As a lorry driver’s son, Arfon Williams often accompanied his father on long runs and grew up with a love for all forms of transport.
Able to drive a car by the time he was eight years old, just two years later he could handle a tractor as well as any man.
“I always felt my future would be working with mechanical vehicles,” declares Arfon.
So it has turned out, for today he is the retired owner of Ty Crwn Garage at Gaerwen, one of the largest privately owned garages on Anglesey.
Opened in the 80’s, the garage has gained a solid reputation and people travel many miles to have their vehicles sorted out by the man who knows!
At the age of 15 Arfon took his first step to success when he was given a battered 1949 Ferguson tractor that he completely rebuilt. Every day, he proudly drove it to the garage where he was an apprentice mechanic and at night used the tractor to do small jobs for local farmers.
After completing his apprenticeship he worked at Anglesey Aluminium, Holyhead, as a mechanical fitter and welder for two years before going to Hengau Quarry as a diesel mechanic.
When this quarry went into receivership, Arfon was out of work for just five weeks before ambitiously deciding to take the plunge and work for himself.
Investing £150 of his savings in a 1964 Land Rover, he set up his own mobile repair business and for the next five years drove around the area and beyond to all kinds of businesses, repairing vehicles on site.
“It was hard work with very long hours but I enjoyed a different challenge every day,” he says.
The turning point in Arfon’s career came in 1979 when he bought a barn in Gaerwen and successfully applied for planning permission to turn it into a workshop-come-store.
Seven years later, he was granted permission to extend and it became an approved vehicle testing station Class 4.
Over the next few years, the garage went from strength-to-strength. Arfon employed two assistants to share the workload and in 1995 he extended the premises further and gained approval as a Class 7 light commercial vehicle testing station.
He also bought land adjoining the garage to provide parking space for customers and importantly, storage space for his ever-increasing collection of old, abandoned and neglected cars, motor bikes and farm machinery of all kinds. All his spare time was spent painstakingly restoring and rebuilding these relics of the past so that they looked as good as new.
“I have always been fascinated by vehicles from the 1930s to 60s which had character and were far more interesting than their modern counterparts, so I bought them and gave them a new lease of life so that they would be preserved for future generations,” he explains.
In the late 90’s, he was faced with a difficult decision. Should he dispose of his personal collection or add to it and create Tacla Taid, a unique museum of transport. Despite the problems caused by the foot and mouth epidemic, in April, 2001, Arfon opened the Anglesey Transport and Agriculture Museum, the largest museum of its kind in Wales.
He advises aspiring mechanics to learn their trade thoroughly and either take a course at a technical college or gain an apprenticeship with a reputable garage.