14 years ago I was one of the millions of viewers who tuned-in to see what calamities the Teutuls had got up to in the OCC garage as part of Discovery Channel’s American Chopper series. But the more extreme that show got the more unbelievable the characters and scenarios became and I eventually switched off. There was something that stuck with me though, the desire to work with a bunch of mates (not family like the Teutuls) while have a laugh building cool stuff.
Quest TV’s new motoring show, Goblin Works Garage, follows three craftspeople and mechanics as they attempt to revive a classic British engineering company, Goblin. Ant Partridge, Helen Stanley & Jimmy de Ville are the show’s hosts and team behind the builds. The format will be familiar to Quest and Discovery Turbo viewers, the gang buy a bike, car or pick-up truck and then modify it with the aim of turning a profit.
Sure, there’s a TV element to the projects but this isn’t a trio of presenters covered in pretend grease, all three of them are incredibly experienced and deserve their place on your telly. We first met Helen in the summer of 2016 when she exhibited a stunning custom MKII Ford Cortina down here at the Bike Shed, under the Skull & Pistons Garage banner – Helen’s own workshop. She certainly not on the show to make up any politically correct female quota, Helen is not only a bonafide mechanic but also the designer for all of Goblin’s builds.
Jimmy is a decorated soldier turned extreme engineer and adventurer with form when it comes to constructing outrageous machines. Whether it be working as a consultant for TV shows such as Scrapheap Challenge or running his physical effects company Jimmy is usually found elbows deep in an engine and provides an engineering reality check for the team’s radical ideas. And last but not least Ant Partridge, a mate of the Bike Shed whose bikes have been exhibited at our shows and on this website. Originally from Canada, Ant ran a custom bike shop in Spain before moving to the UK to join the Goblin crew and start his own business, Partridge Designs.
2017 was an incredibly busy year for not just Ant but the whole crew, with six cars and four bikes being bought ‘n’ built, and an entire series filmed in just six months. I joined Ant for the press screening of the first episode in the series and had the chance to poke around a few of the cars but for now we’ll focus on the bikes.
The TW Steel turbo-charged Yamaha MT10 drag bike, Tempus Fury, was built in double quick time and piloted by Ant at the Glemseck 101 and Punks Peak sprint races, as more of a shake down than anything else, narrowly missing out on bringing home some silverware nonetheless. The full feature can be found here but suffice to say that 200hp (expected to rise considerably) through chewing gum like Shinko drag tyres and bespoke swingarm has got ‘gimmie the keys’ written all over it – gissa go mister!
Seeing as flat track racing is all the rage at the moment Ant had to have a go, but he couldn’t just turn up and have a potter around, not his style. With some help from Steve Hillary at Redmax Speedshop a Harley Sportster was readied for Dirtquake 2017. Needless to say the bike didn’t look good for long, Partridge and his whiskey throttle was a recipe for disaster into turn 1. Still pinned he rode the airfence to the top and seemed to keep it wide open. A broken shoulder the prize for most committed rider of the event.
In slightly more distinguished style Ant persuaded Stuart Garner, owner of Norton, to cut a deal on an already paired-down Dominator Naked. Again, with a seemingly impossible schedule the bike was finished in time for a fancy launch at Norton’s clothing store in Soho, to which Partridge rode to sporting an Oswald Boeteng dinner suit. Who said Canadian rednecks can’t be classy.
Our pals over at Bike Exif have the skinny on this handsome beast (the Norton, not Partridge), check it out over on their website.
So why am I telling about a TV series? It’s not just because we’re friends with the crew but because if, like us, you dream of acting out your own workshop fantasies but life doesn’t permit it you can live vicariously through the Goblins. Three very different characters who, although friends and through long hours spent together are as good as family, work well as a unit but from what I’ve seen so far sparks fly, and I don’t mean from a grinder.
The other reason is that we will be screening a premiere here at the Shed this Thursday. That makes it sound a bit fancy, you at home can tune-in at exactly the same time, 9pm. And keep updated with plans for series 2 over on the Quest FB page. We’ll hopefully report back once we’ve ridden a bike or two from the collection.