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View Full Version : Chairman's (Christmas) Rant - December 2019



Normb666
12-12-2019, 23:26
Now Then, Peeps – seeing as 2019 is drawing to a close, I thoughtit’d be a good time for yet more Words of Wisdom (or whatever youwant to call them) from your Fave (OK, only) Chairman, and so… it’sa new Chairman’s (Xmas) Rant (with no Christmassy stuff in it) :)


Dunno that “rant” is actually the correct word, to be honest, costhings haven’t been particularly fraught or vexing of late, butthat’s what we started with, so that’s how we’ll continue….suppose it’s more of a brain dump than anything...Iknow, I know, “what brain”...


Where to start? Oh I know – that good old topic, values (yes, Iknow I’ve already done it to death, but there’s something to add, plus comment on the already-predicted changes in buyer profile).
I was thinking about the “new buyer” of our cars, and how they’re coming at buying a Stratos “replica”. See, us on here know all about the different kits that were available over the years, and each one’s strengths and failings, and the various options that could be specified; plus, we’re aware that the individualistic nature of their builders means it’s unlikely that any two will be alike. But those new buyers/speculators/collectors know nothing of any of this. They know they want a Stratos, they’ve got their heads round the fact that a replica doesn’t mean “inferior” any more, and they’re looking to buy in the same way they’d approach, say, a 911 Turbo or whatever. Which is to say, the basic car is always the same, and all that’s different are maybe one or two engine options, colours, trim, etc. etc. But you can’t buy a Stratos rep like that. For starters, you have to consider the engine fitted – twin cam, Alfa V6, Toyota, etc. And then there are all the different flavours of those. And that’s before you’ve started on stuff like brakes, trim, build quality, etc….I’m amazed they all end up looking vaguely alike, thinking about it.
So if it was one of us, we’d be asking all those questions and weighing it all up, but Those From Outside will just be making a decision based on what they can see – so if it’s shiny, clean, and has the right wheels and interior, they’ll have it. They likely won’t care who built it or what make of kit it is, and just go for it if it fits their idea of what a Stratos should be…. Or have I got this all wrong? Do you think these people are more clued up than I’m giving them credit for? For sale at the mo is a Corse on Car & Classic at £40K in a rather unflattering (to my eyes) rally livery, with a rather in-yer-face all-blue interior. It does have all the rallying kit though, plus an MSA certificate, which might make a difference if someone wants to do a bit of competition. And then, as a contrast, there’s Gordon Caro’s stunning red LB Stradale in the For Sale section of this very forum, at £69K, which I reckon is a steal – it’s nigh-on perfect and must be a bargain, especially considering the current wait for a turnkey car. In the middle is Tim Heath's lovely old Hawk at £55K. For me, the Corse is a bit too steep; the LB a bit too cheap; Tim's about right for a sorted car. But, the market will decide, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens…


Now, something else I’ve been mulling over – the AGM (gasps fromthe audience).


See, I’ve been having a think about upcoming (but probably not nextyear’s) AGMs, and when/where they should be. Apparently it’s upto the Chairman to set a date and location, but I thought I’d canvass your views/opinions and get a debate going, to inform any future decision.


So what am I on about, you’re asking – what’s wrong with the usual Stoneleigh venue? Well, nowt in and of itself, but there’ve been mutterings regarding the suitability and future of the place for a few years now. Fewer manufacturers, fewer car clubs, fewer attendees, all make for a general feeling of impending doom, plus it could be affected by the HS2 project at some point, which’ll pu tthe kibosh on it for sure! It’s all shaping up to mean we‘ll need to look at an alternative venue sooner or later, but with a couple of interesting things happening next year, maybe it’s a good time to begin ruminations.


First off, let me put your minds at ease and say that without some sort of overwhelming reason, I’m inclined to stick with Stoneleigh this time around. Despite any shortcomings, it’s a known quantity and about as central as you can get, and anyway people don’t like change – if nothing else, it can make a big hole in your pocket(loose change...pockets… ahh, forget it). But, we’ve got a couple of other kit car shows happening in 2020. There’s the second running of Kitfest at Santa Pod in June, and then the resurrection of the Newark show in July. Both of these are worth consideration going forward.


