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James Mitchell started out as a showroom cleaner at Fiskens, where he had ‘the very rare opportunity of being able to deal with the very best cars’. After a 12-year ascent he left, wrote a book about Jaguar and set up Pendine, which specialises in postwar British sports and racing cars.
Trading out of Bicester Heritage since 2015, he says he’s privileged to be established in what is ‘Europe’s most important old car venue’. ‘The London muses used to be the hub, but that has changed since London’s got busier. Bicester has taken up that slack,’ says Mitchell, who drives a Jaguar E-Type while quietly coveting a Frazer Nash.
Although just two years in, Mitchell has a strong European clientele and notes a significant increase in interest from France and Germany since the pound became weaker following the EU referendum. Recent sales have included an Aston DB4GT and a Jaguar C-Type. For him, selling cars is more than just a job. ‘Those dealers who aren’t involved in events don’t have their heart and soul in it,’ he says. ‘This is my life, I love this, and for me going on a rally across Europe is a holiday.’
The firm is named after Pendine Sands, the Welsh beach where the first land speed records were set in the UK. ‘I used to be obsessed by it and the heroics that took place there,’ he says. ‘Pendine stands for automotive ambition and success, so naming my company after it was logical to me.’