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The technology behind a classic reborn – and carmaker’s first venture into electric motoring RATED & RANKED

Ratchet spanners & pressure washers

PLUS: With winter upon us, we test convection heaters too



How our impending exit from the EU is causing a crisis in our sector

HOW I MADE IT The man who beat dyslexia to make his supercar dream come true


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NEWS EDITOR JACK EVANS Twitter: @jackrober


STAFF WRITER LAURA THOMSON Twitter: @lauramayrafiki

HEAD OF DESIGN GRAEME WINDELL Twitter: @graemewindell

ADVERTISING Twitter: @CarDealerjon







CONTRIBUTORS Alex Wells, Jon Reay, John Bowman, Chris Jervis SUBSCRIPTIONS If you know someone who would like a FREE copy of Workshop Magazine, email the details to and we’ll do the rest. DISTRIBUTION Workshop Magazine is distributed to a database of up to 10,000 service and repair sites, franchised car dealers, independents, car manufacturers and suppliers.

Company No. 6473855 VAT No. 933 8428 05 ISSN No: 1759-5444 Workshop Magazine is published by Blackball Media Ltd (Company No 6473855) and printed by Warners. All rights reserved. Conditions of sale and supply include the fact Workshop shall not, without our consent, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of in a mutilated way or in any unauthorised cover by way of trade or affixed to or as any part of a publication or advertising, literary or pictorial matter whatsoever. Workshop Magazine is fully protected by copyright. Nothing may be reproduced wholly or in part without permission.

The 12 Products of Christmas: Andrew Evans gets all seasonal!

Attention to detail: Behind the scenes at GVE London, an end-to-end supercar concierge

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Ask The Judge: Are we to blame for cracked cylinder head?

Our Kev: The bodge we uncovered that had become a permanent fixture

14 How I Made It: Alex Prindiville on a lifetime’s involvement with cars – and a love of all things mechanical


WE’VE been across the pond this month getting a taste of the latest treats on offer to the motoring world. I’ve got to say the machines the mechanics are working on over there aren’t a world away from ours – but they’re certainly bigger! The purpose of the trip was to visit the opening day of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Manufacturers were mainly showing off their latest pick-ups, SUVs and muscle cars. The star of the show was a Brit, however. Britishdesigned and British-built, the Jaguar I-Pace is the marque’s latest offering and it’s preparing to shake up the ever-growing electric car market. Turn to p22 for a first look at that, plus our other cover car; the Jaguar XKSS. Two different cars from the same brand, both revealed at the LA show, and they’re going to need very different expertise when it comes to diagnosing and repairing them. Also in this issue, we’ve been taking a look at some Californian-inspired electric classic cars, in a segment


Fault to Fix: A Mini problem is solved


Put through their paces: Ratchet spanners and pressure washers – and (since it’s winter) we answer a reader’s request to check out convection heaters too being referred to as retro-futurism. Plus we’ve been taking a look at how Alex Prindiville weaved his way through a career working on, manufacturing for, and selling supercars. In this cold weather, Andrew Evans has been getting the heaters out and solving a problem for one of our readers. Not only that – he’s been putting pressure washers and ratchet spanners to the test, while also compiling a Christmas wish-list in this month’s bumper (and seasonal) products section! For the first time, turn to p21 to read our inaugural Suppliers’ Guide too. If you’re looking for a supplier to help your business, this is the place to go. Enjoy the issue,

Rebecca Chaplin, Head of News and Features

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VIRTUAL CAR NOW REALITY Jaguar combines the real deal with virtual reality – and on a car that defies the marque’s original ethos. The British carmaker built the company on exceptional sports cars and over the years has developed to become a manufacturer of executive cars with a need for speed. Now we see a polar-opposite vehicle: an electric SUV. Unconventional in the market, unconventional for the brand and unveiled in a unique way. Jaguar used virtual reality to let celebrities and journalists explore the car for the first time, and we were there. Turn to page 28 to see for yourself.

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THE BREXIT EFFECT MAKES ITSELF FELT AS IMPORT PRICES START TO INCREASE INVESTIGATION An economic slowdown – or worse – is feared, with one parts firm already rescued from administration. REBECCA CHAPLIN examines the facts behind the figures.


he service and repair trade is facing Its retail margin also fell to 47.6 per cent – a parts price increases across the drop of 2.75 percentage points – which Halfords board, as suppliers are faced with the said was a direct result of the exchange rate drop. repercussions of Brexit. In its interim financial statement, the business The most noticeable consequence of the outlined the impact on exchange rates, saying: referendum vote to leave the European Union ‘The value of sterling has fallen by approximately was the weakened pound, which has seen 15 per cent since the end of FY16 as a result imports increase in price. Those hitting of Brexit. The group buys a significant the headlines might be Toblerone proportion of its goods in US and Marmite, but across the board dollars, and as such is exposed in our industry the pinch is also to significant fluctuations in being felt. exchange rates. This risk is Recent events show that parts managed by forward-buying retailers, which are the first ports currency, but a prolonged of call when it comes to getting devaluation of sterling will lead parts into the country, are bearing to higher input costs.’ the brunt of price hikes so far. It added: ‘The vote for Brexit could Halfords was the first automotive lead to a slowdown or recession in the Martin Gray UK economy, and consequent loss of parts retailer to announce that it had been directly affected by the consumer confidence, impacting trading weakened pound. In its half-year results, conditions for the group.’ announced earlier this month, it warned that the Another parts company attributing Brexit negative effect of the pound’s decline would be uncertainty to its problems was Andrew Page. visible, and pre-tax profit for the group in the 26 On October 4, 2016, the company went into weeks to September 30, 2016 slumped 15.7 per administration, but a swift pre-pack acquisition cent to £39.1m. from Euro Car Parts’ parent company, the LKQ

The group buys a significant proportion of its goods in US dollars, and as such is exposed to significant fluctuations in exchange rates HALFORDS INTERIM FINANCIAL STATEMENT

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What does the future hold for repairers? Corporation, helped save the company and 2,400 jobs. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrators of Andrew Page Limited and its associated businesses, said there had been a number of factors from the end of 2015 that had resulted in the company’s failure but Brexit, as well as reduced sales and the introduction of the National Living Wage, meant its funding needs had significantly increased. Companies associated with Andrew Page include Solid Auto (UK), Camberley Auto Factors and Colton Parts Company, which were all also acquired in the sale. The future for Andrew Page now appears brighter, with Euro Car Parts CEO Martin Gray commenting: ‘We remain committed to assuring

WHAT THE CHANCELLOR SAID... The Autumn Statement is out and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has given the first official guidance to the government’s plans for the economy since the decision was made to leave the European Union. It’s a mixed bag for the motoring industry but we’ve picked out the important points for your business. How will the Autumn Statement affect your business? • Flat-Rate VAT changes for small businesses Only limited-cost traders using the Flat-Rate VAT Scheme are affected by this change to the way VAT is charged by HM Revenue & Customs. Limited-cost traders are classed as those who spend less than two per cent of their turnover on goods – not services – or less than £1,000. • Freezing of the proposed 2p-per-litre fuel duty increase until 2018 This is good news for anyone getting behind the wheel of a car – and more miles on cars means more servicing. Any business offering recovery won’t see a benefit, but for a seventh consecutive year fuel duty will be frozen. • £1bn to be invested in full-fibre broadband and 5G trials With the face of our industry changing drastically and the need to get online fast becoming a must, the government has set aside £1bn to improve internet speeds across the country and try out 5G mobile communications.

that the iconic Andrew Page brand continues to thrive and will remain separate from Euro Car Parts, but will benefit from our UK infrastructure, inventory and the financial support from the LKQ Corporation.’ The underlying issue behind this is the increased cost of parts imported from overseas, as a source at a national parts distributor, who did not wish to be named, revealed to Workshop Magazine. They confirmed that the company was facing a price increase of between five and seven per cent from overseas organisations because of the euro/dollar exchange rate and that it had so far tried to prevent passing this on to its customers thanks to stock on hand and currency hedging. However, our source added that they had been forced to pass on some price increases to the market already. The biggest worry for repairers at this stage is how this will hit their pockets: whether they choose to bear the brunt of any rises or pass them on to consumers and run the risk of losing their business.

• National Living Wage to increase Good news for employees, not so good for employers. The National Living Wage will increase to £7.50 from £7.20 for over-25s next year – that’s up four per cent. This could come as a shock, as there had been talks of it falling post-Brexit, but the government’s plan is to hit £9 an hour by 2020. • Corporation Tax Corporation Tax is set to drop from 20 per cent to 17 per cent, although businesses will have to wait until 2020 to reap the benefit. • Doubling UK export finance capacity If your business repairs or manufactures to export, Hammond announced that the government will provide additional support through UK Export Finance – the country’s export credit agency. The aim is that no viable UK export should fail for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector.

Philip Hammond and the Autumn Statement

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Brochure includes plenty of features AUTOSUPPLIES (Chesterfield) Ltd has launched its new 40-page brochure including a wide range of features such as the latest updates from the motor factor, as well as exclusive information from its leading OE-quality suppliers. The brochure provides an insight into Autosupplies’ history, the team, its goals and achievements, emphasising the company’s progression over the years into one of the largest singlebranch motor factors in the UK. Now employing more than 80 members of staff and managing a fleet of more than 45 delivery vehicles, the motor factor is one of the most prominent businesses in the Chesterfield area and has received a series of awards recently.


Electronic trading for wiper tech firm TRICO, a global leader in wiper technology, has strengthened its position in the automotive aftermarket by investing in electronic trading and becoming PACT-enabled. The wiping systems supplier has joined 80-plus aftermarket suppliers trading electronically through PACT (the joint connectivity initiative between eparts and TecCom) and will enjoy access to more than 2,000 motor factor locations across the UK. Motor factor branches will be able to seamlessly connect and trade with the supplier through their MAM Software systems.


Garage expands the scope of its business EASTWOOD Service Station and MOT Centre has expanded the scope of its business. The move allows the workshop to service and MOT all vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. The garage in Southend-on-Sea offers a wide range of services, including MOTs, car and van servicing, air-conditioning, diesel particulate filter (DPF) cleaning and general repairs, including tyre-fitting, on all makes and models. It’s also the only workshop within the area to offer the TerraClean engine cleaning process.

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Three ramps allow access to every inch of a car and wheels can be removed safely for a flawless finish

The detailing unit where it’s about quality, not quantity Experienced technicians at GVE London provide services to help maintain and protect all cars


ith the addition of a premier, purposebuilt detailing centre, GVE London has become the UK’s first full-service independent supercar showroom. Operating from world-class facilities in Uxbridge, the 20,000 sq ft showroom has a sales/ purchasing division, servicing centre and now a bespoke detailing unit; all aiming to deliver its clients an endto-end supercar concierge. Driven by listening to customer feedback and analysing market trends, GVE Detailing provides detailing and paint protection services to help maintain and protect all cars – from £1 million McLaren P1s to small hot hatchbacks. With second-to-none standards and customer service, the centre has already played host to a number of Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz AMG and Porsche models. Specially designed to deliver outstanding results, a complete design audit was undertaken to create a clean and sterile environment. For example, the

by JOHN BOWMAN purpose-built building has low ceilings so it’s less susceptible to dust and contamination, and the LED lighting will uncover the smallest of imperfections. Not only does the detailing unit have capacity for five cars, but it also has an on-site PPF design studio fully equipped with the latest software and cutting machines, allowing GVE to quickly and efficiently cut film to almost any car’s specification. GVE’s founder and managing director David Rai commented on the launch and said: ‘GVE Detailing is all about quality, not quantity. ‘It sounds clichéd but everything we’ve installed into the new detailing centre has been thoroughly researched. ‘No other dealer has a specialist centre within their showroom like this. We go the extra mile, and having our in-house team and tools on-site mean that on average we can undercut the competition.’

