MOTEST Autocare has a chain of nine garages based in the South East and, on current form, looks set to expand rapidly. The latest site to open is based in Farnham, Surrey and has a wealth of MG Rover heritage because, until last year, the premises were home to one of the oldest dealerships in Surrey specialising in products from the home team.
The dealership opened as an Austin agent in the early 1900s and subsequently expanded into new premises during the early 1950s. The marketplace changed and the larger premises were needed to cope with the massive expansion in showroom traffic which occurred when the business became the area’s principal BMC distributors.
We’ve included some archive pictures for your pleasure. John Ball, MOTEST Autocare’s Managing Director said, ‘The mid ’50s shot shows what we believe is the workshop being used for the equivalent of PDI activity on new and secondhand cars, while the ’80s picture is full of our favourite metal – a tradition we maintain today.’
In total this will give MG Rover owners across the Thames valley a lifeline for keeping their cars on the road. A good example is how, through XPart, we recently sourced a complete genuine service exchange engine for an MG ZT on favourable terms and so keep the car on the road for many years to come.” John Ball, Managing Director, MOTEST Autocare
That’s certainly true – and, throughout the service area, the sheer number of MG Rovers makes a refreshing and welcome change. ‘We have a second workshop, which will soon be refurbished, but currently acts as an overflow. This also contains some interesting cars such as an early Morris 1000 in for head gasket and an MG Metro in for a cooling problem. Just to prove our all makes policy there is the most immaculate Ford Granada Ghia which came in for some work recently,’ John smiled.
With still a high volume of MG Rover cars in Farnham and the surrounding area, MOTEST Autocare is seen as a godsend for the owners, particularly given the background of its team. John added: ‘Our main technician is 30 years BL/AustinRover/MG Rover having started at the workshop in the ’70s. The manager similarly started as a BL apprentice with Mann Egerton in Guildford and then moved to Farnham in 1980 as service reception engineer.
‘We have a lot of collective experience on BMC/BL engines as well as obviously later engines. We have a proper thorough K series head gasket change programme. Through XPart we have acquired specialist tools and the T4 diagnostic equipment which gives us dealer level capability on all the key models, including key programming.’
The Farnham garage has full MG Rover diagnostic equipment as well as the ‘Legacy’ programme to cover most older models such as Mini/100/200/400/600/800 series. In addition, there’s Hydrolastic/Hydragas pump equipment, which is, ‘…one reason we are seeing an increasing number of MGFs!’ The Farnham site also specialises in the service and repair of the MINI and so fulfills a growing demand as the older cars come off their TLC service packages.
MOTEST Autocare also has an XPart franchise in Swindon, covering MG Rover and MINI. They are a very highly skilled group of technicians, particularly in diagnostics and draw off Farnham’s Austin Rover expertise when required. Swindon also carry stocks of all the MINI tyres, both run flats and regular available at really competitive prices.
A third MG/Rover (XPart) site at Reading will be up and running very soon, based right in the centre of the town.
John concluded: ‘In total this will give MG Rover owners across the Thames Valley a lifeline for keeping their cars on the road. A good example is how, through XPart, we recently sourced a complete genuine service exchange engine for an MG ZT on favourable terms and so keep the car on the road for many years to come.’
For more information, visit www.motest.co.uk.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.