Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Stuart MacNeill, Managing Director at Coventry Auto Components, is a true car enthusiast and is helped by the dedicated team of Lorna Jarrett, Art Batchelor and Gordon Keith. He loves the business, and like Trevor's, Stuart's father was involved in the Coventry automotive (and agricultural) motor industry so he's been around cars all his life. If you get him chatting you will find he is an authority on Classics, Hot Rods, Customs, Americana, modern modifieds and loves wringing the last bit of performance out of anything, even computers! He joined Coventry Auto Components in 1994 and started with Motorworld, then Unipart, then was at Jaguar Cars , Browns lane plant, for 6 of its boom years, in the Central Production Stores. When Stuart started he was the youngest storeman in the company, then becoming a Group Leader overseeing a gang of 8 storemen and controlling part supplies to the various model tracks (production lines). When the position of manager, running Coventry Auto Components, became available. It was almost too good to be true. Just 10 minutes from home and working with the type of performance cars he loves. It was a baptism of fire for him on arrival then as he thought he knew Jaguars but he had to step back 30 years and brush up on his classic car history!

Stuart looked at the way spares were sourced by bringing in modern systems and ideas that improved efficiency and raised standards, which has allowed many parts being reduced in price. This has been maintained with constant attention to improving existing items as well as introducing new lines - if you boast of stocking the complete range, then you must do just that. Making slow-moving obscure parts is often more costly than high turnover items. But it has to be done and sometimes it results in a surprise. For example, the automatic XK150's plastic selector cover had been unavailable for years. As automatic XK's were both rare and apparently in little demand, it was assumed that these parts would be too. Stuart had a few enquires though and decided to have a batch made. Expecting to stock large numbers for years they virtually sold out in no time. To date they have sold many 100's of these 'unwanted' parts!

Coventry Auto Components are strategically placed for remanufacture. Facilities around Coventry for low production runs are decreasing now, but we can still seek out the right company for the right job. We even have family links to independent, prototyping workshops making parts for us now. Parts are more accurate than they've ever been as people demand higher standards. We believe our XK120/140/150 bumper and overrider range are quite superb because Stuart oversees the chroming inspection personally. He is so specialised that he has written a worldwide re-published ( Xk Gazette, E-Type Magazine, Jaguar Enthusiast magazines) article on the intricacy of it.

Innovation plays an important role too. With so many cars being modified, we have to provide solutions to the small problems created by a so-called straight-forward change. For instance, when you fit a B-type cylinder head to an XK, the mechanical rev-counter drive is lost. Coventry Auto Components have developed a mechanical drive housed in the body of the generator type. This bolts straight onto a 'B' (or later straight port) head and drives the existing rev-counter. Modern three-stage foam full-flow air filter elements are another favourite - they are much more efficient than the old wire mesh type, are washable and last forever! More modifications include uprated waterpump kits, XK120 rear telescopic damper kits, and disc brake conversions that replace the drum system, upgrading the XK120 wire or now even the steel wheel cars. The popular five-speed gearbox conversion kits use a modern style gearbox and is a complete kit with box, adaptor plate, spigot bush, propshaft and instructions! We now even make a 'traditional look' gearknob to suit the shift patttern. More items are being introduced as this is writen but for the time being must remain on the 'Top Secret' list!' . We are currently working on a range of modules or 'Simple Solutions' packages that will build up to a comprehensive range of articles/build sheets so you will be able to plan the build of your classic Xk by just picking out these vehicle build 'modules' you prefer and adding them together to get a complete build/costings package.

We also offer comprehensive 'TRADE PACKS' that include complete interior chrome, exterior chrome, body seals etc... kit lists, that provide a comprehensive, 'quick check' build sheet for the busy workshop.

Coventry Auto Components started by dealing in obsolete, dealer clearance, new-old-stock O.E. parts but as these were exhausted, we moved into our own higher quality reproduction parts manufacture. Additionally; although not widely broadcast we have always stocked second-hand parts, some of which go for reconditioning, so we have an extensive selection of these, too. The full range of gauges, starter motors and dynamos, distributors and wiper motors, steering boxes and rackand pinion units. The list goes on and on and on.... We even have a C-Type & D-Type catalogue, researched from original factory A3 build sheet listings!

Martin Green and Stuart MacNeill bought the business in July 2007 from Trevor Scott-Worthington and Stuart is now Managing Director. The business has been based in the current Binns Close premises since 2003. Martin is a car enthusiast and can often be found tinkering under many different bonnets! He served an apprenticeship with General Motors before moving onto Jaguar at Browns Lane. There he developed 'Total Quality Management' into a new Jaguar supplier quality manual. He recalls with pride being supplied by Jaguar with both a Daimler Limousine and a Series 3 V12 as wedding cars when he and his wife (also a Jaguar employee) married. This was during the early Sir John Egan days when Jaguar was on a roll and just about to launch the XJ40. Having worked with suppliers, he then moved to Delphi who supplied much of Jaguars' electronics. More lately he was the Commercial Manager for the Global Automotive Parts business (MG Rover, X-Part, Land Rover) operated by Caterpillar Logistics. But Jaguar was still calling, and Martin, along with Stuart, were delighted to secure the purchase of Coventry Automotive Components Ltd. This means C.A.C. has experience from both sides of the automotive parts business, they are not just part re-sellers like the rest of the market, but automotive industry trained and experienced manufacturers.

The team have been busy developing not only new parts lines, but a revised and informative Parts Catalogue, Special Equipment Performance catalogue, an amazingly detailed Panels Catalogue, glossy company brochure, website, and have launched a very popular e-Bay shop. Stuart comments, "we are grateful for the effort that my mentor, Trevor put in over almost 40 years, and will treasure the heritage the company has. Beyond those traditions, we are updating systems, sourcing new parts and services, and building the foundations for the next 40 years. Our customers will benefit from the new technology, whilst still being reassured by our traditional approach to service".

Coventry Auto Components is not a multi-national company, it is Independently owned It does not dabble in Jaguar spares in general. It is specific and effective. As long as there are Classic Xk's on the road, Coventry Auto Components will surely be there to help owners, workshops and even museums to keep them running.

Coventry Auto Components Ltd | Registered Company No. 06236482