Jim Gozzett was born in 1906 and in 1924, aged just 19, he set up his own business. It was Jim Gozzett's Aunt, Julia Gridley, who financed the purchase of 2 coaches to begin a public bus service between Maldon and Witham. The name 'Quest' came from the very first coach that Jim purchased.
Quest Coaches originally operated from Silver Street, Maldon - the site was small and had just two mechanical pits for repair work with a waste piece of land to store the two coaches. The business thrived and in 1926 it moved to a larger premise on the Causeway, Maldon. In the years 1926 to 1934 the fleet of Quest Coaches increased to 26.
By the early 1930s it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain stage licences (pick up points) from the traffic courts and Quest Coaches in 1934 sold out to Eastern National who were seeking to expand their operations eastward, from Chelmsford to Maldon and the Dengie Peninsula. With the sale of Quest Coaches, Jim Gozzett purchased the Quest site in Maldon High Street, and the Company signed an agreement with Vauxhall Motors to become the Vauxhall/Bedford (a brand manufactured by Vauxhall) dealer for South East Essex.
Quest Coaches had now become Quest Motors.
Quest Motors continued to expand its operations and when the war in 1939 meant cars were not in circulation and rations were in force, the Company also began manufacturing munitions for the armed forces as well as repairing vehicles and diesel boats from the Maldon Wharf. This allowed the company to survive throughout the war years and also contribute to the wartime effort.
After the war, Quest Motors returned to selling and servicing new Vauxhall cars and Bedford lorries. Due to the shortage of products and often only selling 1 vehicle a month, the company embarked on another fleet of coaches for private hire and also began self-drive and taxi hire. Quest took on contracts with Wethersfield Airbase, Essex County Council School Bus Service and offered private hire excursions. At this time a total of 12 coaches were in operation.
In 1949 John Gozzett, aged 18 and son of Jim Gozzett, started working within the company and successfully completed a three-year apprenticeship with Vauxhall Motors. He then took on the role of Service Manager at Maldon until in 1952 he was called up for National Service. During National Service, due to his motor trade apprenticeship, he was placed on a section working on armoured fighting vehicles.
In 1955 after serving his time with the National Service, John Gozzett resumed his position as Service Manager at Quest Maldon. The Company was at this time still running its coach business alongside car and vehicle repairs, and vehicle hire. In 1957 Vauxhall recognised Braintree as an open point for another Vauxhall/Bedford dealership and Quest Motors purchased the site in Rayne Road, Braintree. In order to purchase the site in Braintree it was necessary to sell the coach business. All 12 coaches were sold and the contracts terminated.
John Gozzett moved to the Braintree dealership in September 1957 and became Managing Director employing five people.
In 1968 Braintree had developed to its full potential and Vauxhall/Bedford approached Quest to open up a Commercial Workshop. A one-acre site on the Springwood Industrial Estate was purchased by the Company and in late 1969 was completed and ready to receive its first commercial vehicles for repair. Jim Gozzett and son John Gozzett continued to build and expand both the Maldon & Braintree dealerships, promoting and advertising the Quest Motors services throughout the county.
By the late 1960s John Gozzett's eldest son Robin was taking an interest in the motor industry and the 3rd generation of the Gozzett family was about to enter into the business. In 1973, Robin, aged 17, began his apprenticeship with Vauxhall Motors. Jim Gozzett died in 1974 at the age of 69. At just 19 years of age, Robin took over the running of the Maldon dealership as Managing Director. With John Gozzett, Group Managing Director at Braintree, and son Robin Gozzett at the Maldon dealership, the business continued to grow.
In late 1974 the Braintree dealership embarked on a modernisation plan which meant building on a new showroom and office block adjacent to the car service department on Rayne Road. In the late 1970s, John Gozzett's younger son Martin joined the family business.
The Braintree Sales Department was enlarged to accommodate the growing range of Vauxhall cars in 1980. In 1981 John Gozzett's younger son Martin, having completed his Vauxhall Motors apprenticeship, joined the Braintree dealership as Sales Manager, and later in 1983 when Martin was 21, he became a Director of Quest Motors.
