Practical Classics (UK)

M&C Wilkinson

Making a success of family succession


When Mike Wilkinson took a career break from teaching to buy and sell Jaguar spares in the Eighties, he laid the foundation­s of a legacy. Four decades later, the business he establishe­d, M&C Wilkinson in Everton, South Yorkshire, has gained a global reputation for its role in keeping one of Britain’s most iconic marques on the road.

Although Mike's hiatus from a traditiona­l classroom turned permanent, M&C Wilkinson is a testament to his dedication to the handing-down of traditiona­l skills and enthusiasm for the classic car scene. His children, Joanne and Michael, have inherited their father’s passion, and as a family they’ve built a team of fifteen, including an apprentice, who carry that same torch for preserving Jaguar’s petrol-powered heritage.

As a mark of respect to Jaguar designer Malcolm Sayer, all M&C Wilkinson restoratio­ns receive the ‘Sayer Jaguar’ classifica­tion. This, explained Joanne, represents the exacting standards of work they carry out and is a recognised mark of distinctio­n. ‘We are the real deal for real Jaguars,’ she added. Each ‘Sayer Jaguar’ is hand-assembled from start to finish, work is faithful to the era (although sympatheti­c modern enhancemen­ts can be made) and customers are invited to pop into the workshop to check on their car’s progress. Pride of place in the family’s personal stable is Sir Jackie Stewart’s red E-type, ‘SSN 300’.

It's the vehicle he drove to his first victory in 1962, but it’s also the car he used to whisk his new wife, Helen, away in on their honeymoon that same year.

Putting the M&C in M&C Wilkinson, Mike and his wife Christine have both put their hearts and souls into creating a family business that engages with the wider classic and Jaguar enthusiast family. Appearing at historic race meets and events up and down the country throughout 2023, keep an eye on their Instagram @mandc_wilkinson_ltd to find out exactly where they'll be.

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