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The History of Autoparts

Below, Harvey Edwards, Lancaster Bomber pilot and later, owner of Autoparts (South Wales) Ltd. based in Pontypridd.

Nearly 50 years ago Harvey Edwards gave a helping hand to a local battery firm, Celtic Batteries. He delivered and sold batteries from the back of an Austin A30 van. At the time he didn't have the faintest idea where it would lead, but by sticking to his philosophy of ‘always look after the customer and the business will look after itself’ the company has blossomed into what it is today.

After visiting local garage and realising he could also deliver car parts as well as batteries, accounts main suppliers were opened. Starting with TMD Friction, more commonly known as Mintex brakes, Walker Exhausts, Delco Remy and Quinton Hazel. Back in the day this meant actually speaking with Quinton Hazel to place orders. Autoparts was born!

So, although we've been trading parts since 1962, it wasn't until two years later that Autoparts was established.

In 1974, Arnold Palmer approached Harvey to aid him setting up the first automotive buying group, the FSG (Factor Servicing Group), it was a huge success. Years later the operation of the group were taken over and is still running today as one of the largest buying groups in the UK, known as GroupAuto. Autoparts are still members.

GroupAuto are responsible for numerous initiatives, firstly the Auto Care Garages scheme and Approved Garages where each garage is vetted before being accepted.

The Autoparts warehouse underwent a major redevelopment which completed eighteen months later. The redevelopment provided us with a load more space and a purpose warehouse with dedicated warranty testing and paint mixing areas. The dramatic increase in space left us scratching our heads, we then had a eureka moment and in 2011 we discussed the idea of providing training and opening a dedicated classroom and workshop.

Fast forward 50 years and you'll see Harvey, now 90 years old, making a once a week appearance in the office, whilst Harvey's son and grandson head up a team managing day to day activities. In the early days, Autoparts consisted of one employee, now we have a team of 35, some of them have been here for 10 or 20 years – a few for a remarkable 45! A good indication of our working practices.

After redeveloping a classroom and workshop area we're now into our third year of training, all training is hosted by Andy Crook Advanced IMI technician.

Andy started his career in the Army, it was there he worked on everything from main battle tanks to lawn mowers, after leaving the forces he had a short stint working for a commercial vehicle workshop before becoming a trainer for Snap-On diagnostics. Andy now lectures at Neath College during the day and hosts our training courses in the evening.

You may recognise Andy from his written technical articles in Aftermarket magazine, he has also just become the first Advanced IMI Technician in the UK.

Our 2013 / 2014 courses are now underway, check out our training prospectus for more information.