Our HistoryOver 35 years of heritage

Clive Watson was an apprentice tool maker at International Harvesters when he started buying and selling cars at just 16 years old. He has been the backbone of the business since then and over the years has seen it grow in size and stature into the successful business Portland Autos is today. Here’s a look at Clive and the Portland Autos journey.


1983 - We opened our doors

In 1983, Clive decided to take his redundancy from International Harvesters to set up a VAT registered company buying and selling cars. He started as a sole trader, mainly buying and selling from and to the motor trade. Strong relationships were built during the following five years and solid foundations established across the Yorkshire motor trade allowing him to move onto the next chapter.


1988 - We moved to Sheffield

In 1988 an opportunity presented itself to acquire premises on Rutland Street in Sheffield. This necessitated a change in business plan from selling to the motor trade to a retail business selling to the consumer. This showroom, which became our new home for ten years, had been occupied by the Datsun brand and they were ceasing trading. The business had been called Portland and that is where we took our name from!


1998 – We moved to Bawtry

By now, the business was flourishing and Clive decided to move the business to land adjacent to his home, the very site that we still occupy today. Once again, the business vision shifted slightly incorporating more upmarket cars and importing and exporting. This business model proved hugely successful and is the one on which the business operates successfully today.



The company is a family business with both sons, James and Adam, working in the business. It sells over 600 cars each year to customers in the UK, Europe and across the globe. We have a 40 car indoor show room, purpose built preparation centre, and plenty of room for the 120 cars that we have on site at any time. We pride ourselves on providing a fantastic customer experience that is supportive and hassle free. Our reputation is enviable with a regular customer base choosing us for all their care buying requirements. Read our testimonials and see what our customers have to say.