Allan Jefferies History
The origins of the family firm begin over a century ago. Joseph Jefferies, left with a peg leg as the result of a football accident, was a picture framer by trade and a pioneer motorist who was quick to see a future for the horseless carriage. He entered into an arrangement with some like-minded friends to form the Ross Motor and Cycle Company in Shipley's old steam tram shed near the Ross Hotel in 1901.
The partnership floundered and Jo broke away and started his own operation just down the road, repairing cars, motorcycles and bicycles. During the first world war, the “company car” a de Dion Bouton, was used as a stretcher bearer for wounded soldiers from Shipley station to Saltaire hospital allowing Jo Jefferies to obtain petrol (a very rare commodity) throughout the duration of the war.
Joseph's son Allan - another larger than life character - was born in 1905. The business moved to premises in Saltaire Road, Shipley in 1917, where it was to remain for more than 80 years.
In 1928 the International Six Days Trial (ISDT) was based in Harrogate. Allan who had formed a relationship with the Scott factory, based in Shipley, through riding in Trials quite successfully in the 20’s was awarded a place in the British team in the 1928 ISDTon a works Scott and won a gold medal, his first of six.
In 1932 Allan won the Scott Trial on a Scott, the first man to be best on observation and to set fastest time. This success raised him from notable rider to star all rounder. Most competition riders were all-rounder’s in those days, but Jefferies more than most, taking in hill climbs, trials, sand and road racing, and scrambles. By his mid twenties he had broken a lot of bones and a lot of records.
Allan won the Lancashire Grand National Scramble for Scott in 1933, but that year saw an even more important milestone in his life and in the history of the firm. At the Olympia Show he signed for Triumph's factory Trials Team, with a road racing option. More than that, he took on the agency for the Coventry firm's machines and Triumph became a name synonymous with Jefferies for decades.
Triumph, unlike many manufacturers, managed to keep afloat during the depression. The Jefferies family firm was in a position to take advantage of the new range, which under Edward Turner's reign became the Tiger 70, 80 and 90, launched in April 1936.
Having gained a Gold Medal in the 1928 ISDT, Allan was selected for the 1934 British Vase 'B' ISDT Team and won Gold in Germany. In WW II, Allan became a civilian instructor to service despatch riders and then went into the Army, ending up as a REME Captain in Germany Post-war.
All the while Allan's father, Joseph, remained active in the firm. During the Second World War, Joseph kept the business afloat by repairing anything on wheels and even manufacturing wooden toys. The business was also helped by Allan’s army captain’s salary.
With most of his old trials pals retired, Allan decided to have another go at road racing. He entered the 1947 Clubman's TT on a Tiger 100, prepared in the Shipley workshop and finished second. He retired with a split petrol tank the next year, but in 1949, aged 44, he started favourite. Fastest in practice, he came in second to Geoff Duke on a Norton. His racing swan song was in August that year when he broke the Esholt Park track record.
After the end of the War, the association with Triumph motorcycles continued to flourish, Triumph having built a brand new factory at Meriden, the previous having been destroyed in the blitz.
The boss was now the very active vice president of the Auto Cycle Union, chairman of the ACU's Benevolent Fund and a TT International Jury member. His brilliance as an after dinner speaker meant that he was in constant demand.
By this time though, there was already another member of the Yorkshire dynasty, who would shortly be joining the long established Jefferies business, Allan's first son - Tony.
Allan Jefferies' elder son Anthony was born in 1948. He left school in 1965 to take up a BSA Group apprenticeship, spending the first six months at Small Heath. Really a Triumph man, he then went to work at Triumph finishing his apprenticeship in the service and experimental departments.
In December 1970 he joined the family firm and was thrown in at the deep end. Yamaha and Suzuki franchises had now been added to the Jefferies operation and they moved Reliants to separate premises and got rid of the cars to concentrate on motorcycles. Tony started road racing in 1968 on a Tiger 100 - a real nail taken in part exchange - with home made frame and leading link forks.
Tony's first major business decision was to take the BMW franchise in 1971. Allan wasn't too keen, but his son had no doubts about the move. They were from different generations, their judgment from different perspectives. The firm was the first officially appointed BMW motorcycle dealership in the UK.
Nick Jefferies, Tony's younger brother by four years, went straight into the business from school in 1971. Nick follows in his father's wheel tracks as one of the great all rounders. He began trials riding, on an ex-factory Tiger Cub, in 1968 and became a very successful trials rider and member of the British ISDT team.
Allan Jefferies, an outstanding, if controversial, public speaker, died in 1978.
His elder son, Tony, was cast in the same mould and has for many years spoken at club dinners and public functions.
In 1995 a new solus BMW branch was opened in and all glass showroom in Shipley. The BMW business was becoming too big to run in the same premises as the other franchises. This opened yet another opportunity.
In 1997 the Saltaire Road business was sold and Allan Jefferies Motor Cycles, now solely BMW, operated from the re-located impressive modern premises on Otley Road, Shipley. Many of the long-serving employees moved with Tony, including service director Mick Lyon and company secretary Brenda Schofield, who has now been with the firm for 58 years.
At the end of 2000 Tony's daughter Louise, was appointed General Manager of Allan Jefferies Motorcycles. Louise had been involved with plc type companies in banking, travel and retail finance. She had always been a motorcycle enthusiast, as you would expect, and held a full motorcycle licence since the age of 17, as expected. Her administration and sales skills were to provide an excellent asset to the company.
