Image: DK's first employee, Phil Challis.
DK Engineering was founded in 1977 and takes its name from the initials of the Christian names of David and Kate Cottingham, the husband and wife team who formed the company and continue to run it today. The business initially developed from David’s love of XK Jaguars. David first bought a lightweight XK 120 model in 1963 that he restored and raced. To help finance his racing hobby, he prepared and repaired other people’s examples in his spare time. He built up a reputation within the Jaguar fraternity for his knowledge, standard of work, and meticulous attention to detail. The demands on his time became so great that in 1977 he and Kate decided to take the plunge and go into business full time with the formation of DK, with Kate taking on the administrative duties.
Being of a mechanically inquisitive nature, and with all period Jaguars having basically the same straight six engine configuration, David looked towards Ferraris as a further challenge to his skills, with their much broader range of engine designs, and started restoring and rebuilding earlier examples of the marque. This opened up new avenues of business.
As his company’s workmanship came to the attention of Ferrari enthusiasts, building up an international clientele, the growth in the business necessitated a move from their original premises in Northwood to their second premises in Watford in 1984. Since then the world has witnessed the meteoric rise in Ferrari prices of the late eighties, and the subsequent crash at the beginning of the nineties. Where many businesses threw caution to the wind during the height of the boom and expanded into larger more affluent premises, DK kept their feet firmly on the ground, working the increased business into their existing space, and thus survived where many others failed, due to their reputation for consistently high quality. Restoration to perfection has been the company motto. In 2007 DK Engineering undertook their biggest restoration yet, Little Green Street Farm, their new state of the art premises set in beautiful Victorian farm buildings.
They now employ fifteen mechanics regularly with juniors being trained in-house so that they understand the working practices and standards required. Apart from restoration, rebuilding and general maintenance work, they are also involved in historic competition undertaking preparation and providing support crews for clients at a club and international event level.
The business is set to continue into the next generation, with David and Kate’s sons Justin and James having now all at one point held an active involvement in the business, with James also following in their father’s footsteps behind the wheel in competition.
We aim to provide an all-encompassing top quality service for our customers. Sales, acquisitions, restoration, race preparation, service, accident repair, the supply of parts are all catered for at DK. Our facility includes a machine shop, rolling road dynamometer, dedicated engine shop, up to date software and diagnostic equipment for all Ferrari and Maserati models. Our experienced staff, some of whom are Ferrari factory trained have a wide range of skills and knowledge of many marques including; Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati, Aston Martin, Porsche and MG. Our many Concours and race successes since 1977 substantiate that second best is not good enough at DK. We strive to run an efficient workshop being always mindful that our aim to achieve perfection comes at a cost which needs to be controlled to achieve the deserved result of top quality work and a satisfied client. Over the years we have always ensured we keep abreast of new Ferrari models with respect to knowledge and tooling: New young blood in the company is continuing this policy and all in the company are proud of our closely guarded good name.