Bonnet Painting Competition Finalist Profile – Charlie Clark

Charlie Clark - Apollo GroupCharlie Clark, 20 years old

Apollo Motor Group in Dover and will finish his apprenticeship in November.

How did you get into painting cars?

I actually started out as an apprentice mechanic but I felt that I wanted to do something a bit more creative. I’ve always enjoyed art and thought that car painting was a good trade to get into.

Who have been the biggest influencers on your career so far?

Firstly, it was my Dad who suggested I should go into the trade, but I felt I was struggling to begin with. However, the painter who is teaching me at Apollo, Shawn, has been absolutely gold and has shown me different paint techniques.

My father isn’t in the trade but his father, my grandfather, was and ran a company called Southern Autos. It’s a big coincidence but one of the drivers who works here, my grandfather actually employed when he was an apprentice, about 40 years ago.

What is the design idea behind your bonnet?

My family has been quite involved in classic cars over the years and so the idea is looking back on classic car racing. Using the colours that I was given to comply with the competition rules, I have incorporated the look of a classic racing car.

If your bonnet was the overall winner, how would you spend the £1,000 cash prize?

At the moment I have a camper van which I am working on so I would probably put some of the money towards renovating that. I have also said to myself that if I did win I would like to thank Shawn and treat him to some tickets to something like a Rolling Stones concert if they were to go on tour as I know he is a fan, or something similar that he would enjoy.

Sponsor: Ben Tomlin, Manager, Apollo Motor Group, Dover

Charlie joined us three years ago. I think he is an amazing young lad and his talents are shining through now. He has definitely progressed working here. He started going to college this year on a four week block which has shown him a few bits and pieces but actually working here, being on the tools and being helped by our skilled painters as well has helped him come on leaps and bounds. In my opinion I think he is going to be a fantastic employee for the future.

I think the competition is great. There are a lot of talented young people by the looks of things. Obviously from the pictures you can’t seem to grasp how good they are technically. I’m going to blow Charlie’s trumpet a little bit because from the picture you wouldn’t realise it is a pearlescent white, but in the sunshine you see the full effect of it, so I am hoping the judges will pick up on that.

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