The detailing centre itself has three ramps, allowing GVE’s technicians access to every inch of a car, as well as the ability to remove the wheels safely to ensure a flawless finish. GVE Detailing not only operates from its detailing centre but can also deliver breathtaking results off-site at clients’ homes or a location of choice with a mobile valet team. The vast, independent, West London-based showroom specialises in the sales of modern thoroughbreds and classic supercars, where on average it typically displays 30 supercars. Due to growing demand from customers, David Rai adapted the unit to also include a five-bay servicing centre earlier this year, as well as the recently-launched detailing centre. Employing experienced supercar technicians, the centres have a team of six service and six detailing staff. Rai added: ‘This isn’t just a bolt-on to our showroom – it represents the quality that every segment of our dealership can deliver, and fits in perfectly with our dedication to putting our customers’ needs first.’



MP delighted as new repair site opens

What’s been making the headlines at workshops around the United Kingdom? SUNDERLAND:

Thousands of jobs in the UK automotive supply chain have been given a significant boost after Nissan announced it will build two of its next-generation models in Sunderland. A total of 28,000 supply chain jobs in the UK are currently supported by Nissan – Britain’s second-largest car manufacturer – among a wider 78,000 dependent on all British-based vehicle manufacturers.


Dealer group Lookers is bringing Volvo back to Stockport with a new Scandinavian-inspired showroom. The state-of-the-art facility is set to open in 2017 and will include a new workshop. The facility will incorporate while-you-wait-servicing and MOTs, where customers will be able to see their vehicle in one of Lookers’ workshop bays though internal viewing windows. Complimentary refreshments will be served.


A major fire broke out at a vehicle workshop complex on Herries Road in Sheffield. Firefighters were called to the scene close to the city’s Northern General Hospital at 7.45pm on November 14, with eight crews attending the fire. The site includes four businesses next to each other, including an MOT test centre, a windscreen firm and a tyre shop. A number of residents had to be evacuated as the drama unfolded.

RESEARCH into consumer behaviour has found that motorists are increasingly turning to the internet to speed up their search for reputable local garages offering good deals on servicing and repairs. The research from MyCarNeedsA. com, the price comparison site where service-providers quote for MOT, servicing and repair work, shows that there has been a surge in motorists going online. Over the last 12 months, has seen a massive 84 per cent increase in servicing and MOT jobs booked.




MOTs and services are sought online

The countdown to the opening of Automechanika Birmingham 2017 is under way, with online registration for the UK’s leading exhibition for the automotive aftermarket and supply chain available from January at The event offers networking opportunities for all automotive industry professionals, and will host more than 750 exhibitors at the NEC, from June 6 to 8.

Fast Parts Wales has announced the date of its second ‘Fast Parts Wales, Tŷ Hafan, Rainbow Family Rally’ in aid of children’s hospice Tŷ Hafan. In 2017, the rally will comprise a three-day event held from Saturday April 29 to Monday May 1, with participants beginning in Abercarn and heading towards Aberystwyth on the Saturday, before making their way to Tenby on the Sunday and arriving at the hospice in Penarth on the Monday.

A NEW vehicle repair site that has created 11 jobs has been welcomed by the local MP. The Solus Accident Repair Centre in Erith, south-east London, just works on light commercial vehicles, and Solus technical director Theo Theodosiou said: ‘Our new site was created to support the special technical and service demands required for our business customers.’ Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce – the shadow secretary for communities and local government – welcomed the news, saying: ‘It is great to see this new commercial vehicle repair centre opening in Erith.’


Halfords training staff up on electric vehicles


A new Jaguar and Land Rover dealership and workshop has been opened by Marshall Motor Group on Crane Boulevard. The new centre showcases both brands operating from the same location serving customers across Ipswich and beyond. The new Dual Arch Facility includes a state-of-the-art workshop, ample customer parking and room to display 100 cars. The facility is characterised by the use of highend equipment.

HALFORDS is backing the electric car boom by having specially-trained mechanics at its autocentres. The company has announced plans to train one mechanic at each of its 300 centres in electric and hybrid maintenance. Stefan Warhaftig, commercial director at Halfords Autocentres, said: ‘We want our technicians to be the very best in the business, with access to the latest training. ‘This is a really exciting time for innovation in the automotive industry – we’ve hit a significant milestone as electric and hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular and the introduction of driverless cars is just around the corner.’

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Loyal pair are rewarded for dedication

ƒ Group parts manager, Kevin Gibbon, presents the loyalty certificates and vouchers to hard-working duo Norman Hunter, left, and Stephen Todd

Sixty years’ service between them!


wo members of staff at Jennings Motor Group’s parts department in Washington have been rewarded for a combined 60 years’ loyalty to the company. Parts advisor Stephen Todd, from Sunderland, is celebrating 35 years’ loyalty and supervisor Norman Hunter, from Boldon, has achieved 25 years’ continued loyalty. Todd started working within the motor industry in the early 1980s after spending time gaining experience in a warehouse and as a security guard. His career with Jennings Motor Group began when the company took over the site where he was working in Sunderland and he was kept on as a driver within the parts department.

Later he transferred from Sunderland to the group’s Ford Direct dealership in South Shields where he carried out the same role. Three years ago, Todd transferred to the group’s parts department in Washington to take on the new role of parts advisor, the same position he holds today. Meanwhile, Hunter’s career in the motor industry began when he embarked on an apprenticeship. Over the years, he has gained valuable experience and knowledge working for a number of motor dealers across the region. In 1991, Hunter joined the group’s parts department in Washington and over the years,

has worked his way up the ranks to parts supervisor, a role which entails being responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of the busy parts department. To mark the achievement, Kevin Gibbon, group parts manager, paid a visit to the department to present Todd and Hunter with their vouchers. Kevin said: ‘Norman and Stephen are both dedicated and committed members of the team and it was an absolute pleasure presenting them with their loyalty certificates and vouchers.’ It is Jennings company policy to reward staff for their loyalty after achieving 15 years of service, then after every additional five years.

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Car prize is a great early present!

ƒ John Marsden, sales manager at GSF Car Parts Heathrow, left, congratulates Christopher Jackson on winning the car

Peugeot will be given to daughter


Teddington-based garage has taken home the main prize of a brand-new Peugeot 108 in GSF Car Parts’ biggest ever national incentive promotion which aims to support its thriving independent garage customer base. Teddington Cars Ltd, an authorised Ford service and repair agent, was eligible for entry into the prize draw after achieving an agreed ‘three-star’ target monthly spend through GSF, guaranteeing them a prize of up to £500 in Love2Shop vouchers. Garage owner Christopher Jackson said: ‘When my wife gave me the letter to say that I’d won, I thought, ‘‘Brilliant, more vouchers!’’ as they really help out with the Christmas shopping. ‘But then she said, ‘‘I think it’s a bit more than

that!’’ When I realised I’d won the car too, I couldn’t believe it; it was a total shock.’ Jackson plans to give the car to his 22-year-old daughter, Ciara, who frequently helps out by answering the phones at the family-run garage when she isn’t at university. Amanda O’Reilly, head of marketing at GSF Car Parts, said: ‘This is the biggest promotion of its kind that we’ve run to date, and so far garages all over the country have been hitting the target that we set to be entered into the prize draw. ‘We want to congratulate Mr Jackson and the Teddington Cars Ltd team. I’m sure his daughter will love this early Christmas present!’

The garage has been trading as Jacksons Ford for 16 years, employing three members of the Jackson family amongst its eight staff. Offering MOTs, servicing, repairs and diagnostics, customers frequently travel from up to 10 miles away for the excellent standard of care they receive from the team. ‘We’ve used GSF’s Heathrow branch ever since we opened 16 years ago, and I personally have been using them for approximately 25 years now,’ said Jackson. ‘Their delivery service is excellent. When you order a parcel, it’s delivered very quickly. The parts are reliable, OE-quality too.’

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‘MY LOVE AND PASSION IS ALL THINGS MECHANICAL’ Alex Prindiville, owner of supercar dealer Prindiville, proves that there isn’t just one route into a career working with such exclusive vehicles. REBECCA CHAPLIN reports.


rom workshop to shop floor, Alex Prindiville has always worked with cars. It’s a passion that has driven him from an extremely young age. His father was also involved with cars, which allowed Prindiville to start learning young. His career has taken him across the industry and around the world. Now he owns Londonbased Prindiville plc, which is expanding into what will soon be a treasure trove of cars, in an underground showroom that Batman himself would be proud of. For his business, the knowledge he’s acquired of supercar mechanics has been priceless and gives him an edge over his competitors. Speaking to Workshop Magazine, Prindiville explained: ‘My father owned a piece of land that had a load of mechanics on it, not far from our site, over in East London. ‘There were all sorts of wonderful characters, working on a huge range of cars – from Rolls Royces, to Jaguars and everything else. So that’s where I really got the bug for cars. We restored an E-Type Jag when I was about six, so I was off and running at that point. I left school, I wasn’t very academic and I’ve got dyslexia.’

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Rebecca chats to Alex Prindiville at his showroom in Limehouse Basin, London

A hobby became a job when Prindiville took up a course in engineering parts. Little did he know the journey this would take him on. ‘I went off and did a small engineering course on lathes, so I started machining parts,’ he explained. ‘In my first ‘‘sort-of ’’ business, I was about 17 and I started working with BMWs. ‘At that point BMW had just started moving forward in terms of a real sort of aspirational product that everyone could have. That was the end of the 80s, early 90s, and everybody had a BMW E30. However, they had a problem with the cylinder heads, so we developed a way of repairing this particular faulty part. ‘We started selling it to specialist automotive companies that resold engine parts. That was our first contract and then we went into engine remanufacturing for BMW.’ With business booming, Prindiville saw an


ƒAlex Prindiville and his stunning showroom

opportunity to purchase cars that he could repair and sell for a profit. He said: ‘Later on I bought my first Ferrari. It had been slightly damaged on one part, so I repaired that. Then I bought another one, and another. Then before I knew where I was, the guy who owned the bodyshop said, ‘‘why don’t you come into business with me?’’ So I found myself owning a specialist body shop! I understood engines, gearboxes and everything else. Now I was into rebuilding supercars.’ As his career developed, so did his skills. Prindiville found himself continually learning and developing what he knew as technologies changed. He continued: ‘After a period of time that took me into Lamborghini and at that point, they’d just gone into carbon fibre. So I was now working with that as a material. That was in the whole

tuning time, so I started tuning cars. That took me around the world, took me out to all the best South African dealers, all the best UAE dealers, all of Europe. I just met everybody because I was manufacturing parts for them. ‘When 2009 came around, that was when everything stopped and we moved into the big depression. ‘At that point, people started saying to me, ‘‘I want to sell my Ferrari’’ or, ‘‘I want to buy something’’ and the business developed into a brokerage. I found myself selling quite a lot of cars, which is kind of where we are today.’ And now Prindiville is making a change once again. The firm has recently become a listed company, opening up new opportunities. ‘In life you don’t know where your journey is going to go. You

start off doing one thing and you find yourself doing something completely different,’ he said. ‘My love and passion is in all things mechanical really. ‘I understand the cars around us today stripped down to the nuts and bolts, which is important when you need to find out if they’re right. ‘When you buy this sort of vehicle, you need to know whether it has had any issues. ‘In some situations, the previous owners have raced these cars or it might have had an unfortunate bump that isn’t recorded. ‘You’ve really got to know your onions and, luckily enough, with all of the skills that I’ve developed over the years, I can look under the bonnet at something and see what type of life it’s had.’

