British Motor Heritage (BMH) recently hosted a party of students from TRAX, the Oxford-based charity that for 25 years has provided automotive training for students from the ages of 14 to 19 who, for one reason or another, have struggled with the rigours of standard education courses. The group was treated to the sight of replacement classic Mini bodyshells being manufactured, as well the production and hand finishing of individual wings for MGBs and bonnets for Jaguar E-Types.
Said BMH Managing Director John Yea: “Having featured the great work performed by this long-standing charity in our quarterly magazine, Motoring Classics, and seen for ourselves how keen the students are to progress their mechanical engineering skills and obtain jobs within the automotive sector, we thought it would be useful to give them first-hand exposure to the burgeoning classic car industry. They appeared to enjoy the experience and we very much hope it will encourage them in their studies.”
TRAX Workshop Manager Chris Harman said on behalf of the students: “The young people were incredibly impressed with the factory and amazed at how much time and effort went in to making each individual bodyshell. The main point they took away was that the workers were very skilled (and ‘hench’ to quote one student!) and that these attributes have been passed down through generations. One lad even went as far as noting that such skills aren’t taught at college these days and, that without new apprenticeships, there’s surely a danger they could die out altogether. It was a highly educational experience for our staff and students and something we would definitely welcome repeating in the future.”
Responded John Yea: “The comment about apprenticeships is astute and topical and a subject companies like ours and bodies such as the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) are actively taking steps to address.”
British Motor Heritage (BMH) was established in 1975 to support the owners of classic British marques by putting genuine components back into manufacture; using original tools wherever possible. To date it has built over 6,000 replacement bodyshells for the MGB, MGR V8, MG Midget, Austin Healey Sprite, Triumph TR6, original Mini and Mini Clubman, as well as thousands of individual replacement panels. These and other items are distributed internationally by a 60-strong network of specialists. Further information on British Motor Heritage can be found at