View Full Version : Chairman's Rant - October 2019

25-09-2019, 09:21
Chairman’s Rant – October 2019

Yep, it’s Yet More Thoughts Of Chairman Norm!

…and yes, I know it’s not October yet, but if all the car mags can release their October editions in August/September, why shouldn’t I follow a similar path?

So - Greetings once more, Stratossers and Similar Saddos!

Well, it seems my previous Rant back in July worked, and got a few of y’all talking and ruminating (I believe you can get that Gaviscon stuff to stop that these days) - so, having set the precedent, I might as well continue this occasional series with a further brain-dump. But first, a slight reprise on the subject of values and the New Order (remember them? I don’t) of buyers….

It seems, according to a few of the mags, that values of “classics” have fallen somewhat of late. No surprise there really – look in the back of any classic car mag and the number of old motors for sale at, frankly, ridiculous prices, is rather large. I’ve often wondered who’s buying them all – are there really so many people with such large wodges of the ole disposable to hand? Well maybe there aren’t. Or people are being a bit cautious, with Brexit, Boris, Donald, Iran, etc. etc. giving them the willies… I think it was all getting a bit overheated meself anyway. Take, for example, the MGB (sorry Richard…). Worthy old workhorse and pleasantly simple it might be, but well over £20K?? Or the far side of £60K for a Big Healey?? And E-Types over £100K (in several cases, well over)! That’s crackers – they weren’t that brilliant back in the day, and unless you’re buying one of those upgraded Eagle E-types or Frontline MG’s (don’t they also do flea drops for cats and dogs??), they ain’t got any better over the last 50 years (unlike me), and especially compared to modern tackle! Anyhow, what’s that got to do with Strat Rep prices, I hear you ask – and, er, actually, it doesn’t seem to have owt to do with them at all… a few of “our” cars have just sold at, or close to, the asking price, which was around what I suggested last time. Why haven’t S.R. prices (Stratos Reps, not toothpaste! - duh!) softened a bit, in line with classics? Well for one, they’re not actually “classics” per se; and for two, they’re so much cheaper than the real classics they’re emulating that they’re still bargains and value for money. Or that’s what I think.
The people who’re buying “our” cars seem to increasingly be the very people we discussed last time – people who don’t actually know much about the kit side of them, the massive variability in spec etc, but who see a shiny Stratos and want it NOW and so buy the thing. I don’t remember anyone coming on the forum and asking any opinions on any of the recently-sold ones with a view to buying – Robin (Longtimefan) posted he’d come across one of them at a classic car meet after it’d sold, and the new owner had never heard of us. So who’s giving these people advice on the car they’re buying? Taking along a ‘knowledgeable pal’ ain’t gonna cut the mustard….it’s not simply a matter of checking for worn wheel bearings, etc, is it? You need someone a bit more clued-up than that. Then again, if it’s just gonna sit in the garage and look pretty, doing maybe 20 miles a year to the MOT station and back, I guess it doesn’t matter – it only needs to have enough structural integrity for the suspension/slowly-rotting chassis to keep the rest of it off the deck and stand up to the occasional shock of a lard-arse like me attempting entry (just don’t go there, OK?). But if it’s going to be used a bit, there’s a danger the reality might not match the rose-tinted vision, and these wealthy people could well end up tarring all our cars with the same pretty mucky brush due to unreliability/breakdowns/inability to match (possibly unreasonable) expectations.
Therefore (here it comes...), I think it might be an idea for some sort of inspection service to be set up, that anyone, not just club members – and open to buyers AND sellers - can use to get an opinion (and maybe a rough value) on a car. I‘m thinking of a country-wide network of people who know what to look for in a S.R., who’d be willing to do the biz in return for petrol dosh plus something for their time…split the country into 4 or 5 areas with a couple of peeps in each. Obviously this’d be a chargeable activity, but it might give buyers and sellers a bit of certainty, and also add a bit of cred to our cars and club as a side-effect. OK, so the way things are at the mo, we’ve not been asked to provide such a service by anyone, but at least if the facility was there, then it’s deffo 'caveat emptor' if someone didn’t avail themselves of it and the shiny Strat they’d just bought turned out to be a pile of poo/not to match expectations. So what do we think? Good idea? Maybe needs a bit of tweaking? Total shite? As always, comments welcome…

And so, having stirred the pot a little, let’s get an even bigger spoon and stir it even more ;)

...cos I’m wondering, what’s this Club we’re in actually for?