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‘WE ALWAYS WANT TO IMPROVE THE CARS BY ELECTRIFYING THEM’ While covering the LA Auto Show, REBECCA CHAPLIN grabbed the chance to find out more about a firm that converts vehicles from a bygone era into eco-friendly versions for the future – including one rather close to her heart...


lassic driving for lower running costs, far better performance and green credentials? What’s not to love? Welcome to retro-future. That’s how David Benardo, CEO of Zelectric Motors, refers to his work. He is a retro-futurist, bringing the most beloved of classic motoring to peak performance with the most electrifying technology. The Zelectric Bug is something I’ve known about for a while, so when I came across their stand in the virtually deserted and barely open ‘Garage’ of the Los Angeles Auto Show, it was an absolute treat. The Garage is where the weird and wonderful tuned motors of the States are displayed, but on the press’s preview day of the motor show very few looked ready to showcase their wares. Luckily for me, Zelectric Motors wasn’t one of those, and Benardo was busily showing guest after guest what his creations have to offer. The idea behind the company is to offer electric-powered classic cars. Benardo is a seriously laid-back Californian. He, like me, has a passion for Volkswagens (turn to The Fleet on page 48 to see my pride and joy) and specialises in turning fuel-burning Beetles into green eco Bugs. But, of course, my first question has to be ‘why?’ Benardo replies: ‘Because we can? Because it’s America? I don’t know. It’s something that’s been brewing for about 12 years or more, but we really started about four years ago. ‘We started with the Beetle and, we love this car, but the performance isn’t that great. In my personal experience I was just always working

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on the engine. That seemed to be the thing that caused me the most grief.’ He had an answer for that though, inspired by the now powerful and desirable Tesla. ‘This electric motor doubles the horsepower, it’s maintenance-free, it’s just so much fun to drive now. They go fast and you can have a worryfree vintage car,’ he explained. Zelectric has a Beetle, Karmann Ghia, Porsche 911S Targa and camper van on the stand. These vehicles each have beautifully designed engine bays, crafted by someone with a keen eye for simplistic retro. ‘I’m a designer,’ says Benardo. ‘I worked with ad agencies as a creative director. I did that for 30 years and then, well, this is more fun.’ Looking around, you can see the vehicles are fitted with Tesla batteries and the charging plug

„David Benardo sees himself as a retro-futurist

you would expect to see on a Model S. ‘Tesla batteries are something we’re just now starting to use. They really haven’t been available routinely, but since there are so many more out there now, you can get them on eBay. People run into Teslas just as much as they run into any other car, so they get in crashes and the batteries are fine 99.9 per cent of the time, so we just buy a pallet-load of batteries,’ he explains. The most powerful of the cars on display is the 911S Targa, with an estimated top speed of 150mph and horsepower that will match that of the petrol-powered version. ‘There’s almost a whole Tesla-worth of batteries in the Porsche there. It has about 60 per cent of the batteries that would be in a Model S, but for that little car we think we’ll probably get around 150 miles of range and driving it is fast! ‘We always want to improve the cars by electrifying them. I’m surprised that we’ve got this 911. Our client bought it specifically to make it electric. Our clients think this makes a load of sense and it makes them happy. Some

 The Zelectric Motors Volkswagen camper van offers emission-free driving with a retro look for classic car enthusiasts

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Stylishly designed electric powertrains other people think we’re crazy, but that’s OK.’ Inside the camper van, Beetle and Karmann Ghia there is the same engine but the 911’s is somewhat larger. The others are only about 84bhp but the Porsche actually has two motors. ‘It’s like a Siamese or a long cylinder that has two motors in there,’ explains Benardo. ‘It’ll light the wheels up and create a cloud of smoke!’ A sign reads: ‘Stock is important to us. No metal cut, nothing welded.’ As Benardo explains, they try to keep the vehicles as standard as possible. The electric motor they use is paired to a stockrebuilt manual transmission and heavy-duty clutch. It might seem unusual to have an electric motor in a classic car, but to me it seems even more bizarre to have gears on an electric motor! Zelectric has engineered it this way, though, so that at any time an owner can revert the vehicle to a standard petrol engine. Nothing else is messed with either, so all of the electric wiring, including windscreen wipers, lights and radio, are as they should be, too. ‘It’s just that we don’t want to cut the car up at all,’ he says. ‘We like to keep the car completely stock and have it looking like a proper Beetle or Porsche. So the new electric motor just, basically, bolts on to the stock transmission and we don’t have to re-engineer anything. ‘We put a rebuilt gearbox in there and we’ve upped the gears and things so it’ll last another 150,000 miles, but the stock transmission lends itself very well to this motor.’ As each of these cars is a one-off project, the Zelectric team have had the opportunity to fettle the format. Benardo continues: ‘In the Karmann Ghia, we did something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. We took a four-speed transaxle gearbox from a Beetle and re-engineered it so it only has two gears. ‘It’s kind of like second and fourth. With the

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stock transmission you really don’t use first gear, it’s just way too low. You’re just kind of using second and third all of the time. Fourth is for the highway. This one has a switch that you give a little push to, to go in reverse too, so it just spins the motor backwards and the car goes backwards – so there’s no reverse gear.’ If you take a look in the engine bay, the set-up actually looks as though it could be a fake. You’d half-expect to lift the floor in the back end of the bus and find that, actually, there was a petrol engine hidden in there all along – if it weren’t for the lack of sound. All you can see in there is a silver box, six orange cables and a very menacing orange light. You might even think that Back To The Future’s ‘Doc’ Brown himself had developed this after finishing work on the flux capacitor. ‘It needs to look a bit badass for what it is. I mean, it should look like it goes fast – it does!’ said Benardo. ‘These Beetles now go at 100mph. They never, ever did that. We needed to make it look clean, and from my designer eye I needed to have something that looked right. ‘These are all off-the-shelf components but we’ve taken the very best.’ Here his designer background has played a part, with the car needing good looks to match its impressive performance. ‘I wanted to pay homage to the original motor design though, so there’s no reason to put those six cables in there, looking like they do, but I like people to look at this stuff. Equally, we could have covered them up!’

Within the classic Volkswagen family the set-up works – in spacious engine bays designed to air-cool. But has he chosen these vehicles for passion or practicality? ‘You could do this with any car,’ he explains. ‘With the electric motors, they work really well with manual transmission. ‘We could do it with any car but we like doing it with the Beetles because I think America has a love affair with the Beetle. For the most part we try to round up well-maintained ones or recently restored ones. The blue Beetle I bought totally restored, the same with the bus.’ Luckily, most of the parts on these vehicles can be bought new so they have been replaced to ensure that the Zelectric machines will keep going and going. ‘There are a thousand companies that are making parts for these cars. That’s one of the nice things about the Volkswagen – there’s a huge community devoted to these vehicles.

‘They love and support them, so it’s easy to get replacement parts for these cars.’ But do any of the VW lovers actually want to part with $49,000 (around £39,500) for conversion? It’s a fair amount of cash, even if you factor in how low the running costs will be, but a fair amount cheaper than a Model S… Benardo explained: ‘We actually have a waiting list. We can’t start a new project until around April or May now. ‘Our customers are mostly in California but we have another one of these buses that is going to go east to Martha’s Vineyard. ‘I’ve actually just had a woman buy one who has never owned a Beetle before and she’d never even seen the car in real life! ‘She’d just seen the photos and thought it was the cutest thing.’

Clockwise from top left: a Volkswagen Beetle, Porsche 911S Targa and VW Karmann Ghia – all powered by pure electric motors

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Apprentices start their new careers Mitsubishi scheme proves popular


ighteen new apprentices have joined the network of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK and will now begin training at its headquarters in Cirencester. Mitsubishi dealerships from all over the UK have committed to training in Gloucestershire as part of their three-year Level Three Diploma in light vehicle repair, from the Institute of the Motor Industry. Glyn Lewis, apprentice programme controller, said: ‘For the second year in a row the demand for places for apprentices has been very high, which is a reflection of how confident the Mitsubishi dealers are feeling. ‘The dealers are secure about their future and they are investing in more staff as a result.

 From left, Charlie Reeves (Acorn Mitsubishi, Birmingham); Jake Basham (Duxford Motor Group, Cambridge); Adam Livings (Gatwick Mitsubishi); Jonathan O’Brien (Browns, Preston); Glyn Lewis – apprentice programme controller; Gary Preece – technical trainer; Marcus Brookes (Holdcroft Mitsubishi, Stoke-on-Trent); Mantas Kairys (MB Motors, Bradford); Matthew Pickett (Jennings, Middlesbrough); Kieran Hanson-Hodgson (Reading Mitsubishi) and Tony Williams (Border Cars, Dumfries) ‘The dealers want people that are trained from the ground up and able to work on Mitsubishi products, like the Outlander plug-in hybrid.’ Last year saw 20 apprentices start training while in 2014 there were 11 apprentices on the scheme and in 2013 there were just eight. The company took on a new apprentice technical trainer, Gary Preece, to meet the increased demand for places last September.

The rise in the number of apprentices in the dealer network comes after Mitsubishi Motors in the UK was named the fastest-growing mainstream car brand in 2013, 2014 and 2015. A key contributor to the marque’s continuing success is the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The nation’s favourite plug-in vehicle dominates the sector, accounting for almost half of its sales.



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W: T: 0845 413 0000 E: Info: eDynamix offers web-based applications providing a connected and simple-to-use platform in which dealers can manage a customer throughout the service lifecycle, including: service plans; electronic vehicle health check; repair and finance plans; proactive follow-up; online bookings; MOT cleanse; VIDEO1st; aftersales surveys; automated confirmation and reminders.

W: T: 01480 445500 E: Info: Lawgistics is the leading provider of legal services and advice to the UK motor trade. We help our members comply with current and future legislation. Our knowledge and experience in motor trade law is invaluable and that is why we are recognised as the legal firm for the motor trade. Don’t miss the help and advice we offer in the pages of Workshop Magazine every month.

W: T: 01604 828 500 E: Info: GEMCO is the UK market leader and your one-stop shop for supply, delivery, installation, training, calibration and maintenance of garage equipment. With the largest comprehensive range of equipment brands available for both car and commercial vehicle workshops, GEMCO provides top-quality garage equipment products and services to car and commercial vehicle workshops.

W: T: 01622 833007 E: Info: As part of the Bilstein Group, Blue Print supplies OE matching quality vehicle components, with strong Asian and American coverage. With more than 23,000 different parts in range, from braking and clutch components to filtration, Blue Print covers a huge portion of the vehicle parc. Right first time? Think Blue Print.

W: T: 01909 480055 E: Info: Straightset is the UK’s leading independent garage equipment company, providing best-in-class design, supply, installation and service of car and commercial workshops for 30 years. We carry a vast range of quality equipment carefully sourced from top manufacturers within the EU and US and offer the most comprehensive aftersales service in the market.

W: T: 01977 691100 E: Info: As part of the Bilstein Group, Febi Bilstein supplies a range of more than 25,000 different articles for all popular European vehicles models. From steering and suspension, to rubber, metal and electrical, Febi provides OE matching quality components with first-time fitment and long service life. For quality, choose Febi Bilstein.


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While REBECCA CHAPLIN was Stateside for the Los Angeles Auto Show, she not only saw Jaguar’s electric dream made real, she also managed to get up close and personal with the manufacturer’s stunning continuation of a 1957 classic

 The Jaguar XKSS is regarded as the world’s first supercar

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 The Jaguar I-Pace – the brand’s first all-electric car


aguar chose the Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil two new cars in its arsenal, with a nod to the future and a glance over its shoulder to the past. One you’ll be lucky to get your hands on; the other will likely be taking up slots in your service bays in a couple of years. Apart, they are both sensational bits of kit; together, they demonstrate the breadth of what this brand, straight out of Coventry, can do.

