A Whitehaven car enthusiast has reached the finals of a prestigious national restoration competition.

Paul Henley is one of six shortlisted finalists in the Practical Classics magazine’s Restorer of the Year category. A public vote is now open and the winner will be announced at the Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC in Birmingham over the weekend of March 22-24.

Paul, 56, has been shortlisted for his 20-year restoration of a 1974 Datsun 240Z to its former glory.

Speaking to Practical Classics magazine, Paul he’d always admired the Datsun 240Z growing up, and was finally able to buy one with a view to restoring it to its original specifications back in September 1998.

A “labour of love” took off for Paul, supported by sons Martyn and Luke, painstakingly restoring all aspects of the car’s bodywork, engine and gearbox, until it could finally complete its MoT and get back on the road last year.

Paul said: “Driving the car with either my wife or one of my sons in the passenger seat is a really great feeling.

“The car has been a large part of all of our lives for the past 20 years and it’s wonderful for them to see if finally reach completion.

“I’m pleased to be shortlisted in this competition and if people read my story and would like to vote for me then it would be greatly appreciated.”

To read further details of Paul’s restoration, and to vote for him, visit www.necrestorationshow.com/restorer-year-final-voting. Voting closes on March 21.