Sports car firm hoping to race to the front as a world leader

A sports car company based in Ollerton is hoping to take the chequered flag as the world leader in its field.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:41 pm
A visit to the GBS factory by Sherwood MP Mark Spencer (third from right), who is pictured with (from left) the company's general manager Ben Bird and directors Keith Bird and Richard Hall.

For it is about to unveil an exciting, new model of its popular Zero car that should boost the progress and profile of the thriving enterprise.

“The idea was to make the best car, in terms of engineering, technology and performance, in our sector in the world,” said Richard Hall, boss of Great British Sports Cars (GBS), of Maun Way, Boughton. “And we are confident the Zero Mark V will be.

“It is quite a leap forward, and has been designed to be manufactured a bit more quickly and easily than our other models. It is still being tested and is three or four months away from launch. But we have already taken several pre-orders, and the car has attracted a lot of interest, including from existing customers planning to upgrade.”

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GBS hopes the Zero Mark V, on offer from £23,000 to £40,000 depending on individual specifications, will make inroads into the European market, and the firm does not anticipate too many Brexit-related problems.

“Brexit is bound to have some effect but, at the moment, we are seeing the benefits because the pound is weaker,” said Richard. “We are currently manufacturing about 100 cars a year, and most of our sales are in the UK, although the USA market is taking off quite nicely. But ideally, we’d like to sell a couple of cars per year to every EU country too.”

Such growth would continue the remarkable success of GBS since Richard, who is now 32, rescued the company, formerly known as Robin Hood Sports Cars, based in Mansfield, in 2006, just after he had completed his studies at Nottingham University.

Its Zero models, nimble and precise to drive, quickly became sought-after sports cars. They are available in kit form as self-builds or can come ready-made, having been built to order in GBS’s own factory.

The firm prides itself on making many components in-house, giving the cars greater distinction, and it has a large on-site store, Kit Spares, for all parts and spares. “Because we make everything on site, we are very different to our competitors,” added Richard. “A length of steel comes in to our factory at one end and a car emerges at the other. We like to focus on the engineering.”

GBS has about 1,000 loyal customers and an annual turnover approaching £1 million. “We plough back every penny we earn and continue to invest heavily,” said Richard, who lives near Bingham. “We have just spent £250,000 on new machinery and tools.”

GBS’s workforce is expanding too. Currently, Richard and fellow director, Keith Bird, employ 14 staff, most of whom are local to the area. But they have plans to recruit three more, including two apprentices, and are also looking to take on some niche brand dealers.

“The business is quite specialist,” added Richard. “But the idea is to grow a young team and build on their skills.

“We are going strong. If anyone is interested in coming to have a look round, they can visit our showroom to view the cars and parts and speak to our team for help and advice.”

GREAT British Sports Cars is also a great example to the economy in the north Nottinghamshire area, says Ollerton’s MP, Mark Spencer.

The Conservative MP for Sherwood, whose guidance and advice has helped the firm grow, showered praise on GBS after a visit to the factory to have a look at the new Zero car. “It is a fantastic local business, creating jobs in the community and real career opportunities for youngsters coming out of local schools,” said Mr Spencer. “It’s really exciting to have a business like this in Ollerton. It is among the best around and exporting products all over the world. It can continue to grow.”