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On Saturday 2nd April 2016 Malton-based Classic and Sportscar Centre celebrated 25 years in business at the National Railway Museum in York with a Black Tie dinner for over 230 people.
The majority of guests were the company's loyal long-term customers, some of whom had done business with the firm since the early 1990s. They were joined by staff, family and friends. Special guests included notable celebrities who are also customers of the business. From the political world, Lord and Lady Steel of Aikwood (former head of the Liberal party) attended as did former World Cup winning England Rugby Captain Martin Johnson. Customers travelled from throughout the British Isles and as far away as Italy to be part of the event. The company was originally based in Huddersfield, but relocated to Malton in 1998. The family firm has sold more than £60 million of classics worldwide since it's foundation. Recent expansion of the business with a bodyshop and garage repair business called Malton Coachworks has seen the staff increase to 26 with group turnover now approaching £6.5 million per annum.
The evening began with a drinks reception at 7pm and seats were taken shortly before 8pm. A recently-produced corporate marketing video was shown and CEO James Szkiler then welcomed guests, announced the agenda for the evening and gave a short speech. James thanked all those involved in the business including family, friends and particularly his father who with his brother Paul started the business in the midst of a major recession in 1991. After dinner, guest speaker Quentin Willson took to the podium to bring his audience an upbeat assessment of the healthy state of the Classic Car market, not only within Britain but globally. Clearly enthused by his observations and some lively conversations, he expressed his genuine delight and surprise at a classic car dealership putting on such a wonderful celebratory event for its customers and staff. Having such a loyal customer following he regarded as unique in his experience within the classic car industry.
Founder Nick Szkiler then delivered a closing speech giving guests an insight into the family's businesses interests in the UK and Africa, their ethos and the concept of business having the capacity to challenge culture, bringing social transformation as well as economic regeneration. A top class band including ex Chris Rea members then finished the night off 'on a high note' giving guests the opportunity to dance and enjoy the live music.
The evening was a huge success and was made even more special with the attendance of a 1947 Bentley MKVI previously owned by the Szkiler family at the time the business was set up. Sold 24 years ago to help fund the fledgeling business, the owner, who remains a customer of the business so many years on, offered the car back for the evening to be present for the celebrations. The Bentley, affectionately known as 'Gemma' proved a huge talking point and somewhat stole the limelight from the stunning iconic display cars, a Jaguar E-Type FHC and Mercedes Benz 230SL Pagoda. Various Classic Car magazine editors and freelance journalists including Nick Larkin and Russ Smith were in attendance and Yorkshire Life supplied a photographer in order to give the event further coverage. The celebratory evening was intended as a heartfelt thank you and sign of appreciation to loyal customers - many of whom have become friends and the hard-working staff who have made the business such an enduring success.