A POPULAR Helensburgh mechanic is handing over the keys to his motor business at the end of the month after 40 years in the fast lane.

Simon Fraser, who has run SAS Motor Engineers in East Clyde Street since 1980, will retire along with wife Irene on February 27.

The couple are preparing for life away from work by planning short breaks, though they say they will miss the camaraderie of the car garage, which will continue under the new name of SAS Garage Services.

Irene, 64, told the Advertiser: "I have only worked as the office manager for the last 14 years, by accident rather than by design.

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"I retired from banking 15 years ago and made the mistake of going into the office to help out with the paperwork one day and have been there ever since. I will be retiring at the same time right enough.

"Simon has made many friends through the business and he will certainly miss the banter and interaction with the customers, many of whom have been coming in in tears, gutted to see him leaving.

"His mountain biking and road cycling will keep him busy during his retirement, along with a long list awaiting him at home!"

Sixty-five-year-old Simon was born and brought up in the flat next door to the garage, which was formerly his father's builders yard, and the petrol-head has always been interested in cars, even taking part in rally car racing for a while with a Ford Escort.

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Sons Ross and Stuart chose not to follow in their dad's footsteps - instead opting for careers in marketing and banking, and while there will be no celebratory retirement party the whole family are excited at this new chapter.

Irene added: "Simon doesn't like a fuss, so we won't be having a big leaving night or anything like that.

"Ross and Stuart are both happy to see their dad finally retiring as it's a really hard job working outside with cars. They are quite pleased.

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"You don't know how long you've got so you have to enjoy your time.

"We have a holiday booked for later in the year but will be around until March to make sure everything goes smoothly.

"Simon has worked with many other mechanics over the years but latterly with Joe Thwaites and then Colin Bagen, who will be taking over the helm on March 1.

"We hope that the many loyal customers will continue to return."

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