IN his long career Barry Hart has designed and built championship winning motorcycles, parts for Formula One cars and even the Silver Dream Racer for the David Essex film.

He is one of a dying breed of engineers who can create an engine from a lump of base metal and has designed motorcycles that have won national and international events, including the TT.

For the past 15 years he has concentrated on building up a specialist Porsche repair business — Tonge Moor-based Hartech Automotive — which now has a turnover in excess of £1 million.

Mr Hart, who lives in Egerton, has used his specialist engineering experience to manufacture high quality spare parts that cost much less than Porsche supplied spares.

He said: “There are lots of new Porsches being sold in Bolton, especially since the main Porsche dealer opened up.

“But we know that after three or four years the owners will bring their cars to us because our reputation is national, so we know there’s going to be work in the future.

“We get people coming to us from Ireland, the Isle of Man, London and from all over the country.”

It was his stepson, Grant Pritchard, who originally persuaded Mr Hart to go full-time in the business.

Hartech Automotive is now a real family affair — Mr Hart is chairman, his wife Pauline is company secretary and his stepson is managing director.

And, as Mr Hart winds downs to retirement, the 62-year-old engineer has been busy passing on every last vestige of his highly specialised motor engineering knowledge.

Now he feels that the firm’s young staff — all but two are aged under 36 — is well placed to continue the successful business.

Mr Hart said: “We employ 11 people now and given that there’s a recession on we never had to stop doing overtime, we’re working flat out all the time and staff don’t leave.”

Mr Hart has been a Porsche owner and enthusiast since his early 20s, when he designed motorcycle engines, gearboxes and racing motorbikes for the likes of Barry Sheene.

It was during that period that he made the Silver Dream Racer used in the hit David Essex film of the same name.

Then, in 1979, he joined Bolton-based Armstrong motorcycles as director in charge of engine development, where his best results were winning the British 350cc road race championship three years running and coming third in the French GP.

At that time, he was described by Motor Cycle News as “the leading racing engine designer outside of Japan”.

He later moved on to develop carbon fibre composites for Lotus F1, when Ayrton Senna drove for them, and eventually moved to managing several private and public automotive and aerospace companies, before setting up Hartech Automotive.