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Early fond memories are of my dad fabricating the type of go kart we all remember, with wheels from a Silver Cross pram, steering by pulling on a string attached to a piece of wood with a pivot in the middle, and with a wheel at each end. To brake we simply jumped off ! That is where it all began for me - then to coming home from junior school and rushing out to the garage to prepare stuff dad had left me to do from the night before on his Austin A40 Sports. Then to rebuilding an Ashley Sportiva (early sixties special) in the evenings, once home from secondary school. Somewhere in all this I rebuilt my (next generation) go kart engine through 3 development phases, eventually ending up with a 175cc Kawasaki driving one rear wheel. …so started my appetite for spirited driving.
After leaving school and attending college I worked in a modern bodyshop for 12 weeks -which seemed like a life time. My dad wrote a letter to a local restoration workshop, and after a visit from the proprietor I was offered a position working with incredibly highly skilled people in all areas of restoration. After about a year I chose to concentrate on the paintwork side. Painting such wonderful cars as Bugatti Royale, Type 57 and 57S, Rolls Royce Phantom II, Amilcars, various Alfas and Ferraris, Rileys and Lancias …sometimes ending up doing the wiring, rebuilding gearboxes and putting the complete car together!
After working within this company for nearly 20 years I had developed an itch that needed to be scratched. I wanted to be more involved in the direction of my working life. Coincidentally Simon and I were involved in restoring an Aston Martin I had been offered by a friend at the time and Simon had purchased. After a lot of thought and discussion we decided we could take care of the paint side ourselves.
And so by scratching this itch of mine our company was born.
From a standing start we have followed our original key ideas and beliefs to build a company that delivers great cars to clients. Our constant goal is to make them glad they chose to entrust us with their cherished car - not just because of the restoration, but also the level of customer service throughout the project and the relationship that results.
In helping to restore some of the finest examples of various vintage cars over the last 23 or so years or so, I have been able to develop the skills I found I had from an early age. In my view the two most critical are: an obsessive attention to detail through experience and further research , and my ability as a problem solver, which really proves useful when our clients require some ‘outside the box thinking’, such as designing a concealed air conditioning system, fitting modern but period - looking lamps, or completely redesigning and reengineering car’s transmission. I enjoy these challenges, and our team will do their best to deliver the correct result.
When I do get a little spare time away from our workshops (!), I enjoy spending time with my wife Elaine, daughter Abigail and son Jacob. We have a wonderful 1949 Lancia Ardea in which we go off for weekends. It’s a great little 900cc V4 with one of the first 5-speed gearboxes fitted to a production passenger car, and the kids really look forward to travelling in ‘Little Lancy’. Another one of my favourite things is to go off on my Moto Guzzi adventure motorcycle for a cuisine and motor museum-based tour around Europe.