Yeah, I know, the furtherance of the enjoyment and appreciation of that there motor that’s displayed on the club logo. Or that’s the “official” line. But in the 3 years I’ve been in this ‘ere club (is it only 3 years?? seems more like 30…), I keep seeing comments after events that all seem to say “where the feck is everyone” or similar (compared to the Good Old Days, which I guess must be a whole, what, 5 years ago? Dunno, wasn’t around.)
So, if the number of cars at events is falling (and I’ll let everyone off over the rather damp Northern Run in August, where you’d have been better off in a Vanguard-class nuclear sub), why is that? What do people actually wanna do with their cars? Cos whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to include driving them…
OK, so you’re never gonna get a truly massive turnout, what with some cars still under construction, some off the road being fixed, some people just not fancying a given event, but I don’t think it unreasonable to expect about 10 (ish) cars to turn up at a Do. But we’re only getting half that, if we’re lucky...WTF?? One of the things you buy a Stratos for is its looks, so why wouldn’t you want to parade those looks at every opportunity? You can’t have a Strat and be shy!! Or is there some dog-in-the-manger thing going on, where “it’s mine, mine I tell you...and no-one else will get to see it, mwahahahaaaa”?

Nah. I reckon it’s simply this: you’re all a bunch of anti-social gits :-P

Yeah, alright, I jest. Well...mostly. Cos if nobody wants to take their cars out for a drive or to go to an event (and, er, that’s the whole point of a car – to be driven!) then what’s the club for? Why are you in it? Is it simply a forum where people go to talk about their cars (and that can get old pretty quickly...you can only discuss the intricacies of the triple-phase thromble exterminator so often), is it some sort of extended Build Guide for those nailing one together, or is it for showing off and educating the public about what a wonderful thing you have (that nobody’s ever seen or ever will see, cos it won’t be going out, Q.E.D.)? In fact if that’s all it is, why not go a stage further and forget all the trouble and expense of buying/owning one, and let’s all simply rave online over our Virtual Strats...

Come on then, let’s hear it. Am I miles off-base here? Am I unfairly accusing people of...whatever? Are we (the Committee) doing this Club thing right – are we giving you what you want? If not, what DO you want? I accept that times change, people change, you can’t make anyone do summat they don’t want to, etc, so let’s have some feedback. And if I don’t get any, I’ll be proposing a motion at the next AGM (er, you ARE coming to that, aren’t you…??) that we change the name from the S.E.C. to the S.A.C. - the Stratos Apathy Club :-P

Not-Despairing-Cos-He-Doesn’t-Give-A-Stuff Norm :) :)

25-09-2019, 20:07
I joined this Club for proper punctuation, acceptable grammar, structured sentences, sensible paragraphs and some evidence of a vaguely coherent thought process being committed to paper. If you can't provide that, and on the evidence before me I recon even the Supreme Court would struggle to define the terms of reference wide enough to include the above... then I'm off!!

only kiddin ;)

25-09-2019, 20:58
Quick reply:

Insurance/purchase valuation service; Legal jeopardy?

Meeting attendance - are we out of kilter with other clubs? Is it just part of a trend nationwide?

Wossit for? major part of the website is the technical/build help aspect. Do we lose people after they've finished building?

25-09-2019, 21:00
If that's what you need Jim, PistonHeads is that way>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

25-09-2019, 21:39
Pistonheads: A place to be seen and not heard :)

Re the Insurance / Valuation thing: My Ultima has an agreed valuation with the insurer. The insurer wouldn't accept a valuation from the Ultima Factory. They insisted it was an independent valuation and, since I'm in the Ultima Owners Club (known to you and me as the Facebook Group for Ultima Owners) they said they would accept a valuation from me if it was supported by something from that group. That support was a screenshot of a short online FB discussion with me beginning with "hey, I need an agreed valuation for my GTR, I've proposed £X. Would you guys who know the car well and have seen it agree that was about right?.. and all my mates agreeing that this figure was more than reasonable and infact might be worth even more" Simples.

Re meets: We had an Ultima breakfast meet last month and 5 out of the 7 cars in the country turned up. That's over 70%. Bunch of sad gits tho :D

Re sales values: I don't think you can quibble if you get what you are asking for. I've yet to see a Stratos replica for sale where my first thought was, "Crikey, that's expensive" and it's more usually "Hmmm, I would have expected that to be asking a bit more" and that goes for the cars that have recently been up for sale and sold.

26-09-2019, 07:20
Chris - yep, the legal side had crossed my mind, but other car clubs offer this service so it must be doable. Is it because it just comes under the concept of "advice"? Are you not asking for a knowledgeable 2nd opinion, but as with anything to do with people, it might not be 100% perfect? Maybe you offer the service along the lines of "best endeavours"?

