Author Topic: Who's for a National Microcar Club?  (Read 5931 times)

Jean

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Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« on: December 03, 2015, 02:11:58 PM »

This is a title I have snaffled from Bob's Forum because at the moment I can see no new posts on this Forum or is there a fault on my machine?  Anyway this what I posted on Bob's form.

 This is really what I hoped The Register of Unusual Microcars would evolve into.  We have a truly 'universal' magazine I think you will agree, the Register contains many cars from the one make cars as well as the 'unusual' and the archive accumulated over the years covers all makes of cars and is constantly being added to from some most unlikely sources.  Now I am having to take a back seat in many ways  my current project is to try to form  the archives I hold at the moment into some form of legal Trust so that they will be safeguarded for future generations. (See the Grassroots article in the Winter RCN soon to hit your doormat).  I would dearly love to see a one off stop for all things  microcar in Great Britain bringing all the various elements together and if there is anything that can be done to achieve that in my life time I think it can do nothing but good.
Jean
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Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2015, 04:10:16 PM »
I have thought there should be such a club for a long time. However the individual clubs represent fiefdoms, and carry traditional support that it seems this is unlikely to happen without a certain amount of friction. Is that worth having for the end product? That really depends on how good a product comes out of it. Certainly if we are looking at a traditional sort of club.
Where this might work is in a much more up to date take on a club. Using the more modern systems available to bring people together. But here things seem destined to be forever become more defused as the media is ideal for concentration on each motivated individuals particular interests. The only barrier to the internet piecemeal approach is the need to pool resources for purchases or certain commonly required information. Against that is the requirement to abide by some rules and a cost. There seems general reluctance to coalesce into an effective major Microcar group, but there is an expanding resource of websites on the subject.
So given those parameters I see things becoming a more lonesome affair for most owners, as it will be upon their ability to find a few centres of excellence to gain correct, good and tangible help in restoring and using their cars. Of course should some sites appear that genuinely grasp the changes that have occurred and offer a more active and vibrant arena for a lot of owners, then that success should see those sites become the new 'club' areas. But I do not think they will be clubs in the way that the old traditional ones work. Nor will they really replace that, it will just happen if its interesting enough to make folk visit regularly, in quantity.

(My contribution now copied for whatever its value. Its this double, triple, etc, coverage of topics in many places that dilutes content all over. It must hamper a united unformed front. But so easy to achieve if folk have a disagreement. Then posting on one site rather than another looks like favouritism. It perpetuates into sand, from gravel, from a rock.)
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AndyL

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2015, 04:46:51 PM »
I think probably the biggest challenge for the microcar movement, is that the ever increasing cost of ownership changes the type of person entering the hobby e.g. cash rich, time poor.
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Jim Janecek

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2015, 05:47:03 PM »
What need does this fill that is not being done by the myriad of other clubs that currently exist?

How would you do this and not step on the toes of all the other clubs?

In the USA, the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) once posted a question on their forum asking a similar question:
http://forums.aaca.org/topic/151520-consider-starting-a-non-geographic-aaca-region-for-micro-and-mini-cars/

This is a big group.  The largest Automobile Club in the USA and they were unable to gather any kind of interest to start their own National Microcar/Minicar chapter.
Of course, not bothering to answer any of my questions (see link above) did not help them.
If they had taken the time to answer anything I would have been more than happy to help so we had something more organized than just ME doing this in the USA.

They currently have a Microcar/Minicar exhibit up on display but were looking for more vehicles in early November.
Several people suggested contacting me at www.Microcar.org and asking me to send out an email blast to find more owners/vehicles but they never bothered to contact me. 
Please see AL's comments regarding "fiefdoms" and "friction" for more on that.


Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 06:54:50 PM »
Funnily enough I have been gathering the uprated programmes etc. to relaunch www.bubblecar.com, which I dropped after being attacked by the Inland Revenue at the end of my trading. Their inability to understand business was utterly amazing, since that is one of their jobs. Like negotiating with the Vikings about seaside gift shops. Never again, even though we agreed I was right.

Its time to look at converting this redundant site into something more useful. Rather than spend a lot of time on other peoples sites, I can spend it on mine, and try a few ideas out that I cannot elsewhere as I will meet resistance from the Negs. In part this is my recognition that actually using you car is secondary to ownership these days. Yet I listen to what folk want to support for, and I watch it never produced.
I will be honest here. I would not do the work I am going to unless I was primarily in charge. I think that is a common feeling, and acts against clubbing in many ways.
But secondly I am doing it because my decision to change lifestyle to one that will allow me to do it from outside the vice of silly nonsense built up being based in one country. All is fiefdoms and coteries of folk who want to control you for a fee. Not interested. These last 6 months have made it clear the Westminster Political group are 99% determined to sell Britain out to Europe, irrespective of our vote. And that they have no control over a broken economy. Its time to move away from their sphere of influence and taxation and free myself, with my dodgy leg, from these idiots before they crash the thing badly. To do this means less activity in the UK, and more elsewhere, probably in the sunshine, not sure where, but somewhere with less interference.

