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Sad news about the Roadster Factory


Ray62

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Sad news for everyone in the hobby, especially those who are fans of vintage British sports cars. The Roadster Factory, located in Indiana County in western Pennsylvania, burned down on Christmas Day. The company is a well known supplier of parts for vintage sports cars. Apparently the firemen were able to rescue a few cars from the showroom, but otherwise the business was a total loss. Below is a link to a news story with additional details. 

 

Roadster Factory a total loss after Christmas fire, Armagh chief says | News | tribdem.com

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This is the second rural restoration shop in two years that has burned to the ground. The key word here is "rural". If you are located in a rural location you, you, must do everything to protect your property from fire.  First you are relying on a volunteer fire force. It takes time for the responding volunteers to respond from their home or work, if they can leave work that is, to the fire house and man the equipment. Distance from the fire company and response time can be a huge factor. The next issue is limited water supply. Most rural fire companies rely on tanker trucks to supply water to the pumpers. Once that supply is exhausted, they must count on other responding fire companies for water, without water you are helpless. All this takes time and in a fire situation, time is against you. An alarm system that is connected to the fire station or county central dispatch is a must, the sooner you can get manpower to the scene of a fire the better. Never leave any electrical equipment connected, especially battery chargers. A sprinkler system can save the day. Recently, plastic piping has been approved for sprinkler systems, making it a lot cheaper and easier for installation and you might even be able to install one yourself using plastic pipe. Something as simple as having your shop inspected by a fire professional to point out potential problems can help. As a 25 year retired firefighter I know that 90% of fires I responded to probably could have been avoided and I can't begin to tell you how many potential hazardous issues we found during our routine fire inspections. Rural living has its benefits but in an emergency situation it can be life threatening. 

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Agree mostly with 46 Woodie. I would think that unless its arson 100% could be avoided with due diligence. I think sprinklers are a great idea, however in a rural area a large storage tank is needed for the water, but it is doable. I am in a very rural area and when my shop burned the fire company was on the scene within 10 minutes at the most. 

 

Hopefully no one was hurt at TRF, it sounds like they did some manufacturing which if the machining has been destroyed may end up being a part that will no longer be available to those in need. Such a shame all the way around.

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Been trading with TRF since the 80s.  Their parts were generally better quality than found at other places.  Charles worked hard to establish suppliers to produce parts.  Pretty sure very little was actually done on site.  

 

Can it survive?  Frankly, unless there is a lot of insurance,  I don't see how.   Their entire inventory is gone, which will take years to replace.  

 

While Charles run did not end well, Albert has worked hard to keep the business going which benefitted all. 

 

Sad to see it so utterly destroyed.  

Edited by Zimm63 (see edit history)
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Not long after I bought my 1973 TR6 in 1975, I starter receiving single page fliers trying to sell oil filters, air filters and other items that could be purchased at most local part stores.  I couldn't believe someone would waste postage for such a thing, or that someone would buy from someone trying to sell in such a way.  Needless to say, someone did, and a few years later I received a small catalog that had some parts that I could use.  My wife tells me that I have purchased well over $50,000 since those days from The Roadster Factory.

 

Albert has done a good job trying to carry on after his Dad's sudden death.  If he is unable to pull it together and carry on, it will be like the loss of a family member.  I was told by one of the ladies while attending one of the Roadster Factory Summer Parties, that when I placed an order, they would get a kick out of yelling through the warehouse, Mr. Wilson...Mr. Wilson...!  For some of you young guys, that's in reference to the old TV show, Dennis, the Menace. avatar.jpg.b6af1d9727bdf48a38197b0cc115a559.jpg

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@TRMark thanks for your post - that is a long time with your TR-6.  I let mine get away a long time ago (mimosa 73) would love to see pics of yours esp if you restored it along the way.  Have you seen the "our cars and projects" section? Maybe not a hotbed of Brit car activities here but a couple of fantastic MG restorations chronicled there.  

 

When I was getting TRF catalogs in the late 80s it was amazing to me how many parts they had.  I had no idea he started with one page flyers!!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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