It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Harting our chairman on the night of Tuesday 30th March 2021.
Mike arrived at HWM in 1958, having been the global sales manager for Aston Martin at their Feltham facility just 5 miles away from the Walton dealership. He had made a strong impression at Aston Martin, still in his twenties, he was likely the youngest sales manager of any manufacturer during that period. Mike’s love of cars and people combined with his sheer tenacity meant that he took to it like a duck to water. An ultra-exclusive, low-volume manufacturer, the world of Aston Martin led Mike to meet some very interesting people, both in showrooms and at the race track.
One of those contacts was George Abecassis of Hersham & Walton Motors. George had lost his founding business partner, John Heath, in an accident at the famous Mille Miglia road race (1955) whilst driving an HWM. George had subsequently been running the business on his own but was keeping an eye out for a suitable partner. As an Aston Martin Works racing driver, George had struck up a relationship with a bright, smart gentleman by the name of Mike Harting. It became apparent that there was potential to work together. Mike wanted a career that required him to travel less and therefore see more of his family. The HWM business looked like an attractive option so the deal was agreed and they joined forces. George and Mike became great friends across the years that they shared running HWM. It was an ideal partnership.
Eventually when George retired, Mike took ownership of the whole of the HWM business and continued at the helm, later joined by his son Andrew, through the rest of his life. It is thanks to Mike that our current team have a beautiful, characterful business to work in. He guided HWM through some remarkably choppy waters across the last 63 years. It was his entrepreneurship and an eagerness to evolve that kept HWM relevant and the customers coming back. Mike was always driven, passionate and customer-focused.
We must also mention Aston Martin that formed such a large part of Mike’s life. Mike had amassed over 65 years with the marque and always retained a love of the cars. He was inextricably linked to the British sports car manufacturer, both professionally and personally. He was simply synonymous with HWM and Aston Martin. It would be fair to say that very few, if any, had more experience than Mike when it came to Aston Martin.
Mike’s spirit and ethos will forever run through HWM. He was full of charm, charisma and enthusiasm for life. He had limitless stories about his career and the amazing people he did business with. Even when he repeated a story, it never got old and always made us chuckle. To spend time with Mike was a gift.
And so we salute this remarkable gentleman who leaves a legacy that we at HWM shall be so grateful for. If you didn’t get a change to meet Mike, be assured that you would have instantly liked him. We will remember Mike for all the wonderful things he did; for being caring, for being a committed family man, for always being kind and always professional.