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29/08/2003 08:11:05   Tom   How many Saab 96 owners out there are looking for Ronal or Minilite wheels? I have heard rumour that an alloy wheel manufacturer in the UK might consider making them if there is enough interest. Prices would be in the region of 100 + VAT.  
29/08/2003 09:35:54   Nick   Is that for a full set? If so then yes I would be interested. I was planning on having my original steel wheels stripped back and painted but alloys would be nice  
29/08/2003 09:40:34   Tom.k   Yeah l'd be interested.  
29/08/2003 10:04:03   Senor Burt   No way would it be 100 a set. EACH I think. Highgate already have these wheels remanufactured. I don't know if they're exactly the same as the originals though. The centre caps certainly aren't.
Did the SOC not get a batch made a few years ago?  
29/08/2003 10:43:30   Tom   It's in the region of 100 + VAT EACH. It's only a rumour though. i think the SOC did have some made up but i'm not sure if it was a successful venture. i believe they got a lot of initial interest from the USA that failed to actually transfer into sales and someone was left with a heap of them. Not sure if this is true though. if only i had access to such a heap now!  
29/08/2003 11:58:38   Richard   I think the highgate wheels are from that venture and are made by Comomotive. Minilite were considering making them.  
29/08/2003 14:06:54   steve h   Yes I would talk to Ken at Highgate, I think there had a nightmare administering the list for the bulk order. Good luck to you if you want to have another go.

And by the way, steel wheels can be blasted for 10 each and re stove enamled for 12. Look up stove enameling in your yellow pages. And they are as good as new.
 
29/08/2003 14:31:16   Nick   I was considering having the wheels powder coated or enameled in the same colour as the car, Orchid white. I'm not a fan of silver wheels anyway but in their current rusty and brake dust colour they do look rather nasty  
29/08/2003 15:11:18   Tom   Nick, just put Hammerite paint over the top and they will look fine. i have some steel wheels and did this and they were great. i have alloy soccerballs on my car right now and they were powdercoated. I took the car to a hand car wash though and they sprayed on alloy wheel cleaner that did something weird to the finish - made it grey!  
30/08/2003 09:05:45   ian   Is price going to be quantity dependent? Any idea how many rims will need to be ordered before the manufacturer will start production?

Does anybody have a set of original ronals that they would consider swapping for a set of soccerballs and some cash?
 
30/08/2003 18:42:53   Senor Burt   Compomotive make the Highgate wheels. They are 145 plus VAT each.
Take a look at www.crumplezone.co.uk/project95v4 for the sad tale of my Minilite wheels.  
31/08/2003 21:25:10   james w   For the VW Beetle you can get wheel adapters so you can fit any sort of alloy wheel you want. Perhaps highgate could manufacture some for the saab, which would be more useful than dodgy bodykits.  
01/09/2003 07:55:07   Richard   Somebody in Sweden makes an adaptor to fit 4 stud 99 wheels. Yeh, high(price)gate are going to make them so they can not sell any of their alloys!
I will have a look at a design for a wheel spacer, but dont hold your breath as I have four V4's on the go at the moment so time is a little sort.  
01/09/2003 09:37:59   Senor Burt   It is not too difficult, I am told, to fit Ford Esc*rt hubs and drums to a V4. The drums go straight on with a spacer, but the front hubs need a bit of adaptation.
Exactly how this goes, I don't know.
There was a blue and silver 96 with Ford alloys at the SOC national a couple of years ago,
Unfortunately most Ford alloys are quite nasty, but there must be some nice 3rd party wheels you can get.
Mr V6 96 has adaptor plates on the car to fit 99 footy ball wheels, unfortunately, they space the wheels out 1/2" or so, so he had to extend the rear wings with a strip of metal on the inside to fit the tyres under.  
01/09/2003 12:25:43   Richard   You need to see Chris Partingtons 2 stroke touring car if you want wide rear wings, its got 205 rubber fitted.  
02/09/2003 22:55:58   Tom   The other company rumoured to be considering making alloys for the 96 say they will only consider it viable if they get an order of 300 wheels. I can't see us getting 75 interested people together, so that's the end of that one.

Richard, there is an adaptor plate business opportunity eyeing you up here.  
03/09/2003 22:42:12   Alistair   I've not had chance to follow it up with Ken or Mel yet but I did get a mail from Highgate recently asking if the SOC would be interested in buying the moulds for their alloys - they are looking to sell them to finance another venture. I know the Club hasn't the funds to take this on or to take the risk in getting a batch made that it can't sell, but can't help thinking we should try to do something...  
04/09/2003 07:24:14   ian   How much are Highgate talking about? Presumably, ownership of the moulds would mean that the unit cost of producing the rims would be considerably cheaper than Highgate's current retail price, which no doubt includes an element of healthy profit. Is there a limitation on the number of rims that can be produced from the moulds?

