Taking it down a gear

Bill Birtwistle feels the time is right to retire, stepping down from his position at Gowans Motor Group after 46 years in the automotive industry. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Career. Retirement has always been a simple equation for Edith Creek resident Bill Birtwistle: “My father always used to say, work until you’re 65, and here I am.”

Mr Birtwistle, currently the sales manager at Gowans Motor Group, has decided to step down from his position in March after 46 years in the automotive industry.

And while he says the decision to ‘retire’ feels right in coinciding with his 65th birthday, the word itself doesn’t carry the same meaning.

“It’s not about retirement for me, that to me sounds too… final. It’s about moving into another stage of life,” he said.

The second-youngest in a family of five, his love for cars began from watching his older brothers race competitively, moving into the industry after getting a job in a workshop at TF Hanson.

Fast-forward to the present time, and he feels like his career has gone full-circle, making the transition from servicing various models to selling them off the showroom floor.

“I feel like I’ve grown with the cars, it’s in your blood,” he said.

“In the early 80s, a Datsun 1806 was a mid-range car, and I remember them selling for $2400.”

“The way cars are built today –  the safety aspects, the technology – they have changed dramatically.”

The 64-year-old was “very appreciative” of being looked after by the company, revealing that the ideal dream after work is to become a “grey nomad” and travel the country.

Mr Birtwistle also admitted that he will miss the relationships built up with local customers and staff, reflecting on the challenges and benefits of regional sales.

“Buying a car has changed nowadays – they know what they want before they come in the door,” he said.

“If I sold a car and there’s a hiccup, two minutes later they’d be on my door!”


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