KNYSNA NEWS - Deaf owner of Nicky’s Trimmers, Nicky Blow, employs other hearing-impaired people to assist him in the manufacture of the local Cooper Healey. Well-known Knysna resident, Ricky Cooper, was approached by a company to build a fibreglass reproduction of the Austin Healey.
A year-and-a-half later they have sold three of these cars, now being produced under the name of Cooper Healey. After the first year they decided to "go their separate ways" and produce these car on their own. "We have been involved with the building of classic cars for about 25 years and have built up a reputation with old cars," explained Cooper.
"We decided to proceed with building these vehicles as they are very sought after and most people have owned one at some time in their lives, and it brings back so many memories.
"When building the cars we try to keep it as original as possible with the standard models (Austin Healey). It is still up to the client out there to change and add optional extras," said Cooper.
Cooper enthused about Nicky Blow who runs a trimming business from the Coopers’ business premises, saying that he is a very talented man, who also employs other hearing-impaired staff.
Cooper praised another of the staff members, Eugene Cloete, who is involved in the manufacturing of the Cooper Healey bodies. "He is a qualified plastician and boilermaker by profession."
Marck Cooper, Ricky’s son, builds the chassis and all the mechanical work on the car. "Together we produce an awesome product," said Ricky.
He further explained that they did not refer to the vehicle as a replica, but as their own car, "a Cooper Healey and Austin Healey with a twist""
In conclusion Cooper said: "Once we get our production going we will be exporting them to the [United] States and Europe."
The Cooper Healey sells in the region of R300 000 and they currently have orders from seven new customers.
The Cooper Healey, produced by Knysna’s Cooper family, will eventually be exported to both the United States and Europe. Gavin (left) and Marck Cooper just prior to delivering a third Cooper Healey to a happy customer. (Photo: Elle Photography.)