Chairman's Report for the 2006 VBOA AGM Ian Coomber, Chairman VBOA
I believe the VBOA has continued to make good progress in the past twelve months against its twin remits of providing an effective interface between Vauxhall and the associated clubs and a platform for new ideas to benefit the clubs and their members.
One measure of our success has been the number of new clubs which have been ratified as full members during the year and the steady stream of prospective members wishing to join when they have met the requirements of the constitution.
A second measure has been the continued and enthusiastic support of Vauxhall who have increased their support of our activities at Billing and have agreed to take the 1903 Vauxhall to the VBOA International Rally in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were particularly impressed with the turnout for the first VBOA Heritage Centre open day held last October and have asked us to repeat the exercise this year on October 8th. Our concerns over the future of the extensive Vauxhall archive were answered with the part time appointment of Andrew Duerden as archive manager. Andrew has a long personal history with Vauxhall, particularly on the motor sport front and is an ideal appointment from the VBOA point of view. Less ideal is the lack of a new restorer appointment to replace Dave Hines who left earlier this year, but we are assured that the Heritage Centre is still seen as an important part of Vauxhall’s PR activity and that an inventory of necessary restoration work has been initiated and a budget put in place. VBOA officers attended Dave’s leaving function and we were able to thank him for his considerable support over the years.
The International rally scene is also thriving with last year’s International Rally in Holland being particularly well organised and much enjoyed by all the participants. A similarly large entry is now in place for Sweden and the Swiss owner’s club is already in place with impressive plans for 2007.
The models sub-committee has continued to work with key makers to ensure that a flow of new models is maintained.
In October the VBOA co-ordinated a pricing review by the clubs for submission to Practical Classics magazine and it was pleasing to note that this initiative resulted in across the board price increases in their price guide. Although improved, price levels remain largely below club expectations and we will repeat this exercise as appropriate in the next year.
The renamed VBOA National Rally in association with CCC Insurance Limited enjoyed brilliant weather in 2005 and high levels of turn-out. The central competition car display, improved PA system, simple programme with site map and the Chairman’s Cup competition were popular additions to the line-up and we have refined these concepts for 2006 with dream cars and prototypes taking centre stage. For 2006 we will again have a two day event on July 8th and 9th.
The second VBOA Spring Parts Day and Autojumble attracted about the same gate as the inaugural event, but with fewer autojumble pitches taken the financial outcome was again negative, not the outcome that we had anticipated given the increased publicity for the event and the better date obtained this year. A far cheaper but high quality venue has been identified for 2007 and the VBOA Committee will consider whether to promote this event for a third year at their next meeting.
In March we launched the VBOA website at www.vboa.org.uk and I believe this has already proved to be an effective communications medium with lively history and gallery sections. We also invested in new outdoor display equipment and this was put to good use at the Spring parts day and will further enhance the VBOA site at Billing this year.
Unfortunately 2005/6 has seen a marked reduction in the activities of Vauxhall Heritage Services on behalf of the clubs and owners. The VBOA has discussed the situation with VHS and Vauxhall and the officers are now reluctantly recommending to the committee that VHS are removed from the VBOA constitution. The VBOA will continue to lobby for an effective parts distribution service for the older parts still in General Motors’ warehouses. On the positive side, Vauxhall is finally completing the paperwork to admit VBOA recognised clubs as members of the Trade Club.
It has been very pleasing to see more volunteers helping at the parts day and during the run-up to Billing. It really does make the officers feel it is all worth while. Again my thanks go to VBOA Officers John Ankerman, Barry Harvey, Anne Norris and Colin Robbins for all their hard work and to the committee members who give up their time for the VBOA as well as playing major roles in their own clubs.
I believe the VBOA is well on the way to defining a meaningful and sustainable role in the world of Vauxhall, Bedford and Opel vehicles and we will need to keep in close touch with Vauxhall as they continue to evolve into a UK marketing operation for all GM marques to ensure that we can continue to be in their plans and they in ours.