Close to my Herts: Martin Robson
PUBLISHED: 01:18 16 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:21 20 February 2013
Brian Robson Coachworks has been established in St Albans for 30 years. Martin Robson, who runs the family business, tells Louise McEvoy about his charity work...
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have always been in the motor trade. I worked for BMW in my early years in the trade. When I left there I travelled the world and have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the Wonders of the World. My hobbies are scuba diving and kite surfing. Both of these have taken a back seat since I have become a proud father of two beautiful children, Louis and Talia, who are both under two years old and keep myself and my partner pretty busy.
When did you take over the business and is it something you always aspired to do?
I took over the running of the business about six years ago. Cars have always been a passion of mine and my fathers, and going to work with him from a young age, and going there after school and during holidays, really sowed the seeds. To be honest, I hadnt really thought about taking my fathers business over. Its just something that took a natural progression. I have always aspired to running my own business.
If you could restore one car, what would it be and why?
Probably an early Lotus 7 due to the history of the car, which is now made by Caterham. This is good as it is still a British car, hand built, and we paint cars for them on their production line and recently worked with them and Lola racing for the launch of their new race series car, which I am proud to say we painted. For Caterham/Lotus lovers this is a really big thing.
What is the strangest problem a customer has come to you with?
There have been some classics over the years, but the most recent was a customer who called us to say she could not get into her car since we delivered it back. When our customer adviser turned up, she was trying to get into her car using her husbands car keys!
You are working with schools and charities in St Albans. Explain a bit more about this.
We are currently working with Grove House Hospice to help raise money for the great work it does. Anyone who gets their car serviced with us can simply mention Grove House and we donate 10 per cent of the bill to the hospice. All details are on our website http://www.brobson.co.uk/ so please help us to help a great charity. The schools are still top secret, but follow our website for more details.
What basic top tips would you give to people to help them to look after their cars?
The basics that people can do are checking tyre pressures, as this really will affect the fuel economy and tyre life. Ensure your windscreen washer fluid is kept topped up, as having no water and poor visibility is not best practice. Ensure you do get the oil checked. These basic checks will save you money in the long run.
I understand you have lived in St Albans all your life. What do you like most about the city?
London is on our doorstep and the countryside is around us.
How would you suggest a visitor to St Albans spends their day?
A little mooch through town with all the independent shops, followed by lunch, then a good long walk round Verulamium lakes. Have a little stop-off halfway, either at the Waffle House for a coffee or a pint at St Michaels Manor, and if you want to extend the walk then head to Gorhambury House. If you manage to get all this done then you would have taken in the clock tower and the amazing abbey and Roman ruins. You would then truly deserve a little pampering at Sopwell House.