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Memories of old garages and car dealers
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 20184
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:28 am    Post subject: Memories of old garages and car dealers Reply with quote

Morning folks

Do you have any specific recollections of car garages, dealerships, scrapyards and parts suppliers from years ago? Maybe the garages are long gone, or survive to this day? Perhaps you worked for an automotive business "back in the day", or had an interesting encounter with one?



RJ
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Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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peter scott



Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5981
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/forum/phpbb/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=33341#33341
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47Jag



Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 1458
Location: Bothwell, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two great memories, one of a garage and the other a scrapyard. I don’t recall if I’ve told this story before. I had bought a 1948 Jaguar 2 1/2 litre saloon and it had had a puncture prior to me picking it up. The vendor replaced the flat with the spare wheel. The car sat at an odd angle but the rose tinted glasses obscured that. When we got it home, a distance of about 10 miles the R/F wheel was making odd noises, then it collapsed. It turned out the replacement wheel was a 6:50 x 19” instead of the 5:25x18, hence the odd angle. The next day my mate and I got the flat from the spare wheel carrier and headed down to the bus terminus. The bus arrives and we attempted to load the wheel when the ‘clippie’ says (assume Scottish accent) “Where dae ye thing yer goin’ was that? Git aft ma bus”. So we wheeled it the two miles into town to Rowat’s garage where Mr Rowat fixed it for half a crown. Wheel it back home and set off to Fagan’s scrapyard where a wheel and tyre set me back £1.

Art
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Rootes75



Joined: 30 Apr 2013
Posts: 2450
Location: Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My father did his apprenticeship in a garage called Sampsons in Wells Somerset in the 50's, he has told me so many stories of the place and the characters who used to come in. Shame really, today it is just a courtyard with a couple of shops and no life at all!
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 20184
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favourite scrapyards was Arch Motors in Llandudno, a regular haunt whenever we were staying nearby on holiday, in the late 1980s. A mooch around would usually turn up something of use, either for the A40 I was running at the time, or the Spitfire that I was piecing back together.

I'm still mourning a lovely 948cc Herald that I once found in there. Bar bubbles on the bottom of one door, it was very smart, possibly a one-owner car looking at it. Alas it had been tipped on its side by the time I found it, so was beyond anything I could take on at the time. I've a feeling that the bootlid hinges made it onto my car.

This scrappy did source me a Mk3 Spitfire hardtop. I asked about the price at around Easter time, I think it was £15. I decided to "think about it". Amazingly when I returned that autumn, it was still there, part-hidden behind a stack of car doors. The price had gone up to £35, I mentioned the original price of £15 and they were happy to take the lower sum. Needless to say I didn't need asking again, and home it came, a rot-free tin top for my project.

RJ
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Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Dipster



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
Posts: 407
Location: UK, France and Portugal - unless I am travelling....

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

F.G.Smith (Motors), Goodmayes, Essex was the Austin distributor for Essex.

I worked there in the 60's. Mr. Smith was a venerable old gentleman who came in once a week from his posh home in Chigwell (chauffered down in his VDP Princess R) to attend a meeting to keep his eye on things.

The business did everything you could imagine to do with cars and lorries. Sales, servicing, repairs (including bodywork and interiors) and commercial vehicle bodybuilding, painting and sign-writing (the old way, with paint and a brush!). Plus, of course, 24/7 breakdowns using a variety of vehicles from an Austin Gypsy to a suitably-bodied WW2 ex-MOD AEC Matador. All painted in the company colour of bright yellow.

They repaired rads and batteries... the list was amazing. It was an inspiration to work there and encouraged me to learn as much as I could.
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Penman



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
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Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
In the late '50s I had a Saturday job in the stores at FG Barnes in Guildford, Vauxhall and Bedford dealers.
I remember they not only repaired vehicles but also built custom bodies on Bedford chassis. The ones I recall most were Mobile Libraries for Surrey Cty. Council.
This was when I first saw someone using large sticks of solder with a blow lamp on panel joins which I much later learned was the process known as lead loading.
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kenpix



Joined: 25 Mar 2014
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Location: Harrogate

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the end of the 60's I worked for a year at Pride & Clarke, the famous motorbike and car dealer/spares firm in Brixton, South London, doing snatch-backs of vehicles with unpaid hire purchase debts. To help in this work I was given a huge bunch of car door/ignition keys on a big metal ring.
Coming home through the City late one night I stopped for a "jimmy riddle" in a dark side street and was immediately surrounded by police cars swarming with the "old bill".
It transpired that it was not urinating in a public place that concerned the guardians of law and order but, as one explained "There's been a lot of car thefts round here lately, we'd just like to check in your boot".
You can use your imagination to picture me producing a giant bunch of car keys and having to explain my way out of that one....
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V8 Nutter



