The company name literally came from the 'sandy cliff' that still stands behind the Stapleford garage.
Initially, the work was not very lucrative, due to there only being around one million vehicles on the roads of Britain at the time. In addition to this, petrol was relatively inexpensive and the profit margin was low.
However, the pair worked hard to grow the business. The working day started at 7am and finished at 11 pm when Richard would finish manning the petrol pumps and retire to the workshop to mend punctures until the early hours of the morning.
Two months after the business started a young man, Alan Richards, was taken on as an apprentice and became Sandicliffe's first employee.
Although Richard Woodhouse and Henry Barton were repairing and servicing every type of vehicle on the road at that point in time, they decided to ‘go Ford’. Due to the reasonable prices, the pair believed that low-cost mass-produced cars were likely to sell in greater volume.
In the first year of trading the company made a net profit of just £125, which encouraged the decision to branch out into used car sales. This effectively doubled the number of car sales because customers who bought new cars often traded in vehicles which could then be sold second hand.
The letter certainly made a positive impact as the pair were summoned to the Chief Executive's office to explain their impertinence. "I just wanted to see the two young boys who tell me I do not know how to run my job" he told them. Richard and Henry successfully explained their reasons for writing and were subsequently told that they would become Ford main dealers from August 1954.
A truck depot was also formed at Stapleford which meant demolishing Richard Woodhouse’s former home.
Sub dealerships were in turn granted by Sandicliffe to garages in Codnor, Langley Mill and Eastwood.
The expansion coincided with the launch of the Ford Cortina which would go on to become Britain's best-selling car in the 1970s.
In the same year Sandicliffe's commercial sales were given a boost by the launch of the Ford Transit which has become the best-selling light commercial vehicle in Europe.
This model was hugely popular with drivers until its withdrawal in Europe in 2000 and is the second biggest selling car of all time in the UK.
Sandicliffe won the Ford Truck Service Club national winner's prize in 1973 and retained the award the following year.
The Royal Warrant was granted by Her Majesty the Queen for the supply and maintenance of a number of horse-boxes and other commercial vehicles and the Warrant remains in place to this day.
As a result of this, the business began to run its first site in Lincolnshire.
Sandicliffe's number of employees rose to over 400 for the first time and the business' turnover increased by a third to £16 million.
The company's employee numbers rose to 510 the following year when Sandicliffe acquired their first site in Birmingham.
Over the course of the 1980s the company's turnover increased by 270% and the number of employees rose by over a third.
The Leicester acquisition took Sandicliffe's number of employees to over 700 for the very first time. The company also opened a new dealership in Market Harborough in June 1997.
The Focus has since gone on to be a hugely popular model and has become the 8th best-selling car of all time in the UK.
Continuing to offer a reputable service, Sandicliffe won the prestigious Ford Excellence Award for Outstanding Performance in Customer Service.
The company expanded by taking over both the Ford and Suzuki franchises in Hucknall, Nottingham to create a new area of business activity in North Nottinghamshire. Sandicliffe also opened a Kia centre in Leicester in May 2005 and added Mazda, Fiat and Kia to the franchise with the opening of the dealership in Basford.
Expansion continues with the addition of a Ford site at Trent Bridge and a Kia showroom in the existing Melton Mowbray dealership.
Sandicliffe win another prize, retaining the coveted Marketing Programme trophy at the annual Automotive Management awards.
Mazda dealerships open in Loughborough and Leicester while the company said goodbye to the Market Harborough centre in August.
This allows the company to increase their number of employees to 611.
The state-of-the-art centre spans over four floors and is one of Europe's leading Nissan centres. This expansion helped the company increase its turnover to over £250 million.
Sandicliffe also opened Mazda Nottingham, which now marks the 3rd Sandicliffe dealership on Abbeyfield road, including both the FordStore and Nissan dealership.
The company was also named in the Sunday Times Top Track 250 companies in the UK.
Long standing Managing Director Richard Hobbs hands over the torch to new MD Paul Woodhouse and wishes him the best of luck with the future of Sandicliffe.
The new year brought new changes to Sandicliffe, selling both our ŠKODA Nottingham and ŠKODA Leicester Dealerships, allowing us to focus more on our 4 main franchises, Ford, Nissan, Mazda and Kia.
Sandicliffe takes home Best Online Consumer Experience at the 2020 AM Awards on Thursday 13th February. This is the third time being recognised at the Automotive Management Awards, previously winning Highly Commended Website and Most Improved Dealership.
A historic event that will go down in history books was the first national lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were honoured to have been able to offer our services to key workers and blue light vehicles for servicing and repair at our Loughborough branch.
Sandicliffe sells Kia franchises as Ford, Nissan & Mazda become the main focus.
Sandicliffe becomes the first ever UK dealership to build the iconic Steve McQueen Bullitt Mustang in June. Only 300 are made globally per year and Sandicliffe FordStore Nottingham became the location for the first UK built model. The 720bhp Bullitt was later debuted at GoodWood SpeedWeek Festival in October.