So no more companies are being accepted for the rest of the game?
It says quite obviously right here
Bogliq HQ, Detroit MI
September, 1969, CEO Konstantin’s office
“We’ve had success Mr Bogliq. Laws are being drawn up to ban the lead additives from fuel as we speak, 1975 is the year America starts to get clean air.” Stated Bogliq USA’s lead lobbyist, Michael Yates.
“Excellent. I’m tired of the filthy air in our cities and I want my grandkids to avoid being diagnosed with asthma like my son Michael was. No child should struggle to breathe just because we want to sell cars! It’s America dammit! We can have our cake and eat it too…” Replied Konstantin, CEO of Bogliq USA.
“Any last instructions before I head back to Washington?”
“Just one; every litre of fuel burnt is a kilogram of exhaust poison. Start laying the groundwork for some kind of fuel efficiency regulation. We need to ensure that our cities will have clean, breathable air and our nation has strong, healthy children who can run a mile faster than any CCCP stooge. The olympics are coming up and we need healthy kids to keep America strong on the world stage.”
“Will do boss… Oh, by the way, thanks for the upgrade to first class!”
“No worries Mike, you’ve earned it.”
As Michael left his office, Konstantin settled down to do some paperwork and reflect on the good news. Leaded fuel was a hangover of WWII and someone should have phased out the lead years ago. Bogliq had been pulling strings and greasing palms since '61 to get the fuel phased out. Eight hard years of lobbying and a further six years to implement the policy but lead… Was dead. Konstantin just hoped that the handover of power to his son, Michael, would go as smoothly.
Bogliq USA was facing dangers that just didn’t exist post WWII. The market was flooded with competitors from all over the globe and Bogliq was struggling to keep afloat amongst fierce competition. Konstantin knew he no longer had the energy to keep up but he was worried Michael wouldn’t be able to cope; he was a sickly lad after all. The CEO had to project strength and Michael just didn’t look the part… Too late now though, the die was set and Konstantin was going home, home to Moldova, to see the family and reconnect with his roots while there was still time.
Just then, a sickly stench of tyre smoke reached his nostrils, as a screech of tortured tyres reached his ears. Those Sinistra punks!!! He ran to his office window, fumed impotently at the debacle in the car park, then sat back at his desk once the car was chased off. Yeah, retirement was looking better and better every day…
TSR HQ Japan, 1969
Ryo: S**t! Our Ultra is getting negative reviews about maintenance nightmares and prices.
Tomo: On the bright side, the performance is pretty good!
Ryo: Noooo!!! God! Americans want cheap cars. Uuuuuhhh!!!
Tomo: Stop complaining! Jeeezz… We can always find a solution!
Ryo: What solution?!
Tomo: A partnering…
Ryo: No way! That’s not going to happen.
Tomo: It needs to. Otherwise, our company will be doomed.
Ryo: Fine! But which one?
Tomo: Remember Daniel?
Ryo: Yeah, why?
Tomo: He has a car company now. It’s called Keika. Apparently score really has a really high rating for their cars. Let’s call him shall we?
calls Daniel Chase for a partnership
@BoostandEthanol your turn…
I’ve got 25 companies registered right now, so 25 entries per week to process. That is a lot. So that’s why I’ve closed registrations down.
February 1972 - PMI Usurper HQ
Suddenly, outside of the CEOs office a huge ruckus can be heard, as if someone just built an ASCAR track next to the window. As the noise dies down, voices of awe and appreciation can be heard. Naturally, the CEO needs to go check out what all this is about, and is greeted by this:
Dear god, what is that!?
That is a side project. A Sabre Supercharged with the 464 engine bored out to 511 cubic inch. Four race carburators, race exhaust system, 470 horsepower, 589 lb.ft. of torque. 15 inch wheels, 315mm wide rear tires, a manual 4 speed and a top speed of about 160 mph. We call it the Sabre Monster.
That’s as crazy as it is loud.
It’s beautiful that is what it is!
And we’re planning to sell this?
