Ken and Albert Harmer working on their Austin York hire car in the 1950's
Ken's Kars is a well-established company based in and around the Bristol area. Founded in 1983 by Ken Harmer the company was a natural progression from Ken’s passion for vintage cars, restoring and driving them as a hobby. In the 1950’s and 60’s Ken along with his father, Albert, ran Chipping Sodbury’s only 24hr taxi company, Harmers Taxi’s, using 1930’s Austin’s similar to those we use now. After giving up the taxi business and earning his living as a welder for about 20 years, Ken returned to the chauffeuring business, this time setting up Ken’s Kars with his wife Joyce. Originally the business started with just two 1930’s Austin 18’s, both royal blue and black, but as time passed, and Ken restored more cars, the fleet grew, finally ending up with 7 Austin 18’s. Kens son, Roy, was also involved in the wedding cars. In 1988 it was Roy that introduced the first American car into the fleet, this was the 1928 Studebaker, and later the 1932 Oldsmobile joined this.
Before disaster struck, Kens Kars was running 9 vintage cars. On August 9th 2005 there was a fire at Ken’s premises and 4 of the cars, were totally destroyed in the blaze. Today I run the company along with my partner Sarah, I'm Ken's oldest Grandson. I have helped my Grandad from an early age learning the skills for restoring and maintaining these wonderful cars. We now run six cars, they are the 3 Austin’s, 2 Studebaker’s and the Oldsmobile.
Ken and Albert Harmer with their first hire car an Austin 18hp York saloon, which was bought from Percy Pick of Old Sodbury for £175. The car was in service with Harmers Taxi's for 5 years