In a world where trends come and go, and family traditions fade with time, there are those who choose to preserve their heritage and carry it forward into the future. Joel Tan, a fourth-generation car workshop owner, is one such individual who has followed in his family’s footsteps, upholding a legacy that dates back to the Second World War.
In an exclusive interview, Joel shares his motivations, fond memories, and the challenges he faces as he continues the family tradition.
Keeping legacies alive
Joel’s journey into the automotive industry was shaped by his father’s love for classic and vintage cars. As a young boy, he accompanied his dad to car club gatherings and weekend trips, immersing himself in the world of these timeless automobiles. However, it was during the waiting period before his enlistment into the army that Joel truly got his hands dirty, working alongside his father in the family workshop. Those formative experiences ignited his interest and set him on the path to pursue a career in the automotive industry, with the ultimate goal of becoming a car workshop owner.
The automotive industry, especially the labour-intensive work carried out in car workshops, is often perceived as physically demanding and unappealing. Yet, for Joel, the rewards and fulfilment lie in the passion he has for his work. “It’s about doing something which I have a real interest in,” he explains.
“Right now, I am continuing the family legacy of preserving the passion for classic cars. That is what gives me the greatest joy every day.”
It is this unwavering passion that allows him to navigate the challenges of the tough, hands-on environment and dedicate long hours to the pursuit of success.
With his father, Harry, having established Henderson’s Motor, a workshop specializing in vintage and classic car maintenance, Joel’s career and direction have been heavily influenced by his father’s achievements. However, Joel seeks to update the business model, leveraging technology to enhance operations and customer experience.
Motor Edgevantage, his brainchild, incorporates elements of his experience working in car dealerships, employing contactless car wash machines, cloud-based workshop management systems, and even a parts storage carousel. To honour his father’s legacy and reputation, Joel plans to employ technicians experienced in restoring classic cars and work on more vintage automobiles, using Henderson Motors as their trading name.
Passion, innovation and perseverance
As a university graduate, Joel had numerous career options available to him. However, a pivotal moment came when he saw an opportunity to take over his father’s workshop space. Discussing his vision with his current business partner, who was once his manager, they both realized their shared aspirations and decided to establish Motor Edgevantage together. This collaboration allowed Joel to pursue his passion and create a unique blend of familiarity and innovation in the workshop.
As the torchbearer of his family’s legacy, Joel aims to uphold the values and principles passed down by his predecessors. Listening to customers’ needs and expectations while consistently striving to exceed them is of utmost importance. Maintaining a focus on quality and customer satisfaction ensures the continuation of the family’s workmanship and reputation.
Balancing his role as a workshop owner and the hands-on aspects of the job is no easy feat. However, Joel has found success by employing trustworthy individuals who deliver excellent results. Additionally, he embraces technological advancements to stay relevant in the ever-evolving automotive industry. Investing in diagnostic tools, repair equipment, and software solutions compatible with the latest vehicle models allows Motor Edgevantage to provide top-notch service.
With his father’s health declining, Joel is preparing to take over his workshop. However, instead of simply absorbing the space, he envisions a seamless integration of his father’s expertise in vintage and classic car maintenance into his own business. His father will play a vital role, in advising, assisting, and training the younger generation, including Joel himself. It is a unique opportunity for his father to remain actively involved and impart his invaluable skill set.
Keeping up with trends
To thrive in the car workshop business, one must stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the industry. Joel understands this and actively pursues continuous learning and improvement. Motor Edgevantage technicians have undergone Electric Vehicle (EV) training conducted by ITE (Institute of Technical Education), and the workshop seeks out advanced courses and structured support programs to ensure the acquisition of necessary skills for a sustainable career.
Joel Tan is not only a car workshop owner but a custodian of family traditions and a torchbearer of his father’s legacy. His unwavering passion, dedication to quality, and integration of technology enable him to thrive in a challenging industry. As the baton is passed from one generation to the next, Joel ensures that his family’s heritage remains alive, captivating car enthusiasts and preserving the timeless beauty of classic automobiles for years to come.
Learn more about Motor Edgevantage here.