How are you?
Please tell us about the background to Nostalgia
Both my business partner and I have worked
together almost from leaving school really. And we
started out at a little coach works, when they
were still coach works, if you know what I mean. A
Learning all the trades?
Learning all the trades. And eventually we decided
to up sticks and set up on our own doing classic
car restoration, which we did. And a further
development of that was when we moved into the
Jaguar XK and C-Type Replicas.
Where did you get the mechanical skills from?
Well, through experience really. (Laughs)
Did you have a dad who was handy with mechanics
Not really no, it just sort of came really.
Thatís good. Itís funny how some people take
to that and others donít. I open a bonnet up,
say "okay" and close it again! (Both
I donít know, it was always there. Iím used to
getting my hands dirty and getting involved rather
than academic things. Now Iím stuck in the
boring office much of the time. Chris my partner
tends to keep the workshop running down there and
I try to keep all the paperwork running in the
right direction. And dealing with things like
You still get a chance to drive the cars and get
your hands dirty from time to time though?
Yes, from time to time.
Good. Can you tell us what sorts of people are
buying your replica cars and going for your
It tends to be more retired professionals or
ex-business people who have retired early and want
something to fill their time. Either from buying a
package of parts from us and doing the build
themselves or by having us build a car for them
and they enjoy the use of it. So it tends to be
late mid-life, I suppose.
Are these back to basics, these cars? Or do they
have some of the modern niceties?
The XK's a thoroughly usable touring car really,
with all the equipment and decent boot space that
you can head off across Europe in. As some of our
customers do. So theyíre complexly usable. The
C-Type Jaguar, which is the race version of the XK
that we produce as well, is a little more rough
and ready. Youíve got to be willing to put up
with the elements.
And the bumps.
Yes, and the lack of storage space. If youíre
going away in it, youíre travelling light!
I had and MG for a while and if I had to pick
somebody up from Heathrow with a suitcase the boot
would always be open! Why is there such an
interest in retro and nostalgia and in vintage
vehicles in your view?
The classic car market has always been there and I
donít think itís anything new. I donít think
that will ever change and to a certain degree
thereís always going to be the interest there.
PerhapsÖ (Laughs) I donít know what todayís
classics are going to be. Or possibly if theyíre
going to be kept on the road in the same way
because of the supposed advances in technology.
And all of the legislation?
Yes, thatís right.
In places like New Zealand theyíve got a lot of
British cars from the 50s and 60s still merrily
going strong on the roads.
I heard itís because they donít salt and grit
the roads like we do.
I wouldnít be surprised because they donít
have the extreme cold, do they?
What should people consider when looking at owning
a replica car?
Practicality, I suppose. What are they going to
use it for?
You have a number of options there?
Yes, standard cars and with that thereís a big
list of priced options and people always want
something a bit different as well. What we build
for people is pretty bespoke. They get to choose
engine type, colour, interior colours and various
other bits and pieces in the process.
In Northampton here we have quite a car presence
with Cosworth just down the road and Silverstone
too and a number of the Formula One teams based
Yes, thatís right.
Your cars look fantastic. What are their
Is it like an extension of yourself when youíre
driving it? And is it as if itís going back in time?
Yes, what we have done is take a classic or
nostalgic design, the XK 120 and the C-Type. And
more so with the XKs - weíve taken a timeless
design but underpinned it with some modern running
gear. You get a much better drive, much better
handling, much better braking. This makes for
reliability. All of these issues were a bit of a
failing on the original and weíve overcome by
using slightly more modern underpinnings.
The E-Type was famously over-subscribed, everybody
wanted one and all the stars had one but it was
also notorious for being unreliable. I donít know if
thatís true of a lot of the earlier Jaguars?
What we have tried to do is overcome those
problems with a modern Jaguar fuel-injected engine
and automatic gearboxes, electronic power steering
and things like that. We are keeping the nostalgia
but with the modern comforts, if you like. The
best of both worlds.
Itís quite a shock to somebody whoís used to
modern cars having to go back to an older one.
This is where we get some of our customers from.
Weíve had people who liked the idea of owning a
classic car but then couldnít cope without power
ďWhat the hell is this?!Ē
Exactly. So thatís where our market is, if you
like. Itís somebody who likes the idea of the
classic car and the look of it but is not that
bothered about 100% authenticity.
Thatís fair enough. And why not? When you get to
a certain age you want comfort.
How far and wide do your customers come from and
what impact has The Internet had on your business?
Weíve got one in India, one in Hong Kong and a
lot in the UK, of course.
Do you have many customers in the USA?
Not really, no. Each state has differing legislation
and also the costs and paperwork to ship and
import can make it something of a challenge.
I see. What gives you the biggest pleasure running
Itís really seeing the customerís expectations
coming to fruition, as it were and doing a good
job in providing them with the classic car they
Can you give us an idea of the volumes?
Weíre not talking about big scale production here. Maybe three or so a year. You can imagine
the amount of work that goes into one of these
cars from start to finish.
Do you have any other retro passions apart from
Not really, this is what Iíve always been into.
What have you owned over the years?
Well, not as much as Iíd like.
I thought youíd reel off a list of models.
There are these car share schemes for high-end
cars where you pay £3,000 or so a year and can
drive a number of classic cars through the year
and even have your choice of certain weekends for
the most popular cars.
Yes, Iíve seen those.
They do look good. I always wanted to try a Jensen
Interceptor and an E-Type.
Maybe you should give the scheme a go.
Where do you see the Nostalgia Cars business
heading in the future?
Well, weíre hoping to move into the middle east.
Itís a big market there and a lot of
Are you doing anything tangible to promote out
there, like sending people over?
We have made a start. There are a lot of very rich
people out there who wouldnít think twice about
buying one of our cars.
It would just be pocket money wouldnít it?
Yes, and all it takes is one or two satisfied
customers and word soon gets round.
Thatís right. Itís the best type of business
isnít it? From referrals and recommendations.
Yes, a lot of our business comes that way.
People do have high expectations though and I
would expect that those in the middle east would
want to see an example of what theyíre getting
and thatís not really the way we operate.
Also, they might struggle with the yearís
wait from order to completion. So it needs a bit
People want instant gratification nowadays.
Yes, people are surprised when they canít get
Thatís a good point actually. Well Simon, best
of luck with your future plans and thank you for
letting us know more about your Classic Jaguar Replicas