RREC Central Southern Section
Past Events

Saturday 12 April 2003

This was the surprise event mentioned in the draft programme at the AGM last December and it was planned for Friday 7 March 2003. The response to the flyer was enormous and soon exceeded our maximum of one hundred and fifty members. This put sixteen members on the reserve list.

At a meeting with the Rolls-Royce Marketing Event Management Team in late January it was agreed to change the date to 12 April when more parking space would be available for our visit (being a Saturday there would not be as many Associates' cars on site). When the new date was advised to those members who had booked around sixteen could not make the new date, thus all those on the reserve list were accommodated.

The morning of Saturday the 12th was bright and dry with a fresh breeze. Entry to the Plant in the short term is via the Goods entrance off Stane Street, Westhampnett. By 10am around sixty-four Club cars had parked up and we made our way on foot through the inner site fencing and into one of the new buildings guided/escorted by the site security. Inside countless members of the company greeted us with great friendliness and directed us into the 'hand-over' area where coffee and biscuits were served to all.

We were firstly welcomed by Axel Oesterling (affectionately known as Front Axle) the Marketing Director, who thanked the Section for its support to Project Rolls-Royce over the last two years. Howard Mosher, the Sales and Marketing Director, also warmly welcomed us saying that the new company had achieved many 'firsts' and how pleased he was with the visit by the 'Home Section' which was one of these 'firsts'.

Making use of the Section membership cards (which were colour coded and validated for the day) we divided into groups of about twenty-five and received our head phones. Each group had a guide giving a running commentary as we made our way around the Plant from the point of delivery of the aluminium spaceframes to the finished motor cars. In addition we were given an insight into the background, techniques and processes by specialists from the paint, wood, leather, drive train and management systems departments.

During 2001/2 priority was given to construction of the buildings with the result that, the first of the Phantoms was being built in less than twelve months from when sheep were grazing on this part of the Goodwood estate. We were taken outside to see work progressing on the administration building, the entrance Courtyard and some of the landscaping. The new main entrance and drive will be from a new roundabout at the junction of two local lanes. The Drive will weave past ornamental lakes (which conserve and distribute rainwater for some of the processes), and some of the grass bunds (being planted with around four hundred thousand trees and shrubs). As one approached the Courtyard entrance, flanked on three sides by glass fronted buildings, the design is such that you do not actually see a roof to any of the buildings. The roofs, when seen from other directions, are covered with sedum, which grows and changes colour with the seasons. This living roof covering is designed to make the Plant blend into the countryside and not be the usual industrial blot.

After our tours we returned to the 'hand-over' area to enjoy a really splendid and plentiful buffet. The visit ended with an expression of thanks from ourselves to the company and especially Axel and Howard, and also to Tony Maybury and Baerbel Krebs from the Event Team.

Ted Meachem - Section Secretary

RREC at RR Plant
RR Plant   New RR Phantom
One hundred and fifty members and guests in about sixty-four cars visited the new Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant. While we enjoyed an interesting guided tour of the Plant some company staff took the opportunity to view our club cars.   Photos: Ian Burt