I went to Kitfest this year and to be honest, I wasn’t taken with it. Nice idea, great to see people using the Santa Pod strip, but what a godforsaken place. And there didn’t seem to be any organisation – there were scatterings of cars in the fields and unknown clumps of them on the hard standings near the strip. I hadn’t a clue who was who and what was going on. It took me the best part of 2 hours to find Carol and John in their motorhome, even with the SEC banners (didn’t help that there were no Strats there – the few that attended were near the strip). But I cut the organisers some slack as it was their first event – maybe the next one will be better, but good place for an AGM? Nah…not yet, anyway, and probably never… I dunno, the whole thing felt like a staging area for the next Mad Max film 


Newark is an unknown. Although kit car shows have been held there in the past, no-one knows how this new iteration will pan out. I reckon there’ll be a reasonable number of the paying public going along, simply cos it’s another show to satisfy their self-build urges, but it all depends on how many manufacturers they can tempt along and what else is happening. AGM-suitable? Well, central location, close to major roads, right next to a town, got all the amenities too, so a definite maybe for 2021. Let’s see how the first event goes. What concerns me is that it might end up splitting the manufacturers – some might forsake Stoneleigh and go to Newark instead, rather than as well as, and with there not being that many manufacturers anyway compared to the Good Ole Days, it could end up with both shows being a bit sparse and peeps will stay away in droves.


All of which brings me to a new proposition. What with the rising status of our cars as desirable objects in their own right, the “kitcar” stigma they used to have has disappeared. Therefore, in line with that, maybe it’s time we moved away from kit car shows for our AGM? No reason we still can’t have a club stand at any of them, same as at Silverstone or wherever, but I’m thinking that for what it costs to hire the marquee etc. (about £570 + VAT this year), we could just as easily hold an AGM at a decent hotel somewhere…we’d have a proper room to hold the meeting in, with Regalia on sale/display either in the room or maybe the foyer, and obviously there’d be food and drink available on demand. We could even cater for people travelling a long way, with B&B if required, and that means we’re not necessarily stuck with holding it in the “central belt” of Britain. OK, I know there’d be no “show” to go and mooch round, and no cornucopia of good and bad cars to goggle/ogle at, but as I said, there’s no reason we still couldn’t have a club pitch at shows if people want that. And if we chose the right hotel, in the right location – say, Portmeirion, maybe? - that’d make for a good day out, surely?


Or, what about this – we run a joint AGM/Track Day? Could we jump in with some other track event and hire/use the briefing room for an hour or so for our AGM? Or even take the place over for our own use, if the price was right? (You wouldn’t have to come along in, or have to have, a Stratos to participate). Would anyone fancy coming along to that?


So what do we think? Pros? Cons? Do we stay with Stoneleigh this year, and investigate the hotel/track day idea for the future, or are we all committed to having the AGM at shows every time? Or, do we bite the bullet, and give an alternative a go in 2020?


Your views appreciated, ta!


One other thing before I go: the Northern Drive-Out for 2020. After last year’s superb bring-a-boat event, I said I’d re-run the same route again next year, so people might get a look at the scenery rather than the liquid stair-rods and small lakes in awkward places (I.e, the road) that made it so...err...wet.
However. After a bit of thought, I decided that staying at the same hotel 3 years on the trot was a bit much - so I’m going to try and put together a new route and location next time, and do the Kielder run again in 2021 or 22. If what I’m thinking of comes off, it’llbe a bit further north than before, and a bit shorter too, with more stop-off places, and a generally more relaxed air. Should still be spectacular, but I’m not saying anything else at this point cos I have to sort the hotel….but watch for news shortly!!


Right, let the multitudes speak…


….and oh, alright, to all SEC members around the world – Merry Happy New Christmas Year! (or whatever nomenclature does the biz for ya!)


Chairman Norm

Normb666
12-12-2019, 23:39
Just in case you've read the above and noticed a few words sliding into each other - it wasn't like that when I composed it! And despite me editing the thing, it's still the same, so apols if it's a bit difficult to read in places,,,but I'm sure you'll get the gist :)

Longtimefan
13-12-2019, 13:42
Bl----y ell Norm, I've had to cut -n-paste and print it out with more space between the lines, it has taken 4 pages.

