Claytons Automotive are a family run business that has been servicing and repairing cars since 1982, from our original home in St Annes Mills Kirkstall the company moved to Stanningley in 1992 and then to its current premises in 1998, both of its moves forced due to demolition of our workshops as housing and supermarkets took over the once industrial landscape.
In the early days, Peter Clayton father to current owner James would set about fixing just about anything that came through the doors, the eighties were tough years to be in business and Peter would work all hours to protect his young family, so much so the only time he would see his children was when they were actually with him at work! All 3 kids would have a go at working on Saturdays with Tracy and James eventually working alongside Peter full-time.
To say Peter could turn his hand to anything would be an understatement, be it car or heavy-duty commercial trucks we would carry out in house engine builds, hydraulic and plant machinery repairs, had a paint booth and with his trusted team member of over 25 years Arthur Quarmby alongside him, Peter had more than a capable pair of hands to deal with fixing most of the cars. Sadly Arthur passed away this year, but not without passing valuable knowledge on to James who himself spent many an hour working alongside him.
Peter broke ties with his then business partner in 1992 and moved to Cohens Yard in Stanningley, focusing less on the trucks and body shop we began the transition towards fixing more cars and light commercials, the big investment back then was the addition of a Crypton Tuner, Arthur and Peter would spend hours fine tuning carburettors and ignition systems (if only it was that easy now!). As cars moved towards fuel injection it seemed the motor trade was entering down a dark hole that nobody would ever understand, the mobile electrician would be called upon to help deal with these “complex” systems, the customer base mainly had trusty Ford Sierras and Vauxhall Cavalier’s, no airbags or ABS braking systems like we see as a minimum standard now, but times were changing and it was time for the younger generation to step up.
By 1998 Tracy was running reception (or front of the house, as we now call it) and James was working for the main dealers. Peter had an opportunity to move to a brand-new workshop presented to him with the opportunity to open an MOT station. He jumped at the chance and Claytons MOT & Service Centre was born, initially juggling two companies within walking distance of each other, Peter eventually took the second unit next door and the focus turned to the new venture. James returned to the business in 1999 from the main dealers as Tracy went on maternity leave with her first child, Peter took over the day to day and James set about finding solutions to the increasing levels of technology we were now beginning to see in the workshop. As the MOT station customer base grew, we started to find ourselves out of our comfort zone in a few areas and knew we needed to change. A training program was introduced and a tie up with Bosch Car Service began. Investment in dealer level diagnostics became common place and James managed to pass his Master Technician accreditation, no longer scared of technology we now started to embrace the challenge.
No story would be complete without a mention of the new world we now live in. Tracy moved on at the start of the pandemic and with Peter now retired, James is now tasked with ensuring the Claytons name lives on. Not only has the pandemic affected how you think and operate as a business, but the motor trade is about to embark on the biggest change it has ever seen as we move towards Hybrid Electric vehicles. As part of the Master Technician accreditation, James has been hybrid qualified to level 3 standard for a number of years.
The next logical step would be to join a UK wide network of independent Electric Vehicle specialists called HEVRA. With technical support and a vast array of knowledge being generated daily, Claytons Automotive can now push on and start to tackle the future of motoring.