Joined: 27 Aug 2012
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There used to be a scrapyard come car dealer near me, that was run by a family of Yugoslavian origin. At one time their family cars of choice were, in good weather an extremely knocked about Cadillac convertible. Reputed to have belonged to Diana Dors. In bad weather they would use a huge probably early thirties Rolls Royce fitted with a Thornycroft Diesel. The patriarch who had lived in the U.K. since 1928 was an amazingly skilled panel beater. He would take a badly damaged car beat out the damage and lead load it to perfection. He would then lose interest and leave it to rot away with no paint on it.
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Rootes75



Joined: 30 Apr 2013
Posts: 2450
Location: Somerset

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Grandfather owned a small village scrapyard, it was never very large but had some real gems in there. The cars were never stacked and ranged from the 30's to the 70's. He retired in the early 80's and it was all cleared.
I have wonderful memories of playing in the various cars as a child. Some were in very good condition and would have made very good projects but there just wasn't the interest back then.
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JohnDale



Joined: 19 Mar 2008
Posts: 784
Location: Kelvin Valley,Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Penman wrote:
Hi
In the late '50s I had a Saturday job in the stores at FG Barnes in Guildford, Vauxhall and Bedford dealers.
I remember they not only repaired vehicles but also built custom bodies on Bedford chassis. The ones I recall most were Mobile Libraries for Surrey Cty. Council.
This was when I first saw someone using large sticks of solder with a blow lamp on panel joins which I much later learned was the process known as lead loading.


Morning Penman, there is still an FG Barnes in Guildford, still with a Vauxhall connection, I am told.(My brother lives in Guildford)
I also worked for a Vauxhall Bedford dealer in the 50s who also carried out body building, lead loading,painting & sign writing, & even built their own radiators.
Must have been the thing for Vauxhall Bedford Dealers at that time.
Happy New Year to all when it comes,JD.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a while after my Dad gave up his car repair business in Woking I worked for the late David Cobb at his garage in Frimley Green. They had previously been in partnership at my Dad's place. Dad was an engineer and something of a perfectionist and David Cobb was a very "driven" individual who would cut any corner to make a quid. It was a partnership that was doomed to fail.

I had been brought up to always do my best for customers but I soon found that my careful approach was too slow for David's get rich quick style. I won't go into details but some of the short cuts that the garage employed were counter productive.
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Phil - Nottingham



Joined: 01 Jan 2008
Posts: 1243
Location: Nottingham

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 1st and only new car in 1981 which I kept for 9 years and did over £100k miles, I suppose they are classics. The 3 door GLS with tints was then top of the range and was built by Adam Opel AG in W Germany. Smiths are still going at the same address as Vauxhall dealers but in all new premises


https://photos.app.goo.gl/cViHjYNVCXCxCb9W9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/atvdVMLfhVfmGy85A

https://photos.app.goo.gl/8GiX91RrtNpBshfJ8
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 2772
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil - Nottingham wrote:
My 1st and only new car in 1981 which I kept for 9 years and did over £100k miles, I suppose they are classics. The 3 door GLS with tints was then top of the range and was built by Adam Opel AG in W Germany. Smiths are still going at the same address as Vauxhall dealers but in all new premises


https://photos.app.goo.gl/cViHjYNVCXCxCb9W9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/atvdVMLfhVfmGy85A

https://photos.app.goo.gl/8GiX91RrtNpBshfJ8


My wife and I bought one of those 1300 GLS Astras as our first new car. We travelled extensively throughout Western Europe in it and had not a spot of trouble.
When I did eventually have to replace the clutch it took just 20 minutes!

The car was sold when the sills needed replacing; by which time it was pretty worthless. I wouldn't mind betting that not many people buy a new car these days and drive the wheels off it.!

Wink
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Richard H



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 2142
Location: Suffolk

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dipster wrote:
F.G.Smith (Motors), Goodmayes, Essex was the Austin distributor for Essex.

I worked there in the 60's. Mr. Smith was a venerable old gentleman who came in once a week from his posh home in Chigwell (chauffered down in his VDP Princess R) to attend a meeting to keep his eye on things.

The business did everything you could imagine to do with cars and lorries. Sales, servicing, repairs (including bodywork and interiors) and commercial vehicle bodybuilding, painting and sign-writing (the old way, with paint and a brush!). Plus, of course, 24/7 breakdowns using a variety of vehicles from an Austin Gypsy to a suitably-bodied WW2 ex-MOD AEC Matador. All painted in the company colour of bright yellow.

They repaired rads and batteries... the list was amazing. It was an inspiration to work there and encouraged me to learn as much as I could.


They supplied my Somerset new 18/9/1953 Cool
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