Name: DK Engineering
Date founded: 1977
The boss: Klavs Nielsen
Location: South East
Latest turnover: £82.4m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 40.87
Latest EBITDA: £2m
The business initially developed from David Cottingham’s love of XK Jaguars. He bought a lightweight XK 120 model in 1963 that he restored and raced. To help finance his racing hobby, he prepared and repaired other people’s examples in his spare time. The demands on his time became so great that in 1977 the husband and wife duo decided to take the plunge and go into business full time.
It works for collectors around the world, including Ralph Lauren, Eric Clapton and Sir Anthony Bamford, and growing demand in the face of scarce supply helped push international sales to £13.9m in 2013.
According to the company, where many businesses threw caution to the wind during the height of the boom, and expanded into larger more affluent premises, DK kept its feet firmly on the ground, working to instead increase a demand in business, and thus survived where many others failed, due to their reputation for consistent high quality. This is why the Cottinghams came up with the motto “restoration to perfection”.
Son James Cottingham, who is in charge of sales, suggested that the classic car market has gotten stronger.
“The ‘ecosystem’ for owning a classic car has never been better,” he said. “There are so many great events, so many great rallies, for the collector of classic cars this is indeed a great time to be enjoying their cars.
“This was especially so for the Ferrari. First and foremost, Ferrari always made fantastic cars, he claimed. It is ‘cutting edge’ in terms of performance. So although Ferrari was always very expensive – there was justification for that expense. Their cars were the best out there.”
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