.... it was a major strain on the finances of Jaguar at a very difficult time, and Ford ultimately made the decision that they want to stop the program. Once the program was stopped, that literally was the end of the interest from Jaguar’s point of view. They had a 10 year responsibility to supply parts and service backup in Northern Europe to fix the cars, so they came to me for help, at which point they formally asked if they could send customers to us.
TG: So you became an officially certified XJ220 service center?
It was made very clear that we could not be “official and certified” because of their contractual obligations to the main dealerships who’d never seen a car. They’d spent all this money investing in the car, so it was all very tricky and political. It never was a bad car, there never was a problem with the car. It was circumstances to do with the financial markets, and you know there’s the fact that more than 100 of the depositors found themselves in difficult situations where they couldn’t buy the car that drove them to lose faith in their own program.
TG: You described earlier their 10 year obligation to the car, what happened on the last day of the 10th year?
Well Jaguar basically said to Justin and I, if you service these cars and keep the good name of the car and look after the car and assist us with the parts situation, we’ll take care of you. The chain of parts suppliers was very depleted during that time so we actually came in and began manufacturing parts for the XJ220 during that 10 year period. So we did this for Jaguar for 10 years, at which point they called up and offered us the entire business. And literally to the day exactly, in 2007 I had a call from one of the directors to say look, this business is yours and you know, our obligation to the dealers has finished, come and see us and you can buy the business. They couldn’t wait to get rid of it quickly enough.
TG: As I saw in the workshop, you guys have the original wooden buck. What’s the story there?
A lot of the tooling and equipment came with our deal with Jaguar and some of the other very interesting things too; we have a cutaway Jaguar engine, and the buck is actually a CAD model, so that was the full sized CAD model that Jaguar made, gave to the body manufacturers, and said “You make it like that and you don’t make any changes,” and we just decided that you know, as well as rescuing the parts business, we’d try to rescue the heritage of the car as well, so we saved the pre-production cars and we saved the MIRA crash test car and we saved the buck