Was the BOC a better club years ago?


Geoff Kingston
 
Edited

We all tend sometimes to dwell on the past with rose tinted spectacles and think things were better then than they are now but this afternoon I sat down with a pile of BOC newsletters from about 1993 to 2015 and they really do reflect how the club has evolved and changed, some things it might be argued are for the better, some sadly are not and I feel a sense of loss of focus and direction, the newsletters in the earlier years were like correspondence between family nothing as sophisticated as current club publications but somehow far more connected and intimate, far more adverts for cars and parts and far more things changing hands with more emphasis on practical member to member help. Was it a better period , without a doubt in my mind yes and if you have been a member of the club as long as I have and have kept all these old newsletters and the old bulletins as well enjoy an afternoon reading how things were and how the focus changed to the social side of the club becoming more important, don't dwell on it too much though because you might reflect on where the club is today and the upbeat chairman's report in the spring bulletin and the decent in to crisis in the run up to the AGM and beyond, that leaves me very very sad so to answer my own question yes for me at least it was.
Geoff.


Dorien
 

Many clubs were better years ago....

Dorien

On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 06:32:29 p.m. EDT, Geoff Kingston via groups.io <geoffkingston15@...> wrote:


[Edited Message Follows]

We all tend sometimes to dwell on the past with rose tinted spectacles and think things were better then than they are now but this afternoon I sat down with a pile of BOC newsletters from about 1993 to 2015 and they really do reflect how the club has evolved and changed, some things it might be argued are for the better, some sadly are not and I feel a sense of loss of focus and direction, the newsletters in the earlier years were like correspondence between family nothing as sophisticated as current club publications but somehow far more connected and intimate, far more adverts for cars and parts and far more things changing hands with more emphasis on practical member to member help. Was it a better period , without a doubt in my mind yes and if you have been a member of the club as long as I have and have kept all these old newsletters and the old bulletins as well enjoy an afternoon reading how things were and how the focus changed to the social side of the club becoming more important, don't dwell on it too much though because you might reflect on where the club is today and the upbeat chairman's report in the spring bulletin and the decent in to crisis in the run up to the AGM and beyond, that leaves me very very sad so to answer my own question yes for me at least it was.

Geoff.


bristol7527@gmail.com
 

Clubs begin when car enthusiasts come together to share their passion. In the case of the Bristol Owners Club that was either 1952 or 1964. Either date is a long time ago and just like people, car clubs have different stages of life.

Bristol always suffered from low volume. When the number of cars Bristol made from 1946 to 2020 is fewer than the number of cars made every hour in the world (Toyota alone makes 23,800 cars a day), it necessarily means a smaller pool from which to draw. On the other hand, Bristols were bespoke, an eccentric cut above the cars of the masses, thus they attracted a distinctive membership to the club.

Clubs typically do not begin on day one, as the initial owners tend to be, to quote a former NZ Labour politician, rich pricks who are less likely to join a car club as to show up to their elite golf club with a fashion-statement on wheels. Generally, it is the subsequent owners who are true enthusiasts wishing to share their passion - the form-follows-function engineer's design that is Bristol, especially in the earlier years.

Certain clubs tend to suffer from ageing, and I expect this is the case with the Bristol Car Club. I would be curious to know the median age of its members; I expect it is disproportionately older than the national demographic. Indeed, the best Bristol cars tend to come on the market offered by widows who are cleaning out the estate of their late car-mad husbands. And when Bristol closed the doors for the final liquidation in 2020, the lifeblood of new stock that feeds a club was cut off.

Hopefully, Bristols now have gotten to the age and value where few will go to the scrap yard. The survivors will always will have owners, and a role of a car club is to keep recruiting younger stewards to take on the surviving cars and ensure they remain as runners, not barn-finds. Eventually all the cars will be older than their owners.

Umm, maybe rather than say "eventually", I should add a qualifying "perhaps".

There is a storm-cloud on the horizon. The younger generation is committed to saving the planet, with a strong anti-petrol bias. As they move into politics and write the laws, there is a real possibility that classic cars will be targeted. Not by orders to crush, but unavailability of convenient petrol. We can still rock up to today's petrol station in a 1946 Bristol 400, fill it up for a reasonable price and drive off. Indeed it is rather remarkable to think we can still fuel a 1908 Ford Model T at the local BP station and it will run. In ten years that local access may change and in 20, petrol may be something bought in litre bottles for prices comparable to gin. Thus, if it wishes to plan for future generation, the club may want to look at electric-crate engines that can be dropped in to the V8 models, if not the 400-406, so Bristols survive the great purge. It is a real threat that the club should take seriously.

Overall, I am hopeful the Club survives this current challenge with its technology and continues to promote one of the most wonderful of British eccentricity so the cars may remain on the road, and future generations enjoy them like our generation enjoys Stradivarius violins or Picasso's works of art.

BOC, keep up the good work and enjoy your passion.


