Our two Presenting Sponsors for 2024 Annual General Meeing, Motorcars Incorporated and SNG Barratt, led a breakout session after the meeting that was very well attended.  They offered to put together a transcript to share with everyone, and we’re excited to offer it to you in this post!  Please enjoy.

We anticipated that this AGM would be well organized, so we came in with high expectations.  The truth is, we were blown away.  The Carolina Jaguar Club did a great job!

One of the downsides to the standard AGM format is that we couldn’t meet with all members of all clubs.  We would have loved to have you with us during what turned out to be a very lively discussion.  The good news is that we can still share that information with you as a follow-up to the event!

We hope you enjoy what we’ve put together for you.

Dean Cusano and Tony Lee

Dean's Piece

 Should I be worried about the value of my Jaguar?

I won’t lie.  There is an elephant in the room and it’s that the Jaguar marque is hurting right now.  I’m sure every member of JCNA is asking, “What’s happening to the value of my car?”

As car owners and club members, we can’t control the market, but we can focus on activities that will directly influence the value by making sure the product is the best it can be.  That’s what we did all weekend at the AGM.  That’s what we do every day, at Motorcars Incorporated and SNG Barratt Group.

Most people know that E-Types are my thing and that I have decades of experience with these cars.  I know that someone isn’t going to spend one or two hundred thousand dollars on a vehicle they didn’t trust or couldn’t use or fix.  We have to remember that a concours is more than a social event or a chance to win a prize.  Standards by which we judge a car help us know if a car is good or not so when someone calls me to ask if I’ll go onto an online car auction, like Bring a Trailer for example, to see if a car is worth bidding, I can point out that the concours and show programs teach us all how to evaluate cars.

Are you worried about what’s happening in the market?

I’ve built a very successful business around Jaguar.  On a personal note, I’ve been very privileged to compete in JCNA events, including slalom and high-performance driving weekends.  I think other Jaguar owners know what I mean when I describe sitting in that car on the grid, knowing that it will get me to the finish line with an agreeable answer.  It is not about winning, but more just to be part of the Jaguar community.

I have to say I believe it’s going to be okay.  Jaguar, especially when talking about the E-Type, is the most iconic sports car.  More so than Ferrari.  More so than the expensive Porsches.  When you talk with a car enthusiast and go through the list of cars they’ve owned, guaranteed one of those cars will be a Jaguar.

Even though I think the next 10 years will be good, that doesn’t mean we just sit around doing nothing but wait for that improvement in the market.  Everyone in the Jaguar community has an obligation to support the value of these cars.

What does it mean to support value?

There is not a replacement part on the E-Type you can’t buy and that establishes value.  No one is going be stuck with a car that won’t run because a part is NLA.  If you want to modify a car — think fuel injection — we have that opportunity.  You can enjoy the car in the way you want to use it and that’s why I believe Jaguar value has been consistently strong until this recent dip.

We’re using SNG Barratt parts because they are quality, not just because they are available.  I know that they are making some parts where they only sell 200 and not thousands, but they make it because there is a need.  Value.

The Coventry Foundation is another asset that creates value.  Some people like to work on their own cars.  I get calls from people who disassemble something and get stuck.  I’ll talk with them and help where I can, but I’ll also point them to the Foundation’s website, where they’ll find information and even the special tools they need to make the job a whole lot easier.  Making sure that information on these cars — repair information, statistics, and diagrams — are available to all, that’s value.

What do restoration shops have to do with value?

Motorcars Incorporated actually has two divisions performing Jaguar service.  One division focuses on the newer cars — anything that has 4.0 V8 and up.  The second division, which I lead, covers the earlier vehicles, for example, the 1996 XJ6, which is a phenomenal car that never breaks.  Even the supercharged AJ16 motors are amazing.  And then we work on everything earlier, including E-types and XK120,140,150.

In the restoration and service trade, we all know what usually fails in each model.  For example, the 2004 and 2005 sedans often need air springs but the motor lasts forever.  Clearly each series or each body style seems to have an Achilles Heel but, in my opinion, all Jaguars are excellent, excellent cars.

The accessibility of companies who can perform restoration is a huge part of value.  The good news is that Jaguar cars generally are not overly complicated!  If you spend a little time and evaluate a restoration shop properly, you absolutely can find someone to restore or refurbish your early Jaguar project.  And this adds to value.

What is the relationship between price and value?

Years ago, my brother and I would go to New York or New Jersey with a pocketful of money to replenish our used Jaguar car lot.  We’d spend all afternoon trying to find the best samples of cars to sell in our dealership.   We could touch them, drive them, see if they smoked. Things are very different now; I haven’t gone anywhere to buy a car in the last 10 years.  We buy online.  Platforms like Bring a Trailer set prices just as much as club members and Jaguar owners do.