I shall take it to bed this evening, it will be an alternative to watching the election results of last night.!!!

renmure
13-12-2019, 14:52
I vote fore paragraphs and punctuation but mostly four punctuation and some comas but only when there in the rite plaice and splitted up with mohr para grafs and other stuff’


:p

Normb666
13-12-2019, 15:23
Well Robin, you can't complain you don't get value for money from me. Especially considering I get paid nowt :)

Jim...dunno why the forum software mighta formatted my scintillating prose in that way. Obviously I laid it out in a Word doc first, then cut and pasted it into here. Even after editing it here and getting it right, it's not done the biz. Think it might be because I did it in English and not Scottish? Do I need a special SNP version now? Haha!
As for comas...I'm sure we can organise one of those for ya. Or did you mean Eric? :)

Stratos Fear
13-12-2019, 17:48
Norm

Responding to your latest thoughts on future AGM's (I agree with what you say about car values) herewith my two pennorth :
Kitfest at Santa Pod was a bit desolate and the ex-airfield windswept and not exactly picuresque, so I agree not ideal. Stoneleigh is OK and for me, central in England and do-able , there and back in a day from the South Coast but OK for 2020. I don't know about Newark - I'm sure ideal for the LB factory folk but a long haul for me - as would be anything further North. I quite like the idea of hiring/sharing track space for a Track Day with other clubs if we can use a clubhouse for the AGM. If we do this it would be really good to find somewhere that is an attractive location - and this probably would not be a disused RAF airfield. Hill-climb locations may be possible - Shelsey Walsh or Prescott? but presumably you would have to tie-in with a planned event?
Just some thoughts !

P

shakey5
14-12-2019, 09:31
I'd second Prescott. Lovely location and hotels etc not too far away. Plus my parents live in the next village! 😁

Regarding values, like everything, the worth is only what people are willing to pay. I've been wanting a Stratos for 30+ years but unfortunately life (and divorce) has got in the way. The current Mrs S knows that as soon as I have a spare £50k I'll be on the phone to Craig, but she does counter with "you could get a nice Porsche for that!". And I think that is what will suppress the values - the choices you have when you venture into that price range.

Normb666
14-12-2019, 12:04
Regarding the points above on AGM locations - I'm not advocating always having them in one place. So some years it might be further north, some years further south. That way you might get some who couldn't make it one year, but could the next. Anyway it all needs lots of thought and research, which is why I'm not advocating it for 2020, being essentially a lazy g*t :)

Shakey Mike, I know what you're saying about alternatives, but I don't think someone who's looking at a Stratos rep would be really considering a Porsche instead, unless there was some sort of definite no-go reason you COULDN'T have the Strat - age restricting entry/exit, for example, in which case it isn't even on the agenda. It's exactly the same argument I came across 40 years ago when I bought a Laverda Jota (expensive exotic Italian motorbike, for those who don't know). People found out what I'd paid for it, and said "you could have bought a good car for that!" They were right, but they'd totally missed the point - I didn't want a good car, I wanted that bike...if you want a Stratos, that's what you want. Nothing else will do. Anyway, I'm a spoiled brat now - got a Jota, got a Porsche, got most of a Stratos :)
So I don't think values will be suppressed by alternatives, cos there aren't any, other than "Hawk or LB"... I think, if you want a LB, then sod it all and get your order in, or buy Gordon's. They're not gonna get any cheaper, and the longer you wait, the more they'll cost, and then you'll never have one. Even if you have to take out a loan for some of it, it's a good place to put your dosh? And surely, you wouldn't want to get to 80 and be saying "if only..."

renmure
14-12-2019, 19:53
I doubt too many folk will be deliberating between a £50k Porsche or an STR. I don't think it will be too long before the entry cost to buy a top quality replica will be such that the buyers will likely be driving the likes of Porsche SUVs as daily drivers anyhow. I'm not saying that's a good thing but the reality of it is that buying, eg, a quality LB STR is just like taking money from the bank and turning it into a car. The demand seems such that you can always turn it back into a similar level of money when you want by selling it again. I don't think you need to factor depreciation as a major ownership cost.

Porsche built 268,691 cars last year. More relevantly they built 23,660 Boxster and Cayman types in 2018 and plan to make more this year. Other than the entry fee it's not exactly an exclusive club to join and the biggest chunk of ownership cost will be depreciation. That's the same whether you buy a new one or a used one.

Gordon's car is the first quality LB STR that I've seen for sale over the years where my first thought wasn't "Hmmm, that's quite cheap for what it is." Obviously the proof will be in the (Christmas) Pudding and if it's still for sale this time next year then I reserve the right to do a reverse-ferret and change my mind ... but I doubt it will be needed.

