A CAR and motorcycle dealership with operations in Huddersfield is celebrating 40 years.
Colin Appleyard and his wife Peggy opened the doors of their small motorcycle shop in Keighley on December 28, 1970.
Today, the firm has grown into a multi-million pound business with six motorcycle and car dealerships employing 120 people.
Colin’s career in the industry began in 1951 when he joined Allan Jefferies Motorcycles of Shipley as an apprentice on £1 7s 6d a week. After 19 years and having worked his way up to sales director he took the plunge and started his own business.
As well as converting the premises at Keighley, Colin was busy organising Honda, Lambretta and Yamaha franchises as well as seeking out quality used bikes. Meanwhile, Peggy was hard at work applying elbow grease and to turn those used machines into “gold dust”.
All their efforts paid off – for the first 28 bikes sold very quickly and Colin Appleyard Motorcycles was launched.
The business outgrew the Bradford Road site and in 1975 moved to its current premises on Wellington Road, Keighley.
It was also about this time that Colin and Peggy were joined by Stuart Feeny, who recently retired as a director after 34 years.
On the back of the success selling Suzuki motorcycles, the Japanese manufacturer asked Colin to launch Suzuki Cars in Great Britain. The dealership’s Keighley showroom was opened in 1979 as Suzuki’s very first UK car franchise.
The company is still Suzuki’s top performing dealership – operating showrooms in Keighley, Huddersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Shipley.
In 2004, to celebrate Suzuki’s 25th anniversary, Colin was among leading dealers invited to Japan to tour the country and visit the Hamamatsu factory.
During the 1980s, Colin hosted factory delegations to the UK from Honda Europe, Honda Japan and Yamaha.
From the outset the company has picked up numerous awards – including winning the prestigious Motorcycle News Dealer of the Year twice, being made Suzuki Dealer of the Year five times and winning the National Marketing Award at the 2007 Motor Trader Industry Awards.
Colin has now handed over day-to-day responsibilities to son Robin, who is now managing director. But Colin is still very much involved in the running of the business.