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Roy Tilley
Posted on Tuesday, 02 October, 2001 - 20:59:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I guess that in RROCA you have the same problem as we have in the NZRR&BC, that is a static and aging membership. In our Central Region, the southern part of the North Island, we have had the same few (six or seven if we're lucky) cars and (committee) members turning up to each event that would have have taken many hours to organise.
And we don't have many people in this area buying cars and the future didn't look very bright.

We overcame the poor attendance problem by forming a loose circle of British car clubs and regularly exchanging details of each others' forthcoming events. ( Except of course the strictly 'personal' events like AGM's). The result is that we are now being outnumbered by Jaguars, Daimlers, Armstrong Siddeleys etc and this is most encouraging for the event organisers. (See reports on our website )

Also the visitors have a chance to look at our cars which many of them at some stage hope to own. And just as important, the visitors get to look at us, the owners, and see that we are enthusiasts the same as they are and that most if not all of us have at some stage owned and run cheap old cars on a shoe string.

Remembering that today's Jaguar owner could well be tomorrow's Rolls-Royce owner, we shall continue with these ecumenical meetings for years to come as we see them as a painless way of attracting new and enthusiastic members. And most of these visitors from other marque clubs are younger than us so they really can be the next generation.

Roy Tilley
Acting Secretary
Central Region
New Zealand Rolls-Royce and Bentley Club.
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Jon Rothwell (
Posted on Friday, 24 May, 2002 - 23:18:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Just as a matter of interest.

I have several different rare and classic vehicles, but am not a member of any car club or organisation (not even the RAC).

The principal reason is, cost. I live in country Western Australia, and so am unable to attend 99.9% of meetings of any car club in a WA's capital city, where the majority of members reside. The cost for me to fly to Perth is usually $400+ dollars plus accomodation, driving is even dearer. On top of that, membership of all the different clubs that represent the cars I own would be almost equal to my annual insurance bill. As I cannot attend most club functions I can see little benefit in membership.
Perhaps a solution would be to introduce an "Internet Only" membership scheme for car clubs. Possibly this would entitle the member to use of technical files and club assistance on line, with the member paying at the door for any events or club meets they attend. This could work for country people who don't often get to "the big smoke", or city people who don't have enough time to attend meetings due to work and family.
Lack of membership, or an ageing membership population is not only a problem for car clubs by the way. Check with your local service club, as it seems that people just can't find the time for activities external to their work/home environment any more.

Just a suggestion, but if you ever want to offer a discounted online membership then please drop me a line.
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Bill coburn (
Posted on Saturday, 25 May, 2002 - 01:12:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

At the risk of being a Jerimiah I think we should not ignore a number of factors that are beyond any enthusiasts' control. Probably the first nail in the coffin for the movement was the wealthy collector of marques, for profit. This new group of people moved into the Clubs of all Marques. In the main they had little interest in the cars other than either paying for extensive and expensive restorations. Frequently the object was to have their car win a concours and they could then comfortably demand and receive a premium price for their vehicle. Given the obvious remove of the owner from the process, these competitions are often a contest between rival restorers.

Another factor is the inexorable rise in living standards and disposable income in the Western World. Social events in the old clubs were very humble affairs; the sausage sizzle, bottles of beer and often a tent camp for a weekend. Hardly the occasion for airs and graces. The one common interest members attending such functions had however was the cars, maintaining them and swapping yarns about their experiences with them.

Today's Clubs now provide venues for the display of trappings of wealth including newer and newer cars, more and more expensive accomodation and functions that are ever-straining to the average member's pocket. And I instance recent rallies where total expenses for a member ran to over a thousand dollars a day! Hardly a scene a potential member is likely to view with enthusiasm.

As to the cars themselves, affluence is allowing many members to dump their cars at the repairers unconcerned with what is needed, or what is involved other than than what it will cost. This again is exacerbated by a change in community interest in understanding and even appreciating the many facilities available to them.