Looking forward The star of the show that no-one could stop their tongues wagging about was the I-Pace Concept. No, not that small box you can listen to music on but will also fit in your pocket. This is Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle and it’s an SUV. It’s a far cry from the vehicles that the company built itself on, but this time last year the motoring world was still sniggering at the idea that Jag would build an SUV. Now we know that it’s the fastest-selling car in the brand’s history. Next up in its model range is what is being dubbed a ‘Tesla killer’. Not only will the I-Pace have all the appeal of the popular premium brand, it’ll also be cheaper than the Model X when it hits the market in 2018. That’s right, this concept is pretty much production-ready. The I-Pace will have around 300 miles of range on its all-electric powertrain, which is more than enough to take on the mighty Tesla, and owners will be able to charge it to 80 per cent in merely 90 minutes. The I-Pace is powered by two electric motors. One turns the wheels at the front of the car, while the other moves the back. This is all powered by a liquid-cooled, 90kWh lithium-ion battery, which uses the latest pouch cell technology because of its high-energy density and excellent

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Using a typical public 50KW DC charging network, a full charge will take just over two hours – enough to deliver a range of 300 miles.



The I-Pace battery is made up of 36 modules in aluminium housing and produces 90kWh.

It uses the same double wishbone suspension and Integral Link that features in the XE, XF and F-Pace.



The I-Pace is powered by two electric motors located on the axles. Together, they pump out almost 400bhp.


It will stop very efficiently: an electric brake booster replaces the normal vacuum servo, ensuring maximum flexibility in the brake system control and maintaining excellent pedal feel.

 First seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show in concept form, the Jaguar I-Pace is expected to be on sale in 2018 thermal management. These are positioned as low down between the rear axles as is possible to keep the centre of gravity low and therefore improve vehicle agility. Electric car technology appears complicated and potentially dangerous to consumers, but we all know the complexities are, in fact, relatively minimal when it comes to service and repair. When it’s compared with a combustion engine all of the moving parts that need to be frequently serviced aren’t needed. In fact, possibly the most complicated unit on this car is the battery management system. This controls the performance of the batteries on board to keep them efficient and keep potential range at its maximum. The designers working on this project explained that throughout, they had one main focus: that this needed to be a driver’s car. It’s fair to say they managed that, as the I-Pace has been

gifted with 394bhp and 700Nm of torque, which is exactly the same torque rating as the F-Type SVR. With that power and torque, delivered via all four wheels, this means it can go from 0 to 60mph in four seconds. The I-Pace also uses a brake booster to replace the usual vacuum servo. Jaguar claims this ensures maximum flexibility in the system’s control and means excellent pedal feel.

Looking back It might be 60 years since this next car first went into production, but just as Jaguar is bringing out its most technologically advanced car it is also recreating an iconic classic. Meet the XKSS – most famously known as the first supercar. The XKSS – which stands for XK Super Sport – was first built in 1957 after Jaguar’s three

successive Le Mans victories with the D-Type. This would be the road-going version of the race car and as such was given a taller windscreen with a chrome frame, plus chrome bumpers, a passenger door, indicators, a folding roof, larger tail lights and a luggage rack to convert it. There was a chassis brace on the racer too, which was removed, and most noticeably the dorsal fin behind the driver’s seat is also missing. There was a more practical reason behind the conversion, though. Jaguar suspended its racing effort in early 1956 and was left with 25 D-Types in the workshop. A decision was made to convert these to road-legal cars. To put into context just how iconic this conversion was, during my trip to the States I came into contact with an original XKSS for the first time. The example lurking in the Vault of the Petersen Automobile Museum in LA was owned by Hollywood

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The XKSS is powered by a 258bhp 3.4-litre straightsix engine taken from the Jaguar D-Type.

Full metal jacket

The XKSS is metal through and through. The shell has been constructed from magnesium alloy, just as it was in 1957.


Around 10,000 man hours will go into creating each of the nine continuation models – to be done by the SVR team at Jaguar’s ‘Experimental Shop’ in Warwick.

Fuel tank


The conversion from a race car to road car in 1957 meant changing the exhaust system.


One of the few elements of the XKSS to get a redesign to meet the needs of modern life is the fuel tank. More robust materials have been used to cope with changes to fuel.

 The Jaguar XKSS has been recreated in painstaking detail with each one taking an estimated 10,000 hours to build legend Steve McQueen and valued at around $30m (circa £24m). There might not be the same provenance for these new continuation models but that still makes the price tag of more than £1m for a new example seem like an absolute steal. So what will customers actually be getting for their money? To start with, only nine lucky collectors will be getting their hands on them, as at the moment the plan is to complete the run after nine were ‘lost’ in a fire. Under the bonnet, the XKSS is equipped with a 258bhp 3.4-litre straight six-cylinder engine, the same that the XKSS originally had and which was also used in the D-Type racing car. That means the XKSS is capable of 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds and truly was the first supercar.

The engine in the recreated model features completely new cast-iron blocks, new cast-cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburettors. The car has been hand-built with every respect given to traditional production of a car of this period, with each car constructed to the same specification as the first 16 made. Jaguar estimates that around 10,000 man-hours will go into each one. On the inside, the new XKSS is kitted out with the same interior you would expect to see in an original. This includes perfect recreations of the original Smiths gauges. Everything from the wood of the steering wheel and the grain of the leather seats through to the brass knobs on the XKSS dashboard is precisely as it would have been in 1957. There have been minor specification changes

made, but they are only to improve driver and passenger safety. For example, the fuel tank has been built using more robust materials to cope with modern fuels. You probably remember that earlier in the year Jaguar announced the recreation of the Lightweight E-Type project, where the missing six cars would be made to finish the production run. The expertise gained during this project will be transferred to the construction of the nine ultra-exclusive continuations. Each one will be hand-built at Jaguar’s new ‘Experimental Shop’ in Warwick.


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THE I-PACE BY NUMBERS SIMON DAVIS entered a futuristic world when he was invited to be part of an exclusive audience to experience Jaguar’s first electric car in digital form via a transatlantic virtual reality launch.


irtual reality is a rather strange thing. For those who have never experienced it, it truly does immerse you in a virtual world, almost completely depriving you of your earthly senses. It’s like something straight out of a sciencefiction movie. It would seem fitting, then, that Jaguar decided to launch its first electric car via this high-tech medium. After all, the I-Pace Concept – which provides a preview of what the final production version of the all-electric SUV will look like when it hits UK roads in 2018 – is a properly futuristiclooking thing. The VR launch was the first event of its kind, and saw an exclusive selection of journalists from London and Los Angeles – where the car was unveiled in the metal ahead of the LA Auto Show – converge in a digital world in real time.

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Celebrities James Corden, Michelle Rodriguez and Miranda Kerr were in attendance in the virtual world, too. But as they were in LA and we were in London we unfortunately didn’t get to meet them face to face.

The event For the event, we would be using HTC Vive Business Edition headsets, powered by Dell Precision workstations. The virtual world we landed in was designed by creative agencies ReWind and Imagination, with VR director Alexander Horton leading the creative direction. After a quick introduction from our virtual host, we found ourselves floating above planet Earth, as a live projection of legendary Jaguar designer Ian Callum talked us through the I-Pace Concept’s striking appearance. Using our handheld controllers, we were able

to interact with the virtual I-Pace, rotating it on an invisible plane as it was constructed before our very eyes. We were then transported from the stratosphere down to what appeared to be a vast Californian desert. By moving our heads, we could look up into the night sky to see the I-Pace falling to Earth in a shooting star, before landing and racing towards us across the plain. All very surreal. Vehicle line director Ian Hoban then appeared to get us under the skin of the I-Pace Concept and its impressive technology. ‘Electric motors provide immediate response with no lag, no gearshifts and no interruptions,’ he explained. ‘Their superior torque delivery compared to internal combustion engines transforms the driving experience. With 700Nm and the traction benefits of all-wheel drive, the I-Pace Concept

„ Journalists wearing special headsets experienced the I-Pace Concept in stunning virtual form, but others got to see it for real at the LA Auto Show

accelerates from 0-60mph in around four seconds.’ All very impressive. Next, we found ourselves on Los Angeles’ famous Venice Beach. This was probably the most impressive aspect of the entire VR launch. Here we sat inside a virtual version of the I-Pace Concept’s plush cabin. By moving our heads and turning 180 degrees, we were able to get an incredibly accurate sense of how large the vehicle’s cabin was. You could look down into the front footwell, gaze across into the passenger seat and peer out of the windows on to a digital Venice Beach,

which was eerily – although understandably – void of any human life. We were then moved into the back seats, which gave us a pretty spot-on idea of what room in the rear would be like. Based on our first virtual impressions, space back there is in abundance, with the 530-litre boot looking more than up to the task of carting around a family’s worth of luggage, too. Speaking

about the design of the I-Pace’s interior, Callum said: ‘Our brief was to create a spacious performance SUV that could comfortably carry five people. Otherwise, we had a clean sheet of paper. To deliver this, we embraced the freedom that electrification offers designers. ‘The electric powertrain and the cab-forward layout position the driver further forward, increasing the space for row-two occupants. ‘This also allows the 530-litre luggage compartment volume without compromising the dramatic silhouette.’ With the virtual reveal, Jaguar really has done a great job of showcasing itself as a forwardthinking, futuristic brand. However, while seeing the I-Pace for the first time in virtual reality was certainly an awesome experience, it can’t quite compete with seeing a car for the first time in the metal.

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Master technician’s experience helped sort a Mini problem Correct diagnosis of faulty temperature sensor saved a customer more than £1,000


utologic’s Fault 2 Fix Team is constantly confronted with unusual vehicle complaints. With more than 500 years’ dealer experience between them and access to our Technical Knowledge Base, our Fault 2 Fix team are able to resolve 98 per cent of all submitted faults. A recent example of a complex vehicle fault received by the BMW team concerned a Mini Cooper S. The issue was poor performance and the cooling fan running constantly, even with the key removed from the ignition and the engine cold. The customer had taken the car into their local specialist, who ran a quick diagnostic scan that showed a few fault codes, Super Knock and misfire. The specialist’s first move was to replace the spark plugs and coils, but the fault codes and symptoms remained. He then noticed some carbon build-up in the inlet ports, so proceeded to carry out an engine decoke. However, after building the vehicle back up, the fault codes were still present. At this point the specialist recommended fitting a new DME (engine control unit), which the customer agreed to pay for. Before ordering, he sent an inquiry to Autologic’s BMW Fault 2 Team, via the AssistMobile app, explaining the symptoms, fault codes and all the work they had done. One of our BMW Master Technicians received the inquiry, picked up the phone and gave the specialist a call. Using the Technical Knowledge base, and his own experience, our Master Tech quickly

identified the correct cause: the thermostat/ coolant temperature sensor. Using the AssistPlus, the first step was to check the live data readings of the engine. The coolant temperature sensor was found to be reading -48 degrees intermittently. This was all too familiar for our Master Tech, who knows that BMW/Mini modified its thermostat housings with an extra lead to fix this fault. The vehicle age and engine variant now played a role in deciding what procedure our Master Technician would recommend and which parts to replace. The next step was to check the engine temperature sensor wiring, looking for a 5v supply to pin 1 on the sensor. Pin 2 is the ground signal back to the DME, pin 14. This check confirmed that the wiring was good, suggesting that the sensor itself was faulty. Having reached this conclusion, the specialist contacted his local BMW parts department and found that the sensor was part of a modified

Make: Mini

Model: Cooper S


Poor performance, cooling fan running constantly

Common cause:

Thermostat Temperature Sensor

Master Tech Tip:

Some BMW/Mini vehicles were subject to a recall and had an additional temperature sensor fitted to the cooling circuit. These vehicles may have had a coolant pipe with a built-in sensor fitted to them. These pipes are no longer available and have been replaced with just a sensor. For the N14 engine variant, produced up to the end of January 2013, the thermostat must be replaced with part number (this number may have been superseded, please check with your local BMW parts department).

kit that needed to be fitted, not just the sensor on its own. The sensor needed to be fitted in conjunction with a modified thermostat housing, sensor and wiring loom. Correctly identifying this cause and replacing these items not only fixed the vehicle, but also saved the customer more than £1,000 on a DME that was not needed.

