Billy joined Project Shop when he was 15. He had started his apprenticeship at a local bodyshop and had been let go. I offered him a lift and in five minutes I knew that he had an understanding of engineering I had never encountered in a boy of his age.
My engineers quickly understood that Billy was a sponge for information. He would go away and watch YouTube videos on the tasks they had undertaken during the day. In the morning he would talk through everything he had taught himself overnight and how he was going to apply it through the day.
Between us we helped him with his college work and taught him to drive. Throughout his time at Project Shop Billy has had an unquenchable interest in electronics. He would build his own diagnostic tools from bits lying around the workshop to solve issues with EFi and ECU problems as well as calibrate gauges. The only infuriating part was that he had a habit of disassembling our electric drills for components!
In his final years with Project Shop the student became the teacher. Staff would ‘check their homework’ with Billy and he was always willing to help another person with a problem or teach them what he knew. During his last 3 years Billy oversaw our restoration department. We were delighted when Michael Kerr at Everrati recognised Billy's abilities and offered him a role at that company earlier this year. Billy is the very essence of this award.
Simeon Cattle, Project Shop
Billy began working closely with Everrati through Project Shop at the beginning of 2021 and is now our lead workshop technician. He has been involved in the design and integration of the Land Rover S2 EV conversion as well as running in issues/fault diagnosis on the Porsche 964 project.
Billy’s enthusiasm has quickly made him an invaluable member of our engineering team. He has interfaced extremely well with the Everrati Systems Engineering Team. He contributes his practical knowledge of classic vehicles to the integration of EV systems on our cars.
Most importantly for me, Billy has demonstrated a very unique combination of practical skills and intellect that I’ve rarely come across in someone so young in my career and I feel that this alone is deserving of recognition.
Mike Kerr, Everrati
Royal Automobile Club Judges’ Comment: Billy displayed a passion and understanding of engineering from a very young age, battling adversity in his personal life at the very time that he joined Project Shop. Displaying astounding talent for retaining information and a knack for creating his own tools, his role at Everrati showcases his knowledge of classics in a new EV setting.
Our passion is to see the next generation of young people driving, maintaining and enjoying historic cars. We know that if nothing is done, the world of classic motoring will begin to change and even disappear.
We believe our old car world can provide a real haven in the digital age: enjoyment, adventure and community. It’s a place to belong; where friendship, common interest and mechanical fun are self evident; where things are repaired and not thrown away. StarterMotor is determined to ensure a big welcome to the historic motoring community for young people by supporting them in their ambitions and promoting access to classic cars.
StarterMotor is a Registered Charity no. 1171312 based at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire.