King of the Road: The Chelsea Truck Company
Motoring journalist George Phillips takes a look at The Chelsea Truck Company, a bespoke car firm that has made it’s name from developing modern variations of iconic off-road vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler.
Renowned for style and sophistication, London’s King’s Road is one of the most famous streets in the world. Historically the epicentre of progressive movements in culture, fashion and style; frequented by mavericks from Vivienne Westwood to the Rolling Stones, this well-known street is now home to a revolution of a different kind.
Nestled inconspicuously amongst the rows of chic boutiques and exclusive restaurants on the King’s Road, you will find the Chelsea Truck Company, headed by acclaimed British designer, Afzal Kahn, who is causing quite a stir in the capital by opening up a world of new possibilities for the city’s fashion conscious drivers. The bespoke vehicle manufacturer provides the most discerning motorists, who want something different, with the opportunity to design their own vehicle from the ground up. Think tailoring, for cars.
As the name suggests, the Chelsea Truck Company do not just deal with any cars; their expert craftsmen focus their efforts exclusively on three SUV models – Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender and Mercedes G-Class. The decision to limit the company’s scope has proved to be a good one; concentrating on just three models allows them to be experts in their field, and has seen them become the firm of choice for those looking for a bespoke edition of these cars. The company is so good at what they do that one fifth of all Jeep sales in the UK are sold by the Chelsea Truck Company.
Yet the real key to the company’s achievements is the in-house expertise used to create each vehicle. The Chelsea Truck Company design and handcraft each vehicle themselves, earning them a reputation for unrivalled quality and craftsmanship. The care and attention to detail far exceeds anything mass produced can offer, with each car designed to be an extension of the owner’s personality.
For the automotive connoisseurs who choose the Chelsea Truck Company, these are not just cars, they are objects of fashion. The hand stitched interiors of these vehicles are akin to the ornate inner-lining of a finely tailored suit; only the occupant has knowledge of the lavishness within and can quietly enjoy owning something truly special. It is unsurprising then that the company see themselves as an automotive fashion house rather than a vehicle manufacturer, and upon learning that, suddenly their positioning on the King’s Road amongst the chic boutiques starts to make a lot of sense.
The tasteful Londoners that the company attract will soon have two choices of showroom in the Royal Borough, with a new outlet opening shortly in Kensington. Demand is not just confined to the stylish streets of London though; the Chelsea Truck Company has set up shop as far away as Australia, where models like the ‘Black Hawk’ Jeep are proving just as popular as in the UK. With Chelsea Truck vehicles now also available throughout Europe, the US, Canada and coming soon to Dubai, the brand is truly building a global presence.
Despite the rapidly increasing international growth, the company’s vehicles stay true to the spirit of the King’s Road; they are pioneers of individualism. The Chelsea Truck Company is revolutionising our relationship with cars, allowing us to bring originality to the most homogenous of products. Much in the same way as the King’s Road has shaped what music we listen to, what clothes we wear and how we perceive the world; its latest occupant is changing what we choose to drive.