2016 was a special year for Retro Custom as it marked our 15th year anniversary. From humble beginnings in an office in historic Wrest Park, Bedfordshire to in excess of 2,000 classic Volkswagens repaired, restored or modified, its certainly been quite a journey.
Retro Custom, originally established by Larry Stockford, started out in early 2001 primarily designing and manufacturing custom accessories for the classic Volkswagen and Hot Rod scenes. Alongside the manufacture of limited edition products, our small workshop which was used for the manufacture of our accessories also was used to customise and modify classic Volkswagens on a limited basis and also to build an exhibition car to showcase our products.
However, due to the success of our show car, demand for our workshop services became so great, that in 2007 a permanent 1000 sq ft workshop premises offering all aspects of servicing, modification and restoration to the general public was opened in Radwell, Baldock in Hertfordshire, only a stone's throw from the A1(M) motorway.
As soon as news spread that a permanent service and restoration workshop has been opened, overwhelming demand for our services outstripped our available space so after just six months we moved to a new 3,000 sq ft workshop less than a mile away.
Our renowned experience in building high quality show vehicles led to a demand for us to build and work with many top level show cars including a number of Restowagen UK award winning cars. We worked on several vehicles which were multi-trophy winners with one vehicle winning no less than 20 trophies in its debut season. Demand for our services was such that the workforce was expanded to 7 employees and we began offering services on water cooled vehicles including top level show vehicles.
However, the demand for our services continually increased and limited workshop space availability meant that waiting times were beginning to become lengthy so we made the decision to stop working on water cooled vehicles and concentrate on pre-1979 air-cooled vehicles only.
After seven years at our premises in Radwell, Hertfordshire, in 2014 we moved to a much larger 8,000 sq ft premises in nearby Hinxworth village which would allow us to offer vehicle storage to customers and also increase available workspace and also enable us to install more workshop equipment. The new premises also offered much better facilities, customer parking and also a larger waiting room and shop.