No, no, nooo, it’s not even road legal at this point, it’s just a project on the side. Also… it’s kind of deadly when cornering… We had to install an automatic diff lock to help with the wheel spin… Aaaand it does a low 6 mpg…
Well, fuel isn’t an issue, crude oil just keeps coming from our friends in the Gulf. I was there recently; the opulence of the rich there! Huge luxury barges. Actually, that is what we miss in the Usurper line up; a real luxury car with a huge engine!
Well, we could get rid of the 4 race carbs and the exhaust system…
And update the Scud’s styling and buy luxury seats and interior! But keep the costs relative low for the luxury class. Let’s call it the Jeddah trim, I’ve been there – our never-ending source of cheap fuel.
Aight, boss, I’ll see what I can do.
After Dale Rathbone’s heart attack in 1967, he decided to retire, and take it easy a bit. In his stead, his young wife Elizabeth took his seat, the chairman’s seat, on the company board. She wasted no time in finding a new CEO, Mr. William Bennett. William was keen to take the position, knowing that in the next 10 years or so, he’d have to make way for a young Dale Joseph Rathbone.
Still, Bennett did bring some fresh ideas to the table. Shelving the Sagittarius roadster in favor of the Scorpio, miraculously salvaging the Capricorn; and in 1969, he introduced for the 1970 model year, Olympus’s first front wheel drive coupe. The Olympus Libra was a new breed of personal luxury coupe, creating a new market segment. The Libra would receive cosmetic changes for 1971, 1972, and 1973, when we got this.
Thursday, December 7th, 1972
Charles Bergman looked up from his stack of papers at the group gathered around the meeting room table. All of his department heads, along with several key administrative VPs, stared back expectantly.
“So '72 is basically a wrap,” Charles began. “Sales figures for November are in. December is mostly a formality a this point. Gentlemen, I am not pleased.”
The VPs of Human Resources and Accounting exchanged nervous glances. The engineers were unmoved. James Salzman from Marketing opened his mouth to speak, but Charles cut him off.
“Sales are slumping. The winds are shifting in the market, and it seems we’re late to the party. So I’d like updates on where we’re at, people. James?”
The Marketing VP smiled and opened his mouth, only to be silenced again.
“You’re going last, James. Your job is to listen. You need to figure out a strategy based on what the other departments are doing this time. Not the other way around. Ray, you’re up first.”
Ray Salducci cleared his throat, and there was a rather substantial pause before he began. “The Orion Type 2A will be the first ready for market. Probably next year for the Trinidad. As most of you are aware, we’ve had to throw away over 20 years of development with the Cygnus. The new standards for fuel and emissions have essentially killed it. We’re in the process of designing a new four to replace it, in multiple displacement sizes, and we are currently testing and refining that design. We anticipate this will be ready in early '74.”
Charles’s brow furrowed. “Not in time before the new Sentinel launches.”
Ray nodded. “Unfortunately. Eugene can speak on that, however. He has a plan.”
Eugene Morrow chimed in before the CEO could react. “Mr. Bergman, we can ramp up production easily and just slide the new Cygnus in when it’s ready. For the home market, we’ll at least have the GL trim ready. Ray has assured me that the Eridani refit is done and it will conform to the requirements of the EPA. A year ahead of requirement.”
“Very well,” Charles grumbled. “What about the rest of the engine range, Ray?”
He quickly looked at his notes. “The Vela Type 2 should be ready by late '74. The Taurus V8’s will be redone by June '74 assuming no more issues. I spoke with Donovan over at Toledo Ironworks as well. The Iron Eight is in final testing and should be ready by August of next year, and the Iron Twelve should be refitted a year after that. It also sounds like they’ve been going over the notes from Mr. Akiyama of Suzume. Donovan says that he thinks there’s a way to significantly improve on that design. They’ve already put pen to paper.”
Charles nodded. “Very well. Stanton, your turn.”
Stanton Glass turned slightly in his chair. His hair was slicked back, and now more gray than brown. His face had not weathered time well for a man 59 years of age. “The full line refresh is on schedule for launch over the course of the '74 and '75 model years. Projects P1 and Vx both look like they’re still on schedule for a '75 model year release.”
“Very well,” Charles responded. “I want to see the new Sentinel and Chancellor mockups as soon as possible.”
