Shortly after we were invited over by Sami Ashraf to celebrate his new car order and then we met a number of other potential customers at his house, which included a British architect, called John Rowe-Parr, his wife Chrissie. We vaguely knew Chrissie as she worked in Grindlays Bank and we had chatted to her on a number of occasions.
Anwar’s brother and his family lived in a new house next door to Anwar and Inge but they had returned to India, so Sami had taken over their house as his own next to his parents. The houses connected to share the tennis courts and swimming pool.
Ann Gorrie, Sami’s English girlfriend, stated she was not sure Sami should have bought a Porsche as James Dean had died driving his. This was not the sort of talk we wanted to hear and Sami told us to ignore Ann’s comments. Little did we know then that her words would come back to haunt us some years later.
The Rowe-Parr’s in turn invited us to dinner at their flat one evening and then we met Tim Gray our bank manager and his wife Andrea socially, who were friends of the Rowe-Parr's, along with some other guests. One of these was called Luke Valner who was legal advisor to the Bahraini Government on secondment from his firm in Lincoln’s Inn in the City of London.
We used to take a Porsche Design briefcase full of Porsche brochures with us to all our social events, or at least have them readily available in the car outside and we sold at the respective party or dinner table as best we could. Within a few weeks we had an order from John and Chrissie for a RHD C16 (C-16 is the factory code for British specifications) Porsche 928, but in S trim.
Luke Valner subsequently placed an order for a RHD C-16 Porsche 924 and a promise from Andrea Gray that she would buy a 924 to take back to Canada when their tour finished in Bahrain.
The Bahrainis saw our competitors to Porsche as both BMW and Mercedes, the two mainstream readily available luxury cars in the market. However I soon realised that their customers had a very limited range of colours, trims and options available to the average Bahraini customer walking into their respective showrooms.
We could not afford to stock Porsche’s for resale, so every car was ordered specially for individual customers and paid for in advance one way or another. The sales process was; we sold the car, took a formal order and then a guarantee of payment or 20% cash margin from our customer and then arranged back-to-back payment via our bank to Porsche AG. Once Porsche had confirmation from their bankers of lodged payment, they scheduled the respective car for production.