Geoff Kingston
 

Well said, the proposition I put forward is very similar to some views put forward in the past on the RREC forum and your response has highlighted issues that have also be raised in the discussions on the clubs future, I am in my late 60's but a lot of section members in the RREC in my area are in their late 80's so new blood is needed to keep things going. The other thing talking to friends who have attended various steam and vintage rallies' this year so far is that some have not been as well supported as in in previous years both in terms of traders/exhibitors and public attending in the latter case I am sure post covid caution has played a part. I have to say though that I attended the Shrewsbury Steam Rally last weekend and it was one of the best for years in terms of exhibitors traders and visitors enjoying the show, it felt good to be back to normal.

I did not make the BOC Concours as I had not got the 603 ready in fact we had not even started to sort out a problem with the back brakes, as fate happened I would not have been able to make it anyway but maybe next year.

Another factor for a lot of us is location and looking through the old publications more activities did seem to be taking place in the regions some were even exercising their cars on the track and at hill climbs so that drew other members to those events.

Not much happens with the BDC in west wales either so if I get the 603 sorted over the winter I might try and drum up support for a local get together.

While the subject of future fuel has been touched on I wonder how many members know that a BOC member is behind the project of the Riversimple Hydrogen car. I saw it at the Bromyard Gala, very impressed.

Geoff.


https://www.riversimple.com/




------ Original Message ------
From: "bristol7527@..." <bristol7527@...>
To: bocforum@groups.io
Sent: Monday, 5 Sep, 22 At 11:49
Subject: Re: [bocforum] Was the BOC a better club years ago?

Clubs begin when car enthusiasts come together to share their passion. In the case of the Bristol Owners Club that was either 1952 or 1964. Either date is a long time ago and just like people, car clubs have different stages of life.

Bristol always suffered from low volume. When the number of cars Bristol made from 1946 to 2020 is fewer than the number of cars made every hour in the world (Toyota alone makes 23,800 cars a day), it necessarily means a smaller pool from which to draw. On the other hand, Bristols were bespoke, an eccentric cut above the cars of the masses, thus they attracted a distinctive membership to the club.

Clubs typically do not begin on day one, as the initial owners tend to be, to quote a former NZ Labour politician, rich pricks who are less likely to join a car club as to show up to their elite golf club with a fashion-statement on wheels. Generally, it is the subsequent owners who are true enthusiasts wishing to share their passion - the form-follows-function engineer's design that is Bristol, especially in the earlier years.

Certain clubs tend to suffer from ageing, and I expect this is the case with the Bristol Car Club. I would be curious to know the median age of its members; I expect it is disproportionately older than the national demographic. Indeed, the best Bristol cars tend to come on the market offered by widows who are cleaning out the estate of their late car-mad husbands. And when Bristol closed the doors for the final liquidation in 2020, the lifeblood of new stock that feeds a club was cut off.

Hopefully, Bristols now have gotten to the age and value where few will go to the scrap yard. The survivors will always will have owners, and a role of a car club is to keep recruiting younger stewards to take on the surviving cars and ensure they remain as runners, not barn-finds. Eventually all the cars will be older than their owners.

Umm, maybe rather than say "eventually", I should add a qualifying "perhaps".

There is a storm-cloud on the horizon. The younger generation is committed to saving the planet, with a strong anti-petrol bias. As they move into politics and write the laws, there is a real possibility that classic cars will be targeted. Not by orders to crush, but unavailability of convenient petrol. We can still rock up to today's petrol station in a 1946 Bristol 400, fill it up for a reasonable price and drive off. Indeed it is rather remarkable to think we can still fuel a 1908 Ford Model T at the local BP station and it will run. In ten years that local access may change and in 20, petrol may be something bought in litre bottles for prices comparable to gin. Thus, if it wishes to plan for future generation, the club may want to look at electric-crate engines that can be dropped in to the V8 models, if not the 400-406, so Bristols survive the great purge. It is a real threat that the club should take seriously.

Overall, I am hopeful the Club survives this current challenge with its technology and continues to promote one of the most wonderful of British eccentricity so the cars may remain on the road, and future generations enjoy them like our generation enjoys Stradivarius violins or Picasso's works of art.

BOC, keep up the good work and enjoy your passion.


Johan Helsingius
 

For me, the change in focus from owning/using to maintaining, repairing
and restoring the cars has been a big improvement.

Julf

On 05/09/2022 00:26, Geoff Kingston via groups.io wrote:
We all tend sometimes to dwell on the past with rose tinted spectacles and think things were better then than they are now but this afternoon I sat down with a pile of BOC newsletters from about 1993 to 2015 and they really do reflect how the club has evolved and changed, some things it might be argued are for the better some sadly are not and I feel a sense of loss of focus and direction, the newsletters in the earlier years were like correspondence between family nothing as sophisticated as current club publications but somehow far more connected and intimate, far more adverts for cars and parts and far more things changing hand with more emphasis on practical member to member help. Was it a better period , without a doubt in my mind yes and if you have been a member of the club as long as I have and have kept all these old newsletters and the old bulletins as well enjoy an afternoon reading how things were and how the focus changed to the social side of the club becoming more important, don't dwell on it too much though because you might reflect on where the club is today and the upbeat chairman's report in the spring bulletin and the decent in to crisis in the run up to the AGM and beyond, that leaves me very very sad so to answer my own question yes for me at least it was.
Geoff.