Wareabouts - The Real Car Company
FOR MANY YEARS I HAVE SEEN THE advertisements from the Real Car Co. of Bethesda in North Wales.
In most cases these have been early Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. I have often wondered where all the cars come from as they obviously have a relatively quick turn- over. Recently on a trip into North Wales I asked if I could come and see them. Ray Arnold and his wife started an exhaust fitting business in Bangor, and at the same time ‘dabbled’ in sales of early cars as a sideline.
At the time Ray had a Derby Bentley which he sold to a customer, Ian Johnstone. As a result of this they became friends and joined forces, shortly afterwards starting the Real Car Co together in 1987 alongside the exhaust business. Not long after this, having sold a few cars, they found themselves with five Rolls-Royces on their hands, were doing well, and as a result in 1988 the exhaust business was sold off. Suitable premises were found in the form of a very substantial, Victorian, slate-built ex-Penrhyn Quarry property in which to locate the growing business. Initially, one part of the building was rented, but as the need for space increased, more was taken on, and in 1991 the whole site was purchased with the aid of a bank loan.
I asked if it was a disadvantage being off the beaten track. They explained that the overheads were low and there was no need to be on the High Street. With carefully placed advertisements, people will come to you if the product is right.
They specialise in Rolls-Royce and Bentley of any age, and although preferring the earlier models (pre-1966), they will take other makes in part exchange and sometimes do purchase other makes to sell. They own the majority of the cars, which, along with the remaining stock which is on consignment, are all on display in one location in Bethesda and will have been fully checked over by their engineers. Their staff totals 10 at present.
Back in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s many pre-war Rolls-Royce and Bentleys were exported to the USA and Canada. The Real Car Company has for many years been working with an agent in the USA who has become a good friend. He travels all over the States looking for suitable cars and the partners absolutely trust his judgement. Many of those exports are coming back!
Whilst I was there I was told of a 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 three position drop head coupe by Barker which they had just bought. It was soon to be in a container and on the high seas. It was a three owner car which was last taxed in UK in 1971 and exported that year. The new owner took the engine out some years later, but never overhauled it. Basically this is now a very original “barn find” or more accurately a “garage find”, which is sure to generate excitement when it comes out of its shipping container, if not before!
In the 1920s, a relatively small number of left hand drive Rolls-Royce were built in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, but most cars coming back to UK shores are right hand drive, having been built and used here originally, finding their way across the Atlantic in later life. They will buy left hand drive cars however, as they have many customers in Europe.
Many of their sales are to returning customers, they even have one customer who has bought ten cars from them and they have never met him! Ray and Ian are proud of their reputation, and twenty eight years after forming the company, still love to be surrounded by these lovely pieces of automotive history. Would you rather have money in the bank, earning very little, or have fun with a delightful motorcar?
At the time of going to press the oldest Rolls-Royce car in their stock was a 1920 Silver Ghost. A 1926 20hp Windover open tourer is being advertised with a video of it being driven on some lovely Welsh country roads. The 1935 20/25 with William Arnold “Airline” style of coachbuilding is unusual on a Rolls Royce.
Amongst other makes available right now is a 1913 Minerva, 1925 Bullnose Morris and a 1938 Morris Commercial one ton van.
Do have a look at their website. www.realcar.co.uk
Wareabouts, from p. 11 of issue April 2016
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