C-TYPE REPLICA DEBACLE – YOU NEED TO HELP NOW

TONY BROWN WRITES –

The need to write to the Government about the copyright laws is now extremely urgent, and you must do so by Tuesday.

In the endeavour to help you put pen to paper, here is my appeal to the Government to listen to common sense: I write to you as someone involved in the classic replica car industry – not as a manufacturer but as a journalist – for nearly thirty years.

I have driven them, photographed them, written about them, owned them and even had one built for me, a car that had not existed for nearly sixty years but of which passion dictated one should exist as part of the history of Jaguar.

And I have to say that Jaguar were very helpful, opened their archives to me and helped me at every stage of the long and difficult oeuvre-d’art that I was bent on creating.

I have been involved in the Jaguar world – for it is they who are hell-bent on stopping the manufacture of replicas – for nearly forty years, have aided and helped people build replicas, shown them the way to some of the best artisans in the country to help them fulfil their dream.and generally done all I can in this field. I have owned four replica Jaguars, three of which were built by a company called Lynx Motors International, well known for their craftsmanship, their devotion to detail, and who were visited by the DVLA authorities and given their blessing to carry on building their replicas.

Yet Jaguar, with no thought of the havoc and unemployment they would cause, have taken to court an elderly couple in Sweden and, while it is subject to appeal, won the case and will, if the appeal is not successful, be bankrupted. And this by the very company who gave them such help in their project in the first place, and then did a volte-face.

Subject to the law, it would seem that Jaguar had a prima-facie case to answer, but common sense and a sense of what is right dictates that this whole brouhaha flies in the face of convention. It is seventy years – yes, seventy – since Jaguar produced their first C-type and won Le Mans. This led to fifty three cars being built in two years, led to numerous victories all over the world, all waving the flag for the craftsmanship of a war -torn country struggling to find its feet once again.

And they won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours not once but five times in seven years, then, having won so much acclaim and publicity, stopped racing.

A real Jaguar racing car of that era is now worth well into the millions of pounds, but we ordinary people wanted to have the right to live that dream, and so replicas were born. Throughout the years, Jaguar have shared the blueprints, helped all and sundry in their quest for this dream, and indeed, own several replicas themselves, which they did not build but which they bought from replica makers. Employees of Jaguar own them. Do we need to say more?

But, the inequality of the situation is something the Government must address, because it flies in the face of fair play. It should be noted that Jaguar have already put out of business several enterprises in the UK and are, with their wealth attacking others.

And this having built in the last four years replicas of their own race cars and sold them to the public, and as I write are continuing to do so. But, and this is extremely important in the cause of justice and equality, they are only taking UK companies to court. Companies in Europe, America, Australia. New Zealand et al can gaily go on making replicas with no fear of recrimination by Jaguar. Indeed, it is, according to barristers in the USA impossible for Jaguar to win such a case, having left the matter fallow for seventy years. This new legislation will potentially cost the UK taxpayer very dear, with not hundreds but thousands of individuals facing unemployment, companies that serve not only the replica market but Jaguar themselves, from whom they purchased the parts for their own replicas. This is hypocrisy magnified.

So, I, on behalf of the whole Jaguar movement, clubs and members worldwide, race circuits, spectators, events managers of shows, exhibitions, events, rallies, races – the list goes on and on – to hark our plea, to consider the injustice of the current situation and the prejudice of an Indian- owned company against uniquely the British economy. If that is not shooting ourselves in the foot, then I don’t know what is.

I am, Sir,

Your humble servant

Tony Brown

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