Isn't it time the SOC did a bit more for V4 owner's in general other than just a page in the Driver and sponsoring a few individuals in the various rally classes?
 
04/09/2003 13:55:42   Senor Burt   From what I hear, the SOC is not short of a few bob, although I wouldn't like to guess how much K&M want for the moulds!
Maybe some liason with other clubs around the world could be in order. I'm sure Minilites are rare even in Sweden. Obviously there could be great interest from the US SAAB community(vSAAB list etc). The cost of sending things to the US is not horrendous.
In response to Ian's second query, the SOC aren't really that interested in V4's. As time goes by, the number of V4's which are actually used frequently goes down year by year. Therefore the percentage of SOC members who are interested in older models dwindles. The hideous complexity of newer models also ensures that technical articles are increasingly dedicated to things like obscure electronic problems, air-con woes or barely audible rattles.
Most V4 technical issues have been covered in the past in the Driver, it seems the main problem now is where to get parts at a reasonable price. Most parts for V4's are still available, but the difficulty of dealing with Scandanavian suppliers means that those who can be bothered reap the rewards by selling at premium prices. A lot of stuff is also available from British companies and is common to other vehicles, but again, those who do their homework can make a healthy mark-up.
There was talk of the SOC remanufacturing parts or having a store somewhere, but this seems to have come to naught.
The Swedish SAAB club do have parts remanufactured, but I would imagine that their market is a lot bigger than in Britain.
It's good that the SOC do support V4's in competition, it's just that there's a dwindling number of people who can afford the repair bills if their car gets trashed on a rally.  
04/09/2003 17:20:54   Tom   I would certainly appreciate it if the SOC did get involved with the manufacture of these alloys, as i don't feel that i get an awful lot from being a member of the SOC - other than one good page in the Driver, which is on the whole full of stuff that makes my eyes glaze over - electronic problems and the like for SAAB 900000's. Maybe this is what caused the Saab Enthusiasts Club to get started? What happened to them?

Minilites and Ronals are rare in Sweden as well. Recent emails from contacts over there tell me to expect to pay around 450 for a used set of Ronals. I've been trying to source some for over a year. Am i too tight to pay 170 each for an alloy wheel? It just seems an awful lot. They do look nice though.
Maybe we should liase with the Swedish SAAB club to see if they would be interested in buying Highgate's moulds.

 
04/09/2003 19:43:12   Senor Burt   450 sounds about right. It's all about rareity value. These wheels are mostly over 30 years old.
The genuine SAAB ones are nicer, the Highgate wheels are somewhat marred by their logo on the centre caps.
The Saab Enthusiasts are still going at www.saabenthusiasts.co.uk
They were recently in crisis and nearly folded, but seem to be picking themselves up now.  
05/09/2003 00:34:56   Alistair   Friends and fellow V4 enthusiasts

This isn't the place (for me) to get into a debate on the value provided by the SOC or what the Club should/not do. The AGM is coming up soon and members are actively encouraged to share their views and provide constructuve criticism, it would be good if more did so. You can also contact me directly if you have V4 specific stuff to say!

What I will say on this forum is that if you have strong views and/or would like things to be different then make your views known and participate. I don't think anyone could say that the Club could not be improved, but this requires people to get involved, share ideas and make it happen.

The financial challenge for any car club in these sorts of ventures is the size of the market - we just don't have a critical mass of potential V4 customers out there. But I really like the idea of "clubbing together" (Doh!) with other clubs for this particular opportunity, many thanks for the suggestion. It might make things more viable by reducing the investment needed, sharing the risk and building a bigger market for the end product. I will look into it.

By the way, I'm pleased you like the page in Driver, thanks!!

Al  
05/09/2003 08:49:25   Alec   Glad you mentioned the AGM Alistair, I will be going as it is the best place to make your views and thoughts about the future of the club known. Hope to see some of you there.  
05/09/2003 18:00:04   john wyatt   Alistair

It is fair comment regarding the AGM and raising issues there, myself and 5 other V4 owners locally have all been members of SOC at one time or another, but none of us are at present, my main interest was always the adverts but the internet has replaced the value of even this aspect of the club, I am sure there must be a great many older SAAB owners who feel the club has little to offer unless you happen to be in the South of England, I dont mean to just moan but I cant see the present generation of 9-3 and 9-5 owners keeping the club viable which is a shame.

dont get me wrong I know the club is only as good as its members but it does seem to have went backwards since 10 years ago when i first joined.


Jonny  
06/09/2003 07:49:39   Alec   John,
I can understand where you are coming from. I have been in the SOC since 1986 and the old cars are starting to get rare at events now. The club as a whole is still trying where possible to help members with old cars but it can't do it alone.
The more of us V4 owners that are in the club, the more help we will get (however small). I have stayed in the club as a social thing really, and the kids enjoy the events. Even with the internet, it is great to stand a chat to another V4 owner all afternoon (preferablly with a pint in one hand).
I would urge as many V4 owners as possible to stay in the club and help to stamp OUR mark on the club.
 
