Former RAF duo’s vintage car restoration business is really taking off

A 1956 Ford Zephyr Cabriolet.
A 1956 Ford Zephyr Cabriolet.
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Former airmen Jamie Thomas-O’Brien, aged 24, and Andrew Proctor, aged 27, fulfilled their childhood dream when they joined the RAF as teenagers.

They spent the next few years serving their country in some of the world’s most high-profile combat hot spots.

Andrew Proctor and Jamie Thomas-O'Brien, have set there own business restoring classic cars, VC Restorations, in Rossington. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 28-01-15 VC Restorations MC 3

Andrew Proctor and Jamie Thomas-O'Brien, have set there own business restoring classic cars, VC Restorations, in Rossington. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 28-01-15 VC Restorations MC 3

But after numerous tours of duty, both had a desire to return to civvy street and turn their dream of restoring classic cars into a reality.

They left the RAF in October last year to set up VC Restorations - and several months down the line business is booming.

From their garage in Oakleaf Court, New Rossington, Doncaster, the two motoring enthusiasts have given a new lease of life to about 60 classic cars - and demand for their services is growing.

Jamie said: “Neither of us have any regrets. Business is really taking off.”

An RAF Tornado.

An RAF Tornado.

Andrew added: “When you see the transformation from when the vehicles come in all rusty compared with how they look at the end it makes it all worth while.”

The men served as senior aircraft technicians as part of 5001 Squadron in places including Kandahar, Afghanistan, the Falklands Islands, Germany and Gibraltar.

They helped to service Harriers and Tornado aircraft, but much of their time was spent fixing military motors, such as Warrior armoured track vehicles.

Jamie said he often had to flee and find cover while under attack from insurgents during his tour of Afghanistan last year.

A Warrior tracked armoured vehicle.

A Warrior tracked armoured vehicle.

He said: “The enemy was firing bombs over at a rate of three or four times a week sometimes.

“An ear piercing siren goes off and you just do as you are drilled, take cover and hope for the best.”

Jamie said the camaraderie between the different allied forces helped him to cope during long stretches away from home.

He said: “The banter really does help to keep you going.”

The Rover P6 after it was completed.

The Rover P6 after it was completed.

Jamie, who is originally from Reading, and Wakefield lad Andrew have settled in Cantley, and say Doncaster is an ideal place for start-up businesses.

Said Jamie: “The RAF gave us our discipline and tools for the trade, and now we want to apply that to the business. 
“We chose New Rossington because it is a nice area and we can keep the overheads down.

“If you have had a classic car in the garage gathering dust we can repair and restore it to how it was originally built.”

Coveted classics they have worked on so far include a Chevrolet Impala from 1967, a 1956 Ford Zephyr Cabriolet, a 1979 MGB GT and a Rover P6.

Andrew, who owns a Chevrolet Impala from 1967, said: “My taste changes every time a new car comes in. Once we have restored them I look and think ‘I wouldn’t mind one of those in a few years’.”

Jamie said VC Restorations can offer everything from a complete engine re-fit to new interiors and a full paint job.

The company has also just set on two new employees to cope with increasing demand for its services.

Visit www.vcrestorations.com for more information.

* More than 60 classic cars restored

* Duo served in Afghanistan, Falklands and Gibraltar

* Used to work on Harrier and Tornado jets

* Two new employees to cope with demand