AGM's ... hmmm... I like the idea of them moving around. Anywhere between Gretna and John o' Groats will be suitable. :D

Normb666
14-12-2019, 20:37
In some ways it is indeed unfortunate that the cost of a good Strat rep is heading the way they are. But this is what happens when the market wakes up and twigs what's been there for a while, staring it in the face, and suddenly everyone wants one. When I first went to LB on a fact-finding mission before I put my order in, I said to Craig, "Funny, but I'd have thought everyone who wanted a Strat would have one by now". Errr...wrong...!!
Interesting (daft) comment along these lines on the SEC FB page, where someone's posted the ad for Gordon's car - the comment on the advert is, "That's far too much to ask for a fibreglass replica, need to knock £20K off to make it attractive". I wonder if he thinks the same about genuine ones and they should be £150K cheaper... haha, how'd ya think the real ones got to their current lofty heights in the 1st place? Because people realised what they were, wanted one, and were prepared to pay what it took to acquire one. Same process is happening with reps, and I think it won't be long before we see £100K for a good one. And then, that'll be another motor out of the reach of most peeps....'twas ever thus.

As for the AGM: nowt wrong in principle with holding one in Scotland (assuming the SNP doesn't stir up the natives to repel all incomers, unless they can prove they'll be doing the NC500), but how many attendees would we get? At the end of the day it's an AGM for all the members to attend, so it behoves the committee to try and arrange things so as many as poss can get there. Without having to bring wellies to stand in a bog. (I'm kidding.)
I'll be interested to see how many get to Chris' garage day near Melrose...I'm hoping quite a few!

Guy Mayers
14-12-2019, 23:28
Here's a thought. How about considering an AGM venue that co-incides with the UK Lancia Motor Clubs AGM? That's in July in Oxfordshire at the Belfry Hotel. I'm sure that they'd have a room we could use and we'd be amongst some like minded people?

Of course this would need be discussed by someone with links to the Lancia Motor Club if the idea appeals to us - step forward Tim Heath?

Just an idea!

Stratos Fear
15-12-2019, 13:00
I know the Belfry well - we used to have management training days there many years ago - not a bad venue and a central location . That would get my vote !

renmure
15-12-2019, 17:33
I'll be interested to see how many get to Chris' garage day near Melrose...I'm hoping quite a few!

Hopefully indeed.

Nippy Nicola and the SNP aren't really my cup of tea but I'd probably agree with her if she were to point out that Oxfordshire could only be loosely described as fairly central tho ;)

Lancialulu
15-12-2019, 18:13
Here's a thought. How about considering an AGM venue that co-incides with the UK Lancia Motor Clubs AGM? That's in July in Oxfordshire at the Belfry Hotel. I'm sure that they'd have a room we could use and we'd be amongst some like minded people?

Of course this would need be discussed by someone with links to the Lancia Motor Club if the idea appeals to us - step forward Tim Heath?

Just an idea!

Happy to put something to the LMC AGM organising committee, but suspect it wont go far. The LMC have a whole weekend from Friday to Sunday with Sunday also open to day trippers for AGM itself and the concours.

If Norm would like to suggest what the SEC had in mind I could put it to the LMC.... Dont think LMC is that sniffy about replicas as my car won the Stratos 037 category 3 years ago (well it was on its own but....).

Normb666
15-12-2019, 19:29
Ya know, Guy, that's actually not a bad idea. Tim, can you just float it past the relevant LMC peeps and see what they say, in a sort of fact-finding kinda way? All we'd be looking to do is turn up for one of the days and use the (or a) room for a couple of hours max. They'd get to see some Strat reps, we'd get to see some nice Lancias, and contribute to the cost of hiring the place a bit. I'm still minded to do Stoneleigh again for 2020, but you never know....and going forward....!

Bernard
16-12-2019, 08:08
Didn't we have an affiliation with Club Lancia Sport at one point ??...it seemed to fade away and I don't know wether or not they are still around.... JP Lihou was the chairman.

I do like the idea of having our AGM at the LMC weekend if they are up for it.

Lancialulu
16-12-2019, 12:36
Norm

thats not much of a proposal.... I think you should say Sec agm meeting will be on the Saturday so no muddling the two. And did you want rooming at the hotel, and a few places for the gala dinner. I am only mentioning this to get a feel for Sec v LMC activities. The is generally a 50-100 mile tour on Saturday..... this will help me answer these types of questions coming back. Tim

ChrisC
16-12-2019, 13:10
Here's a thought. How about considering an AGM venue that co-incides with the UK Lancia Motor Clubs AGM? That's in July in Oxfordshire at the Belfry Hotel. I'm sure that they'd have a room we could use and we'd be amongst some like minded people?

