Childhood dream car
Many car enthusiasts have a dream car; often chosen in their formative years. Whether this comes about from a poster on a wall (often cited in the case of the Lamborghini Countach), a fleeting glimpse of a vehicle roaring away in the distance that prompts a desire, what a relative or friend of their parents had or even peering into the forbidden realms of a car showroom. Forbidden as they had banned you for raiding the brochure cabinet once too often many moons ago.
My desire for the Rapport Forte Convertible can be pinned down to a time, date, location and source. The time was between 3.35pm and 4.10pm on Wednesday the 16th July 1980. The location was the Sargeants school bus taking me from school in Kington to home five miles away at Eardisley. The desire was created by a couple of grainy black and white pictures of the Rapport Forte Convertible in Autocar magazine.
On reflection I had made a mistake buying Autocar that week as Motor, Autocar’s weekly competitor, had a larger picture and better coverage of my newly found dream car.
Life brings me to Forte central
Unbeknown to myself at the time, nineteen eighties, I had moved to within a mile of Chris Humberstone’s base. Then, another twist of fate led to my cars being looked after by Bruce Durrant Automobile Engineering who worked from the garage complex at Victoria Arch, Woking where Cartel operated from and where Bruce Durrant helped with Forte design/construction. Bruce gave me my first Forte brochure. Thanks Bruce.
Forte remains elusive. Car scene changes
Over the decades tried to find the car without success. Came to the wrong assumption that it was probably in a private collection in the USA. In the meantime went through over 120 cars, eventually becoming disillusioned with the car scene as prices took on a near vertical trajectory and niche players like Aston Martin produced cars in volumes that could hardly make their product exclusive or rare. Went to not even owning a car for a few years.
Rapport Forte Convertible found
Having given up hope of finding the Rapport Forte Convertible, decided to create a virtual model using my skills in CAD and 3D scanning. George of Donni Classics (jaguarclassic.com) kindly offered to let me scan his PMG Rapport Forte estate in Switzerland. He then dropped the bombshell that the convertible existed and it was based near London for the last thirty eight years. Contacted the owner and after five months of negotiation, bought the shell, some spares and tooling.
From going from no cars to two projects (also own the first ever Midas – www.the-first-midas.com), the goal is to restore the Forte Convertible to as close to original condition as possible. The car has enthused me as gets back to what I loved about cars from an early age. British and rare.
The restoration will cost much more than the car could be worth, so the money motivation is non-existent.
Once completed, car will be exhibited at shows for a year maximum and then used as much as possible.