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Thread: Next step in club evolution

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,942

    Default Next step in club evolution

    Bear with my rants and raves, the event comes at the end...

    Fellow blatters.

    A central theme in our loose planning for the California Caterham Club has been to get car enthusiasts from different camps hooked on the Seven concept. As a part of this we have deviced a both cunning and devious plan to get people to own a Caterham.

    The plan is built around the concept of easing the transition from the barren, empty and cold world of non Caterham owners, to the glorious warmth and superior life that follows from having a Seven in your garage.

    The plan goes something like this:

    1. Get people to the site.
    We plan to hand out stickers with our logo, slogan and web address that we'll attach to the sexy rear end of our cars. When we drive down the street, we can channel the interest generated in the cars to this website.

    2. Get people to sign up for a demo night.
    The site will allow people to sign up for a demo night. Every month, or so, we will gather in a garage with one or more Sevens, and show what is involved in building one.
    We'll explain the steps of assembly, the tools and knowledge needed and where to get help if something goes wrong.

    3. Get people to rent a car.
    In order for someone interested in a car to really get the feel for it, we plan to try to get the dealers to setup a rental program. With this program, a prospective owner can really try out the car and decide if he/she likes it or not.

    4. Get people to purchase the car.
    This step is between the dealer and the future owner.

    5. Help people assemble and register the car.
    Here we are looking at mentoring programs or maybe even paid assistance and support, if the dealer does not provide it. The club would have a list of people who knows the Seven well and are willing to help out.
    It is then up to the owner and mentor to agree on the level of help and reimbursement.

    ---- THE EVENT ----

    I was thinking of trying out step 2 when I get back from Sweden. We have a car (mine), and a garage in Orange County where we can hold the meeting.

    My question to you is, how many of your friends, co-workers etc, do you think would be interested in such an evening? If there are more than five, I will probably give it a shot a weekend evening.

    I would really, really appreciate if you can ask around and check out the level of interest out there and post a reply to this message.

    TNX!

    /Magnus F.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Posts
    2,130

    Default Club Marketing, Brand Policy?

    Hi Magnus,
    sounds like a good plan. I am still not sure what makes people want to own a Seven. I always wanted one, well aware of the limitations. I just have learned that it is not a car for everybody. But I agree, PR is the only way to catch the interest of the elite few who qualify 8)

    To participate it would be helpful for me (being a minority Birkin owner) to have a better understanding of the club's brand policy. From my perspective I would prefer an open and unbiased discussion based on technical merits (actual or perceived). Just as I don't care about a Lacoste or Hilfiger label on my shirt I don't care about the badge on my car as long as it is a true replication of the original and well made (O.K., maybe I would tolerate a car with a few problems if it was an original Lotus badge :wink: )

    However, if the common idea is to only promote the Caterham brand I would rather stay back and let you do your thing. I just hope it does not get as snotty as some of the British factions :shock:

    Anyway, I will still come for a blat!! :D

    Cheers, Gert

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Anselmo, Calif.
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I have a 1:18 scale Caterham so I guess that qualifies me to make a statement. (Now I'm really qualified as I have just ordered a new Superlight in Febuary).
    From the name of this club it seems to be focused on Caterhams. But I hope we all will welcome Birkin owners and other makes (and Lotus 7's) , too, as long as they remain true to the spirit of the Lotus 7.

    It was seeing the Birkin tent at Laguna Seca's vintage races last year that got me interested in these cars. By chance I was driving around the garages at Sears Point after a race there and saw a door with a Lotus 7 sign on it. When I wandered in I thought I had found "Birkin University" but was quickly told I was looking at Caterhams. Oh, just like the Birkin...except a bit different in details. Whatever... I hope to get a Caterham if I can fit building one into my schedule and space.

