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Thread: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

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    Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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?

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    If that's what you need Jim, PistonHeads is that way>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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

    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.

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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??

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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?

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Normb666 View Post
    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.

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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

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    Re: Chairman's Rant - October 2019

    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....

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