Heritage Locations

Kastner's Garage, Exeter

Fine art deco garage sensitively converted to residential use


Period of construction:
1900 - 1949

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

42, Magdalen Road, Exeter EX2 4TE


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Noel Kastner had been living abroad when he decided to purchase a Ford garage from a Mr Sammy Tremaine in Honiton, in 1961. Kastner's two son-in-laws joined the business as Sales Manager and the Bodyshop Manager. The business flourished and in 1970, the decision was made to become a Volvo dealership, under the name, Kastner Volvo.

In 1975, the existing Exeter Volvo dealership based at the Bedford Street Garage became vacant and Kastner took it over at a new location in Magdalen Road, closing down the Honiton premises after 14 years. The new premises soon became the centre for all Volvo owners to take their cars. The business flourished, but eventually Noel Kastner decided to sell up and emigrate to Australia. An investment company took over the business and new showrooms were opened in Plymouth, Chippenham, Bristol and Bracknell. In 1983 petrol sales from the Magdalen Road forecourt were discontinued to allow the expansion of sales and service. In 1992, there was a management buyout and the Exeter business moved to a new, purpose built premises at Matford Park. Although the Magdalen Road garage was sold for redevelopment, to date the premises remain - a rather fine example of 1930's architecture.

The Magdalen Road garage is a handsome building, whose design dates from 1933 in an art decor style. The architects, R M Challice and Son of Bedford Circus, Exeter produced a design that added to an existing garage. The building, built with the then new, cavity wall construction is set back from the road to allow the placing of petrol pumps at the front. The centre of the front protrudes with a clock set centrally and a suspended cantilevered roof below, protruding from the building and creating a cover from the elements. It is said, that the original design was conceived so that if the building ceased to be a garage, it could be converted into flats. Commissioned by Albert Warren for Warren Garage's, it was for many years known as Motor Mecca.

Between 2005 and 2007, the garage was converted into residential accommodation which retains many of the features of the original building.

(Source: David Cornforth, Exeter Memories)


Aamo, Alv Sogstad, Petrol Station: A Visual History, Norsk Form, ISBN-10 8245200107 (1995)

Demaus, A. B., Motoring in the 20s and 30s, Batsford, ISBN 0 7134 1538 X (1979)

Flower, Michael & Wynn Jones, Raymond, One Hundred Years of Motoring, RAC, ASIN B00159N2JQ (1981)

Harmsworth, Sir Alfred, Motors and Motor Driving, Longmans, The Badminton Library, (1904)

Jakle, Prof. John, The Gas Station in America, John Hopkins University Press, ISBN-100801847230 (1994)

Pascal, Dominique, Stations Service, ETAI, ISBN 2-7268-8341-9 (1999)

Rolt, L. T. C., Motoring History, Dutton, ASIN B0010ZXCK4 (1964)

Russell, Tim, Fill 'er Up: The Great American Gas Station, Voyageur, ISBN-10 0760328714 (2007)

Ware, Michael, A Roadside Camera, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 6791 9 (1974)

Witzel, Michae
l, American Gas Station: History and Folklore of Gas Stations in America, MBI, ISBN-10 0760306494 (1998)

Opening Times:
Visible at all times but privately occupied

How To Find:
By road: Off B 3183, Heavitree Road


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