About Us

The Magneto Guys is run by Steve Marks. His interest in how things work led to a career in mechanical followed by electrical/electronic engineering. This multi-disciplinary background eventually resulted in a move to the educational sphere when he became a lecturer first in Electronics, then Software Engineering and finally with a responsibility for courses in Computer Aided Engineering. Then in the late 1980s, he left to set up his own company offering Electronic, Software and Mechanical Engineering design services to companies and individuals throughout the UK. His company – Micro Design Ltd – specialised in microcontroller applications. All high tech stuff you may think but away from work, Steve’s hobby interests were based on a much earlier era. Steve has owned motorcycles continuously since he was 14 years of age and has also dabbled in the vintage and classic/custom car fields along the way. 

Steve takes up the story..... 

"Early in 2006, I was in conversation with good friend, Tony Holder, when the subject turned to magnetos. Not surprising as Tony had been working on magneto repairs and restorations for the past fifty years – the last thirty odd years on a full time basis. Unlike some other magneto restorers, Tony had always taken on any magneto. At last count he had worked on the offerings from 77 different manufacturers. That’s ‘manufacturers’ not ‘models’ so Lucas, for instance, counts as just one in that total figure! During that conversation, Tony mentioned that he had a backlog of over a hundred magnetos waiting to be repaired and I said ‘what you need is someone to help!’ to which he replied ‘Yes, but who would want to?’ Well, to cut a long story short, I decided that the team at Micro Design Ltd could cope without me for one day a week and so began what we came to call ‘day release’ – Tony teaching me the ropes and at the same time, me helping (hopefully) with his workload. Little did I know all those years ago that the electromagnetic principles which I was teaching, would come in so useful now! Knowing the theory is one thing but Tony’s vast knowledge, not to mention his fifty years of detailed note taking, has been an almost unbelievable opportunity to learn the trade properly - something for which I shall be forever grateful"

Once Steve had completed his ‘apprenticeship’ he set up ‘The Magneto Guys’ which, for a while, ran alongside 'Micro Design Ltd.' However, demand for magneto repairs grew rapidly and it wasn't long before the decision was made to close down the electronics side and magneto repairs then became a full time occupation for him.

With more and more work coming in, it soon became clear that more manpower would be needed. Steve's son, Andy, had shown, from a very early age, a keen interest in engineering and vintage motorcycles and so was an obvious candidate. One slight problem was that he had chosen to go to university a couple of hundred miles away which meant that his involvement was limited to just the holidays! None the less, always a very quick learner, these holidays were spent very productively, not only gaining several prize winning bike restorations to his credit but also becoming an important part of The Magneto Guys. After successfully completing his university education in 2013,  Andy chose to join the Magneto Guys full time. Andy also makes bike parts available for other restorers - see his website - Kingpin Components

Needless to say, Tony is still in great demand and, although now well into his 80s, continues to work on magnetos - despite trying hard to say ‘no more’, he still can’t resist what he calls ‘the more interesting ones’. Steve continues to visit Tony every week and the two of them work together for the day sharing their accumulated knowledge and expertise. 

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