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Living the Dream
Bill outside his premises
After 20 years of racing and preparing Cobras in the UK and overseas, seasoned competitor, Bill Shepherd, recently decided on a change of direction. “I’ve always loved the muscle car, horsepower thing, and Mustangs in particular,” says Bill, but so taken was he by the latest version of the Mustang, when it was first introduced in 2005, that he immediately put the wheels in motion with a view to offering new cars for sale in the UK.
Last year, that dream finally came true, when Bill Shepherd Mustang, in Byfleet, Surrey, opened its doors for the first time. To celebrate, Bill threw a party this week, and DRC Review was honoured to receive an invitation to attend. “It’s like no other dealership you will find,” said BSM assistant Chloe Barton as we entered the premises. And she was absolutely right.
The main reception area - note lovely photo backdrop and Cobra nose on the wall
Bill and graphic designer, Julian Balme, have pulled out all the stops to make the dealership both individualistic and eye-catching. In fact, it’s like taking a trip down Mustang memory lane. The pair have gone through the Mustang archives and pulled out much of the popular imagery associated with the ’60s Shelby racing era, which has then been used to great effect throughout the premises. For instance, twin blue stripes feature on both external and internal surfaces, huge backdrops of Shelby and Bullitt Mustangs adorn various walls and there are cleverly backlit, internal windows displaying images that give the illusion several Shelby Mustangs are being assembled next door. Overall, there are some lovely touches, and it seems clear the pair had a great deal of fun putting it all together.
Mustangs old and new plus much more on display
Check out the scene through the windows
In addition to the visual delights, there are Mustang and Cobra T-shirts for sale, memorabilia, signs, posters and tuning parts on show, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, you stumble across a 5.9 litre small-block Ford motor on display, which last powered a 1997 Saleen Mustang at Le Mans.
5.9 litre Saleen Mustang race motor
Of course, the real purpose of the 2500sq ft premises is to provide a suitable venue from which to sell cars, and here Bill has the space to display five Mustangs within the building and a further 10 outside. Current stock includes a sparkling new Shelby GT500, a Bullitt model, a fresh red GT, priced at £23,950, which seemed incredible value, and a lovely old ’66 Convertible, parked up inside and out of the weather.
Mustangs old or new on sale - including this '66 convertible
“The new models offer terrific value, and we’re increasingly finding people want something different from the usual BMWs or Audis and are even happy with the notion of left-hand drive, which seems far less of a stigma than it was 20 years ago,” observes Bill. “Having said that, we will shortly be developing our own right-hand drive conversion for the 2005 model Mustang, which will eventually go on sale both in the UK and, hopefully, worldwide.”
The latest Bullitt Mustang
Of course, of equal importance to Mustang owners is the right sort of after-sales back-up, and here Bill has a very capable team of five who get the job done. Neil Wise is workshop manager and was formerly a technician who helped build the very first Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 GT Trophy car - and subsequently several more. “He has a meticulous approach to car preparation and keeps the workshop spotlessly clean,” explains Bill. Similarly, they searched long and hard before hiring Sales Manager, Dave Wilson, who comes from a Porsche AFN background. “It was imperative we employed someone with the right mindset and experience for the job, and Dave is just that man,” says Bill.
Line-up of old and new Mustangs included lovely classic '68 Bullitt Fastback clone
As well as routine servicing, Bill Shepherd Mustang offers owners tuning and upgrade options, from exhaust systems to full supercharger conversions using Paxton ‘blower’ kits that are kept in stock. Oh, and there’s a neat and simple conversion offered for the Shelby GT500, which raises the output to 600hp!
“We test everything on my workhorse before offering parts and conversions to Mustang customers,” says Bill. “That way we can be absolutely sure that everything we sell works as it should.”
For all your Mustang needs, then, Bill Shepherd Mustang could be the answer. Call them on 01932 340 888 for more information or visit their web site, at www.billshepherdmustang.com.
Story Andy Kirk & Graham Jones
Photos: Andy Kirk
New and original Shelby GT500 models
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