XJS & XJ from KWE Cars
Classic Spirit Reborn

KWE Staff Profiles

Starting with just the founders Chris Knowles and Paul Wilkins in 2002, the company has grown to 8 employees in 2008 with over 11,000 square feet of workshops and showroom. We were able to weather the 2008 recession in the UK but had to reduce our size. We have now fully regained our capacity and sales are at a record high.

Chris has privately owned and maintained XJ saloons and XJS cars throughout most of his life but his career has been in electronics manufacturing and management. As his 50th birthday approached he decided to change tracks and start a new business.

Paul Wilkins is no longer part of the company.

In 2004, Theresa Knowles joined the company full time and now looks after all the purchasing, production administration and finance. Since then we have taken on four senior mechanics and a workshop manager.

Our engineers all have long experience in classic cars and have become highly proficient in the re-manufacturing of classic Jaguars.

We expect to grow in size and look forward to working on a variety of cars over the foreseeable future.

Chris Knowles

Managing Director

30 years in UK high technology manufacturing industry has given Chris broad experience both in World Class production techniques and in Business Management. “I believe very strongly in the future of re-manufacturing and our twin goals are to provide an exciting alternative to new luxury cars, and to market the concept successfully.” Chris has also been a classic Jaguar owner and engineer for over 35 years.

Theresa Knowles


Theresa is an expert in manufacturing software systems with long experience in accounting systems in many major companies. She owns a Signal Red XJS which she drives rather enthusiastically!

Philip Alexander

Workshop Manager

Years in motor trade: 27

Specialisations: Worked as senior technician at Porsche for over 10 years. Also worked for well-known local automotive training academy as a technical trainer for the automotive body repair industry

Why do you like working with classic cars?

Working with classic cars is extremely rewarding, especially when we get to see the end result. At KWE, it’s more of a ‘fix and repair’ method rather than replace, as in a modern dealership. Meeting the owners and seeing how much they appreciate our hard work is brilliant. There’s nothing better than that all-important smile when we handover the keys to their finished car!

What do you enjoy about working at KWE?

I joined KWE as their workshop manager and couldn’t believe what a close-knit team they are. Every member of staff is committed to their role 100%; we all pride ourselves on the quality of what we do. It’s not an easy career, but we thrive on the challenge – every day is different. We’re passionate about keeping the cars from becoming rare classics on our roads.

David McBarnett

Chief Technician

Years in motor trade: 33

Specialisations: Welding and fabrication, suspension, engine detailing, engine bay detailing, full-vehicle restoration

Why do you like working with classic cars?

Modern vehicles are a means to get around, with parts of varying quality readily available for cheaper repairs. With classic cars, on the other hand, the owners have often wanted the vehicle for some time, and have an innate passion and emotional attachment to the car. They understand that careful restoration work is essential in order to get the best result possible, without cutting corners.

What do you enjoy about working at KWE?

At KWE it’s more like a family. The staff, management and customers all work together to obtain that successful end goal – the perfect car. No car is the same, they all pose different challenges, but here there’s an understanding that the customer is always right, and we’re all pulling the same way to achieve the customer’s dream.

The workshop is clean and tidy, all suggestions, however small, are listened to with an open mind. Conversing with the customers gives a better understanding of what they want. I’ve been here for five years in August, and I still get the same enjoyment coming into work as I did the day I was given the job.


Biswa Shah


Biswa has recently joined the company after a few years working in tyre fitting and other automotive activities. Biswa is immensely enthusiastic and willing, and is very quickly learning all the trades involved in classic car restoration. Nepal’s loss is KWE’s gain!

10:09 am KWE Cars