A Team Porsche Restoration Project

We take a classic 911 from a rusty bucket to polished beauty.

Just over a year on from opening up our shop we take on a dream challenge that we’re hoping will become the crowning achievement of everyone at the garage.

Think ‘Porsche car’ and most people will automatically think 911. Its the car that defined an era of motorsports and broke new ground on how a sports car should be built. Although the design of this German classic has undoubtedly changed a lot since its 1963 incarnation, every 911 has an unmistakable quality which makes it immediately recognisable. Thanks to its rear-mounted flat-six engine and independent suspension, this vehicle has become a mainstay in many forms of automotive competitions, not to mention becoming a collectors item in the process. Over a million Porsche 911s have been manufactured in Germany, but not all of them have remained in good hands.

Our little team project was first spotted in a junk yard outside Burnley by one of our apprentices, Alex.

“I’ve always loved wandering around junk yards, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon and you’ll never know what you might find. I’d been visiting family over the weekend and had been covertly Googling for junk yards throughout my time in Burnely. I’d found the perfect yard which specialised in recycling and selling on chassis; so after I said my goodbyes to my family, I tapped in the details into my GPS and set off for a day of scrap trawling.

At first glance this yard didn’t seem to be any different than any other. Same smell of rusting iron, same friendly northern repairman with greasy blue overalls. However, after a few minutes of wandering round I soon realised that I’d stumbled upon a treasure trove of forgotten sports cars. Behind the typical towers of tyres and long abandoned copper wire was hidden a huge number of chassis, neatly arranged as if they were ready to be driven off a forecourt.

My mind started racing, there was so much potential in what I could see before me that I could easily fill a decade of restoration work, but where to start? A tidy 2CV chassis was tempting initially, and a battered Clubman called out to me as well, but when I saw the smooth, unmistakable outline of a Porsche just behind I knew that I needed to call in to work.”

Alex called me on a Sunday afternoon at around 4pm which had me assuming that I’d be a man down on Monday morning, however I quickly found out that there was something else afoot. He was breathless with excitement, but I soon understood why. I can’t think of many mechanics who would happily walk past a Porsche 911 restoration project for sale, and Alex was clearly enamoured with it. I told him to calm down and get as much information about the chassis as possible: what model was it? What year was it from? How long had it been sat in the yard for? All of this information would help us to determine whether or not it would be a good purchase.

I thought I knew how my Monday morning was going to work out, but it turns out that even after 15 years in this business, there’s still time for a few surprises.

New Arrivals: Cases, Boxes and Crates

Our workshop is starting to get a little crowded…

One side of our business that we’ve been trying to focus on this year is modifications.

There’s a great amateur racing scene up here in the North, a scene which Gray and I have been an active part of in the past. As young, greasy sprogs we were always getting up to mischief, pelting around make-shift tracks just outside of the town centre. Of course, that was the 80s: when you could pick up a second-hand banger for a few quid and have it back up and running in a week, with a little help from the local scrap yards.

We’re not so much in the business of equipping underage drivers with beaten up death-traps today, but we do love helping drivers realise their dream of tricking out their rides.

As part of our commitment to educating drivers about their cars, we’ve introduced a new service that has already proven to be a hit with amateur racers and gear-heads alike.

What’s better than getting a new modification fitted in your car? Unpacking, fitting and testing it yourself of course!

Since we started our new Mod’n’Fit service our workshop has been packed with pallet-loads of boxes, wooden packing cases and crates – all full of modifications big and small. We’ve got new brake discs, bumpers, turbo-injection systems and speaker systems: you name it! Although it would be quicker to have our teams fit these parts themselves, we know that part of the joy of owning and modifying a vehicle is getting your hands dirty and making the change yourself.

For car lovers like us, it’s a bit like wading through a treasure hoard every morning. Every day we’re surrounded by shiny new bits of kit all packed away in their cases, waiting for their new owners to pull them out and fit them. It’s got to the point where we’ve had to designate one of our maintenance bays to storing these parts, as we’re now getting a little overwhelmed with a seemingly endless stream of wooden crates, all of which end up causing a stir within the workshop, inevitably leading to a lull in work as our guys eagerly pry open the new arrivals to see what new toy lies within.

It’s certainly an exciting time of year for us and our apprentices.

