The answer is more so than you might think, and helpfully it`s located pretty much on our doorstep. Formed in 1977 by Larry Hawkins and Peter Eatenton, two former Rolls Royce trouble shooters, The Chelsea Workshop is located at Nell Gwynn House in Draycott Avenue SW3, making it easily the most centrally located RR and Bentley service and repair centre in London.
So, that`s the location sorted, what about the rest? Owning your premises gives you a lot more control over events, and certainly helps control costs. Pass this on, and you build a loyal customer base. Servicing at £80 ph compares very favourably with the main dealers of any manufacturer these days, and is 30% cheaper than the average Rolls and Bentley specialist. Another reassuring factor is the fixed price servicing menu. Re-launched as an idea for prestige cars a few years ago when Maserati came back into the market, it takes a lot of the financial uncertainty out of the routine work.
All of this good stuff certainly underpins the business, but you get the feeling there must be some fascinating stories to go with some of the cars and their owners. A huge proportion of both RR`s and Bentley`s survive to this day, passing from Arab Princes, Maharajah`s, captains of industry and more media shy souls, and they usually have a meticulously kept history. Peter Eatenton share`s a few good stories – mod`s they have made to cars that even the factory has later adopted, a distressed potentate who flew a technician over to check out a brake light on the blink, and a car they just could not sell with the £37,500 set of custom wheels and tyres on -that kind of “bling” is certainly not for everyone!
The allure of quality never fades, but tastes certainly do change. The ever ebullient Arab market has recently consolidated its love of the new with a dash of the old, and the last 18 months phenomenal sales success`s of new Rolls and Bentleys has been supplemented by a growing interest in the classic models. Bentley Continental models from the 50ies and 60ies, special editions like the “Chinese Eye” and the early “Blower” cars are selling to such a degree that Chelsea Workshop is now very actively seeking out these models. If you have one that might be available, do give them a call.