Hagerty.com

British Car Shops


#1

What is your favorite British Car repair shop? I have two that I would go back to any time. One is Proper Noise in Reading, PA. It was Carriage Craft until Bill Shields sold it to Ed Sweeney a couple of months ago. I’ve known Ed for a long time and he is really good, so there is no need to worry.

Another shop I really like is Eclectic Motor Works in Holland, MI. Carl Heideman is a font of knowledge on MGAs and MGBs, which are the bulk of his business. But he is also strong on Jaguar, Triumph, Austin-Healey and many non-British shops.

Tell us about the shops you’d go back to in a minute.–Jonathan


#2

I have a 1972 Volvo 1800E. When the job gets to big such as rebuilding the BW35 transmission I go to Willy’s in Monaca, Pa. He focuses on European vehicles and has a passion for Mercedes amg’s but works on all models. He is especially knowledgeable on 1st generation fuel injection systems.


#3

Well, I like BMC British Automobile out of Isanti, Minnesota but then I started it in 2000 so I might have just a Slight Bias to this. :slight_smile: Ed Sweeney of Proper Noise is a Fantastic fellow and so are Carl and Alan at Eclectic Motorworks and as a friend and competitor, I would recommend either of them. There are a number of British cars shops such as ours that solely work on the classics, some strictly British and others a little further out. You can find out more about any of the British Automotive specialty shops by going to http://www.britcar.org and searching member shops.


#4

The shops you named are at the top of my list. I have used Carl’s Eclectic Motorworks and Ed Sweeney’s Proper Noise and know they are both fantastic shops run by great people.

Jonathan


#5

If in Southern California, Heritage Garage works primarily on classic Minis., but does great work on all kinds of British cars. They build really good racing engines, some notable works were on ones for the Carrera Panamericana and the fastest Mini at Bonneville.


#6

Charleston Import Automotive in Charleston South Carolina. Darryl Beech and his crew will work on anything, but British cars are their specialty.


#7

Do you still have your Elf?


#8

Hey Brian. Unfortunately I sold the Elf back in 2014 to buy a dream Mini in the shape of a 1972 Innocenti Cooper 1300 which is an Italian built Cooper S. Only had that car on the road less than a year when in March 2015 an inattentive SUV driver figured he would jump out of his lane and clipped me just behind the driver’s door which spun me into a utility pole. I hit the pole just behind the front wheel on the left side which was fortunate as one foot rearward and it would have hit the driver’s door and I could have been hurt much worse.

After the Inno I bought a 1962 steel RHD Mini wagon then sold that as I was going to get out of Minis then saw an Australian Clubman van with windows in back that was a 1972. After that Mini I was just done with them, a been there done that situation. I’d only go back into Minis if I found an Elf or Hornet.

Now I have a 1966 Sunbeam Imp that is going to be sold to a friend to fund my 1967 Sunbeam Stiletto (Imp with fastback roof) that has a BMW K1200 motorcycle motor installed. A guy in Scotland engineered the mod to replace the transaxle bell housing to fit the motorcycle motor and you add a front radiator and you have a $600 or so motor with 140hp with fuel injection. I then have aa time warp 1965 Sunbeam Imp that I am putting together. It has been off the road in a private collection since 1973 so is just perfect patina and originality to make a nice sleeper with one of those BMW conversions with a K1100 motor. I also have a 1970 Porsche 914 which I decided I better buy before the prices get silly. I also have a long term restoration of a 1959 Singer Gazelle (posh badge engineered Hillman Minx) that I am the third owner of.

Pictured is the Stiletto that will replace my white Imp, the system won’t let me add another picture.

So how is your Elf? Any mods to the VTEC? Or just many happy miles?


#9

I like that Stiletto.
Yes, I still have just the Elf, although I have made an addition. I’ve got pictures of the build posted in a couple of places. 'Alf - Half Elf trailer
Google Photos
I’ve done a few upgrades on Kreacher, mostly just to work out some long
term issues with the fuel system. I put a 15 gallon fuel cell in and scrapped all of the hacked original fuel tanks and etc. Fuel tank and battery relocation
The car is sitting in the garage waiting for a new windshield, thanks to the damn gravel trucks that are like a plague on the highways around here.

My wife and I were in LA in October and we spent a couple of days checking out my old stomping grounds around Rosamond and Lancaster. I thought about trying to look you up, or trying to hook up with the MOALA guys, but my wife was not feeling well and we had to cut things short. We stayed at a hotel next to the Antelope Valley HD shop and there was a car show going on the morning we left. I wanted to spend more time but we had to get back to LA for a conference.