Quite possibly England’s oldest-serving motor trader has finally done his last deal and walked away from the industry he’s worked in since the fifties – so much for early retirement.
Mike Humble shares a coffee and a chat with him…
Derek has finally retired from a career that hasn’t stopped since 1954.
After one of the longest-serving careers in the motor trade, Derek Ketteringham has finally brokered a deal for the sale of the property and stock of the legendary Neasden premises on the clockwise section of North London’s A406.
Having originally started trading in used cars back in 1954, Derek went on to become one of London’s top Triumph dealers from his premises on the busy North Circular Road. His showroom became famed for still featuring period Austin Rover décor and signs despite his termination of the franchise back in 1984.
Derek specialised in pre-owned Austin or Rover products until recently but also stocked general used cars in the run-up up to the closure of the business. The site was originally earmarked for property redevelopment but, after a few false starts and some local authority planning issues, retirement plans faltered. Derek had no option other than to carry on trading.
AROnline visited Derek shortly after the last property deal fell through and we were stunned to find he didn’t seem bothered about it. We truly believed the only way Derek was coming out of the showroom was in a pine box – in fact, when we mentioned this to him, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
However, a local Ealing trader of luxury cars and commercial vehicles got in touch recently with a view to purchasing the site to expand and to gain more storage space. The deal included the property and the newer used vehicle stock and has conveniently been concluded just in time for Derek’s 86th birthday. He seems quite relieved that it’s all over at long last, but we did wonder whether, deep down, this would be a wrench for Derek.
His wife Pat, who spent all of her working life in senior nursing roles, says: ‘All I’m concerned about is Derek’s adjustment to change. Derek has worked above and beyond the years he really should have, but we are a close family with some true good friends and live in a close knit community – he’ll be fine.’
Derek smiles and adds, ‘I have been wanting to retire for a good few years and I was becoming increasingly tired of the red tape the industry now has to work with. Cars are a young man’s game now, I’ve done my bit and it’s time to enjoy life again.’
AROnline would like to offer our best wishes to Derek and his close family, Pat and Richard.