Valuation - well, I've actually been asked by a couple of people about providing that...as Jim says, it could be as simple as a few members giving an opinion. On the car, I mean, not the state of the planet :)

Meeting attendance...to be honest, it doesn't matter to me personally, cos people can do (or not do!) what they want. But the "where's everyone gone" comments after various do's got me wondering what's changed and what it is that folks want? And because of these low attendance numbers, maybe people DO disappear after a build? I'm just trying to find out, cos this club isn't just a website (I hope). I mean, the whole raison d'etre of a club is that it's a social thing!
What does concern me, though, is when someone puts a load of effort into organising something, and then just a few people turn up. Can be quite disheartening. Doesn't apply to my Northern Run events cos I boost the numbers with a few pals, but for something like Silverstone and Castle Combe where you need to provide actual Stratoses, it's tricky (none at all on the Northern Run this time, which I found highly amusing). Think it was 5 turned up to C.C. last week, just enough to meet the minimum stand number? We lost Curborough after last year, when I think there were only 2 cars, and some who said they were going didn't bother.

Jim - think you know very well what to expect from this club, especially in terms of immaculate prose...there ain't any! And you're deffo out of luck with committing it all to paper - unless you wanna print it off :) Oh, and you forgot "spelling", which is convenient cos the word is "reckon", hahaha!
I'm with you regarding PoisonHeads...sorry, Pistonheads. Great idea, unfortunately spoiled by egos. Hey, maybe I should join?? :) :)

By the way, are there really only 7 Ultimas in the country? How does the factory keep going??

26-09-2019, 07:35
Oops, forgot to endorse Jim's "sales values" comment - I'm thinking they're a bit on the low side still. But that's why I'm proposing something that might pull it all together so we're all singing off the same sheet...or the same song...or whatever the analogy is!

Phil's kicked the thing off with what he got for his car. Jim, do you know how much your helicoptering mate got for his, and would he mind you sharing that?

26-09-2019, 08:10
Phil's kicked the thing off with what he got for his car. Jim, do you know how much your helicoptering mate got for his, and would he mind you sharing that?

I'm pretty sure I pitched Phil's at a not too high or low price of £45k when we first discussed it in passing. It was just my opinion, 'nothing more.
It seemed to take long enough to sell at that. 'Nellie' might have gone for a little more, but how long does a seller want to wait, and how soon does the seller want to move on?

Norm, I think you might be missing the point with MGBs, E-Types etc.?
You're buying a 'look'. Of course the technology of old 1960s British sports cars is awful.
Being used to the high build quality of modern cars doesn't help.

26-09-2019, 08:31
Dear Chairman Norm
Re the setting up the a network of like minded people who could give an unbiased revue of a vehicle for people who have no clue what they are looking at is a good idea, However…
There are people out there who are absolutely clueless about Strato’s replica’s or even the history surrounding the original, but are prepared to spend vast amounts of money because “it looks a fantastic car and I want one”
If people choose to buy a car “blind” then that is their prerogative.
The chap who bought Nellie didn’t have a Scooby Doo regarding the type of kit, engine spec, brakes suspension etc… She was just an eye full of car to him. He did bring his father in law over with him who was a ex rally man and knew mechanically what to look for. But their familiarity of the Strato’s and it’s replica’s ended there. They were both really nice guy’s but I have a feeling that I could have got away with stretching the truth if I had the mind to !!
I also feel that there will be several cars “lost” to the club, Nellie being one of them, I have given Sylvain (the new owner) all the contact details I can and also extolled the virtues and benefits of our club, however as yet he has not joined. Maybe in the future ?
There does appear to have been several cars sold in recent years and disappeared from our club, but there’s the rub… not all people want to be a member of a club… any club.
Which leads on to our club, it has evolved into a “different” club to what it used to be when this dinosaur was one of it’s first members, my number was 6 (I think), back then when the industry was starting to turn out proper great looking replicas rather than “sheds on wheels”. The various manufacturers were selling Kits, whereas now more and more completed Cars are being sold. I went to my first club meeting just outside Doncaster and remember talking extensively to Geoff Turton who had finished his car immaculately, he had made all sorts of parts himself which was not included in the kit, his attention to detail was superb, again something which was not in the build manual but was achieved by extensive research, a proper engineer. There was more talk about a bracket for this, how does this go together, where did you find that, who sells this, etc because it was all fairly new to us all and we were all prepared to make things from scratch.
There were also more people competing in rallies, sprints and hillclimbs than there appears to be now. For a few years at Abingdon we had our own Strato’s category with up to 9 or 10 cars entered in the sprint and one year in total 21 cars attended, what a sight that was.
We have evolved into a different club with a different personality with a different type of member, so nowadays what do the members want?... personally time permitting I like to build, mend, make improvements to my cars, go on tours either weeks or weekends (now that I don’t compete anymore), I don’t go to as many shows to display my car as I used to as to me I have “been there and done that”, So for me personally things have changed over the years.
Whatever each individual want’s from the club I don’t know but the website is a very important focal point for us all.
Phil the Dinosaur

26-09-2019, 08:40
Ta Chris, this is why I'm wondering if we can get some sort of consensus. All prices are just an opinion...a guess :) But Phil got his £45K asking price so you have to wonder, how much would the buyer have gone up to? And of course, if you want a quick sale, you pitch it low...

