Hooper & Co (Coachbuilders) Ltd

Hooper & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd. traces its history back to 1807 and the firm of J & G Adams. In 1830, under the direction of George Adams and George Hooper, the firm became known as Adams & Hooper and was located in the Haymarket, London.

In 1846, George Adams withdrew from the company after a long illness. When Adams died the business became known as Hooper and Company and in 1896 it was registered under the name of Hooper & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd. George Northgate Hooper, a son of George Hooper, joined the company in the 1840s.

In 1830 the company was awarded its first royal warrant of appointment as coachbuilder to King William IV. Royal warrants were granted to the firm continuously under seven reigns throughout the next 130 years. The company had left the Haymarket where they originally traded for new workshops in the King’s Road, Chelsea and showrooms at 54 St James’ Street.

With the advent of the automobile, Hooper & Co., like other carriage makers, began to build custom bodies for automobiles, using mostly British chassis, particularly Daimler and Rolls-Royce. Two of the first automobile bodies built by Hooper were for Edward VII, first as Prince of Wales and subsequently as King. Both of these were mounted on Daimler Chassis.

In 1933 a modern factory was built at Acton, London although the old Chelsea works were kept on until 1947. In 1938 Hooper took over Barker & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd., an old and distinguished company which was founded in 1710. At the end of World War II, Hooper & Co. was acquired by the Birmingham Small Arms Company.

Production of custom-built car bodies ceased in 1959, mainly because of ever-increasing production costs, the growth of the mass-produced car market and the lack of craftsmen able to maintain the company's high standards. By August 1959 the company had moved to Park Royal in North West London and the old St. James’ Street showrooms closed at the end of September 1959. The company moved again, to its home in Kilburn and its name was changed to Hooper Motor Services Ltd. This happened when BSA, as parent company, dealt with the dissolution of Hooper & Co in 1986 and transferred the business to a new entity, a new and independent company, approved by BSA, Rolls Royce and Daimler: Hooper Motor Services Ltd., which was still in operation in 1995.

The intention was to provide service and spares for owners of Hooper-bodied cars, to buy and sell Rolls-Royces and Bentleys and to turn out occasional bodies to special order. The company continued as motorcar dealers and distributors during the 1970’s and 1980’s. A redesign of the classic London taxicab brought Hooper a stable and lucrative business which enabled them to return to special coach building for the last time and under their old company name. Hooper built London taxicabs and modified current Rolls-Royces and Bentleys for owners threatened by terrorism.