Autolink buys cars specifically for spares. Sometimes it finds a car it just can’t break. The Chrome car is one example. So if you are looking, please check in Cars for Sale.
The company’s parts sales operation ships parts globally and has a reputation for quality and fast dispatch.
We are very much enthusiasts of the older Japanese cars, of which there are still quite a few in pretty rust free condition in Japan, so as well as MX-5’s we specialise in bringing over JDM Classic cars over 30 years old. Of the 4 known Isuzu 117 Coupe’s in the UK, we imported 3 of them. We also have brought in Toyota Corolla Levin AE86, TE27 & TE71, Skyline GC10, various Kei cars and even a number of classic Minis.
Autolink was set up in Feb 1996 to provide a platform for selling cars on the internet. This was before the likes of Autotrader and Exchange & Mart had an internet presence. We set up sites for dealers and provided free advertising for private sellers. When the big players came in to the internet market, we were bullied out as we could not advertise in any of the motoring press as they saw us as competition.
We moved into the Japanese import market by accident after helping the brother of a friend get rid of some cars he’d exported from Japan to the UK after his UK partner had let him down, leaving the cars at Southampton docks running up storage charges. With our new-found expertise in registering Japanese imports, we moved into the market in a bigger way.
As well as the Japanese market MX-5 mk1 (the Eunos Roadster), we brought in a lot of other Japanese cars such as: Isuzu Bighorn (Trooper), Toyota Celica, MR2, Mitsubishi Pajero (Shogun), FTO, GTO (3000GT), Chariot (Spacewagon), Subaru Impreza, Legacy, Honda Prelude, CRX, etc.
Originally based in Upham, Autolink moved to Lycroft Farm, Swanmore in November 2001. Andrew and his team mostly sold imported cars and a few spares. We started bringing in damaged and tatty Eunos Roadsters from Japan, having them cut in half in Japan and put in containers, to be sold as spares over here. It wasn’t exclusively MX-5 in those days but it soon became obvious that they were the way to go.
Cars were being sold before they were even shipped from Japan – demand was high. The service and parts side of the business was important but incidental to the company’s main business, selling MX5s.
However, this demand for imported cars fell. The Yen rose, making the importing of cars uneconomic. The company found that as cars sales enquiries fell, enquiries for parts grow dramatically. So a decision was made to break some of the sales stock.
After a very short while the demand for used parts meant that cars originally destined to be sold whole were broken and sold as used parts. It now seems criminal the number of good, rust free MX-5 mk1 & mk2 bodyshells that we scrapped as no-one wanted to buy them at the time. People had no idea just how rusty they would go in a few years time…
More and more customers started requiring new as well as used parts so the company now holds a large range of new parts for MX-5s.
AutolinkMX5 has grown significantly since those early days and now offers the largest range of used MX-5 parts in Europe.
Andrew Stott – Mazda Menders forum name Andrew
Location – Hampshire, home Fair Oak, work Upper Swanmore
Keen on cars, I started buying ‘Motor’ magazine in 1974 instead of ‘the Beano’ with my pocket money.
Worked in a newsagents with 5:30 am starts from age 14 to 18 while at school/college, then as a dustman (bought an AH Sprite with the proceeds of the 1st 6 weeks work, good pay, that job), then went to do a degree but dropped out of Poly Engineering course and worked as a combined harvester driver, doing agricultural chemical and fertiliser trials, both here and in Australia, great job, it was always summer for me. 🙂
Had a motorbike accident (spilt diesel, country lane, 30mph) in 1983 and broke 9 bones, including 3 vertebrae in my back, and put a rib through a kidney. Long spell in hospital and then a wheelchair. Had to give up my job, and having to live back at home with my parents, did loads of further education to get out of the house (and it was free as I was on sickness benefit). Studied philosophy, bridge and typewriting (I have RSA typewriting stages 1, 2 & 3, despite only using 2 fingers). Went on a computer ‘TOPS’ course as I could sit at a desk no probs in the wheelchair.
Had to drive automatic cars for quite a while but had a mk1 Granada 3.0 so spent a lot of time pretending to be the Sweeney. Oi! Shut it!
Gradually got better and was pretty much fully recovered by 1985 but worked in computers for about 20 years, programming and later testing, mostly in the insurance and finance industries.
Set up Autolink in 1996 to sell cars on the internet, with 2 friends, bullied out of the market by the big players when they eventually came into the internet marketplace.
In the meantime I’d had lots of cars, a fair few Jags, and a number of Peugeots, I was tech adviser on 205’s for the Peugeot club, and at one stage had 4 Peugeot 304’s, a cabrio, 2 x coupes and an estate.
Helped out the New Zealander brother of a friend of mine in 1999, by collecting 6 x Japanese imports from Southampton docks, he’d been shafted by his UK partner. I learnt how to get them registered and sold them for him.
With my new-found knowledge, started importing cars myself. I wanted an MX-5 but couldn’t justify it to the finance committee as we had 2 small kids, so I imported one, got it registered, drove it around, sold it when the next one arrived from Japan, and so on. I’ve had around 500 MX-5’s so far…
Imported other vehicles as well, but mostly MX-5’s, Isuzu Troopers and Subaru Legacy’s, as I didn’t like selling cars, and I really didn’t like all the test pilots and tyre kickers that turned up to view Imprezas, FTO’s and the like. Worked hard to dispel the rubbish rumours spread by the main dealers and press telling people to avoid imports as they were all stolen and clocked. Met lots of decent, honest importers and traders (such as our very own MM) and the market was good for a while.
When the car market slumped and the exchange rate went bad, I was stuck with a load of unwanted Roadsters, and ran out of money. It was either go bust or try and find a way out. So I maxed out the credit cards, and concentrated on the spares side. As I had 20 complete, ready for sale Roadsters, whenever anyone phoned up for a part, I’d take it off a car and sell it to them, and soon things picked up. Paid off the debts (well most of them…) and took on more help.
Now have 6 or 7 people working pretty much full time for Autolink and always am busy.