VIDEO: Doncaster combat veterans swap Tornado fighter jets for classic cars

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Two former RAF engineers are flying high after swapping fixing up military jets for restoring classic cars.

Jamie Thomas-O’Brien, aged 24, and Andrew Proctor, 27, left the forces after completing tours in combat hotspots to pursue their dream of launching their own business to give old vehicles a new lease of life.

Jamie  Thomas-O'Brien and colleague Andrew Proctor with a classic car they are restoring

Jamie Thomas-O'Brien and colleague Andrew Proctor with a classic car they are restoring

They established VC Restorations at Oakleaf Court, New Rossington, in January and have already got their hands dirty working on several classic motors.

Jamie said: “It has been an ambition since we were young to restore classic cars, so this is a dream come true.”

Andrew added: “My hobby is now my work.”

Both served as senior aircraft technicians for several years in the RAF. They helped to service Harriers and Tornado aircraft, but much of their time was spent fixing military vehicles and aircraft re-fuellers. They served in the 5001 Squadron and between them completed tours in the Falklands and Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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

Jamie said: “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, so we can offer our customers better deals.

“If you have had a classic car in the garage for 30 years gathering dust we can repair and restore it to how it was originally built.

“We can fix everything, such as the steering, tyres, gears and the paint job.”

The duo have wheeled in about 10 coveted classics so far, including a Chevrolet Impala from 1967, a 1952 Armstrong Siddeley and a 1980 Porsche 911 Junior.

Andrew said: “I love classic American cars. You get great satisfaction from seeing these old motors returning to how they once were.”

Dan Fell, chief executive officer of Doncaster Chamber, said: “Driving business start up and entrepreneurship is important for any town.

“Many of the skills sets acquired by veterans – discipline, attention to detail and so forth – are important in business and it is therefore unsurprising that a number of ex-service personnel become successful entrepreneurs.”

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