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I still have the 1967 'Observers' Book of Automobiles' that I chose as my first school prize. And above all remember the published maximum speed of the Lamborghini Miura: 'mph: 186 to 200'. To a ten-year old growing up in the North of England that small black and white photo and '200 mph' transported me to a world of speed and glamour. My reality was handing spanners to my dad in a freezing cold garage - to fix the Vauxhall Viva, or Austin 1100...
As a nineteen year old I got my first car - a '66 VW Beetle which my dad partially resprayed and really went to town on. He then expected me to maintain it - but he trained as an engineer and I didn't inherit the gene! But the love of cars has always been there, and so buying my first classic - a tired but to me perfect Austin Healey 3000 whilst living in Chicago - was a dream come true. I subsequently bought a basket case A-H Hundred for $1200 and went for the full restoration. Nearly 3000 hours and lots of cheques later the bug had fully taken hold. I still drive that car today - 23 years later.
My dad bought me a model of an Aurelia B24 Spider about 20 years ago. It was his dream car and soon became one of mine. He loved Lancias in general - he drove Betas in the eighties with no problems at all. In 1992 I managed to persuade an unknowing boss to let me have an Integrale Evo as a company car - I kept that car for 5 years and should never have sold it. Today I own several Lancias and remain in awe of the innovation, engineering integrity and understated excellence of these cars.
Building Thornley Kelham will always be a work in progress. I learn every day, and above all enjoy contact with our customers. And then there are the cars - most days walking into our workshops gives me the same feeling I used to get as a child walking into my nan's sweet shop…wisely the guys don't let me too near them!