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'Back in the Day' VW/Audi Dealership footage


dan95x
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Unfortunately, back in April of last year, my Granddad, the man who got me (and my brother Rich) into cars, and engines, and building, and welding, and all the other stuff that causes me so much trouble, passed away at the age of 84 (fairly ripe old age, given some of the stuff he got up to  😂

Over the years, he has been involved in all sorts of stuff that people on here might be interested in, not least of which is that from about the early/mid 60s, through to 1984, he, along with my Nan owned and ran a VW/Audi dealership, in Walsall in the West Midlands called 'Jem of Walsall'

Nan passed away about 6 years ago, so now me and Rich have the interesting, hilarious, surprising, heartbreaking, confusing, annoying and all the other emotions you can think of task of clearing his house, garages and yard of a lifetime of car/boat/general tomfoolery.

I am likely to have loads of stuff to post up here over the next few months as I uncover it (and actually find time to do so), and as long as people are finding it interesting, and want me to carry on, I will do so, as it doesnt seem right for none of this stuff to ever see the light of day again other than just within our family.

Granddad took a load of cine film, so I will start with a few of those, as I think they might be of interest:

First up is a general view around the garage, in 1969, in the snow:


Next up, also in 1969, a little trip around one of the workshops, and the parts department:

 

 

And lastly for this first instalment, slightly earlier I think, probably 66 or so, him tying some souvenirs bought on a cruise onto the roof of his Dads Rover, and then another shot of the front of the garage

Makes me laugh, as his Dad checks the tying on in the exact same way as he has always checked any tying on we have done - I know where he got it from now  😁

 


Assuming anyone is interested at all, I will try and update this reasonably regularly (there are bloody loads of just cine films alone, let alone pictures, stuff we are finding in with his things etc etc) but obviously we are pretty busy actually sorting all this lot at the minute, as well as normal family life etc.

Let me know what you think, whether people want me to keep posting things, and shout if any questions - I could chat about him till the cows come home - he was my hero, and I don't half miss him....

Jem Molyneux  May 1937- April 2022

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10 hours ago, coachie said:

So I went to check the handbook. Christ, it's a small world. 

Small world indeed (Even smaller considering, if your location under your pic is right, I live in the Midlands, but my business is in Cardiff 😂 )

As per your 'handover' note in your service pack - Bob Edwards the salesman who sold your Beetle was the Sales Manager there for quite a while (He is probably in some of the footage, although I never met him, so dont know what he looks/ed like - My Dad might be able to help me out with that - I will ask him).  Service manager is (I think) Gary Stokes, although I can probably tell you more accurately at some point, as at Granddads is a massive pile of the training certificates that used to hang in the workshop, showroom etc.

If you let me know your reg number (PM me if you dont want it public), I will keep an eye out when I am sorting through all the paperwork for any reference to it.  There is a fair bit of the sales records, some VW order slips etc  etc (although I think mainly a bit earlier than your beetle was registered from the look of it).'

'78 is reasonably late on Beetle-wise for what he has said to me over the years about their sales - Is it a saloon or a cabrio?

Dan 

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Next up is the launch of the VW K70 - 1969:

Well not THE launch, obviously, but the launch as far as the garage was concerned  😁 The big blue '30s Humber at the start was Granddads that he rebuilt with his Dad (and that we still have) - More to come on that in later posts I suspect.

The Red Beetle was the accessories display car in the showroom - I didn't realise bonnet bras had been a thing for such a long time!

He wasn't the biggest fan of the watercooled FWD stuff as it started to come in, but did come round (to some degree) over time.  I do sometimes wonder if it was his dogged 'loyalty' to the aircooled stuff that perhaps hindered the growth of the garage and led to them shutting up shop in the end.


Jumping around a bit in terms of time 'Knocking down old workshops' must be around '78 as the Silver Beetle Cabriolet in the footage is my Mums (which we still have) and was a 78 model:

I am slightly dubious of the way they appear to have knocked the old workshops down while they were actually full of vehicles  🤣

The end shot of the row of campers shows that they were Esso for the Petrol at this point too.  Over time they were Regent, Esso and Texaco (I think in that order)


Not all the garage related footage is actually in-situ Brands Hatch Caravan show (Possibly 1980):

He reckoned the massive awning thing that you can see was a VW/Audi UK thing that you could ask them to bring along to trade shows etc if you were putting on a certain size display.  Shame that wasn't his, because if that was in his yard somewhere, it would be just the job to have on the drive to work on the car under away from the weather  😄


Lastly for the minute, a bit of assorted retro car eye candy away from the garage for either pleasure, or possibly (Audi-wise) business for him - Lombard Rally, Trentham Gardens, Nov 81:


Thats it for the minute - will be back soon!...........

