Greg Cussons, divisional director at event services company Joe Manby Limited based in Harrogate, talks about his passion for car restoration and DIY.

My passion for cars began as a teenager working alongside my uncle who had his own car body repair business.  He raced a class 8 autograss car which I often helped him repair through the week in preparation for a weekend race meeting.  This inspired me to build my own autograss car in which I competed against him many times. My partner Debbie and I raced for several seasons and were both club champions in our respective classes at York Autograss Club in the early nineties.

With a house purchase and our first child on the way, our racing days had to end, however I had qualified for the National Championships that year so with Sophie just two weeks old she had her first experience of her dad’s passion for cars alongside a dusty racetrack. When our second daughter Katie was born, racing and cars really had taken a back seat. 

As the girls grew up, I turned my attention to restoring cars.  The girls are now 17 and 21 and both driving cars which I have re-built for them from wrecks.

Of my own collection, a 1955 Ford Popular 103e built by Wisbech Engineering is my current pride and joy.  It’s a 500hp show car which leads a pampered life stored a protective bubble in the garage, only taken for a run on dry summer days.

My current restoration project is a 1951 MG TD, a two-seater convertible sports car. Originally a left hand drive car shipped to the USA, it’s been brought back to the UK after spending 35 years in a Texas barn. I plan to restore it to its former glory whilst converting it to right hand drive. I have promised the girls that if they decide to get married this will be the car I take them to the church in, with the condition it’s presently in let’s hope that’s not too soon!

When not restoring cars, I can be found taking on a variety of building and renovation projects.  Completing a two-year building studies course at York college of Arts and Technology after finishing school stood me in good stead to build a two-storey extension on our house. The only task I left to the professionals was the plastering.

Working in the fast -paced environment of event services, I am surrounded daily by woodwork and construction projects, however in my day to day role, I rarely have the opportunity to pitch in with my own skills. Nothing pleases me more than being freed from the constraints of the office.  Then you’ll usually find me on site at an exhibition build up, working alongside the Joe Manby Limited team, normally equipped with a tool belt and hammer.  Just in case a project needs that extra push.