After the second world war cars were a luxury, and in short supply but easy to repair. The teenager of the day worked with his Dad to keep the family jalopy on the road. If it broke down he could usually fix it. But affluence and availability of new vehicles made all that unecessary except in the case of someone with a specific interest in mechanics. By the time of the war in Vietnam not a generation later, American GI's could not change a wheel!

As to Rolls-Royces these were fascinating vehicles when compared with lesser makes, furthermore there was the experience of delving into machinery hitherto the sole preserve of the wealthy. They were very cheap, relatively simple to repair and understand. By contrast repairs to Rolls-Royces built after the mid 80's are simply beyond most if not all owners particularly if it involves the electronic side of the car.

Lastly and probably the most pertinent observation is the the Rolls-Royce today is largely an irrelevant anachronism. There are better cars, more expensive cars and probably more interesting cars. The image of the Rolls-Royce car means nothing to the young of today and neither it should as we seem to head into the egalitarian society of the new millenium.

As to having clubs, it is difficult to imagine what is their charter. Given the disparate backgrounds of the members and the territory the Clubs have to cover, there is little social motivation to congregate. In this country in particular there is little interest in overall preservation including lobbying for spares supply and monitoring repair facilities. The various Club publications illustrate this point very clearly.

And so the idea of an e-club is not so startling. Properly run and subscribed to, it could help owners anywhere in the world with technical problems. It could also advise where the nearest fellow owners were located if there was some tribal urge to show each other, each others!

Lastly all this may be forced upon us with the split of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Then the viability of separate clubs would surely have to be examined!
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David Gore (
Posted on Monday, 27 May, 2002 - 21:09:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I agree with Bill's comments completely - there is a place for "cheque-book" owners, "correspondence owners" as well as the traditional car enthusiast. We also should not forget to include a place for the "admirer" - one who would like to own a vehicle from the marque but, for many reasons, is unable to achieve this wish at the present time but may be able to in the future.

Kind regards
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Wayne Wardman (
Posted on Saturday, 24 August, 2002 - 09:21:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

To Bill's insightful comments one can but offer an additional observation.

Some RR&B vehicles - notably the Shadow in I and II configuration are now quite cheap. Well within the average family budjet.

The issue is really one of the potentially huge cost of maintenance that must scare potential buyers and, by inference, potential Club Members.

The salvation here lies in the fostering and sharing openly of Club Members' technical knowledge and expertise. With is in place, owners may maintain and revitalise vehicles at the cost of parts only (and these need not be Factory originals).

Wayne Wardman
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David Gore (
Posted on Sunday, 25 August, 2002 - 16:48:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

To Wayne's suggestion re owners helping each other - this is a key objective of the Club's Shadow Registry and is a personal objective for me regarding all RR models in my position as Technical/Spare Parts Officer for the NSW Branch. If you wish to contact me direct, please forward your contact details to the Adminstrator who will forward it to me - I understand an email address for me may have been created and if this is the case could the administrator please add to this message.

Kind regards David
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John Wright
Posted on Sunday, 06 April, 2003 - 11:30:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bill and David have raised a number of very moot points. It seems to me that at present too many members are concerned with an issue which may arise years down the track (what to do if a new Phantom arrives at a Club meeting), while more immediate problems are left unattended.If the Club is to survive we need to attract new members. The most available and affordable cars are the Shadow/early Spirit series cars.Unfortunately these are also the cars which are the most expensive to maintain.

To attract more, and younger, members the Club faces a number of issues, many of which relate to public perception.The Company itself, through the "best spin doctors in the world" fostered a pretentiousness that tends to alienate people, especially when at times there was little justification for it. eg " This exquisite machine bespeaks a superiority which cannot be challenged". Even the slowness to respond to technological change was made a virtue " Each (innovation)thus matures steadily, in its own time, as the seasons pass. " (Both these examples come from the 1990 Year model sales brochure.) Against this there was fairly widespread criticism in the motoring press of the lack of rigidity in the Spirit/Spur series cars and the problems this created. The impression (if any) that readers took away was that the Rolls-Royce was a car you bought merely to show that you were wealthy. You were "ripped off" when you bought the car and the reputation soon grew that the cars were ridiculously expensive to maintain.In fact the Spirit series cars were often no more expensive to maintain than some other contemporary luxury cars.