WHO IS CHRIS ROUTLEDGE? Chris is master technician at Autologic Diagnostics Ltd. He discusses the most common vehicle faults – plus how to diagnose and fix them fast – in Workshop Magazine every month.

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SUPPLIERS WITH THE X FACTOR What makes a good motor factor? ALEX WELLS asks how garages assess suppliers in an increasingly competitive world.


aving access to the right parts, in stock at the right price and readily available, is essential and garages will look to align themselves with factors and suppliers that can deliver this. But what exactly are garages looking for from what can become a long-term and surprisingly close business relationship? And is there a winning formula with regards to teaming up with factors that garages should be following?

Close and competitive Family-owned D&D Autos in Ashford, Kent, sources the majority of its parts from two motor factors: SC Motor Factors and Euro Car Parts. Workshop manager Matthew Pestridge says: ‘Buying all our parts from one factor is not something that we have ever done as a business. ‘We are fortunate to have two motor factors on our industrial estate. The Kent-based factor chain branch is across the road, literally a two-minute walk away, and then Euro Car Parts is just a few minutes’ drive from here. They are the closest ones and they are both competitive. ‘We have a great working relationship with both, which is useful not only for managing issues, but also as they will keep us in the loop with any incentives they may have.’ D&D, who specialise in marques such as VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda, source parts via other means where necessary: ‘We use a variety of dealerships and we also buy parts from manufacturer suppliers. A lot of our filters come genuine as we like to fit genuine filters whilst a vehicle is in its warranty period.’

Massive combination When it comes to factors, Pestridge says speed of delivery, size of range and price are all big motivators: ‘We like dealing with Euro Car Parts because if something goes wrong with a part and we have to raise a warranty claim, they are easy to deal with. ‘Our local supplier has tried very hard on that side of things, but the process is a bit more complex. As a result, some of the bigger pieces like turbo chargers, and some of the electrical components, we tend to purchase more from the national group.’

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that but things have changed so much.’ On other local factors and rebates, Pestridge says: ‘There are smaller local factors in Ashford and we still have a use for them. Unfortunately, they tend not to be as competitive as the larger factors. One particular advantage we get from using our motor factors is a rebate for meeting a certain spend. ‘This has proved really useful for investment in tools and training.’

 D&D Autos in Ashford, Kent

Personal touch The personal touch goes a long way: ‘We have a great rapport with both of our factors and often find that they will go that extra mile to ensure they give us great service.’ Deliveries can sometimes be a problem, despite having two factors close by: ‘They say, ‘‘it’ll be there in 10 minutes’’ and 30 minutes later it turns up. We will always collect parts if they can’t be delivered within a certain time. ‘Prompt deliveries are key to the running of our business, especially when you’ve got a vehicle sitting on the ramp. Fifteen years ago, most of our parts came down from Thurrock. You would get one van delivery a day and you would rely on

Good service Apart from carrying out repairs, servicing and MOTs, Reliance Auto Test in High Wycombe has a nice little sideline in racing, and their factor, Euro Car Parts, helps them in that area. Owner Sean Smith says: ‘We do races around the country – we hire out race cars as well. If we get any issues, our factor will source from its other branches. ‘We’ve had parts delivered to racetracks when we’ve been away with customers’ race cars. We also have race cars looked after by a car company in Essex so if they need stuff through us they will use an Essex branch and deliver it, but obviously bill it back to here, but deliver the parts out to wherever we want.’ Smith believes it all comes back to two words though: ‘Really it’s about good service.’

RELIANCE AUTO TEST High Wycombe-based Reliance Auto Test opened a decade ago. Since then, the garage has sourced the majority of its parts from Euro Car Parts, and it has a long-standing relationship with its local branch. The business does also buy from others though: ‘Obviously you go to other factors, and the main dealer if need be,’ says owner Sean Smith. Bearing in mind Reliance is sourcing mainly from a single outlet, Euro Car Parts, what inspires such loyalty? Smith says: ‘Service – just ongoing service that I’ve had from them for many years now. It’s reliable, with good aftercare too. We’ve just built up a good relationship. ‘Without any traffic, they are probably only about 10 minutes away, so not too far. Deliveries take 45 minutes from phone call to arrival, providing they have got it in stock, so

that obviously works for us. It is a combination of everything really. Delivery times play a part, as does the after-service – if there is a problem, they will sort it for me. ‘If they haven’t got it, they will sort it for me – as will the others – but I have built up a relationship with them and so they look after my needs.

‘To me that’s the main thing, building up a good relationship. If you do get any issues, there is someone who will sort it straight away for you. ‘Obviously cost always comes into it, but it is not the major factor – parts are quality, warranty service is firstrate, and obviously you get a nationwide warranty as well.’

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Autocentre Rushden in Northamptonshire mainly uses Bedford Battery, a local independent factor, backed by two others who have branches nearby: CT Autoparts and Motor Parts Direct. Workshop owner Vic Clarke says: ‘We’re quite lucky here because within a 15-mile radius we could go to at least four others as well as the three we generally use. On average, we can expect that if I order something now, and providing the van’s there without them being out, I can have something here normally within 15-20 minutes. ‘If they are really busy, normally it’s within an hour. It’s very rare we are waiting too long. On average, we would expect something here within the hour, easily. ‘The main attribute more than anything else is having somebody reliable on the other end of the line that tends to know what they are talking about on the car side of things and speedy delivery. ‘We had a bad experience with one factor. They just kept letting us down, saying ‘‘yes, we can get that part, no problem at all – we can have it to you quite quickly’’. Then it doesn’t turn up or when it does turn up it’s in a white box, it’s not the make that they said it was and the delivery wasn’t on time. ‘They let us down quite badly. We haven’t used them now for a couple of years. We had to then relay things back to customers saying, ‘‘sorry – we said we could do it but we haven’t got it’’. ‘Obviously we were getting it in the neck. ‘We were also losing out on work because we couldn’t get stuff on the ramps.’

POULTON CAR SALES & SERVICE CENTRE Poulton Car Sales & Service Centre is a used car dealer, garage, MOT testing station and bodyshop in Poulton, Lancashire. The business sources parts from a branch of EK Motor Factors, a north-west based chain, and from Euro Car Parts, which of course has sites all over the UK. Joint owner Lee Bradshaw says: ‘We use the larger company because they are reliable with deliveries, and price obviously. The other is a very good local firm, so we use them as well. It’s definitely important to use more than one as we do play them off each other regarding price. They often try to undercut each other.’ The relationships works pretty well – ‘we’re on first-

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name terms with the managers’ – and the suppliers clearly benefit too. Bradshaw says: ‘We’ve had a lot of equipment from them. We’ve equipped our MOT station and also bought a DPF cleaning machine.’

KENNINGTON MOTORS Oxfordshire-based Kennington Motors opened 30 years ago. The business has seven staff and includes a garage and MOT testing station as well as a busy bodyshop. Senior technician Michael Hayes says: ‘We use two suppliers, a regional chain based around Greater London called Allparts Automotive, and Euro Car Parts. ‘The main reason is the price of parts to be honest. We occasionally ring round other companies, just to compare pricing. Obviously, if they offer the same parts cheaper we have words with our regular suppliers. ‘Another reason we chose them is because they are very local to us – delivery time is next to nothing. Timescale is

important when you are ordering parts. We order the night before mostly. Anything extra like a car that needs a battery or something like that we go over and get it because it’s quicker. Otherwise you are taking up ramp space.’ Kennington Motors have been using their two regular suppliers for a few years, and the familiarity between factor and customer proves useful – ‘particularly if we get stuck on something,’ observes Hayes, ‘they will go back and research it.’ An example of this would be oil. ‘Autodata doesn’t cover what oil goes in anything that’s 65-plate or later yet, so they always go out of their way to find out for us. Within half an hour of us asking, they come back with what oil it takes, how much it needs and when they can get it for us.’

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WE’RE BEING BLAMED FOR CRACKED CYLINDER HEAD ASK THE JUDGE: Ian Gardner, sales manager at automotive legal experts Lawgistics, delivers his verdicts on problems that affect you


A Vivaro Van was recovered to us at the beginning of October from another local mechanic who suspected a fault with the injectors but was not able to remove them. They had got a bit out of their depth and when the van arrived with us it was partially stripped. The problem the customer had experienced before taking it to the first mechanic was that an engine management light was on and the van had been cutting out. We did not see it in a running state, but considered that since Vivaros can suffer with injector faults, this was likely to be the issue. We submitted a claim to Vauxhall as this is a known concern, but they declined assistance as the van was over seven years old. We thought it best to get a specialist in to remove the injectors and informed the customer who agreed. The specialist removed three injectors without a problem but the fourth injector was so seized in place it pulled part of the cylinder head with it. I told the customer that the van would need a replacement cylinder head. The customer has blamed us for what has happened. With the help of our specialist we have


explained to the customer that this was an inevitable consequence of the metals having corroded together and on pulling the injector the alloy head has cracked. We do not think the outcome would have been different had anyone else been given the job. The customer is threatening legal action. We have not charged the customer anything and he collected his van a couple of weeks ago. However, he has written to us claiming we have been negligent and requesting that we fix his van entirely free of charge. Where do we stand?


In a contract to supply a service to a paying customer, there is a statutory duty under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to perform the service with reasonable care and skill, writes the Judge. If a customer can show this was not done and the service does not conform to contract, the customer can request a repeat of the service and a reduction in the price paid. As you said, you have not charged the customer. The common law test for negligence rules that a professional person is not negligent if he carries

out his work to the same standard that another reasonably competent member of his profession would have met. This has become known as the Bolam test after an English tort law case (Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee 1957) and has established that where special skill and competence are involved, the test for negligence is not that of the man on the Clapham omnibus, as he does not possess this special skill. Neither is it necessary for the professional consultant to possess the highest skill, ‘it is sufficient if he exercises the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art’. You advise that in this case you instructed a specialist and it is unlikely that another specialist would have achieved a different outcome for the customer, given the way in which the component parts had fused together. It would appear that you have discharged your duty of reasonable care and skill under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on the facts as you have explained.

More than £400 off braking training

One free month of additional support

£100 off your motor trade insurance

The price of a Pagid Professional Academy brake training programme is normally £1,000 but Workshop Club members can book their place for £599. Take your or your team’s braking knowledge to the next level for this special Workshop Club price. Just quote ‘Brake Training 2016’ in the Promo Code box when registering your interest. Find out more and register your interest here: pagidprofessional.

Autologic produces a successful fully-integrated vehicle diagnostics support system. AssistPlus is a tablet containing diagnostics software, a PDF viewer, web browser and YouTube application to allow you to investigate vehicles, along with a full vehicle history on the device recorded against VIN. An on-board camera allows you to capture video and stills. Club members signing up to Autologic Assist will receive a month of additional support on top of their first year.

With 25 years of industry experience in the world of commercial vehicle insurance, Plan Insurance Brokers is the expert for the UK’s professional road users. Motor trade insurance is vital to keep your business moving, whether it’s your own vehicles or customers’ cars you’re moving about – even if a customer’s car is involved in a fire or theft while in your care. Club members can receive an exclusive £100 discount on their motor trade insurance through Plan Insurance Brokers.


