven by Michael J Fox in Back to the Future.
But the jewel in the London Motor Museum’s crown is the 1989 road-legal Batmobile, worth a mind-blowing £1.2 million. It’s kept in a darkened faux ‘Batcave’ along with a replica 1966 Batmobile – which itself is worth £50,000.
“It all began when I was a kid and I collected little model cars, so I’ve always been a fan. I started buying cars for fun and then I couldn’t stop. When I got to around sixty cars someone suggested I open up a museum so that’s what I did,” Elo proudly tells me.
“It’s nice to share these cars with people rather than just have them sat in a garage somewhere. When I was a kid I went to see movies based on the cars in the film – rather than the movie itself. I always had a passion for them. In the 70’s, cars in films were all the rage.”
Before opening the museum he focused solely on customising cars for high-profile clients from the world of sport.
“We have a lot of custom clients from the world of football, boxing and basketball. Lennox Lewis, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank have all been down.”
Income from his celebrity customising business gave Elo the opportunity to own the cars from the big screen. “I started looking out for vehicles from the studios and as I’ve always been into customisation I got in touch with some producers and offered to make them some cars.
“When on a visit to a film studio I noticed the cars were just covered up under sheets - I couldn’t believe it. I felt the cars should be shown off, not sat rusting away – so I started buying them.”
Most car fanatics would be pleased with either a museum or a customising business – here Elo has both. He employs a group of people to keep the cars on show looking top notch, as well as working on the unique custom motors.
“There’s a team of eleven who keep the cars looking in top shape. Some are maintenance guys, some are sprayers, and some are mechanics so there are a variety of people.”
The cars need to be in perfect condition at all times as the museum often receives requests from pop stars to have the cars used in their music videos. Black Eyed Peas member Fergie used one of Elo's Classic American motors in here video for London Bridge in 2006.
"I remember that very well!" says Elo. "I used to fancy Fergie so I decided I'd deliver the car personally to her for the video, something that me and my wife argued about.
"But when I got there and saw Fergie, I wasn't impressed. My wife was right about that one."
Fame is now knocking on Elo’s door, as he’s about to star in a new TV show Ultimate Wheels. It follows him and a friend as they create the most outrageous custom cars he’s ever done.
Rolls Royce will be quaking in their boots.