NIGEL Akid has carved out a career literally piecing together the past.

While at school he would spend his spare time shaping and painting panels on cars which had either suffered accident damage or were restoration projects.

Nigel honed his expertise working at Peter Lister’s garage in Ilkley and he credits his pal Peter for his help and encouragement which has led Nigel to where he is today.

After working for other garages, and latterly expanding his expertise with Benfield Ford at Guiseley, Nigel is finally going it alone.

But his success is testimony to the many projects, some more challenging than others, he has been brave enough to tackle when others would have turned their backs in the belief the restoration project was too far beyond repair.

One of his recent accomplishments is a VW Type 2 double crew cab christened ‘Wizard’ - a rarity on today’s roads.

He purchased the pick up from the internet marketplace, eBay, and it is fair to say it was in a sorry state when he went to collect it. For a start it had no floor!

However, undeterred, Nigel took it on. “I said I thought it was fine and I bought it,” he says.

Nigel knew anything, such as panels, he couldn’t buy he could create - that is the skill he learnt from his ‘old school’ training at Peter Lister’s and it is a skill that is serving him well.

“I have spent a lot of hours and a lot of money on it, all the engine has been re-built, it has had a lot of TLC,” says Nigel, who intends on running it as a regular runabout and taking it to shows.

Of course, it isn’t the only transport to have plenty of TLC. Nigel regularly works long hours in his quest to get his restoration projects back on the road but his wife Mischelle doesn’t mind as she often benefits!

One memorable birthday gift was a Triumph Herald which had one owner from new. The couple kept the car for five years before passing it on to another owner to enjoy.

Mischelle takes up the story: “I bid for it on ebay as I thought it was really cute!”

Following the restoration, the couple sent photos of the car to the family they had bought it from. They had owned it from new and their daughters had learned to drive in it so it was emotional for them to see it restored to its former glory.

Mischelle loved driving it with her first Newfoundland, Bailey, in the back, but contemplating another dog of the same breed would have been a tight squeeze in such a small car!

“I loved driving it with Bailey - he was almost bigger than the car!! We only sold it because we got another Newfoundland and you can’t fit two in a Herald!” says Mischelle.

Her current car is a super charged MINI Cooper S, christened Betty, and, being a child-minder, she needs space so also has the benefit of a Nissan Terrano.

“My favourite car is my Mini Cooper S. I absolutely love it,” says Mischelle.

Of course, it has had the Nigel treatment to make it that bit unique with a glitter paint finish shipped all the way from America. It also boasts a photo of their beautiful, but big, Newfoundland pooches, Boo and Buzz, in the back window.

“We’ve always liked them, they have got such a good temperament,” says Nigel, referring to their four-legged family members.

Other practical runabouts within the couple’s expanding collection is a VW T4 and a VW T5 camper - oh and a metallic purple convertible BMW 330.

When it comes to sourcing cars, and parts, the couple are a winning team and clearly Mischelle shares her husband’s car passion. “I love cars, always have,” she says.

She recalls buying a Fiat 500. “I feel so sorry for them looking sad, so I hunt them out and he has to restore them.”

Mischelle explains Nigel took care of the bodywork while she sourced the parts and their pal, Jeremy Twigden, did the electrics.

“With Nige’s talent I like how they can become personalised to a specific person too - for example, usually we have a purple car,” explains Mischelle.

Throughout his career Nigel has worked on too many vehicles to mention - but impressively he can remember them all - including the MK 1 MINI Cooper S which had been sat in a garage for 16 years.

Although he is a real car enthusiast he admits he prefers riding motorbikes - his first love.

“I loved cars when I was younger but I was madly into bikes. I have had lots of motorbikes,” he says.

“When I was 17 I had a 750 turbo - the bike was bigger than me!” he laughs.

“It was like a Drag bike.”

“But I find it really rewarding restoring stuff because they come in in a terrible state and sometimes customers look as though ‘can you do anything with it?’”

One of the most satisfying and rewarding elements of his work is seeing those customers when they come to pick up what they fear is a project beyond repair.

“They are nearly in tears - they think it would never get to this.

“But I do it. No matter what somebody puts in front of me, it is do-able,” says Nigel, who clearly relishes a challenge.

And he has all the certificates to prove his talents too - mainly acquired while working for his previous employer, Benfield Ford at Guiseley.

Now Nigel is embarking on a new chapter in his career - as his own boss after setting up Nige Akid Bodyshop in the Drill Hall Business Centre, Ilkley.

And he already has plenty of projects on the go...... “I am just restoring a Triumph Spitfire for a friend,” says Nigel.

He also does accident repair work - and his old school training has given him the expertise of panel beating.

“A lot of my friends laugh when they see the state of the cars that we buy. They say I must be absolutely mad but when I do them it’s rewarding with the positive feedback I get.”

His ambition is to restore and own a Dodge Charger - he’s a fan of American vehicles with V8 engines and previously restored a 1956 Ford F100 imported from San Diego complete with bullet holes as it had been used as target practice!

For Nigel, his pastime has become a profession - an enjoyable job which affords him a livelihood too.

“I’ve done that much I have lived for it really,” he says.

“But if you love what you do, you are half way there.”