History of Ely Service Motor Co.
The business first opened sometime in 1930, but the important date is March 1st, 1931, when Mr Charles Hull purchased the business. The following years saw the Company go from strength to strength, enjoying a number of franchises, including those of the well-known Rootes Group and Austin.
The war years came and went and trading continued. The Company name became very well known over a large area for its excellent service to customers.
Tony Hull, son of the afore-mentioned Charles, took over the Sales Department and finally the running of the Company following National Service and training at Rootes. An important decision was forced on the company in that it could not enjoy both franchises, so Rootes (by now known as Chrysler) had to go. Problems at and with British Leyland are well documented: with this in mind another very important decision was made when Austin was replaced by Fiat. This move proved popular with the younger generation.
Tom Norman, who had joined the Company in 1950, decided with Tony Hull to expand into Rover restoration. This turned out to be a very good move indeed. Ely Service Motor Co. became a household name for Rover restoration not only in this country but abroad, too. New and used spares were shipped all over the world. Sponsorship and judging were also part of the Rover package.
Tony Hull was invited to sell the complete garage site in Lynn Road, Ely which - after much debate - he did. However, with the Rover work still in great demand, it was decided by Tony Hull and Tom Norman to form a new business, to be called Ely Service. A partnership was set up and opened for business on 5th April, 1994, at Lancaster Way, which was by now a developing site on the old RAF Station. This business continued more or less as at the old Company, with a good balance of Rover restoration, servicing on Austin and Fiat vehicles and general maintenance. Tony Hull decided to retire in 2000, with Tom Norman retiring the following year.
The firm then passed on to Tony Gipp, who had been a junior partner for a number of years in the new set-up. In due course, the business was sold to Jim Brown who was also well-known in Rover circles.
In April 2016 the firm was acquired by the neighbouring business Penguin Motors Ltd. Penguin’s owner Graham Bahr, as well as having been a mechanic his whole working life, is a lifelong car nut, passionate amateur racing driver, MSA (motors sports association) car scrutineer, ex AA breakdown patrol and has over the years owned and worked on more classic cars than you can possibly count. Going forward, it’s business as usual plus Graham has an ongoing program of smartening the place up and business expansion, first step install an MOT bay so for the first time since Ely Service was based at Lynn Rd we will be able to do on site MOT testing. Followed getting a viable used spares department up and running.