katie.rix_263 Sep 05

'Family Ties' - Roman Garages

'Family Ties' - Roman Garages

This year’s show theme is ‘Family Ties’, and one of our exhibitors Roman Garages has a unique ‘Family Ties’ background. Amazingly, it was through one LinkedIn post about a long-term car restoration that caused history to repeat itself with two families after nearly 60 years.

Back in the 50’s a Mr. Esmond Ward and a Mr Peter Wood worked together at Secrets Farm, near Ipswich and became great friends. Esmond Ward at the time lived in Stowmarket, but after marrying a Norfolk girl, Peter Wood relocated to Kings Lynn. Contact between the two was maintained, and continued as children came along. The older generation was particularly close, and still are to this day, although both fathers are now 87 years old.

One of Esmond’s sons, Phil, moved to Alberta, Canada in 2006, and contact with his close friend Rowland Wood, Peter’s son, basically ceased. By sheer coincidence, both Phil and Rowland shared the same birthday, November 13th, albeit three years apart.

In early 2016 Rowland Wood was 5 years into a restoration of a Datsun 260z and posted a photograph of the car on LinkedIn. This was seen by Phil Ward in Canada who messaged asking whose car it was, and contact was re-established. The two friends met at the Classics and Sports Car Show at Alexandra Palace in October 2016, and it was agreed that a car or two might be imported from Canada to sell in UK. Phil’s son Karl, became involved, and a few North American cars were shipped to the UK.

At the end of December 2016 it was clear more time was needed to be spent on the quickly growing ‘hobby’ and Rowland Wood subsequently moved into working on this full time. The families decided that this was the opportunity to turn a hobby into a business and a fledgling company began trading from a storage facility near Kings Lynn. There were a few early successes with cars, but it soon became clear that a garage premises was desirable with a proper showroom and workshop facility.

A company was formed, Classics and Collectors Ltd with Phil Ward, Karl Ward and Rowland Wood as directors. After 6 decades history had come a full circle and the families were back in business together again.

Since that time a showroom and workshop premises with fuel forecourt near Grantham, Lincs has been procured, having been known as Roman Garage since its inception in 1936. The site was under the ownership of the well-respected Roy Gibson, who sadly passed away in 2017, and who had sold classic cars from the location for 47 years. The company now trades as Roman Garages, which takes into account Roman Garages in Canada and is becoming known nationally for high quality classic American vehicles as well as its core business of British and European classic cars.

With its Canadian connections Roman Garages not only sells, restores and services classics but also sources cars specific to its client’s needs.

Current brands in stock includes Austin Healey, E-types, Mercedes, Porsche, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Corvette, Triumph, Daimler, Dodge and various other sought after classics.

You can meet the Roman Garages team in person in November in Hall 3 on Stand 555, or visit their website www.romangarages.com