Matching Numbers

William Heynes and Amy Shore met just over two years ago. Will is the grandson of the original Jaguar chief engineer, Amy a much-published car photographer. A year and a half ago, they set up their workshop for classic Jaguar E-Types. And this year, the two are getting married. We visited them at their place of work.

  • Text & Photos
    Marko Knab · ramp.pictures

Matching numbers. Everything perfect and in its place. This should be understood literally – because there are two ways to restore an automotive classic: With suitable parts so the vehicle runs. Or with the correct parts that were once manufactured for exactly this car or its series. The latter is a true mark of quality for experts and enthusiasts. For some people, it is also a way of life. William Heynes is one of them. The grandson of Jaguar’s chief engineer from 1946 to 1970, who was responsible for all Jaguar models of the time, is currently wrestling with some parts in the engine compartment of a red E-Type: “This has got to be the worst screw ever!” the twenty-nine-year-old grumbles.

The William Heynes Ltd workshop is located in western Warwickshire, in a small industrial building near the town of Alcester. Rock music is blaring from a small loudspeaker in the corner, mechanics Dave and Josh are working on two E-Types, the buzz of fluorescent lights can be heard from the high ceiling. Above that, on the second floor, the busy clicking of a computer mouse. Photographer Amy Shore is working on a series of pictures she took at Goodwood – a place that has had an enormous impact on her life: “Visiting my very first Goodwood Revival opened up the classic car world for me. That started the spark for me of owning a classic car and having a life with classic vehicles. It started off what would then become my career.” And indeed, it was the start of a stellar professional journey, with assignments from magazines, car collectors and advertising agencies to follow.

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Something else entered Amy Shore’s life at about the same time: her 1985 Austin Mini Mayfair, nicknamed “Mayo” due to its off-white color, as the name suggests. She has owned the classic for a good thirteen years now. In 2015 she went on a thousand-mile road trip across the Scottish Highlands. She loves speed, which is why she also has a racing license. “One thing I’ve always loved about classic cars is that every day truly is an adventure,” she says, “And what is this life if you’re not feeling alive?”

Amy Shore and William Heynes met about two and a half years ago. Not at a classic car event, however, as one might expect, but at a dinner with mutual friends. At the time, the thirty-one-year-old was looking for a place to live closer to her friends and family in Leicestershire. Will asked her if she would like to move in with him, his house being in the area where Amy was looking. “We’ll find out really quickly if it will work or if it won’t,” he said. It worked. The two went from being roommates to becoming partners and are planning to get married later this year.

As you can see, here is someone who is concerned with preserving the spirit of the vehicles rather than glossing over the patina.

“Starting this workshop was difficult, but it was the single best decision I have made,” says Will. “Though it was easily the scariest thing I have ever done in my entire life,” Amy adds. Raised eyebrows, a quick glance at each other, then both burst into laughter. But why set up a workshop just eight months after getting together? At the time, Will was working on the family farm and restoring E-Types with his father. “Chassis 26,” he recalls. “A high-stress car.” Amy explains: “Will goes through time with chassis numbers.” William remains serious and says: “I came home one day and said, ‘We need to do this.’ Either I go and get a proper job or we do this workshop thing.”

They did it. The pair spent four weeks driving all over the country to find everything they needed. All second-hand. “The only thing we bought brand-new was the ramp,” says Amy. The first orders came from friends in the classic car scene, where they quickly made a name for themselves. Will is responsible for the workshop itself, while Amy, in addition to her work as a photographer, handles the advertising – with her own photographs, of course. Downstairs in the shop, a starter motor whines, a sonorous, slightly bubbling, but throaty engine sound can be heard.

Mechanic Josh has started an E-Type and is rolling it backwards. Will has gone back downstairs, looks at the vehicle and says...

→ Read the whole story in ramp #60 »Too Cool to Handle.«.

Marko Knab

Marko Knab

Journalist & Photographer
Life writes the best stories - and Marko Knab tells them in text and picture form. His focus: people & their very own stories and cars, motorsports and travel stories. He already worked for Motorsport-Total.com while completing his Bachelor's degree in German Language, followed by a brief stint at a local daily newspaper and a Master's degree in literature and cultural theory - and ramp.
ramp #60 Unfassbar. Cool.

ramp #60 Unfassbar. Cool.

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