(and on continued the meeting, taken over by bean counters and the snake oil salesmen of marketing)
Sorry been a while since I’ve done one of these proper so, lots a details to fill in on. WALL OF TEXT INCOMING!
August 1970 - Meeting on FHL Business Plan and Forecast
Much has changed in only a year or so time. C Fenton Trunt has officially retired, replaced in his role as CEO by his long-time right-hand man, Everette Haverford. Prior head of engineering, William Floyd Waterson, has ascended to the relatively new role of Everette Division Head, given C Fenton Trunt Company’s restructuring into Fenton Holdings, Ltd. in 1967. Zachariah Cielsinski Stasiak is now in the role of Vice President of FHL while the presidency has gone to a recent new comer and shrewd corporate fixer, Buck Frederick Whittaker.
The subject at hand is relatively slow sales and razor thin profit margins on the 2nd generation Everette Ellston and future forecasting, especially given the recent influx of imports and compacts in the market.
Bill was just finishing up his presentation on the state of the Everette brand. “To sum it up, the Ellston is keeping its head above water but its not selling to near the desired level. That being said, I believe we should hang with it. Compacts are gaining popularity; imports are on the rise and the new Chevrolet Vega is taking the market by storm. If the upcoming Ford Pinto is at all similar, we can’t be missing out on that.”
FHL president Buck Whittaker looked over at him slightly puzzled. “I’m not entirely sure that’s a good assessment. You’re saying the car’s a loser but we should keep making it?”
Bill fidgeted a little and attempted to explain himself. “Well, I didn’t say the car is a loser. I said…”
Buck cut him short. " ‘Keeping your head above water’ is a nice way of saying ‘going to drown soon’. The car is a loser."
Everette chimed in on this point. “I think what Bill is saying but perhaps not articulating the best is that we can’t afford to lose the market segment and the Ellston should be revised. Not merely thrown out.”
“Fair.” Buck replied. “But what about the upcoming model? The Twisp? Was that not supposed to be the answer to in particular that Italian nonsense that won Motor World Review’s 1969 Car of the Year?”
Zach offered up the answer this time “Basically, yes. But its a base model; its never going to be much more than an economy car. The Ellston can offer more being a larger model.”
“But then we also have the Bellevue, the LE, and the ZL. Why the Ellston then?” Buck went on.“We shouldn’t have models just to fill in potential gaps. What is the Ellston doing for us? What can the Ellston do for us and for potential buyers?”
There was a slight pause in the room. Then, Everette cooly answered the question about the descendant of an old pet project of his. “Well, if you take from the car’s roots, it should be economical, easy to afford, but at the same time not feel like its cheap and tiny.”
“Good.” Buck said. “So how do you achieve that?”
“Better fuel economy… Better build quality… More options.” Bill said, thinking out loud.
“Okay, good.” Buck went on. “You know what you want. An economy-focused model with a good number of amenities. Is that what it is now?”
There was a rather awkward silence. The simple fact was, the Ellston had lost its way over years, becoming more of an upscale model, leaving the market it once owned to Z215’s, Gremlins, and Vegas.
“Alright, then you have your work cut out for you. Moving on…”
The new Twisp model has been selling extremely well. With its refocus, sales of the Ellston have improved but profit margins are still small. FHL aims to fix this.
Buck looked over the figures again. Something about the Ellston’s costs didn’t add up.
“Bill, I’m getting this nagging sense the Ellston is too expensive. I feel like it should be cheaper but somehow isn’t.”
Bill gave him an approving smirk. “Well your senses serve you well then. The boys down in engineering are working something up.”
Buck looked at him quizzically for a second. Bill answered his implied question.
“You remember we discussed, as a cost saving measure, eliminating the straight-6?” Bill asked.
“Yes…” Buck replied.
“Contingent on the Twisp’s success. Well the Twisp has been selling so well, we’re going through with it for 1972. The V6 will replace the straight-6. Should save a boatload in production cost.”
Buck looked back at him with a grin. “Excellent! Really. Good work! And there won’t be any complications?”