Alex, Kate and Mark have all been getting along swimmingly, their skills have been improving nicely and they’re now all getting stuck in to some serious work in the garage. Each of our apprentices are given tutors from within the company who they initially shadow whilst they pick up the basics, but now they’ve all progressed to the point where they can happily take on new jobs within the garage.

As is usual for kids starting their new careers, they’ve all taken to certain aspects of the job. Alex loves to approach modifications from an aesthetic angle, whilst Kate has become obsessed with engine torque and body lightening. Mark, meanwhile, has thrown himself wholeheartedly into transmission systems, far and away the most complicated of things to study, but it’s great to see him challenge himself.

Now let’s hope these kids can help us clear away all these damn boxes!

Motoring News Update: December

This month we’re bringing you all the important Motorsport news from around the UK and beyond.

It’s really important for Gray and I that our team is constantly kept in the loop when it comes to new developments in Motorsport and in the Auto Industry in general.

There might be thousands of mechanics all round the world, but we’re all united by a love of engines and our enthusiasm for the service that we provide. We’ve got a mixed bag of news stories this month, there’s been another tragedy in the Macau Grand Prix, but there’s also been success on home soil for British racers too.

This month in international Motorsport:

Daniel Hegarty, an English motorcyclist racing for Top Gun Honda, has died after crashing into the barriers at the Macau Grand Prix. The accident occurred on the notorious Fishermans’ Bend on the 3.8-mile Guia Circuit and cast a tragic shadow over the day’s events. Northern Ireland’s Glenn Irwin was given the win, after the event was halted on the sixth lap. Visibly shaken from the tragedy, Irwin said that there would be no celebration and that the win was ‘a very sad end to what has been a successful week’.

This is the first death in the Moto Gp for a number of years, although it’s worth noting that the Guia Circuit has now seen 8 deaths in total during a Moto GP race. Deaths in Motorsport have, unfortunately, become par for the course. There are dozens of different racing leagues, series and tours all around the world – each one of these competitions carries with them the risk of serious injury and death. As mechanics, it’s up to us to ensure that the cars or bikes are as safe as possible, but from the moment the racers head onto the track their lives are truly in their own hands.

Elfyn Evans takes the trophy at Wales Rally GB

Evans has become the first Welsh man to win the Wales Rally GB this year, the win was all the sweeter for Elfyn who missed out on racing on home soil back in 2016. It was a storming victory for the local lad, aged 28, who led the event from the very early stages of the second day – by the end of the competition he was ahead of second place Thierry Neuville by 37.3 seconds, with third place Sebastien Ogier 7.9 seconds behind him.

Rally driving runs in the family with Elfyn’s Father Gwyndaf winning the British Rally Championship back in 1996. It’s always a pleasure to see British talent succeed on home soil. These victories are just the kind of successes that British Motorsport needs more of, especially if it hopes to continue to grow, develop and attract young fans. The more kids that Evans can bring to the world of rallying the better off us mechanics will be.

And Finally…

22-year old Russian driver, Sergey Sirotkin, is thought to be the front runner to take the wheel at Williams F1 for the 2018 season. This might come as a surprise to those that have been following the developments as Robert Kubica was recently touted as the favourite for the role. Having not raced in the Grand Prix since 2010, the return of 33-year old Kubica would have been an interesting move for Williams, although it seems like they’re backing down from their initial decision now.

Sirotkin has been performing as a reserve driver for Renault this year, however strong performance data taken from his races this year have put him ahead of his older competition. Sirotkin is said to bring a significant amount of financial backing with him (roughly £15 million) from SMP Racing. Former Toro Rosso, Daniil Kyvat, is rumoured to be the back-up to Sirotkin.

We’ll make sure to keep you up to date with all the developments as they come in!

Doing Our Bit for the Community

Here at G. A. Mak Motors we pride ourselves on being more than just mechanics.

Our founding Father taught my brother and I that owning a mechanics workshop is more than just running a business.

“When you open up shop, throw your doors open to the public, cut the red ribbon – you know what I mean: you’re not just starting a business. It’s more than that. When you hire men from the local area, you’re telling them that they can rely on you to pay their bills, feed their kids, all that stuff. When a customer walks into your shop, he (or she) is putting their vehicle – that’s thousands of pounds of their money, not to mention their time – in your hands.

Now in an ideal world, you’d take the car in and make sure that their car – their property, remember – is back in ship-shape as soon as possible. They’re relying on you, so that they can get on with their life and every extra day that you take to sort it out, is another day that they’re falling behind on their own responsibilities.

