In the mid 1960’s, John Aldington was working on a restructuring plan for AFN and future of Porsche in Great Britain. As all of the original older AFN shareholders were potentially a liability to the Company if they died, as the death duties could become a real problem, John put together the plan to restructure the Company. Added to this his father H.J. had recently had a narrow escape in a motoring accident and his smoking pipe had gone through the roof of his mouth, in an accident in a Porsche 356, which could have been fatal. After this restructuring, John became the majority shareholder of AFN.
A new company, Porsche Cars Great Britain was formed to concentrate solely on distributing Porsche cars, spare parts and supporting and growing the existing Dealer organisation throughout Great Britain. AFN was separated out and became a Dealer in its own right, albeit in a preferred position.
When the Porsche factory announced the new joint venture company called VW-Porsche with Volkswagen to produce and market the Porsche 914 and VW 914 respectively, this prompted VW in Great Britain to make a play to take over the importation of Porsche. John obviously had a tough time fighting this off and he managed to convince Dr Ferry Porsche and his Board of Directors that Porsche’s future was keeping with who and what they knew and not to be hoodwinked by a mass-market car importer like VW, despite historic links between the two companies in Germany.
It was then obvious to John that if he got Porsche KG (as it’s legal company status was in those days) to purchase 60% of the newly formed Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited he could secure the future of both Porsche and AFN. In September 1972, a few weeks before I joined AFN, the deal was signed in London to get Porsche KG legally into Porsche Cars Great Britain. The Board consisted of three German Directors and two British ones and was made up of Dr Ferry Porsche Chairman, Dr Ernst Fuhrman Managing Director, Heinz Branitski Director of Finance, John Aldington Managing Director and Peter Bulbeck as Company Secretary. John and Peter were also Directors of AFN.
AFN was already separated out as part of the dealer organisation, although it had a special place as Porsche KG now owned 60% of it too. It was after this financial involvement, the future of Porsche Cars Great Britain was secured and to some extent guaranteed, and things really began to roll at a pace from that time on.
Little did I realise then that some ten years later, I would have a similar although much smaller fight with this VW-Porsche company legacy.