The big story

Speedy Spares

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - ❚ www.speedys­

ÔSpeedy had to adapt or change its busi­ness ap­proachÕ

Iin­ter­est in Rootes Group cars is grow­ing, and there’s a longestab­lished busi­ness ded­i­cated to keep­ing Hill­mans, Hum­bers, Singers and Sun­beams on the road.

Port­slade-based Speedy Spares started in 1965 as a gen­eral ac­ces­sory shop and mo­tor fac­tor, sup­ply­ing mo­torists and lo­cal garages with parts, washer bot­tle kits, wing mir­rors and pol­ishes.

‘My aunt, Joan Davies, started the busi­ness, and her hus­band, Jack, owned RJ Grimes of Couls­don, which also sup­plied Rootes parts,’ says Speedy Spares’ Sarah Ben­son. ‘In the 1980s and 1990s it sup­plied spares for all makes and mod­els but by the mid-1990s sev­eral mo­tor fac­tors close by of­fered a lo­cal van de­liv­ery ser­vice, which we didn’t, be­cause it helped us to keep prices down. Most of our cus­tomers pre­ferred to call in and see us.’

The de­mand for elec­tronic cat­a­logues and more stock meant that Speedy Spares had to adapt, or change its busi­ness ap­proach. Says Sarah: ‘It seemed log­i­cal to change di­rec­tion. We al­ready had lots of parts for older Bri­tish cars but when Jack died we de­cided to save as much of his stock as pos­si­ble, pre­dom­i­nately Rootes Grouprelated, rather than parts for the later Peugeot and Tal­bot mod­els.’

Some deal­ers claim that Rootes Group in­ter­est is firm­ing up, but Sarah reck­ons that de­mand for parts re­mains con­stant as cars change hands. She says: ‘ We have a lot of calls re­lated to Series­model Sun­beam Alpines, as well as Hum­ber Scep­tre MkIs and IIs and all de­riv­a­tives of the Hunter. We also have reg­u­lar calls re­lat­ing to Hum­ber Hawks and Snipes.’

To­day’s stock is cen­tred mainly on me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents rather than body­work and trim, al­though a few old stock pan­els are still avail­able. But when it comes to me­chan­i­cal parts, Rootes’ shared en­gines – and the 1725cc unit in par­tic­u­lar – is

great news when it comes to sav­ing on shelf space. ‘From the stock­ing point of view, the cars have a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties, and that re­ally helps us,’ says Sarah.

Speedy Spares’ suc­cess saw it mov­ing from its orig­i­nal sin­gle shop into the neigh­bour­ing three and to­day Joan Davies and her four staff are still help­ing to keep Rootes Group cars on the road. To­day 95 per­cent of or­ders are mail-or­der via the tele­phone (01273 417889/412764), al­though en­quires can be made via its web­site.

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