David Gore (18.104.22.168)
|Posted on Thursday, 12 December, 2002 - 20:52: |
I am pleased to advise that Brad and I have established a positive line of communication which allows us to explore this topic in more detail.
I hope to be able to advise you of progress as and when appropriate.
Jim Bettison (22.214.171.124)
|Posted on Friday, 13 December, 2002 - 10:46: |
I live in South Australia and I'm a member of both the Australian and the English Clubs - haven't yet got myself organised to apply for US Club membership. The main Club contact/use I have relates to technical matters. Distances prevent other than infrequent contact with other members (except for the local Branch); but, when I have made contact with another Club I have found it rewarding. For instance, in October I spent nearly a week travelling in UK around the lower midlands - "Rolls-Royce country" and I was helped enormously with hospitality, advice, and introductions by the locals. In money terms I reckon that the cost of my membership of RREC was saved many times over.
At another level, I find the Web forums to be very useful. I haven't any experience of the US forum. I think that the Australian forum, being open as it is, is very valuable in that it brings to one place the comments of non-members, thereby making their input available to the members. I find the Oz forum is more technically focussed than the RREC forumn - which suits me very well. (I'm not disparaging or dismissing the non-technical inputs - far from it.) Of course, establishing and administering a forum incurs costs - who pays the piper?
To go off in another direction; I notice that a question increasingly asked is "What about the next generation of members? Where will they come from?"
A question in passing: Do we have any idea as to the proportion of memberships who are at active? E.g., who make a comment on a forum, or who appear at Club functions?
To conclude my ramble: Is there any way that we can establish reciprocity between the Clubs? For instance, if I were to be a full member of the US Club, could this entitle me to a rebate of membership fees if I join the US Club? And would it be mutually useful if the Clubs offered limited-scope privileges to international members? (say, copies of publications, attendance at Club functions while visiting, access to tech info, etc.) In suggesting this I'm working on the supposition that one more members (an economist's "marginal member") would cost the club a lot less than a "full member". And, could a form of "international membership" help in attracting future membership?
Sorry if this has rambled on. Perhaps someone else could put some sense into it.
Good luck, Jim B.
David Gore (126.96.36.199)
|Posted on Friday, 13 December, 2002 - 15:26: |
I have been given permission from the RROC [USA] to provide further information on this proposal. The topic has been subject to considerable discussion in the Member's Only section of their website with great interest in and support for the concept however there have also been some reservations.
The Constitution of the US Club makes it difficult to provide services to non-members HOWEVER the US Sir Henry Royce Foundation has indicated it would consider a properly prepared and documented submission to fund an International Technical Archive. I am extremely happy with such an archive and I know it would be appreciated by our Australian and New Zealand members and I have advised I am pepared to assist in archiving material held in Australia for this archive when it is established.
I would be most appreciative if users of this Forum could post indications of support or otherwise for the establishment of an International Archive.
Bill Coburn (188.8.131.52)
|Posted on Friday, 13 December, 2002 - 21:36: |
The sharing of information raises a number of issues of which I would highlight the following.
• The Factory/Current owners cannot be expected to provide information on cars other than their current production models and then not to owners, to protect their dealers’ interests. This ‘protection ‘ probably covers cars manufactured since 1990. Beyond that the expertise in the Factory starts to fade. And it is quite expectable that the ‘old’ service we enjoyed will be simply curtailed as being uneconomic.
• Dealers in general are not overgenerous in their advice again simply to protect their own interests. In addition experience on pre-Shadow cars is rapidly failing although fortunately there is no shortage of printed material to use as a guide.
• ‘Specialists’ in the repair of the vehicles range from being totally unhelpful to being very helpful indeed. This is not a criticism but an observation. I have seen such people ‘used’ by thoughtless owners who pick the specialists’ brains but worse, take up his time with no offer of recompense.
• Owners who are prepared to share their knowledge and experience are continually reminded that they could be liable for providing misinformation.
• Of the three principal Clubs only the RREC and RROC of America take the trouble to catalogue and provide for distribution and access to technical information. I am still unaware of the facilities available from the various ‘Foundations’ but have the impression that they are limited by the scarcity of voluntary manpower to provide a ready means of access to their material.