Of course this would need be discussed by someone with links to the Lancia Motor Club if the idea appeals to us - step forward Tim Heath?

Just an idea!

2 miles from me. :)

Guy Mayers
16-12-2019, 14:31
Thanks for the positive responses so far to the idea....

If we were to use the same date and venue as the Lancia Motor Club I would suggest that we do our AGM on the same day at the same time but in a completely different room because the day of the Lancia AGM generally sees the highest turnout of cars? I for one really enjoy wandering about looking at them and talking to owners!

I'd also be opposed to the SEC taking part in the LMC's local tour unless those taking part were members of both clubs. Are there any insurance issues with being involved in a tour these days?

The Saturday night Gala Dinner usually has an interesting speaker. Again, this is all organised by the LMC and entry is only available to LMC Members unless the LMC committee (and space) allow.

If we decide that we'd like to use this venue I think we need to know exactly what we would like before we formally approach the LMC officially. If there's a limit on the number of rooms available for example then priority must be given to LMC members first.

Should the idea be accepted I don't think I want to see issues arising that might stop a repeat in future years.

Guy

shakey5
16-12-2019, 17:30
Shakey Mike, I know what you're saying about alternatives, but I don't think someone who's looking at a Stratos rep would be really considering a Porsche instead, unless there was some sort of definite no-go reason you COULDN'T have the Strat - age restricting entry/exit, for example, in which case it isn't even on the agenda. It's exactly the same argument I came across 40 years ago when I bought a Laverda Jota (expensive exotic Italian motorbike, for those who don't know). People found out what I'd paid for it, and said "you could have bought a good car for that!" They were right, but they'd totally missed the point - I didn't want a good car, I wanted that bike...if you want a Stratos, that's what you want. Nothing else will do. Anyway, I'm a spoiled brat now - got a Jota, got a Porsche, got most of a Stratos :)
So I don't think values will be suppressed by alternatives, cos there aren't any, other than "Hawk or LB"... I think, if you want a LB, then sod it all and get your order in, or buy Gordon's. They're not gonna get any cheaper, and the longer you wait, the more they'll cost, and then you'll never have one. Even if you have to take out a loan for some of it, it's a good place to put your dosh? And surely, you wouldn't want to get to 80 and be saying "if only..."

Norm, I totally agree with you - if you want a Stratos nothing else comes close. However, it's Mrs S that needs convincing and believe me I keep working on it 😁

As much as I would love to commit to a purchase we took the decision to move to beautiful Sardinia and become land locked peasants, which means that unless we win the lottery or an estranged aunty leaves me a fortune in her will then ownership will remain a dream 😥

However, Sardinia would be perfect for an AGM, especially when the WRC is here in June! 😉

Stay safe everyone and have a wonderful Christmas holiday 🥂

Normb666
16-12-2019, 18:11
Tim, Guy - yeah I know it's not much of a proposal, I just wondered if they were up for it in principle - didn't see the point in planning it out in detail, only to get knocked back on first approach! They might tell us what they'd allow anyway, so we'd work around that.
I personally wouldn't want to intrude on an LMC dinner or any other organised activities unless invited, as we're two separate clubs and those things are for their members. Ditto accommodation, unless done on an individual basis. But as I say, the whole thing is moot right now as it's dependent on their acquiescence to the principle.

Mike - good luck in getting hold of a car - probably more chance of that, than an AGM in Sardinia, unless you're happy being the only attendee :) It's hard enough trying to sort one in the UK!

Lancialulu
16-12-2019, 19:34
Tim, Guy - yeah I know it's not much of a proposal, I just wondered if they were up for it in principle - didn't see the point in planning it out in detail, only to get knocked back on first approach! They might tell us what they'd allow anyway, so we'd work around that.
I personally wouldn't want to intrude on an LMC dinner or any other organised activities unless invited, as we're two separate clubs and those things are for their members. Ditto accommodation, unless done on an individual basis. But as I say, the whole thing is moot right now as it's dependent on their acquiescence to the principle.


I will put some feelers out. I think it is unlikely for 2020 though as these things need to be planned upfront if a combined event.... otherwise it looks like gate crashing. I get back.

Normb666
16-12-2019, 22:31
Cheers Tim. Wasn't expecting anything for next year - still likely to be Stoneleigh for that one, so don't worry.