Ever since my childhood I have been fascinated by cars and by animals. I used to enjoy drawing vehicle designs, and conducting basic servicing and minor repairs on my parents’ cars, but I ended up studying biology and becoming a conservation scientist working at several environmental organisations and in academia.
However, over the past two decades, the passion for cars just did not go away. I eventually acquired a 1968 Volvo Amazon which I fettled with in my spare time. I enjoyed working with my hands, fixing various parts on the Volvo, but there seemed never to be enough time alongside my full-time job as a professor in a university.
In the summer of 2020, I decided to explore whether I would enjoy working on classic cars by attending a week long fabrication and welding course at the Heritage Skills Academy in Bicester. I was so impressed by the passion and knowledge of the teacher, Andy Kelly, and the Heritage Skills Academy team, that I decided to look for an apprenticeship opportunity to retrain as a Heritage Engineering Vehicle Mechanical Technician.
I was delighted that CKL Developments Ltd, the world’s leading specialist in 1950’s and 1960’s Jaguar sports cars, took me on as an apprentice. The varied opportunities to work on some amazing, historically important race cars has been enjoyable. Every day is different with tasks including rewiring a kit car; cleaning, blasting and painting parts; fabricating parts; and supporting cars at race meetings. The on-the-job training by colleagues and mentors at CKL has helped me put the theoretical learning gained during my weeks at the Heritage Skills Academy into practice. The small group teaching by our highly knowledgeable teacher, John Passfield, and the individual support by the Heritage Skills Academy is more personal than lectures at many universities.
So far, I have been impressed by the passion of everyone I have met in the classic car world and their willingness to accept and teach a novice. Although scary at times, changing careers has been hugely rewarding. I enjoy completing practical tasks using my hands and brain to help preserve some precious and beautiful motor vehicles. It’s never too late to follow one’s passion!
The Morris Minor Owners Club
Our aims are simply to promote the preservation and use of the postwar Morris Minor, 1.6 million of which were built between 1948 and 1971.
The MMOC exists to unite these people who have a fondness of these loveable jellymoulds, and those people who still use them as everyday transport.