A world leader in the restoration of historic and classic cars has taken on two extra industrial units near Portsmouth due to operational expansion.
The Jim Stokes Workshops Group (JSW), founded 40 years ago by husband-and-wife team Jim and Hilary Stokes in their back garden, now operates out of five similar units at Pipers Wood Industrial Park, Waterlooville.
Employing more than 40 mechanics and precision engineers, JSW restores or recreates some of the most coveted collectors’ cars across the globe, with marques such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Jaguar.
Major restorations of multi-million pound vehicles including several Le Mans-winning Alfa Romeos and an Aston Martin.
In a deal structured through Hughes Ellard, the regional commercial property consultancy, JSW signed a lease on undisclosed terms on co-joined units 1 and 2 at Waterberry Drive.
The estate is owned by Trans European IV, a Rockspring fund, managed by Workman.
Both units are now home to two of JSW’s four divisions – Classics, aimed at the classic car owner and enthusiast, with marques such as MG, Morgan and Triumph, and Southshore Coachworks, which provides a complete bodywork service.
Work by Southshore recently featured in a Hollywood blockbuster – action thriller Fast & Furious 6, the third highest-grossing film this year at $780m and starring Vin Diesel.
The back end of a Mustang was fashioned out of aluminium for a stunt so it would ‘crumple like an egg’ when it was rammed by an army tank. What remains hangs from the ceiling of one of the workshops. [Picture available on request]
Hughes Ellard acted on behalf of a private tenant in the surrender and new lease to JSW. The industrial park comprises of 11 industrial units and is at full occupancy.
Harnish Patel, a business space agent at Fareham-based Hughes Ellard, said: “Jim, Hilary and the team are extremely well respected within their profession internationally for their specialism in the restoration, recreation and servicing of pre and post-war cars. JSW were professional, motivated and an absolute pleasure to work with.
“‘JSW’s expansion also underlines the strength of the industrial markets across the region.
“We have experienced an increase in enquiries and commitments from a number of manufacturing and engineering companies in urgent need of further expansion space.
“This is great for the local employment market. However, the lack of quality industrial space may result in firms reviewing alterative locations elsewhere in the UK or overseas.
“Over the past 12 months tenant rent incentives have narrowed and rents have hardened.”
In an unrelated transaction along the road, a 282.41 sq m (3,040 sq ft) office at 1 Mornington Place has been let through Hughes Ellard to Lanca UK Limited on behalf of a private landlord.
JSW, which also transports cars with support mechanics to clients across the world for vintage races and rallies, including as far afield as Tasmania and Mexico, has been at the industrial park for 14 years.
Jim, who lives locally, said: “We’re fortunate to have a loyal customer base in the historic and classic car world, served by world-class mechanics and precision engineers.
“With all four divisions firing on all cylinders, we needed the extra workshops space, with Hughes Ellard coming up trumps for us.”
With two workshop areas at ground level, the newly leased units are sized 406.64 sq m (4,377 sq ft) and 907.07 sq m (9,764 sq ft).
The production of engines and parts, such as cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, crankcases, oil pumps, water pumps, distributors and carburettors, is done through Triple M, the manufacturing arm of JSW.
Customers of Triple M include individuals, restoration companies and specialist parts suppliers.
Jim Stokes Workshops is the group’s fourth division – the foundation of the business.
A 1898 Panhard automobile, with a 4 horse-power engine and fitted with a steering wheel rather than an unwieldy tiller to control direction, is the oldest vehicle to date that JSW has breathed new life into.
Arthur Krebs, an engineer, was the first person to introduce the steering wheel to vehicles for series production, an innovation taken up in Britain by Charles Rolls, the founder of Rolls-Royce.