Car repair shops often can be specialty shops specializing in certain parts such as brakes, mufflers, transmissions, body parts, tires and automobile electrification. Examples include MAACO and AAMCO. There are also independently-owned specialists who only work on certain brands of vehicles.
In Coventry, a garage does not typically specialize in one area of the vehicle. Instead, they tend to repair all mechanical and servicing requirements, the only specialty being body repair and painting.
Those Coventry homes that have a garage have a single or double garage either built into the main building (thus subtracting from the living area), detached within the grounds, often the back garden, or in a communal block. As the typical size of a family car has increased significantly over the past thirty years some garages can no longer be comfortably used to park a car and increasingly the garage is used as a general storage space.
The common term for these structures in the first decades of the Twentieth Century was motor house. Traditionally, garage doors were wooden, opening either as two leaves or sliding horizontally. Newer garages were fitted with metal up-and-over doors. Increasingly, in new homes, such doors are electrically operated.
In Coventry and traditionally a small British single garage is 8 by 16 feet (2.4 × 4.9 m), a medium is 9 by 18 feet (2.7 × 5.5 m), and a large single garage is 10 by 20 feet (3.0 × 6.1 m). Family saloons are bigger on average than was the case 3 years ago, so the larger size is now preferred. A typical large family car like the Ford Mondeo is about 15 by 6 feet (4.6 × 1.8 m), so even with the larger size garage it is necessary to park to one side to be able to open the driver's door wide enough to get into it.
The genesis of the garage occurred when Henry Ford invented the Quadracycle in 1896 in his coal shed. Doors in the shed weren't large enough to allow Ford to remove his new invention and give it a test drive. So he pounded an opening in the brick wall large enough to escape the confines of the dusty shed and motored down the lane. Little did he know that he was inadvertently inventing the garage. Since then, the garage has played the role of incubator for other American entrepreneurs for more than 100 years.
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