So clubs become a more distant activity than ever, here, really. More travel means less time to be present. I can really start to think about the book about Bubblecars.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 07:35:29 AM by Big Al »
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Chris Thomas

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 08:41:26 PM »
Dear Jean, Jim, Andy and Al

My take on this suggestion is slightly different. Life is dynamic, nothing stays the same for any length of time, and sometimes institutions are forced by their very doggedness to try and survive, when in reality they have become outdated, and should have changed long ago.

Therefore I see a situation where vehicle registers, data archives and collections of like minded people (clubs) need to re think their existence. At that point if it is decided that perhaps the membership is too low to survive, then all of the good things that have accumulated within that organisation should not be left to rot, but passed onto another organisation. This may mean clubs amalgamating, passing their historic records to an archive, Club magazines taking a few pages in another magazine to promote their cause, Spare parts being gathered into a heritage trust to continue manufacturing spares, etc etc.

It may well be that eventually all of the microcar activities may well be passed on and the club as we know it may well die, and social media will replace it, allowing like minded people to meet up, unencumbered with committees, and other organisational constraints. The internet has changed our way of life and will continue to do so until the next technical revolution comes along. Magazines will be as outdated as the pigeon post. Our friendships will be world wide, rather than just locally based.

So the idea of a National Microcar club is perhaps trying to re establish a structure that is steadily fading, not just in the motoring world but for all hobbies, pastimes and recreational activities. It is a sad fact of life that we may be seeing the best of times where microcars are concerned, and perhaps we need to save it. But what we need is to preserve that history, and allow those that enjoy driving their pieces of history to do so for as long as is possible. I suspect that it may be that there will be a world wide microcar fraternity, that has no head quarters, no leader, no funds and relies upon everybody doing their bit and enjoying what they do. (does that sound familiar)

It all sounds very unstructured, to us maybe, but to the Facebook generation that is what they know and live with everyday. It may not be our choice, but unfortunately it is creeping ever closer.

So who is for a National Microcar Club? I suspect it will not happen as a club, unless there is a humunguss crashing of the internet. It will exist, but not as a club.

Chris Thomas

PS  I can see the chins dropping.

Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2015, 10:12:41 PM »
In essence I think that analysis is correct. But Farcebook and its competitors are fiefdoms too. They exist to own your information. The freedom is in the pure free market areas of the web.
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Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 10:32:18 PM »
I was going to write something very similar to Chris. I'm all for unity, preservation and encouragement of our shared interest, but the starting point for any new club has to be a very clear idea about what the club is for. I'd see the answer more in the form of another question, how can we improve on what we've already got?
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Jim Janecek

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2015, 01:06:18 AM »
.... I'd see the answer more in the form of another question, how can we improve on what we've already got?

I know that when I have asked this question in the past in the USA I have been greeted as a pariah.
"Change? Nothing is wrong!  We know what we are doing."

And then a few years later everything is a crisis that needs solving.


Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 08:15:57 AM »
.... I'd see the answer more in the form of another question, how can we improve on what we've already got?

I know that when I have asked this question in the past in the USA I have been greeted as a pariah.
"Change? Nothing is wrong!  We know what we are doing."

And then a few years later everything is a crisis that needs solving.

This is the crux of the matter. A belief that someone has to be in charge.

That is, and was, the case with clubs that make parts. These have become small businesses, whether they liked it or not. Most have now had at least two crisis, in part because a lot of folk do not understand they are businesses, get in positions of responsibility, and fail to make the correct choices. My belief has always been that when spares become successful, they should be spun off into a separate entity, and do the bizz bit, reporting back to the club, which holds the finance to block a takeover by dark motives, but remains the club bit for all other purposes. It offers the best of both worlds. I even proved it could work for a spell. But no club has this structure, money rules the roost, unless its the registers who have little in the way of financial activity. They retain the true club ethic of mutual support for no reward. 

The club type activities, save meeting up - though virtual rallies are going to be coming - are perhaps easy handled informally through the wonderful new communications networks. No one has yet really got a hold of the entire complex of ideas, needs etc to bring the first major site together in one place. There are great fact sites. Elvis Payne and such. There are active chat areas, RUM. There are great individual sites of personnel interest. Its like a lot of scattered shops, but no supermarket or shopping mall. But I think those who have these sites recognise they are not clubs. They are servicing folk who want part of what a club offers, but that is not the same. No one is in charge.