If you’re ill while on holiday, is it really sickness absence? RECENTLY we were contacted by a business owner who told us that a member of his workshop staff had got ill whilst on annual leave and was now claiming back the leave as sickness absence, writes the Judge. If an employee is sick while on annual leave, have they still used their holiday entitlement, or are they automatically still owed the time off ? From previous cases, it is true that employees can have this right but it is not an automatic one. Currently, the law states that if an employee falls sick or is injured whilst on annual leave, they are entitled to discontinue their annual leave and convert it to absence due to sickness. Your holiday policy should make it clear that firstly employees must comply with the sickness absence reporting requirements (ie, contact your line manager at the earliest opportunity). In addition, you can insist they provide medical evidence of their incapacity. If for example, this is whilst abroad, this could be a letter from a local doctor. Please note that the employee can only claim back the days they are actually sick. For example, if they are on a one-week


holiday and are ill for three days, they cannot claim back the whole week, only the three days. If the employee fails to report the sickness in line with the reporting requirements and no medical evidence is produced, you can refuse to reimburse the lost holiday entitlement. n If you have a dilemma that’s

giving you nightmares, an issue that’s keeping you awake, or a dispute that won’t go away, send an email to TheJudge@lawgistics. and you may see your problem dealt with in these pages. And in the meantime, join Workshop Club!

Discount on software & free health check app

Free legal advice plus discounted membership

Dragon2000’s dealer management system is one of the most versatile and easy-to-use products on the market. The software can help manage supplier and customer details, help you keep on top of your costs and ensure that your business is running as smoothly and as profitably as possible. Workshop Club members are eligible for a 10 per cent discount on their first year of a Dragon2000 software subscription – and they get the free Vehicle Health Check app too.

As part of your membership, you will have a free telephone consultation with Lawgistics worth £100. You will also be signed up to Lawgistics’ basic membership package worth £95, have 25 per cent discount off Lawgistics products, get access to guidance notes and document templates and enjoy a discount off membership upgrades – £100 off the Small Business pack and £250 off the Professional membership pack – to better suit your needs.




Strength in Quality


Top stories, accelerated by you...

SuperUnleaded is your new motoring service station where you choose what’s important. Like a post? #AccelerateIt up The Grid for others following in your slipstream and help set the starting line-up of timewasting content for everyone else.

Fuel for thought

Daily motoring news where you help choose what’s important. From the makers of award-winning @_WorkshopMag straight out of @BlackballMedia 38 |

Jeremy Clarkson Loses His High-Stakes Grand Tour Bet

Check Out 10 Of The Best Car Interiors We’ve Ever Seen

Jeremy Clarkson once bet that the McLaren P1 would be faster around a race track than the Porsche 918 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. But it seems his prediction was, er, wrong. Go online to:

There have been some incredible cockpits over the years, which is why we’ve picked 10 of the best. Check out our list and let us know what your suggestions are! Go online to:

New Aston Martin Vanquish S Is Absolutely Beautiful

Here Are The Top Five Cars Of The Los Angeles Auto Show

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and take a look at our pictures of the new Aston Martin Vanquish S. Incidentally, the sprint from 0-60mph is dealt with in just 3.3 seconds. Go online to:

With gleaming metal from the world’s car makers to play with, the Los Angeles Auto Show is a proper event. Check out our five star cars from the show via the link below. Go online to:

Seven Concepts We Wish Had Made It To Production

Police Chief Let Off By Officer After Being Caught At 107mph

Car manufacturers can be infuriating at the best of times, but one of the things that really gets our goat is the way they build stunning concepts then quietly forget about them... Go online to:

If there’s one thing that gets people wound up, it’s the idea that there can be one rule for some and a different rule for others. A fine example of this has emerged from Arkansas... Go online to:

Are These Really The Top 10 Car Names In Britain?

Audi R8 Racer Wins FIA GTA World Cup Despite Crash

We’ve always thought that naming cars is a perfectly normal thing to do. If you want to know what the most popular car names are, here’s the list. Go online to:

When it comes to winning a race, most people would agree that skidding along on your roof is probably a bad way to go about it. But that’s how Laurens Vanthoor triumphed recently. Go online to:



Born in the USA – and brought lovingly back to life in Britain


s many motoring enthusiasts will confirm, one of the most dangerous websites out there is eBay. It certainly proved the case for Mark Fox. ‘I was surfing eBay and I saw him. I wasn’t really intending to buy but I was curious.’ The ‘him’ in question is Fox’s 1968 Mercury Cougar, aka ‘Freddie’. The Cougar is, in essence, a slightly lengthened version of the Ford Mustang, with an extra three inches in the wheelbase and a different body to suit the Mercury brand. For fans of American pony cars the Cougar is, as Fox notes, a cheaper way to be a Mustang owner while still being just a little bit different. He adds: ‘The price seemed too low when I went to look at it. He was fantastic and just needed recommissioning. It was obvious that he wasn’t very rotten. It was also obvious that while he ran, some bits of the powertrain needed some work – and he needed new brakes. ‘The guy who owned it didn’t want to MOT him – he’d had him for a year and the car had just sat out the back of the workshop. The reason he’d bought it in from the USA in the first place was because he was going to take the 302 engine out and put it in his hill-climbing Mustang, but he’d never got around to it!’ The Cougar set Fox, who lives in Banbury and was working for Aston Martin in Gaydon at the time, back £4,000, and as it had been neither registered nor MOTed, it had to be trailered back to a friendly workshop – Bradley’s

Garage, also known as BTec Racing, in Shiptonunder-Wychwood. Fox notes: ‘They very kindly let me work on him in their workshop and it was basically a stock-take. He looked a bit sad but otherwise in perfectly good nick, so I had to figure out what I needed to buy in from the USA to make him run right.’ That proved to be a carburettor rebuild kit, Wilwood disc brakes front and rear and some 17-inch American Racing wheels and tyres. There was also a desperate need for a new exhaust system. ‘The exhaust was terrible – it looked like it had been welded by a chimp – so I got a full stainless steel system from Magnaflow.’ The car had been set up for street and strip drag racing in the States and was a little bit tall at the back, so Fox also fitted a two-inch dropped Caltrac rear suspension to go with the Shelby geometry front suspension and a big front anti-

roll bar to help him with road performance. The result? ‘He’s like a big Ford Escort Mk2 on the road!’ Many might baulk at the concept of owning a classic American car in the UK, fearing that there’ll be hassle when it comes to getting replacement parts, but Fox has no such qualms. ‘Do your research, pick your partners – I use Mustangs Unlimited and West Coast Classic Cougar and they can get me anything I want. ‘If you own a ’60s Mustang, Cougar or even Camaro, Challenger or Chevelle, there are all sorts of parts available off the shelf.’ More recent progress has stalled a little as Fox has been out in the USA working for Ford Powertrain, so Freddie is currently stored and awaiting painting by OCS Paint. It turns out that this daily-driven Cougar isn’t the only American project car on Fox’s book at the moment. When we ask if there’s anything else in the pipeline, he casually replies: ‘I’m rebuilding a 1962 Corvette from scratch.’ Sounds like a future My Project Car feature!

„’Freddie’ – Mark Fox’s restored 1968 Mercury Cougar

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11 c lever sensors

Denso Lambda Sensors Denso has introduced new Lambda Sensor part numbers for its aftermarket programme. With six new part numbers corresponding to 34 OE references, Denso’s Lambda sensor range supports more than 68 per cent of European vehicles, with 445 part numbers covering 1,988 OE references – 286 of which are unique to Denso – and 5,783 applications.

12 lovely light bulbs

10 scuff-free bumpers

Bosch Eco Bulbs Bosch has launched a new line of bulbs designed for valueoriented customers looking for a reliable product from a name they can trust. The new Bosch ECO range ensures that customers have the option of a Bosch-branded product at a lower price point. Covering 25 of the most common types of bulbs, the collection provides more than 90 per cent market coverage and all Bosch automotive bulbs meet the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) standards for exterior replacement automotive bulbs.

Power-TEC Parking Sensor Kit Fitting new parking sensors in front or rear bumpers can be a trial, but Power-TEC has recently introduced two kits (one for VAG vehicles, one for general use) which will enable user to quickly and professionally cut the correctly-sized holes in the plastic bumper panels and clamp the new parking sensors in place. Both kits include hole punches, centring drifts for lining up the PDC brackets, a 10.2mm HSS pilot hole drill bit and assembly clamps.

Christmas products special

ANDREW EVANS selects 12 of the latest devices and gadgets he wishes his true love would give to him...

Nine shiny link bars

First Line Hybrid Link Bars First Line is offering a new hybrid stabiliser link bar to reflect the manufacturer’s own changed design. Combining a hollow twisted bar with a carbon fibre reinforced plastic ball joint body, the new link returns weight-saving benefits over the part it supersedes. In addition, First Line can now supply more than 20 references of hydraulic bushes. All components are manufactured to original equipment (OE) quality and come with a two-year/24,000-mile warranty for peace of mind.

Eight tidy tool chests

Clarke Tool Chests Keeping your tools tidy is important at any time of the year and Clarke has a range of professional-quality, heavyduty tool chests and cabinets. Featuring double wall steel construction, industrial chrome spoked wheels with foot brakes, rubber-grip side handles and extra large chrome steel side handles, they also have extra large drawer pulls with protective anti-slip drawer liners and a safety ‘push-lock’ drawer design which prevents them from opening when tilted. They’re available in a range of colours.




Seven cars a-boosted

GYS Startpack Pro GYS has launched the STARTPACK PRO 12.24 XL, which it says is the most powerful booster pack on the market designed for heavy-duty commercial use. The machine can deliver a powerful starting current, up to 8500A peak, alongside a cranking current of 3000A and a 1600A starting current. A sophisticated protection system supplies the exact power required by the battery and prevents the operator from jumpstarting a vehicle where the battery is faulty.


Six pristine wheel studs

Laser Wheel Stud Cleaner Wheel studs should be cleaned of dirt, corrosion and grease before refitting the wheels and wheel nuts. This new wheel stud cleaning tool set from Laser Tools offers a quick and easy solution to a very common workshop task. They can be used by hand or with a cordless drill using the quick-chuck adaptor provided. Each of the six brushes is fitted with hundreds of tiny steel wires that scrub away dirt and corrosion in seconds. A quick whizz in and out leaves a professionally-cleaned stud.

Five lamps from Ring

Ring Colour Match Lamp Ring has added a new colour match lamp to its range of Ultra Bright LED Inspection Lamps, which is ideal for use in bodyshops and garages. Perfect for helping to identify body imperfections, the Al5 Colour Match makes it easier to see bumps and scratches and gives a more comfortable light temperature to work with. With a tough, robust aluminium and rubber construction, it’s rechargeable and cordless.

Four flexible sockets

Laser Survivor Socket The Survivor Socket from Laser Tools is the one socket that fits fasteners of almost any shape: square; hex; metric; imperial; spline; star; hooks; and even wingnuts! The 43 steel spring pins within the Survivor Socket instantly conform and lock onto any shape nut, bolt or fastener, from 11/32-inch imperial to 21mm metric. It features a quick-chuck shaft for connection to a cordless drill, or you can drive it with the T-handle provided.

Three flameless heaters

Sykes-Pickavant Venom Handheld Induction Heater The Venom handheld induction heater uses electromagnetic induction to generate heat in metal components without the dangers associated with an open flame. Ideal for use on corroded and thread-locked components such as O2 sensors, fuel tank straps and suspension components, the lightweight gun with an angled design makes it easier to get into tight spaces. The coils lock into place with a simple mechanism.

Two tachometers

Laser Handheld Tachometer This new portable optical handheld tachometer from Laser Tools is used for non-contact measurement of rotational speeds. Simply place a reflective mark on the object to be measured – a drive belt, for example – and the tachometer will return its speed. It uses photoelectric, anti-jamming and junction laser technology to provide non-contact measurements over a wide range (2.5 – 99,999 RPM) and at great accuracy (± 0.05% + 1 digit).