I know what you're saying about the old tackle, but there's gotta be more to it than looks (or I'd never get any wimmin!). Unless they're just going to sit in a garage, you have to drive the things, and yeah, they're somewhat lacking in sophistication c/f new cars, but you accept that. I just think the "classics" have got overpriced, is all. Reason I mentioned MGs and Healeys is because they're supposed to be the "cheap" and "affordable" ones....

26-09-2019, 09:05
I just think the "classics" have got overpriced, is all.

You're right, but I think it's getting back to the, err, 'norm'.
I saw a nice Fiat Dino Coupe recently auctioned in the teens, when the dealers are still trying to get £40k.
It's mint 80s hot hatches that are going silly now.

26-09-2019, 09:18
Dear Dinosaur Phil,

Will we be seeing you in the next Jurassic World movie? Hope so...although you might now say "not on (in?) my Nellie" :) :)

All points taken and agreed. I have to ask the questions and rock the boat cos as Chairman, that's my job - to keep the boat afloat and heading in the direction the rest of the passengers want! If the world's changed and it's mainly about the Forum, that's great, cos it makes life much easier for the Committee having to do nowt/very little :) But a club is, by definition, a social organisation, and that means, for me, meeting and communicating, and not only on social media. And the cars are for driving! You can't beat the real-life experience, as you know, cos you hold your annual Garage Days and I can't remember seeing any sour faces at those...
I get that some don't want anything to do with clubs. I'm actually one of them...I initially joined as a fact-finding exercise and then realised that here, we don't have the usual "core Mafia" that you find in bigger outfits, who run the club for their own ends, and I was mightily gratified. I'm determined to keep it that way, friendly and open to all. That's why I need to gather opinions!

As for buyers of our cars, well, how they do business is their concern. I just don't want any negative fallout from a bad experience to impact on the club, so I'm floating the inspection/valuation idea - even if no-one ever uses it, we could point to it and say it was available.

Slightly off-topic, I remember Geoff Turton building his car back in the day, as I was doing my Allora. It made for quite a depressing feeling when I'd pop round to see how he was getting on, making all those bits, altering the chassis, etc. etc. cos there's no way I could do any of that (and I couldn't afford his replica inside door handles either). But then, he makes a living as a fabricator! It did contribute to my feeling of inadequacy regarding my car and why I was never truly happy with it, although looking back there was really no need to feel that way as I'd built it to the best of my abilities. And nothing ever fell off it and it never let me down!

Anyway, come on, everyone - all opinions welcome...remember, if you want something to happen, and you don't tell anyone, it probably won't :)

26-09-2019, 09:59
Chairman Norm
Stirred a little I see and some good and varied opinions.
On the point of valuation / Inspection service I think the principle is sound but application may be difficult. If we are selling then clearly highest price v time to achieve factor. If a buyer is naive enough to want one without researching then fair game and Caveat Emptor (same rules as any purchase) True benchmarking I guess can only come with sales figures but given low volume this may be unreliable, the current spike in sales may not be sustained. The variables to factor in are wide ranging and subjective in most areas Age and quality of initial kit components, Build quality, New v Reconditioned parts, current mechanical condition, Stradale, Gp4, Hybrid Bastard (mine) Replica or homage. Finally and most importantly emotionally rose tinted glasses. If it ticks the boxes I’m having it ��
A possible solution could be a buyers guide (One Pager) Overview of original Stratos, Simple narrative on SR manufacturers, The killer questions of why you want one and what do you intend to do with it. key points to look for and a median guide price based on a range of roadworthy kits (ie Manufacture, GP4, Stradale etc) then broadly define a variance of xx% either above or below this figure?

Meetings and usage. I have no idea how many SRs are out there built and roadworthy is this a factor? A number of new build should be on the road for next summer so hopefully swell numbers. I personally intend to use mine as much as practical once completed. I like the idea of road tours like the recent Lakes trip. A (group) trip into Europe is definitely on the cards and a smattering of track days, Garage days and of course attendance at club events.

