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06 February 2018

You may well remember the competition that we ran at the turn of the year in which we asked the public to suggest names for the horse-drawn riding carriage for wheelchair disabled riders that we specially commissioned for Park Lane Stables. The competition resulted in the adoption of an excellent name – Harriet the Chariot – and one very happy, prize winning contestant!

Before embossing the name onto the carriage the Park Lane Stables team ran extensive field trials to ensure it was fit for use. In doing so, it became apparent that a few modifications were required – a task that our very own partner Peter Laney conducted himself! These included:

  • Fold-away wheelchair access ramp – metal guides added to ensure wheelchairs approach the carriage at the correct angle. Handles also added to the ramp to make operation easier for RDA assistants.
  • Seating layout – modifications made to the seating layout to make it more comfortable for wheelchair users, including a fixed footrest.

With these alterations made, Harriet’s name will soon be applied and she will be ready to go.

It seems then that whilst Peter usually has his head down in the books running the business, he has by no means lost the engineer’s touch!

Pictured: Harriet the Chariot stopping by H&L – probably for the last time until her annual repaint later this year.

04 January 2018

…well H&L didn’t quite make our hero famous but we did play a unique role in immortalising the iconic image of Steve McQueen atop a Triumph motorcycle!

Following McQueen’s success in The Great Escape, 1963, He joined the American motorcycle team ahead of the 1964 International Six Day Trial held in East Germany (yes, I do mean East!).

McQueen and his gang first stopped off in England to pick up the-then top of the line Triumphs available from the Triumph factory in Meriden. After applying some off-road modifications in the Comerfords workshop in Thames Ditton, the team was set to leave the UK in time for the ISDT. That was, until disaster struck and the team’s initial transport arrangements for the bikes fell through.

With the race fast approaching and expected delays in crossing the border into East Germany, the team was under pressure. In what must have been a nervy few days for team manager Ted Wassel, a deal was eventually struck to secure a last minute transportation van to East Germany – with none other than H&L Motors!

The team experienced mixed results in the Trial itself, with three of the American team receiving silverware whilst McQueen himself unfortunately received a DNF after an untimely crash on the fourth day. Despite the lack of success, it was during this tour that McQueen’s love affair with Triumph motorcycles was kindled, and in which some of the most iconic images of the pair would be taken. Pictured: Steve McQueen with the very Triumph no. 278 that H&L helped him to transport to East Germany – note the British registration plate!

So whilst we may not be the reason for Steve McQueen’s fame and fortune, this certainly shows that our workshop has played a role in international history – however modest that role was!

14 September 2017

Brilliant News! The horse-drawn riding carriage specially designed for wheelchair disabled riders has been delivered safe and sound; and what a beauty she is!

Big shout out to the members of the H&L team in conjunction with Fenix Carriages for making this possible. Special thanks must also go to Mark Broadbent, pictured, for his expertise and the labour of love he has put into the project.

We still need to apply a couple of finishing touches, but be sure to watch this space for updates on when we hope to deliver the carriage to Park Lane Stables, as well as a competition we will be running later this month to ask our readers to help name her!

And just to stop you worrying about it, Park Lane Stables will be supplying a horse to pull the carriage, Mark from Fenix is freed to do what he is so much better at, building them rather than pulling them.

Thanks Mark – great job well done!

20 July 2017

We just had to bring you this piece of behind-the-scenes goings on at H&L HQ in deepest darkest Twickenham.

The two protagonists, we won’t identify them, but let’s just call them Peter and Andrew had as close to a falling out as you can get over a small and very missing angle grinder disk key.

Peter vigorously maintained that the tool came with a key to change the disk.  Andrew said it didn’t.  You can imagine the debate going backwards and forwards but with no resolution and definitely no key.

So Peter eventually gives up and purchases a new angle grinder with, lo and behold, a key.

Andrew has a look in his tool box to see if he has something similar ……………………. and the rest is history folks!!

20 July 2017

We might be rightly famous for the high quality work we do on repairing and re-spraying damaged cars but we have been known to extend out talents a bit further.

Here’s a good example.  We’ve recently completed the painting of this interesting line of objects ….. but what exactly are they?

  • Ornate metal fence-posts?
  • Central heating pipework?
  • A new breed of alien for the next series of Dr Who?

You’d never guess – and nobody has so far – they’re actually mounting posts for CCTV cameras.

A well known high street brand turned to H&L Motors’ expertise to paint these items up in corporate colours for a brand new store opening.

Now, of course, we can’t tell you who our customer was nor show you the finished colour scheme because that would be a bit of a giveaway wouldn’t it; but here’s a little hint.

If you wander up and down the length of the world famous Oxford Street you just might spot a bit of classic H&L handiwork.

13 July 2017

H&L Motors has for a long time enjoyed a very special working relationship with Volkswagen Group.

Providing high quality bodywork repair services to a large number of Volkswagen dealers in the South London area, here at H&L we are proud to have for many years delivered to the exacting standards that Volkswagen rightly demand from their bodywork repairers.

Now to confirm the strength of that tie, Jonathon Laney, partner at H&L Motors has been appointed to co-chairman of the Volkswagen Paint and Body Business Development Group.   The Paint & body BDG is a Think Tank and a platform in which to discuss new ideas with the view to promote the high standards of excellence targeted by Volkswagen Group in the UK. Working on the Group with senior industry professionals, Jonathon is looking forward to having a major impact on maintaining the high technical and customer service standards for which Volkswagen group and, of course, H&L Motors itself are rightly renowned.

29 June 2017

…….. talking again, as we were a couple of posts ago, of electric vehicles – H&L is trialling a new electric motor van.  Here it is.

You can’t really tell the difference can you? although it drives quite differently; very smooth.  Will do 160 miles between charges and can be charged direct from mains electricity; so all our drivers have to remember is to charge it between trips!!

29 June 2017

Here’s the first glimpse of a very special project. H&L Motors have always been a proud supporter of important local projects and good causes and we are honoured to be helping Park Lane Stables based in Teddington this year, by providing them with a horese-drawn riding carriage specially designed for disabled wheelchair riders to enjoy. Early stages yet but it’s already looking exciting.

We look forward to sharing more pics of this as it develops!

26 April 2017

Probably taking it a bit far to suggest that electric cars are taking over but H&L Motors welcomed its first all electric vehicle to the works this week.  This stunning looking Tesla model was in for an electrical fix that only H&L had the equipment to carry out at that time.

So thanks to our philosophy of total investment in leading repair technologies, H&L was yet again equal to the task of sorting out a complex technical problem.  And the outcome …… another satisfied customer!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that our customers with traditional petrol or diesel drives need worry that we are not ready for them; fortunately H&L Motors has already invested heavily in all the necessary equipment, staff training and skills to ensure that we can look after your car whatever its make, model or repair need.

06 March 2017

They say the only constant is change.

We think our longest serving employee (let’s call him Dave; we can do that, after all it’s his name) will agree. We’ve dug into the archives and found a picture from Dave’s very first day at work. Compare it to a slightly more recent photo.

So it’s not exactly like one of those almost identical ‘spot the difference’ photos – you can spot the odd difference or two without a magnifying glass; let’s face it you don’t see too many Ford Corsairs on the road these days!!

Seriously though, Dave has now put in a magnificent 40 years of dedicated service to H&L Motors and is now out senior MOT tester. Times have changed but Dave’s high standards have never wavered.

Congratulations Dave on 40 excellent years and thank you.