RREC Central Southern Section

Held at Hunt House, Paulerspury, 23-24 March 2002

The Ombudsman Richard Shaw begged people to properly test cars before buying, preferably with an expert. Especially Shadows.

Crewe Departure of R-R from Crewe, the split comes at 31 December 2002. (Two short-sleeved personnel came down to tell us.) Continued support of old cars. PR focus on work people, they stay at Crewe. In September, to mark the end, a Families' Day and celebration wake. Everything marked R-R has to go. Even the logo on the water tower! Big job, all the way down to stationery. Crewe reckons the Heritage has been saved. The actual factory building will look better than ever before with the Art Deco grandeur fully picked out. There will be a roll-out of new Bentley corporate identity, going back to pre-1931. Each dealer celebrating last R-R car. Aftercare will be the same dealer as before for the older cars. National Drive to hand over marque - Historic Display at NEC Show, supporting Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' anniversary. There will be a Group Heritage Museum and structure. R-REC probably involved. Workforce certainly will be, i.e. Paint Shop sign will go to one of the painters, etc.

The Cars at Crewe Silver Ghost, Phantom V, Centenary Spur and last coach-built Corniche will be joined by last true R-Rs made at Crewe and will remain as part of VW heritage, i.e. may well go to Germany for most of the year. They will be 'lent' to UK. Parts will be continued to be made at Crewe, but since 'R-R' cannot be used they will be 'Crewe Genuine' parts. Boxes of spares will now be black (mostly) and white with 'Made in Crewe' and 'Crewe Genuine' all over. Crewe working closely with BDC but perhaps on more occasions with R-REC. Possibly use of R-R memorabilia in local museum, library, NSPCC home, or indeed inside Crewe factory. Remember that everyone in Crewe town is connected to someone who has or does work at Royce. R-REC probably has more Bentleys than BDC (some say twice as many). Crewe has 139,000 part numbers and 53,000 items in stock. Some quantities of parts are moving slowly, such that it will take 500 years to use them up. Some of these will be sold off cheaply. R-R logo on spares very difficult. Who owns? Who owns tools which make them? Parts and files are, sadly, 'leaking' out of factory. Some appearing on the Web. However, the turnover should be better than 1971.

Charles Tabor - Finance of Club We spent £100,000 in 2001 on computing records (mostly engineering drawings). Another £100,000 in 2002. Our Halon file system is no longer allowed. Replacement with new, though sadly less efficient system, will cost another £100,000. At present £600,000 available. However, trading loss last year was £13,700. This could be put right by £3 on the annual subscription, but Annual Rally sponsorship also lost (£11,000) - only new one so far is for £3,000. The 15hp car, owned in trust by Royal Scottish Automobile Club, is in poor state. P&A Wood will put it on the road for £20,000 from R-REC and £3,000 from them, providing we can tie up the legal situation re car coming to club events (i.e. currently Trust only allows display in Scotland).

Axel Urstelling - Project Rolls-Royce
Overview - Definitely different to BMW. English engineers have been helping, i.e. Michael Dunn helped re low revs high torque engine. John Blatchley helped re design of bodywork.
Design and Engineering - Competence sharing - not parts sharing. Aluminium space frame. Winter tests completed on test cars. 'Waftability' being aimed for.
R-R at Goodwood - 2003 opening. 300 workforce there. Tony Gott leading. 400 eventually. Green roof of 350,000 square feet (yes feet!). (Axel is thinking of starting sheep!) Ambience correct, close to London, ferry ports, airports and test track.
Distribution - 'Best solution in town' for dealers. Some chosen for ability rather than selling cars previously. Completed in UK, Europe and Asia. US almost completed.
Club Relationship - Strong with R-REC and R-ROC. Strongest brand in world due to Clubs. Club Chairman spoke at Annual Business Meeting. Link established on website. US wish to be involved in Dealer network with older cars. Firm will be involved in celebration of Centenary in 2004.
Summing Up - Nine months to go (from March). Testing of new cars almost complete. New home up to date. Dealer network will be ready. Relationship with Clubs well started. Clubs' passion, effort and guidance much appreciated.

Syndicate Decisions at Club Conference
1. Subscriptions up £3 or £5.
2. 15hp car to be supported if legal problems solved.
3. Club Conference to continue as is.
4. Status quo re election of Management Committee and Chairman (change just under one per year average over last twenty years).
5. Sections not to be divided into Chapters.
6. Club to accept all new R-R and Bentley cars.
7. Section news for Bulletin should have more history of cars, especially those photographed.
8. Control over websites (Section and Register) not really necessary, but Webmaster needed for main R-REC website.

Interesting Statistic About 10% of members will support whatever event. Certainly true for CSS.

In Conclusion A useful exercise made pleasant by the social side and meeting of old friends and like minds.

Dick Lees - Spares & Technical Officer