Taking Control
Jaguar World Monthly|March 2018

After years learning his trade, Colin James felt it was time to establish his own business. We visit his workshop near Wakefield to learn more

Paul Walton

YOU’VE BEEN here years, haven’t you?” said a guy who came into the new Jaguar specialist, Tennyson James, a couple of weeks ago to speak to owner Colin James. It was an easy mistake to make because the workshop bustles with staff and business, yet the name Tennyson James is new to the industry. However, Colin isn’t. He has been in the motor trade most of his working life, including at a well-known Jaguar specialist.

His love of cars – and classics, in particular – stems from his father. Says Colin, “He owned touring caravans so always had a bigger, older car that he used for towing. So, when I was learning how to drive he had a Rover 100, which he replaced with a Series 2 Land Rover.”

Colin actually bought his own car, a Bond Equipe, before he could drive, which he later replaced with a Daimler 250 V8 saloon. “Cars were a hobby, and I owned plenty: a Lotus Cortina, a Rover and an MGB, among others.”

When Colin left school he became an engineering apprentice at Ordinance Services in Sheffield, a gauge factory and calibration lab that had links with various aspects of the MOD. When Sheffield’s engineering industry started to decline in the early Eighties, Colin took a job as a tow-bar fitter. Part of that role was looking after his boss’s XJ12 coupe, eventually giving it a full restoration. “I drifted into the motor trade,” he admits, “but found I was naturally good in it.”

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