As part of the Neighbourhood Plan we conducted a survey of local businesses and during this discovered that John Marsh Cars has been trading in the village for over 50 years. John Marsh has kindly agreed to tell us about more about a half century of trading vehicles.
When did you begin trading in Great Waldingfield?
The business on the site was started by John Allen in late 1959. I came to work for him in 1969 selling Marcos sports cars (2-seater 3-litre sports cars similar to E-type Jaguars). This was a brilliant job for a 22 year-old as I got to drive all the current sports car part-exchanges. In April 1971 John decided to retire and his daughter (who is now my wife) and I bought the business.
How have cars changed through the years?
Through the seventies cars were not as reliable as they are now and often required a major overhaul. They rusted quite badly and were usually scrapped after six or seven years. Now I sell reliable rust-free cars at twice that age.
Have you built up a loyal band of customers?
I have sold over 6000 cars since VAT was introduced. I am now selling cars to the grandchildren of my original customers.
Can you tell us about some of the classic cars you have owned?
Looking back I have owned most of the desirable classic cars that are now worth a large amount of money, notably a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 today worth over £1,000,000 as well as an Alfa Montreal which is now a very rare car.
I have owned and used Lamborghinis, Ferraris and E-type Jaguars. Even Mark 1 Ford Escorts can now sell for £10,000. The cheapest E-type I ever sold was for £345.
How do you see the future of car trading?
The business premises has changed very little in 50 years but the motor trade has especially with the introduction of the internet. I think that with more cars becoming electric and the roads becoming more congested I feel I have probably had the best years in the motor trade.
Michael Kiely, Secretary, GW Neighbourhood Plan