    With my brother into go-kart racing and, now, formula Vee, and after the ride of my life with Dave Harris in Woody's black Birkin (holding off a fast Porsche Turbo belching flames) around Sears at the Sevens Festival last November, I can certainly see myself doing some track time. All I need is a car now. So, Gert, I hope you will stick around here. Doesn't seem to me to matter what make one drives as long as we all have a common interest in our cars. Just my feelings on the subject.

    And Magnus,
    I would be interested in an evening learning about building a car but, alas, I am way up in Marin County. I like what you propose, however.

    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,942

    Default California Caterham Club purity.

    Folks,

    The discussion about Caterhams vs. other sevens as club members has been going on for quite a while. Right now, this is not a problem since we do not have a formal membership, but rather just use the website to get together and have fun.

    What we were thinking, as the club evolves, was to focus on Caterhams (hence the club name), but to welcome other sevens as guests on our events. It would be stupid to explicitly exclude non Caterham sevens in a community that totals less than 50 cars.

    The (weak) excuses for focusing on Caterham are:
    1. Brad and I, who launched the idea about a club, have Catehams.

    2. Caterham is (i believe) the major Seven brand sold in the U.S. We have a lot to gain by teaming up with local Caterham dealers, who obviously are attracted by a Caterham focused club.

    I cannot stress enough that I am brand agnostic, and that I do not thumb my nose at non Caterham sevens, including your Birkin, Gert :D .

    Moreover, we are young and dumb (the club, that is), and as we mature and attract more people we may alter our course and either become more Caterham-centric, or more Seven-generic. That is up to everyone participating to decide, not me.

    I sincerely hope I haven't pissed anyone off with this message...

    /Magnus F.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Anselmo, Calif.
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: California Caterham Club purity.

    Quote Originally Posted by magnusfeuer

    I sincerely hope I haven't pissed anyone off with this message...

    /Magnus F.
    On the contrary; a clear clarification and one that most people should agree with.

    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Napa, California
    Posts
    116

    Default

    Magnus,

    Unfortunately I'm too far away to drive in events in your area, but I do enjoy this forum and would suggest that there is nothing wrong with a single-brand Caterham club, for all of the reasons that you first outlined. Nothing in that restricts, in any way, the ability or openness of the club or its members to participation in club activities by owners of other brands, or prospective owners of any brand. I think that most successful marque clubs (i.e., Alfa, Ferrari, Shelby, etc.) welcome participation at some level by owners of other brands.

    A single-brand club also has the decided potential advantage of group representation with Caterham dealers, the importer, and the UK, which could be very helpful with everything from staging/enlarging events to resolving technical issues.

    It seems to me that the Birkin Forum is a good example of what I am talking about in relation to sevens. It is a one-brand forum, with no appologies, and it appears to provide a valuable service to Birkin owners - including a seamless interface with the dealers and importer. While anyone is free to join the Birkin forum, and participate in discussions, the forum is not obligated to, or expected to, accomodate discussions pertaining to any other brands.

    Anyway, just some thoughts from afar. I agree that there is no desire to offend.

    Rich H.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    973

    Default

    Gents: As I recall when Magnus got the brilliant idea of a club & website a year or so back there was some discussion regarding calling it the Lotus, 7, Caterham or whatever club. Among the few us involved in those conversations it was loosely and arbitrarily concluded that since none of us owned real Lotus cars, and the number 7 could get us confused with Mazdas-Horoscopes-continents-gamblers and God knows what else, that left us with the Caterham name. In our admittedly biased opinions we reckoned that Caterham had the highest name visibility among the derivative kits available and that we just happened to own Caterhams. Internet trollers searching on that word would have a good chance of locating us with that name and we could find more cars/playmates. On the other hand we thought that guys(Please Ladies, start buying these cars!!) with Birkins-Westfields-Donkervoorts-Ultralites etc were our spiritual brethren and natural guys to get together with. We all hear the same/similar enthusiast music. So, the general idea was to attract as many internet viewers as possible and also find the guys that own similar cars and are also members of the automotive lunatic fringe, like us. This lengthy diatribe means that ALL are welcome. Let's go out and get more :!: 8)

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