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Barkaways may not be a name familiar to many in the Ferrari world, but if passion, quality of work, and customer service are the ingredients for a successful business, then it is a name that we will hear much more of in the future. The business is very family orientated, led by Ian Barkaway, who has many years experience in the Ferrari field, working for a variety of specialists in the UK, followed by a spell on his own, working within the premises of another organisation. It was during this period, that some of his clients suggested that he should set up properly in his own right, with his own premises. Despite the bleak economic situation and forecast of the past few years, he decided to take the plunge in 2011, and found suitable secure premises tucked away in a quiet backwater, quite literally, as the River Medway runs alongside the building, in rural Kent in south-east England.
As mentioned the business is very much a family affair, hence the plural of the surname, with his wife Andrea doing the books, and his equally passionate teenage son Ben following in his father’s footsteps, and helping out at weekends and whenever studies permit, whilst even Mum pops in to do her bit on a Saturday, chatting with clients, who might be waiting if Ian is occupied, and keeping everyone plied with tea, coffee and biscuits. The family feel even extends to the staff, whom one feels are an extension of the family, which is rare in such a short space of time, but the overall feel is one of everybody pulling together for the common good, sailing in a really happy ship.

The official opening was in September 2011, and in the relatively short space of time since then, the business has shown a steady growth, as the word has spread through the Ferrari community over the winter months. Ian’s mantra is communication with the customer, i.e. keeping them informed of progress, explaining and advising of anything that might be uncovered when they dismantle parts, so that they are aware of what the total cost may be, rather than presenting them with an unexpectedly high invoice upon completion. Equally, any parts removed for replacement are offered to the customer when they come to collect the car, so that they can see that they have been replaced, and are not just an item on the invoice. A delivery and collection service is also offered, this being in a discreet black fully enclosed trailer, for relative anonymity on the road.

Prevention is better than cure! To this end, Ian advises his clients to have any servicing and/or repair works done over the winter months, when the car normally sits dormant in the garage. If any car is left to sit idle for any length of time, then things can deteriorate, so come the first rays of spring sunshine and you decide to dust off the cobwebs and go for a drive, then either it won’t start, or it lets you down in the middle of nowhere. Apart from being very frustrating, it is not good for your relationship with your pride and joy. The delivery and collection service also comes into play here, as many clients don’t want to use their cars on the possibly salted winter roads. So they will collect the car, carry out any work requested, and return it to the owner, with a further visit when the weather improves to road test it, and have it ready for the summer months. The scope of their services runs from routine maintenance, like oil changes and replacement of cam belts, through engine and transmission rebuilds (Ian’s personal forte), body repair and paintwork, to full restorations.

One of the completed restorations was present at the Open Day, this being a 250 GT Lusso, chassis # 5689 GT, which Ian had started before getting his business fully operational in its current location, and which won a number of awards at various events during 2011. There was also a “work in progress” restoration of a Dino 246 GT, which had recently emerged from the paint shop, and was in the process of reassembly, plus a “back burner” project, a full strip down bare metal restoration of a 308 GTB. During the course of the day over fifty Ferraris, their owners, spouses and friends came and went, enjoying the delicious fare from the Ian’s cousin’s butchers shop, in the form of sausages, sausage rolls and a variety of pork pies, together with a wide range of snacks and beverages.

There was a wide selection of Ferrari models at the gathering, ranging from a Dino 246 GTS, through Dino 308 GT4s, 348s, F355s, 360s, 430s, 550 Maranellos, a pair of GTOs (288), a F40 and a 599 GTO. One client arrived in a suitably black Stealth, a V8 powered sports prototype look-alike, apparently one of only two examples road registered in the UK. Another great attraction was the spectacular sixties Riva Tritone power boat loaned by a client for display. Fine weather, fine cars, fine food and drink, altogether a fine day!

Further information on Barkaways visit www.barkaways.com

Keith Bluemel
04/2012


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