UVA – The Company << Return to Part 2
A Brief History of UVA by Alan Arnold – Part 3
At a similar time, the M6GTR chassis went under further engineering scrutiny,looking to improve her weight balance by moving the fuel tank forward with flip-cap filler in the left hand wing top. This was achieved by way of re-engineering the front chassis to give alloy tank space and improve air feeds to both the behind dash A/C unit and the centre tunnel where the water pipes ran.
UVA introduced a further product range in the late 1980’s called the 984, a V8 conversion kit for the Porsche 924/944 range of cars. To go with the comprehensive engine conversion kit was a tuned ‘banana’ exhaust kit, improved brakes, suspension and body kit. It turned a good, practical car into a great sports-car more cheaply and less expensive to run than a 944 turbo and with a preferable exhaust note.
Arnold was always open to fresh ideas and was approached in 1986 by a TV producer to start a new UK off-road race series called BORRA (British Off Road Racing Association). Single-seater Fugitives were designed and built with many famous motor racing names associated with the series but as is often the case, investment money was not forthcoming but the single seater Fugitive was a great net result.
This model of Fugitive was recognised in 1989 by a midlands property developer who wanted to build 6 off-road racing/leisure/fun circuits around the UK, populated by a minimum of 10 Fugitives per course. At the time, UVA were having trouble with their Newbury landlord who had greater ideas for his property than smelly GRP manufacturing and the littering of mechanical parts so UVA bought and moved into their own premises, 10 miles south in Whitchurch Hampshire. A great place and opportunity to start this particular expanding off-road venture that needed a regular supply of fully built Fugitives.
Sadly, it was the start of the decline in UVA. With the world moving into a financial melt-down the off-road property developer went ‘tits-up’ and people didn’t want to risk ever harder-earned cash on performance cars and parts. 10 years after it started,in 1991, UVA went into liquidation and as for Arnold; his wife gave up on him some 18 months earlier, his house which underwrote UVA was mortgage repossessed and the metamorphosis’ of UVA into a new range of financiers and called TAG Automotive eventually dispensed with Arnold’s Autocratic management style.
After several years, including treatment for depression, Arnold moved back into his core line of business, marketing and joined 3 others to launch The UK Shopping City in 1994. This became the largest online marketing website in Europe. In 1995 they launched TED (The European Directory) again, for the time, the most successful European focused search engine. Not making the dreamt of fortune, they sold the business in 1998, 18 months before the internet bubble boom where mega-overnight-fortunes were made… hey ho! All was not bad though, this early internet schooling gave Arnold the knowledge which allowed him to train companies throughout the world, on how to successfully market online.
Retirement looms for Alan Arnold and for it, he has designed a replica of a circa late 1800’s Dutch Klipper so that he and his wife Jennie can live-aboard and cruise the inland waterways of mainland Europe.