Allon White Sports Cars was founded nearly a century ago in the village of Cranfield, Bedfordshire, just off of the M1 motorway, which is the spine of England’s trunk road system. Initially working on some of the first horseless carriages, the company has developed in parallel with modern motoring, although retaining a workforce with particular enthusiasm and attention to detail, be it engineering, mechanical, bodywork or trimming. For the past 60 years it has had a particular leaning toward the Morgan sports car, a marque that can only be described as characteristically British. In 1966, Allon White was rewarded for his endeavors with the marque, and was appointed the East-Anglian agents for Morgan. Over the years, the company has built up a significant reputation with another marque more associated with the race track than the road, Lotus. They are now “authorized repairers” an appointment made in 2009. The business has been a family-run operation from its birth in 1918, and remained part of that family until quite recently when current owner John Bellenger took the reins. However, although under new ownership, the qualities of the previous family-run business still remain today. “We are a small team with a passion for sports cars, particularly Morgan and modern Lotus models including the Elise and the Exige,” said John.
It is the trim shop that caught my eye specifically, which is headed up by Shaun McGuire, an exceptionally talented man who joined the company in 2002 after serving his apprenticeship with Aston Martin, as both a mechanic and trimmer, followed by a time in a family-run business with his father. Shaun has had his work displayed at many of the prestigious car shows including those in Geneva and Detroit. I asked him about his work, in particular of any strange trimming requests. He said, “I was once asked to trim a Lamborghini in frog skin. It was a most unusual request, but the skin was readily available and I was able to complete the order for the customer. I must say though, that was a very unusual request, and my day-to-day work is more normal than that. Although we do offer a bespoke service and can make seats more comfortable, or interiors more lavish for car owners than those fitted as standard by factory.” Trimming is a multi-faceted undertaking and includes mostly everything seen by the driver as they enter their car. Ably assisted by his colleague Rocco Garafalo, they are willing to tackle most jobs big or small. Each one is meticulously and carefully researched prior to work taking place, with the customer involved at every juncture. Challenges are a major part of trimming, especially when dealing with old coach built cars, which can have varying measurements from side to side, rather than the mirrored image proportions of the more production-line vehicles. Some trimming projects are more routine and involve factory kits being assembled and fitted, but whatever the work the same professional standards apply to the finish. And, it is not just limited to Morgan or Lotus cars either. It includes the whole myriad of road and race vehicles, vintage or contemporary. Customers are able to seek advice on design and cost prior to any work being undertaken.
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