‘’Restoring these vehicles is a passion for me, not a job.’’
As we move further into the 21st century, one thing becomes clear: that the age of handcraftsmanship is rapidly becoming more of a distant past. Only a select few institutions in the UK fly the craftsman flag and SLSHOP is one of them. In this first look behind the scenes of SLSHOP, we introduce you to young craftsman, Eliot who at just 23 years old is helping preserve the finest Mercedes-Benz models to ever leave Stuttgart.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED:
Eliot’s obsession with unpicking the complex construction of motorcars started at the extremely young age of seven – the formative years supporting his father who ran an automotive scrap metal yard. It was while earning pocket money stripping scrap vehicles that Eliot became obsessed with the engineering behind motorcars. In these early years, Eliot would get around the yard in a beat-up old Subaru Justy – a small hatchback that he and his brother had revived in their spare time, saving it from the ‘crusher.’
STRAIGHT INTO WORK:
While studying Motor Vehicle Maintenance at College, Eliot worked at a local Motorbike Garage specialising in Pit Bikes and Supermotos – his first role involved carrying out Pre-Delivery Inspections. Through his father’s scrap yard connection, Eliot was already aware of SLSHOP and began seeking out an opportunity in our Workshops.
Twelve months later and at the grand age of twenty, Eliot joined SLSHOP full time working alongside our lead Heritage craftsmen who oversee models from the fifties through to the sixties. ‘’Eliot quickly understood the Heritage way of life’’ recalls lead Heritage craftsmen Dan Griffin – it’s an art that takes extreme patience and not everyone can handle it.’’ Having recently turned 23, Eliot reflects on three years of restoration work and revealed:
‘’I see myself as a storyteller documenting and preserving the life of these beautiful classic vehicles. Without our efforts, we could potentially lose the most important milestones of the automotive industry’s journey to present day.
To anyone who is considering a career in classic cars, expect every day to be different and to have to spend time outside of work reading about the history of each vehicle. There’s so much to discover and you’ll never know it all. But I take pride in being one of few emerging experts in the country.’’
Eliot advises parents and young people to ‘’start early but start simple – discover how mechanical items in your everyday life work, take them apart and put them back together. Don’t follow the crowd, get stuck in as soon as you can, consider an apprenticeship and learn from the very best.’’
Eliot truly lives and breathes automotive – in his spare time he is currently working on two 205 GTI projects, both of which are essentially full nut and bolt restorations. His daily driver switches between a 205 GTI (3 of 3) and a 2003 Mitsubishi Evo.
CAREERS AT SLSHOP:
If you’re considering a career in the automotive industry and would like to take up a different craft, check out our careers page to see our current openings. Alternatively, if you are interested in an apprenticeship, please contact [email protected].