|GB Classic Trim recently underwent a rebranding of their business, replacing their former logo (right) with the vibrant new up-to-date version, as shown above.|
Here, we take a look back to late 2016, when Rob Jenner and Letitia Mace visited GB Classic Trim, before inviting them to become sponsors of Xclusively Jaguar and sending Brucie’s headlining away to be retrimmed in readiness for the Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival.
Shortly after meeting Graham and Janice Watkins at Jaguar Spares Day, Stoneleigh in October 2016, we arranged to visit them at their newly acquired business; established upholstery specialists GB Classic Trim.
Some time ago, Graham Watkins, being the perfectionist that he is, had visited all the well reputed trim specialists before finally entrusting his own E-type Series 1, Jaguar Mark 2 and Daimler SP250 with GB Classic Trim, then known as ‘Classic Trim’, for re-upholstering.
‘Classic Trim’ was originally established many years ago by Stan Swann, an ex-Jaguar employee who had worked in the trim shop at Brown’s Lane, and had built up a global reputation for quality.
This enviable reputation had been earned over many years, and Stan had retained the strong links he had with Jaguar – purchasing from them all original trimming templates as each model became obsolete, and therefore building an irreplaceable library of more than 1000 templates, all labelled, with some filed in folders stored in racks, while others were hung in every part of the workshop.
|These templates, now owned by GB Classic Trim, represent an important part of Jaguar heritage, which thankfully were sold on to Stan Swann, rather than being destroyed when Jaguar nolonger needed them.|
When Stan finally decided it was time to retire, Graham saw the opportunity to step in and turn his own hobby and enthusiasm for Jaguars into a business, with the help and support of Stan’s established workforce – all skilled craftsmen and craftswomen! The two seamstresses are both ex-Jaguar, two of the trimmers are ex-Jaguar and one was trained by Stan, starting as an apprentice.
As with Jaguar, Stan now retains links with GB Classic Trim, advising on issues as they arise, his lifelong experience proving invaluable and essential in maintaining the company’s ongoing reputation for quality.
Traditionally, GB Classic Trim specialised in Classic Jaguars from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, such as the immaculate XK150 seen here in the workshop, where two of the craftsmen are re-fitting a complete new interior, while a new hood is being remanufactured on site.
In order to expand further in the future they will now consider working on other top end marques and later Jaguars.
As an example of this, when we visited their workshop in December 2016, we were immediately drawn to the XJ40 which had come in to the workshop to have the saggy headlining re-trimmed.
One week later, an email from Graham contained the two pictures below, which shows how an XJ40 headlining should look!
This 1988 3.6 Sovereign, showing a recorded mileage of 25,000, was a real beauty in completely original condition and worthy of every penny its owner was spending on restoring the headlining – the only fault we could find with the car !!!
The completed work was very pleasing, resulting in GB Classic Trim being selected to re-finish Brucie’s headlining in readiness for the Royal Windsor Jaguar Festival in 2017. So they now have at least one XJ40 and one X330 (X300 LWB) to their name. In both cases, GB Classic Trim were able to restore and re-use the original ‘biscuit’ which is the major problem with refurbishing headlinings, as these are no longer available from Jaguar and after-market reproductions receive mixed reviews, which was enough to put me off of attempting the job for 6 years!
The XJ40 was re-trimmed to original specification, however, I had insisted on Alcantara for Brucie, and an account of the process of removing, retrimming and replacing an X330 headlining will appear in Brucie’s Diary: February 2018.
An entirely new hood and tonneau can be made and fitted by GB Classic Trim, as in the case of the XK150 previously mentioned.
|GB Classic Trim can also supply items such as seat foams and, as shown here by Rob Jenner, heel pads. While we were there we found a pile of XJ40 heel pads which are obsolete and unobtainable elsewhere!|
Items which are not within the scope of GB Classic Trim, can be removed and sent out to known and trusted specialists, thus offering a complete retrimming service. These items include refurbishing veneer, wooden seat frames and metal seat bases.
GB Classic Trim are suppliers to Jaguar Classic and are currently working with them on several very important projects.
3 ways to shop
- Take your car to GB Classic Trim in Nuneaton and leave it with them
- Remove the part that needs retrimming, send or take it to GB Classic Trim in Nuneaton for them to retrim and return to you for re-fitting
- Buy a trim kit from GB Classic Trim and do it yourself