06/09/2003 12:43:09   Tom   Er...cough, cough...If 10 people express an interest, Highgate will produce another batch of 40 wheels. i am on the list and to hell with the expense. I'll sell a guitar and my soccerballs to justify it to Kathryn - who likes steel and dust caps. Just need another 9 folks out there.  
08/09/2003 09:17:47   Senor Burt   Does he not have any left? I have a set sitting around that will be going back to Highgate soon. I am in negotiation to buy some Sonett JP/GTO wheels from America to replace my lost Ronals.  
08/09/2003 10:29:08   Tom   They are all gone and waiting for more orders before getting the next batch done.  
08/09/2003 16:52:03   Richard   I will have your soccerballs if you get rid of them  
09/09/2003 12:29:01   Ken & Mel   Having gone through the forum and swore a few times at the comments presented by people who obviously do not live in the real world, here,s a REALITY CHECK !
When we first started on the ALLOY wheel trail, we were told by members of the SOC that they had a large database of customers who wanted alloy wheels for their V4's and we would sell all over the world ! We invested 10,000 yes thats right TEN THOUSAND POUNDS just to have the mould manufactured, that does not include the time it took to obtain original drawings and rights ( which I may add we own, that is why people who try to buy direct from Compomotive are directed to us )Also the wheels are constructed to a higher standard than the original Ronals, Just ask one of the rally boys who run them ( most purchased 12 wheels ) when we produced the first batch was there a rush to our door ! I think not, everybody who said they were up for it dissappeared !! S**T was our first thought and were's that light switch !
It was only the American market and Bud Clake in particular who saved the day and Highgate as a company ( remember we do this for a LIVING NOT as a hobby in our spare time with a proper job to keep us comfy and the wolf from the door )
We would dearly love to reproduce more body & repair panels but they cost money to remanufacture ( It does not give you much heart to have anything done, when somebody asks for something & you tell them the price and they say that's to much I'll beat something out of sheetmetal and bodge it ! ). other views, wheel adaptors we have tried & to be honest trashed my suspension and are crud . As for the body kit Sixten Sasson did a facelift sketch for the 1972 model year and our kit is based on this !
Also please remember we have customers phone up ( and you may be one of them )who have a problem with their car and we FREELY give advice on their best course of action to repair their car, try phoning up EURO with a technical problem and having a 15 minute chat with them about it !
Remember we are a REAL company not a dot com company and have overheads rent/rates/electric/insurance/phones & more, oops nearly forgot salary which most sane people would turn their nose up at !
IF your interested the moulds are up for grabs at 4000 we shan't hold our breathe for the rush !
Ken & Mel High(alwaysthereforourcustomers)gate SAAB
 
10/09/2003 07:50:55   Richard   why can I buy avo damper for 41 plus vat then.  
10/09/2003 09:08:46   Alec   Thanks for the comments Ken and Mel.  
10/09/2003 11:50:52   Senor Burt   It's a fair point about the disappearing customers. It must be highly galling(and scary) for all those promises to vanish when you've invested so much in the project.
Obviously you can't be criticised for making a profit and as a small company you don't have the economies of scale of a larger outfit, but when people(like Richard) realise that they can buy some of the same stuff at less than half the price in some cases, there are going to be questions asked about your pricing in general. Although in such a specialist business, some things are going to cost more than parts for 'classic' British cars for instance.  
10/09/2003 12:32:43   Richard   At the Lagonda club they would advertise they are looking at producing a batch of 'X' and would ask members to contact them showing their interest. Once all the numbers have been taken into account then they would see if there is enough interest to go ahead, they would release the actual price for item 'X' and ask people to pay a good sized deposite. This knocks out the people that are not interested, then the price is reworked and the remaining people contacted with the update. Usually all is OK and the parts are manufactured.  
10/09/2003 16:11:08   Alistair   I can sympathise with the comments of our friends at Highgate - which is why I have said that I don't think the SOC is able to take such commercial risks with its members' money.

I've already committed to investigate if other clubs would be interested in sharing the costs.

Mel & Ken - The offer is appreciated and being taken seriously. I will be in touch with you on this once I've got somewhere.

 
10/09/2003 21:57:14   Tom   Alistair, it might prove less of a commercial risk if you write about this issue in The Driver and attempt to get a show of hands (asking who would lay down a deposit)for the number of folks actually interested in owning a set of alloys. You can then determine the viability of buying the Highgate moulds and subsequent manufacture. Highgate are a profit making concern and rightly point out that they have overheads and salaries to attend to, and prefer not to be a charity. However, the SOC was not established for profit but for the good of the members. We all pay into this fund and if at all possible it would be nice to see what can be done to help and support 96 members - in the manner that Richard talks about above.  


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