Duke of London is a classic car dealership which was founded in 2014. Merlin, the owner, started buying and selling cars when he was 11 and has grown this hobby into a business. He has been dealing cars professionally since 2012 and started the company Duke of London in 2014. They moved into their current showroom in March this year, they needed more space and a more secure location for the cars they have in stock. We are happy that they have chosen an Easy Fit door to take care of these exceptional cars.
How it all started
The business started as “a bit of fun” for Merlin, he never expected it to develop into what it is today. He was not ashamed to admit to us that in the beginning, he had no business plan and that the business grew mainly through word of mouth. He was able to build the business massively through social media, as he was younger than many competitors and therefore had more of a grasp on the various social platforms. Merlin also utilises his knowledge of social media to keep in contact with many clients via Instagram and other platforms.
When Merlin was younger, he would sweep floors at his dad’s restoration shop, save all his money, buy an old banger, and get help in the garage to restore the car and eventually sell it on for a profit. These projects continued to grow and soon developed into a business. Merlin noticed that when Lance was restoring cars, clients would ask him to sell or buy a car for them. Lance wasn’t involved in this process so simply referred them to someone else. Merlin thought this was crazy, so he set up his own business alongside Lance to buy and sell cars. This dealership developed into what is now known as Duke of London. Although Merlin sometimes works on cars, he usually focuses on running the business and leaves the restoration of to his greatly experienced dad, and brother, Alganon. The two companies Duke of London and Romance of Rust now work together providing an all round, professional service.
While 75% of Duke of London’s work comes from the UK, they have done business all over the world in places such as Europe, Singapore, and LA. Lance has built up a well-deserved reputation, being described as one of the best in the industry. He is certainly one of the most skilled in this style of restoration, completing all his work by hand where others may have turned to automation. He is internationally recognised for his work and is never short of business.
Skilled and Passionate
It’s sad to think that completing restorations by hand may be a dying craft. With the introduction of robotics into the production of cars, no one is being trained to do all of these jobs by hand. Even at Rolls Royce, where Lance was trained, they are now using robotics. Merlin told us that robotics can do a better job in certain aspects such as paintwork, but they cannot craft one-off body panels for older cars. This is very much something that needs to be done by hand and requires a lot of knowledge and experience. People also want some love put into the car they are having restored. They don’t want a robot to make the panels and everything else absolutely perfect, they want their car to have some character. Having said that, Lance’s work is elegant, and hard to describe as anything but perfection. It is also clear that he and his family have a passion for cars. They really do love what they do.
To find out more about Duke of London go to their facebook page here