The UK's Oldest Automotive Technician

Stanley Copson With a Ford Model Y

Stanley Copson With a Ford Model Y

At 70 years old motor technician Stanley Copson should have hung up his spark plugs and moved down a gear to enjoy the quiet life of a retired OAP.

But not only is he still working for Bristol Street Motors in Kings Norton, he is the oldest person in the UK to have gained the Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) standard.

There are now over 11,000 car technicians throughout the country who have had their skills and competences independently verified by ATA and signed up to their professional code of honest conduct.

When Stanley, who lives in Droitwich, started his career as an apprentice 54 years ago he was working on Ford Model Ys and has seen the role transform from mechanic to technician.

Stanley said: "When I first started working on cars we were still feeling the effects of the war and spare parts were extremely difficult to get hold of. If an exhaust blew you'd make your own replacement. Having said that, cars were also a luxury item and only owned by farmers, doctors and solicitors.

"I joined Ford in 1968 and they really started the step change in engine technology with the 1985 Granada. Today, we no longer get our hands as dirty but instead have to have an in-depth knowledge of electronics and computer technology."

Stanley firmly believes that the ATA scheme - which is regulated by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) - is an essential safety net when it comes to modern day motoring.

He said: "If your boiler breaks down you automatically call out a Corgi registered engineer. The same philosophy should apply for car technicians. Cars are potentially lethal if not maintained and serviced regularly by someone who has the necessary technical expertise. ATA gives car owners reassurance that the person they are dealing with has the necessary competences."

Even though car servicing has changed beyond recognition, Stanley is still as passionate as ever about his job. "I knew how to build an engine at six years old and my fascination with all things cars and mechanical hasn't wavered. I still believe I can give my young colleagues a run for their money - I was voted Technician of the Year at the ripe old age of 58!"

Sarah Sillars chief executive of the IMI said: "Stanley is an inspiration and a fantastic ambassador for the industry.

"The complex nature of modern vehicles has effectively made DIY servicing a thing of the past. Opting for a garage with ATA registered technicians gives motorists peace of mind because their staff have been properly trained and are committed to a professional code of honest conduct, which is rigorously policed by the IMI."

11 November 2008 Staff

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