• Our history

Our history

  • Our history

Coles – Established 1987

Alex Cole was just 21 when he established Coles Automotive back in 1987, after graduating from engineering college. He benefited greatly from the experience and support of his dad Jim, who had recently retired from a career as a pilot and was an experienced engineer in his own right. Jim’s passion was always for anything mechanical, particularly planes and cars, which was passed on to Alex from a very young age. Coles started small and found a niche market in vintage car restoration, where Jim and Alex’s attention to detail brought them great success. The business moved on into more mainstream mechanics as their reputation grew.

Coles - our story

Soon their ‘workshop’ (a shed on a farm in Albourne) was too small for the expanding business, and within two years they moved to their current Edburton premises. Set with the backdrop of the South Downs, Alex and Jim built Coles literally brick by brick, slowly expanding and adding more ramps and workshops as the demand grew. 

The larger location, ideally placed (10 mins from Henfield and Steyning, 15 mins from Shoreham, 20 mins from Brighton), wasn’t just perfectly placed for beautiful downland views, but offered considerably more space. Alex hired more skilled technicians with experience all over the automotive sector. Since then, Coles has become a key part of the community, you can often see our Coles courtesy cars driving around the local area.

For 27 years and counting, Coles has been adapting to the changing automotive environment. We continually invest in new technologies and staff and have built a solid customer base because of our good reputation. Our promise of high quality workmanship with reasonable prices and a friendly service is a simple one, but one that has worked for us. We’re honoured to now have over 3,000 returning customers.

However, at its core the Coles of today is the same as the Coles 1987 – the only difference is that now Alex has slightly less hair. The energy, devotion, friendliness, and attention-to-detail that helped Jim and Alex back then have carried over to the present day.