Bernard Fosker grew up on the outskirts of South East London. With a passion for motorcars and motorbikes, Bernard embarked on learning his mechanical craft with an apprenticeship in his late teens.
In the 1960’s Bernard took his knack for tuning V12 engines and his very keen ear for engines, and began working towards fulfilling his dream of working with the sports cars he loved. He began working with a prestigious Lotus and Maserati specialist and set up a small workshop attached to the family home in Orpington. By the late 1960’s the workshop was well established and Bernard was working on various sports cars including Lotus, Maserati and Ferrari.
In 1970, a friend and fellow sports car enthusiast, Ron Biggs (not ‘the’ Ronnie Biggs), bought a white 246 GT and let Bernard Fosker take it for a test drive.
This was the moment that the Fosker love affair with Ferrari really began. Bernard was captivated by the car and, after another test drive with Mark Konig at Maranello, immediately placed an order for a brand new Rosso Corsa 246 Dino GTS. Ron, not to be outdone, bought exactly the same car in Nero. Both cars were collected from Maranello on the same day in 1972 and the pair became regulars at Valence Hill Climb, Bodiam Hill Climb and the Brighton Speed Trials; invariably accompanied by a young Jeff and Colin, Bernard’s two sons. Since then a number of famously owned Dinos have passed through the Foskers showroom, including George Harrisons Gialo Fly: a superb fared wheel arch example, and Ronnie Scott’s GTS, while also supplying the press car for the re-launch of ‘The Persuaders’ in the late 90’s.
Bernard’s reputation as a perfectionist in every mechanical aspect spread quickly by word of mouth and after becoming well known amongst the local aficionados, he was able to concentrate solely on Ferrari models.
Colin and Jeff began working for their father as apprentices in their late teens. Jeff was 18 when he drove his first Ferrari, a 246 GT, registration OPD 153L and Colin’s first drive was a 246 GTS, registration SKN 215M.
In the 1990’s, with all three Foskers working together, along with then junior technician Alastair Gill, the limitations of their small workshop became apparent and the business was moved to larger premises at Wrotham, in Kent. Here, restoration and servicing of Ferrari were able to continue and meet increasing demand from a growing client base.
As Jeff recalls ‘these were amazing times, prices were still relatively low and we bought and sold some very rare cars, including Mike Hawthorns 212. We provided mechanical support for David Piper’s race team at the weekends and during weekdays we were rebuilding Martin McGlone’s Aluminium 275 GTB Competition after a heavy crash at Macua’.
Bernard retired in the 1990’s, and in 1997 Jeff and Colin moved their business to the current location at the Paddock Entrance of Brands Hatch Racing Circuit in Kent, allowing Foskers to truly flourish.
Colin and Jeff attended the launch of the Ducati 916 and it wasn’t long before they both had a 916 SPS on order.
Although not keen to take the bikes out on British roads, they have travelled many miles through Europe. Both brothers went on to own and collect rare Ducatis and MVs, still to this day. As their skills developed on two wheels, Jeff and Colin participated in European track days.
Expansion of the company continued with the development of a purpose-built, 120 car storage facility, predominantly serving the needs of international clients. Throughout this decade, Foskers also began consistently attending shows and Concours in order to really show-off the standard of restoration projects they were producing.
Over the past two decades the Brands Hatch home has witnessed a lot of change, and today occupies a substantial 5000sq ft. site, housing both the Foskers showroom and workshop. Jeff and Colin’s knowledge and experience of Ferrari is mirrored by their team of passionate staff. Bernard’s aforementioned junior technician Alastair Gill now fills the role of Workshop Manager, over-seeing a team of factory-trained technicians. In 2019, the company extended to a third generation of Fosker, when it welcomed Holly Fosker (Jeff’s daughter).