|John and Mary bought
their first jeep in 1974, it came in boxes and it was a wreck. Total cost of
restoration was about £350 - those were the days!
The Jeep was followed by many more MVs that were restored to form a collection that rose to 12 vehicles before sanity returned, now the collection is being scaled down hopefully to 2 or 3, so that they can be looked after properly! The vehicles were all self-restored, and obviously the tops and seats were made in house.
Many of the patterns came from making covers for their own collection. John and Mary have been making tops commercially since 1978, but were actively involved in Motormania since being old enough to climb in a Jeep. John's father bought and sold ex-military vehicles from 1946, when in 1973 John decided to get a Jeep, the family business had moved on from MVs to Vintage and Classic Cars and restoration. John had divided his time since leaving school between farming and rebuilding old cars. During those days the company employed the services of a very old Swiss motor trimmer to refurbish their cars. He had started work in 1908, working for Adler in Germany! He taught John how to make tops, most of the time with a mouthful of tin tacks, which was the nearest handy recepticle for them! Mary's sewing skills were honed from a 5 year stint in the local trouser factory.
When the time came
to make up a top for the first newly restored Jeep, those skills were
put to use, almost overnight a new business was born, thousand
upon thousand of tops, tarpaulins, curtains and seat sets have been
made and sold. Very soon enquiries came from overseas and for nearly
28 years John and Mary have been completely involved in selling MV
reproduction canvas worldwide.
During the 80s John and Mary were very active in The MVCG,(John's membership no is 253), Mary being the area secretary for Shropshire and Border Counties, John was a member of the MVCG and later MVT committee. They were instrumental in starting, with many other willing helpers, the Warwheels Rally, and ran the event for 7 years, during this period they attended MV shows and tours all over Britain and Europe making many friends along the way. Since '92 they have scaled down their involvement in MVT due to the ever growing pressure of business.
They still attend all the important MV shows in the UK calender, and look forward to visits from enthusiasts.
When they enter the workshop and smell the oily US canvas, most enthusiasts want to bottle the smell to take home with them, the true smell of American Canvas - no other canvas smells like it.
John and Mary now almost exclusively concentrate on production of canvas parts for US vehicles, almost 95% of the materials and hardware are sourced in USA.
All you have to do for your US vehicle to have that same authentic smell is to buy it a nice new outfit from John and Mary!