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Bell & Colvill - 50 years in the fast lane!


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Martin told a wonderful story (at Bobby's memorial service) about the first year of trading. Sales of cars was somewhat slow in those early days; Bobby was very much the wheeler-dealer and Martin was charged with keep the ship steady. Bobby was spending quite freely without managing to get very much cash to flow the other way. After about 6 months, Martin had to have a frank discussion with Bobby and confess that the only reason they were not yet bankrupt was that Burmah Fuels were delivering petrol every week, which the forecourt was selling without trouble, but Burmah had yet to invoice B&C for any of it. Martin reminded Bobby that the bill would eventually land and to use this breathing space to get some dosh in. 

It all ended well.

Go B&C!

Justin 

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My Esprit was serviced at the Caterham showroom (VW dealer, Lotus servicing) - Brian Lawrence was in charge.

There was also a branch over Epsom way, as the first day I bought my car I went out it in and had a huge panic, as every time I stopped smoke came out of the louvres - "what have I done" I thought. Anyway took it to the branch near Epsom, head gasket leaving slightly and oil was dripping onto the manifold.

When they found out where I lived (Kenley), asked me why I didn't take it to Caterham - which is where it then went every 6 months until it migrated to my parents in Norfolk.

Only ever went to the West Horsley showroom for their M100 launch day. Had a ride in one as well.

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11 hours ago, ChrisJ said:

There was also a branch over Epsom way, as the first day I bought my car I went out it in and had a huge panic, as every time I stopped smoke came out of the louvres - "what have I done" I thought. Anyway took it to the branch near Epsom, head gasket leaving slightly and oil was dripping onto the manifold.

When they found out where I lived (Kenley), asked me why I didn't take it to Caterham - which is where it then went every 6 months until it migrated to my parents in Norfolk.

Blimey - goes to show you learn something new every day as I never knew about the Epsom Branch.

Although my Dad bought his from the Caterham branch we'd also frequently travel up to the West Horsely to have a look at all the cars that they'd used to have outside. Fell in love with a blue Europa Special they had for a while - I wonder what ever happened to it? However, I think the creme de la creme was when I first saw the Esprit Essex Turbo there - just loved the way the Red leather interior complimented the red stripes down the side 🙂

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I can't remember exactly where the "Epsom" service centre was - it may not have been Epsom, but in the area. I think it was on a built up road, but there were trees lining the road on the pavement - or I may be writing a complete load of bollox as I only visited it once in June 1987. 

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50 continuous years as a Lotus dealer is good going and must be the only ones to have reached that milestone I’d have thought.
I first saw the E.Horsley site when we moved from Kent to Hampshire in 1973 and drove past (no M25 in those days). I’d already been a Lotus fanboy for about 12 years and owned a couple, so was pleased to see they were there. 
Happy 50th B & C 🥂🍾

No doubt I’ll be buying one or two more cars from you before I finally pop my clogs! 😁

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