See you Saturday Mr Chairman Sir

All the best

26-09-2019, 10:39
If we were to produce a Buyers Guide, would we sell it/only available to club members? It would need a prospective buyer to find us, while it seems vendors/purchasers usually don't involve us.

Insurers must surely be the ones who have a professional interest in correct valuation? I don't know how their knowledge / opinions could be accessed, but it might have more credibility than that of a man-with-a-spanner-in-a-shed-in-Nuneaton (as we were once infamously described)!

26-09-2019, 11:23
I agree. Which I guess brings us back to two points. Is there an issue that needs solving or is the point now mute having been explored? and club purpose. I am happy with the shared knowledge and experience coupled with the social side currently provided. I have visited and been visited by a number of current and future owners which has been a rewarding experience, allowing me to expand my knowledge and share ideas & learning with others, personally this is what a forum / club is all about. Plus a laugh and a beer! If, however, Norms point is club reputation and profile is there potential to hook up with a magazine to produce a generic guide kinda like the Practical Classics (buyers guides). No idea if they pay for such things. Just a thought.
All the best

26-09-2019, 12:07
Is there an issue to be solved...well I guess so, or maybe it's answers learned, as there've been "where is everyone"/"it's not like it used to be" in relation to car shows, etc. for a while. Maybe we won't/can't get more than we've got, cos the Hardcore Showgoers are all we have? In some ways the point will will always be moot as you can't change what peeps wanna do...! Early days for this topic yet though, so let's see what others come up with (oh look, tumbleweed :) )

The Buyers Guide idea's a good 'un, but as Chris says, the other challenge is getting it out there. I don't think anyone already in the club tends to look for a ready-built car so keeping it among ourselves is pointless. So maybe the whole inspection thing is a non-starter? Doesn't mean we shouldn't have a think about it tho.

I'm expecting to be pinned against Gordon's garage wall on Saturday now by various unsavoury characters buttonholing me and asking hard questions... you know the ones - "what's the difference between a duck", stuff like that :)

26-09-2019, 12:35
Re valuations this needs a certain amount of consideration to avoid legal comeback. Lancia Motor Club used to do this but in the increasing litigious environment hey have backed away. Same goes for inspections. Looking at the marketplace for Stratos replicas it is a minefield given the generations of types / build quality / registration date / Q plate etc. Not to mention what is going on in Europe.

Re club purpose - my main focus for this was social (meeting like minded) and second for "technical support" (again from like minded). We have convened a small group of us in the Suffolk area and we meet around once every 2 months. This has created a limited opportunity to share some motor event experience. I would like to do tours/weekend use of my car but so far this has not transpired as nothing like this happens south of Watford Gap. I am not minded to shows and static displays. Driving is what cars are for.

Regarding whether other clubs have problems with attending club events this has not been a problem in recent years for the Lancia Motor Club which regularly gets 50 cars at its AGM and the weekend events are sold out. (c20-30 cars driver plus navigator). It takes time to build the interest but it should be high on any car club agenda to do events.

Guy Mayers
26-09-2019, 13:32
I'm expecting to be pinned against Gordon's garage wall on Saturday now by various unsavoury characters buttonholing me and asking hard questions... you know the ones - "what's the difference between a duck", stuff like that :)

Sorry Norm - I won't be there to pin you against the wall as wedding plans are getting in the way. In answer to your question - one of it's legs it both the same.


26-09-2019, 16:35
Well Guy, I was right about the unsavoury characters, but maybe got the location wrong if you won't be there...;)

Didn't know you were getting married! Congrats! Or actually, will it be legal - cos you're already married to your Hawk...!

And yeah, smartar*se, one leg's both the same. So you'll know the answer to "why is a mouse when it spins" too?

Tim - understand your outlook. Maybe we can't do valuations/inspections for the reasons you list. I suppose if that's the case, all we can do is hope "the buyer" comes on here and asks avbout a given car?

I dunno what you can do about a driving event down your way, other than having a go at doing a small run (to start with) with a coupla peeps from your bi-monthly meet? I don't know that part of the country at all so anything I'd put together would be hopeless :)

26-09-2019, 16:51
Norm, as I think you have found the club means different things to different people. We will be a diverse bunch of; owners, want to be owners, builders, prospective builders and just onlookers. I was going to say voyeurs, but you would just get the wrong end of the stick......(leave it)
For me at this point of awaiting my chassis, but in the meantime rebuilding an Alfa engine and refurbishing parts, the benefit at the moment is the technical knowledge and build threads - which are really great. The secondary benefit is socialising and commarardarie.
We are, however, (I imagine) a busy and far flung bunch so get togethers are not always easy. That's why the various Forums are so popular.
It's really good that you are creating debate Norm and change is good, but not always easy.