Every single customer who walks through our doors needs to leave as a friend. When they hand over their hard-earned cash, they need to feel like they’ve got their money’s worth. They should drive away from the garage with a smile on their face, pleased with their interaction with our company and eager to tell their friends about the help that we gave them.”

Gray and I have spent our working lives trying to uphold the values that our Father taught us as kids and we hope that this is reflected in the service that we provide our area. Our Dad’s name is still on the sign above the door, it’s still on the shirts of amateur football teams that need our sponsorship and it’s important to us that it stands for more than just another mechanics.

Our local community, like any other in Britain, is one full of different people with different needs. The skills that we have as mechanics don’t just have to be used in our business. That’s why, if an elderly customer is struggling with a specific appliance, or they can’t find a spare part that they might need, we can use our contacts in the spares and scrap industries to find a Belling oven door or a replacement Hotpoint washer drawer for them. In an ideal situation, we can find the part for them and even help fit it – whatever we can do, within reason, to make their lives easier.

All of this stems from what our Father taught us about owning and running a business. There’s no catch, no extra charge, no fleecing. Going the extra mile for the people in our community is our way of showing thanks for the fact that we’re still around.

It’s a way of being more than just the guys who fix your car, it’s something we’ve done for a long time and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.

Motoring News Update: November

All the local Motoring news from our area this month…

There’s always something going on in the world of Motorsport in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire has one of the most competitive motor sport communities in the UK, as such we always like to keep an eye on what’s going on in the region, it helps us identify what the new trends are in modification and it’s also a great way of staying in touch with up and coming racers who might well become our customers one day.

This month in local motoring news:

There’s good news for the people of Rotherham as construction begins on the new McLaren factory that was announced way back in February. Although the facility won’t be open until 2020, it’s still great news for the area as the purpose-built facility is projected to bring in anywhere between £100-200 million into the local economy, over the course of eight years. In addition to this, McLaren have stated that there will be at least 200 jobs going at first, with the potential for even more work if the factory expands as McLaren have suggested that it could do.

This new addition to the motoring landscape in Rotherham will solidify our area’s reputation as the place to come for motoring fans, it’ll also provide a great opportunity for young people from the area looking to gain apprenticeships in the industry. In fact, the company has already begun training some of it’s apprentices, as well as planning two years of research in collaboration with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. We can’t wait to see what can be achieved with combined efforts of North Yorkshire and one of the biggest motoring companies in the world!

In other, more tragic news:

A second crash at a race in Scarborough has once more led to air ambulances and road ambulances being called out to attend to injuries. This is the second time within a relatively short space of time that an accident has caused serious injury to spectators, raising the question as to whether more could be done to protect those taking part in (and watching) Motorsport events.

Part of the reason that we all love attending these amateur races is because of the people that are involved in them. The men and women out there on the bikes are our friends and relatives, their teams are made up of their own family members and they value our support. These kinds of incidents aren’t going to stop Gray and I from supporting these events, but they have at the very least forced us to own up to the fact that the community is not exercising proper precautions – something that we’re hoping will be addressed in the future.


Earlier this month we were treated to a great example of young Motorsport event executed safely. It was very much a family affair as the BTRDA held their final meeting of the season at Croft Circuit, attracting dozens of young amateur drivers eager to test their mettle on the mixed-materials track. The conditions were bright and dry for Matilda Procter, daughter of legendary racer Kevin, who looked happy watching his daughter zip round the track in her Peter Gwynne Motorsport Suzuki Swift.

Procter finished 5th overall, putting in a fine performance for her debut. The junior final was taken by Richmond’s Tom Constantine, also in a Suzuki Swift. Constantine posted consistent times throughout the day whilst his cousin, James Constantine, finished in third. Both juniors are sons of rallying big shots Mark and Andrew Constantine.

Always good to see Motorsport being kept in the family!

Branching Out & Making Connections

Our business and trade network are at the heart of our success.

One of the best things about having been in this business so long is that we’ve been able to build some really valuable connections with both our customers and other similarly long-running enterprises.

The North has always been well known for its industrial roots and although we’ve always kept our hands firmly in the service industry, we’ve always found it beneficial to keep strong ties with a number of well-established business. If we ever need to get repairs made to our machinery or need some advice on how to tackle a job that’s a little beyond our knowledge, we’ve always got someone we can ask for advice.

