Not your average auction temptation. Rejuvenated British automotive icon up for £125,000
An afternoon scouring eBay can throw up all sorts of automotive oddities, but a whole car company?
That's what we found yesterday: that's right; the trademarks, designs and components of a registered automotive firm were, until last night, up for purchase on eBay. The same ad on another site is still live here.
How Jaguar started: the Swallow sidecar
It's not just any car company either; it's a rejunvated Swallow Coachbuilding Company, originally created as the Swallow Sidecar Company by Jaguar founder William Lyons.
We spoke to director Peter Schomer, who told us his plan was to build a three-wheeler in the vein of the latest Morgan but using a Harley V-twin engine and styled with a nod to the original aerodynamic looking sidecars.
Seven years later and it hasn't worked out. Now he's asking £125,000 for the blueprints, components to build a car and all the trademarks. He'll consider a swap for a "vintage sports or racecar".
He claims to be in talks with Harley about selling the car in its motorbike showrooms, but the eBay sale hasn't been a success. Too many timewasters and tyre-kickers, he said.
Less kit car, more kit company
Schomer, a Canadian, is an interesting character. He's also got the rights to famous F1 engine builder Coventry Climax, using the name on a fancy-looking range of watches.
Swallow itself is an illustrious name. Swallow Coachbuilding Company Ltd was formed in 1935 to continue building sidecars, Lyons' original business venture, while S.S. Cars (to become Jaguar after WWII) fronted his four-wheeled offerings.
Who knows? What with Morgan kick starting the trend for retro three-wheelers, maybe now's the time to offer up some competition?
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This Peter Schomer character seems to have tried the same trick with at least one other defunct manufacturer - Williams & Pritchard. The quote below is part of a larger update on why they had to shut their website down.
Peter Schomer has registered a company using the Williams & Pritchard name; is using a logo based on the original company coachwork plate in connection with trading; and has separately registered the W&P logo shown above on this website as a registered trade mark
I have been advised that nobody in the Pritchard family or in the Williams family has given any permission nor licensed any use of any brands nor any legacy goodwill to any current or future business.
Edited by rpguk on Tuesday 5th August 12:48
rodericb05 Aug 2014
Reading all these comments, makes me wonder if any of the Piston Head members have a clue as to the value of a period pre-war company like Swallow? The branding and registered Trade Marks alone has a huge value.
Of value to who? People who are old enough to remember them (and remember them fondly!), people who who have a retro fetish and the people who wish to exploit the former for monetory gain? Swallow or Coventry or whoever mean absolutely nothing to me. If one of these companies was to build some bucket of crap car and slap their name on it how many gooey eyed punters are going to line up for it? Have a look at how the recent incarnations of those have gone. Hint: not very well.
rpguk05 Aug 2014
This whole thing was a big blag anyway, the '1935' company was actually registered in 2011 as was the trademark. The person selling this stuff doesn't appear to have acquired these from the historical owner just registered them as new - presumably the IP had lapsed or was never registered properly in the first place allowing this character to register as if new.
It would have taken a minutes due diligence by PH to show this up.
bnracing05 Aug 2014
hmmm interesting when you google Pete Schomer. Looks like he is after the retirement fund this time lol.