“Actually no,” Bill answered. “And in fact the V6 is actually more efficient due to it being lighter… and some other complicated engineering mumbo jumbo you probably don’t care about. The upshot though: our test mules have been showing noticeably improved performance, especially fuel economy.”
“Alright. Very good to hear!” Buck said. “And again. Great work.”
1973 - The Ellston’s Comeback
For 1973, FHL gave the Ellston the best fuel economy in its history thanks to its new 3.2L V6 and a switch to radial tires which also drastically improved the handling. In addition it got a full facelift - new styling, new and improved safety features, and new options.
July 1972 - PMI Usurper HQ
Gentlemen. Stakeholders of this beautiful Corporation. We have a conundrum.
We have two magnificent new cars to introduce on the market over the coming months: one is the Jeddah trim level of our face-lifter Scud, the other is the third generation of the Elegant. Both are fantastic cars, I believe, in their own right, but our marketing campaigns must choose a focus. I trust on you to make the tough decision that is necessary in this matter.
I do not wish you to make this matter ill-informed, so here’s the breakdown:
The Scud Jeddah is our luxury trim; we have up to this point never offered a car with such high-quality interior. This also means a higher price than usual. The engine is either an updated version of the trusty 390 or a massive bored-out 511 cu.-in. version of the Scub Sabre’s 464. The car is comfortable, massive, safe, prestigious; but it drinks fuel and especially with the large engine understeers like a boat. Then again, this is a long-distance cruiser not meant to be sportive.
The new Elegant is the complete opposite. It remains a small car - though as with the second generation already, more conservative in style - and much in line as with our competitors it offers an engine tuned for this new-found fad of fuel economy - much like the foreign imports that gave birth to the Elegant in the first place. Two trims are offered, each with the 248 V8, one with a manual gearbox, that is sporty and swift; and one with the automatic gearbox, that trades in the sportiness for drivability and comfort.
I realize this will be a tough choice gentlemen, as it can make or break the perception of PMI Usurper Corp. in the high-level specialized press. Now, let the voting commence!
TIMEWARP SOME MONTHS BACK
IP OF AMERICA HEADQUARTERS
“What do you think about the future of lead in fuel?”
“Gone, if not in 10 years so absolutely in 20.”
“How are we going to cope with this?”
“Excuse me, but what do you mean now?”
“I heard Bogliq is very well into making all their cars run on unleaded…”
“Bogliq? What if you for once could be interested in our own company?”
“Have you heard of the Colibri that will be launched on the Mamayan market in just some weeks?”
“Uhm…think so, yes”
“And the LEE engine?”
“Low Emission Engine. It’s engineered for lead-free gasoline and there is much more done to keep the emissions down too. It will be installed in all small IP vehicles in some years. And the Hicam and Stellar engines are going to gradually be converted too. All engines launched from now on will run unleaded, even new variants of the Stellar and Hicam famuly engines”
“Everyone…from now on?”
“Yes, so Bogliq can always try to put us down! HA!”
(@HighOctaneLove, great news huh?)
1972 - Undisclosed Location
Rado rep: Sales are going decent in the US, and it’s time we get a respectable share of the profit.
Sofa rep.: What do you mean, “respectable share”, we already give you 30% of profit.
Rado rep,: Make this a 50/50 split in profit or we’re cancelling the deal.
Sofa rep.: I will check with boss.
After a long debate, Sofa executives agreed to raise Rado’s share of the imported car’s profit to an even level with Sofa.
Meanwhile on the news in 1972:
“Rado could be in big trouble as a report shows that the fatality rate for the driver of the Rado Communt in a collision with another object is a staggering 98%.”
Graham Lightbridge had never been so busy as since he took over the helm as head of Epoch USA division in 1959. He simultaneously felt like he had only just settled in and that he had spent his whole life in the role. Epoch’s expansion and reception here had been slow to start, but had increased exponentially and was quickly looking like profits may even overtake those gathered in the UK and Europe…
While Graham had started on estimates and hand-over notes, he now felt that he had a deep understanding of the American market, and was starting to get frustrated at the lack of engagement he was getting from Epoch HQ over in England.
