Knowles Wilkins Engineering (KWE) Limited was founded in 2002 by Chris Knowles and Paul Wilkins. Their aim was to build a long term business based on re-manufacturing luxury cars.
We developed the theme of ‘rebirth’ for cars, and our logo depicts the double headed serpent Quetzcoatl – the god of rebirth and fertility.
He chose the KWE demonstration XJS V12 to illustrate his theme in a 10 minute feature. Since then the film has been repeated many times all over the world and seen by 100s of millions of viewers. This certainly put KWE very quickly on the map of classic car specialists.
Also in 2004 KWE moved to premises near Newbury, Berkshire. The business park is the old Greenham Common airbase, famous (or notorious) for hosting USAAF B52 bombers with nuclear weapons through the Cold War, to which protesters took great exception. The Americans left in 1991 and the site is now run as a Charitable Trust.
KWE moved to larger premises in 2005, installing 6 lifts and workbays. In 2008 we took on an additional building (the site’s original firestation) as offices and showroom. We reached a peak of output in mid 2008 at which point came the world financial crash and UK recession. KWE’s order book was cut back significantly and we were forced to reduce our costs, and moved the whole operation into the later building. Since then we have re-grown to a point matching 2008 levels and are currently recruiting again.
We have seen the XJS become dominant in our portfolio as the beautiful Series 3 XJ has lost ground in the classic car world. We hope it recovers, but in the meantime we have become probably the world’s largest restorer of the XJS, having processed over 200 cars, over half of which have had the full KWE suspension/brakes/steering renewal and upgrade, and nearly all have had significant engine work.
In early 2012 we opened our doors to the Aston Martin DB7 for our renewal processes.10:03 am