Forest Gate
The early years...

It all started way back in 1984. Our first showroom was tucked behind 2 guys selling old bangers and held only 11 cars. We had to ask them to move cars out of the way whenever we needed to get anything in or out! But it was the beginning of a long and successful relationship with Panther Cars who very conveniently for us, moved to new premises in the Harlow area at about the same time. We struggled to keep up with demand, relying on the good old Exchange & Mart for our advertising. By 1989 we had grown too big for such a small garage and decided to take advantage of an opportunity to move to a much bigger showroom further along the road in Manor Park.

 

Manor Park
Expansion cut short...

It was here that Mike joined us straight from school. He showed great aptitude and having passed his driving test when he turned 17, completed a City and Guilds course in vehicle maintenance and is still with us to this day. Unfortunately our plans for a Panther Centre with workshop facilities were cut short by a severe recession and some bad experiences with one or two lawless locals! It was tough to see all our hard work come to nothing but it was about survival. (what recession isn’t?). So we shrank back, cleared stock and started again. To keep costs to a minimum, we worked from my house in Chingford for 1 year while we changed direction.


Chingford
The house...

It was actually an interesting phase in our journey because we made a decision that was to take us to where we are today. We decided to concentrate on Cobras and Westfield’s. We had 9 cars crammed in the front garden, 2 in the garages and a few in the car park next door. As we pulled out of recession, we soon found that we couldn’t operate from such a small location any more so we moved to Hainault Works. The local Council were pleased to see us move as well!


Hainault
The stepping stone...

We quickly established ourselves here and soon expanded the building and took over another warehouse opposite. We carried about 12 Westfield’s and 15 Cobras in stock. Pictures taken by the kit car magazines at the time still regularly crop up in articles today! Visitors used to remark how drab the old industrial estate was but how spectacular the cars looked once inside our buildings. However, in 1999 we had outgrown our facilities and it was time to up sticks and move on again. This time to an industrial unit in a residential area at North Chingford.


Chingford
Re-building...

We had 2 weeks in which to convert an old marble depot into a showroom worthy of our cars. I think I nearly broke my back in helping to load 17 tons of rubble into a huge skip! But on 14th February we opened our doors to the public and found the operation was an instant success. It was nice being off an industrial estate and we quickly got to know our neighbours some of whom became friends. It was at this time that Syd joined us to take charge of the workshops and played an ever increasing role in expanding the services we could offer to our ex-customers as well as preparing cars for sale. The end of 2008 was one which will be fresh in everybody’s minds so I won’t dwell on the `credit crunch`. Ironically, Syd was crying out for more workshop space and at the same time the local Council decided to stop us from parking outside the building making it all but impossible to carry on. So, we began a new search for suitable premises that would enable us to expand once conditions improved sufficiently.

On the 1st February 2009 we moved to our new premises in Hainault, Essex.