And a retracting pressure hose reel ... Sykes-Pickavant Retractable Hose Reel This wall-mounted retractable hose reel from SykesPickavant is suitable for compressed air or cold water up to a working pressure of 17 bar. The reel includes 20 metres of 10mm hose manufactured to ISO EN2398 standard, with either 3/8” or 1/2” inlet and output couplings, providing air or water across your workshop. The spring-driven retracting mechanism means no time is spent laboriously winding it up afterwards.

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Pressure washers It’s been another busy month of testing, and ANDREW EVANS introduces more results and ratings after putting pressure washers through their paces.


s the saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness – and from a customer’s perspective, a clean forecourt is a sign of a business that takes pride in presentation. The only way to keep that clean front aspect is a good pressure washer. Designed to supercharge the water coming out of a hosepipe, pressure washers make short work of cleaning pretty much any surface. Even if there’s years of dirt ingrained in your customer parking area and you can’t remember what the original colour was, a pressure washer will return it to its original splendour – particularly if you combine it with some of our cleaning products from Workshop Issue 11. Get a decent pressure washer in and you can even give customer cars a quick clean too, which will only improve your reputation!

HOW WE TESTED THEM With pressure washers, there are two crucial things to think about. How they deal with dirt on surfaces at close range is key, but arguably it’s more important how they cope from further away, so you don’t run the risk of getting too close and damaging paint or trim. We’ve been testing their cleaning powers at a variety of distances on a soiled block-paved driveway and a pretty filthy car (luckily there’s always a few of those here!), alongside seeing how easy they are to get along with.

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Karcher HD 5/11

Sealey PW2500

How much: £559.68 (inc VAT) Where from:

How much: £263.94 (inc VAT) Where from:

The Karcher brand is pretty much synonymous with pressure washers and it should probably come as very little surprise to see the Karcher come out on top here. Although it’s a pretty weighty unit, the huge 10-metre hose gives you plenty of freedom without having to drag it around. The Karcher is better than the rest here at getting dirt off our cars from a little way away while the close-up power is no less impressive.

Sealey’s PW2500 is a nicely-made bit of equipment, only really behind the Makita when it comes to how much thought has been put into the design of it. When stored away, everything – even the accessories – can be packed to within the washer’s footprint. It’s behind our top two for cleaning power though, so although it’s one of the better ones to live with, it’s going to add a few minutes to the job by comparison. It’s a solid third place.



Makita HW112

Clarke Jet 9000

Draper PW1930

How much: £159.00 (inc VAT) Where from:

How much: £209.99 (inc VAT) Where from:

How much: £129.96 (inc VAT) Where from:

It’s very much a best-of-the-rest performance from the Makita, but it’s by no means outclassed. It’s certainly a lighter unit, so easier to lug about, and it comes with a decent length of hose so you can deal with a wide area. In terms of design, it’s our favourite, but for raw cleaning power it has to play second fiddle to the Karcher, albeit only just. If you’re on more of a budget, the Makita should be on your list.

Despite the power, the Clarke does not seem to do as well either at range or close up when compared to our top two models, although it did a fair job of removing splattered insects. It’s curiously heavy given that it seems to be made of slightly cheaper materials than our winners, and there’s nowhere to tidy away the flex. Aside from that it’s a decent bit of kit.

While it has pretty good car-cleaning credentials, the Draper is ultimately the least impressive of our selection. It’s oddly cumbersome, but a five-metre hose means you won’t need to move it about that often, apart from getting it set up and packed away. It’s not as good as the rest for surface cleaning either. It does a decent shift when up close, but it’ll take more time and effort to get the job done than with our preferred choices here.




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Ratchet spanners ANDREW EVANS says that unless you’ve used them, you probably won’t realise just how incredibly useful and ingenious ratchet spanners are.


fascinating hybrid, the ratchet spanner combines the compact dimensions of a ring spanner with the ratcheting mechanism you’ll be more familiar with from your socket driver to provide a clever solution you never knew you needed. The ratchet spanner is essentially designed to solve the problem of having to repeatedly engage and release a spanner on a difficult-to-access nut or bolt. With tight, modern engine bays, you may find plenty of fasteners that you can’t get a socket on due to the clearance above it (especially when it’s wound all the way out) and with only enough room for a sixth of a turn with a spanner. A ratchet spanner turns dealing with this annoying fixing into a 30-second job.

HOW WE TESTED THEM As with all things, sizing is key, so we’ve looked at the tolerances of the bores to get a good idea of precision, with most of the common sizes you’ll need. Ratchets are at their best when you need only a short throw to engage the mechanism, so we’ve also been measuring the deflection angles to see which will work well in confined areas.

44 |

Sealey AK63914

Clarke PRO348

How much: £165.54 (inc VAT) for a 10-piece set Where from:

How much: £47.98 (inc VAT) for a seven-piece set Where from:

The extra-long construction of the Sealey spanners is something of a conundrum – it means you can put more torque on them, but they’re a little less useful for confined areas, as the open end has to move by a lot more than the others. This is despite the fact that the ratchet mechanism is as sensitive as any other here, requiring very little deflection to engage. Tolerances are very much in the middle of the pack.

Of all of the sets of ratchet spanners we tested this month, the Clarkes more than any other define average. In terms of tolerances, they were just about in the middle of the pack and in the deflection tests they were again solidly in the centre. There’s no real strong point for them, but probably the only weak point is that there’s just seven spanners in this kit. However, the sizes chosen will cover all of the most likely jobs you’ll need to do.



Draper Expert 31991 How much: £34.99 (inc VAT) for a five-piece, double-ended set, so 10 ratchet sizes included Where from: These have something of an unusual look to them, abandoning the traditional spanner form for a robust multi-piece construction. They’re certainly chunky and solid and with a switchable ratchet mechanism inside the handles they’re a little more versatile than the other options here – you won’t need to reseat to change direction. The fact that each spanner has two different sizes is also a nice touch.


Kennedy 3990K

Laser 6296

Siegen Siegen S0634

How much: £57.78 (inc VAT) for a nine-piece set Where from:

How much: £99.10 (inc VAT) for a 12-piece set Where from:

How much: £112.14 (inc VAT) for a 12-piece set Where from:

On another day, the Kennedy spanners could be the winner here. Just giving the edge away on both the precision and the deflection tests to the Laser ratchets, they don’t quite have the credentials to match up to the more novel Draper options, but the Kennedys are a great alternative. They also come in a storage and presentation roll, which is a neat touch.

The Laser kit wins here on pure precision. We found that the tolerances we tested were the best of the bunch but as important was the extremely short throw required to engage the ratchet mechanism. Simply put, the Laser ratchets fit the best and will work in the smallest spaces. They’re not quite as clever as the Drapers, but ultimately win on their other attributes.

Although far from poor, the Siegen ratchets are at the bottom of the list in our test. They require far more deflection to engage the ratchet mechanism than the other spanners here, making them less capable in confined spaces, and the tolerances don’t quite match up to those of the other offerings. They’re not too far behind the others, but they wouldn’t be our first choice.




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Garage test: Convection heaters A suggestion from a reader led to this particular product test – an interesting one with winter well on the way.


hen it comes to product testing, we don’t just test out the products we want to test. We’re always happy to take suggestions from our audience, and this month’s mechanics’ verdict is based on one such proposal. Umesh Samani of Specialist Cars in Stoke-onTrent recently acquired the neighbouring business of The Harris Motor Company, as you will have seen mentioned in Workshop Magazine. He posted the following query on the online forum of our sister publication, Car Dealer. ‘I need to sort out heating the workshop I’ve recently acquired. It has a waste oil heater which I cannot use any more due to environmental issues – I have to pay £3,500 per annum if I wish to continue using it. What does everyone else use? I don’t have gas.’ The conundrum is related to the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 that came into force in April 2016. These aim to reduce the emission of air pollutants from wasteoil burners by requiring a permit to operate them. The initial application fee for this permit is £3,218, with an annual fee of £1,384. Samani’s new workshop is a not inconsiderable area. Measuring 22m by 15m, with an 11m roof, he has 3,630 cubic metres to heat. Without a gas supply and with waste oil looking like a financial concern, that, to us, sounded like a terrific excuse to test a range of industrial electric fan heaters. Our calculations suggested that to bring the workshop up to a comfortable temperature from freezing would require anything from 100,000300,000 British Thermal Units per hour (BTU/ hr) – or 30-90kW – depending on the desired temperature, insulation and leakage. We settled on a selection of 30kW heaters. These heaters solve two problems for Samani. They don’t require the fees for operation and they work out slightly cheaper to operate dayto-day, with non-waste oil costing £30 per day and a 30kW heater running up an electricity bill of around £27 per day. They also address the environmental and safety concerns. As Samani’s workshop isn’t yet equipped with the 400V, 63A, 3-phase power supply required to run these heaters, we gave them to one of our panel of expert testers – Sean Tubby of Southampton City College and his students – to put through their paces in a large vehicle workshop.

46 |

Sealey EH30001 Price: £674.34 (inc VAT) From:

Sean says:

Of the three units here, this one, above, was the slowest to reach operating temperature, only just exceeding 100°C on max from a metre away in our oneminute test. Worryingly, it started smoking on our test, though with so many heating elements it may just be that something had fallen into the bore. The dials, although placed sensibly round the side like the Olympus, are a little light and loose in operation. The frame is pretty sturdy and easy to assemble, but the wheels and axle are curiously not the same quality and the handle is a little short so it’s not so easy to move around.


Sean Tubby of Southampton City College led our team of testers The college trains apprentice mechanics and full-time learners to industry standards across light and heavy goods vehicles.

How Sean rated them: 1 Clarke; 2 Olympus; 3 Sealey.

Clarke Devil 7030 Price: £430.80 (inc VAT) From:

Sean says:

This one, pictured right, has the sturdiest frame, handle and wheels of any of the units here, and the handle is also adjustable so it’s easy to move around. It’s easy to assemble too, although the instructions could be a little clearer as the diagrams are hard to see. The way the adjusting knobs are placed is a little odd though, as they’re only clear from the front, so you have to stand against the heat to operate them. As it gets to around 200°C within the first minute of operation that’s not ideal! That aside, the build quality makes this our favourite of the trio.


Olympus OLY-J30/3 Price: £477.00 From:

Sean says:

This one, shown left, felt like the cheapest of the three options here. The frame felt flimsy and the wheels and axle didn’t seem to be the same quality as the other two. The handle could do with being longer too – it’s not as portable as the others. It had no problem reaching operating temperature quickly though, coming close to 200°C at a metre away inside 60 seconds. The knobs are sensibly-placed to one side and are actually pretty nice to operate with a positive selection action. For this we’d have to score it as our second favourite.


