Jul 27 2021

How We Became Classic Aston Martin Specialists

How We Became Classic Aston Martin Specialists

We’ve been in love with Aston Martins for well over 40 years now, but you don’t just wake up one morning and decide that you’re going to dedicate the better part of your life to restoring some of the world’s most iconic and exacting sports cars.

Our story starts in 1975 – back when you’d still see the occasional DB5 driving around on the road, and there were enough DB6s in circulation that some Aston Martin specialists could actually afford to keep one out back to use as a donor car. (For the record, a 1967 DB6 MK 1 in good condition would now set you back around £345,000).

It’s a story with lots of twists and while we’re normally quite reluctant to sit and blow our own horn, we thought you might be interested to know how we ended up running a specialist Aston Martin workshop.

From Humble Beginnings

Martin (Pugsley) started out working for another Aston Martin specialist: RS Williams, who worked out of a workshop under a railway arch in Brixton at the time.

Martin was little more than an apprentice back then, fetching and carrying while he built up an encyclopaedic knowledge of classic Astons, but it wasn’t long before he found himself working on some of RS William’s bigger projects. Project 212, the Nimrods between 1982 and 1984, the Ecurie Ecosse C2s in 1985 - 1987 and the 3 "new" DB4 GT Zagatos commissioned in 1988.

martin pugsley

Enter Tim Lewis, Racing Specialist & Troubleshooting Guru

Some time in the early 80’s (we’re foggy on the exact dates) Tim Lewis wandered down to RS Williams to ask about a holiday job. He didn’t really know much about Aston Martins at the time. He was into custom cars and hot rods. But a neighbour told him that there were some good opportunities on offer at the workshop and he was keen to fill his summer holidays with paid work.

He got a pretty frosty reception on his first visit. Standing around for several minutes while Martin and another mechanic enthused about door handles; too wrapped up in their conversation to notice the awkward young man waiting in the doorway.

Luckily Tim’s the persistent type, and he decided to come back a few months later. Just in time to spot a Ford GT40 sitting in the workshop. A great big beast of a race car, with a 7.0-litre V8 engine purpose-built to crush Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans. 

Peering through the window, Tim realised that he simply had to get a job at the shop and the rest - as they say - is history.

puglsey lewis working small

Cutting Our Teeth

Working together at RS Williams, Tim and Martin worked on all manner of Astons. From the DB4, 5 and 6 and V8 road cars driven by RS Williams’ private clients, right through to the (very successful) DB4 race cars, which were stripped-down and carefully-modified versions of the classic roadster – designed to compete on tracks up and down the country.

In the early 1980s (1982 to be precise), RS Williams also became involved in racing the Nimrods at Le Mans, giving Tim and Martin the opportunity to work on these legendary automobiles.

But when Richard Williams was head-hunted to go and run Aston Martin’s Works Group C team in 1989, Tim and Martin decided it was time to set up their own workshop; taking out a loan against their houses to buy a small space that was situated just across the road from their old haunt.

pugsley lewis modern workshop

Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

The pair’s first commission was a pretty good one, all things considered. Leaving on good terms with Richard Williams, they were asked to finish building the last of the four Sanction II Zagatos which was sitting half-built in the RS Williams workshop at the time. 

Martin and Tim carried the chassis across the road to their new HQ; assembling the car and running the engine in their new workshop before sending it off to Zagato in Italy. 

But that’s not to say that Pugsley and Lewis had the smoothest start. Martin and Tim’s new workshop could only fit about 7 cars (on a good day) and it was already half-full of special project cars they’d inherited from RS Williams. 

A Flying Start...

To make matters worse, recession hit shortly after the pair opened the shop, making for a fairly bumpy start. But Martin and Tim were as resourceful then as they are today, and they were able to land regular work on DB4’s, 5’s,6’s and V8’s – enabling them to start building a reputation for impeccable work that was sympathetic to the soul of classic Astons.

We’ve been working hard to maintain that reputation ever since, which is why you can rely on us to restore, maintain or enhance any Aston - irrespective of when it was built.

We’re now situated in a much bigger workshop on Kings Hall Road in Kent, and our team has grown considerably too, but our core values are still the same.

pugsley lewis team

We live and breathe Aston Martins. We think they’re absolutely incredible cars and we’re committed to carrying out restorations, repairs and modifications that preserve the character of your vehicle. 

We’re specialists, equipped to carry out work that looks right, feels right and drives right. We’re also committed to preserving the heritage and future of this storied brand, working on both new and classic Astons of every stripe. 

In short, we’re old hands with the experience needed to execute challenging restorations and upgrades on some of the world’s most exacting motors, and we’re very proud of our storied past. 

pugsleyl lewis forecourt

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