Mini Magazine - - Mk3 Cooper S -

Upon his re­turn from D.L. Wood­ing, Richard worked for Serck Ser­vices for four and a half years. “I was man­ager of the Ip­swich branch, and af­ter about three years we in­te­grated the Colch­ester branch,” he ex­plains. “We took over a cus­tomer, ARC (Amey Road­stone Con­crete), who were big. One day one of their reps came in and brought a seat squab with him for us to re­pair. I told him we didn’t do seats and phoned the man­ager up. He said if we couldn’t do it they’d go some­where else, and I didn’t want to lose the £10,000 a month the ac­count was worth...”

Richard hunted around ev­ery­where for some­one to do the work, but ended up buy­ing a yard of ma­te­rial and ask­ing his wife Vera to help sew up a seat cover us­ing her mother’s Singer sewing ma­chine. “It took us about three days, but we did it,” he says. “Then the rep came in the next week and brought eight more seats. That’s re­ally how it started. We were work­ing on the kitchen ta­ble, which we’d clear off for din­ner when the chil­dren came home, and start up again at night.”

Af­ter 18 months, Richard and Vera quit their day jobs and went for it full-time. They soon got into MGs, but it was a de­ci­sion to spe­cialise in Mor­ris Mi­nors that re­ally got them go­ing. In the late ‘80s the whole Tri­umph range was de­vel­oped, and at the end of the decade Vera en­cour­aged the pro­duc­tion of Mini trim. A move to a huge pur­pose-built fac­tory by the Suf­folk coast fol­lowed, with Richard’s son Jonny tak­ing over 12 years ago. Over 12,000 parts are now man­u­fac­tured in house and sup­plied all over the world, with the range grow­ing all the time.

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