Online is not a bad place to be because, there, you have enough time and information to know if something is good or not.  Salesmanship today is no longer how you sound on the phone but how you look on the computer screen.  And thank God there is a concours program and a rule book and a Heritage Certificate to help determine if a car is good or not.  It keeps going back to value and making sure the product is good.

Does originality equate to value?

I’m a person who loves original cars.  I’m a sucker for a car that’s never been painted.  To me, that has more value.  But it doesn’t mean I’m right.

I’ve noticed the resto-mods are bringing in almost as much money as a totally original car.  People want to drive their cars and that’s okay.  I’ll also tell you that there is a Series III E-Type that’s been competing in North America, and it loses every year because it has near-perfect original seats that are almost perfect.  The cars that are beating it have brand new seats.

We’re trying to support a marque, which is a product.  We should be trying to make sure that the product is something people want, not just because it’s beautiful.  We should be working together to support the heritage, make sure people can drive the cars, get parts and affordable insurance, and enjoy the experience.  The value will bring people to the cars as we need to stop trying to bring the cars to the people.

What can you do to support value?

Every year, Hal Kritzman holds a judge’s meeting and dust off at my shop, amongst the cars.  If you see your club is doing something at a local shop, go!  Listen to what the owner says, see what he has for equipment.  You might need that guy someday.  As a group we need to make sure there are qualified people available to work on these cars.

Go to concours, see what the judges are doing.  This is our hobby and I think the more you get involved, hands-on, the better.

Tony's Piece

What does your job have to do with value?

When I started doing this work back in 1986, there were a lot of original manufacturers and original tooling.  It was fairly easy to go to these manufacturers, but the landscape has really changed over the last 38 years, with an impressive race to the bottom in terms of parts quality.

SNG Barratt is committed to making the situation better.  I’m not going to say we do everything right, but I will confidently say we’re working harder than anyone else.  For example, I work closely with Dean, and we listen to each other.  If he calls to say a part could be better, we respond and do something about it, so the next call is Dean telling me that he’s noticed improvement.

What is the challenge of making parts for classic cars?

If the accountants were in charge, we wouldn’t make anything because they’d tell us it’s too expensive.  And if the design team were in charge, we’d make everything and be out of business in 10 minutes.  We find that sweet spot and this is where relationships with the clubs and restoration shops is important.

In the U.K, we have an entire team dedicated to product development and I put a lot of time applying my nearly four decades of experience into what we should and should not be doing.  We had 119 new product launches in 2023 with 42 of those addressing parts no longer available, 19 new designs, and 32 quality improvements.  A full 26 were cost saving.

We manufacture anything as small as a bracket to the recent bottle jack which was produced in stainless steel.  Those were tested by Airbus, so we know they’ll stand the weight of three or four E-Types.

It’s an indication of where the market is that we can’t throw money into every possible part.  What we’re doing is manufacturing intelligently, in small batches and looking at smarter ways to create those parts.

What parts do SNG Barratt make?

It’s not just E-Types.  If there is a demand for it, we’re going to do it.  For example, we’re currently in the process of remaking some shock absorbers.  They’ll be the correct color and specifications so the new units will do everything the factory units did.  We’re testing them with Dean’s shop now, which goes back to what he was saying about value and how people will appreciate a car they can repair and use.

Our focus is on parts quality, and we’ll produce a part that is at least as good as the original which will allow you to use your car for another decade or more.  We’re not going away.  The question is, will the owners be there with us in 10 years’ time?  We need each other.

What’s new and what does it mean for someone who bought a car because it’s not new?

We own the rights to manufacture and distribute authentic Lucas Classic parts, a brand that’s been around for a long time.  For us, it’s not just Jaguar as we grow this classic range.  We’re working on some AC Cobra parts, for example.  As part of that, we put together a Lucas fuel injection kit for the E-Type, which is everything you need to take off the SUs.

You might want to ask why would someone want this kit?  There’s nothing wrong with a well-tuned set of SUs but there are a lot of people out there who want to do something different with their cars.  It wasn’t designed to increase power – it was introduced to give you the freedom to tune the car and not think about it.

You do you.  If you want to drive the car completely original, you can do that.  The cars were designed incredibly well back in the day and will work fine.  I was recently back in the U.K. driving an E-Type on B roads I know really, really well and I got thinking about the subtle mods that the car had.  It was properly, properly set up.  The drive was absolutely superb.

What is the future for you/SNG Barratt?

Communication is the key.  We’re always open to listen as we try hard, harder than anyone else.  We’re working to impress you and I plan to visit more customers and clubs than ever this year.

I follow a bunch of YouTube channels.  One car is sitting at a dealer for seven months because it needs a wiring harness, and the dealer can’t fix it because they can’t get the parts.  Sooner or later, they’ll have to look outside their traditional supply network.  SNG Barratt is the kind of business that listens to something like that and responds.