Torque Community: Antique Cars

Neil Kennedy works for tools supplier Rollins & Sons as Area Sales Manager, but away from the day-to-day sales role, he runs classic cars that play starring roles on TV…

“After working as a tool buyer for major wholesaler Harrison and Clough – then a customer of theirs, TFC, both in Keighley – I was offered an opportunity to work on the other side of the fence. Mick Taylor, National Sales Manager, rang to offer me an interview for a new position as Area Sales Manager for North East, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire. Luckily I didn’t upset them when they came to see me in my buying role.

“In January 2016, I started a new chapter in my career as a rep for Rollins and Bulldog, a new role for me, where I service our existing customers and open new accounts. The customer base is varied, from big builders’ merchants to small independent nurseries. We also provide key machines and blanks to hardware shops and small cobblers. It is never boring!

“I also give talks to building colleges on the range of tools we can offer students and the benefits of using our tools over the competition. The range of tools we supply are mostly American brands. These brands are usually the best-selling products in America. Our best-selling brand is Marshalltown, then Estwing. We also own Bulldog gardening and contractors’ tools.

“In my spare time I run a classic car, a BMW 2002 automatic. It is over 40 years old and has less than 60,000 miles on it. We bought it in Spain 10 years ago for £1,000. We then drove to Yorkshire. It is probably worth about £7,000 now. Maybe more now it’s going on telly!

“It is not the only car I have had on television, my old Dolomite Sprint was on BBC’s ‘Life on Mars’.

“The BMW recently starred on the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip, with Paralympian Danny Crates and antiques expert Roo Irvine. My car is an automatic and Danny Crates has one arm, so it was ideal. I am not sure how well he coped as it’s heavy to drive. They had it for about three weeks initially and then they required it for another job, this time a photo shoot.

“Owning a classic car can be expensive, but is also rewarding, a nice change from my rep-mobile. I have taken it to show my customers, as they have asked to see it. My customers also run classics, varying from a rally car to a drag racer. It’s nice sometimes to chat about cars and then the tools they need.

“I am lucky to work for Rollins. Everyone is approachable and the existing Reps have helped me no end.”

Neil Kennedy was speaking with Ade Solomon.

This article originally appeared in the November-December edition of Torque Magazine. Read the full mag online here, or subscribe for free here.