Geographically just a short drive from the Classic Driver office, legendary Ferrari specialist DK is now operating from new premises set in rolling Hertfordshire countryside.
Celebrating over 30 years of operation, DK Engineering is not only a world-famous name for concours-level restoration and race preparation but also well known for car sales, too. Between the showroom and the restoration shop, pretty well all significant Ferraris have come under the careful eye of either David and Kate Cottingham, or their three sons: Justin, Jeremy and James.
Having started at Northwood in 1977, before moving to Watford in 1984, DK moved earlier this year to more spacious premises in Chorleywood, some 10 minutes from the M25 orbital motorway and – on a good run – no distance from either Heathrow or Luton airports. There's also a London Underground station in nearby Chorleywood village centre. Six months on, the converted barn showroom still sparkles and the workshop is now fully fitted out; busy with work varying from a 288 GTO in for an engine rebuild, to an F355 undergoing regular servicing and a 1937 BMW 328, chassis #13 and the sixth car delivered, in for total restoration.
James Cottingham and sales specialist Philip Redpath are my guides for the morning. We start in reception and then walk through to the galleried main showroom. It’s lined with famed Ferrari artist Dexter Brown’s prints of cars that have either passed through the hands of DK, or are in long-term ownership by the family. On the tiled floor, a 275 GTS is flanked by two 275 GTBs: a six-carburettor competition car and a four-cam. Also ‘on the stocklist’ either here or at another location are classics such as a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Re-body, a 1996 McLaren F1 and three very rare De Tomasos that have caused something of a stir in the industry, as James explains:
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest in these cars. The 1966 De Tomaso Sport 1500 was designed by the then up-and-coming Giorgetto Giugiaro. It was presented at the 1966 Geneva Salon with a view to getting press coverage for the marque. Although never fitted with the anticipated flat-eight, it achieved its aim and remains a highly dramatic car, fully serviced by us here and perfect as a top-level concours car.”
In addition to the older cars, DK sources and sells more modern Ferraris right up the F430 and 612 Scaglietti. The company services them, too, and two ex-main Ferrari dealer technicians are members of the workshop team. Body repairs are carried out off-site but all other work is accomplished in-house. This includes dyno work – or will do, when the final installation is completed on the dynamometer that has served the company so well over the years.
“We can service or restore any car,” states James, pointing out the dark blue Series I Jaguar E-type FHC that’s being brought up to ‘fast road’ specification and a Porsche 356. James’ father, David, started the business working on XKs so the Coventry marque is close to their hearts. As is racing, and the two interests combined when the company restored and race-prepped the mega-quick, genuine lightweight E-type of Juan Barazi that won the Goodwood Revival Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration two years running.
Jeremy and James are often on the track, too, either behind the wheel of the family’s well-known yellow Ferrari 500 TRC, one of their racing MGBs or a Chevron B8. Inside the workshop, awaiting final preparation for sale, was the famous 1956 Ferrari 500 TR, chassis 0690 MD TR, discovered in Cuba by Colin Crabbe and restored by renowned special Neil Twyman with a 3-litre TR-type V12 in lieu of its original four-cylinder – in keeping with many such cars in North and South America at the time. A more compact car than the regular 250 Testa Rossa, it’s a potent package.
DK has big plans for 2009, when the outside areas will be used for owners’ club meetings and events – but don’t wait for then, give them a call and see the new set-up. It’s easy to get to - and impressive.
Please click HERE to see all DK Engineering's cars for sale in the Classic Driver car datatbase.
For further information on DK Engineering, visit www.dkeng.com.
Little Green Street Farm
Hertfordshire WD3 6EA
Tel: +44 (0)1923 287687
Fax: +44 (0)1923 284741
Email: [email protected]
Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Tim Scott / DK Engineering
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