26-09-2019, 17:08
Thanks Ade, vote of confidence appreciated! And yeah, it's hard to know what to do to keep everyone happy. Although that "voyeur" comment's given me an idea for the next AGM...hmmmm. We'd deffo need a bigger marquee to take every member plus pals... ;)

26-09-2019, 20:45
are there really only 7 Ultimas in the country? How does the factory keep going??

Well, remeber THE country is Scotland. There might be a couple of others somewhere but if so, they're not very active on Social Media or FB. The 7 of us are all in the FB group and all in a separate Wotsapp group for arranging random meet-ups and runs. It works well.


How does the factory keep going? Well, interestingly (perhaps) this ties in a wee bit with the cost / values thing in your rant(s). They do very well indeed!!

The new Ultima model, The Ultima RS, will cost circa £130k as a factory build, will set you back about £90-100k as a basic kit (depending on engine spec) and they have a 3 year waiting list for factory build cars. I think if you want a kit you should be about 12 months. Within a week or so of the public release of the RS they had 40 orders from all over the world (to be fair, the weak exchange rate is helping them) so it shows that there are enough dafties out there ready to hand over a fair chunk of dosh for a bespoke "kit / component" car.

When I say "£130k" I bet most folk are saying, "golly, that's a lot". But I doubt anyone looking to buy one would be bothered if it was £140k or £120k.

Second hand values of Ultimas are in a really good place. I said earlier that when I look at Stratos Replica asking prices I always think they are lower than I might have expected. Perhaps because I have an LB being built at the moment that's just wishful thinking from me but I'm not really doing mine to lose money. The second hand asking prices for Ultimas is really strong. There's never many for sale and there are always more folk wanting to buy one than there are cars for sale. I've never seen a "bargain" car being sold. Assuming you can afford it the quantum of money isn't really the issue. For Ultimas the barrier to entry isn't really the cost but whether you want a totally impractical, uncomfortable, compromised, selfish, road-legal track car or not. Good second hand earlier non-RS cars like mine at £60k/£70k/£80k (the engine fitted tends to determine the rough price bracket) can change hands without being advertised.

IMHO the Stratos replicas are on an even higher level. There's a history to the originals, the difference in cost between a replica and an original is such that they're not in the same ballpark. There's so much more to wanting a Stratos replica than simply wanting a fast car. However, anyone who sells at their asking price can't really complain.

... and breathe :)


26-09-2019, 20:47
Re Valuations - Great if we can find a way to do it - at least we could have a register of sale values and dates and pictures to support members in agreed value discussions?
Re Club Purpose - some combination of Social, Technical Support and re-manufactured parts in differing orders depending on my mood.

Drive outs are great if you have a finished car and are reasonably local but I don't think id go hundreds of miles for one. Was a member of a couple of other car type clubs and both had well attended annual rallies and one had a set of local meets but both had more active members than we do. As Tim has said we have a local meet going in Suffolk / North Essex which 3/4 of get to every other month or so for some lunch and a natter - seems to work for us and came together through this forum.... I guess its up to people to try things.


26-09-2019, 21:10
“why is a mouse when it spins"
Norm you got me with that one so had to look it up. “The higher the fewer”. Nonsense (jokes on me/ individual) or relates to counter weight on steam engines is the best I can find.
I guess sums up everything about banter, learning, joint interests etc.
Keep up the good work.

Neil (oh and looking forward to Sat)

27-09-2019, 07:45
Some good stuff being posted on all this, so Ta to all who've replied so far!

Peter - it may be that the best we can do regarding valuations is just have a spreadsheet on here, in the publicly-accessible part, with a car's main features (year, manufacturer, motor, LHD/RHD, body & dash style, wheels, etc. etc.) so people can make up their own minds how much to ask when selling, or how much to pay if buying. Might also help with insurance agreed values? As regarding inspections, having seen the responses/spoken to a few people, that idea might well be consigned to the Pit of Despond, i.e. the bin. It seems that people are being dazzled by cars and turn up looking ofr reasons to buy, rather than the other way round...oh well, at least the sales of rose-tinted specs must be on the up :)

You don't need a Strat to go on a drive-out, in fact on the Northern Run this year, if that'd been a condition of entry the whole thing woulda been cancelled :) There doesn't seem to be any appetite for one-day ones though, tried that, zero entries. So I organise a hotel for a two-night stopover, so people CAN make it from wherever they happen to live. And then it's not just the drive-out, it's the two nights of having a laugh, etc. which is great.
Area meets are again a great idea, if you've got a few peeps who're reasonably close together. Up to individuals to sort that out tho!

