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An Experiential Engineering Weekend

3 Jun 2024 4:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Whilst the above title might suggest a training course in a 1960s prefab, every one of those of our subscribers who were able to come along to visit Grainger & Worrall and Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, will attest to a fascinating insight into two very specialised – and interesting – businesses.

Having been to Classic Motor Cars (CMC) a few years ago, I had some idea that it’s a very suitable place to entertain a group who have any interest, no matter how small, in cars. Having such interest is not usually a problem for Aston owners.

CMC is famous to some through their restoration of the Aston Martin Bulldog to deliver its 200+mph potential last year. More on that later.

However, given that it’s a fair drive from Somerset (in my case) and perhaps likewise for others, I wanted to turn it into an overnight event. I had been told that Grainger & Worrall (G&W) nearby would be worth contacting. Thus, armed with that information and a suggestion from CMC about a suitable place to stay, the weekend gig was added to the calendar.

I knew little about G&W before booking our visit and so didn’t know what to expect on a Friday afternoon in May, but what a revelation!

We were greeted and security checked by receptionist and Aston fan, Wendy Parry. Security, hmmm, sounds serious. You bet it is!

G&W is a long-established engineering business that now focusses almost entirely on developmental castings of aluminium for hi-end customers (think Bugatti, Koenigsegg, McLaren, Formula 1, etc. and of course, Aston Martin). Their work is delivered worldwide for automotive, aerospace and defence installations and includes everything from metallurgical testing to 3D printing in sand. They are an example of an internationally successful British company that you’ve probably never heard of.

Inevitably, photographs were not allowed (except for our group shot outside) but no questions were ducked by our host and guide, Group Commercial Director, Jay Schofield. Jay’s expertise shone through in every explanation and every question answered. It seemed to me that his job entails, at least in part, travelling the world, meeting potential customers and saying “yes, we can do that”.

Fellow host, Katrina Thomason, topped and tailed our visit by delivering the protective clothing at the outset and surprise goody bags as we were leaving after more than 3 hours on site. She has since confirmed their happiness to host us again if we’d like.

Jay (left, beard), Katrina (centre, green top) and Wendy (right) were our hosts at G&W

An unexpected and very welcome goody bag came home with us

A hearty meal and good sleep at the nearby Down Inn (now added to our list of Aston-friendly places: plenty of parking space there) the next day, Saturday, was our visit to CMC.

We arrived to find a colourful array of classic Astons lined up in the sunshine. Quite a welcoming sight, and a big line up by the time we’d added a few more cars to the display.

Tim Griffin is the boss, officially CMC’s Production & Engineering Director, and was the host of our visit, ably supported by daughter Ella who assists in looking after much of the business’s PR and social media activities. Again, customer confidentiality about the more than 150 vehicles on site meant we couldn’t take photos, but Ella’s camera was on hand to help out with supporting shots.

Like the day before, we were treated to in-depth expertise, this time about every aspect of repairing, restoring, maintaining and storing fine and classic motor vehicles. Tim was clearly in his element demonstrating how to use a wheel (that’s an ‘English Wheel’ for readers outside the UK) to shape steel and aluminium.

Photo: Ella Griffin

We also spent some time discussing Bulldog in terms of its structure, future commitments and potential if really pushed… it reached 200+ mph last year in a fairly unstressed state!

Work on cars ranged from a Rolls Royce needing some trim repairs, to a selection of William Towns micro and electric cars of the 1970s. There was a toolroom copy of the Lindner Nocker e-Type Lightweight present, which CMC had built for a client (the original was restored by the CMC Team in 2007) along with one of the famous Ogle DBS V8s… and lots more besides.

We ended our tour in the huge storage area which not only houses many cars and bikes but also supports a local Fire & Rescue charity by providing vehicle and training space.

It was time to leave after another 3+ hours spent in engaging expert company.

My closing thanks to Tim and his team included a reference to CMC’s ‘club’ discount scheme that subscribers to can now take advantage of… delivering big company expertise at small company rates (coming soon).

The Astons were outside and so the Jaguar took centre stage for our group photo! (c/o Ella)


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