Girton village website

Focus on Haywards Garage

Situated on the Huntingdon Road next to the BP filling station, Haywards Garage almost has a twin personality. On the one hand, it is a small traditional garage of a sort that has too often disappeared, repairing and servicing cars of all makes for a local clientele. On the other hand, it sells and repairs two highly distinctive makes of motor cycles of very different types - the stylish hi-tech Moto Guzzis and the elegant and traditional Royal Enfields. Yet these two very different activities co-exist happily with interchangeable staff, and support each other to provide Girton with an amenity which is without doubt unique in our region.

Haywards' history can be traced back to a coach building firm established in Haverhill in 1865, later moving to Cambridge in the 1930s. A garage has existed on the present site since the 1920s, and Haywards have traded there since the 1940s, having held an Austin dealership in the 1960s. The firm was run by the Hayward family for many years, and still is an independent private company in which the family has a stake. The car side of the business is now run by Steve Martin, the Service Manager, with a vigilant eye to personal service and quality which has all but vanished in the mega-franchises of most manufacturers.

The bright 3500 sq ft workshop is fitted with the latest equipment which is essential for today's technologically advanced cars. Haywards are an MOT test centre for cars, with a state-of-the-art dedicated bay installed in 2000. They carry out at least five or six tests every working day, in most cases for local residents, and follow the strict official regulations and codes of conduct. The service and repair activities are popular and generally booked up two or three weeks in advance. All the major makes are serviced (Ford, Vauxhall and VW being the most numerous) demonstrating that Haywards are at least a match for the main dealers, using fully warranted parts and materials. A visit to the service area showed not only recent-plate Renaults and Peugeots, but also a rare Swiss-built Monteverdi super-car of the 1970s, being carefully restored to mechanical perfection.

Many customers see the advantages of bringing their vehicles to a local workshop. Most of its six experienced, long-serving and fully qualified technicians are residents of Girton or Histon, and take a particular pride in their job and in responding to the customer's needs. The charges reflect the absence of glossy showrooms, unproductive receptionists, lurking salesmen and unnecessary overheads. A few carefully chosen second hand cars and light commercials are offered for sale, and are usually snapped up quickly at keen prices by Haywards' loyal customers. It is this personal touch and trust that make the difference from most garages.

But it is the motor cycle side of the business (titled Haywards of Cambridge) that really makes your eyes pop. Unlikely though it might sound, Haywards sell and repair two contrasting ranges of bikes. In 1999, David Stanley, now the Franchise Manager, spotted an article in Classic Bike on the legendary Royal Enfield Bullet, still being produced in India. He persuaded the importers (Watsonian Squire) to let him have a demonstrator, and thanks to his enthusiasm, sales took off. David developed the model into the Haywards 500TT roadster, which became the basis of the new Sixty-5 and Electra models now being produced by the factory in India and exported all over the world. A new and modern factory in Chennai (Madras) now exemplifies India's new-found manufacturing ascendancy. But the dozen or so new bikes on display at Haywards still have all the elegance and timeless grace of those built in the Midlands until the factory closed in 1967 - albeit now with innovations such as electric starters. Older readers of GPN who rode the ubiquitous khaki-painted Royal Enfield 350s in their military days would unhesitatingly recognise today's machine, but be amazed by its new smart lines. The skilled motor cycle technicians at Haywards are all enthusiasts for their bikes, and deal directly in the specialised workshop with the customers over repairs or modifications, ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction. Word-of-mouth referrals lead to customers coming from all parts of the British Isles and even France, Spain and the Netherlands, resulting in Haywards winning the UK Royal Enfield "Dealer of the Year" award every year since its inception in 2002. The company's website is a mine of information on these iconic bikes, and is the firm's main and most effective marketing tool for new and used bikes. (pic here of Moto Guzzi bike against white ground) Title: Moto Guzzi Griso 1100 cc

Totally different from these classic British bikes are the Moto Guzzis. Made in Italy at the Mandello de Lario plant next to Lake Como, they are dazzling examples of the ultimate in motor cycle technology. Based on 90 degree V-Twin engines ranging from 750cc to 1200cc and with shaft drive and electronic fuel injection, they exhibit all the flair and verve of Italian engineering and design. Their brilliant colours and dashing lines contrast with the Royal Enfield's reserve and sobriety - reflecting another aspect of Haywards' twin personality. Yet both marques represent excellence and integrity - that of the Moto Guzzis stemming from being one of Europe's earliest motor cycle producers and from their racing supremacy in the 1960s and 1970s. Nearly a dozen different new Moto Guzzi machines are on display at any one time, along with a selection of used bikes which also includes BMWs and Hondas. The repair and development activities on Moto Guzzis are led by Robert Saggs, the senior technician, whose high level of involvement and commitment ensures sales and resales continue to expand.

So how to sum up Haywards? The General Manager, Andrew Chapman sees it as a friendly, relaxed, no airs-and-graces firm, staffed by enthusiasts, providing a high-grade and personal car repair service to the village and surrounding area. Haywards' customers appreciate being able to actually talk with the technician who has worked on their car. The company values its reputation as a specialised motor cycle dealer, and points to a trend in this industry away from multi-franchise firms to those offering focused expertise. Many of Haywards' customers are the "grey and gold" brigade, mature and experienced, mechanically aware riders, who appreciate the direct and informed approach of Haywards' staff. Others often are returning to biking as a leisure activity after a break of some years, and are looking for a high quality machine with dependable after sales support. Even if the future lies in hydrogen or electric-powered vehicles, Haywards plan to remain here in Girton, continuing to supply local residents with a trust-worthy local service.

Name: Haywards Girton Garage Ltd
Address: Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0LQ
Telephone: 01223 276128 (bikes), 01223 277949 (cars)

"Focus on Girton" is a series of occasional articles on the public service, commercial, charitable and other organisations of Girton for the information of local residents. Articles are written independently by members of the Editorial Team of Girton Parish News, with the consent and cooperation of the organisation concerned. They do not in themselves represent an endorsement of the products or services of the organisation. No connection exists between the publication of an article and any advertising in the GPN, and the article does not form part of any marketing or other promotional activity on the part of the organisation.