"I hope you will excuse my language, but God damn it Frank… Youre just not listening to what I’m trying to say. I don’t care what you think will or won’t sell here, I don’t care if it fits in your plans or not, I don’t care if there will be extra work, I don’t care if I have to even cut my budget to cover the extra production costs to get it started, and I sure as hell don’t care what some bean counter in their ivory tower there in London thinks about profitably and cost benefit ratios and gad knows what else when they probably havent stepped foot over here! I bet they probably wouldn’t even have the balls to take a risk on buying a sandwich at the canteen there in case their bloody sandwich order got bloody mixed up and bloody broke their bloody cost benefit ratio! I’m sick and tired of not being listened to and I’m sick and tired of being bloody treated like a glorified bloody import agent who has not bloody care in the world about the bloody company he is bloody trying to bloody get to bloody succeed… Bloody hell… "
“No I’m not apologising. I know I’m right and you know I’m right. I’ve seriously had enough. Make it happen or I’m quitting. I’ve already been approached by a couple of other companies who value my performance and direction. The only reason I’m still here is my loyalty to Epoch, who game me this opportunity in the first place. I’ve paid it back many times over, with little gratitude from you guys over there at all.”
“i don’t care. I’m going to write up my proposal now and you know what the outcome will be if it doesn’t go ahead.”
Graham hung up the phone and massaged his temples. It was good to finally get that off his chest, even if he did get a bit too heated.
“Well only time will tell if this was worth it…” he said to himself, taking out his stationary and starting to write.
Late response, I know, but shush.
In a garage, somewhere near Suzuka, late 1969.
AKA the Keika Automotive HQ
The phone rings. Daniel picks it up. A few words are exchanged.
“Send it over to me tonight. I’ll see what I can do… Oh yeah, by the way… Yeah, in return for my services now and in the future, I’d like to have access to some more machinery. Nothing fancy, but currently we’re struggling to meet demand, so any way we can boost production would help. Thank you.”
He puts down the phone and smiles. This deal could work well for both of them… Hopefully.
Next he sorts through the letters on his desk. First he reaches for the one that interests him most, coming from Cardiff. As an ex-Caliban employee, he want intrigued by what they of all people would want. He ripped the top of the envelope off and pulled out a letter.
He skimmed through it, picking out the key words. “Contract”, “chassis” and what seemed like a coded cry for help. He turned around to view the half finished spaceframe behind him. Maybe sending some blueprints over wouldn’t hurt? And the extra money would certainly help purchase any extra things to help boost production.
They don’t seem like they pose any competition so far anyway.
Keika’s had been selling well in the Golden State for the past three years. Now officially imported, they were gaining popularity fast in circuit racing. Daniel finally decided to get on a plane and head out to San Francisco to see how it was doing.
Daniel greeted Rachel Foust, the owner of the US Importer and dealership chain Keika’s were being sold in at the dealership. They sat down and had a coffee.
“So what were the issues with the car?” he began.
“What do you mean? It runs great.” she responded.
“Still issues with it though. I have a feeling that magazine clipping from a few years back was cropped for a reason.”
“Yeah… Unsafe, not too reliable… And it lacks prestige.”
Daniel pulls out some blueprints and spreads them across the table, then starts to list off his plans as he quickly points across the diagrams.
“Here’s what I’m thinking. We get a 4 barrel from the race cars on it, should get the power up a little more. Say around 10hp. Not a lot, but should get 0-60 down further. Also, some rally wheels from the race cars. Alloy wheels so they’re nice and light, also far wider. If you can source some higher performance tyres to wrap them up in, I think with some tuning we could be looking at over 1.1G in the turns. Next, we can add some safety stuff. Not too much though. Keep weight below 900KG. Go cheap where you have to. After that, I’ll leave you to make the interior a little nicer. I think we can afford to make it nicer inside, but you’re going to have to do that this side of the pond. What do you think?”
“That’s a lot to take in. But sounds good to me. Keep the old ones coming in too. We’ll sell this as a higher spec model. Call it the R or something.”
“You’re in charge of marketing. Get on it.”
Reminder: This week’s deadline is Saturday morning (PDT), not tomorrow morning.