A Downley garage has been announced as the ‘Garage of the Year’ – picking up a prestigious title and scooping a £1,000 prize reward.

Hillclimb Garage, a family-owned business based in Littleworth Road, fought off competition from five other finalists to win the Best Small Garage of the Year award at Automechanika Birmingham, the UK’s leading exhibition for the automotive aftermarket and vehicle production industry.

Hillclimb and the other finalists had been chosen from 38 shortlisted contenders across six categories and were announced at a special evening dinner held in the Director’s Lounge, Aston Villa Football Club on Tuesday, June 5.

The winning garage won the battle for top spot after much deliberation by the judging panel, consisting of James Onions from Garage Wire, Andy Savva from The Garage Inspector, Stuart James from Independent Garage Association and Simon Albert from Automechanika Birmingham.

Nicola Wakeling, owner of Hillclimb Garage, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be the winners of 'Garage of the Year' at Automechanika Birmingham 2018.

“When we started the business, we wanted to do things differently. Our philosophy has always been to put the customer first and offer customers expertise, transparency and most importantly trust.

"This year’s show has been fantastic, particularly with the increased offering for garages - it has been great to see such a high number of technicians and garage owners all taking time out from their businesses to experience the opportunities such a show offers.”

The Buckinghamshire workshop, an established family business, offers a range of benefits to the local community and customers further afield, all of which helped it to secure the win.

These include MOTs, which can be booked online, a wide range of approved used cars, a valeting service available six days a week and, a service department offering a full video report and free health check for customers’ cars.

Simon Albert, managing director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “We were overwhelmed by the number of entries and the quality businesses that entered made it difficult for us to narrow it down to just six finalists.

“After much deliberation by the judging panel, Hillclimb is a well-deserved winner. The business’ entrepreneurial drive, impressive customer-friendly website, willingness to invest in new equipment and commitment to delivering first-class customer service helped the garage secure the award. Many congratulations to the team.”

The £1,000 prize money has been donated as sponsorship directly to The SoapBox Challenge, which takes place at Kop Hill Climb Festival on September 15 and 16 – a children's charity event that sees teams of 10-14 year olds build and race their own karts.