From Our Director – Celebrating our Friendship with Stephen Norman

By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

In 2018, I had one of the last 500 MG Midget rubber bumper cars to run off the assembly line for sale.

I was contacted by a gentleman from Luton who asked if he could come and look at it the following Saturday.

Having had a previous bad experience with a company in Luton we joked that before he came he had to admit that he wasn’t anything to do with that company and an appointment was set.

Saturday morning was dry, the car was clean and Stephen turned up. He loved the car but admitted immediately that it wasn’t the car for him. Hey ho, can’t win them all. Would you like a coffee?

Stephen was immediately drawn to the Etype series one rebuild under construction and was very complimentary of our work and attention to detail.

Stephen and I are similar ages although I look a lot younger. Coffee poured we talked about all the cars we had cut our teeth on and then he admitted that the reason he was looking at the midget was that he had in fact as a younger man owned an MGB roadster, rubber bumper in the famous Tundra Green and loved it. He then went on to say that the Etype in the shop was lovely but he didn’t consider rebuilding any more classic cars due to his previous bad experience with restorers.

I tried to impress on him that not all restorers can be tarred with the same brush and he said if I ever came across the infamous Tundra Green let him know as who knows he may chance another rebuild.

Liking a challenge I set straight out on a journey of MGB discovery.

He then asked about the other company in Luton that I had asked him if he was in their employ. I joked that they had done me harm but again not all of their trade can be tarred with the same brush.

What do you do then Stephen, I asked. Casually he said ”I am the Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors”. Wow!!!!

Bridge Classic Cars moved into new premises in Pettistree near Woodbridge and like all companies setting up a new plant buying as cost-effective as possible. We went on a Saturday morning to our local Auction as some Pallet racking was on offer and it was just what we needed.

Whilst waiting for the Auction to start I received a phone call, ”Are you looking for a Tundra Green MGB, rubber bumper as I have one?” My quest had at last been fruitful. ”Yes, how much?” ”Don’t you want to know the condition?” I really needed just the competitive cost as it was to be a Concours rebuild. ”£1000”. ”I need to make a call and I will get back to you”.

The call was made, the car was bought and suddenly I was going to build a car for the Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors.

The car we built can be seen on our completed Projects on our website as can all of our work.

During the build and the numerous visits that we had a couple of things happened. Stephens’s love of all things automotive shone through and our personal friendship grew.

During one visit he noticed a Senna Brown TR6 that I had bought for myself. I love those he said, could you build me that for the same sort of cost, I wouldn’t want it Brown I would want it in Magenta. The second build started and the friendship continued to flourish. Again the build can be seen on the website.

A call one evening from an excited Stephen said that he had been offered a new position and that he was to become “Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and After Sales based in Ruesselsheim, Germany” and that would be it until his retirement.

Retirement, I think this has always played on his mind as did the Etype that he originally saw in our workshop.

”When I retire I would like to have a Series 3, V12, Etype, convertible, with a hardtop in Heather (pink) with cerise leather (nearly pink) God it’s the colour thing again. Tundra Green now Heather. Can you build me one but it has to be left-hand drive, a new twist. ”

I found a white car in America that was owned by a Hollywood film producer, fitted the bill perfectly but unfortunately, the cerise leather was somewhat harder to find and it had to be the exact colour as Stephen knows what he wants and he is a perfectionist.

The car was shipped and without doubt, it was the straightest, rust-free car we have ever had through the shop. Now we had to tackle the issue of colour. If it is not heather then it has to be Fern Grey (green again) with green leather (green again).

The car is nearing completion as is Stephens’s illustrious career as one of our automotive legends. As I write this Stephen will retire at the beginning of next week on the 28th February 2022 and all at Bridge Classic Cars wish him a happy retirement and a special thank you from me for the business, the trust you have put in my company and for the friendship that I know will continue for many years to come.

Happy retirement and I will see you on the 11th of March 2022 for some driving of some spectacular cars.

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