One of the effects of prices and non usage of cars is that we still attract few young people. Certainly not in a motivated way to break through this technological barrier, which they would seem much more at home with than my, and older generations. I do wonder if some bright spark will see through what many cannot and present the world with a dominant tool as a site, from which others can attach themselves. Such done many clubs will be left with little to do but be businesses making the parts. A site that pooled all the info would, perhaps, increase attendance at some events. Purely as if all the interested people are looking, your talking to 95% of those likely to go. That is not happening easily right now. Such a situation might find the Microcar have a second wind as an activity and popularity increase further.
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milnes

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 08:41:12 PM »
It's quite funny, i've read everyones points on a National Microcar club and strangely i agree with each of the points to a greater or lesser degree.
Is the concept of a car club in the past?
I actually think No. I like the forums but some say they are outdated and that social media has replaced it, who agrees with that? I don't.
I think done correctly , everything has it's place.
I partly agree that todays collector is cash rich and time poor, partly correct, i guess you can class me as one of the time poor collectors. I tend to drift in and out of the forum, and some of the Facebook pages i'm on but i always come back.

Big Al is correct, a lot of the clubs have become some peoples  personal fiefdoms but think about some of the forums out there, some people have tried to dictate on what can and can't be discussed, this forum included. Glad to say it's stopped now though.

Is there a place for a National Micro car club, i truly believe there is but as some have said, it needs to be done correctly.
I need to stop buying!

Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2015, 09:22:37 AM »
What is it that owners want from a Club? Can a National Club do any of that better than a marque club?

Well taking the second question first. We know that the bigger marque clubs offer spares. They choose to do this as a club, thought most seem to be small businesses, with a club facility attached. That facility produces a magazine. I think most offer 6 editions a year. Most offer a rally a year, some exclusive of any other type of car. Others seem to manage a spread of events over the year, like the Bond Club, who are pretty divorced from the spares. I wonder if that is a demonstration of how a club gets confused by having the spares service 'in house' as it were. The Bonds, free of this, can get on with doing something else.

So the fiefdoms exist. Some more successful than others. The common difficulty seems to be to fill the magazine with interesting items. The business arms, by definition, are going to resist any demunition of their market power, despite that they are often happy to loose it via inactive social support. They feel protected by the act of joining the club, as an access to parts, at times confused as to quite what marketing approach they require to really answer owners needs.

So to take on a club that decides it is not one that wants to defere to yet another organisation, in this case an umbrella National Microcar Club, is to invite a united front not to join in. Clearly stealing business, or membership, which is access to business in most cases, and to disrupt marque tradition, is going to create resistance. That really leaves you with

1/creating a blastingly good magazine that covers the entire topic. I cannot think of many folk that well informed, who would edit. Thus enough expertise would need to be on call, to edit by a good editor.

2/probably using the internet much more subtly to increase the range, depth of information and coverage, here to for not seen. Thus including associate world members, who will be interested even if they cannot participate.

3/a clearly best forum for advertising and exchange of cars, parts and information. 

4/should the club become large, it can do special offers on bulk purchasing. Say things like Oil, thus creating savings enough to offset membership.

5/success will probably bring some other organisations in with it. A big if is does that happen at the start, or because of the success of the idea pretty much erodes the need for those, currently independent, entities. That is not say those entities would disappear, but they would metamorphose to make best use of the change, so as not to duplicate work. The NMRC being one, yet its funds are for events, not running a club. THat purse would still require administration, unless there was a change of policy. It can prosper under the mantel of the other organisation, but yet feed its host events and historically wise information. That would position the National Microcar Club as joint host to the National Microcar Rally. A perfectly sensible notion.

RUM car would also be a candidate to become part of a bigger whole. Would it wish to?

The first question I do not think I can answer anymore, but to say some of the biggest turnouts of Micro people are for auctions and clearances of cars and parts these days. The collector is the dominant factor, as they seem to own multiples, thus the majority of the cars. Myself included. That means the days of 200 microcars at a National Rally are going to be hard to achieve, unless the whole group of owners is stimulated to come along and take part, not just the few who happen to be active at that time. It used to be a cannot miss event, that seems to have driffted. I do not know how you do that without doing something as radical as above, be that under what ever umbrella.

Folk always want pictures and items about MIcrocars. I sometimes wonder why, as they seem not to read and digest them, but there are many who collect all the books and such. So a top line magazine production might be produced for the home owner, but gain world wide sales.