Jim - interesting stuff regarding Ultimas...I know they're high-end and proper stuff (ex-Lee Noble, aren't they, and used by Gordon Murray as mules when he was developing the McLaren F1) so I get why they hold their values. Interesting point about Stratos reps being perhaps even more desirable because of the heritage of their inspiration car, and so potentially being worth even more - hadn't thought of that. I think with "our" cars having been around for 30+ years, there's still a tendency for us to think of them as "merely" kit cars, and not the high-end items that some of them really are, which is how the Great Unwashed out there seem to be viewing them now.

Neil - correct answer, but you had to ask a friend (Google?), so nil points :) I first heard that one at school in a latin lesson...that's aged me, eh! See ya tomoz!

27-09-2019, 19:45
Jim - interesting stuff regarding Ultimas...I know they're high-end and proper stuff (ex-Lee Noble, aren't they, and used by Gordon Murray as mules when he was developing the McLaren F1) so I get why they hold their values. Interesting point about Stratos reps being perhaps even more desirable because of the heritage of their inspiration car, and so potentially being worth even more - hadn't thought of that. I think with "our" cars having been around for 30+ years, there's still a tendency for us to think of them as "merely" kit cars, and not the high-end items that some of them really are, which is how the Great Unwashed out there seem to be viewing them now.

The thing is tho Norm, that with Ultimas the secret is that it's all perceived value. It costs a lot for the kit because... err... the factory charges a lot for the kit. A factory build car costs an even bigger lot because... the factory charge a lot more to build it. They hold their values well as 2nd hand cars because.. err.. they cost a lot to buy and that in itself supports the value of 2nd hand cars. It doesn't matter what the new cost is at the moment because... there's enough folk wanting to order one than there are folk deciding it's too long to wait or it's too expensive.

To relate it back to Stratos replicas, perhaps the best thing that could happen on the 2nd hand market for current owners would be if they stopped making new ones or whacked the price up by £10k or more for new kits. My bold prediction is that the 1st LB listed in the classifieds of Pistonheads or the like at over £70k will have cost less than that to buy**

** won't be mine. I intend keeping it for a while but if £55/60k is becoming the new norm for what's out there at the moment then it's not a great leap to guess where the latest ones will end up when the time comes, albeit they will have cost a bit more to start with.

All IMHO of course

28-09-2019, 09:43
What can I say, other than "what you said" :)

Basically, the market's changed. And so have I - clean socks! - cos I'm off down to Gordon's in a few mins! :)

28-09-2019, 09:52
- clean socks! - cos I'm off down to Gordon's in a few mins! :)

Thank gawd for that!
See yas all there!

03-10-2019, 20:17
I suspect we don't get any turn-key purchasers coming here, it seems mainly a builders-and-tinkerers community. Do we come across as boiler-suits and put the 3-piece suits off?

Track days didn't exist back in the early days, and car shows were the main way to see other cars and get ideas/solutions, so we went to them. Now t'internet and this website in particular shrinks the timescales and provides good visual archives to consult when stuck. So in the flesh, we tend to be local car club active than SEC active?

Over the years we have evolved from the donor & scrapyard hobbyists to a much more professional approach, both the manufacturers as well as the builders. There is also, as I think has been mentioned, the fact its a nearly 50 year old car, and those who remember them in their competitive heyday are also, err, maturing, so the client base will also be changing.

The standard of builds and skills of builders appears to be changing - part of this is of course the access to tools and equipment that were unavailable to hobbyists in the past - many builders have MIG/TIGs, compressors, power tools, lifts, even 3-D printers - much more than the lump hammer, mole wrench and screwdriver that used to be our toolkit, not to mention the move from lock-up to manshed. What a difference even LED lights and headtorches have made!
It's going to be interesting to see how we manage the change to electric cars; long may we evade the need for airbags and complex electronics that make the IVA a walk in the park.

03-10-2019, 22:03
I was a "turn-key purchaser" but down to lack of free time, not lack of ability (professional mechanical engineer in aerospace and defence industry) so I really enjoy reading the technical discussion.
I wanted a driveable car I could modify and tinker with rather than a pile of bits that would sit in my garage for 5 or more years without turning a wheel. My workshop is pretty well equipped - lathe, vertical miller, 3D-printer etc. I wear a suit to work, but not 3 piece. Hopefully when I start ramping down my work hours I'll be able to get me and my car to more events.

03-10-2019, 22:07
Think you're right, Chris, the turnkey-ers and those buying 2nd-hand aren't coming here. Funny really, cos you can bet a goodly number will have joined TIPEC or Porsche Club GB when they bought their 911s!

