Elite Rally recently visited bespoke vehicle providers, AC13 which is fronted by former West Ham United and Aston Villa footballer, Marlon Harewood who has swapped the training ground for the workshop.
Based in Nottingham, the company specialises in supplying and custom styling prestige vehicles, priding itself on giving an exemplary customer service to its impressive clientele list which includes a whole host of Premier League footballers.
Along with his business partner, Andrew Cole, the pair set about the challenge eight years ago and have known each other since Marlon was playing for Nottingham Forest some 20 years previously.
Harewood said, “As a young lad I was wanting to buy my first car – a Porsche Carrera and the situation when I went to the showroom to buy it was horrible. Andy, who I’ve known since I joined Nottingham Forest, said to me he wanted to do something on his own. I suggested that we start up a car company and help people along the way. We started doing sales and then went to the bespoke side of it.”
AC13 offers a discrete service for high-profile clients who can’t go into a normal showroom to purchase a car. Their fame means that dealers know who they are and what they do so their requirements aren’t met in an appropriate manner.
This is the market Marlon and his team has successfully tapped into with their bespoke service, dealing with a number of high-profile customers. Having said this, some of their clients love it to be splashed all over social media which is of course great attention for the company.
For the first eight years, it was just Marlon and Andy until Riccardo Leighton joined the team. From there, the lifestyle side of the business expanded and April was brought in to help with the company’s PR requirements.
The small team of five are very hands on, which means that they can offer a very bespoke service to all their clients. The customer’s needs are always met, no matter how far the company needs to go to achieve them. These requirements range from extremely particular to quite simple, where Marlon and his team are given more freedom to complete the vehicle.
Riccardo’s approach to the lifestyle side of the company is quite relaxed as it allows their clients more freedom. This means some of the memberships last just a few weeks and some last for years, depending on the customer’s specific requirements.
Marlon wants to continue to build AC13’s client base so they can help more people because as it brings them a lot of joy to know people are satisfied with the service they provide. This includes tailor-made options, especially on the lifestyle side, to ensure their customers aren’t bored and get the most out of every experience. The company also doesn’t turn anyone away – you don’t have to be high profile to enjoy their service.