RW & LA Piper Trimmers is a family business that was set up in Sparkford, Somerset 3 generations ago. However, it's the second generation that has focussed so successfully on the motoring customer, albeit without sacrificing the domestic furniture side of the business.
A plan to have a tour of Piper's was hatched a long time ago. It just needed the completion of their new premises and the relocation of their business to make it a reality! It was worth the wait.
Despite settling on a date in January, the weather stayed just about fair enough to entice out a few Astons and generate a good response from Members and a few prospective members too... 29 in all.
Despite the location still being a building site for the nearby residential properties, Pipers had hired a road sweeper, laid some new gravel over pot holes and literally laid out the red carpet for our group.
After coffee and home-made cakes (that included Aston biscuits!), Larry Piper led us on a gentle stroll around their busy and well-stocked premises. He and brother Royston (both, with their respective families, are active members of AMOC) explained the skills and intricacies involved in re-trimming cars. Their work-in-progress included pre-WWI cars, Porsche, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and, of course, Aston Martins. The latter ranged from a just completed 1980's V8 Volante to a DB4 GT Zagato recreation via a DB5 and the DB6 conversion to a Short Chassis Volante that yours truly had judged as part of the 2019 Spring Concours.
Martin Strømmen had flown over from Norway to join our tour. He's considering a range of specialists to work on his recently-acquired DB6. After reading about Piper Trimmers in the AM Quarterly, his plan to check them out in person coincided with our event. It was great to welcome him and to share first-hand knowledge of the re-trim process from the customer perspective.
The cars outside made a good display which some of the Piper Trimmers team enjoyed perusing as we perused their work inside: DB6 (x 2), DBS, V8 Vantage, DB9, DB9 Volante and modern V8 Vantage (x 4).
Afterwards, a number of us retired to the nearby Haynes International Motor Museum for lunch before winding our respective ways home.
Thank you to all at Piper Trimmers for looking after us and entertaining us so well.
Here are some of mine and Gillian's photographs of the day:
Rick Cullen's V8 Vantage shows off its new wrap and roof (below) alongside the Pipers' own V8.
Part of the outside's impressive line-up.
Aston biscuits and home-made cake(s) greeted us on arrival. Just managed to take this shot before they were all devoured!
Larry explains about different leather styles and quality.
This gorgeous E-Type Jaguar was a good example of their work-in-progress...
... including it's seats and dashboard almost ready to re-fit after re-trimming.
Members enjoyed learning that it takes a dozen hides to re-trim a V8 Volante
DB4 GT Zagatos always create interest!
Meanwhile upstairs, the boys are enjoying learning how to use the embroidery machine with Uncle Royston.
How it all started. Domestic upholstery remains an important part of the business.
Old meets new!
Happy gathering. L-R: Les Thomas, Larry Piper, Sarah with Steve Wilson, Royston Piper (back), Paul Gerring, Gillian Fawkes, Laura Piper, Ray Forster, John Cheyne, Martin Strømmen, Mo Sweet, Melvyn Freeman, Jan Gerring, Simon Parkes, Sue & Geoff Cahalin, John Hazzard, Sarah Osmond (back), Bob Carter, Guy Osmond, Mick & Malcolm Smith.