• Access to the RREC and RROC archives on other than a full paid membership is bound to have repercussions within their own membership. Why for instance should I have a reduced membership due in Canberra and not someone living in the backwoods of West Virginia?
• Finally, it seems to me that only with the introduction of the Registers has the ‘technical coterie’ of members of the Australian Club made itself felt although this seems to have been been fairly well restricted to the South East region of the country. Even then efforts to generate interest in the S series cars have reportedly failed. In short if the owner/members of these cars are not interested in the technical well being of their vehicles there is little incentive for the Club to try and support them. But the big losers in this situation are the cars. I am aware of at least four Silver Clouds being wrecked in the last two years. Since it is my understanding that the principal aim of all the Clubs is the maintenance and preservation of the cars, unless we make a determined effort to encourage owners in these tasks and provide as much helpful assistance as possible we may as well give the game away.
Richard Treacy (184.108.40.206)
|Posted on Saturday, 14 December, 2002 - 02:26: |
The idea of more sharing between the three larger clubs is an excellent one, and it could take many forms.
However, members of all three clubs such as myself will note that the cost and administrative synergies available between the clubs are probably only releted to archives, and then provided they can be issued electronically. More on that in a minute. The culture of the three clubs is very different indeed, and the RREC is even rather diverse internally between its sections.
I would suggest that if the legal and liability implications can be controlled, then we should share as much as possible, starting with the members' areas of the web sites.
If we could really identify cost savings by, for example, merging the greater part of archives and technical information, pergaps even the fees could be split to a common fee and national fee, but I can promise you that would be very messy. The cost structures and benefits vary so much from section to section, state to state, that I cannot see it working. You would not believe me if I told you the annual fees here in the RREC Swiss Section, many times the UK fees, but I am more than happy. In short, I cannot see a rebate system working between our three clubs successfully for members of multiple clubs.
Lets allow our leaders, with our support, to push ahead.
On finding new members, our cars are like houses: there will always be owners, and if we run a good club, they are sure to join the relevant car club. I don't believe we need the hard sell, but just let it be known, if not already known, who we are.
End of ramblings.
Bill Coburn (220.127.116.11)
|Posted on Saturday, 14 December, 2002 - 08:33: |
Putting the spoon back into the pot; reading these posts reminded me of a remark the late Bruce Ross made to me during one of the periodic ructions in the Australian Club. Bruce incidentally was a very colourful and prominent member of the Club and ran a business largely involving the repair and restoration of our cars. I also found that he was singularly helpful to this babe in the woods when in need of advice. Anyway..... he would point out that the Club was there for members to be enjoying themselves. This remark was of course made during a fighting period but it is relevant to this discussion in that a lot of members are happy to pay their dues and when the car stops take it to someone and get it fixed. They can't surely be criticised for this, after all they do own the things which are a tangible piece of property and not some mystical possession. The problem as I have observed is to keep a balance between these owners and those who are intent on the technical side. Richard above points out the complexities of the ownership of information and the difficulties of access but we should be grateful that we at least know where to get the stuff at whatever financial or physical cost. As to the membership fees charges by Branches, Sections and Regions I often wonder whether management Committees sit back and say 'just what do members get for this money?'. And when a member is stranded with a dirty heap of machinery that desperately needs a part and asks his Club for advice and receives a blank stare, the question becomes very pertinent. But these exchanges seem to reflect a new determination to grease the avenues of access and that can only be for the common good of us all.
David Gore (18.104.22.168)
|Posted on Monday, 16 December, 2002 - 12:04: |
Thank you for the input and please continue these constructive comments/suggestions as we will only be successful by making sure whatever service eventuates is capable of meeting the needs of the users and also is properly funded to survive and grow in the long-term. The possible involvement of the Foundation would be ideal HOWEVER the funds still have to come from somewhere and will have to be justifed on cost/benefit analysis unless a generous benefactor makes a specific donation to be administered by the Foundation for this purpose.
David Gore (22.214.171.124)
|Posted on Friday, 03 January, 2003 - 20:33: |
I am pleased to advise that considerable progress has been made regarding the proposed International Archive and an informal Steering Committee comprising representatives from the RREC [UK], RROC [USA], R-R & B [NZ] and myself has been formed to prepare a formal proposal for submission to the various clubs for their consideration and subsequent formal participation if accepted. I will post further information as and when relevant.