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.
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 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!
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 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!