Tony now took a back seat in the company, being ever more involved with his son David’s racing career which was going from strength to strength. As well as winning British Championship titles David became the first man to achieve the 125,126 and 127 mph lap speed at the Isle of Man TT circuit and the only man ever to win three TT's in three consecutive years, becoming one of Britain’s top motorcycle racers on the national and international scene riding in World Superbike, and Grand Prix championships.
At the beginning of 2003 Louise embarked on developing the existing BMW site by expansion and embracing the new BMW corporate identity. This was a £300,000 project which involved doubling the size of the showroom and service department facility also allowing a 21st century approach to clothing and accessory display. Louise led the team through the development (we never closed) to completion in May 2003 resulting in the state of the art facility from which Allan Jefferies operated until September 2010.
The company would have loved to have had a major re-launch, but tragically David was killed in a high speed crash whilst practicing in the 2003 IoM TT races. This was a terrific shock to the racing world and to the Jefferies family and needless to say as a mark of respect to David the proceedings at the shop were subdued.
All the staff at Allan Jefferies were incredibly supportive and continued on despite the difficult conditions. David Jefferies was everybody's friend and it hurt everybody involved with the shop very much. In spite of this tragedy Allan Jefferies still managed to become the 4th largest BMW motorcycle dealer in the UK and the largest dealer outside the M25 circle, something of which we are very proud.
By 2007 the show room extension to 6000sq feet had reached full benefit. The shop was now full and had been complimented by customers from all over the UK and in fact Europe on the high standards of display, cleanliness and atmosphere. The company now had a vastly experienced and enthusiastic team in place which took customer service standards to a new level.
Allan Jefferies now has a total employee count of 18 which was unthinkable a few years at that time solus BMW motorcycle dealer. Allan Jefferies has made a major step forward with new computer systems, investments in equipment to cope with the modern technology and modern customer service standards.
During 2008 and 2009 it was increasingly difficult to cope with the volume of sales and service work, in the current premises. There was absolutely no spare room for a single bike. At the close of play each night the showroom was packed with demos, loan bikes, customer service bikes, with having to push 60 odd bikes in and out of the showroom every day.
The Company had been looking for another suitable site for some time and in the summer of 2009 were able to shake hands on a deal to buy some land just half a mile further along Otley Road. By November 2009 a brand new dealership had been designed and contractors engaged, with funding in place to start digging on January 20th 2010 for a completion date on 4th September 2010.
Newmason Properties, a building contractor who has done some remarkable work on mills in the Shipley area started work on our new project. The staff has been shown artist impressions of the new build and everyone was very excited about the new project.
Best In Europe
Allan Jefferies wanted to create a dealership that would stand out as one of the best in Europe, with a total area of 14,000 sq ft. They wanted it to look special and have modern space for showing new and used bikes, clothing and accessories, a well organised spacious parts department, and a service department with space and a clinical look befitting the BMW image. Need less to say BMW Motorrad GB and BMW AG were right behind the new expansion programme.
After the initial infill of 60,000 tons had been deposited on the site to give the dealership the right elevation, foundations were in early March, with steelwork erected by the end of March. The build proceeded on schedule and to the credit of Newmason Properties we moved in to start trading on the 4 September 2010.
At a total cost of £1.7 million Allan Jefferies had invested in modern high glass fronted building, a light and spacious showroom, with total new computer equipment, new furniture, new display material, new workshop and diagnostic equipment. The company had created the best looking and most efficient BMW dealership in the UK.
The company has been able to justify the expansion by becoming the number one volume seller of BMW motorcycles in the UK, and Louise Jefferies has had her efforts rewarded by being voted Bradford Business Woman of the year 2012.
Top of the charts
The Allan Jefferies philosophy of great customer service throughout all departments was paying dividends and the continuous supply of new improved models from BMW increased the sales of BMW throughout the UK and it was no surprise that Allan Jefferies Motorrad topped the UK sales charts predominantly through the next few years.
In fact not only did Allan Jefferies Motorrad hit the number 1 spot in the UK three years in succession, but also regularly registered in the top ten in Europe and in the top ten in World sales. Allan Jefferies Motorrad have continuously invested in modern technology, equipment and training always being at the forefront of great customer service with hands on knowledge of the product though dedicated staff.
Once again, by 2016, the ever increasing range of BMW model was taking its toll in showroom space. The increase in sales volume required higher stocking levels and once again we were running out of space. By the end of the year we had employed New Mason properties again to build a 3000 sq foot extension which they completed in January 2017.
This coincided with the requirement from BMW Motorrad AG to complete the new Corporate Identity of new floors, furniture, displays, sineage, so we were able to start 2017 with a completely fresh look. Not only did we complete all this for 2017 but also installed the latest computer system,”Drive”, as required by the top PLC car companies throughout the UK.
Once again, after a further investment of £500k, Allan Jefferies Motorrad had taken the lead in BMW high tech retailing whilst still maintaining the customer first philosophy. And again no surprise that Allan Jefferies Motorrad finished 2017 as No 1 UK retailer.
December 2017 brought yet another investment from Allan Jefferies Motorrad in acquiring the BMW dealership in Rotherham (Rainbow Motorrad). This is a terrific challenge to Louise as the new retail outlet, known as Allan Jefferies Motorrad South Yorkshire has a great potential, and a target area similar in size to our current West Yorkshire site. There is a lot of work to be done there.
By the end of December a total new computer system had been installed with a new telephone system both linked to the West Yorkshire branch. New signage in place, new training and the start of the philosophy customer first is already making great improvements in the South Yorkshire
We look forward to seeing you in Yorkshire.