NEED HELP? If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your workshop equipment or have a specific product you’d like to see tested, you can contact Workshop Magazine on 023 9252 2434 or

| 47


Mazda MX-5 Merlot Andrew finally springs into action to start solving some of Pato’s problems


ato is a petulant little sod. I shouldn’t be all that surprised, really. We named him after a curmudgeonly duck from the children’s TV show ‘Pocoyo’ (in fact ‘Pato’ is Spanish for duck), so it was inevitable that he’d spring up a few character traits in common. One of those traits seems to be having a major wobbly if he’s ignored. With the deluge of shiny new cars flooding through the car park, and not much cause to drive him, he’s probably feeling a little bit second-best at the moment By and large, MX-5s are reliable cars, due to their fairly basic nature. There’s not that much to go wrong, and when it does it’s easy to get to and easy to remove and refit. The hardest time I’ve ever had with the car was having to break out an angle grinder to remove a corroded exhaust that I couldn’t thread through the rear because, like an idiot, I’d parked it too close to the garage door... However, a grumpy MX-5 is an unreliable MX-5 (it’s not because he’s been standing still, honest). Long-time Workshop readers will remember that this time last year, Pato ran out of electricity for no detectable reason. Then, in the summer, we discovered that one of his brake calipers was

ƒ Flashback to happier times... Andrew behind the wheel of Pato Model: Mazda MX-5 Merlot Owned by: Mrs Evans Bought for: £1,500 Mileage: 111,000 Money spent this month: £53.99 Lowlight this month: Leaving things alone for too long and letting the jobs pile back up. having trouble letting go. Soon after, the power steering reservoir disgorged itself in a variety of car parks. With the myriad new cars available, I put fixing these things to the back of the list – aside from the slightly haunted sound the power steering makes, he was in fact driveable. Shortly before the clocks went back, he ran out of electricity again, despite having a brand-new and rather flash gel battery. I soon realised that it was because I’d left a cheap Chinese phone

charger plugged into the cigarette lighter and the red LED inside it had just glowed out all of the juice inside three weeks. Sadly, that fancy gel battery can’t be jump-started without damaging it and it needs a special kind of charger to bring it back to health. And then the MOT ran out. Sigh. So, the mission for winter will be Project Get The MX-5 Back To Health Again Before He Changes The Colour Of The Bit Of Car Park He’s Parked Over Through Protecting It From The Sun. The first step was to buy the fancy charger and rejuice him. Hopefully by the time of Workshop issue 16 he’ll be back to rude health and before long he’ll be causing me more random problems that I’ll ignore in favour of one of the shiny new cars until he’s utterly broken again. I’m good like that.

BMW 330d Touring Belfort needs a long run... but Jack’s too busy putting new cars through their paces I CAN’T say that Belfort has been vigorously driven in a while now. Relegated to the odd drive around our site, he’s in a bit of a sorry state. He still starts on the button though, thanks to that all-new battery, but the thing he really needs is a properly long drive. Why has this happened? Well, with the need to be driving new cars all week (that's because of the work we do on Workshop's sister title, Car

Dealer), I struggle to simply put the miles on him. With a classic this would be fine, but for an early 2000s BMW estate it’s not ideal. The brakes, for instance, get coated in rust rather quickly. Being within a stone’s throw of the sea won’t help this, but it’s a mechanical area of the car that is tricky to keep on top of. I’m also constantly worried about the threat of rust on the bodywork, something that this







by James Baggott Chief executive, @CarDealerEd

by Rebecca Chaplin Head of content, @BelieveBecca

by Tom Barnard OnCue MD, @TomBarnardPR

by Laura Thomson Staff writer, @lauramayrafiki

by Jon Reay Multimedia manager, @JonReay

I had an out-of-the-blue text from Matt The Mechanic saying he hadn’t forgotten my exhaust mount needs sorting. He promised to fix it soon.

The Type 3 has been feeling a little unloved lately. That was until I tried to move it the other day and found that the fuel gauge wasn’t lying.

Tom’s delighted to discover he has saved more than £300 in fuel during the time he’s owned the Leaf – and he has a purchase in mind as a result.

The pre-ABS CBR600RR hasn’t seen much action recently. In fact, it is time I ventured into the Workshop mag garage and gave her some TLC.

Jon completed the job outlined above, using penetrating fluid and a socket set from Andrew Evans’ magical product test cupboard.

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Nissan Leaf

Subaru Impreza

Tom has discovered a couple of chinks in his car’s armour as autumn sets in

Jon goes on a parts hunt to cure slippy drive belt syndrome... FOR the past couple of months the Impreza has been suffering from slippy drive belt syndrome – not a major issue, I grant you, but one that came to a head when I realised I could barely use the power steering at low speeds… Now if you’ve ever glanced under the bonnet of one of Fuji Heavy Industries’ finest, you might realise what an easy job changing said belts is. Thanks to the ‘Boxer’ layout that Subaru has stubbornly persisted with for the past 50 years, the engine is longitudinally mounted and comparatively short too. Subaru reckons it’s for a lower centre of gravity and to keep the four-

THE weather’s got cold and the Leaf is falling. Well, its range is at least. When it’s chilly the heater gets used more and that knocks at least 10 miles off our electric car’s range. It’s not surprising really – with no fossil fuels being burned in the car to produce heat, all of the warmth has to come from the battery power. There are clever ways to minimise the impact though. One is to keep your coat on, but our favourite is to set the timer on the car to preheat the car before you get into it in the mornings. You can do it through the car’s trip computer or via a slightly unreliable mobile phone app. If it’s still plugged into the mains the battery isn't drained to get the car up to temperature. It also means the Leaf is toasty warm and defrosted when you get into it, saving time and making de-icer obsolete. The mud, rain and wet leaves have revealed another chink in the Leaf’s armour – a surprising lack of traction. The Leaf’s electric motor produces all of its torque from zero rpm so the merest squeeze of the accelerator can make the traction control light flash. This is despite the

Michelins having a chunky 5mm of tread. With the weather only set to get worse I’m planning to invest the money saved from fuel – about £330 over the 2,200 miles we’ve had the car – in a set of Michelin CrossClimates. The cheapest outlet by far is ATS, which is quoting £63.23 per tyre fitted. I’ll let you know what sort of difference they make in the next report. Other than slippiness, the only other issue is squeakiness. The brakes make a right racket when going in reverse, enough to make people in car parks look at you and grimace. We were planning to do something about it, but watched another Leaf parking at a charge spot the other day. As it reversed there was a familiar squeak. In this case it really does appear that they all do that, sir….

generation of BMW has a bit of a reputation for. What’s the next step then? Well, firstly a service is much needed. With an MOT looming in early December, I think it’d be a wise decision to make sure the 330d is in top shape. Also, I’m hoping to avoid the hefty bill I faced last year...

Model: Nissan Leaf Acenta 24kW Owned by: Tom Barnard Engine: 80kW electric Bought for: £8,800 Mileage: 9,000 Money spent this month: £0 Highlight: Getting the car warm before climbing in.

Model: BMW 330d Touring Owned by: Jack Evans Engine: 2.9-litre turbocharged diesel Bought for: £2,600 Mileage: 147,040 Money spent this month: £0 Highlight: Knowing the tyres have plenty of tread!

wheel-drive system symmetrical, but a handy side effect is that the serpentine belts are super-easy to access – right at the front of the car and with plenty of spanner room. Me like. As it turns out, the biggest problem was trying to find the right parts. None of the usual motor factor suspects stock the bizarrely sized belts the 2.5 in my car uses, and even more helpfully their websites all recommend the wrong ones. When the proper sizes did turn up – from France of all places – I got to work. One pointless plastic cover removed, and all that was needed was to loosen up a tensioner, wiggle the alternator out of the way and swap the now-threadbare belts for the new items. Half a lunch hour later and the job was done. Who said Imprezas were expensive to maintain?

Model: Subaru Impreza WRX STI Owned by: Jon Reay Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol Bought for: £9,000 Mileage: 106,144 Money spent this month: £0 Highlight this month: A satisfyingly easy maintenance task carried out – with time left over for lunch.







by James Fossdyke Staff writer, @JFossdyke

by Jack Evans News editor, @jackrober

by Christian Tilbury Staff writer, @Christilbury1

by Andrew Evans Senior staff writer, @snavEwerdnA

by James Baggott Chief executive, @CarDealerEd

The arrival of cold winter weather has reminded me why a big, lazy naturally aspirated V6 and fourwheel drive make a winning combo.

Jack’s car needs a service and MOT – and he’s hoping to avoid the welding/emissions/electrics debacle that happened last December.

Christian’s reinsured the Metro for a paltry £102. Good job really, as it almost got torched during his home firework display in November.

Finally tired of pushing the MX-5 round like a shopping trolley, Andrew decides to do something about the stricken convertible.

I’m starting to worry about the battery. It needs a new one, so I’ve got to go shopping. And that will mean working out how to fit it.

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An absorbing tale of a sponge and a long-overdue service... I can’t decide whether I love or hate bodges. They are, after all, the very opposite of the high standards I try to promote in our workshop, and expect of others in the trade. Then again, there are times when you don’t have the option, and only a bodge will do. Like, for example, when the throttle cable snapped on my girlfriend’s Peugeot 205 at 2am, and the only way we were able to get home before her parents found out was by removing my shoelaces, tying them together, looping them round the throttle body and feeding them back through the dashboard vents to give me a Heath-Robinson hand throttle. It got us home, but it’s not something you could do in a modern car. Newer models aren’t, however, entirely immune to bodgery. And this was proven to us with a BMW 1-Series that came into our workshop fairly recently with an intermittent stalling issue. The car would run fine at low speeds, the owner told us, but would occasionally cut out or start to misfire and lose power at higher speeds. The normal course of action on a car of this vintage is to plug in the code reader and find out what the car’s ECU has to tell us, which in this case was not a lot, other than the fact it was 30,000 miles over its service interval. The diagnostic gadget, in fact, told us that the car was in surprisingly rude health, with no apparent faults – completely at odds with the evidence. As such, we resorted to a quick test drive. Actually, a not-so-quick one, as every time the 1-Series hit anything above 40mph it would suddenly respond as if it were being driven through a lake of superglue, losing all power and, for the want of a better description, feeling as if it were trying to strangle itself to death. Something was amiss. We took it back to the workshop and told the owner we’d probably need to investigate further and that he’d need to leave it with us, following up with some of the usual questions about the car’s maintenance history, and any recent work that had been carried out – and that’s where we struck gold. Like many people, the BMW’s owner had no idea about car engines, and confessed that he ‘hadn’t got around’ to having the car serviced during his three years of ownership. On a recent trip to Devon for the weekend, it had ground to a halt at the roadside, and a well-meaning motorist had stopped to help. ‘This bloke knew all about cars,’ the

owner told us. ‘I was ever so grateful, because he had got us going again by replacing the sponge. I should have taken it to the dealer but forgot. It was a second-hand sponge, too, as it came from the car-wash bucket in his boot. Maybe that’s the problem.’ Perplexed, we asked him where the roadside mechanic had placed the sponge, exactly. ‘Oh, it went in the sponge box under the bonnet,’ he told us, deadpan serious. Even less enlightened than we were before, I got our apprentice to run him to his office whilst I set to work with the spanners. It took me all of 10 minutes to diagnose… The ‘sponge box’ was, in fact, the air filter housing, and sitting inside it, where the air filter should have been, was a jumbo car wash sponge, black with dirt. Clearly, the BMW had choked itself to a halt with a blocked filter, and the rather ingenious roadside helper had effected a temporary ‘get-you-home’ repair that would prevent the car ingesting anything nasty while at the same time allowing enough air into the engine to maintain combustion. The BMW owner, who by this point had earned himself the workshop nickname ‘Spongebox Squarepants’, had clearly ignored his advice to get it looked at as soon as possible because, astonishingly, the 1-Series had been running without fault, right up until the point he’d driven it in the rain and the sponge had expanded, filled up with dirt and once again choked off the car’s air supply. The owner, then, was very lucky. We ordered up a new air filter from our local factor for £17, popped it into the ‘Sponge Box’ and called the owner to tell him it was now running fine, but that the car was desperately in need of a full service and health check. ‘Yep, I’ll get it done soon,’ was his response, as he paid us the absolute bare minimum for our time and materials. We haven’t seen him since.

WHO IS OUR KEV? If we told you, we’d have to kill you... What we can say is he’s been around for longer than he cares to remember and has a fund of stories to tell...

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We took it back to the workshop and told the owner we’d probably need to investigate further and that he’d need to leave it with us, following up with some of the usual questions about the car’s maintenance history


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