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Love that silver cab (is it the one on the FFF plate?) and I'm also feeling a bit concerned about the close proximity of that building work to the cars.  Still, nothing a nice bucket of soapy water, a big yellow sponge and a bottle of Mer couldn't solve back then.

My car is a green cab, and was supposed to be the penultimate to come into the country.  The last (a silver one I think) was nabbed by a VAG exec.  All according to the original owner who I managed to contact about 20 years ago when I bought it.  It was registered in March 1979, but built around August 78.  As the inspection service was done in November 78, I am guessing it was hanging around the showroom for a while?

Love the rally clip, that little Honda!

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The silver cab is indeed the one on the FFF plate (How did you know that, by the way? 😂 ) - It was my Mums 21st birthday present off My Nan and Granddad.  We still have it, although it is currently in pieces in the garage for long and personal reasons to do with my pain in the arse mother.

The story you have been told is pretty true to what I know (long and boring anecdote to follow)............

As I said above, he was an aircooled man at heart really - Later on he did come round to the watercooled stuff, and actually loved his mk1 golf etc, but at the time, (and partly as he was always a heart over commercial success/common sense type person) he was genuienly quite 'upset' that the aircooled stuff was being canned and replaced .  As he knew that the cabriolets, and therefore any German Beetles were coming to and end, he put an order in for 6 cabs:

- Silver with Black roof and interior (Mums)

- Bronze with oatmeal roof and interior

- Green with White/oatmeal(?) roof and interior (yours)

- Red with black roof and interior

- Black with White (or cream) roof/interior 

- Blue (I think) with black roof/interior

The story goes that they didnt turn up, and he kept chasing VW for them, they kept saying they couldnt get them into the country and this went on for a while.  One of the wagon drivers who used to deliver for him who he was friendly with told him that actually there were a few of them in at the docks, he ended up having a massive barney with the VW rep, and he ended up actually getting 3 of them in the end.  Mums, yours and the bronze one.

You will be right about it being in the showroom for a bit.  I guarantee he will have instructed the sales team to not drop a penny off the price, and I think he was happy to have them in the showroom as a 'centre piece'  to what he saw as a dying breed of 'proper' VWs.  The bronze one stayed for even longer than yours, in fact it stayed forever, till the garage shut.  In actual fact, we still have it, as Granddad kept it 😂 

I cant quite believe that we have just turned up the third one of the three that I have known/heard of since I was a kid.  Its genuinely made me a bit upset, as he would have been well chuffed to know that through total fluke, we had ended up finding the third one after all this time, just a few months too late for him to know about it 😢

I wont bore everyone else with all the details, but happy to catch up with you seperately about it all!  Still cant believe I am having the conversation, to be honest - And you thought it was a small world in your first reply!

 

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Wow, what brilliant social and family history! I bet you had some great times with him. How many times have you all been asked if the stadium is named after your family? 🤣

(I suspect there actually could be a distant connection)

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14 hours ago, High Jetter said:

Wow, what brilliant social and family history! I bet you had some great times with him. How many times have you all been asked if the stadium is named after your family? 🤣

(I suspect there actually could be a distant connection)

Its nice to be able to share it with people who will appreciate some old vehicle/building porn to be fair - Its a bit niche for general consumption in some ways (although I will admit I dont propose to upload the full 5 minute reel of heating pipes that he took prior to a floor going down - Literally no-one wants to see that.  Wish he would have taken the same of the bedroom in our house that he plumbed and still stuck a  circular saw through the radiator pipe when we took some floor boards up 😂 )

He was my hero in a lot of ways - He also nearly killed or badly maimed me a number of times - Health and Safety wasnt necessarily his strength, but he taught me a huge amount about cars and building 'stuff'

I think he got the Molyneux thing a lot - Probably why none of us live Wolverhampton way!  Having said that, its my Mums side of the family, so I have a different surname and therefore escape it!  

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I will probably struggle to put any up for a few days, so wanted to drop some on here now while I have a chance:

Construction 1980:

Pretty sure this was a spray booth and extension to the workshops. Granddad being the man he was, we still have a small pile of those white bricks at the top of our garden 43 years later - There was no way any would be going to waste once the builders were done  😁

Not that it probably means much to anyone other than us, but you get a glimpse of him through the window towards the end, waving the RSJ down into position in a terrible suit.  I can guarantee even without sound, that when it was in place, he will have shouted 'woah' to confirm.


Feb 78 - Concrete pouring, removing Kiosk and new Canopy:

Bit of a mix of building stuff here.  Your man 'Bill' laying the concrete in his slacks and cardigan with a pipe in his mouth turns up in a few of these whenever concrete is being poured  😂

The white bay window pickup being used to take the old petrol kiosk away (and being MASSIVELY overloaded from the look of it  😂) was a part exchange that came in, got sprayed Dove Blue shortly after this and became the garage pool pick-up.  Granddad fell in love with it, kept it as his own, and again (surprise surprise) we still have it.

