Labour of love
At Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists Ranmore Service and Engineering, treasured classics are repaired and restored with care and passion
“It’s all because of the Lotus 72 and Emerson Fittipaldi,” says Jonathan Tait, Managing Director of Ranmore Service and Engineering, Rolls-Royce and Bentley renovation specialists, when asked what kindled his passion for motor vehicles. As a child, he recalls being mesmerised by the revolutionary design of the Formula 1 car in which the Brazilian Grand Prix driver sped to two world championships in the 1970s. “And the name Emerson Fittipaldi sounded so exciting and exotic to a starry-eyed lad from Dorset,” he says.
Drawing from his passion in his early career, Jonathan (this page, far left) spent the best part of two decades bringing his commercial experience to the UK’s most iconic race circuits, including Brands Hatch and Silverstone, before relocating to Abu Dhabi where he met business partner and fellow racing enthusiast Humaid Masaood. They formed the Ranmore Group and, in 2022, acquired the business formerly known as Royce Service and Engineering from friends Paul Brightman (this page, near left) and Patrick Lloyd-Jacob, who founded the operation in 1983.
“As customers, we found that many businesses were set up by their owners when they were young. They were run successfully for decades, but closed for good when their owners, lacking an exit strategy, reached the point where they didn’t want to do this forever,” says Jonathan. “We felt this was a huge loss of skill and expertise, so we looked for classic car businesses at the top of their game and built a small group of complementary businesses that would work well together.”
One of those businesses was Royce Service and Engineering, now renamed Ranmore Service and Engineering. Former owners Paul and Patrick continue to work as consultants, ensuring a smooth transition. “They wanted someone to take over the business in the right way and to ensure customers and staff were looked after as they had always been,” explains Jonathan.
The Ranmore Service and Engineering team pride themselves on working with clients to source and supply the finest cars available, often cars that have been known to the business for years, with an impeccable history. “Our primary business is the maintenance of these exceptional cars. Therefore we only supply models that we are happy to see back in the workshop for their regular check-up, knowing that the car will stand the owner in good stead for many years to come.”
One of the areas that is expanding under the new ownership is restoration and modernisation. “Whether it’s a full restoration for concours entry, recommissioning an old family favourite that has been unused for some time, or subtle enhancements such as Bluetooth connectivity or upgraded air conditioning to make the cars more suited to current driving conditions, our team are experts at guiding owners on what is possible.”
The company is a “passion business”, says Jonathan, not just a profit-making exercise. Nor do they cater only to the super-rich. “We’ll often get people who have bought a car at auction or a dealership cheaply but have realised a lot needs doing to it. People want good honest advice in planning to get from where they are to where they want to be. We want to help people enjoy their cars and make sure their money is being spent cost-effectively. We do this for the love of the cars. It’s something we really care about.”
Jonathan’s affection for vintage Rolls-Royces of the 1970s and 1980s is also shared by his clientele. “I think that very elegant 1970s Shadow look has come of age. Customers remember their grandparents owning them. For me, a classic like the Shadow really brings out the smiles.”