In the spring of 1917, Victor Joseph Collett, returned from France with the rifle bullet, from a German sniper, lodged firmly in his right hand. He, with thousands of other young men, had gone to war, in his case, at the age of 17, with a great deal of excitement and no doubt, a good deal of trepidation. The war for him, ended, on the battlefield at Arras.
Back home in his village of Bourton on the Water, he at first, followed the family trade of carpentry, but the oncoming of the motor car and the motorcycle, captured his imagination and it was not long before the saw and the plane gave way to the spanner and the grease gun.
In 1921 he obtained a piece of land in Lansdowne and erected a small shed. The business of V.J.Collett had begun.
By 1930 he held the agencies for Excelsior and Ariel motorcycles and for Hercules cycles. Petrol was sold, not from a pump but from returnable 2-gallon cans with brass screw tops.
By mid-1930, things had moved on. He now held the Rootes Group agency. selling Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam Talbot & Commer vans & lorries. A petrol station had been constructed and a new workshop. The motorcycles had been dropped.
Through the Second World War and afterwards, things remained very much the same, with small improvements and alterations going on including the building of a showroom!!!!!
V.J. Collett's eldest son, Don, joined the business and they ran it together until the untimely death of the founder in 1959. Donald carried on determined to keep, a now, firmly established, family business going. This he did successfully. He was then joined by his younger brother Mike in 1960. The Chrysler franchise replaced Rootes Group. The company were now selling Alpines and Avengers together with French Simca.
In 1981 the opportunity to take the Ford Franchise came along. This was too good a chance to miss. At this time Donald left the business and V.J. Collett Ltd. became a partnership. This worked very successfully for 10 years. Then the family link was continued, with Mike's son James joining the firm after successfully completing a managerial business course at the R.T.I.T.B college at Telford.
The business by now had outgrown the original High Street site. The land was purchased on the Bourton Industrial Park and a purpose-built facility, in line with Ford Motor Company requirements was constructed. The move came in June 1990 and the business has continued to the present date, some 78 years after a teenage boy back from the war decided to do his own thing.