The Breakdown/Recovery Service that had been operating since the late 1950s was now seeing major growth opportunities. As agents for all the leading breakdown companies, Quest Motors recovery vehicles were now on the move all over the country and even travelled as far as Scotland and Wales.
In 1992 Quest Motors purchased a new 1.8 acre site in Rayne Road, Braintree in order to satisfy both the requirements of Vauxhall Motors and the growth within the family business. This prestigious site, known as Quest House, became the new main administration office for the business.
Throughout the 90s the dealerships continued to expand and grow, serving clients throughout the United Kingdom. To help manage the increased business, the dealerships were computerised in 1993, and in 1999 the group invested in a 45-user Kerridge computer network system with the main computer server for the group being housed at the headquarters in Braintree.
John Gozzett, having reached the age of 65 in 1999, stepped down and took on the role of Group Executive Chairman with son Robin taking over as Group Managing Director based at Maldon, and Martin continuing as Managing Director at Braintree.
In late 1999, Quest Group embarked on a full-scale computer modernisation programme, which enabled the two sites at Maldon and Braintree to have a direct link with each other and to Vauxhall Motors.
In 2002 the Quest Group appointed a specially trained sales consultant to deal directly with business customers and fleet sales, and by 2003 Maldon had joined Braintree as a Heavy Van Specialist. This enabled the Group to cover a wider area of business customers within East Anglia. With the internet becoming an ever important part of the modern business, a Group website was created.
The Braintree dealership doubled in size to accommodate the continuing growth of business and to house the Parts, Bodyshop and Commercial workshops. The Rayne Road Service Department was completely refurbished in early 2003.
General Motors awarded Quest Maldon the Saab franchise in March 2004.
Continuing the Gozzett’s family legacy at Quest Motor Group, Robin’s eldest daughter Catherine joined the Parts team as Parts Advisor in 2005, marking the beginning of the 4th generation to enter the business.
Expansion of the Group over the years meant that the Maldon dealership in the High Street had become too small to accommodate the continual rise in business growth. This, together with new Vauxhall rulings on Brand Image, meant that the current building no longer conformed to EU standards and relocation was necessary to overcome this. A new site was granted on the Wycke Hill Business Park in Maldon, and a state of the art Brand centre was open for business on the 1st January 2007 providing Sales and Aftersales for both Vauxhall and Saab.
In 2011, Quest welcomed the Isuzu brand to both Braintree and Maldon dealerships.
In 2012, the agreement with Saab came to a close, but the Maldon dealership were awarded the Citroen franchise.
Robin’s youngest daughter, Jessica, joined Quest as the Financial Controller, and Martin’s son, Oliver, also joined as Used Vehicle Sales Executive in 2016.
In August 2018, the Maldon dealership also became an official Suzuki dealer.
After enjoying decades of growth and building an incredible customer base, who to this day continue to buy and service their vehicles with Quest, the decision was made to sell the Maldon dealership, which ceased trading in May 2021. With Suzuki’s agreement, the franchise was moved to Braintree which began selling new and used Suzuki models from June.
2021 also saw Quest part ways with both Vauxhall and Citroen, but is able to continue to service these makes of vehicle plus many more, with the partnership with Bosch Car Service, which began in January 2022.
Becoming part of the Bosch Car Service network marks a big milestone in Quest’s history, enabling its service department to be able to work on all makes and models of vehicles, and become experts in vehicle servicing with the support of Bosch. With this global partner, which also produces many vehicle parts and accessories used by manufacturers all over the world, Quest’s servicing department becomes the ultimate one-stop shop for everyone’s vehicle maintenance needs, including the ability to service and maintain electric vehicles (EV).
Quest Motor Group still remains in the private ownership of the Gozzett family with the 4th generation all taking an active role in the day to day running of the business.
Today we employ a team of approx. 45 staff who are all dedicated to offering an exceptional customer experience, which will ensure that the Quest Group remains privately owned and funded by the Gozzett family for future generations.