Beatson Fans & Motors

We’ve had a strong partnership with Beatson Fans & Motors for the last 20 years. Based in Sheffield this long-established firm has been stocking, servicing and repairing electric fans and industrial motors for the last 85 years. We’ve had to turn to them on more than one occasion, usually to fix a piece of our own gear and we’re glad of their excellent support. They stock a wide range of industrial parts, including being one of the few stockists of Gamak electrical motors in the UK.

Parkway Sheet Metal Works

Gray and I are particularly proud of the way that we’ve managed to expand G. A. Mak Motor’s services beyond simple repairs and MOTs. Our diversifying into the custom modifications market was only made possible by the solid work that Parkway Sheet Meal Works have managed to supply us with. For the last decade they’ve been dealing with some really complex, demanding work from us and the results have been uniformly excellent.

C. F. Booth

As with all businesses who deal with industrial-grade materials, we create a fair amount of waste on a weekly basis. It’s largely thanks to CF Booth that we’ve been able to get rid of the thousands of kilograms of scrap metal and broken parts over the last few years. Their clockwork timing and reliability has guaranteed that we’re never overloaded with waste – something that our Floor Manager, Graham, is always happy to see.

Cooper’s Car Spares

Although many modern mechanics prefer to source all of their spares online, we’ve always liked to source our parts locally. Although prices might well be cheaper online, we’ve often found that our customers do not mind paying a little extra for their replacements, especially when they know that they won’t have to wait weeks for them to arrive from the other side of the world! Cooper has long been a reliable supplier and we hope to make use of him for many more years to come.

Top Tread Tires

The lads at Top Tread have been around nearly as long as us! Their MD, Albert Bowler, started the business some 30 years ago and although we might offer similar services, in some respects, they’ve proven to be useful comrades to have, especially when we’ve been on the look out for particularly niche tyres or wheel rims. They’ve helped us out on more than a few occasions, so we’re happy to give them a mention here.

Our business & trade partners are part of the reason why we’ve been able to do so well over the years – we hope to continue to work with them for decades to come.

Dad Visits the Workshop & We Take On

We’re proud of our heritage here at Gamak.

We’ve been here for over forty years and love that our name has become synonymous with car culture in Rotherham.

We have a passion for anything with a motor and there’s nothing we like more than being able to spread that love as much as possible, that’s why you’ll see our name on advertising boards at the local speedway race track, on the sides of go-karts and even plastered on the livery of a few local banger racers. We also try and find a way of getting young people into engineering as much as possible: as part of our commitment to the local support of our own trade we take on 3 apprentices each year.

The annual injection of young blood into the workshop each year is something that long-timers like myself and Gray always look forward to. It’s a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate the way that we work, assessing the effectiveness of the systems that we have in place and letting us appreciate how we can change our ways so that we can provide a better start in the world of mechanics for these young men and women.

More young people than ever are entering into practical trades. Put off by the high cost of university tuition fees, the young people of tomorrow are more skills-focused than ever, they understand better than anyone else that getting hired in the 21st century requires more than just a piece of paper.

When we start the recruitment process, we look for a few qualities in our apprentices:

  • Passion for mechanics – this has to be more than ‘just a job’ for these kid, we like to know that they have a real love for what they do.
  • Bags of enthusiasm – there’s a lot of trial and error in mechanics, our apprentices need to have the enthusiasm to get right back on the horse when they fall off.
  • Winning sense of humour – being able to have a laugh at yourself is a big part of fitting in to our crew here, there’s no room for self-seriousness!

Our new starters joined us this month and we’ve been delighted with their progress so far. Alex, Kate and Mark are all 16 years old, fresh out of secondary school and have spent the last couple of weeks getting accustomed to working life in a mechanic’s workshop. They spend three days a week with us here and the other two days learning in college, so we get a good 24 hours a week to bring them up to speed with the way that we do things here at G. A. Mak Motors.

As is tradition our founding father came in this week to hand our apprentices their first paychecks and have a chat with them. G. A. Mak is first and foremost a family business and it’s really important to us that our new starters understand where it all began for us.

We never tell our apprentices about this tradition and leave it up to our Dad to surprise them with their envelopes of cash – even at 67, he’s still got the winning sense of humour that we look to foster in our own employees.