CAV Newsletter No. 3 March 2006

Hi Everybody

I am going to split this newsletter into two parts. The first part will be our usual feedback regarding Auto Futura and the second part, some more detail re the Roaring Forties scenario.

Part 1: Auto Futura feedback

• All is well down here in Cape Town. We have unfortunately suffered, along with the rest of Cape Town, with a large number of power failures. The utility supply company are still experiencing problems, but this situation is now looking better. The staff are doing well and needless to say, a lot of overtime is being worked to catch up with the loss in production.
• The new body moulds are almost ready to be used for production. The bits that have been completed look great, and it has been worth all the money and effort. The shaping and prepping time will be cut by half.
• We have produced seven chassis’s so far this year, and panels for another six cars arrived this morning. These chassis’s are all booked for export.
• Our participation in a local music video-shoot was a great success. Two CAV GT’s were filmed doing a mock chase along a local mountain pass. We received a copy of the video last week and this music video will be aired on some of our local television channels. The main movie, “Love Crazy” will be shot June this year and we will be supplying and driving 5 CAV GT’s for the scene along this same mountain pass in Cape Town. There can be nothing more beautiful than five GT40’s chasing each other….
• We are very busy building the Le Mans pace car. The body and chassis are at present being sprayed. All the components are ready for assembly and are packed on one side in our store. The engine is being delivered in mid April, the gearbox (ZF) is leaving USA shortly and the guys are all ready for some serious over-time. We have to track test the car first week in May – after that it will start its journey to France.
• We have developed a new cable controlled ZF shift mechanism that can be retro fitted to the earlier CAV GT’s. More details to follow.
• We also spent some time on the local race track, putting the CAV through its paces. The car did very well and we are now looking into supplying an “upgrade kit” that could be retrofitted to pre-100 chassis cars to further improve road and track manners. This kit would include a stiffer front anti-roll bar, 4 stiffer coil-overs as well as a few other ‘must-have’s.
• John has been working very hard on our new web-site which will be up and running soon. All the details of these after market products, tech questions and answers, customer gallery and feedback, and much more will be available here.
• Initial discussions with dealers in Dubai are looking very promising. It will not be long before CAV GT’s are available in this part of the world.

Part 2: The Roaring Forties scenario

I think it important that the other side of the story is told. The recent comments on the GT 40 Forum have made AF out to be the perpetrators of the “Roaring Forties” demise. This is not the case and we would once again like to state that we have always got on very well with Robert Logan and consider him a friend. Robert was aware that we would have to make a statement should the negotiations between our respective companies come to naught. We did not feel it was necessary to publish all the details but unfortunately this led to the story getting blown out of all proportion. This was unfortunate and we would like to set the record straight.

• Robert and I (Jean) met various times earlier in the year, prior to the meeting on the 6 Feb 2006 where it was agreed that Auto Futura (AF) would take over and run the South African manufactured Roaring Forties production facility. I have witnesses to the fact that a deal was already agreed upon on that date.
• The ball was therefore in motion, and the facts were put to the other shareholders of Auto Futura, AF staff and RF SA staff. Everything was open and the whole car building industry in Cape Town knew about our association, before we would have liked them to.
• At the meeting with RF SA staff, Robert introduced me as their new boss, as that is how Robert and I had agreed to do things. He gave me carte blanche to do whatever it would take to get the cars out the door. Robert expressed his trust in AF’s ability to produce his cars at the highest quality.
• Following this, AF started to get everything into place. All our suppliers were informed, premises were discussed with our Landlord, the local authorities approached regarding additional extractors, systems were put into place and some RF work was even already contracted to our welding department.
• We were then told that Robert was going back to Australia to finalize a few things and on his return, we would start the move of premises as well as the new production run.
• When Robert arrived back in RSA, a meeting was immediately set up for 29 Feb 2006. At this meeting all the final points regarding this new production were discussed. I am not going to bore you all with all the finer details but I can say that as far as negotiation is concerned, all was good. Robert and his colleague agreed to get a few figures together and report back a day or two thereafter.
• Well, we didn’t get any feedback, as was agreed too, so I phoned the RF SA offices, only to be told that Robert had upped and left, without so much as a word of goodbye. I don’t need to explain my utter dismay at this, but immediately E-mailed Robert begging him for an explanation.
• Having never got an answer, and having suppliers, customers, landlords and staff from both AF and RF both asking what the hell was going on, we decided to state the facts with a posting on the Forum.
• We actually told Robert during our initial discussions that a statement would be made on the forum, regardless of the end result of our negotiations.
• Those are the facts. A lot of people have been hurt by this. Suppliers have not been paid, a majority of these are suppliers to us as well, and as far as they are concerned, (due to the initial statements that were made) we were seen as part of the RF scenario. Even AF hasn’t been paid for work it did for RF.
• This is not what we had in mind when we discussed the AF and RF ‘partnership”. I truly believed that there was a future in this, and am very disappointed in the way things turned out.
• We wish Robert success in his future, and apologise for any hurt that might have been felt regarding our earlier posting.

I hope that the above will help shed some light on the events that preceded the lack of negotiations between us and RF.

I wish you all the best and look forward chatting again in a month’s time.