For the past 20 years Ecurie Bertelli of Olney, UK, has exclusively been involved in the restoration of pre-war Aston Martins, under the guidance of owner Andy Bell. Andy was all set for a life on a different course, studying and attaining a degree in Psychology at Cardiff University until a visit to a vintage car meeting at Silverstone in early 1977. Such was the impact of that day, he answered an advertisement in the Motor Sport magazine where a company was looking for a young lad to learn the business of vintage car restoration. He got the job working for Morntane Engineering, a firm set up by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Derrick Edwards and Judy Hogg. It quickly established an International reputation for high quality restorations of exclusively vintage pre-war Aston Martins. However, Andy’s first job was to paint the floor of an empty building – he was in at a very embryonic stage of the business. The very first car he worked on was a Bamford and Martin car purchased by Nick Mason, who at the time was buying old racing cars such as these. Morntane’s only competition was from another renowned expert who worked on pre-war Astons, Bill Elwell-Smith, a very knowledgeable man, who had just a couple of small sheds to work from and was very low key, almost just a hobbyist. Morntane offered much more and satisfied a growing need in a time when vintage racing was becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
From these beginnings, Morntane Engineering raised awareness of pre-war Aston Martin cars both in the UK and Europe. Derrick Edwards taught Nick Mason the business of motor racing, how to race and prepare cars for scrutineering and they raced extensively across Europe, thus spreading the Morntane Engineering name. For the next ten years the company helped Nick build his collection of racing cars and was an essential part of his racing team. In 1987, however, he sold Morntane to Kohji Nakauchi and Dennis Nursey and it became part of the Middlebridge Group. It was business as usual for the next couple of years until Derrick Edwards and Judy Hogg left and set up Ecurie Bertelli. The Middlebridge Group were suffering financial difficulties and Ecurie Bertelli were ultimately able to purchase the assets of Morntane Engineering, which was a boost as they were able to use the client base they had previously built up.
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