Linked to this came the perception that owners were wealthy and cliquey and more interested in the social status attached to the cars than the cars themselves. The motoring press made comments about the "owners who did not know or even care that the cars ran on petrol".

Perhaps, more than anyone else, the members of this Club and its sisters overseas are aware of the shortcomings of cars produced by the Company. This does not deter us or diminish our affection for the cars.We need to foster this affection in the wider community, and especially the motoring community. It is my impression that many of our members start with a less expensive car and after some years "build up" to a Rolls or Bentley. We need to talk to other car club members and tell them about our cars and what made us buy them. In modern terminology we need to " network" to attract new members.

We need to encourage the new purchaser of a R-R or Bentley and make them feel part of a group of enthusiasts regardless of the current state of their car. What would be the response of club members if a young man in his mid thirties (years ago I would have called him old) arrived in his "new" Shadow? The paint on his car is badly faded, there is a constant clicking from the engine and the boot seems to barely clear the ground.What if he also kept on refering to it as a Shadow I ? What would make him come back to the next Club outing? How certain are we that the Club would provide what he is looking for?

The technical self-help groups and the possibility of a technical compendium are promising developments, but are we handling the inter-personal and public relations aspects as well? At times ( and I first joined the Club in 1972)it seemed that the Club courted public exposure about as much as a secret society.

I also believe that Bill is right in stressing that the cars need to be the focus of the Club, otherwise we become just another social club competing for the time of its members.The tendancy to do everything in "Rolls-Royce fashion" (expensively) also needs to be watched. For a number of years my ability to take part in activities was limited by the time and financial demands of bringing up a family of three children.

I was 24 when I first joined the Club just before purchasing B406CK a Bentley SI.I joined because my neighbour Dr Abenathy and his long- term friend Don Appleby suggested I get to know the cars before I actually bought one. To me this emphasises the importance of having "admirers" in the Club and the role that personal contact has in bringing new members to the Club.

My apologies for what is a rather rambling and disjointed posting;however, I believe the issue of new members is of increasing importance to the long term future of the Club and would be interested if any other members share similar views.

Best wishes to all
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Elizabeth Polglaze
Posted on Sunday, 06 April, 2003 - 11:49:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi All,
I have just found this forum.........fantasic.
On the subject of membership David, May 2002 was spot on. I am an admirer, I wish to join the local club W.A. but at York I was given no encouragement. I hope in the future to own a between 57-62. Give us ADMIRERS a chance to be part of it.
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Jeanne Eve
Posted on Tuesday, 08 April, 2003 - 10:35:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Having just returned from the Federal Rally 2003 in York, WA to my home in Sydney, I was concerned to hear about Elizabeth and her lack of encouragement and do hope that she perseveres.This Club is exactly the place to join; talk to members, attend events, read newsletters and web forums and learn as much as possible, before becoming a custodian of a Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Often I have heard people say that they would not join or attend events until they owned a car. Nonsense - the time to learn is before - it reduces the pitfalls and you can learn the history of the car which you are interested in owning.
In NSW we are creating a higher public profile because in the future, the general public will be our ally if there is a movement to reduce old cars off the road. So let's share the pleasure of our cars with all.
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John Davies
Posted on Wednesday, 09 April, 2003 - 23:37:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi Elizabeth,
Would this be of any interest to you.The British Car Day held at Gingin, Sunday 18 May. Why dont you come along its a fun day where not only Rolls Royce cars are on display but all other classic cars.
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RoyTilley NZRR&BC
Posted on Thursday, 10 April, 2003 - 22:05:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I totally agree with Jeanne re learning about the pro's and con's of each model in the club, before buying one. And remeber also that many good cars change hands by word of mouth between club members without ever being advertised publicly.
Though I'm also reminded of Groucho Marx' remark that "I wouldn't join any club that had people like me in it!"
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David Gore
Posted on Friday, 11 April, 2003 - 17:01:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi All,

Hope the new Federal Committee will take up this situation as a matter of priority to establish appropriate policies which will avoid future problems.