The Esso tanker, according to the notes written on the cine was the first Esso delivery that they had.

You start to see the forecourt looking a lot less like an old fashioned garage here and looking more like a modern dealership/petrol station I guess too.


Dropping ten years back in time, I think this '1968 Forecourt Trimming' is probably the earliest footage of the forecourt etc I think.

Its terrible quality at the start, but its worth it for some nice close ups when the quality clears up a bit

When we were watching all these in his last few weeks, he reckoned it was some promotion by Regent that they were setting up for at the start, hence the cardboard cut-out Regent woman that pops up all over the place  😄

The little MG sportscar parked on the end of the forecourt was a petrol and service regular apparently - A little old lady who used to bomb round in her sporty little two seater well into what Granddad reckoned was her 80s :)


As I might not be about for a few days, there is a bit of a longer one below (20 mins or so) 'Silverstone 1980'

They were both on the same cine reel, and only marked up as Racing at Silverstone 1980, but I am guessing from the change of weather, its 2 different race meets - Historic racing in the pouring rain, and some saloon etc racing, with a guest appearance by Thrust 2, I assume doing a PR tour.

There is some pretty tasty stuff in the car parks etc too

 

As I say, I might struggle to update much for a little while, but there is definitely more coming!

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The touring car footage is of the 44th RAC Tourist Trophy, sponsored by Halford's. It was a round of the 1980 European Touring Car Championship.

The eventual winners were car no.2, the BMW 635.

Race results are on the following link. The entry read like a who's who of 1970s and 1980s touring car racing.

1980 ETCC - round 8 (touringcarracing.net)

 

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See, now that is good knowledge!  Yeah, some half-decent drivers in there 😄 

I am guessing it was actually technically work he was there for with the Audi 80s and the Mk1 Sciroccos and that VAG had a number of dealers there (although the historic racing will have been out of choice). 

I see the Sciroccos both retired - They must have been built the same day as mine, as that DNF'd the M4 once, and the M5 for that matter 

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June 1981 - Danbury Disabled Conversion:

This is a bit of filming of ITV filming a conversion of a Danbury camper at the garage, converted for disabled owners.  I don't know if he was interviewed etc, or if they just used the garage to supply/film it, as I've never seen the ITV end of it!  Its crazy to think that something that I guess is pretty (relatively) easy to get hold of now (i.e an adapted camper/vehicle) was newsworthy not all that long ago.

 

 

Footings for Parts Dept:

Will be 70s at some point.  Its not the most exciting cine film ever, to be honest, but Bill makes a return in his trademark PPE cardi, and its interesting to see that a main dealer would use their own staff in quiet times to be laying the foundations in their overalls  😂 I cant imagine that happening now in the days of the big dealer groups!  I guess you would never get such major work going on nowadays while the garage is still open to customers either.


West Park Classic Car Show Late 70s:

Anyone in the West Mids will definitely know West Park as a venue for classic car shows - Good to see they have been going on for a while!

After the parade which takes up most of the film, is more footage of Granddads Humber that featured in an earlier film in the garage.  He bought as his own car early on in his driving career and rebuilt it with his Dad.  He took it round various shows for a fair few years in the 60s, 70s and 80s, it served as my Mum & Dads wedding car, and then has been parked up since the early 80s (always under cover) but still!  

Its not in the worst shape, but its not in the best either, unfortunately.  Currently under a car port, and covered in/surrounded by all sorts, it will be a little while until we can pull it out, but having cleared stuff from round it the other day and had a peer inside, it still smells exactly the same as it did when I used to play in it as a kid.

My Dad, as his son-in-law was obviously trusted enough to transport it for him, as its him driving it off on the back of the garage liveried LT recovery truck at the end.  He had the LT built specifically by a local coachbuilders from an LT Chassis/cab, and reckoned VW told him it was the first flatbed LT recovery wagon of that type, but I don't know how confirmed that actually is!


Joe and Empty Houses Pleck Road:

I have no idea who Joe is, but I am guessing its the guy walking down the road at the start of the film!

The garage site actually started as Granddads Dads builders yard, which previously was a small manor house and grounds/outbuildings.  Initially they got a few petrol pumps for the builders wagons, and I believe whoever supplied the petrol at the time said that they had to supply the public too, which is where the garage started from and grew from.

This shows quite well how over time they expanded to the surrounding houses, which ended up getting consumed by the garage too, creating  a pretty big 'empire'.  You will be unsurprised, if you are building a picture of the man, to find out that we only actually got rid of the last of these houses (even though all the rest of the site was sold in 1984) to the current owner of the site about 4 years back, as even though it was derelict and being used for people to fly tip in, he just couldnt get rid of the last bit of it he still had hold of!  I

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