We left the arrangements open and I went off with Bob to consider our options and decided to telephone Porsche in Stuttgart and see if they would make a visit to Bahrain to meet us. We could not get any suitable response by telephone, so we wrote a letter to them. After weeks of sending letters and telexes, we had no response so we needed to try a different approach.
I had always had a good relationship with John Aldington, Managing Director of Porsche Cars Great Britain, so I though why not write to John and seek his advice. John duly wrote back suggesting we contact Philip Kaes, who was the person responsible for the “Rest of the World” export market for Porsche. We wrote to him and eventually got a response from Philip Kaes informing us that Porsche had no plans to appoint an Importer in Bahrain and that the market was far too small and could not support a business for their cars.
Bob and I made our way back to England shortly after and had fixed up a meeting with John Aldington at their new headquarters facility in Richfield Avenue, Reading. We had arranged to meet Sheikh Rashid in West London and go on to PCGB together so he could meet John Aldington and show a united front. Unfortunately Arab time keeping is not so good and Sheikh Rashid was very late in meeting us, but we finally got to PCGB Reading several hours late. We saw John, who was good enough to fit us into his schedule even though we were so very late.
I then told him that Porsche were not interested in coming out to Bahrain to visit us as they considered the market far too small, which we knew was incorrect. He suggested that we send Philip Kaes a return business class air ticket by courier, Stuttgart-Bahrain-Stuttgart and see what happens.
Sheikh Rashid had to leave so after seeing him off, Bob and I had a few minutes with John and Peter Bulbeck alone. I explained it was a good idea but we could not afford to buy a business class air ticket for Mr Kaes. John asked if either of us have an AMEX card or I said, “Yes,” so he said put it on that and he said, “I will underwrite the cost in the event Porsche actually used the ticket!” This fascinated me and John explained that he would bet the cost of the ticket that we would have it returned to us immediately after we had sent it to Porsche.
Upon returning to Bahrain we purchased the ticket using my AMEX card and sent by DHL to Porsche AG, Ludwigsburg for the attention of Philip Kaes. A few days later the ticket was back in our hands in Bahrain via courier with a letter explaining Porsche could afford to buy their own plane tickets thank you very much, and that Philip Kaes would be arriving on the Lufthansa flight the following week to discuss matters with us.
As usual John was right on the mark and I called him to let him know the outcome.
We called Sheikh Rashid in Hastings and strongly suggested he flew into Bahrain for this meeting and we met with Sheikh Khalid and him to discuss plans.