Then there is the fantastic. The LBL rally showed that there are numbers of owners who will take on well organised events covering miles of sometimes demanding roads. Plenty have the cars to do it, the time to do it. Have they the will and sense of adventure to do it. Clearly such a trip would need careful preparation, and probably end at a major weekend event, where the showman can join in the fun in a bit of a bunfight. That is, to me, the great reward of bringing this idea together. Everyone gains.

But who is going to break step and take the flag forward?
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DaveMiller

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 09:52:53 AM »
> Like the Bond Club, who are pretty divorced from the spares ... <

Mmm. Oh dear - does it seem that way, to people like you who are outside the Club, Al?

The spares scheme is run by club members (Mike and Renate Hele), and does its best to buy in, have made, and supply both used and new spares, for all models of Minicar. Spares are available only to club members, and to get spares, you need to be in both the club, and the spares scheme.  So one is not quite the same as the other, but that's just to respect those club members who don't feel they'll need spares, and don't therefore want to pay the small fee (£10 to join and £2 a year) that helps raise a fund for commissioning new parts to be made.  The spares "organisers", as we call them, work for no personal gain at all (they actually refuse to take a penny, to avoid the sort of rumour and distrust that can otherwise arise). They turn up with a vanful of spares at the main rally, and all sorts of club members get involved in helping out the availablity of spares - by getting stuff made through contacts, lending rare parts for copying, and so on. 

They'll never manage to have every part available (best to concentrate resources on the ones most needed), but they do a good job and, from within the club, are certainly seen as part of it. 

Big Al

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2015, 07:04:25 PM »
Which goes to prove what I was saying. Just the feeling of a threat, even by a compliment, has opposition immediately being put up to a change in the Status Quo. It confirms my belief there is no chance of a National Club by common agreement.

If there was a chance, I would have acted on plans floated some time ago by a diverse group to do just that. The negative vibes returned on investigating the prospects were like a coming thunderstorm, yet no one had even really looked at what was on offer. We dropped it, as none of us were looking for a fight. We only wanted to add positively to what, at the time, was our hobby. Of that group the majority do other things now, an opportunity lost to microcars, I think.

Its totally natural behaviour, to resist, and I am not here to criticise, as I understand, now, having studied the subject. Its just a natural product of the way things are in the UK, by how the clubs formed. Its written in their histories. These are the toys and rules to be played with. Until there are enough folk who want something different, it will not happen but by demand. Just as Tony Marshall broke ranks and made the first Nationals, hitting a need. Not everyone was in agreement the National was a good idea, you know. Why? it was a threat to the then fiefdoms.

The choice currently is to buy into what is on offer, or not. You want something different, you need to create it, as conversion is hard work.

Once created it is then a battle to prevent that entity becoming its own fiefdom! I was told by a serial club creator that the best bit of a club is the first 5 years. Then you get out, as the committee heavyweights move in to take over. Its true, to a point, because creators are restless spirits always looking at possibilities. They never sit well with administrators, who are needed to knit together what is created, till there is no room for innervation.
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plas man

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Re: Who's for a National Microcar Club?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2015, 08:22:47 PM »
> Like the Bond Club, who are pretty divorced from the spares ... <

Mmm. Oh dear - does it seem that way, to people like you who are outside the Club, Al?

The spares scheme is run by club members (Mike and Renate Hele), and does its best to buy in, have made, and supply both used and new spares, for all models of Minicar. Spares are available only to club members, and to get spares, you need to be in both the club, and the spares scheme.  So one is not quite the same as the other, but that's just to respect those club members who don't feel they'll need spares, and don't therefore want to pay the small fee (£10 to join and £2 a year) that helps raise a fund for commissioning new parts to be made.  The spares "organisers", as we call them, work for no personal gain at all (they actually refuse to take a penny, to avoid the sort of rumour and distrust that can otherwise arise). They turn up with a vanful of spares at the main rally, and all sorts of club members get involved in helping out the availablity of spares - by getting stuff made through contacts, lending rare parts for copying, and so on. 

They'll never manage to have every part available (best to concentrate resources on the ones most needed), but they do a good job and, from within the club, are certainly seen as part of it.


I paid a tenner some years ago , then lately wanting parts had to fork out another tenner and will have to do the same in 3 years time . and on top of that the parts were NOT a direct fit , and thats from a member with a low membership number .
Another reason not to attend club rally's . And you may ask the car its been with me since 1966 and only not been roadworthy for the 1978 season.

sorry for going off topic .

Plas man BOC Mem No 181