I don't think it's anything related to image - I think they simply don't know about us! Face it, as a club, we're tiny. Lancia Motor Club's got 4.5K members, we've got about 150. Think I'm gonna start going to events with an opened SEC umbrella to try and raise awareness, even if it's not raining :)

However. Further to how we're perceived by Those Out There, I received a message last week from someone about this very thing, and it made for very uncomfortable reading, cos we didn't come out well in it. I'm still ruminating about how to address the issue he raised and present it to the members...I think it's gonna warrant a separate topic, so watch out for it soon...

03-10-2019, 22:25
Oi... I'm a turnkey-er.
Infact, you don't really get much less "tinkering in a shed" than moi.

Building your own car is a geeky thing. There's only so many geeks to go round. I think you can get a bit anal about why folk are here or not. I just come on to follow the build threads and look at the pictures and see if it inspires any thoughts about mine. It's worked well for me in that regard. Thanks to Norm I've decided to put carpet in my garage. ;)

03-10-2019, 22:33
OK, so you and Graham (further above) are the exceptions to the rule...which possibly makes you even geekier than us...? But you get the gist, most peeps who buy turnkey - either new or used - don't bother/know about us. Suppose it could be considered anal in a way, but as Chairman I need to know what people are here for, what they want from the club, are we doing OK as is or...? ….and then ignore them :) :)

03-10-2019, 22:46
One of my other hobbies (I only work 8hrs / week so have lots of time for hobbies) is flying microlight aircraft. It's another fairly niche thing. There is a similar issue about trying to drive folk towards the various clubs. Previously Forums were central to things but nowadays everything is on Facebook. Now, in general terms folk who can afford to go flying or own aircraft tend to be a bit older so any mention of Facebook tends to get a bit of a frown or an "oh, I don't do Facebook" but it is where it's at these days.

Facebook is crap for things like build threads and proper content because it's all transient and not the best for searching. But .. there's lots of activity, lots of photos, lots of banter, lots of impromptu meets and sharing of info. I just checked and there's 7,426 members in the group which is about 7000 more than the number of pilots. Perhaps a more active Facebook presence for the club is needed. (maybe not tho.. just a thought)

03-10-2019, 23:35
We moved seamlessly (although with a bit of trepidation and worry) from the paper occasional newsletter to cd versions of it to the forum, which is just soooooo much more useful/flexible/ instant gratification, a whole phase shift. I can't see Faceache taking over in the same way for the reasons you mentioned.

03-10-2019, 23:59
Yup, and the former chairman of Thomas Cook said folk would never book their own holidays online without going into a high street shop and speaking to a real person.

The Ultima Forum section on Pistonheads was the font of all knowledge and THE place for information exchange for owners, builders and wannabes for yonks. Now it’s tumbleweed and dust with one post every month. Facebook tells me that just today there was 32 new posts, 7 photos and 2 videos in the last 24 hrs in one of the FB Ultima owners groups.

Anyhow, I’m not pushing for a shift to Facebook and don’t really care how many folk are here or why. It will never work for build threads anyhow. But like it or not, it has moved smaller forums into the dark ages.

04-10-2019, 21:20
We do already have a FB presence...I personally gave up on FB yonks back cos I find it too shallow/boring/unnecessary. But that doesn't stop me having a quick shuftie without signing in to see who's posted what, so I can keep up with stuff. Far as I can see, the Forum and FB do two different jobs, so room for the both of them.

For what it's worth - I'm happy with things the way they are, with a couple of runs and a few garage days every year, plus the AGM. I'd probably also pop along to a local meet, if there was one in this area, and I think the forum is a great way for a diverse bunch of peeps to stay in touch. So if everyone else is happy, that'll do me - job done :)

05-10-2019, 06:53
Think you're right, Chris, the turnkey-ers and those buying 2nd-hand aren't coming here. Funny really, cos you can bet a goodly number will have joined TIPEC or Porsche Club GB when they bought their 911s!

I don't think it's anything related to image - I think they simply don't know about us! Face it, as a club, we're tiny. Lancia Motor Club's got 4.5K members, we've got about 150. Think I'm gonna start going to events with an opened SEC umbrella to try and raise awareness, even if it's not raining :)

However. Further to how we're perceived by Those Out There, I received a message last week from someone about this very thing, and it made for very uncomfortable reading, cos we didn't come out well in it. I'm still ruminating about how to address the issue he raised and present it to the members...I think it's gonna warrant a separate topic, so watch out for it soon...Correction: Lancia Motor Club has (only) 1250 members and is still the biggest Lancia Club in the world.

05-10-2019, 12:00
I would be concerned that we would loose all control and data retention etc if we moved over to facebook (which I should say I dont use). I imagine these things evolve by themselves to some extent but we should remember the loss of the supersite and learn from that.